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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-12-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Court passes down sentences on convicted '17N' members
  • [02] Gov't satisfied with conclusion of N17 trial, spokesman says
  • [03] US State Department hopes N17 terrorists will serve entire prison terms
  • [04] PM says Olympic Games preparation must stay out of election struggle
  • [05] Cambodia-flag tanker splits in two off Milos, crew safe and well
  • [06] Government promises to stamp out football hooliganism
  • [07] Workers to seek 7.5-8.0 pct rises in move to align with EU wages
  • [08] Weather Forecast: Cloud, sunny spells on Thursday
  • [09] Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday
  • [10] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks edge up in roller-coaster trade
  • [11] Weather Forecast: Cloud, sleet and snow on Wednesday
  • [12] Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday
  • [13] PM and Syrian president favour speedy normalisation of situation in

  • [01] Court passes down sentences on convicted '17N' members

    17/12/2003 23:16:51

    The special court trying the 'November 17' terrorist group case on Wednesday passed down sentences on the 15 defendants convicted in the rulings announced last week, in which four other defendants were acquitted. The life penalties were in line with the sentences by bench prosecutor Christos Lambrou, while the sentences for long-term imprisonment were slightly differentiated with 2-3 year reductions on charges warranting reduced sentences.

    After completion of the announcement of the sentences, the court recessed for one hour to enable Lambrou to submit his proposal for concurrent sentences.

    According to the sentences passed down, Alexandros Giotopoulos, the group's mastermind, has been sentenced to 21 times life, top hitman Dimitris Koufodinas to 13 times life, Christodoulos Xiros to 10 times life, Savvas Xiros to 6 times life, Vassilis Tzortzatos to 4 times life, and Iraklis Kostaris to one life sentence (for his participation in the killing of main opposition New Democracy MP and husband of current Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni, Pavlos Bakoyannis).

    [02] Gov't satisfied with conclusion of N17 trial, spokesman says

    17/12/2003 23:15:41

    The government was very satisfied with the conclusion of the ''November 17'' trial and the way it had been conducted, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday, shortly after the sentences for the convicted terrorists were announced.

    Protopapas said the trial had come to a close through highly proper procedures that had moved within the spirit of a state of law.

    ''Justice has been administered,'' Protopapas added, noting that the culprits and moral instigators had been uncovered, the ordeal for the country was at an end and the guilty were paying for their crimes.

    [03] US State Department hopes N17 terrorists will serve entire prison terms

    17/12/2003 23:15:30

    WASHINGTON (ANA/T. Ellis) - An official announcement issued by the US State Department on sentences imposed by a Greek court on Wednesday on members of the November 17 terrorist group expressed hope and expectation that the convicted terrorists will serve their prison sentences in their entirety.

    ''The Greek judicial system announced its verdict and the sentences. We hope and expect that those convicted will serve them in their entirety. Now that this chapter has reached its end, we believe it is correct and important for us to turn to the pain and drama of the victims and of their families,'' the State Department's announcement said.

    [04] PM says Olympic Games preparation must stay out of election struggle

    17/12/2003 23:14:14

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis, inaugurating an Interministerial Committee meeting at the Maximos Mansion on Wednesday night, called for Olympic Games preparations to stay out of the election struggle.

    ''The Olympic Games are above the elections. They are a national issue,'' he said.

    Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organising Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki conveyed optimism also prevailing now in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the course of the Games' preparations, since the recent visit by Jacques Rogge and by other IOC officials has certified the progress achieved lately even in projects which had created scepticism a few months ago, such as the Calatrava roof at the Athens Olympic stadium, the suburban railway network and the tram.

    She also revealed that 70 percent of tickets have already been sold, which is very encouraging for the tournament's success.

    [05] Cambodia-flag tanker splits in two off Milos, crew safe and well

    17/12/2003 23:11:39

    A Cambodia-flag tanker split in two on Wednesday evening near the shores of Milos island due to prevailing storms.

    Six of the 13 crew members were picked up by a Super Puma helicopter in the afternoon while the remaining seven were later rescued after great efforts were made by the Port Authority under bad weather conditions. The seamen were taken to Milos' agricultural hospital.

    The Cambodia-flag tanker was adrift early Wednesday between the islands of Hydra and Milos after developing engine failure, the merchant marine ministry said.

    It said the ''Africa'', with a 13-member crew aboard, developed engine failure as it was sailing from the Greek port of Elefsis to Port Said in Egypt.

    Due to inclement weather conditions in the area, with gale force winds of 10 beaufort intensity, the tanker's captain radioed the Greek merchant marine ministry's Operations Room and sought assistance.

