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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-07-09

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, 09/07/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • June inflation drops to 5.2 percent
  • Cyprus no-fly zone a Greek proposal
  • Brush fire in Ancient Agora under control
  • No trains in Northern Greece today
  • Bicycle rider set free
  • Grenade attack on bar
  • Tourist ambushed on isolated road
  • Six saved from squally weather
  • Defence minister calls for Cyprus' demilitarisation
  • EFG Eurobank seeking stake in Ergobank
  • Gov't soon to tender two banks
  • Government to overhaul urban transport
  • Opposition criticises gov't over urban transport
  • Greek, EU officials meet on unemployment
  • Moscow exhibition on Athens
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

June inflation drops to 5.2 percent

Consumer price inflation in June dropped to 5.2 percent from 5.3 percent the previous month, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said today. The GNSS said inflation increased by 0.3 percent between May and June 1988, compared to a 0.4 percent rise in the same period last year.

Cyprus no-fly zone a Greek proposal

The proposal for the creation of a military no-fly zone over Cyprus was put forward by Greece and the Greek Cypriots, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today. Replying to reporters' questions, Reppas said although the proposal had been discussed, there had been no development due to Turkey's refusal to accept it. Commenting on Nicosia's plans to purchase and install Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on Cyprus and the opposition of the United States, Reppas said Washington had expressed the desire that the missiles not be delivered.

Brush fire in Ancient Agora under control

A fire broke out today in the Ancient Agora of Athens at the foot of the Acropolis and quickly spread in dry grass and rubbish, initially threathening nearby houses. Although 18 fire engines set off to put out the blaze, only 3 arrived, the others being held up in the narrow roads near the Agora in the old Plaka district of the capital. The blaze was extinguished by firemen assisted by local residents and passersby after about 45 minutes.

No trains in Northern Greece today

Northern Greece is without rail service today as OSE railway organisation employees in the area are staging a 24-hour strike protesting planned changes the organisation's labour regulations and work schedules. The striking employees, who held a protest rally outside the OSE building in Thessaloniki, warned the changes would lead to a "shrinking" of the organisation and its ultimate privatisation. OSE trains conducting the Athens-Thessaloniki route are stopping at Pieria.

Bicycle rider set free

A Norwegian language teacher was acquitted today by a Lesvos court of driving her bicycle without a licence. Kathleen Marsad was put on trial on charges of driving an unregistered bicycle, a year after she was hit while riding the bicycle when a woman opened her car door. Under the Greek traffic code, all vehicles, including bicycles and animal-drawn vehicles, must be registered. Marsad was acquitted on a technicality.

Grenade attack on bar

Two hand-grenades exploded in a bar in the southern Athens suburb of Bournazi today, causing extensive damage but no injuries, police said. Police said unidentified persons threw two hand-grenades into the "Arena" bar early this morning, and said the attack was most likely the work of networks selling "protection" to shops and nightclubs. An on-the-spot investigation turned up the pins of two hand grenades.

Tourist ambushed on isolated road

A visiting Greek-Australian was ambushed in Arcadia late Wednesday night by three men who took of with his money, jewellery and clothing. Alexandros Germanos was driving on the Nemea road from Diakofto towards Tripolis when three masked men in another car blocked the road and forced him to stop his car. At gunpoint, they forced Germanos to turn over to them 250,000 dr. in cash he was carrying on him, more than 2 million dr. in jewellery and clothing valued at one million dr. before they fled the scene.

Six saved from squally weather

Four Britons and two Greeks were picked up by a ferry today after their yacht ran into trouble in stormy waters near Ios island, the Coast Guard said. Stephen Peter Kennedy, 45, his wife Sadie, 45, and their two sons Stephen, 26 and Jonathan, 22, together with 25-year-old Yannis Tsoubris and 24-year-old Thomas Bikas were picked up by the "Apollon Express" and taken to the Ios medical centre for precautionary reasons. The yacht ran into a squall while sailing six nautical miles southwest of Ios, and started taking on water as it battled five-metre-high waves and winds with a velocity of 80 km/hour.

