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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-12

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 12/10/1999 (ANA)


  • President on visit to Iran
  • Athens comments on Simitis message
  • Clinton wants earlier visit to Greece
  • Earthquake damage costs higher than thought
  • Transport minister in Istanbul
  • Cyprus turns away cult members
  • Greece getting serious about soccer violence
  • Obesity bad for your sex life
  • Two arrested in prostitution racket
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


President on visit to Iran

President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos today left for an official visit to Iran, the first by a Greek head of state to that country. He is accompanied on the four-day visit by foreign minister George Papandreou and agriculture minister George Anomerities, as well as a large delegation of businessmen. During the visit, Anomeritis is due to sign a protocol of cooperation in the agricultural sector, including irrigation systems, olive tree cultivation, fishing and viniculture.

Athens comments on Simitis message

The Greek government on Tuesday sought to downplay the significance of a message relayed to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the message was sent on the occasion of the Greek ambassador's courtesy call on Ecevit. He denied that there had been any conscious decision on Simitis's part that "the timing was right" - only that the meeting between the two provided an opportunity. Simitis said in a message to Ecevit that Greece has contributed to the creation of a positive climate in Greek-Turkish relations and has taken specific steps vis-a-vis Ankara, therefore, it expects reciprocal action in bilateral relations and over Cyprus.

Clinton wants earlier visit to Greece

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas confirmed that U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece was to be brought forward by one week, which means the US president will be in Greece at the time of events marking the 26th anniversary of the student uprising at Athens Polytechnic which eventually led to the fall of the military junta. Replying to reporters' questions, Reppas stated categorically that the government was not considering postponing the Polytechnic events. Asked why Clinton's visit had been brought forward, Reppas attributed it to a US desire to facilitate the participation of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the visit to Greece.

Earthquake damage costs higher than thought

The cost of the September 7 earthquake is much higher than initial estimates, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today. Speaking to reporters following a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to review the condition and prospects of the economy, Papantoniou said that there would be no further relief measures and noted that the economy was moving satisfactorily. "In general, the economy remains on the right track and the prospect of EMU participation now seems almost certain. There is always a concern regarding inflation until we fulfill that criterion by February 2000," he said.

Transport minister in Istanbul

Greek Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis said on Tuesday that the devastating August 17 earthquake which claimed at least 15,000 lives in Turkey had simply accelerated the Greek-Turkish rapprochement which had already begun. Mantelis was speaking in Istanbul after talks with his Turkish counterpart, Ennis Oksuz, according to an ANA despatch. Oksuz invited Greek businessmen to participate in the construction of an underwater tunnel which will link the shores of the Bosporus. He also expressed pleasure at the presence in Istanbul of Greek artists, including composer Mikis Theodorakis, who will give a concert in the city tonight. The concert, which will be attended by Mantelis and several Greek deputies, will be repeated in Athens on Wednesday night.

Cyprus turns away cult members

The Cypriot authorities have allowed a vessel carrying 22 millennium cult members to refuel at the port of Limassol before sending it on its way back to Greece, an ANA dispatch reported from Nicosia. The dispatch said that the boat was carrying 15 Irish nationals, six Romanians and one Colombian had sailed from Greece destined to Israel. But Israeli authorities, acting on reports that the cult members might be preparing some extremist act ahead of the end of the millennium, has refused them entry. The dispatch said that the people on board the vessel were "not cooperating" with the authorities. Animals on board the vessel are reported to be in terrible condition.

Greece getting serious about soccer violence

Deputy Minister for Sports Andreas Fouras said on Tuesday that the Greek authorities planned to get serious about violence at sporting events. "In cooperation with the public order ministry we have decided to take action on the issue of violence, and particularly with a view to preventing it," Fouras told reporters. He said initial action would involve a greater security at soccer grounds notorious for violence and the wider use of metal detectors and cameras in the stands. Fouras said the ministry had also agreed that known troublemakers would be required to register with their local police statio when their teams played, a measure, he said, had been successfully used abroad.

Obesity bad for your sex life

Obesity, excessive consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking and stress are hazardous to the libido, according to a study conducted by endocrinologists of Thessaloniki's Panaghia Hospital. The study, to be presented at a four- day Mediterranean Conference of the World Educational Association of Cosmeticians that opens in Athens on Friday, also found that obesity reduced chances of reproduction. Excessive weight was also found to be a cause of women's infertility. Specialists say that loss of weight alone was sufficient to remedy the problem in most cases, without the use of medicines and surgery.

Two arrested in prostitution racket

Two persons have been arrested on charges of forcing women from the former Soviet Union into prostituion by threatening their lives and physical well- being, police said today. They said Dimitris Yakoumelos, 34, and Anna Kouvara, 45, were arrested after an investigation turned up that they were holding six women against their will in an apartment in Athens and forcing the women to prostitution with threats against their lives and of physical violence.


Fair weather with a further rise in temperatures will prevail in Greece today with scattered cloud in the eastern and southern regions of the country. Winds northerly, light to strong. Sunny in Athens with temperatures between 15-27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 14-25C.


Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          306.220
Pound sterling       507.249
Japanese yen (100)   286.986
French franc          49.652
German mark          166.524
Italian lira (100)    16.820
Irish Punt           413.545
Belgian franc          8.074
Finnish mark          54.777
Dutch guilder        147.793
Danish kr.            43.821
Austrian sch.         23.669
Spanish peseta         1.957
Swedish kr.           37.523
Norwegian kr.         39.228
Swiss franc          204.233
Port. Escudo           1.625
Can. dollar          207.923
Aus. dollar          200.052
Cyprus pound         563.952
Euro                 325.693
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