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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-14

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, 14/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece sends earthquake aid to Turkey
  • Greek political analysts write in Washington Post
  • Political youth movements to protest Clinton visit
  • Cypriot students stage hunger strike
  • Greece expresses solidarity with Turks over quake
  • Greek, Turkish emergency rescue units given Ipekci prize
  • Inner cabinet briefed on Clinton security
  • Government hopes for 'shadow-free' Clinton visit
  • Greece, Russia sign business cooperation protocol
  • Papantoniou reaffirms economic convergence
  • Harmonised inflation below two percent in October
  • Greece pledges closer ties with Sofia
  • Vangelis to compose theme for Sydney Olympics
  • Kavala police nab enterprising drug delivery man
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece sends earthquake aid to Turkey

Greek search and rescue workers arrived in Turkey on Saturday after an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale hit the neighbouring country.

The team, which flew to Istanbul in three C-130 transport planes, was due to take off again for Bolu, the quake-stricken province.

Heading the operation was Dimitris Katrivanos, the interior ministry's secretary general for civil protection.

Greece sent 25 search and rescue workers with four relief vehicles, 11 medical staff and two mobile units, four earthquake experts, and three sniffer dogs.

More medical aid was due to follow in a second dispatch by air.

Accompanied by two ministry officials, Katrivanos said in Istanbul that the Greek team was the first to arrive from countries that Ankara had petitioned for assistance.

The earthquake on Friday evening centred on the town of Duzce, which is located about 185 kilometres east of Istanbul and has 300,000 inhabitants.

Turkish officials told Katrivanos that early estimates indicated 50 percent of buildings in the town had collapsed.

More than 269 people have so far been reported dead in the earthquake.

Greek political analysts write in Washington Post

Two Greek political analysts wrote in the Washington Post on Sunday that opposition to President Clinton's visit to Athens next week was limited to a small minority on the left and a handful of right-wing extremists, who should not be labelled terrorists.

In their article headlined "Peaceful Greece", analysts Theodoros Kouloumbis and Thanos Veremis said that protests against Clinton's visit on November 19-20 were being staged chiefly by supporters of the Communist Party of Greece and Democratic Social Movement.

In addition, some far-rightists who looked back with nostalgia to Greece's 1967-1974 military dictatorship also backed the protests. The junta was supported by the Johnson and Nixon administrations, the two writers added.

The country's other political parties might object on a case-by-case basis to US or NATO policies - including their bombing of Yugoslavia this year - but were neither anti-American nor anti-European, they said.

The analysts were responding to an article published earlier this month in the Washington Post by a former US State Department and Pentagon official, who claimed that Greek government officials may have links to the November 17 terrorist organisation, responsible for dozens of murders and attacks since 1975.

Kouloumbis and Veremis pointed out that Greek police were working with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify members of the elusive group, but with no success.

November 17 appeared to be an organisation with few members, and it struck at irregular intervals, the writers said.

They also noted that Greece had enjoyed an established system of democracy since 1974, and was a member of the European Union and NATO.

In addition, the country ranked 20th around the world for its standard of living, and showed low rates of crime, suicide and drug abuse, Kouloumbis and Veremis added.

US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns has stated that suggestions of links between terrorists and the Greek government are groundless, and do not represent US policies or views. The government has also rejected the allegations.

Political youth movements to protest Clinton visit

Youth movements of major political parties plan to stage a protest march to the US embassy on Friday, timed to coincide with the arrival in Athens of President Bill Clinton.

A rally in Kaningos Square will culminate in the march to the embassy.

Among the youth movements to endorse the protest were those of the ruling PASOK party, Communist Party of Greece, Coalition of the Left and Democratic Social Movement.

The groups issued a statement on Saturday calling for the march to be orderly and peaceful.

The statement said the youth movements were protesting against US intervention in the Balkans and elsewhere in the world.

Another demand was for the government to refrain from allowing Greek territory to be used for acts by the US against other countries, the statement said.

Clinton is paying a 24-hour visit to Greece spanning November 19-20.

Cypriot students stage hunger strike

Cypriot students in Thessaloniki are staging a four-day hunger strike to protest against Turkey's continuing occupation of the island republic.

The hunger strikers have encamped outside the Turkish Consulate in the northern port city.

The protest is part of a campaign by the Thessaloniki National Student Union of Cypriots to publicise the Cyprus issue.

Cypriot Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos is to make a speech on Monday as part of the student drive.

Greece expresses solidarity with Turks over quake

Greece late on Friday expressed its solidarity with Turks after an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale hit the neighbouring country earlier the same evening.

Athens would immediately dispatch search and rescue workers to Istanbul to aid their Turkish counterparts, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

He also promised any further aid needed after the earthquake in northwestern Turkey in which 269 people have so far been reported dead and over 1,500 injured.

The quake was centred about 185 kilometres east of Istanbul.

Greek, Turkish emergency rescue units given Ipekci prize

The Greek and Turkish emergency rescue teams took the spotlight again on Friday, receiving this year's Abdi Ipekci prize for furthering Greek- Turkish friendship following their titanic efforts during the twin quakes that struck NW Turkey and the greater Athens area in August and September, respectively.

The guest of honour, former Turkish foreign minister Hikmet Cetin, said the immediate outpouring of support from both countries in the wake of the quakes had surprised him and others by its force.

"This must be pursued by all means," he said, admitting that there were, however, problems in relations, such as to be expected between two neighbouring countries. "But these can be resolved with dialogue," he said, adding that mutual friendship would offer nothing but good to the two countries and the wider region.

