Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-24
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 24/08/1997 (ANA)
- Two soldiers killed in mine explosion
- Passenger hurt in raid of two Greek buses in Albania
- Turkish national arrested for smuggling Kurdish immigrants
- Greece, FYROM to begin unofficial culture cooperation
- Cyprus'accession talks to go ahead as planned, says EU official
- US ambassador to Athens says Madrid process still alive
- Tougher measures to combat drink driving
- Arab League General Secretary to visit
- Education bill sparks strong reaction
- Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena
- European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli
- Tzoumakas claims torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored
- Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Two soldiers killed in mine explosion
Two soldiers were fatally wounded in northern Greece on Saturday evening
when they strayed into a minefield to investigate possible intruders in the
area, Army Staff Headquarters said yesterday.
Mine experts from a local army division managed to get the two men out of
the designated minefield, located in the Pythio area of Didymotiho, but
they were dead on arrival at a local state hospital.
The soldiers were identified as Sergeant Vassilios Moustakas, 27, of
Ioannina, and Private Anastassios Verouhis, 20, of Evia.
An investigation is being conducted into the incident.
Passenger hurt in raid of two Greek buses in Albania
Armed bandits in Albania raided two Greek coaches travelling to Tirana from
Athens slightly injuring one passenger, the Albanian public order ministry
The bandits stopped the two buses, which belong to state-owned Hellenic
Railways Organisation, a few kilometres from Tepelene late on Saturday
afternoon and robbed the passengers.
When they protested the theft, the looters began firing in the air.
The ministry's press officer told the Athens News Agency an unnamed male
passenger was hurt in the raid but his injuries gave no rise to concern.
Turkish national arrested for smuggling Kurdish immigrants
A Turkish national was arrested in a half-sunken boat near the island of
Rhodes for allegedly smuggling five Kurdish immigrants into Greece, port
officials said yesterday.
The Turk, identified as Baris Vulceoglu, 23, was arrested by port authority
officials on Saturday for reportedly using the boat to take the illegal
aliens to the island of Strongyli, near Rhodes.
Vulceoglu told the officials he was accompanied by another Turkish national,
who has not been located.
The Kurds, comprising two men, two women and a child, and Vulceoglu were
due to be taken to a public prosecutor in Rhodes later in the day to hear
Greece, FYROM to begin unofficial culture cooperation
The Culture Ministers of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia said on Saturday thay intended to launch a lasting and systematic,
yet unofficial cooperation in the sector of cultural creativity between the
Evangelos Venizelos and Slobodan Unkofski, culture ministers of Greece and
FYROM respectively, made the joint statement on the fringes of the seventh
Prespian 97 cultural festival which they had been invited to attend.
"Culture is the most useful means to create common understanding in the
world," Venizelos said.
"It is not a means for national propaganda but a field for cooperation,
peace and mutual understanding," he added.
Mr. Unkofski said he had observed "substantial changes" in both countries'
policies, adding that "we are both open to continuing communication between
the two peoples who share so much in common."
"It will take a long time to solve the name question," FYROM's culture
"But this should not mean that cultural cooperation should not begin
between the two countries,"he added.
Greece and FYROM are locked in an argument over the term Macedonia.
Greece opposes the use of the name Macedonia or its derivative by Skopje on
the grounds that it harbors territorial designs against its northern region
of the same name.
Cyprus'accession talks to go ahead as planned, says EU official
EU Commissioner for external relations Hans Van den Broek has accused
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of setting preconditions on talks
about Cyprus' future.
In a statement on Friday Mr. Van den Broek expressed "deep concern"
following the "disappointing outcome" of the second round of UN-led direct
talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash.
He said the preconditions set by Mr. Denktash regarding Cyprus' EU
accession were unacceptable, adding that negotiations with Nicosia would go
ahead as planned in early 1998.
US ambassador to Athens says Madrid process still alive
US ambassador in Athens Thomas Niles said on Friday that "the process which
began in Madrid is alive, and we believe that progress will continue", in
referring to the most recent developments in Greek-Turkish relations.
Mr. Niles made the statements to reporters after accompanying a visiting
delegation of US Congressmen for talks with main opposition New Democracy
party leader Costas Karamanlis, focusing on the Cyprus problem and Greek-
Turkish relations. "There will be problems along the way. No one believed
that this process would be easy and without difficulties, nor that the
problems would automatically be resolved," he said.
Tougher measures to combat drink driving
The police have begun implementing tougher measures to combat drink driving,
including the confiscation of cars on the spot.
