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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-09-21

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, 21/09/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • New alternate foreign minister sworn in
  • Plane accident report expected end-October
  • Government denies early election plans
  • Man kills his three children, disappears
  • Olympians angry at mutual fund name
  • Greek arrested in cocaine haul
  • Strong tremor rattles Thessaloniki
  • Manhunt under way on Ikaria
  • Greek equities end down 4.91pct
  • Government defends ASE regulations
  • Correction normal, ministry says
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

New alternate foreign minister sworn in

Christos Rokofyllos, the PASOK MP for Aetoloakarnania and a former junior minister, was sworn in as alternate foreign minister on Tuesday. "My goal is to honour the prime minister's faith in choosing me," Rokofyllos said after a short ceremony at the foreign ministry. The new alternate minister was received by deputy minister Grigoris Niotis and ministry secretaries- general and other officials. Niotis, who spoke on behalf of Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, said that Christos Rokofyllos would be "valuable, useful and productive" for the course of issues at the ministry. "He is an experienced diplomat, impassioned rhetorician, lawyer and politician," he said.

Plane accident report expected end-October

The government said on Tuesday an experts' report on why a government jet inexplicably plunged thousands of feet over Bucharest, killing seven people, including a leading government official, should be in its hands by end- October. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said an opposition proposal on establishing an investigatory committee would have to wait on the completion of the investigation currently under way and the issuing of the report. Greek experts examining the Falcon jet may be winding up their work and returning to Athens on Tuesday, he added. Alternate Foreign Minister Yannos Kranidiotis and six other people died when the plane fell.

Government denies early election plans

The government on Tuesday flatly denied that it would hold early elections, saying that such a prospect was not in its interests. "There is not the slightest issue of resorting to early elections," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in response to press questions. "It is others who desire early elections." The government, and Prime Minister Costas Simitis himself, have repeatedly said that elections would be held at the end of the present four-year term, in the latter half of 2000.

Man kills his three children, disappears

A 40-year-old local man coldbloodedly killed three of his young children and left his daughter bound and gagged outside a police station with note explaining his actions, police on the island of Crete said. They identified the man as Nikos Metaxakis, who took his four children from his estranged wife late on Monday. Metaxakis then poisoned three of the children - aged two, three, and 10 - and threw their bodies in the Almyros river. His eldest child, 12, was left bound and gagged in his car, which he then abandoned outside the Mohou police station, along with a note explaining what he had done.

Olympians angry at mutual fund name

The Association of Greek Olympians plans to file an injunction against a mutual fund management company for usurping the term 'Olympian' for one of its products. Intertrust, a subsidiary of Interamerican Insurance, has recently launched 'Olympian', a mutual fund investing in construction companies and other sectors closely tied to the preparation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. "The word 'Olympian' constitutes an institution which is created through spiritual and moral values and ideas ... we believe that the advertising message of the company, in the pursuit of money, with the word Olympian, not only creates confusion in the minds of the consumer public but confuses the idea of Olympianism with commercial transactions on the stock exchange," the association said.

Greek arrested in cocaine haul

Police believe they are on the tail of a major operation smuggling Columbian cocaine into Europe, following the arrest of a Greek businessman. Vassilis Skordalos, 47, and a permanent resident of Antwerp, was arrested on September 15 after being put under surveillance. A search of his car found two kilos of cocaine; a subsequent search of his and his father's Korydallos homes found another six kilos of cocaine and a number of priceless ancient artefacts. Police believe Skordalos is part of a ring that acquired 40 kilos of cocaine in Columbia and transported it to Antwerp for distribution in Europe. Five foreign nationals - three Columbians and two Belgians - are being sought by Greek police, with the help of Interpol and Europol.

Strong tremor rattles Thessaloniki

A strong earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale rocked northeastern Greece shortly after midnight Monday, causing panic, but no injuries or damage were immediately reported. The earthquake was recorded at 00:28 a.m. Tuesday, with its epicentre 600 kilometres northeast of the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, in the Sea of Marmara off Turkey. A Thessaloniki observatory spokesman said the tremor was felt in the northern Greek prefectures of Evros and Rhodopi, and caused concern among residents in the towns of Orestiada, Alexandroupolis and Komotini.

Manhunt under way on Ikaria

Police on Ikaria island, near Samos, have launched a manhunt for a gang of Albanians after they beat up a 22-year-old man who was later rushed to hospital in critical condition, a local police spokesman said. The spokesman said Yannis Mamatas was severely beaten by a gang of Albanians when he rushed to the assistance of another man attacked by the gang last night in Evdylo, Ikaria. He said Mamatas was rushed by helicopter at dawn today to a military hospital in Athens, where he underwent surgery for head wounds and was listed in critical condition.

Greek equities end down 4.91pct

The announcement of stricter measures to enhance transparency in the market combined with official warnings of an "overheated" market created a negative sentiment on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The general index ended 4.91 percent lower at 6,020.87 points, off the day's lows of 5, 927 points. Traders said some late bargain hunting helped the index end above the 6,000 support level. Turnover was a massive 500 billion drachmas, proof that demand for selected stocks remained intact. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks plunged 8.0 percent, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 4.68 percent to 3,147.24 points.

Government defends ASE regulations

The Greek government has a policy of principles and not one of expediencies, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today commenting on the Athens Stock Exchange's reaction to a package of market reform measures announced on Monday. Reppas noted that the new measures were decided to enhance transparency in the market and to protect private investors. He urged investors to remain calm and said that the government would continue to support the stock market.

Correction normal, ministry says

National Economy officials described Tuesday's decline on the Athens bourse as a normal correction of the market and said that the underlying trend remained positive. "Tomorrow we buy", they said. Meanwhile, main opposition ND party's spokesman, Aris Spiliotopoulos, attacked the government's policy on the stock market. He said that it was unacceptable for any developed country the fact that government officials intervening through comments, leaks and delayed measures to influence a stock market's course.

WEATHER

Overcast weather will prevail in most parts of the country today with scattered showers in the northern Ionian Sea, Epirus, western, central Greece and Macedonia. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Mostly sunny in Athens with temperatures from 20-30C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 17-28C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          310.784
Pound sterling       504.253
Japanese yen (100)   288.126
French franc          49.387
German mark          165.637
Italian lira (100)    16.731
Irish Punt           411.341
Belgian franc          8.031
Finnish mark          54.486
Dutch guilder        147.005
Danish kr.            43.594
Austrian sch.         23.543
Spanish peseta         1.947
Swedish kr.           37.732
Norwegian kr.         39.603
Swiss franc          201.892
Port. Escudo           1.616
Can. dollar          210.800
Aus. dollar          199.873
Cyprus pound         561.631
Euro                 323.957
(M.P.)
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