Defence minister calls for Cyprus' demilitarisation

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Washington yesterday that the paramount problem in Cyprus was not how to win an arms race but how to solve the island's political problem. "The problem is not the strengthening of weapons systems on Cyprus. The problem we should be discussing is the resolution of the Cyprus issue," he stated at a joint press conference, and after talks with his US counterpart William Cohen at the Pentagon. He stressed that Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of the island republic offered the best chance for a solution.

EFG Eurobank seeking stake in Ergobank

EFG Eurobank, a member of the Latsis Group, has bought a stake in Ergobank, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, bankers and brokers said yesterday. Neither bank immediately confirmed the report. According to market sources, EFG Eurobank bought around 12 percent of stock from Lazaros Efremoglou, a major shareholder of Ergobank. Mr. Efremoglou had clashed with Ergobank's board over its strategic choices and was seeking a buyer, the same sources said.

Gov't soon to tender two banks

The government is expected to call international tenders shortly for the privatisation of Ionian Bank and Bank of Central Greece, ministry sources said yesterday. A tender for Bank of Central Greece, a subsidiary of Agricultural Bank of Greece, is expected to be called within days. The sale, which should be completed by the end of July, will be effected through the Athens Stock Exchange, the sources said. A tender for the sale of Ionian Bank, whose main shareholder is Commercial Bank of Greece, is expected to be called next week with the sale also being effected through the Athens bourse.

Government to overhaul urban transport

The government's plan to overhaul public transport and write off debts of the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA) will be released by the end of the month, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday. Many of the debts to be written off are book entries and compound interest on old loans, Mr. Reppas said in reply to a reporter's question. The government wished urban transport to retain its social nature and keep ticket prices down. As a result, the government, which had allowed OASA to resort to borrowing, was burdened with the debt, the spokesman said.

Opposition criticises gov't over urban transport

The main opposition New Democracy party yesterday criticised the government for extravagance, mismanagement and party favouritism in its debt write-off for OASA. "After renationalising urban transport first to suit the whims of the trade union and party nomenclature, after allowing, through mismanagement, the creation of huge losses and debts, they are now appearing to throw almost one trillion drachmas down the drain, with no justification, no explanation, and no shame towards Greek taxpayers," ND leader Costas Karamanlis said in a statement.

Greek, EU officials meet on unemployment

Officials of the government and the European Union's executive commission met in Brussels yesterday to find ways of combatting unemployment in Greece, especially among the young. The government officials were from the labour ministry, the state-owned Manpower Employment Organisation and the National Labour Institute, which belongs to the General Confederation of Greek Labour. The officials met to discuss the government's national employment plan, focusing on youth. The plan includes proposals on backing investment proposals by small and medium sized enterprises and regular exchanges of information with EU organisations.

Moscow exhibition on Athens

An exhibition opening in Moscow today until Aug. 12 will focus on the city of Athens during the late 19th century. The event, entitled "Greece - The Birthplace of the Olympic Games", is organised in view of the Youth Olympics, starting in the Russian capital in a few days. Apart from more than 50 paintings from Greek museums by Greek and European artists, to be exhibited at Moscow's History Museum, visitors will also have the chance to see a scale model of Athens' centre and daily life in 1896, during the first modern Olympics.

WEATHER

Scattered cloud with the possibility of local rain in the Ionian Sea, mainland Greece and the north Aegean Sea. Winds westerly to northerly mild to strong and occasionally very strong. Fine weather in Athens with temperatures between 21-36C. Same in Thessaloniki with the possibility of light rain and temperatures from 19-33C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 300.437 British pound 492.746 Japanese yen (100) 215.324 French franc 49.400 German mark 165.590 Italian lira (100) 16.816 Irish Punt 417.334 Belgian franc 8.031 Finnish mark 54.441 Dutch guilder 146.954 Danish kr. 43.452 Austrian sch. 23.552 Spanish peseta 1.953 Swedish kr. 37.355 Norwegian kr. 39.073 Swiss franc 196.917 Port. Escudo 1.619 Aus. dollar 185.702 Can. dollar 204.491 Cyprus pound 566.333

(M.P.)


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