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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-12-20

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, 20/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Deputy suffers coronary, dies in Parliament
  • FM Papandreou confers with Cypriot counterpart
  • Greece comments on terror cooperation with Turkey
  • No U.S. terror warning for Greek millennium
  • Parliament continues budget debate
  • Pilot noise measurement programme for Thessaloniki
  • Commission OKs leaded petrol extension for Greece
  • Traffic police ready for holiday exodus
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Deputy suffers coronary, dies in Parliament

A ruling party PASOK deputy suffered a heart attack while speaking to the Greek Parliament on Monday on the 2000 budget and died shortly later in hospital. Deputy for Rodopi Dimitris Tsetines fainted while speaking from the podium shortly before 2 p.m. New Democracy deputy Andreas Karagounis rushed to his aid, giving him heart massage. Tsetines was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. Despite the efforts of doctors at Parliament and the hospital, he was pronounced dead shortly after 3 p.m.

FM Papandreou confers with Cypriot counterpart

The prospects opening up after the decisions taken at the recent EU summit in Helsinki and the results of the first round of UN-sponsored proximity talks between Cyprus president Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in New York were at the centre of talks Monday between Greece's foreign minister George Papandreou and his visiting Cyprus counterpart Yannakis Kassoulides. Papandreou told reporters after the meeting that a new climate was being created as well as prospects for finding a solution to the Cyprus issue following the Helsinki summit. He also announced he would visit Cyprus soon, possibly next month.

Greece comments on terror cooperation with Turkey

Greece said on Monday that it had agreed in principle on cooperation with Turkey on combatting terrorism but that no agreement had been finalised. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statements in response to questions from reporters in relation to a report in Sunday's To Vima. "There is an in principle agreement but the final decisions have not been taken," he said. "There is a coincidence of views but this is an entirely different issue to an agreement," he said, adding that dialogue was under way.

No U.S. terror warning for Greek millennium

Greece on Monday denied that it had been informed of a possible terrorist attack on U.S. targets ahead of celebrations to mark the end of the millennium. "The government is not aware of such and as such has taken no special measures," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. "Security measures are always at a state of the utmost readiness," he added. Greek and U.S. authorities enjoy close cooperation on such issues and if such information was forthcoming it would have been relayed to the Greek side, he said.

Parliament continues budget debate

Debate on the government's 2000 budget continued on Monday, a day ahead of the midnight vote on financial planning for the new year. Ruling PASOK A'Athens deputy Pantelis Oikonomou told the chamber that the 1999 budget had been definitively influenced by the planned inclusion of the drachma in the euro-zone as of June 2000. He said the targets for the short-term included increasing the number of jobs, reducing indirect taxation, improving public education and other public services and, generally, improving the quality of life.

Pilot noise measurement programme for Thessaloniki

A pilot programme on noise levels in the urban environment gets under way in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki in mid-January, co-financed by the environment, town planning and public works ministry and the European Union environmental programme. The programme, which will attempt to measure noise pollution and suggest means of dealing with the problem, will last for two years. It will involve taking measurements - at six points around the city - of traffic and other types of noise, on a 24-hour basis.

Commission OKs leaded petrol extension for Greece

The European Commission on Monday gave Greece, Italy and Spain a two-year extension to phase out the use of super leaded petrol, an ANA dispatch reported from Brussels. The announcement was made by Commissioner for the environment Margo Wallstrom. "During this transitional period, the interested member-states will be able to brief and prepare citizens appropriately for a transition to more environmentally friendly fuels and allow economic agencies to proceed with the necessary reforms to the market, " she said. Greece had requested a five-year extension, invoking the large number of older cars on the road that cannot be replaced in such a short period of time.

Traffic police ready for holiday exodus

The Attica Traffic Department said on Monday that special traffic conditions would be introduced on December 23 for the duration of the Christmas and New Year holiday period. The measures will apply both within greater Athens and in the surrounding areas to facilitate safe movement and ease congestion expected as Athenians head out of the city for the holidays, it said. Extra outgoing and incoming lanes will be made available to facilitate inbound and outgoing traffic at the beginning and end of the period.

WEATHER

Rainy weather in almost all parts of Greece today, getting worse in the Ionian and northern Aegean sea regions with an improvement late in the evening. Overcast in Athens with rainfall later in the day and temperatures from 14-17C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6-13C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          320.922
Pound sterling       519.114
Japanese yen (100)   312.034
French franc          49.943
German mark          167.503
Italian lira (100)    16.920
Irish Punt           415.976
Belgian franc          8.121
Finnish mark          55.100
Dutch guilder        148.662
Danish kr.            44.035
Austrian sch.         23.808
Spanish peseta         1.969
Swedish kr.           38.113
Norwegian kr.         40.503
Swiss franc          204.347
Port. Escudo           1.634
Can. dollar          217.863
Aus. dollar          206.892
Cyprus pound         566.630
Euro                 327.608
(M.P.)
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