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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-10

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, 10/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Clinton visit put back a week
  • Postponement not related to protests
  • Sources say demonstrations behind change
  • Explosion at Suzuki dealership, no injuries
  • Commission affirms Greece's fiscal adjustment
  • Mild earthquake rocks Kalamata
  • Greek stocks end lower, turnover up
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Clinton visit put back a week

U.S. President Bill Clinton has postponed his trip to Greece a week on the recommendation of the Greek government, according to a statement issued on Wednesday. "Following talks between the two countries and in the interests of Greek-American relations, the Greek government has proposed to the White House that the visit of the president of the United States, Mr. Clinton, take place November 19-20, 1999, after the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit," an announcement from Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas said. Clinton was originally scheduled to visit Greece November 22-24; this was later changed to November 13-15.

Postponement not related to protests

Greece said on Wednesday that a likely postponement of a visit by U.S. President Bill Clinton to Greece was not related to concerns about anti- American protests. The White House was expected to officially announce that Clinton would put back his visit by a week, to November 19, later in the day. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that the fact that Clinton would visit the country was important for the government. Asked to comment on planned protests during Clinton's visit, which was originally due to begin on Saturday, he said that these protests were respected but did not believe that they expressed the views of a majority of the Greek people.

Sources say demonstrations behind change

Sources said President Bill Clinton planned to postpone by one week his two- day official visit to Greece to avoid protests marking the November 17, 1973 students' uprising that was instrumental in toppling the military junta in Greece. The US president, due to arrive for his first visit to Greece this Saturday, was postponing his visit for November 19-20, immediately after the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Istanbul. "The postponement is being contemplated so that the visit will not coincide with the Athens Polytechnic uprising commemoration events scheduled for this weekend," the sources said. The demonstrations, which usually last for three days in the run-up to the November 17 anniversary, culminate with a protest march to the US embassy in Athens.

Explosion at Suzuki dealership, no injuries

An explosion rocked the entrance of a Japanese car showcase in a central Athens residential district early today, causing damage but no injuries, police said. The terrorist organisation "Anti-State Action" claimed responsibility for the 3:30 a.m. blast in an anonymous telephone call to a private radio station. Police said the home-made bomb comprising four gas cannisters, only two of which exploded, damaged three cars in a Suzuki car dealership display room in Kypseli. The same group claimed responsibility for an early morning bomb attack six days ago against another automobile dealership in the Athens residential district of Ambelokipi, saying the action was in protest of US president Bill Clinton's visit to Athens on November 13-15.

Commission affirms Greece's fiscal adjustment

The European Commission today opened the door to Greece's participation in EMU with a recommendation to the Council of Ministers to abolish the country's excessive fiscal deficit criterion. The Commission approved a recommendation by Pedro Solbes, EU's commissioner on Economic and Monetary Affairs. Solbes said it was a significant step by Greece in its effort to enter a single European currency. The Commission's recommendation said that the Greek general government's deficit fell from 13.8 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 1993 to 4.0 percent in 1997 and to 2.5 percent in 1998, below the criterion of 3.0 percent envisaged in the Maastricht treaty. The report forecasts a further fall in the next two years.

Mild earthquake rocks Kalamata

A weak earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale shook the Peloponese town of Kalamata early today. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said it recorded the quake at 4:21 a.m. at a distance of 180 kilometres southwest of Athens, with its epicentre in the Kalamata region.

Greek stocks end lower, turnover up

Equity prices ended moderately lower on Wednesday hit by renewed pressures on financial stocks, despite an increased turnover helped by strong buying interest in smaller capitalisation stocks. The general index ended 0.41 percent off at 5,704.53 points with turnover at 366.2 billion drachmas. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks jumped 3.56 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 1.07 percent to 2,800.80 points.

Weather

Overcast weather and rain will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Sunny spells in Thrace and the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea. Winds variable moderate to gale force in the Aegean. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 13-18C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 11- 15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          314.008
Pound sterling       509.233
Japanese yen (100)   298.523
French franc          49.792
German mark          166.996
Italian lira (100)    16.868
Irish Punt           414.717
Belgian franc          8.097
Finnish mark          54.933
Dutch guilder        148.212
Danish kr.            43.959
Austrian sch.         23.737
Spanish peseta         1.963
Swedish kr.           37.696
Norwegian kr.         39.859
Swiss franc          203.102
Port. Escudo           1.629
Can. dollar          213.637
Aus. dollar          199.824
Cyprus pound         567.265
Euro                 326.616
(M.P.)
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