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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-18

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 18/03/1999 (ANA)


  • PM Simitis calls for unity at party congress
  • Greece refuses to play Turkey's game - PM
  • Schroeder effusive in praise for economy
  • Thessaloniki poll gives opposition a head
  • One killed, 27 injured in coach accident
  • Defence minister to visit London
  • Smoking holds sway among Crete youth
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


    PM Simitis calls for unity at party congress

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday called on delegates attending the congress of the ruling PASOK party to concentrate on positions and leave aside petty political considerations. Addressing the party's 5th congress, which began today, Simitis said the "prophets of doom" who had predicted the dissolution of the party following the death in 1996 of its founder, Andreas Papandreou, had been proven wrong. Simitis forecast that PASOK would emerge victorious in June Euroelections and win the general elections scheduled for 2000. The government's objective, he said, is to build a strong society, achieve social cohesion and solidarity within society.

    Greece refuses to play Turkey's game - PM

    Turning to national issues, Simitis said that Turkey had in recent years become "an imponderable factor" in the Eastern Mediterranean. "Greece refuses to play the game of aggravation and tension, and will not provide an alibi for the impasses facing Ankara's military cum political establishment, " Simitis said. The premier promised Greek support for Turkey provided the neighbouring country fell in line with European rules and principles. On the Ocalan affair, which resulted in the resignation of three Greek ministers, Simitis said "no one has the right to play with the fortunes of the country". "The supposed fervent patriots who recently presented Greece with faits accomplis, dealt a severe blow to our national interests and bear heavy responsibility," Simitis said, referring to the persons who arranged for the illegal entry and short stay in Greece of rebel Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan. "These people cannot have and do not have any relationship with PASOK," he added.

    Schroeder effusive in praise for economy

    Visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder praised Greece's progress towards EMU entry during a brief visit to Athens on Wednesday. "I am astonished by the fiscal discipline achieved and I congratulate the (Greek) government for it...Indeed, all the criteria set by the Maastricht Treary are fulfilled and everything has been done as it should," Schroeder said. He and Prime Minister Costas Simitis underlined yesterday the need to "deal immediately" with the crisis facing European Union institutions, after the Commission resigned early Tuesday following corruption charges.

    Thessaloniki poll gives opposition a head

    Ruling party PASOK has lost ground to main opposition New Democracy in Greece's second city of Thessaloniki but neither party garners more than 30 percent support, according to the results of a survey presented on Thursday. New Democracy had a clear lead of 8.5 percent over PASOK, Thoeodoros Hatzipantelis, professor of applied statistics at the Aristotelian University and the head of the study, told a news conference. The poll was conducted on a representative sample of 1,200 residents of Thessaloniki's first electoral district, over the February 24-March 5 period. New Democracy garnered 28.9 percent support, PASOK 21.3, Communist Party 4.6, Democratic Social Movement 4.4, Coalition of the Left 3.5 and Political Spring 1.4 percent. Another 21.3 percent were undecided and 5.8 percent refused to answer.

    One killed, 27 injured in coach accident

    One person was killed and 27 were injured, three of them seriously, when a tourist bus carrying a group of Albanian illegal immigrants overturned on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway outside of Lamia at dawn today. Police said the bus was carrying 35 Albanians from the Albanian town of Vlore to Athens when it skidded off the road in torrential rain and overturned. The dead man was identified as Dimitri Koga, 26. The injured, including a six-year-old boy, were rushed to several hospitals in Athens.

    Defence minister to visit London

    Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will begin an official two-day visit to London on March 23, according to an ANA dispatch from the British capital. Tsohatzopoulos, taking up an invitation from his British counterpart George Robertson, is scheduled to meet Robertson and senior defence officials. On March 24, Tsohaztopoulos will visit the Defence Secretary's crisis operations centre and defence industries in Dorset and Southampton.

    Smoking holds sway among Crete youth

    Smoking continues to be a popular habit among the young on the island of Crete, according to a study conducted by students on the 15-18 year old age group. The study showed that 54 percent of boys and 48 percent of girls smoked on a regular basis. Some 46.6 percent of boys smoked a packet a day and about 25 percent smoked close to two packets a day. About 60 percent of girls smoked a pack a day. The study was supervised by associate professor of medicine at the University of Crete Ilias Kouroumalis and Iraklion University Hospital psychologist Erica Vassilaki.


    Cloudy weather with rain and snow on high ground 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 ranging from 8-16C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-8C.


    Thursday's rates (buying)
    U.S. dollar          290.557
    Pound sterling       471.815
    Japanese yen (100)   244.409
    French franc          48.575
    German mark          162.913
    Italian lira (100)    16.456
    Irish Punt           404.577
    Belgian franc          7.899
    Luxembourg franc       7.899
    Finnish mark          53.590
    Dutch guilder        144.588
    Danish kr.            42.870
    Austrian sch.         23.156
    Spanish peseta         1.915
    Swedish kr.           35.464
    Norwegian kr.         37.295
    Swiss franc          199.144
    Port. Escudo           1.589
    Aus. dollar          182.156
    Can. dollar          190.464
    Cyprus pound         549.132
    Euro                 318.630
    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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