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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-07-21

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, 21/07/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens critical of Yilmaz visit to occupied Cyprus
  • General strike to hit public transport
  • Sailing ban
  • EasyJet courts passengers at hearing
  • Six arrested in drug sweeps
  • Shipping exchange inflows down
  • Athens calls for implementation of UN resolutions in Cyprus
  • Tirana requests Athens' mediation for end to Kosovo violence
  • US initiative to defuse tension in Cyprus
  • Greece proposes new coastal road link to Albania
  • More fishermen in Greece per capita than rest of EU
  • Unemployment jumps to 9.8 percent in June
  • State telecom workers to strike over new float
  • Gov't sees tourism to Greece rising 15 pct in 1998
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens critical of Yilmaz visit to occupied Cyprus

Greece today described as "negative" the presence of Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz in the Turkish-occupied north of the divided island. Replying to reporters' questions on statements and threats made by Yilmaz, who arrived in the occupied territory yesterday morning to attend events marking the 24th anniversary of the island's invasion by Turkish troops, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas called on Ankara to contribute to normalising Greek-Turkish relations.

General strike to hit public transport

Several organisations overseen by the Transport and Communications Ministry will go on strike or hold work stoppages on Thursday as part of the nationwide 24-hour strike called by the Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE). Workers at the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and the Greek Railways Organisation (OSE) will be on strike throughout the day, while colleagues working on Athens-Piraeus trolleys and urban buses have announced work stoppages beginning at the beginning of the shift until 8 am and from 10 pm to the end of the shift. Olympic Airways workers will be holding a work stoppage from 12 noon to 3 pm.

Sailing ban

Piraeus port police headquarters today prohibited the departure of all vessels sailing from Piraeus and Rafina for the islands of the Aegean, the Dodecanese and Crete due to gale force winds prevailing in the corresponding sea regions.

EasyJet courts passengers at hearing

Representatives of the British cutprice airline easyJet today handed out free return air tickets for London to members of the public who turned up at a court hearing of a suit brought by Greek travel agents against the airline. The tickets, which would normally cost about 70,000 drachmas, quickly ran out and easyJet employees wrote down the names of others present, promising them that they too would be given free tickets within the next two months. The suit brought by the Panhellenic Federation of Travel Agents seeks a court ban on easyJet to prevent it from using phrases in its advertising campaign which the federation considers to be demeaning for travel agents.

Six arrested in drug sweeps

Thessaloniki police have broken up two gangs of Albanians which are believed to have been trafficking in large quantities of hashish and heroin in Greece. In all, six Albanians were arrested in Kastoria and Piraeus by undercover policemen posing as buyers.

Shipping exchange inflows down

Foreign exchange revenues from shipping fell 5.5 percent in the first two months of the year to 325 million dollars from 344 million dollars in the same period in 1997. In the month of February alone, shipping forex revenues declined 5.5 percent to 155 million dollars against 164.1 million dollars in February 1997.

Athens calls for implementation of UN resolutions in Cyprus

Greece said yesterday that it was time for the international community to contribute to implementation of United Nations resolutions regarding the division and continuing occupation of a third of the Cyprus Republic. Speaking on the 24th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the island, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said it was time for the impasse in the resolution of the problem to be overcome. Mr. Reppas said the presence of Turkish government officials, fighter planes and warships in the occupied sector of Cyprus on the anniversary of the invasion was a "sign of Turkey's weakness".

Tirana requests Athens' mediation for end to Kosovo violence

Albania requested from Athens yesterday to mediate in efforts to end violence in the troubled Serbian province of Kosovo, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told reporters here after meeting with his Albanian counterpart Pask al Milo. "Mr. Milo asked the Greek government to exercise its influence on Belgrade to defuse the crisis and work towards a settlement of the crisis," Mr. Pangalos said, adding that this was Greece's position. "A solution has to be found through dialogue," he said, adding that Mr. Milo had agreed with this approach.

US initiative to defuse tension in Cyprus

The US government will take an initiative to defuse tension on Cyprus, the president of the European Union (EU) Council said here yesterday. Austrian FM Wolfgang Schussel told a Europarliament Foreign Affairs Committee meeting that the EU has agreed on this initiative. He revealed that the decision was taken at a meeting in Washington last Friday between the EU troika's political affairs chiefs and their US counterparts.

Greece proposes new coastal road link to Albania

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday proposed the construction of a new road to link the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa to Trieste via Albania in order to boost investments and exports. At the start a two- day visit to Tirana, Mr. Pangalos told Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo that the Greek government would work to secure European Union financing for the joint project. The new road would run along the Dalmatian coast.

More fishermen in Greece per capita than rest of EU

Greece has the highest per capita ratio of fishermen in the European Union, according to yesterday's Eurostat announcement. Eurostat noted that 1 per cent of the Greek workforce, or about 40,000 individuals, are fishermen, while another 10 per cent are employed in the sector. The average per capita consumption of fish in Greece stands at 24 per cent, while the EU average is 22 per cent.

Unemployment jumps to 9.8 percent in June

The jobless rate surged to 9.8 percent in June, or 2.86 percentage points higher than the figure for the same month in 1997, hitting a record high in the summer season when unemployment usually drops. The nearest figure was 9.83 percent in March, when unemployment is generally high. In summer the rate drops due to seasonal work. In June, the registered unemployed were 288,299, the highest seasonal figure recorded by the state Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED), which collected the data.

State telecom workers to strike over new float

State telecom workers will stage a 24-hour nationwide strike on Thursday to protest against a third flotation for Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) due in the autumn. The latest float on the Athens Stock Exchange would bring the total of stock sold in OTE up to a maximum of 45 percent, paving the way for a majority privatisation in the future, OTE's union said in a statement yesterday.

Gov't sees tourism to Greece rising 15 pct in 1998

Tourism to Greece in 1998 has exceeded early forecasts with arrivals expected to rise by about 15 percent against last year, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday. Ms Papandreou, whose portfolio includes tourism, dismissed what she called "whining" by hoteliers and travel agents who feared a decline in arrivals. There was a 22 percent increase in the number of Britons who had chosen Greece for their holidays this year, and a 28 percent increase in the number of Belgian tourists, she said.

WEATHER

The forecast for today is sunny with temperatures ranging from 18-36 in the west, 17-34 in the rest of the country and 21-32 on the islands. Athens will be warm with moderate to strong winds and temperatures between 22-34C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 20-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 293.305 British pound 482.211 Japanese yen (100) 211.266 French franc 49.118 German mark 164.672 Italian lira (100) 16.693 Irish Punt 414.061 Belgian franc 7.983 Finnish mark 54.163 Dutch guilder 146.037 Danish kr. 43.206 Austrian sch. 23.394 Spanish peseta 1.939 Swedish kr. 37.142 Norwegian kr. 39.986 Swiss franc 195.221 Port. Escudo 1.609 Aus. dollar 183.708 Can. dollar 197.289 Cyprus pound 561.889

(M.P.)


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