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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-02-11

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, 11/02/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • New Greek radar fully operational
  • Government meets on purchase of new fighter aircraft
  • Papandreou condemns Turkish consulate attack
  • Cambodian vessel swept away, crew safe
  • Archbishop Spyridon calls for Parthenon Marbles return
  • Greece to sign agreement on euro
  • Meteorological service warns on strong winds
  • Church holds seminar on cults and quasi-religious groups
  • Equities surge on Moody's upgrade
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

New Greek radar fully operational

The Greek Civil Aviation Authority's (YPA) new ultra-modern radar was set in full operation one minute past midnight, YPA said Thursday. YPA Dionyssis Kalofonos issued a NOTAM to all international organisations and airlines. YPA's radar system, comprising terminals in Pelio and on the island of Lefkas and Kythnos, increasing aircraft capacity in the aircorridors to 15 from the previous five, as the required distance between airplanes is reduced from 70 to 10 miles, YPA said.

Government meets on purchase of new fighter aircraft

Prime Minister Costas Simitis had talks on Thursday with the political leadership of the defence ministry to prepare for tomorrow's meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) which will focus on the ongoing armaments programme of the Greek armed forces. Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the main topic on tomorrow's agenda will be the procurement of new combat aircraft within the framework of long-term planning to boost the strength of the Hellenic Air Force. The main contenders for the lucrative contract are the US-manufactured F-16 and F-15, the French Mirage 2000-5, the Russian Suhoy and the European Eurofighter.

Papandreou condemns Turkish consulate attack

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday condemned the bomb blast earlier this week near the Turkish consulate in the northern Greek town of Komotini, saying the government would not allow Thrace to become a battleground for "nationalistic squabbles and the activities of agents". Papandreou was addressing Parliament on the third day of a five-day debate on the Treaty of Amsterdam. "Greece is in a position and has the will to protect the rights of its Moslem Greek citizens, the majority of whom live in Thrace," Papandreou told the House. The blast occurred Monday night across the street from the consulate on the first floor of a half- completed building, about 20 metres from the consulate's courtyard. A subsequent examination of the bomb by police revealed that it was unlikely to have had any impact on the Turkish consulate.

Cambodian vessel swept away, crew safe

A Cambodian-flagged cargo vessel was being swept along out of control by gale force winds in the eastern Aegean on Thursday after being abandoned by its 13-member crew when its cargo shifted. The Merchant Marine Ministry had earlier today been notified of a distress signal sent by the vessel - the "Alexa von Mercurius" - when its cargo became displaced while sailing 20 nautical miles north-west of Lesvos island. The 1,850 grt vessel, with a crew of ten Ukrainians, two Bulgarians and one Romanian, had sailed from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas with destination Augusta, Italy. It is carrying a cargo of paper pulp. The ministry's Search and Rescue Centre immediately sent a Hellenic Air Force helicopter and a coast guard life- boat and notified all ships in the area. The Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel "Skyros" and the Ukrainian-flagged "Ritsa" sped to the assistance of the Cambodian vessel and the Ritsa picked up the crew which had in the meantime abandoned the vessel and got into two life-boats.

Archbishop Spyridon calls for Parthenon Marbles return

Visiting Archbishop Spyridon of America today appealed for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, pledging that the Greek community of the United States together with the entire civilised world would make every effort for the return of the friezes to their natural home, the Parthenon. "The legal heritage must be returned to the Parthenon," Spyridon said after a visit to the Acropolis. He said the Greek community in America saw the Acropolis as "the symbol of all that is ours, an inalienable heritage and legacy for the future".

Greece to sign agreement on euro

Greece, the European Parliament and the European Commission will sign a memorandum of agreement on Monday on promoting Economic and Monetary Union and preparing Greece to join the euro-zone. The agreement will be signed by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and vice- president of the European Parliament Feorge Anastasopoulos at the ministry at 10.30 a.m. Director general of General Directorate X (Information, Communication, Culture and Audio-Visual Sector) Spyros Pappas will be present at the signing to represent Audio-Visual Commissioner Marcelino Oreja and European Monetary Commissioner Yves-Thibault de Silguy. The memorandum expresses Greece and the European Union's willingness to undertake initiatives to implement joint long-term information policy on economic and monetary union with the aim of informing and preparing the public and economic and financial groups in relation to converting to euro.

Meteorological service warns on strong winds

The Greek weather bureau issued an alert on Thursday warning of fierce storms accompanied by winds of up to 9 Beaufort across the country. The bureau said the strong winds would sweep in from the west of the country to the rest of the mainland and hit the Aegean and Dodecanese islands late on Thursday. Western and northern Greece will bear the brunt of a cold snap, characterised by snowfall and low temperatures and storms, primarily in sea regions. The bad weather is expected to last from Friday through the weekend.

Church holds seminar on cults and quasi-religious groups

Leading Church officials on Thursday warned of an increase in the number of sects and quasi-religious groups in Greece and said the Church needed to be on its guard. "Sects and quasi-religious groups are knocking on our door. We need vigilance (and) to protect and strengthen the promotion of Orthodox teachings in our society. The problem has taken on enormous dimensions," Metropolitan of Fillipos, Neapolis and Thassos Prokopios told a seminar on sects, the occult and the quasi-religious in the northern Greek town of Kavala on Wednesday. The coming of the third millennium was accompanied by increased propaganda from cults and quasi-religious groups, he warned. Archmandrite Chrysostomos Maidonis said many sects had resorted to quasi-scientific methods to attract new members. "They draw on scientific terms to name their group and their activities. They use scientific methods in their organisation, to spread their influence throughout society, to consolidate their position," he said.

Equities surge on Moody's upgrade

A decision by US agency Moody's to upgrade Greece's credit rating brought euphoria back to the Athens Stock Exchange pushing share prices to new record highs on Thursday. The general index ended 3.08 percent up to 3, 323.69 points, its 13th record this year. Turnover was 141.02 billion and volume 28,778,560 shares. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.11 percent up while the FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 3.26 percent to 2, 113.08.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather with scattered rainfall will prevail in most parts of the country today with snowfall on highground in central and northern Greece. Heavier rainfall and snowfall expected by nightfall. Winds southerly, southwesterly, strong to very strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Scattered clouds in Athens with possibility of a brief rainfall and temperatures ranging from 9-15C. Thessaloniki will be cloudy with scattered rain and temperatures from 6-9C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 281.778 Pound sterling 460.744 Japanese yen (100) 244.578 French franc 48.663 German mark 163.208 Italian lira (100) 16.486 Irish Punt 405.307 Belgian franc 7.913 Finnish mark 53.687 Dutch guilder 144.849 Danish kr. 42.934 Austrian sch. 23.198 Spanish peseta 1.919 Swedish kr. 35.704 Norwegian kr. 36.922 Swiss franc 199.888 Port. Escudo 1.592 Aus. dollar 181.506 Can. dollar 188.321 Cyprus pound 549.568

(M.P.)


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