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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-04-15

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, 15/04/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • No petrol hike, gov't says
  • Arsonists say they're sorry
  • Greece, Armenia sign defence pact
  • Cohen in Athens Tuesday
  • Simitis: Bulgaria must join NATO, EU
  • Elder Karamanlis still listed in critical condition
  • Creation of Balkan rapid deployment force being discussed
  • Romeos says anti-crime measures to be intensified
  • Effort to save Lord Byron's home
  • Programme to upgrade Greek museums
  • Greenpeace members arrested at protest outside soy mill
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

No petrol hike, gov't says

The government is not considering raising the price of petrol, acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said today in response to press questions. Nikolaou was asked whether comments by Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis on Tuesday meant that a price increase was in the offing. Newspapers reported that Mandelis had said more expensive petrol would boost the use of urban transport and subvert the need to raise fare prices.

Arsonists say they're sorry

An anarchist group has publicly apologised to the students of a private technical college trapped during a fire-bomb attack on the offices of the Retired Army Officers Association in downtown Athens last night.

An anonymous caller an Athens daily the "Arsonists of Conscience" had planted the home-made incendiary device outside the door of the veterans' office on the first floor of a central Athens building and the group "sincerely apologises" to the students of the private college who were in class on the second floor of the building at the time of the attack.

Greece, Armenia sign defence pact

Greece and Armenia today signed in Athens a technical agreement in the defence cooperation sector for the training of Armenian officers in Greek military schools. The accord was signed after talks between Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis and his visiting Armenian counterpart Vahan Shirkhantan on bilateral defence cooperation.

Cohen in Athens Tuesday

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou conferred with U.S. Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns on details of visits to Greece by U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said today.

Cohen is due to arrive in Athens on Tuesday as part of a regional tour.

Simitis: Bulgaria must join NATO, EU

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said today that his visit to Bulgaria this week was another step on the road to efforts to bring Balkan countries closer. Simitis was speaking to reporters at a joint news conference held with his Bulgarian counterpart Ivan Kostov. He said that his talks with the Bulgarian leadership had been "cordial and friendly" and had provided an opportunity to define "joint efforts to resolve problems". There is agreement, he said, on the general framework of policy which underpins relations in the region and said Greece had always supported Bulgaria's desire to participate in the European Union.

Elder Karamanlis still listed in critical condition

Former president Constantine Karamanlis was still listed in a critical condition yesterday, with attending physicians saying they were "prepared for any eventuality". An attempt on Monday to get the ailing New Democracy founder and former president off a respirator failed, while doctors said they will consider making a second attempt today,but only if the 91-year- old patient responded positively right away. Mr. Karamanlis was placed on breathing support after his heart stopped beating early on Sunday.

Creation of Balkan rapid deployment force being discussed

Military experts from Balkan countries are kicking-off a two-day conference in Bucharest today to discuss the creation of a rapid deployment deterrence force by countries in the region. Representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania, Slovenia and Turkey will attend, while Greece will be represented by an officer with the rank of colonel. The United States and Italy will send observers .

Romeos says anti-crime measures to be intensified

Measures to contol crime around the country will be intensified until results are apparent, Public Order Minister George Romeos told a press conference yesterday. He also admitted that so far, measures to fight crime have been ineffective and that although the government's measures were not expected to eradicate crime, poor results had been noted and that the ministry was not satisfied.

Effort to save Lord Byron's home

British Eurodeputy Ken Coates, who is also the president of the Bertrand Russell Foundation, called on British PM Tony Blair to rescue the ancestral home of Lord Byron from destruction due to coal mining. According to reports, a coal mining company has bought the coal rich estate on which the residence stands and is planning to begin mining operations, something that will result in the residence's subsidence. A committee for the protection of Lord Byron's Heritage was set up in Greece to assist the movement in Britain.

Programme to upgrade Greek museums

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday announced a "sweeping" 13- billion-drachma programme aimed at securing more public investment funds for upgrading the country's museums. He said 15 major repair and expansion projects were underway in various Greek museums, while there are plans for the construction of 14 new ones. Mr. Venizelos also announced that the ministry is planning 40 exhibitions domestically, 15 overseas, and 630 interventions in archaeological sites over the next 12 months.

Greenpeace members arrested at protest outside soy mill

Nine Greenpeace activists, seven Greek nationals and two Germans, who had blockaded a major soy mill plant near the Corinth Canal in protest over genetically altered soya were arrested yesterday afternoon by police. Earlier in the day, some 30 activists of the international environmental advocasy group blocked the gates of the Soy Mills Co., demanding an end to the importation of genetically altered products.

WEATHER

Fine weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with the possibility of scattered showers in Crete, the Dodecanese islands and the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea. Winds variable, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 10-23C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7-20C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 314.127 British pound 525.740 Japanese Yen(100) 241.631 French franc 51.536 German mark 172.737 Italian lira (100) 17.485 Irish Punt 435.488 Belgian franc 8.373 Finnish mark 56.877 Dutch guilder 153.363 Danish kr. 45.289 Austrian sch. 24.550 Spanish peseta 2.035 Swedish kr. 40.118 Norwegian kr. 41.632 Swiss franc 208.295 Port. Escudo 1.686 AUS dollar 203.534 Can. dollar 218.518 Cyprus pound 592.224

(M.P.)


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