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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-06

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, 06/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • November 17 thought behind rocket attacks
  • Athens seeks those behind attack on NGO
  • Anti-war protestors on 24-hour port watch
  • 50 soldiers to set up FYROM refugee camp
  • Athens averts planned refugee influx to southern Albania
  • Thessaloniki courthouse suffers third bomb scare
  • Journalists union target of bomb hoax
  • Swiss tourist injured in yachting mishap
  • Greek, Cypriot defence ministers meet
  • Thessaloniki merchants angry over Virgin hours
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

November 17 thought behind rocket attacks

Rocket attacks on three foreign banks in the port city of Piraeus bore the hallmarks of the elusive "November 17" terrorist group, a police official told ANA today. The attack on branches of the American-based Chase Manhattan Bank, the British-based Midland Bank and the France-based Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) took place shortly after midnight Wednesday, causing damage but no injuries. Only one of the rockets exploded, causing extensive damage to the Chase Manhattan branch on the ground floor of the building owned by the Chandris shipping company on Akti Miaouli. The other two broke the glass doors of the other branches nearby, but failed to explode.

Athens seeks those behind attack on NGO

Athens said on Thursday that the issue of who was responsible for the attack on a Greek aid convoy in Kosovo "remains open", despite assurances from NATO and its Secretary-General, Javier Solana, that the alliance had nothing to do with the attack. Trucks in a convoy of the non-governmental international aid organisation "Doctors of the World" were reportedly attacked by aircraft during a mission to deliver humanitarian yesterday in Kosovo. The spokesman said Solana had twice given assurances to Foreign Minister George Papandreou that NATO had had nothing to do with the attack. Reppas described the attack as "wretched" and clarified that NATO had been notified of the mission on April 30.

Anti-war protestors on 24-hour port watch

Anti-war protestors in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki are on 24- hour watch at the port's gates and ready to throw up blockades at any movement of NATO vehicles headed for the border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, an activist told the ANA on Thursday. "We have groups of monitors watching Gates 11 and 14 of the port and in the case of NATO activity, they immediately inform members of the committee and the local Communist Party branch to set up a blockade," committee member and municipal councillor Agapios Sahinis said. About 100 protestors on Wednesday prevented a NATO convoy from FYROM from picking up alliance military vehicles at the port for its peacekeeping force in Skopje. NATO officials are reported to be concerned about the increasing frequency of protests and obstruction of NATO work despite the fact that the largest part of the NATO force originally planned for Skopje - including 14,000 of 16,000 troops - are already in place.

50 soldiers to set up FYROM refugee camp

The government said on Thursday that 50 Greek soldiers would be sent to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to help set up a refugee camp in the area of Kotovo. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the decision to send the soldiers had been taken after consultations between representatives of the Greek defence ministry and the FYROM authorities.

Athens averts planned refugee influx to southern Albania

Greece said on Thursday that it had acted to prevent the establishment in southern Albania - an area with a sizeable ethnic Greek community - of a large number of refugees from Kosovo. Replying to reporters' questions, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that about ten days ago, when the government was informed that Tirana was examining the possibility of sending a large number of Kosovar refugees to southern Albania, Greece had responded by sending a protest to the OSCE. Reppas said the result of the protest was that the Albanian authorities abandoned the idea of sending the refugees to the southern part of the neighbouring country.

Thessaloniki courthouse suffers third bomb scare

Police evacuated the four-storey Thessaloniki courthouse on Thursday morning following a bomb scare but said that a thorough search failed to find any explosive device. Anonymous callers to Thessaloniki newspapers and radio stations warned that a time bomb would go off at 10.30. The callers claim to be members of "Anarchist Action" or "Anarchist Cells". Workers at the courthouses were allowed back into the building at around 12.00, two hours after the evacuation. The incident was the third hoax relating to the courthouse in the past week. The past two hoaxes - on Wednesday and Friday - were part of a series of anonymous phone calls that had authorities running from hotels to public buildings, without any explosive device ever being found.

Journalists union target of bomb hoax

The Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA) was the target of another bomb hoax later in the day, forcing police to evacuate the premises in which the union is housed on downtown Akadimias Street. An anonymous caller to Skai television station said a bomb was set to go off at the ESHEA offices early in the afternoon. The caller claimed that the call was not a hoax. Police said sniffer dogs and bomb experts found no sign of any explosive device. They said that they have been dealing with dozens of hoax calls about bombs in Athens on a daily basis.

Swiss tourist injured in yachting mishap

A Swiss national was lightly injured today when a Greek yacht he and two other Swiss tourists had rented ran aground in the sandy shallows off the port of Aigina. Josef Guido Mullet was injured slightly in the chest when the yacht, the "Maritina", ran aground during a cruise of the Argosaronic Gulf near Aegina port. Mullet was taken to hospital in Piraeus, while his companions Jeanette Buss and Otto Herbert Reigner were unhurt. The yacht will be dislodged after an inspection of its hull.

Greek, Cypriot defence ministers meet

Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos had a meeting on Thursday with his visiting Cypriot counterpart Yiannakis Chrysostomis, sources said on Thursday. The sources said the two ministers exchanged views on the crisis in Yugoslavia and on issues of mutual interest. Delegations from both countries' armed forces also held a meeting.

Thessaloniki merchants angry over Virgin hours

Thessaloniki's Merchant's Association (ESTH) said on Thursday that it was considering resorting to the courts if the city's municipal council continued to allow British music retailer Virgin Mega Store to keep longer trading hours. ESTH said the decision to exempt Virgin's central Tsimiski Street branch from abiding by prevailing trading hours had been taken by the previous municipal council without consulting the merchant's association, as required by law.

WEATHER

Unsettled weather will prevail in most parts of the country today. Intermittent rain or storms in mainland Greece, eastern Macedonia, Thrace and the northern and eastern Aegean. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Possibility of sporadic rain in the afternoon in Athens with temperatures between 17-25C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 14-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          302.461
Pound sterling       492.984
Japanese yen (100)   249.954
French franc          49.165
German mark          164.891
Italian lira (100)    16.656
Irish Punt           409.490
Belgian franc          7.995
Luxembourg franc       7.995
Finnish mark          54.241
Dutch guilder        146.344
Danish kr.            43.390
Austrian sch.         23.437
Spanish peseta         1.938
Swedish kr.           35.879
Norwegian kr.         39.075
Swiss franc          200.930
Port. Escudo           1.609
Aus. dollar          198.980
Can. dollar          207.507
Cyprus pound         556.016
Euro                 322.499
(M.P.)
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