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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-23

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, 23/03/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek chief of staff concerned over Kosovo
  • Kosovo not about to hurt Greek stability
  • S-300 missiles not yet in Crete
  • Parliament commission on Ocalan meets
  • Greek mountaineers conquer Kilimanjaro
  • Clocks forward an hour on Sunday
  • Welfare cheats set to pay back money
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek chief of staff concerned over Kosovo

US Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns had a scheduled meeting on Tuesday with the Chief of the National Defence General Staff, General Manousos Paragioudakis. Defence ministry sources said the meeting focused on matters within the competence of the general staff. They said it was also likely that the latest developments in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo were discussed. The sources said Burns and Paragioudakis both expressed concern about recent developments in Kosovo and hope that a solution could be found to the crisis through diplomatic channels.

Kosovo not about to hurt Greek stability

Greece was and would continue to be an oasis of stability in the region, the government spokesman said today. Asked to commment on US president Bill Clinton's statement concerning Greece's and Turkey's involvement in the Kosovo developments, acting government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said that the US president had not anticipated involvement, but simply expressed his concern over possible developments in the region. "Greece is an oasis of stability in the region, and shall continue to be," he said.

S-300 missiles not yet in Crete

Greece on Tuesday denied that a vessel docked in Iraklion, Crete, had brought in the first consignment of parts for the installation of S-300 missiles on the island. A commercial vessel carrying a cargo of military supplies docked late on Monday at the port of Iraklion and began unloading under strict military security, fuelling the rumours. Defence ministry sources denied the reports, saying that the delivery was part of a routine shipment of parts for the Greek Air Force and completely unrelated to the missiles. Government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said the shipment related to specific material for the Air Force and that there would be no public discussion about the movements of the Greek Armed Forces. Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides late in 1998 decided against deploying the Russian missile system on the island. Following Clerides' decision, the Greek government said it would take delivery of the missiles and place them on Crete - although it remained unclear whether they would be deployed or placed in storage.

Parliament commission on Ocalan meets

A parliamentary commission of inquiry into the circumstances of Greece's harbouring of fugitive Kurd rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan on Tuesday named the first parties to be called to testify. The commission, made up of MPs from all parties represented in Parliament, held its first meeting on Tuesday, following approval to establish it at Parliament. Abdullah Ocalan was captured by Turkish security forces in a covert operation in Ferbruary, after the Kurd leader spent 12 days hiding at the Greek embassy in Nairobi. The commission will next meet on Tuesday, March 30, to hear testimony. The sessions will be held in camera.

Greek mountaineers conquer Kilimanjaro

Four young Greek mountainclimbers from Thessaloniki have conquered the highest peak on the African continent, hoisting the Greek flag on the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Vassilis Mitsos, Pandalis Tsertsevilis, Vangelis Hatzis and Anastasia Kontou made the 1,100 metre upward trek in 10 days, covering more than 1,000 metres a day. The group, who started out from the northern Greek capital for their adventure on March 10, said upon return to Greece last night that their next target will be Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the Himalayas.

Clocks forward an hour on Sunday

Summer time officially begins this Sunday, March 28, when clocks should be moved forward one hour at 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., the Transport and Communications Ministry announced. The switch to summer time takes place simultaneously throughout the European Union. Summer time ends on Sunday, October 31, when clocks will be moved back one hour.

Welfare cheats set to pay back money

Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday that 6,000 civil service pensioners would be asked to return family allowances which they had been receiving without being entitled. Since January 1 alone, he said, the amount of allowances involved totals 1.2 billion drachmas. The cheaters were discovered when pension records of the General Accounts Office were cross-checked with tax return data. Christodoulakis said the persons who would be asked to return the money had been receiving family allowances depite declaring that they were single in their tax returns.

WEATHER

Rain is forecast for most parts of the country late today. Cloudy in the islands of southeastern Greece. Winds southerly, moderate to gale force. Athens will be sunny but rain is expected in the evening with temperatures between 6-16C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-12C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          293.275
Pound sterling       477.569
Japanese yen (100)   249.835
French franc          48.636
German mark          163.116
Italian lira (100)    16.476
Irish Punt           405.081
Belgian franc          7.909
Luxembourg franc       7.909
Finnish mark          53.656
Dutch guilder        144.769
Danish kr.            42.934
Austrian sch.         23.185
Spanish peseta         1.918
Swedish kr.           35.692
Norwegian kr.         37.664
Swiss franc          199.898
Port. Escudo           1.591
Aus. dollar          185.345
Can. dollar          193.976
Cyprus pound         551.552
Euro                 319.027
(M.P.)
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