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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-11-05

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, 05/11/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Crete summit a success, Athens says
  • Turkish air space violations continue
  • Quakes jolt Athens, Crete
  • Greek freighter attacked
  • Budget to be revealed next week
  • Police break up hash ring
  • Illegal immigrants arrested on Samos
  • Greek bourse hit by rising interest rates
  • Bank of Greece drains liquidity, raises interest rates
  • ADEDY strike called for Nov. 25
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Crete summit a success, Athens says

The Greek government is satisfied with the results of the Southeastern European Summit held in Crete this week, according to its spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who said the meeting had laid the foundations for a new era in bilateral relations and multilateral cooperation.

The meeting between the Greek and Turkish prime ministers, he added, had also been beneficial. He said the next meeting between the two would be held next year in Antalya at the next Southeastern European Summit.

Asked whether Simitis had rejected an invitation from Yilmaz, the spokesman said that for another meeting between two prime ministers to take place there would first have to be a positive step. These conditions, he said, did not currently exist.

With regard to Yilmaz's reported proposal that he and Simitis appoint special envoys to maintain contact between them, Reppas stressed there was no agreement to appoint envoys.

However, he said nothing was rejected in general unless it harmed national interests. The idea of special envoys, he said, neither harmed nor benefited national interests but was not considered necessary at this point.

He added that Turkey's habit of violating Greece's air space and infringing the Athens FIR cast a shadow over the effort to improve bilateral relations. Simitis, he said, had raised the issue with the Turkish prime minister, who maintained that Turkey did not recognise the 10 mile limit for Greek air space. This, said Reppas, was an unbridgeable difference of opinion.

He denied that there had been any bad feeling on the part of the foreign ministry over the Simitis-Yilmaz meeting, saying that Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos himself had played a major role in organising the summit. The foreign minister would be briefing the government of the United States and other interested countries on the results of the meeting, as well as the president of the republic.

He added that the proposal for a secretariat to be established for the conference had not been but the decision had been postponed. The foreign ministries will consider the issue, Reppas said.

Turkish air space violations continue

National Defence Ministry sources said 15 pairs of Turkish F-16 and F-4 fighter planes had infringed the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) an equal number of times today by early afternoon.

They also said there had been 35 violations of Greece's national airspace by the Turkish jetfighters, mainly between Kos and Rhodes islands, and also between Limnos-Lesvos, Chios-Lesvos and Chios-Samos.

In all instances the Turkish aircraft were intercepted by Greek F-16 and Mirage-2000 jetfighters.

The sources said that in at least six instances the interception procedures had developed into mock dogfights.

They added that another six pairs of Turkish warplanes had infringed the Nicosia FIR.

Quakes jolt Athens, Crete

Athens felt another strong earth tremor today, almost exactly 24 hours after two tremors originating from the Attica prefecture. The tremor registered 4.6 Richter at 12:38 and was followed by two weaker aftershocks of 4.3 at 12:32 and 4.1 at 12:35 p.m., emanating from the same epicentre near Avlona.

Shortly later, at 2:23, Crete was hit by a quake registering 5.2 and with an epicentre 310 kms south of Athens, between Sfakia, a town on the south coast of Crete, and the islet of Gavdos.

Residents on the island of Gavdos ran onto the streets when the quake hit, according to reports.

The tremor lasted for some 40 seconds but there were no reports of damage to the houses on the small island.

Residents told the ANA that the quake was accompanied by a loud noise which caused fear amongst some of the residents.

Greek freighter attacked

A speedboat opened fire on a Greek freighter off Corfu island last night and sped off towards the Albanian shores, the Greek Coast Guard said today.

It said the freighter "Ioanna" had been en route to Volos from Albania, without cargo but carrying an eight-member crew, when an unidentified speedboat opened fire on it 20 nautical miles north of the Peristeria region of Corfu.

The Coast Guard said the shots had come from Kalashnikov rifles, adding that none of the crew had been injured.

Two patrol boats rushed to the site after the freighter's captain sent of an SOS, the Coast Guard said, but the speedboat "disappeared in the direction of the Albanian shores".

The "Ioanna" continued its journey to Volos after the incident.

Budget to be revealed next week

The 1998 budget will be tabled in Parliament next Wednesday afternoon (November 12), National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou announced today.

After a three-hour meeting chairecd by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Papantoniou said the final recommendations of the government's economic staff had been formulated regarding 1998 incomes policy, which would go before the Cabinet for approval on Friday, and would be contained in the new budget.

