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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-12-17

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, 17/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Illegal immigrant found dead on Greek ferry
  • Papandreou comments on Turkish fighter activity
  • Cypriot FM due in Athens on Monday
  • Government reveals law on ethnic Greeks' status
  • Kidnapping charges dropped against mother of five
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Illegal immigrant found dead on Greek ferry

An illegal immigrant died and 46 others were arrested on two different Greek ferries on the way from the central Greek port city of Patras to Italy, harbour authorities said Friday. Harbour officials said one man, said to be an Iraqi of Kurdish origin, was found dead late Thursday night in a liquid gas tank truck in the garage section of the Superfast II ferry. Another 26 men, also said to be Iraqis of Kurdish origin, were found in the same truck as the ferry arrived in the Italian port of Ancona. In a separate incident, 20 illegal immigrants, including a young boy, were found hidden in a sealed Bulgarian truck on the Superfast I ferry also on the way from Patras to the Italian port of Bari. The boy, suffering from Mediterranean anaemia, was having breathing problems. The Italian authorities allowed only the boy and his parents to disembark so that the child could be given urgent medical attention.

Papandreou comments on Turkish fighter activity

Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday that the new spirit in Greek-Turkish relations had to be given a chance to bloom and that dwelling on the past was detrimental to both sides. "At Helsinki we saw the opening of a new dynamic which will allow a new long-term strategy of improvement in the climate," he said. Papandreou was responding to reporters' questions on infringements of Greek air space by Turkish fighter jets. "If we dwell on isolated incidents and on practices of the past, we will not be able to see the forest for all the trees," Papandreou said. "We didn't open the gates to paradise at Helsinki, but we did open the gate of opportunity." According to media reports on Thursday, seven formations of Turkish F-16 and Phantom fighter jets violated Athens FIR guidelines on nine occasions and proceeded to eight infringements of national air space between the islands of Lesvos, Hios and Rhodes. It was the first time that Turkish fighter activity had been noted over the Aegean since the EU summit at Helsinki last Friday decided to attribute candidacy status to Turkey.

Cypriot FM due in Athens on Monday

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will visit Athens on Monday for talks with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, an ANA dispatch from Nicosia reported. Kasoulides is expected to brief Papandreou on the first round of proximity talks on the Cyprus issue, held in New York earlier this week. Papandreou will brief his Cypriot counterpart in turn on the decisions affecting Cyprus taken at last week's EU summit in Helsinki.

Government reveals law on ethnic Greeks' status

The government on Friday revealed a draft law regulating the status of an estimated 150,000 ethnic Greeks who sought refuge in Greece in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union 10 years ago. The new bill provides the ethnic Greek refugees with formal Greek nationality, special passports providing them with the right to leave and enter the country without restriction and working papers. The bill also introduces incentives in the form of subsidies to attract these ethnic Greeks to settle in underpopulated and economically depressed border regions, such as the northern Aegean or Thrace.

Kidnapping charges dropped against mother of five

A public prosecutor in the northern Greek town of Drama dropped charges of kidnapping filed against a 33-year-old mother of five after she returned her 16-year-old lover to his parents. Vassiliki Savvidou, who is also a grandmother, was sued for kidnapping by the parents of the technical school student after the couple disappeared on Friday evening. The charges were filed after the parents of the boy filed a missing persons' report with police. Police say the two began their illicit affair after the youth, Costas D. made frequent visits to his friend, Savvidou's son.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather with sunny spells will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Scattered showers in western Greece, the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea, the Dodecanese and possibly in the north. Winds southerly, strong to gale force. Mosrtly sunny in Athens with temperatures from 16-19C. Possibility of rain in Thessaloniki 6-18C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          323.035
Pound sterling       522.209
Japanese yen (100)   313.631
French franc          49.933
German mark          167.467
Italian lira (100)    16.916
Irish Punt           415.888
Belgian franc          8.119
Finnish mark          55.088
Dutch guilder        148.630
Danish kr.            44.021
Austrian sch.         23.803
Spanish peseta         1.968
Swedish kr.           38.045
Norwegian kr.         40.335
Swiss franc          204.689
Port. Escudo           1.634
Can. dollar          217.645
Aus. dollar          206.207
Cyprus pound         566.432
Euro                 327.539
(M.P.)
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