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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-20

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, 20/04/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Karamanlis still critical
  • 32 die on Greek roads
  • 3 drown in traffic accident
  • Two arrested for smuggling
  • Greek arrested for smuggling
  • Suburban bank torched
  • Greek leadership-Easter Celebrations
  • Prime Minister in Corfu
  • Stephanopoulos in Hungary next week
  • Gov't announces additional measures to combat crime
  • Early elections speculation denial
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Karamanlis still critical

Former president Constantine Karamanlis continued to be listed in a critical condition for the seventh consecutive day since he suffered heart failure following admission to hospital for a lung infection, doctors said today. Karamanlis, 91, was admitted to the Hygeia Hospital on April 7 with a respiratory infection. He was placed on breathing support on April 12 after his heart stopped during a mild heart attack.

32 die on Greek roads

Thirty-two people have lost their lives on Greek roads this Easter long weekend, with another 428 injured - 87 seriously - in a total of 300 traffic accidents since Thursday night. Authorities said that 70 percent of the 300 accidents had taken place on rural road networks, where a police presence was less noticeable.

3 drown in traffic accident

Three Albanian nationals were found drowned in an irrigation ditch after the van in which they were riding overturned late on Sunday night near the village of Esovalta, Pella, authorities said.

Police said the driver of the van, Zarte Namik, 32, and his passenger Ruan Baha, 21, were uninjured in the incident but that the bodies of the three unnamed Albanians, whom Namik had given a lift, were found early this morning by a rescue team.

Two arrested for smuggling

Two Turkish nationals were charged with smuggling in 84 illegal immigrants to Greece before a Samos prosecutor today, authorities said.

Kurt Omer, 24, and Polat Nimer, 33, were charged with transporting 84 illegal immigrants from Iraq - 53 men, 13 women and 18 children - on their 18-metre boat and putting them ashore on Agathonissi on Sunday night.

Greek arrested for smuggling

A Greek man was arrested today after police found him transporting six Pakistani illegal immigrants to Athens with his car. Ilias Nikolaidis, 45, from Didymotiho, was arrested at the Fanariou Bridge in the Rodopi district. Police said the illegal immigrants had entered the country through the Evros River.

Suburban bank torched

A suburban branch of the Ionian Bank was the target of a firebomb attack overnight, resulting in serious property damage but no injuries. Authorities said the fire was caused by a makeshift explosive device made up of seven gas cannisters and placed at the bank's entrance.

Greek Leadership-Easter celebrations

The country's leaders today visited the Greek youth under arms throughout Greece to wish them well in this the most important religious celebration of the year for Orthodox Christians.

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis, Communist Party of Greece secretary general Aleka Papariga, Coalition for the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Nikos Constantopoulos and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos visited the Armor Corps Training Centre (KETTH) at Avlona, Attica to celebrate with the young men of the armed forces.

The President of the Republic also visited the Salamina naval station and the Rio regional university hospital.

Prime Minister in Corfu

Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is visiting the island of Corfu for the Easter celebrations, during a radio address today stated ''Easter and Spring in Greece. Maybe the only country in the world, where every Christian, every human being feels the message of the Resurrection, celebrating in the natural environment totaly in harmony with the most important day: the celebration of celebrations of Christianity.''

He also voiced his wishes to all Greeks abroad and the foreign visitors who came to Greece to celebrate easter in this country.

Stephanopoulos in Hungary next week

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will begin a three-day visit to Hungary next Wednesday at his Hungarian counterpart's invitation.

The Greek president will hold private talks with Hungarian President Arpad Goncz and leadership, while he will also inaugurate a Greek-Hungarian business conference.

Mr. Stephanopoulos will also visit the ethnic Greek village of Beloyiannis and will address that country's Parliament.

Gov't announces additional measures to combat crime

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Public Order Minister George Romeos Thursday decided to adopt additional measures to combat rising crime and prevent the entry of illegal immigrants into the country.

The two men decided to allocate another 100 billion drachmas in order to bolster police in both manpower and equipment. In addition, approval was given for the recruitment of 1,300 new officers to tackle urban crime and help guard the borders.

Part of the funds will be spent on buying new patrol cars and police motorcycles, replacing older models, and upgrading buildings.

They also decided the recruitment of 2,000 police officers, through the process of nation-wide examinations.

The reinforcement of border patrols by military units in cooperation with police and the coast guard was also decided, while a procedure of allocating duties to municipal police departments will be accelerated.

Finally, it was decided that a new border corps of 1,000 officers will be formed by the end of the year.

Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis also participated.

Mr. Simitis stressed that citizens must feel that the state is protecting them.

Early elections speculation denied

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday that there are no plans for a Cabinet reshuffle or early elections.

He added that the government has a duty to confront the nation's problems, ensuring political and economic stability as well as the nation's prospects.

"Everything else is an unnecessary luxury," Mr. Reppas said.

Earlier, main oposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos asked the government to take a position on the electoral system for the next general elections, whenever they might occur.

WEATHER

Local cloud in west, central and northern Greece today with some scattered showers, particularly in the Ionian islands, Epirus, western mainland Greece and western Macedonia. West-northwesterly winds, moderate and at sea becoming strong. Scattered cloud in Athens, increasing after noon. Moderate winds and temperatures between 12 and 22C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with slight possibility of rain. Temperatures between 10 and 20C. The weather tomorrow will be fine with local cloud in some areas. Winds will be westerlies mild to strong and in the southeast of the country, very strong. Temperatures in the north will range from 5-22C, in the mainland 8- 24 and on the islands from 12-23. The forecast for Athens and Thessaloniki is fine with increasing cloud in the afternoon. Winds will be moderate and the temperature 11-23C in Athens and 9-22 in Thessaloniki.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 312.778 British pound 527.149 Japanese Yen(100) 238.090 French franc 51.608 German mark 172.955 Italian lira (100) 17.504 Irish Punt 436.480 Belgian franc 8.379 Finnish mark 56.951 Dutch guilder 153.562 Danish kr. 45.334 Austrian sch. 24.582 Spanish peseta 2.035 Swedish kr. 40.283 Norwegian kr. 41.547 Swiss franc 207.680 Port. Escudo 1.687 AUS dollar 203.558 Can. dollar 217.942 Cyprus pound 593.216

(M.P.)


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