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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-08

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, 08/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Latest NATO bombings hindering peace drive, FM says
  • 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
  • No injuries in embassy blast
  • 60 illegal immigrants, four Turks arrested
  • Police foil attempt to smuggle weapons into jail
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Latest NATO bombings hindering peace drive, FM says

Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday that diplomatic moves to end the Kosovo crisis had been hindered by the latest round of NATO bombings, which had led to the death or injury of unarmed civilians.

"The bombings over the last two days that struck civilian targets and led to casualties among unarmed civilians have created problems in the diplomatic attempt," Papandreou said during a visit to Stockholm.

He said Greece backed a recent initiative by the G8 group of nations to end the Kosovo crisis through political means, which had engendered hopes of success.

"(The attempt) must continue and receive support from everyone so that we can arrive at adoption of the U.N. Security Council's resolution as soon as possible," Papandreou said.

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 on Friday that Greece would join 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.

No injuries in embassy blast

A bomb exploded on Friday at about 11:20 p.m. outside the residence of the Dutch ambassador in central Athens, damaging the garage door and a nearby parked vehicle. No one was injured in the blast. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas condemned the attack.

60 illegal immigrants, four Turks arrested

Sixty illegal immigrants were arrested early on Friday 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 on Friday, 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

Fine weather is forecast throughout the country on Sunday morning, turning to cloud and rain later in the day in the west and north. Mostly sunny in Athens where temperatures will range from 11C to 22C. Sunny spells in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 9C and 20C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          299.564
Pound sterling       488.987
Japanese yen (100)   248.853
French franc          49.289
German mark          165.307
Italian lira (100)    16.697
Irish Punt           410.522
Belgian franc          8.015
Finnish mark          54.377
Dutch guilder        146.713
Danish kr.            43.535
Austrian sch.         23.497
Spanish peseta         1.943
Swedish kr.           36.049
Norwegian kr.         39.224
Swiss franc          201.589
Port. Escudo           1.613
Aus. dollar          199.640
Can. dollar          205.146
Cyprus pound         560.460
Euro                 323.313
(C.S.)
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