Also attending the meeting were Bank of Greece governor Loukas Papdemos, Finance undersecretaries George Drys and Nikos Christodoulakis, and National Economy undersecretary Christos Pachtas.

Papantoniou side-tracked questions on the specific measures the 1998 budget would contain.

Police break up hash ring

Police said today that they had broken up a gang of Albanian and gypsy drug smugglers and confiscated 47 kilograms of hashish.

Acting on a tip, the police sent a plainclothesman posing as a buyer, who arrested four persons, including 43-year-old Albanian Memo Skeloin.

The police had discovered the Albanian's mobile telephone number and arranged a meeting with him on the night of October 31 to buy the hashish for seven million drachmas.

Also arrested in the police ambush were a gypsy couple and their 19-year- old son.

Illegal immigrants arrested on Samos

Fourteen Iraqi illegal immigrants, all of them men, have been detained at the Samos police precinct, police said today.

The Iraqis told police that they were brought to the island by speedboat by a Turkish captain at dawn on Monday.

Greek bourse hit by rising interest rates

Greek equities came under strong pressure to end sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange reversing a strong upward trend which prevailed in the first two sessions of the week.

The general index closed 2.07 percent down at 1,580.45 points, reflecting market worries over a new downturn in international markets and a sudden sharp rise in interbank rates by the Bank of Greece.

Trading was heavy with turnover at 26.1 billion drachmas.

Other sector indices suffered losses. Banks fell 1.27 percent, Insurance was 2.67 percent off, Leasing dropped 1.52 percent, Investment eased 1.91 percent, Construction plunged 3.48 percent, Industrials were 2.52 percent down, Miscellaneous fell 2.64 percent and Holding dropped 2.93 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies eased 0.52 percent.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 82 to 59 with another 10 issues unchanged.

Kekrops, Agrinio Metalplastics, Heliofin, Athinea, Macedonian Mills scored the biggest percentage gains, while Papoutsanis, Nematemboriki, Remek, Sato and Klonatex suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 29,400 drachmas, Ergobank at 16,870, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,970, Delta Dairy at 3,760, Titan Cement at 14,600, Intracom at 13,350 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5, 840.

Bank of Greece drains liquidity, raises interest rates

The Greek drachma came under renewed speculative pressure after spending the previous two days in calm waters.

The Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, was forced to intervene again in the domestic money market offering to drain seven-day depos at 70 percent. Interbank rates were held at 15-30 percent on Tuesday.

The central bank reported outflows totalling 450 million Ecus, more than the total of inflows reported during the previous two days.

The drachma continued moving lower against the Ecu in the domestic foreign exchange market.

Meanwhile, Yiannis Stournaras, one of Greece's two representatives at the European Union's monetary committee said that the drachma never came up as an issue at the EU.

Stournaras dismissed as "absolute rubbish" rumours that the EU's monetary committee suggested that Greek should devalue the drachma.

He underlined that on the contrary the monetary committee congratulated Greece for its economic progress and its firm policy in defending the drachma.

ADEDY strike called for Nov. 25

The Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council, ADEDY yesterday called a 24-hour nationwide strike on Nov. 25 in demand of economic and institutional claims.

ADEDY wants an initial salary for a new employee amounting to 200,000 drachmas together with family bonuses for both husband and wife, an increase in the tax-free limit for salaried workers and pensioners to two million drachmas, an index-linked tax scale and legislation covering collective negotiations in the public sector.

ADEDY's general council will convene on Nov. 27 to determine further action.

WEATHER

Almost fair weather is expected throughout the country today with the exception of eastern and southern Greece where it will be cloudy with the possibility of light rain. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny but slightly cold with temperatures between 10-17C. Thessaloniki will be cloudy with temperatures from 6-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 268.584 Pound sterling 451.360 Cyprus pd 528.220 French franc 46.499 Swiss franc 190.915 German mark 155.724 Italian lira (100) 15.892 Yen (100) 220.720 Canadian dlr. 190.980 Australian dlr. 189.279 Irish Punt 403.684 Belgian franc 7.550 Finnish mark 51.884 Dutch guilder 138.166 Danish kr. 40.930 Swedish kr. 35.746 Norwegian kr. 38.252 Austrian sch. 22.122 Spanish peseta 1.845 Port. Escudo 1.523

(M.P.)


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