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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-02-07

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, 07/02/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Foreign Minister on Balkan tour
  • Greece guarantees Cyprus' security
  • Avramopoulos on Albania visit
  • Bulgarians arrested in hash bust
  • CD piracy ring dismantled
  • Government replies to farmers
  • Immigrant smugglers sentenced
  • Two injured in robbery
  • OA work stoppage
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Foreign Minister on Balkan tour

Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos was due on Sunday to begin a four-day tour of Balkan countries for a first-hand briefing on political developments and talks on improving bilateral relations.

The tour encompasses Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia, but a planned stopover in the troubled Yugoslav province fo Kosovo was postponed.

Greece guarantees Cyprus' security

Greece guarantees the security of the Republic of Cyprus, Greece's national defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reaffirmed Sunday in Thessaloniki.

Tsohatzopoulos said that he would meet Monday in Athens with Cyprus counterpart Yiannakis Omirou to discuss Cypriot defence issues in the context of the Greece-Cyprus joint defence doctrine.

Stressing that the joint defence doctrine "is in force and will be safeguarded", Tsohatzopoulos said that "we must learn to live" with the Turkish threat, adding that "there are no easy solutions to this matter".

The Greek defence minister also expressed optimism that "we will soon have positive results from Cyprus' EU accession negotiations".

Avramopoulos on Albania visit

Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos is due to begin a brief official visit to Albania on Monday, sources close to the Mayor said.

They said during his short stay Avramopoulos would meet with Albanian president Rexhep Mejdani, prime minister Pandeli Majko, deputy prime minister Ilir Meta and foreign minister Paskal Milo.

Avramopoulos would further meet with his Tirana counterpart to examine the possible undertaking of an initiative by Balkan mayors for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem.

The Mayor would also be received by Orthodox Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania.

Bulgarians arrested in hash bust

Three Bulgarians were arrested Sunday in Drama, northern Greece for illegally entering the country and trying to sell 6.5 kilograms of hashish to undercover policemen, police said.

They said Arso Alendarov, 23, Ivo Ivanov, 32 and Stenov Voskanov, 32, had illegally entered the country at Nevrokopi, and arranged to meet the two buyers -- who were plainclothes policemen -- at Xiropotamo village in Drama.

The Bulgarians were to sell the 6.5 kilos of hashish for 2 million dr.

Police from Drama and Kavala prefectures showed up on the scene as the exchange was taking place and arrested the three Bulgarians and confiscated the drugs.

The Bulgarians were taken before the Drama public prosecutor, where they requested, and were granted, a 48-hour deadline to prepare their defence.

CD piracy ring dismantled

Six Nigerians, a Cameroonian and a Greek merchant have been arrested for piracy of compact discs, police said Sunday.

They said 41-year-old merchant Vassilis Filiopoulos, Kinastain Efil, 26 from Cameroon, and Patrick Efhunaa, 44, Henry Nauna, 31, Chvaka Kodloi, 34, Aken Salami, 29, and Osaron Iedze, all from Nigeria, were arrested for unauthorised reproduction and sale of compact discs of foreign and Greek entertainers.

Police also confiscated 3,214 pirated compact discs found in the detainees' possession, Filiopoulos' home and a recording studio run by the ring.

The value of the bogus CDs and recording studio equipment was estimated at more than 20 million dr.

The law officers further found a driver's licence that had been stolen from a parked car near Omonoia Square on Christmas day.

Police said Filiopoulos had two outstanding arrest warrants against him for forgery.

Government replies to farmers

Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis on Saturday sent a letter of reply to the Pan-Thessaly Farmers' Coordinating Committtee outlining the government's positions on farmers' damands.

Anomeritis leaves open the possibility of some demands being accepted while rejecting others.

Some arrangement will be proposed to facilitate the settlement of farmers' debts, he said, adding that the National Economy Ministry would on Wednesday decide on the relevant "technical" details which would be "within a banking framework".

Among other demands, farmers want lower debt repayment rates.

Immigrant smugglers sentenced

An Athens court early on Saturday sentenced a Greek man and his Pakistani accomplice to nine years imprisonment for smuggling illegal immigrants into the country.

Eftyhios Zervoudakis, 43 and his accomplice, Haroun Emin Kureshi, 32, were arrested near Athens on Tuesday as they were about to pick up three Indian illegal immigrants dropped ashore by the Honduras-flagged vessel 'Volha'.

Zervoudakis was one of four men charged in absentia with murder in January 1997, following the deaths of 283 illegal immigrants when the vessel carrying them sank off the coast of Sicily on Christmas Day 1996.

Two injured in robbery

Three men shot and seriously wounded two people early Saturday morning when they robbed a small kiosk selling newspapers and cigarettes in the Athens suburb of Nea Erythraia.

The owner of the kiosk, Ilias Tsarouchas, 37 and a customer, Nikos Bakoyiannis, 46, an employee of the road assistance company "SOS" are in serious condition at the Sismanogliou hospital.

The robbers escaped after grabbing an unknown amount of money.

Police believe it was the same three who had shortly before attacked and stolen 150,000 drachmas from the owner of another kiosk, Ioannis Stefanidis, 51, in Halandri.

OA work stoppage

Civil aviation employees will hold a three-hour work stoppage at Olympic Airways on Friday, beginning at noon, in protest of the Greek government's decision to hire a strategic manager for the debt-ridden national carrier.

The industrial action has been timed tocoincide with the deadline in a tender to find an international managing company for the airline.

WEATHER

Clouds and rain are forecast Monday for western Greece, turning to local storms later in the day and gradually extending throughout the rest of the country, with snow in the central and northern mountainous regions. Athens will be overcast, turning possibly to rain at night and temperatures ranging from 4-15 C. The same for Thessaoniki, with possibility of rain in the afternoon and temperatures from -1 to 10 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 282.343 Pound sterling 463.581 Japanese yen (100) 250.202 French franc 48.712 German mark 163.374 Italian lira (100) 16.503 Irish Punt 405.723 Belgian franc 7.921 Finnish mark 53.742 Dutch guilder 144.998 Danish kr. 42.967 Austrian sch. 23.222 Spanish peseta 1.921 Swedish kr. 35.984 Norwegian kr. 36.704 Swiss franc 199.779 Port. Escudo 1.594 Aus. dollar 183.465 Can. dollar 189.968 Cyprus pound 550.560

(L.G.)


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