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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-12

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, 12/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek territory not to be used for Yugoslav strikes
  • British diplomat denies advisory on Greece
  • Development minister on the offensive
  • Antigua freighter sinks - crew safe
  • Greek PM's wife in Cyprus today
  • Greece will make EMU criteria on time
  • Greek equities end lower
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek territory not to be used for Yugoslav strikes

Greek territory and air space will not be used for carrying out military operations against Yugoslavia, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday. Reppas was responding to press reports that NATO had approached Turkey and Hungary for use of their air space to intensify the bombing campaign against Belgrade. Asked whether Greece would follow its EU partners in blocking assets belonging to Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic and his family, Reppas said that the European Union had not yet taken such a decision. "If the European Union takes such a decision, Greece will implement it," he said. There have been persistent reports in the foreign press that Milosevic or his son, Marko, own property in Greece. The reports have not been confirmed.

British diplomat denies advisory on Greece

A senior British diplomat on Wednesday denied that Britain had issued a travel advisory to British citizens deterring them from visiting Greece. British Charge d'Affaires in Athens Peter Millett said in a statement that a recent British Foreign Office announcement was not a travel advisory but a kind of briefing for citizens. Prompted by Greek press reports that the Foreign Office announcement was a travel advisory warning Britons against visiting Greece, Millett said "the Foreign Office announcement is not an advisory but a kind of briefing for the British citizens".

Development minister on the offensive

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos later responded to the Foreign Office "announcement" with comments directed at Greeks planning on visiting Britain. "It is unjust and incomprehensible for such directions to be given by the British side. Besides, the acts of terrorism being committed in the centre of London should completely dishearten Greeks who travel there," Venizelos said while briefing a parliamentary committee on tourism developments. Venizelos predicted an increase this year in the number of tourist arrivals compared to 1998, adding that if the war in Yugoslavia stopped by the end of May, this increase would be 5-6 per cent greater.

Antigua freighter sinks - crew safe

An Antigua-flagged freighter sank in the quay of Ikonion in Piraeus early today, but its 11-member crew escaped unhurt, the Piraeus harbour authority said. A spokesman told the ANA that the 2,130 GRT vessel Elena Maria started listing at 2 a.m. Wednesday while being loaded with containers. Six tug boats and coast guard vessels rushed to its rescue, but the ship sank in Ikonion quay. Its crew of Syrian and Lebanese seamen were reported safe.

Greek PM's wife in Cyprus today

Daphne Simiti, the wife of the Greek premier, leaves for Cyprus on Wednesday to attend an awards ceremony for a art competition on the theme of the division of the Cyprus. The ceremony will be held on Thursday at the Melina Mercouri Hall in the divided city of Nicosia. The competition among primary and high school students in Attica and Nicosia was held under the aegis of Mrs Simitis and on the initiative of Olga Dimitriadou, the wife of the mayor of Nicosia.

Greece will make EMU criteria on time

Greece will fullfil the convergence criteria for participation in EMU by the end of 1999, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today. Speaking to reporters following a meeting with Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos to review the course of the economy, Papantoniou repeated the timetable for participation which envisaged application for entry into the last phase of EMU early next spring, a decision within 2000 and entry by January 1, 2001. He declined to comment on talk of further decline in interest rates.

Greek equities end lower

Equity prices ended moderately lower on Wednesday hit by uncertainty over political developments in Russia and their impact on a diplomatic effort to end the war in Yugoslavia. The general index ended 0.37 percent lower to 4, 089.48 points, off the day's lows. The index hit a new session high but a wave of profit-taking hit the banking sector and pushed the market lower. Turnover was 213.089 billion drachmas and volume 43,757,684 shares. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 6.39 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index eased 0.78 percent to 2,468.56.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast in most parts of the country today, with light cloud in the afternoon in mainland Greece. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 16-28C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 11-25C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          300.417
Pound sterling       487.449
Japanese yen (100)   248.060
French franc          49.213
German mark          165.054
Italian lira (100)    16.673
Irish Punt           409.892
Belgian franc          8.002
Luxembourg franc       8.002
Finnish mark          54.294
Dutch guilder        146.488
Danish kr.            43.450
Austrian sch.         23.460
Spanish peseta         1.940
Swedish kr.           36.075
Norwegian kr.         39.265
Swiss franc          200.627
Port. Escudo           1.610
Aus. dollar          201.361
Can. dollar          205.860
Cyprus pound         557.901
Euro                 322.817
(M.P.)
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