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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-07-16

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, 16/07/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Police seek hijacker's identity
  • Thessaloniki on agenda of EU meeting
  • EU must be more active on Mideast peace
  • Greek positions on Cyprus unchanged
  • Farmer to face charges over bus hijack
  • Seven foreign women sex slaves, police say
  • Two minors arrested in bomb hoax
  • Greek equities surge past 4,400-mark
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Police seek hijacker's identity

Police were continuing to seek the real identity of the Albanian hijacker killed on Thursday evening when police stormed a bus to put an end to a 30- hour siege and the ordeal of seven hostages in northern Greece. According to police, papers found on the man identified him, not as Aleksandr Nana as he claimed, but as one Arbin Soupa, 26. A further search revealed that the man had been arrested in 1993 in Thessaloniki during a crackdown on illegal immigrants. The man had then said his name was Ilias Markoy. Greek Police Chief Ioannis Georgakopoulos, speaking to reporters in Thessaloniki, said that police were continuing to investigate whether the man had worked alone or with accomplices.

Thessaloniki on agenda of EU meeting

Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis will represent Greece at a two-day EU General Affairs Council which begins in Brussels on Monday and will discuss among other things the basing of the reconstruction agency for the Balkans in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. Kranidiotis told a press conference on Friday that Greece still had certain reservations regarding the relevant regulations pertaining to the agency as proposed by the European Commission.

EU must be more active on Mideast peace

Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said the EU should play a more active role in peace efforts in the region. He added that the Finnish presidency of the EU was quite correct in planning a trip to the Middle East to get a first hand picture of the situation prevailing. Kranidiotis said both he and Foreign Minister George Papandreou would visit Israel soon for talks aimed at promoting contacts between Israelis and Palestinians within the framework of confidence-building measures agreed at Wye River.

Greek positions on Cyprus unchanged

Greece said on Friday that its positions on a resolution of the division of Cyprus remained unchanged, 25 years after the invasion of Turkish troops and occupation of the island's northern third. "For a quarter of a century, the Cypriot tragedy has been a black page in the annals of contemporary world history and civilisation," a statement issued by Alternate Foreign Minister Yannos Kranidiotis said. Kranidiotis said that the summer of 1974 had seen Turkey use brute force to "proceed with one of the most abhorrent ethnic cleansing operations" on Cyprus.

Farmer to face charges over bus hijack

A farmer from Makrynia hijacked an Albanian tourist bus, released the driver and all 38 passengers, and drove it to a police station in a move he said was in retaliation for Wednesday's hijacking of a Greek intercity bus and hostages by a grenade-toting Albanian, police said today. They said Andreas Kalyvas, 44, a farmer from Makryneia in the prefecture of Aetoloakarnania, seized a tourist bus with Albanian licence plates last night and, after disembarking the driver and all 38 passengers, drove the bus himself to the Messolonghi police department.

Seven foreign women sex slaves, police say

Police on Friday said they had found seven young Eastern European women kept as virtual slaves and forced to work as prostitutes from a suburban Athens apartment. Nine people were arrested in the raid by the Attica police vice squad. Police said the ring made anything from 300,000 to 500, 000 drachmas per day but the women were given no money and just the bare necessities, such as food and cigarettes. They were physically threatened if they did not service the ring's customers, police said.

Two minors arrested in bomb hoax

Two minors were placed in the protective custody of their parents on Friday, suspected of being behind a bomb hoax at the President Hotel. Police said the two youths, aged 13 and 14, had phoned a private company and said they had planted a bomb at the hotel. A police search revealed no trace of any explosive device. The two boys are expected to be charged with disturbing the peace. Following testimony to the juvenile court prosecutor, they were released into the custody of their parents.

Greek equities surge past 4,400-mark

Equity prices surged to new records on Friday with the market breaking the 4,400 level for the first time ever. The general index ended 2.35 percent higher at 4,410.33 points, its 32nd record closing this year, near its day's highs. Turnover was 179.690 billion drachmas with 24,502,467 shares changing hands. Dealers said buying activity once again focused on blue chips in the banking sector encouraged by a fierce battle between Eurobank and Bank of Piraeus to gain majority control of Ergobank. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 1.07 percent higher while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for heavy traded stocks and blue chips rose 2.81 percent to 2,618.40.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout the country on Friday with the possibility of scattered showers in the mountainous regions of mainland northern Greece. Winds will be northerly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Fair in Athens where temperatures will range between 24-35C. Partly cloudy in the afternoon in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 22-31C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          315.387
Pound sterling       493.738
Japanese yen (100)   261.610
French franc          49.112
German mark          164.714
Italian lira (100)    16.638
Irish Punt           409.048
Belgian franc          7.986
Finnish mark          54.182
Dutch guilder        146.186
Danish kr.            43.319
Austrian sch.         23.412
Spanish peseta         1.936
Swedish kr.           36.704
Norwegian kr.         39.452
Swiss franc          200.672
Port. Escudo           1.607
Can. dollar          212.943
Aus. dollar          208.136
Cyprus pound         559.091
Euro                 322.152
(M.P.)
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