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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-01

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, 01/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • No delay in 2004 Games, organisers say
  • PASOK closes in on ND - poll
  • Athens quake had destructive impact
  • Controversial seismologist dropped
  • Weak quake hits reigonal Greece
  • Defence Minister in Cyprus
  • Schroeder's support for Greek EMU hopes
  • Two arrested at Athens airport for pilfering
  • Australian couple wounded in drive-by shooting
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

No delay in 2004 Games, organisers say

Athens 2004 Olympic Games organisers said on Friday that there was no cause for concerns about reported delays in Olympic Games projects and that planning was still on track. "No valuable timme has been lost in the area of the projects. The most important aspect of the projects is the preliminary stages. Now the administrative and bureaucratic issues have been surpassed, which is a great advantage," vice-president of the Organising Committee Niki Tzavella told a news conference on Friday. Procedures to expropriate land will begin in October and will be completed by the third quarter of 2000, he said.

PASOK closes in on ND - poll

Ruling party PASOK has gained on opposition New Democracy's lead, an opinon poll published in Greek daily Eleftherotypia showed on Friday. Although ND continues to lead PASOK, with 30.7% of voters giving it their preferences, compared to 30.1% for PASOK, the gap has narrowed considerably compared to the results of June's European Parliament elections. Another poll, by V-PRC and published in Ta Nea daily, showed Costas Simitis considered more suitable for the job of prime minister than ND leader Costas Karamanlis, 41% to 31.8%. Simitis also beat out Karamanlis in the popularity stakes, 56.9% to 52%. Simitis had, unsurprisingly, the support of 83.1% of PASOK voters, but 30% of opposition New Democracy supporters also found him appealing.

Athens quake had destructive impact

The 5.9 Richter quake which hit Athens on September 7 was one of the most destructive in recent decades and left far more damage than originally thought, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Friday. Reppas was speaking after the inner cabinet went through a thorough review of damage and quake relief efforts. He said 33% of the 185,000 buildings inspected throughout Attica needed repair work and seven percent needed to be pulled down. School buildings had been particularly adversely affected, he said. Between 35,000-40,000 students needed to be provided with alternative school buildings, he said. Historical buildings and sites were not overly affected, expect for some Byzantine-era buildings, most notably the Daphne Monastery.

Controversial seismologist dropped

Professor Panayotis Varotsos, one of the designers of the experimental VAN seismic prediction system, has been left out of the new composition of the standing Seismic Danger Assesment Committee announced today by Environment undersecretary Christos Verelis. Announcing the new Committee, which now comprises 15 members against the previous 11, Verelis said that Varotsos had never taken part in the Committee's meetings during its previous three- year term "which means that he has no intention of assisting" the Committee's work. Verelis said no one from the VAN team would serve on the Committee, adding that the team's basic research so far "cannot be utilised, and there is also bad management of this basic research".

Weak quake hits reigonal Greece

A weak earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale hit the wider region of Afilohia, in the Aitolakarnania region on Friday but no damage or injuries have been reported. The tremor was recorded at 1.27 p.m. Seismologists said the epicentre was 250kms northwest of Athens. The quake in the Amfilohia region today was an isolated event, Manolis Skordilis, seismologist at Thessaloniki University's Geophysics Laboratory, told ANA.

Defence Minister in Cyprus

The target of the Athens and Nicosia governments is to reinforce Cyprus' defence so as to render it a deterrent force against any threat, Greece's national defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Nicosia today after talks with Cyprus counterpart Socrates Hasikos. Hasikos told reporters after the meeting that so long as the Turkish occupation force remained on the island republic, Cyprus was obliged to strengthen its defence in the framework of the Greece-Cyprus joint defence doctrine.

Schroeder's support for Greek EMU hopes

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, due in Athens on Monday for talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, has expressed Germany's full support for Greece's efforts to make entry to European economic and monetary union. Schroeder's support is carried in an special section on Greek-German relations printed in the Athens German-language paper Athener Zeitung. Schroeder will be in Athens to mark the 75th anniversary of the German- Greek chamber of commerce and industry. Greek-German relations are excellent and efforts will continue to improve them, the chancellor says. Schroeder called the leading role Greece was playing in consolidating stability in southeast Europe "invaluable".

Two arrested at Athens airport for pilfering

Police have arrested two men, both employees at the Athens International Airport, after finding them in possession of a number of items reportedly stolen from goods left in their care. Police identified the two as Nikos Bouyas, head of storage at the Athens customs authority at the airport, and George Nikolaides, an employee of Swissair. Bouyas, entrusted with the guarding of goods of some value in the customs area, is alleged to have opened the packages and removed some of the goods. He would then carefully repackage the goods to escape detection from customs officials that it had been opened.

Australian couple wounded in drive-by shooting

An Australian couple was shot and wounded early today by an unknown gunman in the Athens coastal suburb of Voula, police said. They said Australian citizens Ian Smith, 32, and Tania Lucovic, 34, were shot at 2:30 a.m. through the open windown of the one-family home they were staying in. The couple were taken to hospital, where doctors said they were out of danger. Police who have launched an investigation to find the culprit, tentatively believe the shooting to be a "clearing up of accounts".

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout Greece today with the possibility of showers in the Peloponnese and Crete. Winds westerly, light. Mostly fair in Athens with temperatures from 19-31C. Same in Theassoniki with temperatures between 17-29C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          305.804
Pound sterling       503.539
Japanese yen (100)   289.773
French franc          49.694
German mark          166.667
Italian lira (100)    16.835
Irish Punt           413.898
Belgian franc          8.081
Finnish mark          54.825
Dutch guilder        147.919
Danish kr.            43.888
Austrian sch.         23.689
Spanish peseta         1.959
Swedish kr.           37.416
Norwegian kr.         39.511
Swiss franc          204.263
Port. Escudo           1.626
Can. dollar          208.518
Aus. dollar          199.170
Cyprus pound         564.607
Euro                 325.971
(M.P.)
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