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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 24/05/1999 (ANA)


  • Greece, Estonia sign bilateral agreements
  • Government confirms asked NATO to stop passage
  • Thessaloniki mayor leads peace protest
  • Traditional Greek cuisine best weapon to fight GM
  • Greece extends ban on PVC toys to imports
  • Enterprising trio arrested for phone card fraud
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greece, Estonia sign bilateral agreements

Greece and Estonia today signed three bilateral agreements on international road transports of passengers and goods, cooperation in the fields of culture, training and science, and cooperation in the sector of tourism. The accords were signed by visiting Estonian president Lennart Meri, who arrived yesterday on a four-day official visit, and Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos. The two presidents hailed the agreements as a very good basis for expanding bilateral relations between their countries. Meri, who will inaugurate Estonia's new General Consulate in Athens later today, expressed certainty that bilateral cooperation would continue in all sectors, namely political cooperation and collaboration in the sectors of security, research, technology and culture.

Government confirms asked NATO to stop passage

The government confirmed on Monday that it had asked NATO to stop the passage through Greek territory of Alliance troops heading for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for a period of twelve days, ten before and two after European elections on June 13. Confirminga report in the Athens daily "Ta Nea", government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the reason for the request was that the police officers who accompany NATO convoys to the Greek-FYROM border "are deployed differently at election time". Reppas said also that Greece and the Czech Republic had agreed to propose a 48-hour ceasefire "in order for there to be a necessary period for the speeding up of the Kosovo peace initiative".

Thessaloniki mayor leads peace protest

Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos on Monday launched what he called a "peace offensive" from the city's port which, he said, should not be used for the transit of NATO troops for deployment in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Papageorgopoulos led a delegation of Thessaloniki municipal council around the port area and facilities before council chairman Sotiris Kapetanopoulos handed a resolution to the director general of the port authority Nikos Papadopoulos. The resolution called for end to NATO's bombardment of Yugoslavia and expressed opposition to the use of "any Greek facilities whatsoever" by Alliance forces in the event of any operations by ground troops. The port of Thessaloniki has been the focus point in northern Greece for protests against the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia.

Traditional Greek cuisine best weapon to fight GM

Emphasising a traditional Greek diet is the best response to the growing prevalence of genetically modified food in daily diets, a consumer advocacy group in Greece said on Monday. "A traditional diet is the Greek response to genetically modified food... promoting this diet is the new challenge for producers and the Greek state," president of Ekpoizo, Eleni Ioulemou said. Ioulemou was speaking at an Ekpoizo seminar on genetically modified (GM) crops and foodsuffs. Ioulemou urged the need to protect the "nutritional heritage" of Greek cuisine with its emphasis on olive oil, pulses, fish and fruit and vegetables. Research has demonstrated the high nutritional value of traditional Greek products and foodstuffs and of their preventive action against heart disease and cancer.

Greece extends ban on PVC toys to imports

Greece's health and development ministries on Monday issued a ban on the import and trade of soft plastic toys made of PVC, extending an earlier ban on the sale of PVC toys in Greece. A statement from the ministries said the ban would apply to the importation of all toys manufactured for children aged under three, including any soft bath toys or figurines made of PVC, any PVC-based toys which can be swallowed or put in children's mouths and PVC-based toys designed for infants. The government banned the sale in Greece of toys made from PVC in January, a decision that was greeted by environmental advocacy group Greenpeace as paving the way for a Europe-wide ban. The decision was taken because the toxic pthalic compounds used in PVC products are believed to pose a serious health hazard.

Enterprising trio arrested for phone card fraud

Two Pakistanis and a Georgian woman have been arrested on charges of fraud involving OTE telecoms phone-cards that has cost the Greek state some 1.5-2 billion dr., police said today. Police arrested Mohamat Indres, 40 and Mohamat Jat, 31 of Pakistan and Adelina Mgerian, 30, from Georgia were arrested and confiscated a high-tech computer system the three used to "refill" used phone-cards. They said the detainees, who would be taken before a public prosecutor, had hooked up their computer with a programming system and a phone-card detection device.


Cloudy weather is forecast in many parts of the country on Monday, turning to rain in some areas in the evening. Temperatures in Athens will range from 17C to 26C, and in Thessaloniki from 15C to 22C.


Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          304.008
Pound sterling       488.639
Japanese yen (100)   245.768
French franc          49.135
German mark          164.790
Italian lira (100)    16.646
Irish Punt           409.238
Belgian franc          7.990
Luxembourg franc       7.990
Finnish mark          54.207
Dutch guilder        146.254
Danish kr.            43.356
Austrian sch.         23.422
Spanish peseta         1.937
Swedish kr.           35.922
Norwegian kr.         39.174
Swiss franc          201.088
Port. Escudo           1.608
Can. dollar          207.268
Aus. dollar          201.431
Cyprus pound         557.008
Euro                 322.301
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