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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-17

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, 17/03/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • German chancellor due in Athens
  • Greece, Latvia sign agreements
  • Athens supports Riga's EU ambitions
  • Ukraine freighter runs aground
  • Weather forces end to attempts to retrieve bodies
  • Athens-Sydney Olympics agreement signed
  • Turkish businessmen cancel trips to Greece
  • Greek equities score new record
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

German chancellor due in Athens

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrives here today from Vienna for talks with prime minister Costas Simitis in the wake of the European Commission's resignation and ahead of next week's extraordinary EU summit. Schroeder, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, arrives at Athens Airport at 2:30 p.m. local time, and will head straight to the prime minister's office at the Maximos Mansion for a 3:00 meeting. He will briefly see the press at about 4:45 pm at Maximos, before heading back to the airport to continue a tour of EU capitals.

Greece, Latvia sign agreements

Greece and Latvia today signed five cooperation agreements following talks between visiting Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis and Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos. Guntis, who arrived in Athens last night at the head of a delegation of Latvian ministers and businessmen, also met later with prime minister Costas Simitis, while he is further scheduled for talks with parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis and opposition party leaders. Latvian defence minister G. Kristovskis and Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos signed a defence cooperation agreement, while Latvian interior undersecretary R. Blukis and Greece's alternate foreign minister Yannos Kranidiotis signed an agreement abolishing visa requirements between the two countries, an educational affairs agreement, an accord on the return of illegal aliens, and an economic and technological cooperation accord.

Athens supports Riga's EU ambitions

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said later that Greece supported Latvia's plans to become a member of the European Union, saying it would help stability and cooperation. Simitis was speaking after meeting with Ulmanis. "Latvia is making strenuous efforts to meet the criteria for participation in the European Union," Simitis told reporters. He noted that Greek businesses were active in Latvia and that the volume of trade between the two countries was expanding to the benefit of both. "For Latvia, Greece is an important neighbour," Ulmanis said. He added he was optimistic about the future of bilateral relations and said Latvia gave particular emphasis to developing North-South relationships in Europe.

Ukraine freighter runs aground

A Ukrainian-flag freighter ran aground on a rocky shoreline off Halkidiki Peninsula in northern Greece, but all 28 crew members were safe, as well as three Moroccan stowaways, the local port authority said. A port spokesman said that the Khamza ran aground last night after its cables broke in strong winds as it was trying to manoeuvre around the loading ramp, and drifted into the rocky patch. The ship was in port to load a cargo of zinc and lead. Nineteen of the crew members and the three stowaways were transproted to shore by a patrol boat, while the other nine crewmembers remained on board to assist in the operation to dislodge the freighter.

Weather forces end to attempts to retrieve bodies

Authorities called off a four-day attempt to retrieve the bodies of three mountain climbers killed on Mount Olympus as the weather in northern Greece took a sudden turn for the worse. The eight-member team of mountain climbers trying to retrieve the bodies were ordered back to camp in the village of Petras, near Pieria, after spending the night in freezing temperatures on the mountain. They were the last group of rescuers to abandon the site. They had planned to attempt once again to reach the bodies of two of the mountain climbers, located 700 metres down a steep gorge. But limited visibility from the low clowd, blinding snow and gusty winds put an end to the plans this morning to reach the bodies.

Athens-Sydney Olympics agreement signed

Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras on Wednesday signed a protocol of cooperation with the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games organising committee. The agreement provides for training and education of sports officials from Greece in issues related to Olympic Games organisation and management. Sydney's University of Technology (UTS) is also a signatory to the agreement. The agreement, which is under the aegis of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was forged after talks between UTS professor Paul Johnson, who is of Greek origin, and Professor Gargaliano of the University of Thrace.

Turkish businessmen cancel trips to Greece

Greek hoteliers on Wednesday confirmed that a number of Turkish businessmen and excursionists have cancelled visits planned for various reasons to Kavala and other areas of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace between March 20 and April 2. The president of the Association of Hoteliers of Kavala prefecture, Apostolos Athianas, said there had been many cancellations since the capture of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. Most of the visitors were scheduled to arrive on Turkish tourist coaches. In faxes sent to Greek hotels, they said there were unable to come "because of events which have occurred in the meantime". According to Greek customs posts on the border with Turkey, the number of persons from Greece and other countries travelling to the neighbouring country has also dropped sharply.

Greek equities score new record

Equity prices resumed their record breaking rally on Wednesday following Tuesday's light correction on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 32.73 points, or 0.91 percent up to 3,630.82 points, its 20th record this year. Traders said a recent wave of listed companies' mergers and forecasts of a drop in inflation to 3.4 percent in March and below 3.0 percent in April, encouraged market sentiment. Turnover was 147.6 billion drachmas and volume 24,0233,075 shares. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.73 percent up while the FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 0.02 percent up to 2,247.37.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather and scattered showers and a drop in temperatures will prevail throughout Greece today. Rain or sleet in northern Greece. Winds variable, strong to gale force in the Aegean. Athens will be rainy with temperatures between 9-13C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 4- 7C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          293.275
Pound sterling       475.228
Japanese yen (100)   247.643
French franc          48.591
German mark          162.969
Italian lira (100)    16.461
Irish Punt           404.716
Belgian franc          7.901
Luxembourg franc       7.901
Finnish mark          53.608
Dutch guilder        144.638
Danish kr.            42.864
Austrian sch.         23.164
Spanish peseta         1.916
Swedish kr.           35.553
Norwegian kr.         37.224
Swiss franc          199.412
Port. Escudo           1.590
Aus. dollar          183.857
Can. dollar          191.476
Cyprus pound         550.659
Euro                 318.740
(M.P.)
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