Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-21
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 21/04/1998 (ANA)
- Greece celebrates Easter in line with tradition
- US Defence Secretary due in Athens for talks today
- Tsohatzopoulos holds talks with Albanian premier
- Apostolakis visits Greek contingent in Bosnia
- Easter mass exodus death toll rises to 35
- Messages on junta anniversary
- New group claims firebomb attack on bank
- Elder Karamanlis remains in critical condition
- Two Turks charged with smuggling immigrants
- Foreign prisoners make escape attempt at Athens jail
- EU Commission proposes fine on Greece over waste
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece celebrates Easter in line with tradition
Greeks celebrated Orthodox Easter in accordance with tradition - with this
year witnessing an unprecedented exodus to the countryside.
The country's political leadership on Sunday visited military units
throughout Greece to wish them well in 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) leader Nikos Constantopoulos
and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos visited the Armor Corps Training
Centre (KETTH) at Avlona, Attica to celebrate with the the armed forces.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who spent Easter on the island of Corfu,
during a radio address to the Nation expressed his wishes to overseas
Greeks and the foreign visitors who came to Greece on Easter holidays.
US Defence Secretary due in Athens for talks today
United States Defence Secretary William Cohen arrives in Athens today on a
lightning visit. He is due to have talks with National Defence Minister
Akis Tsochatzopoulos on the issue of confidence building measures in the
Aegean which is currently being dis cussed within NATO, as well as Greece's
defence armaments programme.
Mr. Cohen arrives here following visits to Turkey and Middle East countries
over the past few days.
Tsohatzopoulos holds talks with Albanian premier
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos met Albanian Prime Minister
Fatos Nano in Tirana on Easter Sunday, accompanied by ministry officials,
with discussion between them focusing on bilateral issues and issues
relating to the wider region of so utheast Europe, including Kosovo and the
creation of a multinationl peacekeeping force in the Balkans.
The Albanian prime minister said after the meeting that discussion touched
upon cooperation between Balkan nations and collective security in the
region in the framework of NATO.
"The two countries are an important factor for peace in the region", Mr.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said during his meeting with the Albanian premier he
exchanged views on cooperation between the two countries and their positive
stance on consolidating peace and coperation in the Balkans.
Earlier, the Albanian prime minister had spoken of 'grey clouds' casting
their shadow on peace in the Balkans, implicitly referring to the situation
The Greek defence minister replied that dialogue was the only means to
safeguard the rights of all peoples.
During his Easter Sunday visit to Albania, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos visited the
Greek contingent of the multinational force stationed here, accompanied by
Greek army chief Manousos Parayioudakis and ministry officials.
Apostolakis visits Greek contingent in Bosnia
National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis spent the Easter
Monday celebration with the Greek contingent serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In a speech he delivered there, Mr. Apostolakis praised the Greek
contingent's work, saying it represented Greece in the best way and adding
that Greece had now shaken off its isolationism to become the most powerful
country in the region in economic terms, as well as in political stability
and social cohesion.
Mr. Apostolakis underlined the need for the Greek contingent's presense in
Bosnia, saying its withdrawal would have serious repercussions for the
region, putting at risk everything that has been acheived so far, following
the implementation of the Dayton agreement.
Easter mass exodus death toll rises to 35
Thirty-three people have lost their lives on Greek roads this Easter long
weekend, with another 446 injured - 90 seriously - in more than 300 traffic
accidents since Thursday night.
Traffic police stepped up measures ahead of the expected return of holiday-
makers later yesterday.
Authorities said that 70 percent of the 300 accidents had taken place on
rural road networks, where a police presence was less noticeable.
Messages on junta anniversary
The Democratic Social Movement in a message issued yesterday to mark
today's black anniversary of the April 21, 1967, military junta, stressed
that the basic ingredient of democracy was national unity, a unity which
was built up daily by a society of so lidarity and affection.
