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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-12-03

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, 03/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Cabinet works on more jobs in future
  • Government wants law to move against school sit-ins
  • Minister denies high-voltage power lines a health risk
  • Olympic Airways defends decision to sell NY building
  • Two arrested on drug trafficking charges
  • Zakynthos marine park to be established
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Cabinet works on more jobs in future

Cabinet on Friday discussed the government's national action plan for employment but said that there was no chance the government would bring in legislation to introduce a 35-hour working week. Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said the government's aim was for the 2000- 2004 period to be "four years of increased employment". He said the ministry's 20 different employment programmes had provided jobs for 140,000 people and training for 110,000 workers. The unemployment benefit had risen 20 percent and the unemployed were given the right to medical benefits, he said. Papaioannou noted that Greece in 1998 had the highest employment growth rate (3.0%), while the number of jobs rose 1.4 percent per annum over the 1994-1998 period.

Government wants law to move against school sit-ins

The Cabinet on Friday decided to move legally to allow judicial authorities to intervene in cases of sit-in protests at state schools. The Cabinet, acting on the recommendation of the justice ministry, decided that a legislative act should be drawn up to allow public prosecutors to intervene ex officio at any schools being occupied to determine if damage had been caused or non-students were involved in the protest. Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis told reporters that the ministry had received dozens of phone calls alleging the involvement of non-students in the organisation of these protests. At the moment, more than 200 schools around the country are being occupied by students, 60 of these in the Attica region.

Minister denies high-voltage power lines a health risk

High-voltage electricity pylons pose no health risk to residents in the immediate area, Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Parliament on Friday. Venizelos was responding to questions from MPs over press reports earlier in the week alleging that electromagnetic fields from high-voltage power lines around the country were far higher than permissible levels. He said that studies by the Greek Society for Atomic Energy had shown that two DEH pylons in Anoixi, Attica, had an electric field of slightly below the limit, while in Pallini and Halkida, the electromagnetic fields were well below the limit.

Olympic Airways defends decision to sell NY building

The management of Greek national carrier Olympic Airways on Friday defended its decision to sell its New York office premises, saying the ailing company would divest itself of a source of 'permanent financial loss'. A statement from OA management, responding to charges in some press that it was "selling off" the company's assets, said that it would continue to maintain a ticket-issuing outlet in the U.S. city. The money coming from the sale of the building, it said, would be used for investments, such as the renewal of the OA fleet, relocation to the new Athens international airport and upgrading the company's product overall.

Two arrested on drug trafficking charges

Two men were arrested on Corfu island on charges of posession and trafficking of a large quantity of drugs, police said Friday. Police said that 33-year-old Angelos Michalopoulos and an accomplice, 39-year-old farmer Constantine Buhayer, were arrested Thursday after 70 kilos of hashish was found in their car. They said the Corfu police had received a tip-off that a large quantity of drugs was concealed on the island and would be transported by road to the southern part of the island and from there by ferry to Athens for sale.

Zakynthos marine park to be established

A Presidential Decree for the establishment of a Marine Park on the Ionian island of Zakynthos was signed Friday, after years of efforts by environmental and other organisations, a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announcement said. The aim of the Park's establishment is to efficiently protect one of the most important natural habitats in the Mediterraean of the endangered Caretta-caretta loggerhead sea turtle. For the creation of the marine park, the WWF's Greek branch purchased in 1994 a 320 stremma expanse of land surrounding Sekania beach, one of the most important Caretta-caretta nesting grounds in the Mediterranean.

WEATHER

Fine weather with local cloud will prevail in most parts Greece on today with the possibility of scattered showers in the Cycladic islands, Crete and the Dodecanese. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Sunshine in Athens with temperatures from 7-17C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1- 14C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          323.571
Pound sterling       517.189
Japanese yen (100)   316.775
French franc          49.689
German mark          166.651
Italian lira (100)    16.833
Irish Punt           413.860
Belgian franc          8.080
Finnish mark          54.820
Dutch guilder        147.906
Danish kr.            43.813
Austrian sch.         23.687
Spanish peseta         1.959
Swedish kr.           37.789
Norwegian kr.         40.077
Swiss franc          203.658
Port. Escudo           1.626
Can. dollar          218.736
Aus. dollar          205.741
Cyprus pound         564.448
Euro                 325.941
(M.P.)
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