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

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, 05/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Inflation at 28-year low
  • Former FM Papoulias in Belgrade
  • Protestors block NATO convoy
  • Greek air, naval exercise begins Friday
  • FM Papandreou to visit Stockholm
  • Government denies 'asparagus embargo'
  • Crews safe after ships collide
  • Delos lions to be moved to Athens
  • Elderly man arrested for sexual assault of minor
  • Greek equities resume upward trend
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Inflation at 28-year low

The consumer price index rose 1.0 percent in April from the previous month pushing the year-on-year inflation below the 3.0 percent level for the first time in 28 years to 2.8 percent, National Statistics Service said today. The NSS said April's CPI rise reflected higher prices in petrol, soft drinks and hotel accomodation. NSS's director, Nikos Karavitis, said he expected inflation to drop further in the next few months. Year-on-year inflation stood at 5.3 percent in April last year and 5.9 percent in the same month of 1997.

Former FM Papoulias in Belgrade

The chairman of parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee Karolos Papoulias left for Belgrade today for consultations with Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and other officials after receiving an early-morning go- ahead from Belgrade. The visit was decided Monday during a meeting with Papoulias called by Prime Minister Costas Simitis for an exchange of views on the general situation in the Balkans and on developments in the Kosovo crisis. Papoulias, a former foreign minister, is scheduled to meet with Milosevic, to whom he is expected to deliver a letter from Simitis, as well as Yugoslav foreign minister Zivadin Jovanovic and Serbian president Milan Milutinovic. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed to reporters later that Papoulias's visit to Belgrade was in his capacity as the president of the Parliament's foreign and defence affairs committee.

Protestors block NATO convoy

Protestors early today blocked the port in the northern Greek capital Thessaloniki, preventing a NATO convoy coming from FYROM from picking up alliance military vehicles at the port for its peacekeeping force in the neighbouring country. About 100 followers of the Communist Party of Greece blocked a convoy of NATO tow-trucks from picking up military vehicles at the port's Gate 11 at about an hour after midnight, forcing the convoy to camp out in the Sindos region. The protestors also broke the fencing of another Gate and attempted to enter the warehouses containing NATO supplies, but were by prevented by MEA special police units. The demonstrators wrote anti-NATO and anti-war messages on the pier, chanting slogans against the US-led NATO intervention in Yugoslavia before dispersing peacefully.

Greek air, naval exercise begins Friday

A scheduled small-scale Greek air and naval exercise began on Wednesday in the region of the boundary dividing the Flight Information Regions of Athens and Nicosia. The two-day exercise, codenamed "Toxotis", is being held within the framework of the Greece-Cyprus joint defence doctrine. Participating in the exercise are 25 aircraft of different types and two frigates. According to sources, Greek warships and aircraft are not expected to dock or land, respectively, in Cyprus during the exercise.

FM Papandreou to visit Stockholm

Foreign Minister George Papandreou flies to Stockholm on Thursday to take part in a European social-democratic parties' conference on local government and European Parliament elections. While in the Swedish capital, Papandreou will meet with his Swedish counterpart Anna Lindt. He will also be present at the official inauguration of the Greek-Swedish Friendship Committee at the Swedish Parliament. Papandreou will address the conference on Friday on the European dimension of local government. The conference ends on Saturday.

Government denies 'asparagus embargo'

The government on Wednesday denied that an embargo had been imposed on Greek asparagus supposedly due to contamination by toxins created by the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that a French professional organisation which produces similar products had issued an advisory warning about Greek asparagus but had withdrawn it following protests from Greece. Reppas said media reports about the pollution caused in Greece by the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia were "exaggerated".

Crews safe after ships collide

The Greek and Filipino crews of two merchant vessels that collided off Fleves islets were safe and unharmed, while only minor damage was caused by the collision, a merchant marine spokesman told ANA today. The spokesman said the Greek-flag tanker "Vassilios 7" collided with the Cyprus-flag freighter "Aghios Ioannis" late last night as it was sailing four nautical miles west of Fleves, near Cape Sounion south of Athens. The collision caused minor damage to the tanker's bow and the freighter's right side.

Delos lions to be moved to Athens

The remaining five ancient marble lions on the island of Delos will be moved to Athens to save them from further damage, the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) decided on Wednesday. The lions, thought to date back to the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. and discovered a century ago, will be housed at the National Archaeological Museum. Strong Cycladic winds and sea air have wrought havoc on the lions. Only five are in reasonable condition today, while only half of another two can be saved and a further three are in fragments. Replicas of the statues will be placed along the road the lions guard on Delos. The 'Lions Way' is a popular drawcard for the thousands of tourist who visit the island annually.

Elderly man arrested for sexual assault of minor

An 85-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday and charged with a serious sexual assault against a 15-year-old Albanian boy. The man, identified as Niko Kromidas, allegedly persuaded the boy to follow him home where the offence took place. The police believe that Kromidas is responsible for a series of similar assaults, usually preying on young boys making a living by begging at traffic lights.

Greek equities resume upward trend

Equity prices resumed their upward trend on Wednesday, following Tuesday's correction, with investors trying to push the market to record levels once again. The general index ended 0.61 percent higher to 3,799.36 points, off the day's highs. Turnover was 169.467 billion drachmas and volume 36,557, 585 shares. Traders said demand for smaller and medium-sized capitalisation stocks was huge, although several blue-chip stocks looked "tired" which explained marginal changes in the general index.

WEATHER

Warm, humid weather will prevail throughout the country today. Partly cloudy in western, central and northern Greece with the possibility of rain or storms in Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Athens will be hot with, temperatures between 17-32C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 16-28.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          305.080
Pound sterling       491.536
Japanese yen (100)   252.186
French franc          49.179
German mark          164.942
Italian lira (100)    16.661
Irish Punt           409.616
Belgian franc          7.997
Luxembourg franc       7.997
Finnish mark          54.257
Dutch guilder        146.388
Danish kr.            43.406
Austrian sch.         23.444
Spanish peseta         1.938
Swedish kr.           36.053
Norwegian kr.         39.132
Swiss franc          200.225
Port. Escudo           1.609
Aus. dollar          201.178
Can. dollar          210.205
Cyprus pound         558.198
Euro                 322.598
(M.P.)
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