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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-07

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, 07/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece denies rumours of early EMU entry, elections
  • Greece will join EMU 'on its merits' - finmin
  • Athens bourse ends week with new record
  • Balkan news agencies call for impartial reporting
  • 60 illegal immigrants, four Turks arrested
  • Police foil attempt to smuggle weapons into jail
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece denies rumours of early EMU entry, elections

Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday denied media speculation of Greece's imminent EMU entry and early general elections in June at the same time as European elections. Speaking to reporters after chairing a cabinet meeting, Simitis stressed that the government's policy was steady and castigated the "irresponsibility, fickleness and self-interest" of "those who are spreading it around that national and European elections will be held at the same time (in June)". The relevant decree for the holding of European elections on June 13 was signed yesterday, Simitis said, and general elections will be held in 2000.

Greece will join EMU 'on its merits' - finmin

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said Greece would become the 13th member of economic and monetary union "on its own merits" and that its economic indicators are going from strength to strength. He added that the Yugoslav conflict would "under no circumstances" cause more than a 0.5 percentage point slowing of the country's projected GDP growth rate.

Athens bourse ends week with new record

Equity prices ended a historic week with new records in heavy trading on Friday, evidence of the market's refound dynamism. The general index broke the 4,000 barrier for the first time ever ending 1.88 percent higher at 4, 037.02 points, its 25th record this year. It now stands 47.47 percent up from the beginning of 1999. Turnover was 233.356 billion drachmas and volume 41,321,296 shares. Traders said the market reacted positively to developments in the Yugoslav war following agreement on a peace strategy for the region. Rumours, however, of early general elections and early participation in EMU pushed the drachma sharply down against the euro, confused investors and led to high volatility in the market.

Balkan news agencies call for impartial reporting

Representatives of Balkan news agencies meeting in Thessaloniki on Friday called for greater care and objectivity in the reporting of the Yugoslav crisis. Attending the meeting of the Association of Balkan News Agencies are Athens News Agency (ANA, Greece), Macedonian Press Agency (MPA, Greece), Bulgarian Telegraphic Agency (BTA), Italian news agency ANSA, Hungary's MTI, Turkey's Anadolu, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) MIA agency, and Albanian news agency ATA. "Peace and cooperation in southeast Europe" is the topic of the conference.

60 illegal immigrants, four Turks arrested

Sixty illegal immigrants were arrested early today near Lassithi, Crete, after being put ashore by a small wooden boat manned by four Turks, police said. The crew was also arrested. The 20-metre-long boat was spotted yesterday afternoon east of Iraklion by a tourist vessel, which informed the local port authority.

Police foil attempt to smuggle weapons into jail

A Romanian inmate tried to smuggle a mini arms cache hidden in a portable television set into the Diavates prision near Thessaloniki today, police told ANA. They said two hand grenades, a pistol, plastic explosives, detonators, bullets and two pairs of handcuffs were found by prison guards in an inspection of Gilber Mihita's personal effects as he was transferred to Diavates this morning. Mihita, who is serving multiple prison terms for a variety of criminal offences, is believed to have been a cohort of Sorin Matei, the Greek-Romanian criminal whose hostage-taking in an Athens apartment in September 1998 ended in a bloodbath after a botched police raid, resulting in the resignation of the chief of the Greek Police. Matei died a few days later in the prison hospital.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather will prevail throughout the country today with the possibility of showers or storms in Epirus and mainland Greece in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 13-21C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 9-18C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          297.947
Pound sterling       487.568
Japanese yen (100)   246.710
French franc          49.119
German mark          164.739
Italian lira (100)    16.641
Irish Punt           409.112
Belgian franc          7.987
Luxembourg franc       7.987
Finnish mark          54.190
Dutch guilder        146.209
Danish kr.            43.335
Austrian sch.         23.415
Spanish peseta         1.936
Swedish kr.           35.797
Norwegian kr.         38.946
Swiss franc          200.320
Port. Escudo           1.607
Aus. dollar          199.873
Can. dollar          205.780
Cyprus pound         555.599
Euro                 322.202
(M.P.)
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