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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-08-05

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, 05/08/1998 (ANA)

  • Gov't pledges reforestation of fire-devastated land
  • Two farmers die after forest fire, blaze nears Patras suburbs
  • Prince Charles arrives in Greece for holiday
  • World Basketball Championship
  • Drachma jumps against foreign currencies for second month
  • Passenger ferry drifted off Chios in power failure
  • Greece, Albania to launch maritime border patrol
  • Twenty-seven injured in crash between bus, truck
  • Spending on advertising in Jan-Jul rises by 10.38 pct
  • OPE regional offices to become on-line
  • Underwater oil drilling starts off Thassos
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Gov't pledges reforestation of fire-devastated land

    Agriculture minister Stephanos Tzoumakas said today his ministry would finance a massive project for reforestation of the hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland denuded by raging fires the past week.

    Tzoumakas said after a 90-minute meeting with prime minister Costas Simitis that financing the reforestation fell under the jurisdiction of the agriculture ministry, adding that the first step would be to secure the denuded expanses with mesh to contain land erosion.

    Expanses that had burned for a second time would undergo artificial reforestation, while land burnt for the first time would be reforested naturally.

    Forestry service officials told the ANA an estimated 800,000 stremma of forest and bush had burned since the latest wave of forest fires broke out Sunday.

    The figure is expected to go up, however, as a number of fire fronts were still blazing and several others that had been contained were rekindled early Wednesday, fanned by strong winds.

    The government, and Tzoumakas personally, have been severely criticised by the opposition for transferring forest fire-fighting authorities from the forestry service to the fire brigade.

    Tzoumakas defended the decision today, saying that "now, one (service) is in control".

    He also attributed his no-show at an urgent government meeting last night to a "misunderstanding".

    Strong winds this morning rekindled the fires at Stamata and Dionyssos, in northeastern Attica, while another front at Aghia Marina near Nea Makri was blazing out of control.

    A new fire broke out at Rema, on the outskirts of the northern suburb of Halandri, in a small pine-wooded area in an inhabited district, threatening two petrol stations.

    A state of emergency was declared and 15 fire trucks with 50 firefighters were rushed to the area, who were able to place the blaze under control.

    Dozens of cars, 120 homes, a factory, numerous warehouses and livestock have burned in Attica in addition to trees.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis also said that all areas destroyed by fire would automatically be designated for reforestation, while victims of the fires would be compensated in accordance with provisions for natural disasters.

    "I have already given instructions for the burned areas to be photographed from the air," Laliotis said, ruling out any change in the use of the land or the expansion of town planning boundaries into areas destroyed by fires.

    Laliotis spoke in terms of an "organised plan" by arsonists and described the situation as critical.

    Two farmers die after forest fire, blaze nears Patras suburbs

    The bodies of two farmers were taken to a mortuary in Kalamata for an autopsy today after being found dead near their property which had been destroyed by another fire in the southern Peloponnese.

    The police believe that Dimitris Tzortzis, 43 and Stavros Tasiopoulos, 48, residents of Anthousa Meligala in Messinia died, possibly of heart attacks, when they saw that their farms had been burned.

    A fire with a front stretching for many kilometres is meanwhile threatening the northern suburbs of the western port city of Patras.

    The blaze is fast moving towards houses at Sychaina which is just outside the limits of Patras municipality, as well as towards the villages of Aghios Vassilios, Psathopyrgos and Drepano.

    According to initial reports, a number of homes and business premises have already been evacuated and the electricity supply in several areas has been cut off.

    Prince Charles arrives in Greece for holiday

    Charles, the Prince of Wales, escorted by his two children and a 20-member party, arrived in Greece last night as a guest of the Latsis and Lemos families to cruise around the Greek islands.

    World Basketball Championship

    The second round of the World Basketball Championship ended in Athens last night with a match going into overtime. Spain and Lithuania were level 75- 75 at full-time, with the Spaniards finally clinching victory 86-80 in overtime. Results: Russia-Canada 81-72 Italy-Puerto Rico 68-63 Greece-Yugoslavia 56-70 Spain-Lithuania 86-80 Argentina-Brazil 86-76 US-Australia 96-78

    Drachma jumps against foreign currencies for second month

    The drachma rose sharply against foreign currencies in July against June, maintaining its impetus for the second straight month, analysts said yesterday.

    The Ecu dropped 1.83 percent against the drachma in July.

