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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-12-06

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, 06/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece still open on Turkish candidacy bid
  • Govt moves to avert escalation of school protests
  • Two seamen killed in ship explosion
  • Six escape in Volos jailbreak
  • World Council on Hellenism begins in Thessaloniki
  • Decisions on compound interest issue expected
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece still open on Turkish candidacy bid

Greece reiterated on Monday that the issue of whether it would approve or deny Turkey's request for EU candidacy status remained open but said it had found "understanding" from its EU partners. "We will be working up to the EU summit (on Friday) towards a positive result," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. "The government's policy (on this issue) is led by national interests." Reppas reiterated Greece's standing position that it favoured a European orientation from Ankara but that "specific actions" had to come from the neighbouring country.

Govt moves to avert escalation of school protests

The government's decision on Friday to empower judicial officials to act against cases of sit-in protests at secondary schools around the country is in response to the demands of a majority of parents and pupils, spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. Reppas, who said that the occupations last year caused an estimated six billion drachmas in damage, said the decision would be sent to president Costis Stephanopoulos for signing on Monday. "We moved quickly to avert damage and the loss of class time... We proceeded with this measure which extends the rights of judicial authorities to act ex officio because the prevailing measures were not adequate enough," Reppas said.

Two seamen killed in ship explosion

Two seamen were killed when two strong explosions rocked the Maltese-flag tanker Athos docked off the southern Greek port of Kalamata early Monday, harbour authorities said. The two men were identified as an Indian and a Romanian. Their names were not immediately known. The other 29 crew members of the 17,800-ton tanker were unhurt. Officials said that the Indian seaman's body was taken to a Kalamata city hospital morgue for a post mortem, while efforts were being made to extricate the Romanian seaman's body stuck in metal sheets at the site of the explosion.

Six escape in Volos jailbreak

Six Albanian inmates escaped and another was injured in a jail break at the Volos judicial prison at dawn Monday, police said. They said seven Albanian inmates beat up a wardon and took his keys,then attacked the guard at the central entrance, before opening the main gate and fleeing. The guard opened fire on the fleeing prisoners, wounding one of them in the leg. The wounded prisioner was taken into custody and was in hospital under police guard.

World Council on Hellenism begins in Thessaloniki

With addresses and speeches from the country's leadership, the third world meeting of the Council of Overseas Greeks got under way in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Monday. The meeting - dubbed the 'Council of Hellenism', according to President Costis Stephanopoulos - is being attended by hundreds of representatives of overseas Greek community groups, from Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. There are an estimated 17 million Greeks in Greece and abroad. The meeting has drawn participation from the worlds of business, science, Greek studies and the arts and letters.

Decisions on compound interest issue expected

The government is expected to announce its decisions on the issue of excessive compound interest rates some time this week, according to reports. On Monday, National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papandoniou and president of the Association of Greek Banks Theodoros Karatzas met on the issue. Karatzas briefed the minister on studies undertaken by the association on the issue and discussed with him proposals to deal with the issue that has arisen. The problem has developed in the wake of high interest rates prevailing for all types of loans in the recent past and banks' reluctance to refinance loans taken out at rates of between 18-25 percent.

WEATHER

Rain is forecast for most parts of Greece today, while snow is expected on higher elevations and in nothern regions of the country. Winds southerly, moderate to strong. Athens will be cloudy with temperatures from 9-18C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-11C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          325.624
Pound sterling       520.780
Japanese yen (100)   317.767
French franc          49.723
German mark          166.763
Italian lira (100)    16.845
Irish Punt           414.137
Belgian franc          8.085
Finnish mark          54.857
Dutch guilder        148.004
Danish kr.            43.850
Austrian sch.         23.703
Spanish peseta         1.960
Swedish kr.           37.908
Norwegian kr.         40.206
Swiss franc          203.990
Port. Escudo           1.627
Can. dollar          219.391
Aus. dollar          205.304
Cyprus pound         566.849
Euro                 326.160
(M.P.)
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