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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-09-22

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, 22/09/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Mirage jet crashes, pilot safe
  • Father arrested for killing 3 children
  • FM: Greece maintained delicate balance during Kosovo
  • Defence minister in Canada for NATO meeting
  • Athens has non-tense relations with Ankara
  • Industrial production increases in June
  • Building materials prices rise
  • Government says no involvement in stock market
  • Greek equities back on track
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Mirage jet crashes, pilot safe

A Hellenic Air Force Mirage F-1 jet crashed into the northern Aegean on Wednesday but the plane's pilot ejected to safety, defence ministry sources said. Air Force helicopters were en route to the crash site, near the islet of Psathoura, to bring the pilot in. The pilot was later identified as First Lieutenant Manolis Kampanarakis. He was taken to the Air Force General Hospital as a precaution. The Mirage was one of a pair and two F-16 fighter planes conducting training exercises in the region.

Father arrested for killing 3 children

Police on the island of Crete today arrested a man who killed three of his four young children in an "act of revenge" against his estranged wife. Crete police said they arrested 40-year-old Nikos Metaxakis of Iraklio in a massive manhunt launched Tuesday after Metaxakis coldbloodedly killed his three young sons, aged 2 to 10, and left his 12-year-old daughter bound and gagged outside a police station with a note explaining his actions. They said Metaxakis, who took his four children from his estranged wife late on Monday for a visit, poisoned the three boys and threw their bodies in the Almyros river. Metaxakis was taken under draconian security to the Irakleion Police Sub-Directorate, where he is being questioned. A crowd had gathered outside the police station and jeered Metaxakis as he arrived. The three children are expected to be buried today at the Aghios Constantinou cemetery in Irakleion.

FM: Greece maintained delicate balance during Kosovo

Balancing Greece's obligations as a member of NATO and the European Union with the fact that the country is geographically situated in the Balkans enabled Greece to play the new role of interlocutor during the difficult hours of the Kosovo crisis, foreign minister George Papandreou said in New York late last night. Outlining the chief aspects of Greece's foreign policy in an address to the Foreign Policy Association, Papandreou said the country was proceeding with the conviction that Greece's security was founded in the consolidation of stability in the region, in other words on "reinforcement and implementation of the democratic institutions, reduction of the economic imbalances, and faith in the law of the just".

Defence minister in Canada for NATO meeting

The situation that has arisen in the Balkans following the Kosovo crisis and after the signing of the agreement for disarmament of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was the focus of the first day of talks of an informal NATO defence ministers' meeting. Greece's Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is representing Greece at the meeting. The "positive" aspect was that "an unarmed force is being set up under the responsibility of the UN Secretary General's representative in Kosovo, that numbers 3,000 persons and will function as a civilian corps, as a civil force for the protection of the minorities of the region," Tsohatzopoulos told a press conference. He said the international community must shoulder its responsibilities, adding that the multinational force could not be a hostage of the designs of any individual nationalistic circles of the Albanian population.

Athens has non-tense relations with Ankara

Greece on Wednesday denied that Foreign Minister George Papandreou had ever raised an issue of rapprochement with Turkey without conditions or prerequisites. Referring to the present state of relations between Athens and Ankara, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said: "There is a climate of non-tension." Reppas said a second round of talks between Greek and Turkish officials on finding common ground for rapprochement had ended and that a third round would begin at the end of October. He said that Turkey's consideration as a candidate country would be an issue discussed at the EU summit in Helsinki at the end of the year. "That is where we will set out our positions," he said. "Turkey must show such behaviour which will illustrate that it is coming into line with European interests".

Industrial production increases in June

Industrial production, as measured by the mining, manufacturing and electricity-natural gas output index, increased 4.0 percent in June compared with the same month last year, National Statistics Service said today. The electricity-natural gas index jumped 38 percent, while the mining output index fell by 10.9 percent and the manufacturing output index dropped 0.2 percentin June. The NSS said that the composite industrial output index increased by 3.9 percent in the first six months of 1999 compared with the same period last year.

Building materials prices rise

Building material prices rose 0.1 percent in August compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said today. The NSS said the increase reflected higher prices in fuel, building machinery and building accessories.

Government says no involvement in stock market

The government will not intervene in the stock market by naming any "bubble" stocks, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today. Reppas also denied an ANA's report on Tuesday according to which National Economy Ministry officials said that "tomorrow we buy" after a sharp correction of prices on the Athens Stock Exchange the same day. "I dismiss such a possibility. These comments are misplaced and have already been denied by Mr. Stournaras", he said. Reppas reiterated that the government's policy on the stock market was absolutely clear and denied to comment on talk of government officials' interference on the market's performance in the last two sessions.

Greek equities back on track

Equity prices resumed their upward course on Wednesday after Tuesday's abrupt correction as investors became active buyers during the first 30 minutes of trading. The general index ended 0.56 percent higher at 6,054.76 points, sharply off the day's highs of 6,169 points. Traders said a wave of profit-taking late in the session substantially reduced earlier gains. Turnover was 465.9 billion drachmas with 44,780,000 shares changing hands. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 2.66 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.27 percent to 3,138.77 points.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today with cloud and drizzle in the northern Ionian Sea, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. Winds variable, light to moderate. Mostly fair in Athens with temperatures from 20-32C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 17- 27C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          311.448
Pound sterling       506.952
Japanese yen (100)   297.719
French franc          49.450
German mark          165.850
Italian lira (100)    16.753
Irish Punt           411.870
Belgian franc          8.041
Finnish mark          54.556
Dutch guilder        147.195
Danish kr.            43.662
Austrian sch.         23.573
Spanish peseta         1.949
Swedish kr.           37.809
Norwegian kr.         39.593
Swiss franc          202.080
Port. Escudo           1.618
Can. dollar          210.800
Aus. dollar          201.277
Cyprus pound         561.472
Euro                 324.374
(M.P.)
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