    The navy frigate ''Kanaris'', was immediately dispatched to the tanker's assistance, while a Super Puma all-weather helicopter and two navy tugs were placed on stand-by. Nearby vessels also headed to the tanker's aid.

    [06] Government promises to stamp out football hooliganism

    17/12/2003 23:11:00

    The government on Wednesday promised to stamp out football hooliganism following the latest high-profile incidents over the weekend in Thessaloniki, where fans for home team Aris brazenly interrupted a games television broadcast by smashing cameras and chasing away sportscasters.

    Deputy Sports Minister George Lianis said a rider will be added to a draft bill (regarding Olympic preparations) forbidding the organised presence of away teams fans at soccer games, which essentially means that visiting clubs will not be allocated tickets ahead of those matches. Lianis said the measure, if ratified, will commence for first division teams early next year at the start of the second half of the current season.

    [07] Workers to seek 7.5-8.0 pct rises in move to align with EU wages

    17/12/2003 22:17:23

    The country's main trade union umbrella group is to seek wage rises of 7.5 per cent to 8.0 per cent in negotiations for a national collective labour agreement as part of a move to align with salaries in other European Union countries over the next five years.

    The president of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece, Christos Polyzogopoulos, told a general assembly of the group on Wednesday that it was time for working people to reap the benefits of sacrifices they made to enable Greece to join the euro zone.

    Data showed that productivity was at 83 per cent of the EU average but purchasing power was at 75 per cent, Polyzogopoulos said.

    Negotiators would aim to recoup losses in income due to a rise in consumer price inflation to 3.5 per cent against the government's original forecast of 2.9 per cent in 2003.

    In addition, negotiators would seek a one-off down payment from January 1, 2004 for an average percentage of anticipated inflation, along with provision for any deviation from the figure, Polyzogopoulos added.

    [08] Weather Forecast: Cloud, sunny spells on Thursday

    17/12/2003 19:37:03

    Cloud and sunny spells are forecast in most parts of the country with snow or sleet in the Cyclades islands and Crete. Winds will ease off. Temperatures will remain low, with a minimum of -1C and maximum of 8C in Athens; and in Thessaloniki, -3C to 6C.

    [09] Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday

    17/12/2003 19:30:49

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.243

    Pound sterling 0.708

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 9.105

    Japanese yen 133.8

    Swiss franc 1.566

    Norwegian kroner 8.341

    Cyprus pound 0.589

    Canadian dollar 1.654

    Australian dollar 1.678

    [10] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks edge up in roller-coaster trade

    17/12/2003 19:22:05

    The Athens bourse finished higher on Wednesday after an initial upward spurt followed by aggressive profit taking and then a rise from the day's lows, traders said.

    The general share index gained 0.17 percent to end at 2,182.74 points. Turnover was 120.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.30 per cent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalisation paper 0.06 per cent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities finished with losses of 0.09 percent.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 153 to 130 with 72 issues remaining unchanged.

    [11] Weather Forecast: Cloud, sleet and snow on Wednesday

    17/12/2003 09:16:06

    Cloud, sleet and rain are forecast in most parts of the country, with snow expected to fall in the east. Gale force winds in the Aegean. Temperatures will remain low, with a minimum of -1C and maximum of 5C in Athens; and in Thessaloniki, -3C to 2C.Sleet or snow are expected in Attica.

    [12] Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday

    17/12/2003 09:15:35

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.243

    Pound sterling 0.711

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 9.112

    Japanese yen 133.8

    Swiss franc 1.565

    Norwegian kroner 8.287

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.640

    Australian dollar 1.670

    [13] PM and Syrian president favour speedy normalisation of situation in Iraq

    16/12/2003 23:57:46

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad held talks on Tuesday and agreed on the necessity of normalisation of the situation in Iraq as soon as possible.

    Assad declined any comment on the arrest of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, saying it was an ''Iraqi issue'', and urged the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.

    ''Freedom must be given to the people of Iraq as soon as possible to enable them to decide on their constitution and to elect their government,'' Assad said, while Simitis noted that ''for as long as vagueness exists, the more conflicts will increase.''

    The two leaders also agreed on the need for international terrorism to be confronted.

    Referring to the situation in the Middle East, the Syrian president said ''Greece enjoys the trust of the Arab world'' and called on the Greek government to play a positive role for peace in the region and added that he can see no ''serious initiatives appearing in the near future.''

    Simitis said on his part that the peace process in the Middle East must not be limited to Palestine and Iraq alone, but must be extended to the entire region.

    The two leaders also discussed Syria's proposal at the UN on the banning of weapons of mass destruction in the region of the Middle East.

    Simitis also expressed support for this initiative and spoke of the need ''for the existence of an applicable, binding and controlled means so that a country cannot claim that some other country possesses or not weapons of mass destruction.''


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