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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-04

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, 04/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Group claims car dealership bomb
  • Press allegations 'despicable', minister says
  • Ferry fire death toll rises to 14
  • More would-be stowaways found
  • FM winds up Canadian visit, heads to US
  • President in Munich for exhibition
  • Greenpeace protest at toxic waste storage
  • Greece gets first e-trade centre
  • Tremors linked to '97 quake
  • Athens bourse ends mixed in subdued trade
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Group claims car dealership bomb

A group calling itself "Anti-State Action" today claimed responsibility for an early morning bomb attack against an automobile dealership in the Athens residential district of Ambelokipi, police said. An unidentified caller called private "Flash" radio station and claimed responsibility for the home-made bomb on behalf of the group, saying the action was in protest of US president Bill Clinton's forthcoming visit to Athens November 13-15. Six cars were damaged in a fire that broke out when one of the four gas cannisters comprising the bomb exploded under one of the cars early Thursday, but there were no injuries.

Press allegations 'despicable', minister says

Environment, town planning and public works minister Costas Laliotis today rejected as "unacceptable, despicable, provocative and irrational" an article in Wednesday's edition of the Washington Post newspaper alleging links between the shadowy "November 17" terrorist organisation and Greek officials. Laliotis said the article, which "clearly serves expediencies", had "no relationship to reality". The ruling PASOK party "never had, nor has, any relation whatsoever with the November 17 terrorist organisation", which emerged 24 years ago with the killing of CIA station chief in Athens Richard Welch in 1975, and has since claimed responsibility for the assassination of 20 other Greeks and foreigners and scores of rocket attacks against foreign concerns in Greece.

Ferry fire death toll rises to 14

Three more bodies were found aboard a Greek ferry that caught fire en route from Patras to Italy's Ancona port, bringing the death toll to 14, harbour authorities said today. The three bodies were found in the cabin of a truck in the garage level of the Superfast III ferry, which caught fire Tuesday shortly after setting sail from the northwestern Greek port of Patras. Although all 306 registered passengers and 107 crew were safe and accounted for and successfully evacuated from the blazing ferry, a search later turned up the bodies of 11 stowaways without identification or travel documents but all believed to be Kurdish illegal immigrants, in various levels of the ferry's garage, which is automatically sealed off in such emergencies.

More would-be stowaways found

Patros port authority officials said on Thursday they had found and arrested 13 Kurdish illegal immigrants in a Bulgarian-registered truck at the port. They said the truck was due to travel to Italy via the port. The driver of the Bulgarian vehicle was not near the truck at the time of the search and is being sought.

FM winds up Canadian visit, heads to US

Greece's foreign minister George Papandreou on Wednesday wound up a four- day visit to Canada with the signing of an agreement for the mutual extridition of criminals and a memorandum of cooperation between the two countries in the field of athletics, an ANA dispatch from Ottawa said. Papandreou and Canadian counterpart Lloyd Axworthy signed the accords in Ottawa, on the last leg of Papandreou's visit before he headed for a US visit beginning with Boston, where he will deliver an address at Harvard University this evening.

President in Munich for exhibition

President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos is due to arrive in Munich on Sunday to officially open an exhibition at the National Bavarian Museum, according to an ANA dispatch from Berlin. Stephanopoulos will open the exhibition at a ceremony on Monday. The exhibition - 'Modern Greece - Greeks and Bavarians in the era of Ludwig I' - will run through to February next year. The Greek president is expected to return to Athens on Monday evening.

Greenpeace protest at toxic waste storage

Greenpeace activists, joined by a local mayor, demonstrated at the premises of a local paper mill on Thursday, against what they say is the storage of thousands of tonnes of pesticides considered a health risk to residents in western Thessaloniki. Protestors entered the NOVA (formerly Diana paper mills) plant wearing masks and protective suits. On leaving the factory, they said they had found the pesticides stored in cracked barrels cracks and in cardboard boxes. Mayor of the Stavroupolis municipality, Spyros Baroutas, and Greenpeace director Stelios Psomas called on the agriculture, development and environment ministries to provide funds to the Thessaloniki municipality to carry out its plans to remove txoic wastes, when these cannot be destroyed without environmental repercussions. This plan is budgeted at some one billion drachmas.

Greece gets first e-trade centre

The Hellenic Export Promotion Organisation (HOPE) today announced the creation of the first Electronic Trade Centre in the country aimed at offering business-members access to an international business information network. Singular, a Greek software group, signed an agreement with HOPE for the implementation of the project after an international tender. Theodore Vlassopoulos, HOPE's chairman and chief executive, said that the whole system was under the surveillance of the United Nations which was setting international standards and was monitoring their establishments.

Tremors linked to '97 quake

Thessaloniki University seismologists on Thursday linked two tremors this week to the 6.6 Richter earthquake that shook the Ionian island of Zakynthos on November 18, 1997. "Minor and moderate aftershocks may continue for ten years in an area where a major earthquake took place," seismology professor Vasilis Karacostas told the ANA. A moderate earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale shook southwest Peloponnese early Thursday, while another measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale jolted northwest Greece Tuesday morning. No injuries or damage were reported in either quake. The epicentre for both quakes was registered at a distance of 255 kilometres southwest of Athens in the sea area off Zakynthos.

Athens bourse ends mixed in subdued trade

Equity prices ended Thursday's session mixed to lower in subdued trade on the Athens Stock Exchange, reflecting lack of fresh incentives and directions. The general index fell 0.31 percent to 5,530.85 points. Turnover was low at 261 billion drachmas. Shares in the Banks sector came under pressure pushing the relative index 1.50 percent lower. Ergobank was the only sector's issue to move higher. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 1.56 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 1.05 percent to 2,784.50 points.

WEATHER

Scattered showers in most parts of the country today with sunny spells in western and northern Greece. Possibility of storms in the Aegean Sea. Winds northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Possibility of showers in Athens with temperatures 11-20C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 10-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          310.744
Pound sterling       512.566
Japanese yen (100)   298.473
French franc          49.732
German mark          166.793
Italian lira (100)    16.848
Irish Punt           414.213
Belgian franc          8.087
Finnish mark          54.867
Dutch guilder        148.032
Danish kr.            43.872
Austrian sch.         23.707
Spanish peseta         1.960
Swedish kr.           37.617
Norwegian kr.         39.482
Swiss franc          202.809
Port. Escudo           1.627
Can. dollar          210.998
Aus. dollar          200.186
Cyprus pound         563.972
Euro                 326.219
(M.P.)
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