The Ipekci prize is awarded at regular intervals to those who have made a contribution to Greek-Turkish rapprochement. It is named after a pacifist Turkish editor and journalist who sought friendship with Greece, Abdi Ipekci. He was murdered shortly after his return from a trip to Greece. Also receiving awards were the Greek branch of Doctors without Borders and students of a Turkish school who held an essay competition on Greek-Turkish friendship. Other prize winners included former ND minister and Liberal Party founder Stephanos Manos, European Euro MPs-Anna Karamanos (PASOK) and Costas Hatzidakis (New Democracy), Greek deputy Mustafa Mustafa (Coalition of the Left), the Greek and Turkish presidents of the two countries' technical chambers and the directors of the Turkish and Greek national theatre houses.

Inner cabinet briefed on Clinton security

Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoides on Friday briefed the Inner Cabinet on security measures to be taken during the visit to Greece of U.S. President Bill Clinton on November 19. The minister briefed U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns on the measures on Thursday evening.

Government hopes for 'shadow-free' Clinton visit

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Friday said that the government had decided to take all necessary measures so that nothing "cast a shadow" over US President Bill Clinton's visit to Athens. Reppas,after a four-hour meeting of the inner cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, said that all requisite measures would be taken. He said that "freedom of speech is a consolidated right in Greece, but it can not be in conflict with the country's interests or its prestige". Reppas called President Clinton's visit a significant opportunity for Greece, saying that "we will be given the opportunity to present him with the Greek position on Cyprus, the Balkans and Greek-Turkish relations".

Greece, Russia sign business cooperation protocol

Greece and Russia on Saturday signed a cooperation protocol to aid the growth of small and medium sized enterprises.

The pact was signed in Athens by Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Zafiropoulos and his Russian counterpart, Alexei Prokopiev.

Under the terms of the protocol, the two countries will share experiences and knowhow in the sector in order to help encourage the creation and growth of small and medium sized firms.

They will also devise measures to make products and services in the sector more competitive.

Papantoniou reaffirms economic convergence

The Greek economy is moving in line with the government's policy statement, next year's budget aims to ensure the country's participation in EMU although it included increased social benefits and the stock market's course continues to reflect the economy's dynamism paving the way for further tax cuts in the next few years, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told ANA today. In an interview with the Athens News Agency, Papantoniou said next year's budget was drafted to ensure the country's entry in the eurozone by further containing deficits to 1.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 from 1.5 percent this year. "This means that we are comfortably below the 3.0 percent limit envisaged by the Maastricht Treaty ensuring our participation in EMU based on the fiscal criteria."

Harmonised inflation below two percent in October

Harmonised inflation remained below two percent in Greece in October despite a rise in national consumer price figures the same month. Year-on- year harmonised inflation was 1.9 percent in October, the National Statistics Service said today, with the average harmonised CPI index running at 2.6 percent in October, down from 2.8 percent the previous month. Harmonised inflation offers data for international inflation comparisons and for evaluating prices stability convergence in European Economic and Monetary Union.

Greece pledges closer ties with Sofia

Greece was determined to advance bilateral contacts at all levels, and the two countries' excellent relations would benefit peace and stability in the wider Balkan region, Prime Minister Costas Simitis assured Bulgarian counterpart Ivan Kostov in a message released here today. "I wish to assure you, in the spirit of our recent fruitful talks in Sofia and the very constructive Trilateral Summit meeting between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania in Borovets, that my country is determined to promote the contacts at all levels so that are excellent bilateral relations will be further consolidated and produce specific results, particularly in the economic sector, " Simitis said in the message.

Vangelis to compose theme for Sydney Olympics

Greece's Academy Award-winning composer Vangelis Papathanasiou, known simply as Vangelis, will compose the music for the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, it was announced here today. Vangelis, who won the 1981 Oscar for his score for "Chariots of Fire", which also received the Oscar for best picture, will compose the 10-minute theme for the ceremony in which Sydney will turn over the Olympic Flag to Athens for the 2004 Games.

Kavala police nab enterprising drug delivery man

Kavala police said on Friday they had put a stop to a booming home delivery service in drugs in their northern Greek city, following the arrest of a 22- year-old man. Savvas Tekesavvas will be charged with possession and trafficking in narcotics, they said. Tekesavvas had set up a system in which his 'clients' could call his mobile or land-line phone, place an order for hashish, which he would then deliver to their home. The man was caught when he made a delivery to a undercover policeman. He had on him some 28.4 grams of hashish. A later search of his home discovered another 664 grams of hashish.

WEATHER

Cloud is forecast throughout Greece on Monday, turning to rain and storms in the west of the country and in the eastern Aegean and Dodecanese islands. Winds will be southerly, moderate to strong, becoming very strong overnight. Partly cloudy in Athens and Thessaloniki, with the northern city likely to see rain overnight.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          314.266
Pound sterling       508.479
Japanese yen (100)   300.259
French franc          49.652
German mark          166.524
Italian lira (100)    16.820
Irish Punt           413.545
Belgian franc          8.074
Finnish mark          54.777
Dutch guilder        147.793
Danish kr.            43.842
Austrian sch.         23.669
Spanish peseta         1.957
Swedish kr.           37.759
Norwegian kr.         39.700
Swiss franc          202.527
Port. Escudo           1.625
Can. dollar          214.272
Aus. dollar          202.051
Cyprus pound         563.039
Euro                 325.693
(C.S.)
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