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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-02-01

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, 01/02/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Ocalan not in Greece - govt
  • Northern Greece snowed under
  • Solana in Athens Thursday
  • Greek, Swedish defence ministers confer
  • Albanian foreign affairs committee visits
  • Eight charged in soccer violence
  • Quake aid to Colombia
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Ocalan not in Greece - govt

The Greek foreign ministry has no idea where fugitive Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan is, diplomatic sources said on Monday. The sources were referring to reports that Ocalan was headed for Athens after being denied permission to enter the Netherlands. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters later that there was no truth to the flurry of reports that Ocalan had landed in Athens and reiterated that there had been no request to the Greek authorities. "We do not believe Ocalan coming to Greece would be useful or expedient," Reppas said. He said Greece had taken a leading role in efforts to resolve the Kurdish issue and in the fight for human rights. "We have requested the issue be discussed at the European Union," he said.

Northern Greece snowed under

Schools were closed, cars forced to use snow chains and 40 villages snowed in throughout northern Greece on Monday as the sudden onset of near-zero temperatures continued for a third day. Snow ploughs were working overtime to clear local and national road networks. Central Macedonian authorities said they hoped to have cleared the roads to the 40 villages snowed in by nightfall on Monday. Biting cold was turning the snow into treacherous plates of ice on streets in Thessaloniki's city centre. On Sunday, emergency services called on the elderly to stay home to avoid falls, following a spate of incidents. More calls for help - particularly from the elderly slipping on footpaths - were recorded again on Monday.

Solana in Athens Thursday

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will have a meeting with NATO Secretary- General Javier Solana on Thursday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Monday. Reppas said Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos would join the meeting. He made no reference to the focus of the talks.

Greek, Swedish defence ministers confer

Greece and Sweden's defence ministers focused on the situation in eastern Europe and the Balkans, with emphasis on Kosovo and the Cyprus issue, at their meeting in Athens on Monday. Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Swedish counterpart Bjorn von Sydow both expressed their concerns about developments in Kosovo and said they favoured a peaceful resolution to the problem. Also discussed was bilateral defence cooperation.

Albanian foreign affairs committee visits

Greek and Albanian Members of Parliament on their countries' foreign affairs committee met on Monday at the Greek Parliament house. The Albanian Parliament's foreign affairs committee is on an official visit to Greece. Focus of talks between the two delegations were the quality of life for Albanian migrants to Greece, the Greek minority in Albania, security issues in the wider region of the Balkans - particularly Kosovo - as well as prospects for closer cooperation between the two countries.

Eight charged in soccer violence

A prosecutor charged eight youths with vandalism and illegal possession of explosive material on Monday following violence at Sunday evening's Greek league AEK-Olympiakos football match. All the charges are misdemenour offences. Fighting broke out between police and fans attending the match in Athens at around 3.30 p.m. yesterday when AEK fans attacked police with fire bombs and stones. Police responded with tear gas to disperse the youths. Two policemen were slightly injured. The violence returned at the end of the match when Olympiakos fans began to tear up seats and light fires in the stands. Riot police were called in and arrested eight people. AEK fans outside the stadium meanwhile again attacked police and set fires to skips. Police dispersed the protestors shortly later.

Quake aid to Colombia

A shipment of humanitarian aid to earthquake-stricken Colombia leaves Patras port today for the 12-day sail to the South American country, where a 6.0 Richter earthquake struck early last month killing more than 900 people and causing widespread devastation. Ten containers of aid will be sent aboard the "Peggy Dawe", which frequently transports shipments of bananas between the Aegean and Colombia.

WEATHER

Overcast weather is forecast throughout the country today with snow in central and northern mainland Greece and the northern Aegean. Other areas may see rain, with snow in the mountainous regions and storms at sea. Athens will be cloudy with snow on high ground. Improvement from the evening with temperatures from 3-9C. Heavy snowfall in Thessaloniki easing off in the afternoon. Temperatures will range from -2-0C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.218 Pound sterling 460.169 Japanese yen (100) 240.064 French franc 48.569 German mark 162.893 Italian lira (100) 16.454 Irish Punt 404.527 Belgian franc 7.898 Finnish mark 53.583 Dutch guilder 144.570 Danish kr. 42.805 Austrian sch. 23.153 Spanish peseta 1.915 Swedish kr. 35.875 Norwegian kr. 37.073 Swiss franc 197.388 Port. Escudo 1.589 Aus. dollar 175.951 Can. dollar 184.334 Cyprus pound 548.834

(M.P.)


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