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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-10

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, 10/02/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece condemns attack on Georgian president
  • Albanian former president to be treated in Thessaloniki
  • Government plans revitalisation of public firms
  • Greek businessman sues FYROM power corporation
  • Illegal immigrants arrested
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece condemns attack on Georgian president

The government today commented on the assassination attempt against Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze saying that it was not acceptable for differences to be settled in such a manner.

"Mr. Sheverdnadze is an international figure who ensures stability in his country and plays a positive role in international developments," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

Attackers ambused Shevardnadze's motorcade with anti-tank grenades and automatic weapons In Tbilisi on Monday night. Two of the president's bodyguards are believed to have been killed in the attack while a further four travelling in the motorcade are reported to be in serious condition.

Albanian former president to be treated in Thessaloniki

Albania's last communist president Ramiz Alia will be moved to Greece for treatment this week after suffering a heart attack, the Albanian News Agency reported on Monday.

Alia, 72, has been in intensive care in an Albanian hospital since his heart attack two weeks ago, Albanian Health and Environment Minister Leonard Solis told ATA.

Solis said Panayiotis Spyrou, the director of the cardiology unit at the George Papanikolaou hospital in Thessaloniki, would oversee Mr. Alia's care.

Spyrou last month headed a team of surgeons conducting a quadruple bypass on Dimitris Tsovolas, the leader of Greece's opposition party Democratic Social Movement.

Alia who took power following the death of Stalinist Enver Hoxha in 1985, was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence in 1992 for abuse of power and violation of the people's rights. He was later freed by an appeal court ruling only to be rearrested and charged with killing or ordering the deportation of dissidents who tried to flee the country illegally.

He escaped from jail along with hundreds of others during an armed uprising in March last year and was finally cleared of all charges in October.

He is expected to leave for Thessaloniki on Wednesday.

Government plans revitalisation of public firms

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today that the government would take specific decisions on the revitalisation of public enterprises and corporations (DEKO) during February and March, after receiving the relevant business plans from their administrations.

Papantoniou was speaking after a meeting which focused on the revitalisation of the DEKO, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and attended by Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis and Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou.

"We have agreed on the time schedule," Papantoniou said, adding that "the revitalisation programme will be comprehensive, spherical and consistent with what we have said in Parliament".

Declining to further elaborate on the measures to be taken, Papantoniou noted that the decisions of the government would certainly be the subject of social dialogue, while it would also be holding talks with DEKO administrations and workers.

Mantelis underlined the government's determination to take measures to enable the national carrier, Olympic Airways, survive strong international competition.

He spoke of a "package" of measures, the most important of which was the drafting of labour regulations which, he stressed, should have been completed by January 31, 1995.

Mantelis said there was a "category of personnel" at OA which was "trying to impose the view" that seasonal workers should be employed, noting that this was prohibited by law.

"The government cannot give in to irrational and unlawful decisions," he said.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Simitis had instructed the competent ministers to unswervingly continue to implement the programme for the revitalisation of loss-making DEKO.

Reppas referred to Olympic Airways as "the champion of negative performance", adding that the plan for its revitalisation had not borne fruit.

He said that the government was drafting a business plan in direct consultations with trade union representatives of the national carrier.

Describing demands to grant permanent status to seasonal workers at OA as "irrational and unlawful", Reppas ruled out the possibility of the company being shut down or sold.

"Olympic Airways will operate normally and at the same time its revitalisation will proceed," the spokesman said.

Greek businessman sues FYROM power corporation

A Greek businessman has taken FYROM's state-controlled power corporation Elektrostopanstvo to court in Skopje for breach of contract, seeking 6.2 million dollars in indemnities.

The Skopje Court of First Instances is to begin a hearing today on a suit filed by Constantine Keltsekis, owner of the Greek-Russian firm "East Power Corporation", against Elektrostopanstvo for breaching a preliminary agreement signed in early January 1997 for the construction and equipping of an electricity station on the Treska tributary of Lake Vardar.

Keletsekis is seeking 6.2 million dollars in compensation for loss of profits resulting to his company.

According to recent statements by the director of Elektrostopanstvo and articles in the FYROM press, it is considered a certainty that the project will be undertaken by the Chinese firm Hainan, although the project has not been formally assigned yet. It would be Hainan's first project in Europe.

The Chinese firm's bid was six million dollars less than that of East Power Corporation, and the company has constructed hydroelectric projects in the U.S., but American experts doubt the quality of its mechanical equipment.

According to press sources, the Chinese company's tender was preferred for political and financial reasons.

Illegal immigrants arrested

Two Greek men were arrested today after port authorities found 50 illegal immigrants from Egypt hidden in their three 15-metre boats.

Stavros and Skevos Louloudias, both from the island of Kalymnos, are being detained on the island of Kos before being charged, while the 50 Egyptians are being held at the Kalymnos Port Authority.

The two men were detected by harbour police as they tried to put ashore the 50 illegal immigrants near Kalymnos's port. The Egyptians told police they had paid between 3000-9000 Egyptian pounds a head to be brought to Greece.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with local clouds, light rain and snow in the western mainland, Thessaly and Evia island, the Cyclades and Dodecanese islands. Gale force winds in the Aegean Sea. Partly cloudy in Athens with sunny spells and temperatures from 4-10. Thessaloniki will be overcast with temperatures between 3-6C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.940 Pound sterling 465.050 Cyprus pd 533.081 French franc 46.834 Swiss franc 194.630 German mark 156.984 Italian lira (100) 15.892 Yen (100) 228.289 Canadian dlr. 198.380 Australian dlr. 190.295 Irish Punt 394.022 Belgian franc 7.606 Finnish mark 51.788 Dutch guilder 139.262 Danish kr. 41.198 Swedish kr. 35.097 Norwegian kr. 37.696 Austrian sch. 22.312 Spanish peseta 1.853 Port. Escudo 1.534

(M.P.)


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