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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-09-14

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, 14/09/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Quake toll at 127; six seriously injured
  • Rescue workers continue looking at factory
  • Simitis, Clerides discuss Cyprus issue
  • Clerides meets with former PM Mitsotakis
  • Greece retrieves stolen Corinth treasures
  • Three diplomatic cars fire-bombed
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Quake toll at 127; six seriously injured

The health ministry said the death toll in Tuesday's quake stood at 127 on Tuesday, with six people still being treated for serious injuries. Another three bodies - all women - were recovered from the ruins of the Ricomex factory in Menidi. Another two bodies have been detected but had not been removed by 9.30 a.m. One of the two bodies is of an 11-year-old girl, identified as Sofia Melissourgou, who had been visiting the factory with her mother when the quake hit. Both she and her mother were killed. Nine people were pulled alive from the Ricomex factory, and 27 bodies recovered. Another 10 people are still officially listed as missing.

Rescue workers continue looking at factory

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the factory site was the only site at which rescue work was still under way. Of relief efforts, 20,000 tents with a capacity of 120,000 people have been set up; there appears to be no demand for additional tents, he said. Respondingto a question, he said that the extent of damage would cost more than 200 billion drachmas and that the amount of financial support Greece would receive from the European Union had not yet been determined. The quake's aftereffects would have no impact on the country's course towards economic and monetary union; the EU support, he added, would be significant and help deal with the problem.

Simitis, Clerides discuss Cyprus issue

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides conferred in Athens on Tuesday on the latest developments in efforts to resolve the longstanding occupation and division of a third of Cyprus. The talks, which included the participation of the foreign, defence and spokesmen of both countries, were held ahead of expectations of a new round of intercommunal talks on the issue in November. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Simitis underlined the "intense interest" of the international community in a resolution of the problem and pointed to the readiness of the Greek-Cypriot side "to come to these talks without rules and preconditions, in the framework of UN decisions." Greece and the international community, he added, place great weight on the the stance to be taken by the Turkish side, expecting it to show that it respects the international community and its decisions. "This element will play a definitive role in ensuring Turkey's European vocation," he said.

Clerides meets with former PM Mitsotakis

The recent improvement in Greek-Turkish relations could help in resolving the 25-year-old Cyprus problem, former prime minister and honorary president of main opposition New Democracy party Constantine Mitsotakis said today. "The spectacular improvement in Greek-Turkish relations constitutes the best help for Cyprus and naturally assists in resolving the Cyprus issue," Mitsotakis said after a 45-minute meeting with visiting Cyprus president Glafcos Clerides. Welcoming "with satisfaction" the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations, Mitsotakis said the true test of Turkey's intentions would be the stance it would finally take on the Cyprus issue, "which should hold the top priority in Greek foreign policy". "I believe we're approaching a crucial turning point, and it is Greece's duty now more than ever is to back a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem," Mitsotakis said.

Greece retrieves stolen Corinth treasures

U.S. authorities have found some of the artefacts stolen from one of Greece's most important archaeological museums almost a decade ago and are preparing to return them, the culture ministry said on Tuesday. Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi, speaking at a news conference, said U.S. authorities detected and confiscated 12 sealed plastic containers in Miami on September 7. The containers were found to contain ancient artefacts later identified as coming from the Museum of Ancient Corinth which was robbed early on April 12, 1990. Built in 1931 by the American School of Classical Studies and officially handed over to the Greek state in 1934, the Museum of Ancient Corinth was considered one of the richest and most interesting archaeological museums outside of Athens and Thessaloniki. Its collection included artefacts from the surrounding region from the neolithic era to the Middle Ages.

Three diplomatic cars fire-bombed

Three cars belonging to diplomatic missions in Thessaloniki were torched in apparently coordinated attacks overnight, causing damage but no injuries, police said. Two of the cars belonged to the Russian consulate in the northern Greek city; the other belonged to the Albanian consulate. Police, who believe that more than one person was involved in the attacks. said the first attack came at 1.15 a.m. when a gas canister was set alight and placed on the hood of the car. The same method was used to attack a mini- bus with diplomatic plates parked nearby. The last attack - on the Albanian car - came half an hour later on the western side of the city; the arsonists used a plastic container of flammable fuel. The explosion caused damage to the car and another parked near to it.

WEATHER

Overcast weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with scattered showers in the southern Ionian Sea, the Peloponnese, the southern Cycladic islands and Crete. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Mostly fair in Athens with temperatures from 19-30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 17-28C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          313.373
Pound sterling       505.920
Japanese yen (100)   294.594
French franc          49.378
German mark          165.606
Italian lira (100)    16.728
Irish Punt           411.265
Belgian franc          8.029
Finnish mark          54.476
Dutch guilder        146.979
Danish kr.            43.598
Austrian sch.         23.538
Spanish peseta         1.946
Swedish kr.           37.736
Norwegian kr.         39.581
Swiss franc          201.505
Port. Escudo           1.616
Can. dollar          212.090
Aus. dollar          205.319
Cyprus pound         558.893
Euro                 323.898
(M.P.)
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