Athens Public Prosecutor Anastasios Kanellopoulos on Friday ordered the
traffic police to confiscate cars driven by drunk drivers.
The tougher measures follow a tragic accident earlier this week in which a
22-year-old girl ran down two women and injured one man as they were
crossing the Athens-Sounion coast road outside a nightclub.
An alcotest showed that the driver was more than three times over the legal
Traffic police last night confiscated eight cars after alcotests of the
drivers proved positive. In one of the cases, a 25-year-old man had killed
an 87-year-old woman as she was crossing the busy Katechaki ringroad.
Arab League General Secretary to visit
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos
Kranidiotis will meet with Arab League General Secretary, Abdel Meguid, on
During his stay in Athens, Mr. Meguid will also have talks with Parliament
Vice President Panagiotis Kritikos.
Education bill sparks strong reaction
An education ministry bill, introducing several controversial changes,
particularly in secondary and tertiary education, has sparked strong
reaction especially among unemployed and unappointed educators who have
already held protest rallies.
The educators warned that they will escalate their rallies during
The bill, which among others, envisages abolition of entrance examinations
for colleges and universities in 2001, as well as of the system of teaching
appointments based on seniority in graduation, was tabled in Parliament on
The teachers' union has left open the possibility of a strike at the start
of the school year, and is planning an information campaign to brief
parents and students.
Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena
Two earth tremors yesterday caused further minor damage to buildings in
villages in Kozani and Grevena, northern Greece, which had been hit by the
destructive 1995 quake.
The two tremors, measuring 4 and 4.6 on the Richter scale were recorded at
06.10 and 06.18 local time yesterday. Their epicentre was 295 kilometres
northwest of Athens in the area of Kozani and Grevena.
Kozani Prefect Paschalis Mitliagas told the ANA that the tremors caused
further minor damage to buildings - in twenty villages of Kozani and
Grevena - which had not been repaired since the May 1995 earthquake.
Seismologists did not appear to be concerned by the latest tremors
generated by the Rymnio fault, attributing them to normal post-seismic
activity in the wake of the 1995 quake.
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded in the same
region last Saturday.
European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli
The European Congress of the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network
(GREEN) opened in Alexandroupoli yesterday under the aegis of the
University of Thrace.
In opening remarks, National Economy Secretary General Apostolos Fotiadis
conveyed a message by the national economy minister, saying the ministry
would always remain supportive of initiatives that promote environmental
education and sensitivity.
The GREEN Congress, which ends Monday, is being attended by more than 30
scientists and specialists in environmental education from around Europe,
most of whom are coordinators of the project on a national level.
Tzoumakas claims torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored
Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday reiterated that the
Seikh Sou forest in Thessaloniki, about half of which was burned in a
recent fire, will retain its public character and that its area would be
extended with compulsory purchases and re forestation programmes.
He made the statement after touring the area and in the course of a press
conference, also attended by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos,
who said he had signed a protocol suspending the issuing of building
licences in the area, and that any under-construction structures would be
Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts
Greek equities came under strong selling pressure in the last trading
session of the week driving the general index below the 1,600 mark.
Traders said the market looked vulnerable following the government's pledge
to drastically cut public spending in 1998.
The general index closed 1.63 percent lower at 1,592.82 points to show a
3.22 percent loss on the week. Sector indices lost ground. Banks fell 1.74
percent, Leasing was 0.81 percent off, Insurance eased 0.66 percent,
Investment dropped 1.66 percent, Industrials fell 1.37 percent, Construction
was 1.96 percent off, Holding eased 1.36 percent and Miscellaneous eased
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.14 percent
Trading was moderate and turnover was 9.9 billion drachmas.
Broadly, declining issues led advancing ones by 144 to 51 with another 22
Overcast weather is forecast for much of the country today leading to
scattered showers or storms in some regions, especially towards evening.
Winds will be variable, light to strong, becoming gale force in the Aegean.
Athens and Thessaloniki to see increasingly cloudy weather, possibly
leading to showers or storms. Temperatures in the capital to range between
20 and 28C, and in Thessaloniki between 17 and 27 C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.099
Pound sterling 453.780 Cyprus pd 530.026
French franc 46.283 Swiss franc 188.381
German mark 155.833 Italian lira (100) 15.979
Yen (100) 242.604 Canadian dlr. 203.162
Australian dlr. 212.080 Irish Punt 415.648
Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 52.209
Dutch guilder 138.419 Danish kr. 40.916
Swedish kr. 35.752 Norwegian kr. 37.383
Austrian sch. 22.142 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.538