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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-18

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, 18/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Cyprus envoys in Athens for talks
  • Athens comments on Tampere summit
  • PM briefs president on current affairs
  • Italian PM due next week for visit
  • Greece, Armenia sign defence cooperation pact
  • Spanish queen continues private visit
  • Fishermen net 7-metre shark in Aegean
  • Son killed in head-on collision with father
  • Equities plunge on Wall Street worries
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Cyprus envoys in Athens for talks

US president Bill Clinton's special emissary to Cyprus, Alfred Moses, said today he believed that the time was appropriate for the commencement of talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides for a resolution to the 25-year-old Cyprus problem. Moses, accompanied by visiting US State Department coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston, met this morning in Athens with foreign minister George Papandreou. After the meeting, Moses said the recent rapprochement between the Greek and Turkish people after the two countries rushed to each other's assistance following devastating earthquakes in Greece and Turkey, coupled by Turkey's desire for rapprochement with Europe, created a "momentum" that should be taken advantage of.

Athens comments on Tampere summit

The government said on Monday that the ball was now in Turkey's court to prove whether it could suit up to EU candidate member standards. "It depends on Turkey itself whether this becomes a reality," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. "The decision will be taken at the Helsinki summit." European Union leaders warned Turkey on Saturday it should not take for granted that it will be made a candidate for membership at a year- end EU summit. The leaders said Turkey would have to address concerns over Cyprus and human rights before Turkey got its coveted candidacy.

PM briefs president on current affairs

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today briefed President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on Friday's informal EU summit in Tampere, foreign policy issues, the economy and domestic matters. Simitis told reporters after the meeting that a decisive step had been taken in Tampere on matters concerning citizens' security and liberty, adding that the need had been stressed for cooperation among the EU member states "so that there will be an area of justice for the citizens".

Italian PM due next week for visit

Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema arrives in Athens on October 26 for an official visit to Greece and talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. D'Alema's schedule of meetings is not yet available, although Foreign Minister George Papandreou said over the weekend that the two premiers would working on a joint initiative on protecting the Adriatic and Ionian seas from illegal immigration and organised crime. Papandreou said this initiative would be brought to the Helsinki EU summit at the end of the year.

Greece, Armenia sign defence cooperation pact

Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his visiting Armenian counterpart Vagharshak Haroutunyan on Monday signed a defence cooperation pact during talks. The defence agreement relates to training, research, information exchange and cooperation between the two countries' defence industries. Also discussed during the talks were regional security problems faced by the two countries. Haroutunyan arrived in Athens on Saturday for a three-day official visit beginning today. Tsohatzopoulos is to host a dinner in the Armenian defence minister's honour on Monday evening.

Spanish queen continues private visit

President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on Monday hosted a brunch for Queen Sophia of Spain, in Greece on a private visit to attend the inauguration of an exhibition at the National Gallery on Monday. Also at the meal were the Spanish ambassador to Greece and the Greek ambassador to Madrid, as well as the president and director of the National Gallery, which is holding the exhibition of paintings by El Greco. The Spanish monarch, a former Greek princess, over the weekend visited the monasteries of Meteora and, earlier on Monday, the revered icon of Axion Esti from Mount Athos, which is presently on a rare visit outside the confines of the monastic community.

Fishermen net 7-metre shark in Aegean

Greek fishermen netted a 500 kilogram shark off Ikaria island in the Aegean, one of the fishermen told ANA today. The fisherman, Michalis Dritsakis, said that the seven-metre-long shark got caught in the net he and George Hatzigeorgiou had cast on Saturday near Ikaria. Dritsakis said a crane was used to pull the live shark onto the shore at Karlovasi, on nearby Samos island where the fishermen come from.

Son killed in head-on collision with father

A 24-year-old conscript was killed today in a head-on collision with a truck driven by his father, police said. The tragedy occurred on the Katerini-Dion highway in northern Greece when the soldier, Christos Samaras, in his attempt to pass the car in front of him, swerved into the opposite lane and smashed at high speed into an oncoming truck, which turned out to be driven by his father, 48-year-old Dionyssis Samaras. The son, on a weekend leave which he spent at his village, Kontariotissa in Pieria prefecture, had been out with friends in Katerini and was returning to his village at about 7:00 a.m. in his father's car.

Equities plunge on Wall Street worries

Equity prices plunged on Monday hit by worries over developments on Wall Street and its likely impact on international markets, including the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 6.21 percent lower at 5,429.25 points, off the day's lows of 5,356 points. Turnover was a huge 780 billion drachmas reflecting two large block trades by National Bank and Panafon. Sources said that the market's reaction to developments on the other side of the Atlantic was overdone and noted that other European markets reacted calmly. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 7.85 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 5.50 percent to 2,754.57 points.

WEATHER

The weather on today will be overcast with increased cloud in the north. Possibility of storms in the west later in the day. Winds mild to moderate and strong in the Ionian. Athens will be overcast with increased cloud in the north and temperatures ranging from 15-24C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          300.834
Pound sterling       500.801
Japanese yen (100)   284.188
French franc          49.770
German mark          166.920
Italian lira (100)    16.861
Irish Punt           414.528
Belgian franc          8.093
Finnish mark          54.908
Dutch guilder        148.144
Danish kr.            43.924
Austrian sch.         23.726
Spanish peseta         1.962
Swedish kr.           37.204
Norwegian kr.         39.115
Swiss franc          205.547
Port. Escudo           1.629
Can. dollar          202.904
Aus. dollar          195.384
Cyprus pound         563.079
Euro                 326.467
(M.P.)
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