The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) in its own message for
the occasion said that 24 years after the fall of the dictatorship and just
a few years before 2000, the distance between expectation and reality was
giving rise to a demand for a radical change in the country's political
New group claims firebomb attack on bank
A suburban branch of the Ionian Bank was the target of a firebomb attack on
Sunday night, 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. placed at the bank's entrance.
Fifteen fire fighters and four fire trucks were needed to put out the
blaze. Police are continuing their investigation into the identity of two
young people seen fleeing the scene.
An anonymous caller to the Athens daily Eleftherotypia later claimed the
arson attack on the bank was the work of a new group, calling itself
"Autonomous Revolutionary Activity".
The caller said the attack had been carried out to protest the mistreatment
of foreigners and called for the release of Nikos Maziotis, arrested
earlier this year on suspicion of coordinating a series of bomb attacks.
Senior police officials said that the explosive device was similar to one
placed last week at the Retired Officers Club in downtown Athens, an attack
claimed by "Arsonists of Conscience".
They said that they believed the attacks were being carried out by the same
groups using a variety of names to throw police off their scent.
In a similar incident, the group "Arsonists of Conscience" on Saturday
claimed responsibility for torching an Italian Embassy car which was parked
on Lycabettus Hill. The same group in a call to FLASH radio station on
Sunday claimed responsibility for setting ablaze a car in the Athens suburb
Elder Karamanlis remains in critical condition
Former president of the republic 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 yesterday.
Reports after 6 p.m. yesterday said that Mr. Karamanlis's condition had
taken a turn for the worse, while doctors were particularly vigilant.
Mr. Karamanlis, 91, was admitted to the Hygeia Hospital on April 7 with
lung infection. He was placed on breathing support on April 12 after his
heart stopped during a mild heart attack.
His doctors said yesterday that Mr. Karamanlis continued to breathe with
the aid of a respirator and that the infection was being treated with
One of Mr. Karamanlis's doctors was reported to have said the patient's
situation was "worrying" and that he had not fully recovered from the heart
He said the former president's heart was not beating steadily and treatment
was being complicated by renal problems.
Two Turks charged with smuggling immigrants
Two Turkish nationals were charged with smuggling in 84 illegal immigrants
to Greece before a Samos prosecutor yesterday, authorities said. Kurt Omer,
24, and Polat Nimer, 33, were charged with transporting 84 illegal
immigrants from Iraq - 53 m en, 13 women and 18 children - on their 18-
metre boat and putting them ashore on Agathonissi on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, a Greek man was arrested yesterday 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.
Nikolaidis's car and $1,600 found on him were confiscated, while the six
Pakistanis will face a prosecutor today.
Foreign prisoners make escape attempt at Athens jail
An escape attempt by nearly 40 foreigners at the top security Korydallos
prison near Piraeus was thwarted by police.
Guards were quick in detecting their movements and foiled their escape
Police units were late last night on the alert around the prison complex,
while the would-be escapees remained outside their cells.
EU Commission proposes fine on Greece over waste
The European Commission has proposed to the European Court to impose a fine
on Greece for not having implemented a waste programme for the gulf of
The Commission proposed that Greece pays 8.3 million drachmas (ecu 24,600)
per day of delay in implementing the European Court's verdict.
Five years ago the European Court had condemned Greece for not having
abolished some illegal pits in the area, where waste was taken from the
Souda military base, hospitals and some factories in the region.
The Greek government had then said that measures were not implemented
because residents had reacted to the relocation of the pits in neighbouring
Sfakia, Palaiohora and Kastelli.
The entire procedure for the imposition of a fine is stipulated in the
Maastricht Treaty, and according to provisions the Commission has the right
to propose a fine on certain EU member-states for not implementing European
Fine weather in most parts of Greece today with local cloud in a few
regions. Winds westerly, mild to strong and very strong in the south.
Temperatures in the north will range from 5-22C, in the mainland from 8-24
and on the islands from 12-23. Athens will be sunny with temperatures from
11-23C. Same in Thessaloniki with increasing cloud in the afternoon and
temperatures between 9-22C.
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