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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-13

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 13/05/1999 (ANA)


  • Olympic Flame heads to Special Olympics
  • Harmonised inflation at 2.6pct
  • Greece opposed to NATO searches of vessels
  • Joint strategy on Mediterranean urged
  • Kranidiotis leads team to Cyprus
  • Turkish fisherman slightly injured
  • Onassis Foundation donates $500,000 to refugees
  • Seven foreign seamen arrested
  • Athens to host fourth Israeli-Palestinian meeting
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Olympic Flame heads to Special Olympics

Special Olympics athletes carried the Olympic Flame from the Acropolis through the streets of Athens to the U.S. Embassy on Thursday, the first leg of the flame's journey to North Carolina, where the Special Olympics begin on June 25. The athletes passed the flame onto an athlete from North Carolina at the embassy. The flame-lighting ceremony was held at the Pnyka Hill on the Acropolis. "There must be equality in sports. The athletes of the Special Olympics send this message of hope to all the world," Sports Minister Andreas Fouras said. The 10th Special Olympics will run from June 25 to July 5. Seven thousand athletes from 150 countries will participate: the Greek team will be made up of 70 athletes.

Harmonised inflation at 2.6pct

Greece's harmonised consumer price index stood at 2.6 percent in the period April 1998-April 1999. The harmonised CPI data are based on a series of technical measures defined by European Commission regulations aimed to improving international inflation comparisons. The main difference between the harmonised and the national consumer price indexes is that the first excludes prices for health and education. The 2.6 percent rise in annual harmonised inflation in April reflects rises in clothing, footwear (5.3 pct), alcohol and tobacco (4.4 pct), food and beverages (2.8 pct).

Greece opposed to NATO searches of vessels

Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis on Thursday reiterated that Greece was opposed to NATO searches of vessels suspected of breaking the oil embargo imposed against Yugoslavia by the European Union. Kranidiotis, who has already made Greece's position clear to the Western European Union (WEU), said Athens was opposed to the stopping and searching of vessels by NATO because it lacked any legal basis within the framework of the European Union. Recent press reports have suggested that NATO will eventually have to abandon plans to enforce the oil blockade against Yugoslavia with the threat of force, and settle for a voluntary agreement, with transgressing countries being subjected to diplomatic protests.

Joint strategy on Mediterranean urged

Greece, Spain and Italy will on Thursday submit to the Council of Ministers a joint proposal for a common strategy for the Mediterranean. The proposal will be discussed at the EU summit in Helsinki. The Mediterranean initiative reflects an effort to promote closer cooperation between the European Union and the Arab countries, Israel and Turkey. It covers economic cooperation, trade exchanges and political dialogue on a number of principles such as respect for human rights, the peaceful settlement of disputes, recourse to the European Court at the Hague and the building of democratic institutions.

Kranidiotis leads team to Cyprus

Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis leaves for Cyprus on Thursday at the head of a delegation of senior Greek government officials. Kranidiotis will have talks with the Cypriot government on ongoing negotiations for the island's accession to the European Union. Also on the agenda is progress on resolving the division of Cyprus. Accompanying Kranidiotis will be Deputy National Economy Minister Alekos Baltas, Deputy Labour and Social Security Minister Christos Protopappas, European affairs secretary-general at the foreign minister Stelios Perrakis, education ministry secretary-general Angelos Zissimopoulos and public order ministry secretary-general Dimitris Efstathiadis.

Turkish fisherman slightly injured

A Turkish fisherman was shot and lightly injured and two others were arrested when caught fishing illegally off the island of Mytilene, the coastguard said today. Erol Yavuz, 38, from Ivacik, was taken to hospital in Mytilene for treatment of a minor wound in his left knee suffered when he resisted arrest and pulled a knife attacking one of the coastguard officers, who shot him in the leg.

Onassis Foundation donates $500,000 to refugees

The Onassis Foundation has postponed its biennial international awards and said that the half-a-million dollars expenses for the awards ceremony would instead be donated for the relief of refugees and war victims in the Yugoslav conflict. A statement by the Alexaner S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, released today, said the board "having taken into consideration the volatile situation prevailing in the Balkans, has decided to postpone the awards presentation ceremony for a more suitable time." Besides, it said, the purpose of the Onassis International Prizes was to promote international understanding, social contribution, culture and environmental affairs, "ethical values which are being affronted" by the current situation in the Balkans.

Seven foreign seamen arrested

Four Ukrainian and three Russian seamen were arrested on board a Ukrainian freighter on charges of smuggling cigarettes into Greece, the Piraeus Customs Authority said today. Customs Authorities said the seamen were arrested yesterday after it was found that 960 crates of cigarettes loaded in the Bulgarian port of Varna for Dubrovnik, in Croatia in two sealed holds on the ship had disappeared. An earlier inspection of the ship by Lavrion customs authorities a day earlier had verified the existence of the cargo.

Athens to host fourth Israeli-Palestinian meeting

The fourth Israeli-Palestinian meeting in Greece to examine the process of confidence-building measures will take place in Athens in early July, it was announced today. This will be the fourth consecutive meeting of Israeli and Palestinian dignitaries, politicians and other officials to take place here for an exchange of views on the Middle East peace process. The meetings were instituted in July 1997, with the first being held in the Athens seaside suburb of Vouliagmeni. The second and third meetings took place in Athens and Rhodes, in December 1997 and July 1998 respectively.


Fair weather with rising temperatures is forecast for most parts of Greece today, with light clouds in the afternoon in mainland Greece and scattered rainfall in northern Greece. Winds from west - northwest, light to moderate. Athens, sunny with temperatures from 17-30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 14-28C.


Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          302.798
Pound sterling       490.088
Japanese yen (100)   250.490
French franc          49.199
German mark          165.008
Italian lira (100)    16.668
Irish Punt           409.779
Belgian franc          8.000
Luxembourg franc       8.000
Finnish mark          54.279
Dutch guilder        146.447
Danish kr.            43.450
Austrian sch.         23.454
Spanish peseta         1.939
Swedish kr.           36.014
Norwegian kr.         39.333
Swiss franc          201.088
Port. Escudo           1.610
Aus. dollar          202.105
Can. dollar          207.903
Cyprus pound         556.353
Euro                 322.727
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