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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-31

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, 31/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Illegal immigrants will be deported - PM
  • Police investigate Athens, Thessaloniki explosions
  • Albanian man arrested in daylight shooting
  • Greek coroners say bus hostage killed by Albanian police
  • Parliament holds debate on Kosovo
  • Greece to oppose any forced border change
  • Milosevic indictment not helpful
  • IOC pleased with 2004 Games preparations
  • New Democracy still leads, but Simitis more popular
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Illegal immigrants will be deported - PM

Some 45,000 foreigners working and residing illegally in Greece have been repatriated in the first three months of this year and only those economic migrants with green cards will be allowed to continue to stay in Greece, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Sunday. Simitis,speaking to an election rally in Corinth a day after the tragic killing of a Greek taken hostage by an Albanian man in Thessaloniki, said that all illegal immigrants without the proper papers would be deported. He said another 1, 500 police officers were being appointed to the service to provide further security in Greece and that the newly-established border police force would further contain illegal migration. He underlined that Greece was a safe country and had the lowest crime rate in the European Union.

Police investigate Athens, Thessaloniki explosions

Police said on Monday that they were investigating two explosions in Athens and Thessaloniki, neither of which caused serious material damage or injuries. A makeshift explosive device went off outside a McDonalds restaurant in the Athens suburb of Zografou at 4.20 a.m. on Monday, causing neither damage or injuries. However, minor damage was caused to a car parked outside a branch of Eurobank in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki when a makeshift explosive device went off shortly before dawn. The device was comprised of four gas canisters.

Albanian man arrested in daylight shooting

A 24-year-old Albanian man was arrested on Monday after he shot at a man and a woman sitting in a car in downtown Athens. Police said Djani Brahousai injured Killiam Moses in the jaw with a 9mm gun as Moses sat in the car at the corner of Makriyanni and Doriaion streets with Anna Oftsinikova, 20, a Russian national. Moses was taken to the Red Cross Hospital where he was reported to be in a stable condition. Brahousai told police he, Moses and another man at the scene were involved in a ring smuggling eastern European women into the country and forcing them to work in nightclubs and brothels. He said he had attacked Moses over a dispute involving the young Russian woman.

Greek coroners say bus hostage killed by Albanian police

Two Greek coroners said on Sunday that a hostage shot dead in a raid on a hijacked bus in Albania was killed by police gunfire. The coroners were speaking in Tirana, where they carried out a three-hour post-mortem on George Koulouris, 25, after flying to the Albanian capital from Thessaloniki. One of the coroners - Mattheos Tsougas - was quoted as saying that Koulouris had suffered major chest wounds from repeated gunfire. The victim also carried two head wounds, which were not the cause of death. Both the Greek and Albanian coroners were expected to issue a joint statement releasing their findings, which were the same, the second coroner was quoted as saying. A Greek public ministry spokesman said that there had been an agreement between Athens and Tirana that no action be taken to free the hostages by force. Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis described the action by Albanian police as "thoughtless" and "without regard for human life".

Parliament holds debate on Kosovo

Greece will not be participating in any military operation in Kosovo in line with the stance it has had since the beginning of the crisis, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Friday. Simitis was speaking in parliament during an off-the agenda debate on the Kosovo crisis, called by the Democratic Social Movement. "Greece has successfully and without becoming (internationally) isolated opposed the military operation," Simitis said, defending the government's position on the affair. Greece has consistently said it is opposed to the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia and has worked hard on the diplomatic front to seek a political settlement of the issue. As a member of NATO, however, it has extended the Alliance logistical support and allowed the use the port of Thessalonik for the passage of NATO troops and supplies to the peacekeeping force based in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Greece to oppose any forced border change

Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis warned on Friday that any change of borders without the consent of the interested parties was tantamount to the overturning of the international order which had prevailed for many decades. Kranidiotis told a news conference that any such change would set a bad precedent, in effect opening up a "Pandora's box", since it would overturn the order of things "and with it, the stabilisation that every system needs". The inviolability of borders and respect for the territorial integrity of every state are the fundamental principles on which not only Greece but all countries base their policy. Referring specifically to the Kosovo crisis, Kranidiotis said the European Union summit in Cologne on June 3-4 provided an opportunity to reposition the entire problem within the framework of diplomacy.

Milosevic indictment not helpful

Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday's indictment of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic by the International War Crimes Court "does not contribute in particular to diplomatic efforts for a settlement of the Kosovo problem". While acknowledging that the court was an independent body, set up by the United Nations, with the right to function and express its opinion, Kranidiotis said that from a political viewpoint, the indictment did not come at "the right moment", namely at a time when efforts to advance the G8 peace initiative were gathering momentum and Greece and many other countries backed the initiative as the basis for a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis.

IOC pleased with 2004 Games preparations

The president of the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Committee Jacques Rogge said on Friday he was pleased with preparations under way for the Athens 2004 Olympics but said decisions on sites for eight projects had to be made soon. "If preparations continue at the same pace, the (2004) Olympic Games will be impeccable," Rogge told reporters at a news conference at the end of several days of briefings. But he said that locations for the eight projects had to be finalised by September and that the Olympic Village - the biggest project - had to be ready by March 2004. He added that he felt this was plenty of time.

New Democracy still leads, but Simitis more popular

With European Parliament elections just two weeks away, the most recent opinion poll shows the main opposition New Democracy leading among political parties, but Prime Minister Costas Simitis still more popular than opposition leader Karamanlis. The poll, conducted by V.PRC and appearing in the mass circulation daily Ta Nea today, the last day allowed for the release of pre-election polls, showed ND in first place with 31.9 percent, a 4.4 percentage point lead over the ruling PASOK with 27.5 percent. A hefty 17.7 percent of those polled were undecided.

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country on Monday. In the evening, mainland Greece will be cloudy and scattered showers are expected in Epirus and Macedonia. Winds northerly, light to strong. Athens sunny with temperatures between 17C and 31C. Same in Thessaloniki but cloudy in the evening with temperatures ranging from 15C to 29C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          307.758
Pound sterling       492.270
Japanese yen (100)   254.131
French franc          49.173
German mark          164.922
Italian lira (100)    16.659
Irish Punt           409.565
Belgian franc          7.996
Finnish mark          54.250
Dutch guilder        146.371
Danish kr.            43.390
Austrian sch.         23.441
Spanish peseta         1.938
Swedish kr.           35.885
Norwegian kr.         39.134
Swiss franc          202.145
Port. Escudo           1.609
Can. dollar          208.003
Aus. dollar          200.275
Cyprus pound         557.504
Euro                 322.559
(M.P.)
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