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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-11-24

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, 24/11/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis confers with UN's Cordovez
  • US delegation meets with prime minister
  • PM to visit London
  • Bomb attack targets former Supreme Court judge
  • Greece prepares to extradite Italian fugitive
  • More tension at TVX mines in Halkidiki
  • One Romanian killed in car accident
  • Bad weather forces cancellation of OA flights
  • Phone fraud to be investigated
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis confers with UN's Cordovez

Prime Minister Costas Simitis met this afternoon with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy on the Cyprus issue Diego Cordovez, who is on a tour of Nicosia, Athens and Ankara aimed at exploring possibilities for progress in specific aspects of the Cyprus issue.

Simitis also met with US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Benjamin Gilman. According to informed sources, they discussed Greece's relations with the US and with Turkey.

US delegation meets with prime minister

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today received representatives of US Congress and of Jewish organisations visiting Greece to attend yesterday's unveiling of the Monument to the Jewish Martyrs in Thessaloniki.

The US delegates consisted of the Congress Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Benjamin Gilman, US Senator Paul Sarbanes, World Hellenism Council president Andrew Athens, Congressman Bob Filner, the president of the American Jewish Committee David Harris, the vice-president of the European Jewish Congress Salomon Berlinguer, the president of the World Union of Jewish Women, Mrs. Mikal Montai.

Accompanying the foreign guests were the president of the Central Jewish Council of Greece Nissim Mais, the Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Athens Terry Snell, as well as Greek government and diplomatic officials.

PM to visit London

Prime Minister Costas Simitis leaves on a three-day visit to London on Wednesday heading a delegation, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

Simitis is to meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday morning and with London's Greek community later in the day.

On Friday he is to receive members of the Greek-British Friendship Association and meet with Conservative Party leader William Hague. In the evening Simitis is to give a speech at a dinner given by the Committee, a London-based shipowners' group.

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who will be accompanying the prime minister, are to have contacts with the Foreign Office leadership as well as with the shadow minister.

Bomb attack targets former Supreme Court judge

An urban terrorist group calling itself "Revolutionary Nuclei" today claimed responsibility for a violent explosion that shattered the offices of the Pan-national Democratic Union in downtown Athens shortly after midnight Sunday causing extensive damage but no casualties, police said.

The union is a political movement founded earlier this year by former Greek Supreme Court (Arios Pagos) judge Vassilis Kokkinos, the presiding judge in the 1989 alleged corruption trial of the late socialist party leader Andreas Papandreou in which he was acquitted.

Police said the blast, caused by a home-made device, shattered window panes of nearby homes and shops and also the offices of the Greek Strategic Studies located in the same neo-classical building.

An unidentified caller later telephoned the offices of the private radio- television station "Skai" and the afternoon daily "Athinaiki" claiming responsibility for the explosion on behalf of the "Revolutionary Nuclei" group.

The same organisation has claimed responsibility for a number of similar explosions and most recently, on August 19, at the offices of former minister of Public Order Stelios Papathemelis.

Greece prepares to extradite Italian fugitive

Draconian measures were in force this morning as Enrico Bianco, 45, an Italian national implicated in the Red Brigades' 1978 kidnapping and murder of former Italian prime Minister Aldo Moro, appeared before an examining magistrate.

Bianco was arrested on Sunday aboard a yacht docked at Aktion, Western Greece. His arrest came after Interpol contacted Greek police about an international warrant out on his arrest.

There appeared however to be confusion about Bianco's involvement in the Moro affair, with authorities in Rome saying he had been acquitted of charges of involvement in the abduction and murder of the Italian prime minister.

An ANA dispatch from Rome said Bianco had been convicted in absentia on a number of charges relating to possession of weapons and narcotics and armed robberies conducted in the late 1970s.

An Italian prosecutor told the ANA the international arrest warrant was issued by authorities in October 1993.

However, Greek anti-terrorist officials said Bianco was on at least two lists of people being sought in connection with the Moro murder and as a member of the Red Brigades and that previous attempts by Italian authorities to have Bianco charged with Moro's murder and abduction had failed due to lack of evidence although he remained under surveillance.

Bianco's frequent visits to France were reason behind the tip-off about his whereabouts coming from Italian and French police.

