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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-02

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, 02/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • May Day rallies
  • Kosoco refugees arrived in Pogradec
  • Greece to buy F-16s, Mirage 2000-5
  • Ad campaign to underline Greece is safe for tourists
  • Kurds in Athens hold solidarity rally for Ocalan
  • Athens suspends airport tax on northern Greek airports
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

May Day rallies

The traditional May Day labour celebrations-rallies took place around the country with special note in Athens and Thessaloniki where rallies were held against the bombing in Yugoslavia.

The Labour Centre of Athens with the support of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSSE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) organised a rally in front the United States' embassy in Athens at 10 a.m.

GSEE president Cristos Polyzogopoulos, who spoke at the rally said that this last May Day of the century was marked by war and requested an immediate end of the bombardments.

A second and separate rally was organised by Communinst Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated worker's representatives and the Workers' Struggle Front (PAME), at Syntagma square.

In Thessaloniki, the city's Labour Centre organised a rally at centrally located Aristotlous square, while a separate one was organised by PAME in front the central gate of the city's port pier- 11, used by the NATO forces to unload materiel destined for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Kosoco refugees arrived in Pogradec

Albanian government vice-president Ilir Meta, Health Minister Leonard Solis and Greek ambassador to Tirana on Saturday inaugurated a refugee camp built by the Greek military contigent in the country.

The 2,500-person capacity camp received 348 refugees on this its first day of operetion, as Meta expressed the total satisfaction of his government of Greece's stance to date.

The 400-strong Greek military contigent in Albania built the 300-tent camp as part of Greece's efforts to aid that country and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in dealing with a flood of refugees from Kosovo.

Greece to buy F-16s, Mirage 2000-5

Greece on Friday announced the purchase of 50 F-16 Block 50 Plus combat aircraft, 15 Mirage 2000-5 and new weapons systems for its fleet of 10 Mirage 2000 as part of its multi-million dollar armaments programme for the Hellenic Air Force. Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced the decision following a meeting of the Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA). The total cost of the F-16 aircraft will come to 600 billion drachmas. The 1.3 trillion drachma Hellenic Air Force programme involves the purchase of new combat aircraft and the replacement of losses. The main contenders for the lucrative fighter jet contract were the French Mirage-2000-5, the Eurofighter-2000, the US F-15 and F-16 Block 50 Plus and Russia's Soukhoi-27.

Ad campaign to underline Greece is safe for tourists

Athens said on Friday it would launch an international advertising campaign to underline that the country was among the safest in the world for tourists, in the wake of U.S. warnings to its citizens about travelling to Greece. "The campaign will promote Greece's safe image around the world. Greece is not only a factor of stability and peace in the region but is also an extremely safe destination for tourists," Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in Parliament. Venizelos, who is also responsible for tourism issues, said that a bomb attack on an Athens hotel earlier this week, which killed a Greek woman and injured another person, had directly targetted the Greek tourist industry. Venizelos said he regretted Washington's reaction and said the aim of the attack "was precisely to provoke such an announcement from the U.S."

Kurds in Athens hold solidarity rally for Ocalan

Kurds in Greece rallied in Athens on Friday, to mark the beginning of treason trial in Turkey of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. Among the protestors were 13 Kurds wearing blindfolds, with their mouths taped shut and chained together, a symbolic reference to the pictures of Ocalan broadcast by Turkey in late February, when he was captured. Representatives of the protestors called for the international community to show solidarity with the PKK leader, who faces a possible death sentence for his role in the Kurds' struggle against Turkey in the southeast.

Athens suspends airport tax on northern Greek airports

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced plans by the government to offset possible harm to the country's exports and imports industry and tourism by lifting an airport duty and subsidising road transport. Responding to a question in Parliament on the repercussions of the Yugoslav war on the Greek economy and tourism, Venizelos said he had requested the transport and communications and national economy and finance ministries to suspend collection of the airport duty for the Visegrad countries of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He said those flying in to the airports in Corfu, Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupoli, regions which have been particularly hard-hit by the Yugoslav war, would be exempt from paying the airport duty.

WEATHER

The weather on Monday is expected to be warm, humid and sunny with local cloud in the west, centre and north of the country increasing. Showers are possible in the north and northeast. Winds will be southerly mild to moderate. Warm and humid in Athens with temperatures ranging from 16C to 31C. Same with light cloud cover in Thessaloniki with temperatures ranging from 13C to 30C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          308.332
Pound sterling       497.147
Japanese yen (100)   257.701
French franc          49.666
German mark          166.574
Italian lira (100)    16.826
Irish Punt           413.668
Belgian franc          8.076
Luxembourg franc       8.076
Finnish mark          54.794
Dutch guilder        147.837
Danish kr.            43.974
Austrian sch.         23.676
Spanish peseta         1.958
Swedish kr.           36.682
Norwegian kr.         39.588
Swiss franc          202.837
Port. Escudo           1.625
Aus. dollar          203.208
Can. dollar          210.329
Cyprus pound         563.947
Euro                 326.767
(M.S.)
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