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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-09-11

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, 11/09/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Quake death toll rises to 105
  • 13 percent of buildings to be razed
  • Strong aftershock rattles Athens
  • President thanks Turkish rescue team
  • U.S. pledges quake aid to Greece
  • Inquiry into construction standards continues
  • Greek-Turkish talks end in Athens
  • KFOR soldier sentenced to 10 months
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Quake death toll rises to 105

The death toll from Tuesday's 5.9 magnitude earthquake rose to 105 on Saturday, as rescue teams fought against time to find survivors in the ruins of collapsed buildings. One hundred Greek and foreign rescue crews were at work at six points around the quake-stricken areas, including the Ricomex factory, where 21 people were still listed as missing. Among the rescue crews are Germans (17-man), Turks (71), French (48 and 11 sniffer dogs), Russians (5 and two dogs), Swiss (seven), Cypriots (17) and Israelis (30). Athenians passed a relatively quiet night with few aftershocks making themselves felt. Aftershock activity is "continually and steadily decreasing", seismologist George Baskoudas told the ANA.

13 percent of buildings to be razed

The environment, town planning and public works ministry said about 13 percent of buildings checked by its crews up to Friday were slated for demolition, with 39 percent requiring repairs. Of the 26,444 inspections carried out over the past three days in the areas hardest hit by the quake, 48 percent are fit for habitation. Work will continue over the next few days in areas also hit, but as severely, such as Peristeri. Minister Costas Laliotis called on the public to have patience, saying another 25,000 inspections will have been completed by the weekend.

Strong aftershock rattles Athens

A strong aftershock registering 4.3 on the Richter scale hit Athens shortly before 6 p.m. yesterday, shaking office buildings and apartment blocks. The quake's epicentre was on the Parnitha-Penteli fault line which gave rise to Tuesday's 5.9 Richter quake. According to seismologists, the jolt was part of the normal course of events as there had been little quake activity in the preceding hours.

President thanks Turkish rescue team

Members of Turkey's emergency search and rescue team (ATUK), in Athens to help find survivors of Tuesday's 5.9 magnitude quake, were personally thanked by President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday. "You had the kindess to come and help us. You have won the gratitude of all of us ... all the Greek people," Mr. Stephanopoulos said. "The earthquake brought us closer. Let us hope that there will be instances which will not be so bad, which will also symbolise our two peoples coming closer." Earlier, the president had visited tent cities set up to house the homeless in the municipalities of Aharnai, Nea Liosia and Petroupoli.

U.S. pledges quake aid to Greece

Foreign Minister George Papandreou met yesterday with U.S. Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns, who reconfirmed his country's readiness to send aid to Greece, specifically the dispatch of tents and the collaboration of between U.S. and Greek non-governmental organisations, a foreign ministry statement said. The envoy also informed Mr. Papandreou that U.S. administrative services were collecting money for the victims of the earthquake.

Inquiry into construction standards continues

Athens judicial officials continued to examine evidence on the collapsed buildings in order to bring relevant charges against those responsible, where applicable. Investigators confiscated existing files in city halls containing building plans submitted to obtain building permits. Investigations also focus on collecting statements from witnesses and analysing physical data, the prosecutor's office said.

Greek-Turkish talks end in Athens

Senior Greek and Turkish foreign ministry officials on Friday concluded a second round of talks on issues related to tourism, the environment and economic and commercial relations. According to a foreign ministry press release, the talks were held "in a friendly and businesslike atmosphere". The senior foreign ministry officials from the two neighbouring countries will continue their talks in Ankara on Sept. 15 and 16, to discuss issues concerning culture, regional cooperation as well as the fight against organised crime, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and terrorism, the press release noted.

KFOR soldier sentenced to 10 months

A first instance court in Katerini, north central Greece, sentenced a 27- year-old British soldier to 10 months imprisonment for resisting arrest when he refused a police officer's request to check his identity, police said. Alan Johnston allegedly damaged a parked car and refused to provide identification to a police officer, police said. Following his arrest he identified himself as a soldier of the British forces in Kosovo, in Greece for a short holiday. The sentence can be appealed. Johnston has been remanded in custody as bail was not paid.

WEATHER

Strong northerly winds will prevail in the Aegean and local rain will fall in the east and south of the country. The weather will be unsettled, with occasional rain and storms in the afternoon. Athens will be cloudy with the likelihood of rain, particularly in the north and east. Winds will be northerly moderate to strong locally. Thessaloniki will be overcast with the possibility of rain. Winds will be mild to moderate northwesterlies.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 307.917 Pound sterling 501.853 Japanese yen (100) 281.629 French franc 49.407 German mark 165.703 Italian lira (100) 16.738 Irish Punt 411.504 Belgian franc 8.034 Finnish mark 54.507 Dutch guilder 147.064 Danish kr. 43.585 Austrian sch. 23.552 Spanish peseta 1.948 Swedish kr. 37.615 Norwegian kr. 39.452 Swiss franc 202.204 Port. Escudo 1.617 Can. dollar 207.626 Aus. dollar 200.429 Cyprus pound 560.480 Euro 324.086

(M.P.)


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