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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-30

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, 30/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens working with EU on Ocalan issue
  • Government unfazed by opinion poll
  • PM reveals youth employment plan
  • Nervous drivers queue for petrol
  • Customs strike unwarranted, gov't says
  • Trolley workers call off strike
  • Checks begin on all bridges
  • Two arrested over oil slick
  • Bomb razes Cretan abbatoir
  • Greek first division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens working with EU on Ocalan issue

Greece confirmed on Monday that it was in touch with other European Union governments on the issue of Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan with a view to holding a meeting on the Kurdish problem. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the contacts were being carried out at the ministerial level. Ocalan has been placed under house arrest pending further developments following his arrival in Rome some weeks ago to request political asylum. A Rome court refused a Turkish warrant for his arrest, severely taxing relations with Ankara. Germany, which has also issued a warrant for Ocalan's arrest, has said it will not file for his extradition for the time being.

Government unfazed by opinion poll

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the government was not concerned by the results of an opinion poll published on Monday in Ta Nea newspaper, showing relatively high dissatisfaction rates for both ruling party and opposition. "The government is judged on its work at national elections," Reppas said. "And the present government and the prime minister will be judged positively."

PM reveals youth employment plan

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today unveiled an ambitious programme aimed at creating job opportunities for 1.15 million youths. The 425 billion dr. "Below-30 Greece" programme, of a two-year duration, encompasses a broad range of fields, including agriculture and business, Simitis told a press conference. Drafted by an interministerial committee on youth, the plan earmarks 300 billion dr. to support employment programmes and another 100 billion dr. to support young farmers. It includes subsidies and special programmes for young entrepreneurs, and incentives and training for young farmers in a bid to revitalise the provinces.

Nervous drivers queue for petrol

Cars queued up Monday outside petrol stations whose reserves have not been depleted as customs employees began a week of rolling strikes after the collapse of talks with the labour ministry over the future of their pension fund. Customs workers want their pension fund exempted from labour ministry plans to merge a number of sector-specific pension funds, part of the ministry's "mini-reforms" of the pension and health system. The strike is also expected to cause shortages in heating oil. Northern Greece was the hardest hit as local merchants, industrialists and farmers - representing 64 percent of export trade -- saw their products' exit gates to Europe shut down, threatening them with delays and cancellations of orders.

Customs strike unwarranted, gov't says

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the government was monitoring labour action such as the customs officials' strike through its ministerial committees. "The phenomena are not welcome but within the expected annual framework of labour protests," he said. The government has shown that it is open to dialogue but not on certain non-negotiable issues, he said. Referring specifically to the customs strike, Reppas said their interests were not harmed by the government's decisions and noted that the sector had the highest supplementary pensions of all civil servants.

Trolley workers call off strike

Electric trolley bus workers on Monday said they were calling off labour action scheduled for the week as a goodwill gesture that might be reciprocated from the ministry and the Athens and Piraeus Trolley Bus Authority, ILPAP. "We believe that the managment of ILPAP and the competent ministries will show the same responsibility in regard to the just demands of the workers and that reason will prevail in dialogue so that the grief caused to commuters in the Athens and Piraeus can be avoided in the future, " a statement from the workers union said. Trolley bus workers last week staged a series of work stoppages to protest the government's plans to overhaul public transport organisations.

Checks begin on all bridges

Environment and Public Works ministry technical experts on Monday began inspections of all old bridges on the country's national highways after the collapse Saturday of a bridge in Pieria that nearly cut the country in two. Circulation was restored Sunday along the motorway linking Athens to Thessaloniki after a bridge in Pieria collapsed in heavy rain on Saturday, fortunately without causing injuries or damage to vehicles. The highway was closed to traffic when subsidence caused the bridge at Ziliana, between Leptokarya and Skotina, to collapse over both sides of the motorway. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded far from exit points. A newly built flyover was opened earlier than planned after special army units put in steel supports in order to restore circulation.

Two arrested over oil slick

The captains of a Portuguese-flag freighter and Greek tugboat have been arrested on charges of causing an oil spill in the sea off the AGET- Heracles cement company in Aliveri, merchant marine sources said today. They said a 400 metre long by 10 metres wide mazut slick resulted when the freighter "Maria Dolores" collided with the tug, creating a hole in the former from which an unspecified amount of mazut leaked into the sea. Inclement weather conditions threatened to spread the slick the open sea, as floating obstacles were put in place to contain the spill and a harbour authority vessel had commenced clean-up operations, the sources said. The captains were due to appear before a public prosecutor in nearby Halkis.

Bomb razes Cretan abbatoir

A powerful bomb has literally razed the municipal abbatoirs at Kiassamos in Hania, Crete, but caused no injuries, police said today. They said the blast, caused by a "large quantity of ammoniacal dynamite" Sunday night, could be heard two kilometres away while narby windows were shattered. The explosion totally destroyed the abbatoir's slaughterhouse and meat packing building, while a third building was designated as highly unstable and the entire complex was declared off limits. The bomb made a half-metre deep crater, police added. They said it was a miracle that there were no victims, as just half an hour before the explosion a Kissamos municipal garbage truck had parked in the abbatoir's yard. The truck suffered extensive damages.

Greek first division soccer results

PAOK Thessaloniki-Panelfsiniakos 3-1 Panionios Athens-Paniliakos Pyrgos 5- 2 Iraklis Thessaloniki-Ethnikos Piraeus 5-0 Ionikos-Apollon Athens 3-0 Proodeftiki-OFI Iraklion 0-1 Ethnikos Asteras-Veria 4-0 Olympiakos Piraeus-Kavala 4-1 AEK Athens-Aris Thessaloniki 6-0 Monday: Xanthi vs Panathinaikos

Standings: AEK 26, Panathinaikos, Olympiakos 25, Xanthi 20, Aris, PAOK 17, Panionios, OFI, Ionikos, Ethnikos Asteras, Paniliakos 16.

The Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) stripped three points from PAOK for crowd trouble in an interrupted match with Olympiakos, awarding the match to Olympiakos with a 2-0 score. The actual score at time of interruption was 2- 1 in favour of Olympiakos.

WEATHER

Rainy weather and storms are forecast in eastern Greece today easing later in the day. Cloudy in the rest of the country likely to turn into rain in the evening, especially in the west. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Sunny with scattered cloud in Athens and temperatures ranging from 10-16C. Overcast in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7C to 12C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.345 British pound 469.117 Japanese yen (100) 231.265 French franc 49.650 German mark 166.458 Italian lira (100) 16.814 Irish Punt 414.061 Belgian franc 8.070 Finnish mark 54.768 Dutch guilder 147.684 Danish kr. 43.793 Austrian sch. 23.660 Spanish peseta 1.956 Swedish kr. 34.899 Norwegian kr. 37.849 Swiss franc 201.996 Port. Escudo 1.623 Aus. dollar 179.671 Can. dollar 184.532 Cyprus pound 563.456

(M.P.)


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