    The central bank's average Ecu/drachma fixing rate in July compared to the Ecu's central parity of 357.000 drachmas in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism showed the Ecu slumping 7.8 percent against the Greek currency.

    The German mark fell 1.84 percent against the drachma in July against June; the French franc dropped 1.83 percent; and the pound sterling shed 1.83 percent against the national currency.

    The drachma gained 1.55 percent on the US dollar and 1.8 percent against the Japanese yen.

    Passenger ferry drifted off Chios in power failure

    Some 1,700 passengers aboard the ferry-boat "Mytilene" had a fright early this morning when a general electricity failure resulted in the vessel drifting without power for one hour.

    The problem developed at 2.30 local time this morning in the engine's fuel gauge while the ferry was sailing between the islet of Venetiko and Cape Masticho, Chios.

    The fault was eventually repaired by the crew and the vessel was able to sail into Chios unassisted. Following an inspection, the ferry-boat was allowed to sail for Mytilene.

    The vessel had sailed from Piraeus for Chios, Mytilene and Limnos.

    Greece, Albania to launch maritime border patrol

    A Greek-Albanian cooperation protocol providing for joint patrols along the common sea border of the two countries aimed at more effectively policing the region goes into effect on Monday.

    A special ceremony will be held at Corfu harbour to mark commencement of the cooperation on Monday, to be attended by Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis and Albanian Interior Minister Neritan Ceka.

    The cooperation aims at combatting illegal immigration, drug trafficking and unlawful fishing.

    Twenty-seven injured in crash between bus, truck

    Twenty-seven people were injured, eight seriously, when an Athens urban transport (OASA) bus crashed into into a truck in the seaside resort of Voula today.

    According to the police, the driver of the truck caused the crash when he ignored a red light and went into the lane of oncoming traffic.

    The drivers of the truck, Nikos Darzentas, 45 and the bus, George Matakias, 52 were both seriously injured in the collision.

    Nineteen of the bus passengers were allowed home after being treated for minor cuts and bruises at the Asklipio hospital in Voula, where doctors said the condition of the other injured passengers was not life threatening.

    Spending on advertising in Jan-Jul rises by 10.38 pct

    Total spending on advertising in domestic media totalled 205.1 billion drachmas in January-July, marking a 10.38 percent rise over the same period a year earlier, Media Services SA said yesterday.

    Most of the cash was spent on television advertisements at 95.8 billion drachmas, accounting for 46.71 percent of the whole, followed by magazines, newspapers and radio.

    In July, expenditure on advertising was 24.7 billion drachmas with 9.5 billion of the total spent on television, accounting for 38.4 percent.

    OPE regional offices to become on-line

    The regional offices of the Hellenic External Trade Organisation (OPE) are scheduled to become on-line with the Organisation's headquarters within the next few months.

    OPE regional offices are operating in Komotini, Florina, Kastoria and Ioannina (northern Greece), in Heraklion (Crete) and in Magnesia and Patras (Peloponnese).

    Underwater oil drilling starts off Thassos

    The first underwater oil drilling operations west of the island of Thassos in northern Greece have started under the code name "South Prinos C".

    This new drilling is taking place in specific anticlines, one of the four spotted last October by "WESTERN PRIDE", the special seismic activity registration vessel.

    A second underwater drilling will follow in accordance with the time schedule set by the consortium comprising the Northern Aegean Petroleum Co. (NAPC) and the Greek state.

    Provided the results of the drilling operations are considered satisfactory by NAPC, the consortium will proceed with two more drillings in the same underwater area, located at a distance of 2.5-3 nautical miles from the "parent" deposit of the "Prinos" field.

    The entire project is projected for completion within the next two years, based on assumed NAPC contractual obligations to the Greek state.

    WEATHER

    Hot, sunny weather is forecast throughout the country tomorrow with variable light to strong winds. Temperatures in Athens ranging from 28C to 39C; and in Thessaloniki from 24C to 38C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 293.632 British pound 478.759 Japanese yen (100) 203.013 French franc 49.173 German mark 164.821 Italian lira (100) 16.706 Irish Punt 414.656 Belgian franc 7.991 Finnish mark 54.209 Dutch guilder 146.151 Danish kr. 43.247 Austrian sch. 23.421 Spanish peseta 1.941 Swedish kr. 36.734 Norwegian kr. 38.678 Swiss franc 195.736 Port. Escudo 1.610 Aus. dollar 177.955 Can. dollar 194.115 Cyprus pound 559.488

    (C.S.)


    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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