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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-09

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, 09/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • U.S. concerns about Clinton protests
  • Athens comments on State Department announcement
  • Helicopters brought in for Clinton security
  • Torrential rain wreaks havoc on Attica
  • Athens investigates bogus documents
  • ASE extends trading, expands price limits
  • Turkish 'friendship train' expected in Thessaloniki
  • Budget surplus rises to 349 bln drs Jan-Oct
  • Banks lead Athens bourse lower
  • Iranian illegal immigrants arrested on Samos
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

U.S. concerns about Clinton protests

U.S. ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns is concerned about the presence of demonstrators outside the embassy while U.S. President Bill Clinton is in Athens on an official visit, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday. Reppas, replying to reporters' questions as to whether Burns had asked the government to 'prevent' a march to the U.S. embassy, said the envoy was concerned about the presence of demonstrators outside the building while Clinton was in Greece. "It is a logical concern and nothing more," Reppas said. Reppas said that the ambassador expressed concern that these demonstrations would overshadow the Clinton visit or "possibly" harm Greek-U.S. relations.

Athens comments on State Department announcement

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday that a U.S. State Department announcement was not a travel advisory - which would warn tourists to avoid Greece - and underlined it was a public service the part of the U.S. authorities. 'The U.S. services are responding to real events," Reppas said, adding that a travel advisory was of different content and weight. The State Department public announcement, issued on Monday evening, warned Americans residing in Greece and American visitors to the country to stay away from areas where protest demonstrations are taking place, effective through December 1. "We have no information on specific threats against American citizens in Greece. But in recent weeks there have been several late-night terrorist bomb actions and other attacks that caused damage to business concerns related to the US and concerns considered American," the announcement said.

Helicopters brought in for Clinton security

A U.S. Galaxy transport plane landed at Athens airport on Tuesday with material to be used in providing security for U.S. President Bill Clinton during his visit to Greece. Sources said the plane was carrying two helicopters and a large quantity of electronic equipment to be used by Clinton's FBI security detail. Another four helicopters are expected to be brought in to be used during the trip are expected at Athens airport later on Tuesday.

Torrential rain wreaks havoc on Attica

Two days of torrential rain have wreaked havoc on the Megara and Megalo Pefko regions of Attica prefecture, while flooding has turned the centre of Megalo Pefko into a two-metre deep lake, fire brigade officials said today. The rain has swept away tens of cars and flooded dozens of homes, while the fire brigade has been inundated with calls to rescue people trapped in their cars and homes. Mudslides also halted traffic on the old Athens- Corinth national highway and a secion of the new highway, and emergency teams managed to open up one lane to traffic by noon. Some 50 fire engines carrying 200 firefighters, two caterpillar tread vehicles and two EMAK emergency rescue squad teams equipped with inflatable rafts have been rushed to the area.

Athens investigates bogus documents

Greece's interior ministry ordered an urgent investigation into claims by an Athens daily that Greek documents were held by Russian politicians and Russian underworld figures. According to Ethnos, Russian politician and former Russian presidential candidate Alexander Lebed posesses a Greek passport and driving licence, issued by the Thessaloniki and Larissa prefectures respectively. Ethnos said data from the Russian election committee showed that a number of politicians held Greek and Russian citizenship. Ethnos said that the documents were likely fake and that there was a burgeoning black market in Greek documents. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that he would not comment on the fact of Russian officials holding Greek passports before the checks had been completed but that initial investigations indicate that the documents are fakes.

ASE extends trading, expands price limits

Trading on the Athens Stock Exchange will be extended by two hours with wider price fluctuation limits from the start of next year, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today. Speaking to reporters, Papantoniou said that the measures would satisfy two of the main demands by investors and the Capital Markets' Committee. It was a decision taken following talks with all interested parties and aimed at further improving the stock market's functions, he said. Papantoniou said that extending trading hours would bring the Athens bourse in line with other European markets.

Turkish 'friendship train' expected in Thessaloniki

Kemal Ataturk's personal railway car will pull into the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki - Ataturk's birthplace - on Wednesday, bringing with it an exhibition on modern Turkish history in the hope of further strengthening a new climate of friendship between the two countries. The "Friendship Train" is travelling to Greece in the hope of bolstering the positive developments in the dialogue that has already started between the media of the two countries, a press release from the Turkish embassy said. The train's arrival in Thessaloniki coincides with events marking the 61st anniversary of Ataturk's death, commemmorated at the Turkish consulate in the northern Greek capital every year.

Budget surplus rises to 349 bln drs Jan-Oct

Budget revenues showed a surplus of 349 billion drachmas in the first 10 months of 1999, finance ministry's figures showed today. The regular budget's revenues rose 10.3 percent in the same period, up from an official target of 5.83 percent. October's rise was 1.44 percent. Tax agencies' revenues rose 3.76 percent in October, to stand 11.17 percent higher in the period January-October. Customs revenues increased 1.13 percent in the month for a 3.2 percent rise in the 10-month period, while VAT revenues rose 12.33 percent in October for a 8.37 percent rise in the first 10 months of the year.

Banks lead Athens bourse lower

Equity prices ended lower on Tuesday dragged by losses in blue chip stocks in the Banks sector. The general index fell 0.44 percent to 5,728.14 points, off the day's highs of 5,812. Turnover was 342 billion drachmas. Traders said investors preferred to take early profits in blue chip stocks, a move which overshadowed steady demand for smaller capitalisation issues. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 0.49 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 1.06 percent to 2,831.09 points.

Iranian illegal immigrants arrested on Samos

Police on Tuesday said they had arrested 12 Iranian illegal immigrants on the Dodecanese island of Samos. The five men, three women and four children said that a Turkish smuggler had put them ashore off the island and then disappeared. Police said they were seeking the Turkish smuggler.

WEATHER

Rainstorms will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds variable, moderate to gale force in the Aegean sea. Rain in Athens with brief spells of sunshine and temperatures between 16-20C. Clouds and rain in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 13-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          312.629
Pound sterling       507.269
Japanese yen (100)   294.158
French franc          49.649
German mark          166.514
Italian lira (100)    16.819
Irish Punt           413.520
Belgian franc          8.073
Finnish mark          54.774
Dutch guilder        147.784
Danish kr.            43.801
Austrian sch.         23.667
Spanish peseta         1.957
Swedish kr.           37.541
Norwegian kr.         39.549
Swiss franc          202.234
Port. Escudo           1.625
Can. dollar          212.209
Aus. dollar          200.186
Cyprus pound         564.527
Euro                 325.674
(M.P.)
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