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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-25

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 25/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • PM chairs high-ranking meeting
  • Papandreou announces price cap agreements
  • Students brace for Thursday's rallies
  • Four charged over tugboat blaze deaths
  • Restructuring of export board
  • Kurdish man killed in brawl
  • Thieves make off with 9.5 tonnes of coffee
  • Shipowner out on bail
  • Equities end lower in normal correction
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PM chairs high-ranking meeting

Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday consulted with senior ministers in preparation for an important meeting in Athens on Friday with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and the political leaderships of the two countries' foreign and defence ministries. Today's meeting was attended by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis. Friday's talks are expected to focus on the course of Cyprus' bid to become a full member of the European Union as well as the issue of the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles which Nicosia wants to install on the island republic.

Papandreou announces price cap agreements

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou today announced a list of hundreds of Greek businesses in the sectors of manufacturing, commerce and services, already agreed to a government plan to lower or freeze their prices in 1999. The plan aims to contain inflation and ensure the country's participation in European economic and monetary union (EMU). Papandreou said that any agreed price increases would not be higher than the anticipated inflation rate. She said that the plan significantly ensured consumers' real income and reaffirmed the business sector's confidence to the government's efforts to lead the country into the next century on an equal basis with other European Union states.

Students brace for Thursday's rallies

The temperature in Greece's schools appeared to be rising on Wednesday as students prepared for rallies in Athens and Thessaloniki and Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis braved jeering students at a local high school. In Thessaloniki, the number of students occupying schools or being prevented from attending lessons in occupied schools are estimated to now number in the thousands. Students, teachers and parents are protesting against a number of issues, including teacher shortages, education ministry changes to grading and examinations at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, and the introduction of open university type programmes.

Four charged over tugboat blaze deaths

The trial of four persons held responsible for the fire aboard the tugboat "Aghios Georgios" in which three people lost their lives and a fourth is missing and presumed dead was postponed for three days on Wednesday to give the accused time to prepare their defence. The Piraeus-based "Aghios Georgios" on Monday rushed to help put out a fire that had broken out aboard the tanker "Golden Crete", owned by the Vardinoyannis Group. The fire quickly spread to the tugboat, which ran aground one mile from the port of Thessaloniki. Three charred bodies were pulled from the burning tugboat and a fourth crew member of the tug was presumed dead. A public prosecutor last night charged the four with manslaughter, causing marine pollution, causing a shipwreck and arson.

Restructuring of export board

The Greek government officially opened the way for the restructuring of state-controlled Export Promotion Organisation (OPE), in the framework of a government effort to modernise public utility companies. National Economy and Finance Minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, signed OPE's management contract with Economy Undersecretary Alexandros Baltas and OPE's chairman, Yiannis Tzen. The management contract describes the organisation's aims and activities as: a consultant to the state on external trade issues and an information data agency on export promotion, support services to businesses and developing a domestic cooperation network. The organisation's funding will be secured from a mix of community, public and private resources.

Kurdish man killed in brawl

A young Kurd died early this morning after being in a fight involving about 10 compatriots near the centre of Athens. The man was identified as Sali Mohamed, 23, who was fatally stabbed in the chest during the fight in Vathis Square shortly after midnight. When the others saw him lying on the ground covered in blood, they stopped fighting and flagged a taxi down to take Mohamed to hospital. The taxi driver informed the police and with a police escort took the young Kurd to the Elpis hospital where he was found to be dead on arrival.

Thieves make off with 9.5 tonnes of coffee

Police are investigating the disappearance of 9.5 tonnes of coffee and electrical appliances worth some 12.5 million drachmas from two factories in northern Greece. The stolen goods were stored at the Macedonian EPE and Success EPE companies' plants on the 19th kilometer on the Thessaloniki- Kilkis road. Police said the perpetrators had broken into the buildings after destroying the alarm system and loaded their bounty onto a company truck which was later found abandoned and empty.

Shipowner out on bail

Debt-ridden ferry boat line operator Evangelos Ventouris was released from custody in Korydallos prison on Wednesday on bail of 30 million drachmas. Ventouris was remanded in custody pending trial on charges of attempted murder on July 17 this year after giving testimony in connection with the shooting five days earlier of 40-year-old competitor Costas Agapitos in downtown Piraeus. Ventouris claimed that he was at home with four friends at the time of the shooting. But a judicial council meeting in August on Ventouris's petition for release pending trial said that his alibi was not convincing and described Ventouris as "extremely impertinent". Wednesday's decision to release Ventouris requires him to report to his local police station twice a month and prohibits him from leaving the country.

Equities end lower in normal correction

Greek equities ended lower on Wednesday in what traders described as a normal correction of prices following a five-day advance which pushed the Athens Stock Exchange 8.30 percent higher. The general index ended 0.73 percent off to 2,476.75, off the day's lows. Trading was heavy with turnover at 55.7 billion drachmas. Sector indices lost ground. Banks fell 0.80 percent, Leasing dropped 0.09 percent, Insurance eased 0.20 percent, Investment ended 0.85 percent off, Construction jumped 4.53 percent, Industrials ended 1.33 percent down, Miscellaneous rose 0.03 percent and Holding increased 0.28 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.74 percent up reflecting investors' interest for smaller capitalisation stocks.

WEATHER

Cloud will prevail throughout Greece today with light rain in the west and north of the country as well as in the islands of the eastern Aegean. Winds southerly, light to moderate. Athens will be overcast with temperatures between 8-19C. Intermittent rain in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6- 13C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 284.783 British pound 471.299 Japanese yen (100) 233.973 French franc 49.658 German mark 166.458 Italian lira (100) 16.822 Irish Punt 413.664 Belgian franc 8.073 Finnish mark 54.770 Dutch guilder 147.709 Danish kr. 43.803 Austrian sch. 23.669 Spanish peseta 1.958 Swedish kr. 35.101 Norwegian kr. 37.936 Swiss franc 201.688 Port. Escudo 1.616 Aus. dollar 182.826 Can. dollar 183.441 Cyprus pound 564.329

(M.P.)


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