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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-15

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, 15/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Turkey's Euro vocation on menu at Friday's EU dinner
  • Medecins Sans Frontieres Nobel prize deserved, minister says
  • Hostages released by Abkhazia gunmen
  • Weak quake rattles Athens, no injuries, damage
  • ECB chairman Duisenberg meets with opposition leader
  • Revered icon arrives in Athens
  • Veteran publisher Horn dies
  • Harmonised CPI at 2.8%
  • Retail sales increase 2.64%
  • Authorities on alert for catarrhal fever
  • Greek equities end week sharply down
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Turkey's Euro vocation on menu at Friday's EU dinner

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday that good neighbourliness was a prerequisite for Turkey's European ambitions, in response to questions about mass infringements of national air space and Athens FIR by Turkish fighter planes on Thursday night. Papandreou, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos are in Tampere, Finland, for an extraordinary summit on immigration issues. Greek-Turkish relations and Turkey's European vocation will be discussed at the EU leaders' dinner on Friday.

Medecins Sans Frontieres Nobel prize deserved, minister says

Health Minister Lambros Papadimas on Friday welcomed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), saying that Greeks felt particularly proud as the local branch of the non- governmental organisation was extremely active. "True to the spirit of Hippocrates, Medecins sans Frontieres has offered and will continue to unselfishly offer its services, when poverty and social inequality place the precious commodity of health at risk," Papadimas said in a statement. Papadimas said the health ministry would continue to stand by the organisation in its ground-breaking work.

Hostages released by Abkhazia gunmen

A Greek UN observer held hostage by gunmen in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, Georgia, has been released, along with the other two UN staff being held. The news was confirmed by Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, currently in Tel Aviv for an official visit. The remaining three hostages were released a day after four were set free by the gunmen. The observers from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Uruguay and Greece were abducted by nine gunmen 75 kilometres northeast of Sukhumi together with their Russian interpreter after their helicopter came under fire on Wednesday.

Weak quake rattles Athens, no injuries, damage

An weak earthquake registering 4.0 Richter was recorded near Athens at 1.48 p.m. on Friday, seismologists said. They said the quake's epicentre came from the Mt. Parnes fault which caused the 5.9 Richter earthquake on September 7. No injuries or damage has been reported.

ECB chairman Duisenberg meets with opposition leader

Visiting European Central Bank (ECB) chairman Wim Duisenberg met this morning with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and discussed the prospects for the drachma's entry into the eurozone, and Greece's joining the EU's economic and monetary union (EMU). They also discussed developments in the Greek and European economies.

Revered icon arrives in Athens

"Axion Esti", the most revered icon on the Mt. Athos all-male monastic community, was brought to Athens today in a rare trip outside the confines of the holy community for display to bring comfort to the September 7 killer earthquake victims. The miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and Christ, belonging to the Karyes Monastery, was accompanied on the journey from Mt. Athos to Thessaloniki and from there by airplane to Athens by the Mt. Athos community elders. Donations left by worshippers will be donated to ease the plight of those left homeless by the September 7 killer earthquake in Athens. The icon will be on display until October 26.

Veteran publisher Horn dies

Yannis Horn, a veteran journalist and long-time publisher of the English- language daily Athens News died in hospital early this morning from natural causes. He was 87. His funeral will take place at the First Athens Cemetery on Monday. Born in Athens, he entered journalism at an early age and worked for several Athens newspapers. He founded the Athens News in 1952. Horn was the brother of renowned Greek actor Dimitris Horn who died two years ago.

Harmonised CPI at 2.8%

Greece's harmonised consumer price index continued falling in September to an average year-on-year rate of 2.8 percent, down from 3.1 percent in August and 3.3 percent in July. The harmonised figures are used for international comparisons of the inflation rate and to evaluate the inflation convergence criterion and price stability for Economic and Monetary Union.

Retail sales increase 2.64%

Retail sales (in stable prices) increased by 2.64 percent in July compared with the same month last year, National Statistics Service said today. The NSS said that the retail sales food prices' index rose by 9.8 percent while the clothing index increased by 7.4 percent in the same period. The same indices for the Attica region rose by 7.8 and 5.6 percent respectively in July.

Authorities on alert for catarrhal fever

The public veterinary authorities in northern Greece today placed on alert following the appearance catarrhal fever in sheep for the first time in the region. The virus is spread by the gnat "Obseledus", which feeds on the blood of animals and appears in cud-chewing animals, but chiefly affects sheep, Parasitology Laboratory director Michalis Patakakis, told ANA. The virus cannot be transmitted to humans, he added.

Greek equities end week sharply down

Equity prices ended the week sharply lower hit by turbulence in the domestic money market and early reports of a new decline on Wall Street on Friday. The general index ended 2.17 percent lower at 5,788.49 points, off the day's lows of 5,704 points. Turnover was a huge 478 billion drachmas. Dealers said renewed pressures on the drachma's parity following negative comments by EU commissioner Pedro Solbes on Thursday undermined sentiment in the market. The Bank of Greece intervened again to defend the drachma selling 150 million euros.

WEATHER

Fine weather will prevail in most parts of the country today. Cloudy in northern Greece with the possibility of local rain mainly in eastern Madedonia and Thrace. Northwesterly winds variable, light to moderate. Sunny in Athens with temperatures ranging from 15-27C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 12-23C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          302.996
Pound sterling       501.357
Japanese yen (100)   283.216
French franc          49.747
German mark          166.843
Italian lira (100)    16.853
Irish Punt           414.339
Belgian franc          8.089
Finnish mark          54.882
Dutch guilder        148.077
Danish kr.            43.910
Austrian sch.         23.715
Spanish peseta         1.961
Swedish kr.           37.305
Norwegian kr.         39.176
Swiss franc          205.111
Port. Escudo           1.628
Can. dollar          204.253
Aus. dollar          196.317
Cyprus pound         563.258
Euro                 326.318
(M.P.)
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