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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-04-29

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, 29/04/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Strong quake shakes southern Greece
  • PM brushes off talk of new devaluation
  • Defence minister to visit Sweden
  • Greece nothing to fear from Turkey-Israeli exercises
  • Australian minister in Thessaloniki
  • Special SWAT operation to arrest merchant
  • New Archbishop of Athens and All Greece elected
  • Bank of Greece annual report in parliament for first time
  • Greece dismisses latest Turkish provocation in the Aegean
  • Tsohatzopoulos meets Slovakian parliamentarian
  • Skandalidis-Burns meeting
  • OTE share sale to institutional investors
  • OA, pilots reach agreement on overtime, summer schedule
  • Papantoniou rejects talk of new devaluation
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Strong quake shakes southern Greece

A strong earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale jolted the Messinia region today, but no damages or injuries were reported.

The quake struck at 6:30 a.m. at a distance of 270 kilometres southwest of Athens and 120 kilometres south of Kalamata, in the sea region, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said.

PM brushes off talk of new devaluation

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis brushed off media reports that a second devaluation of the drachma was in the offing. Talk of a fresh devaluation has been fuelled by speculation that a European Union summit at the weekend will readjust the parities of currencies in the exchange rate mechanism (ERM). "(The rumours) are absurdities coming from speculators who want to regain the money they lost in the March devaluation," Simitis told a meeting of the ruling PASOK party's parliamentary group.

Defence minister to visit Sweden

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will pay an official visit to Sweden from May 17-19 at the invitation of his Swedish counterpart Bjorn von Sydow, according to an ANA despatch today from Stockholm. Tsohatzopoulos will also meet with Swedish Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm Wallen and visit the installations of electronics giant LM Eriksson.

Greece nothing to fear from Turkey-Israeli exercises

Israeli's defence cooperation agreement with Turkey is not directed against Greece or Cyprus, Israel's ambassdor to Greece said on Wednesday. Ambassador Ran Curiel said Israel understood the reservations expressed by Greece over the Israeli-Turkish defence cooperation but that this cooperation was dictated by the country's geographical proximity to Turkey and the need for good relations with neighbours.

Australian minister in Thessaloniki

Australia's Federal Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Minister Philip Ruddock met today with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos on issues related to Greek migrants in Australia. Ruddock is presently in Greece on an unofficial visit. Petsalnikos underlined the Greek government's interest in overseas Greek communities, particularly in developing Greek studies courses and the teaching of the Greek language.

Special SWAT operation to arrest merchant

A special police commando unit early today mounted an operation to arrest a 54-year-old trader in building materials who had threatened the life of the head of the Krya Vrysi police station with a hand-grenade. Police said the merchant, Constantine Vezyrianopoulos, had in the past occupied the authorities due to his aggressive behaviour. They said court sentences were already pending against him for operating an illegal radio station and non- payment of social security dues.

New Archbishop of Athens and all Greece elected

Metropolitan Christodoulos of Dimitrias and Almyros (Volos region) was yesterday elected Archbishop of Athens and All Greece in the third and final round of voting by the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece's Holy Synod. Christodoulos was elected by the country's 77 Metropolitans to succeed Archbishop Serapheim, who died earlier this month. Christodoulos was born in Xanthi in 1939 and studied law and theology in Athens. After serving for seven years as a secretary for the Holy Synod, he was elected Metropolitan of Dimitrias in 1974.

Bank of Greece annual report in Parliament for first time

Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos yesterday submitted the Bank of Greece's annual monetary policy report to Parliament and the Cabinet for the first time, a move complying with its new autonomous status. "This is an act of democratic control," said Mr. Papademos, after handing the report to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis. Submitting the report to Parliament marked the beginning, in practice, of the central bank's autonomous status, in line with European Union regulations, Mr. Kaklamanis said.

Greece dismisses latest Turkish provocation in the Aegean

Greece yesterday dismissed the latest Turkish provocation in the Aegean as a continuation of Turkey's policy, aimed at trying to create an issue of supposed "grey areas" in the Aegean. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas was commenting on Turkey's dispute of Greek sovereignty of four Greek islands in the eastern Aegean. About one month ago, Turkish authorities notified a Greek diplomat assigned in Ankara that they questioned Greece's sovereignty of the islands Fournoi, Agathonisi, Farmakonisi and Pserimos. Aegean islands, including a programme of environmental tourism on 14 rocky islets and partly funded by the European Union.

Tsohatzopoulos meets Slovakian parliamentarian

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos held talks with the president of the Slovakian Parliament's defence committee, Imrieh Andrejeak, on the prospect of Slovakia's accession to NATO and the European Union. Other talks focused on developments in the Balkans and the situation in Kosovo in particular.

Skandalidis-Burns meeting

Ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis met with US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the former's upcoming visit to the United States, at the head of a PASOK and government delegation. In a statement afterwards, Mr. Skandalidis said that Mr. Burns offered his good services for better organising the delegation's contacts with US contacts.

OTE share sale to institutional investors

Yesterday's procedure of selling 16 million shares of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to institutional investors with the block trading method met with difficulties, since the state decreased the sale price to 8,400 drachmas,instead of 8,700 drachmas which it had announced as the minimum price possible. Fourteen million shares were ultimately sold at the above price and the remaining two million will be provided to the state-run utility's employees.

OA, pilots reach agreement on overtime, summer schedule

Olympic Airways' management and the pilots' union yesterday reached agreement on the issues of overtime work and on meeting the needs of the national carrier's summer schedule. It is now expected that the recent labour unrest will come to an end and that flights will resume as normal. According to reports confirmed by Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis, the state-run airline is looking for 25 billion drachmas in order to meet its payroll and fuel costs.

Papantoniou rejects talk of new devaluation

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday dismissed speculation of a new drachma devaluation circulating in financial markets for several days. Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr. Papantoniou dismissed the talk as purely speculative and lacking any concrete base.

WEATHER

Scattered showers and rain storms are forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Athens will be rainy with temperatures between 15-21C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 14-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 313.472 British pound 521.832 Japanese yen(100) 238.179 French franc 52.132 German mark 174.592 Italian lira (100) 17.692 Irish Punt 440.547 Belgian franc 8.470 Finnish mark 57.605 Dutch guilder 155.446 Danish kr. 45.799 Austrian sch. 24.840 Spanish peseta 2.059 Swedish kr. 40.513 Norwegian kr. 41.991 Swiss franc 210.378 Port. Escudo 1.706 Aus. dollar 201.837 Can. dollar 217.506 Cyprus pound 596.192

(M.P.)


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