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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-07-21

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, 21/07/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece promises Bulgaria support in EU bid
  • Cyprus focus of talks in Athens today
  • Civil servants call work stoppage on Friday
  • PM to confer with party leaders on crime
  • Fire bug charged with setting 22 fires
  • Investigation into OA embezzlement reports
  • Culture ministry gets visit from cow
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece promises Bulgaria support in EU bid

Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov began an official two-day visit to Athens on Wednesday with talks with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis during which both sides noted the good climate in relations between the two Balkan neighbours. In addition to bilateral relations, the talks also focused on the general situation in the Balkans and the upgrading of Bulgaria's ties with the European Union. Simitis said after the talks that Greece would express its support for the immediate commencement of negotiations for Bulgaria's accession to the EU at the summit meeting in December.

Cyprus focus of talks in Athens today

The latest developments in the Cyprus issue, with the focus on Cyprus' relations with the European Union, were discussed in talks in Athens on Wednesday between Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis and Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulides. "Greeceand Cyprus... will struggle united to overturn the fait accomplis of the invasion and occupation of the island," Kranidiotis said after the meeting. He said the visit by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the invasion undermined the attempt at Greek-Turkish dialogue on low-level issues, with the first meeting to be held Monday. "And certainly, they do not help Turkey's European prospects," he added.

Civil servants call work stoppage on Friday

The umbrella group for civil servants' trade unions (ADEDY) on Wednesday called a work stoppage of prefectural local government workers for tomorrow. The work stoppage will begin at 11.00 local time and end at 14.30. Taking part will be civil servants employed by prefectural local authorities on secondment from a ministry. Trade unionists say there are 20, 300 such employees who are demanding the abolition of legislation providing for the compulsory secondment of civil servants from ministry services to prefectural local government.

PM to confer with party leaders on crime

Prime Minister Costas Simitis begins a series of consultations on the crime problem with opposition party leaders on Friday afternoon, when he will have separate meetings with Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nicos Constantopoulos and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga, it was announced today. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Simitis would meet with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday, while an invitation had been issued to Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas for a meeting on Monday afternoon. Reppas said creating conditions of safety for the Greek citizens was a major priority, and the government wished to be informed of the positions and proposals of the other parties, "which could become components" of the government's policy in an effort to achieve "the maximum possible result".

Fire bug charged with setting 22 fires

A 23-year-old construction worker accused of setting a spate of forest fires in Megara and the western Attica region of Mandra was formally charged today with arson due to malicious intent, resulting in the endangerment of lives and farmland, and with violation of the traffic code. Police sources said Panayotis Kalioupis, who was arrested yesterday near Megara, was psychologically disturbed. The sources said he admitted during preliminary questioning of setting 22 fires, including the fire in Mandra on Saturday.

Investigation into OA embezzlement reports

Prosecutor George Koliokostas has ordered an urgent preliminary investigation into charges of embezzlement appearing in an Athens newspaper on Sunday. The Sunday Apogevmatini, under the headline "They're looting Olympic Airways", claimed that the "corruption virus" had invaded the national carrier and that "administrative irregularities" were taking place. According to a report published by Apogevmatini which it attributed to two company inspectors, 11 employees of OA subsidiary Olympic Tourism had embezzled 8.5 million dr. The preliminary investigation has been assigned to prosecutor Th. Papageorgopoulos, on instructions of investigating the validity of the charges appearing in the article, calling in witnesses for questioning and ordering administrative audits.

Culture ministry gets visit from cow

Culture minister Elisabeth Papazoi and the ministry staff had an unexpected visitor today when a cow showed up at the doorstep of the building housing the ministry on Bouboulinas street in the Exarchia district of Athens. The cow was brought to Athens by residents of the Vergina region in northern Greece who were protesting the Vergina Municipality's decision to extend a licence for the establishment of a livestock breeding unit, with a capacity of 1,200 animals, just outside the vicinity of the Vergina archaeological site. The approximately 15 demonstrators also threw several bales of hay outside the ministry entrance so that the bovine visitor would not go hungry while waiting its turn for an audience with the minister.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast across the country on Wednesday with local clouds in the north. Winds will be northwesterlies mild to moderate in the west, moderate to strong in the east. Temperatures will range from 19-35C in the north 22-33 in the mainland and Ionian and 24-31 in the Aegean. Athens will be fair, winds northerly moderate to strong, 23-34C. Thessaloniki will have fair weather with scattered cloud in the afternoon hours, northerly winds mild to moderate and temperatures of 21-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          310.228
Pound sterling       488.104
Japanese yen (100)   262.672
French franc          49.074
German mark          164.587
Italian lira (100)    16.625
Irish Punt           408.734
Belgian franc          7.980
Finnish mark          54.140
Dutch guilder        146.074
Danish kr.            43.277
Austrian sch.         23.393
Spanish peseta         1.934
Swedish kr.           36.952
Norwegian kr.         39.551
Swiss franc          200.726
Port. Escudo           1.606
Can. dollar          207.626
Aus. dollar          202.031
Cyprus pound         557.861
Euro                 323.526
(M.P.)
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