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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-21

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, 21/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens reserves comment on Cyprus impasse
  • Government points out real problems to opposition
  • Monetary policy to remain tight
  • Quake measuring 4.8 Richter hits Patras
  • Trial firings of Patriot, Hawk missiles
  • Former PM warns of danger of independent Kosovo
  • Students march ties up city traffic
  • Thessaloniki to host Balkans reconstruction meet
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens reserves comment on Cyprus impasse

The government said on Thursday that it was too early to say whether the mediation initiative by US President Bill Clinton on the Cyprus problem had reached an impasse, following a meeting between presidential envoy Alfred Moses and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said however that the negative outcome of the meeting should be attributed entirely to Denktash "and this responsibility must be laid at his door by the international community".

Government points out real problems to opposition

The government said on Thursday that it was moving on from the Olympic Lottery issue and called on the opposition to concentrate on the coutnry's real problems. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Prime Minister Costas Simitis's decision on Wednesday to drop plans to go ahead with the Olympic Lottery had effectively "cleared the air" and indicated the major problems facing the country which the government planned to tackle. He called on opposition parties to preoccupy themselves with these issues in an effort to resolve them. Simitis said in a statement on Wednesday that the government was dropping plans for a lottery to raise money for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, because it had become the object of "petty partisan politicking".

Monetary policy to remain tight

Monetary policy will remain as tight as necessary to secure the key to the inflation, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today. Speaking to reporters following a meeting with Bank of Greece's governor Lucas Papademos, Papantoniou said that "my view, which I suppose Mr. Papademos shares with me, is that the cut in interest rates announced by the Bank of Greece is too small to have any significant impact on commercial banks' interest rates". He noted that Greek short-term interest rates were in the process of converging with other European rates but still had a way to go.

Quake measuring 4.8 Richter hits Patras

An earthquake registering 4.8 on the Richter scale shook the western Greek port city of Patras today. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said it recorded the quake at 11:46 a.m. with its epicentre 170 kilometres west of Athens, in the eastern tip of the Gulf of Patras. Reports from the port later said that one building in the city had been declared dangerous and slated for demolition after the quake. The quake caused the building, which was unoccupied, to slump over dangerously but not collapse, according to reports. Also affected were parts of two roads, which subsided. Another older building in the city centre is also expected to be listed as seriously damaged. There were no reports of injuries.

Trial firings of Patriot, Hawk missiles

Greek, German, US and Dutch army units today carried out combined trial firings of Patriot and Hawk missiles at the Crete Firing Centre, attended by Greece's national defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos. "I was pleased to see the efficiency of the Patriot missiles which we have just acquired for operational training at the present stage," Tsohatzopoulos said, adding that the new Patriot-3 missile systems Greece was slated to acquire in two years' time would have an even wider range and effectiveness. The trial consisted of eight firings -- six Hawks and two Patriots.

Former PM warns of danger of independent Kosovo

Conservative former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis warned today US and European backed plans for the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo to become an independent state would bring about a forced change of borders in the Balkans in Albania's favour and endanger stability and peace in the region, with FYROM as the first victim, and called on the Greek premier to take up the issue with the US president on his forthcoming visit here.

Students march ties up city traffic

High school students threw three fire-bombs at a bank in the city centre and clashed with other demonstrators at the start of the march and in Syntamga Square during a protest march on Thursday. But police said the march of some 3000 teachers and students was largely peaceful. The march however caused traffic congestion in the wider Athens area. It began at 12.30 in the city centre and ended an hour and a half later: traffic was diverted away from many major arterials leading into the city. Marchers, protesting education ministry reforms, followed an effigy of Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis which was burned in Syntagma Square.

Thessaloniki to host Balkans reconstruction meet

An inernational financial and business conference on "The reconstruction of the Balkans" will be held November 2-3 in Thessaloniki. The conference, to be attended by economy ministers, bankers and businessmen from Balkan countries, is organised by the Northern Greece Industry Union, Thessaloniki International Fair SA, Euromoney Confernece and Symeon Tsomokos SA. The agenda includes discussion of an international effort for the reconstruction of Kosovo and the Balkan region and the roles of regional governments, the US and the Inter-Balkan Business Cooperation in promoting the plan.

WEATHER

Unsettled weather with extensive scattered showers will prevail throughout Greece. Winds variable, moderate to very strong. Mostly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 17-27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 15-21C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          303.274
Pound sterling       505.821
Japanese yen (100)   285.408
French franc          49.845
German mark          167.174
Italian lira (100)    16.886
Irish Punt           415.158
Belgian franc          8.105
Finnish mark          54.992
Dutch guilder        148.369
Danish kr.            43.995
Austrian sch.         23.761
Spanish peseta         1.965
Swedish kr.           37.190
Norwegian kr.         39.273
Swiss franc          205.433
Port. Escudo           1.631
Can. dollar          203.856
Aus. dollar          196.828
Cyprus pound         565.718
Euro                 326.963
(M.P.)
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