Sources said Bianco gave no information during his interrogation by police or to the magistrate of his activities in Italy or other European countries but procedures are under way at the justice and foreign ministries for his extradition to Italy.

Bianco - whose real name is reported to be Fulvio Siolini - will be held in Korydallos Prison until the papers are processed.

More tension at TVX mines in Halkidiki

Tension rose again today at the gold mine in Halkidiki after a decision by the mining company, TVX Hellas, to resume drilling at the site. According to informed sources, Olympiada mayor Dimitris Mitsiou was arrested along with four other people, although this has not been confirmed by police.

The police had issued a ban on public gatherings as of midnight last night until December 4 in an attempt to prevent the violent demonstrations that occurred two weeks ago at the mine.

Stavros mayor Antonis Stoitsas told the ANA that Mitsiou had left the village for the TVX site and had not been heard of since. Stoitsas said that he and the mayors of other communities in the area would be visiting the site later in the day.

It was later announced that the Olympiada Mayor and the other four other people who had in fact been arrested early this morning for defying the ban on protests outside the mine, had been released.

Commenting on the incident, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas emphasised the benefits the mine would have for the economy and the nation.

"I believe that while local residents are free to express their views, at the same time they should allow others to carry out their legal activities. I think that this investment cannot be hindered forever," he said, adding:

"The state is determined to use all the appropriate means at its disposal in order for this project to proceed, as it is in the interests of the Greek economy and the Greek people. I am sure that reason will prevail and that everyone will behave in such a way as to defuse the tension that has arisen with regard to this particular issue."

Police continue to guard the mine in order to prevent any more incidents.

One Romanian killed in car accident

A young Romanian national was killed and his compatriot injured in a car accident on Sunday afternoon on the Thessaloniki-Veroia road, police said today.

Adrian Raduko Dodita, 19, was killed when a car driven by 73-year-old Dimitrios Avramidis lost control and ran off the road. His companion, Constantin Laourentio Manea, 20, was injured.

In an unrelated incident, another two Romanian nationals were injured, one seriously, when they were attacked by a gang of thieves near the village of Adendrou, near Thessaloniki.

Nikoulina Costea, 29, is in a critical condition in a Thessaloniki Hospital after being shot in the head by a hunting rifle while walking near the village's railway lines.

Her companion Marian Pislea, also 29, was beaten up and robbed of 300 marks. He is in a satisfactory condition.

Bad weather forces cancellation of OA flights

Bad weather conditions forced the cancellation of Olympic Airway's flights to the islands of Paros, Leros, Naxos and Kythera today.

The flights are expected to be carried out later this afternoon when, acccording to the National Meteorological Service, conditions are expected to improve.

Phone fraud to be investigated

An investigation has been ordered by the Attica Security Directorate into telephone services offered by astrologers and clairvoyants to determine whether any of these "specialists" are guilty of offences such as false pretences or posing as doctors.

The services, available via mobile telephone numbers, result in telephone subscribers running up huge bills as advice is sought on a range of problems relating to jobs, love life or even health. The latter has caused the most concern as instructions are often given for the cure of various illnesses.

The public prosecutor has ordered that conversations be recorded between citizens and the services concerned in order to determine whether there have been any violations of the law.

The Greek Telecommunications Company (OTE) has been instructed to provide details of all contracts and to ask for the professional licences of those concerned as well as income statements.

The involvement of OTE itself in these transactions is also being investigated.

WEATHER

Cloudiness and rain is forecast throughout the country today with possible local storms. Gradual improvement is expected in the evening, moving from west to north. Athens and Thessaloniki will be overcast and rainy with possible storms. Temperature in Athens will be 19C and in Thessaloniki 15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 271.560 Pound sterling 458.205 Cyprus pd 529.530 French franc 46.451 Swiss franc 191.158 German mark 155.536 Italian lira (100) 15.865 Yen (100) 216.157 Canadian dlr. 191.139 Australian dlr. 188.857 Irish Punt 405.629 Belgian franc 7.541 Finnish mark 51.570 Dutch guilder 138.052 Danish kr. 40.866 Swedish kr. 35.712 Norwegian kr. 38.347 Austrian sch. 22.107 Spanish peseta 1.842 Port. Escudo 1.523

(M.P.)


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