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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 20/01/1999 (ANA)


  • Two charged in student violence
  • FM hopes for more moderate Yugoslav stance
  • Police seize contraband weapons
  • 2004 Games to heal wounds - Athens
  • Stolen artefacts recovered
  • No expansion without Cyprus, Athens says
  • Kosovo on Eurosocialist meeting agenda
  • Cabinet to meet on jobs, Schengen
  • Bomb targets policeman's home
  • Seven countries sign agreement on fibre optic cable
  • Greek experts fear resurgence of seismic activity
  • Archbishop Spyridon to visit Greece
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Two charged in student violence

Two youths arrested during Tuesday night's student march in Athens were charged today with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. The two were arrested during violence that marred the largely peaceful rally and march by some 3,000 high school students and teachers protesting the education ministry's reforms. Police used tear gas to disperse groups of youths who began throwing stones and fire bombs as the march neared its end. Damage was caused to a number of business premises and cars parked in the vicinity. On Wednesday, dozens of student blockades again caused serious traffic problems in the wider Athens area.

FM hopes for more moderate Yugoslav stance

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Wednesday expressed hope that Yugoslavia's stance on its strife-torn province of Kosovo might change for the better following the appointment of moderate nationalist Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) leader Vuk Draskovic as deputy prime minister in charge of international relations, according to an ANA despatch from Bucarest. Pangalos was speaking to reporters in Bucharest after talks with his Romanian counterpart, Andrei Plesu. He arrived in Romania last night after a one-day visit to Bulgaria. Opposition leader Draskovic was appointed in Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's reshuffle of his federal government on Monday.

Police seize contraband weapons

The Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday that three persons had been arrested after a large quantity of firearms and ammunition was found carefully hidden in a truck in Lykovrisi, Attica. The arms seized include 126 Smith and Wesson handguns, 188 Jennings pistols, 35 Luger revolvers, 18 Gold pistols, 40 magazines and 50 bullets. The ministry identified the three persons arrested in the operation as Panagiotis Satas, 40, a former Hellenic Navy officer, Constantine Tsounakos, 52, a restaurateur and Constantine Dagres, 48, a tailor.

2004 Games to heal wounds - Athens

The Athens 2004 Olympic Games will aim towards healing the wounds from the present crisis in the ranks of the International Olympic Committee, Greece's Culture Minister and key coordinator of the Games' organisation Evangelos Venizelos said on Wednesday. "Greece has an opportunity to reassess and redirect the Olympic Idea on a world level," Venizelos said. Venizelos was speaking after chairing a meeting of high-ranking executives and officials of the Athens 2004 organising committee.

Stolen artefacts recovered

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos officially took delivery on Wednesday of two ancient artefacts stolen in 1997 and promised that security at all museums would be stepped up with the help of the latest in modern technology. Two men were arrested in connection with the robbery on Friday. They are suspected of being part of a group of four masked and armed men robbed the Ramnous Museum in Marathon, near Athens, on February 15, 1997 after attacking and tying up the lone guard. The four made off with a variety of items, including the two recovered - a small statue of a nymph and a burial column. The items are estimated to be worth more than 10 million drachmas on the black market.

No expansion without Cyprus, Athens says

The Greek government reiterated on Wednesday that the enlargement of the European Union would go ahead only if the Republic of Cyprus is included. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when asked by reporters to comment on reports that the current German presidency intended to obstruct Cyprus' course towards accession. Reppas stressed that Cyprus' accession prospects were completely unconnected with the island republic' ongoing political problem caused by Turkey's 1974 invasion and subsequent occupation of about one-third of Cypriot territory.

Kosovo on Eurosocialist meeting agenda

Developments in the Balkans in light of the situation in Kosovo will be the focus of this weekend's meeting of the European Socialist Party in Thessaloniki. Speakers include German Defence Minister and president of the European Socialist Party Rudolf Scharping, Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Greek Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos. Also attending as observers will be representatives of socialist and social-democratic parties from the Balkans. The meeting begins on Friday and ends on Sunday.

Cabinet to meet on jobs, Schengen

Cabinet will discuss plans to boost employment as well as the implementation of the Schengen treaty allowing the free movement of EU citizens at its meeting on Friday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. Reppas said the issue of continuing student protests over education ministry reforms was not on the agenda of the meeting but that Prime Minister Costas Simitis was likely to refer to the issue.

Bomb targets policeman's home

A home-made bomb exploded early Wednesday in the Galatsi suburb northwest of Athens, near the home of a policeman serving in the Narcotics Squad, police said. The explosion caused damage to three nearby shops and a parked car. An unidentified caller later phoned an Athens radio station and claimed responsibility for the bomb on behalf of a group calling itself the "Incorruptibles". The caller said the group's aim was to "wipe out police corruption".

Seven countries sign agreement on fibre optic cable

The state telecommunication companies of seven countries on Wednesday signed in Athens an agreement for the construction and maintenance of a Black Sea underwater fibre optics telecommunications system linking their respective countries. The accord was signed by senior representatives of the telecommunications organisations of Greece (OTE), Armenia, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Cyprus and Slovenia. The project, which will cost an estimated 51 million dollars, is slated for completion in the second quarter of the year 2000.

Greek experts fear resurgence of seismic activity

A strong earthquake measuring 5-6 on the Richter scale was highly likely in the next 2-3 months in Greece, a leading seismologist said today. Seismology professor Gerassimos Papadopoulos said Wednesday that the extended seismic lull of the past few years made the prospect of a 5-6 Richter quake in the next few months highly likely. Papadopoulos said the last period of increased seismic activity was recorded in October-November 1997 and had lasted 37 days, during which seven strong earthquakes measuring between 5.2 to 6.6 Richter occurred. Since then, there has been a seismic lull in Greece, he added. The seismologist warned that the further this lull exceeded the 14-month point, the more the possibility of a strong earthquake increased.

Archbishop Spyridon to visit Greece

Archbishop of North and South America Spyridon will make an official visit to Greece February 9-15 at the invitation of the Greek government. Spyridon is scheduled to meet with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President Costis Stephanopoulos, as well as the defence, education and religious affairs, culture and alternate foreign ministers.


Mostly fair weather with low temperatures will prevail throughout Greece today. Possibility of showers in the east and south, the Cycladic islands and northern Crete. Winds, variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures ranging between 5-12C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-9C.


Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.964 Pound sterling 458.046 Japanese yen (100) 242.375 French franc 48.942 German mark 164.146 Italian lira (100) 16.580 Irish Punt 407.638 Belgian franc 7.958 Finnish mark 53.995 Dutch guilder 145.682 Danish kr. 43.154 Austrian sch. 23.331 Spanish peseta 1.929 Swedish kr. 35.539 Norwegian kr. 37.140 Swiss franc 200.905 Port. Escudo 1.601 Aus. dollar 174.602 Can. dollar 179.393 Cyprus pound 551.552


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