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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-08-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 10/08/1998 (ANA)


  • French national held in custody as arson suspect
  • Forest fires reported around the country
  • Manhunt launched for new forest fire arson suspect
  • Yugoslavia wins World Basketball Championship in Athens
  • Twenty six people die in weekend traffic accidents
  • Greek, French PMs to meet on Aegean island during holidays
  • Lesvos-Imvros direct ferry link
  • Three youths arrested in hashish haul
  • Fires extinguished in Kavala, Thassos
  • British woman killed while para-sailing
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


French national held in custody as arson suspect

A Frenchman arrested on Friday in the northwestern prefecture of Thesprotia on suspicion of arson was today remanded in custody by the public prosecutor and the investigating magistrate assigned to the case.

Alain de Fremont, 49, was arrested after an eye-witness reported seeing him start a fire in the forested area of Zavia, near the seaside resort of Syvota. The fire was quickly extinguished by the Igoumenitsa Fire Brigade and local residents.

The Frenchman will be taken to Corfu prison tomorrow.

De Fremont arrived in Greece by air on July 28, staying on Corfu until August 4, when he went to Igoumenitsa. The police are carefully retracing his movements since he arrived in the country in view of the fact that fires caused by arson broke out in both areas during the same period of time.

During questioning by police in Igoumenitsa, de Fremont was unable to explain why he had carefully hidden a cigarette lighter in the spare tyre of his car.

De Fremont was reportedly first spotted by a shepherd, Zacharias Tartas, who gave the police details of his car which had been rented from Perdika, Thesprotia.

Speaking to reporters today, de Fremont claimed to be a nature lover. He said the fire started by accident when he tried to burn some rubbish.

Forest fires reported around the country

A fire broke out early this morning at Sesi, Grammatiko, and was being tackled by land forces assisted by two Canadair firefighting planes, fire brigade officials told the ANA.

They also said a blaze at Karitena, Arkadia, which broke out Sunday afternoon was still raging out of control, as was another fire at Strinila in northern Corfu island.

Meanwhile, fires at Dervanaki in Aigion, Aghios Georgios and Aghis Syllas in Messolongi, and Katara in Kalambaka had been contained.

Germany yesterday sent four Luftwaffe helicopters and 35 crew members to Greece to assist in combatting fires which have ravaged the country in recent weeks.

The CH 53 helicopters, modified to carry 5-tonne water loads, are due to take up activity today.

France and Italy last week responded to a Greek request and sent three and two fire-fighting aircraft respectively.

Also, two Russian Iluyshin's each capable of carrying 50 tonnes of water have also arrived in Athens.

Manhunt launched for new forest fire arson suspect

Police, firefighters and local residents in Sesi, Grammatikos in northeastern Attica have launched a manhunt for a man believed to have set fire to a woodland in the area.

Fire broke out at Sesi this morning at four different locations almost simultaneously, and firefighters had contained one of the fronts.

The pilot of a Canadair firefighting plane battling the blaze spotted a "suspicious person" as he was carrying out a low flight to drop flame retardant fuel.

The pilot immediately informed the land sources by CB radio, and a massive manhunt was mounted by the land forces for the suspect, who was driving a red farm vehicle.

The vehicle, found abandoned later by firefighters, had been stolen two days ago from the Nea Makri region.

Police were investigating fingerprints found in the vehicle.

Yugoslavia wins World Basketball Championship in Athens

Yugoslavia won the 13th World Basketball Championship in Athens last night, beating Russia 64-62 in a gripping final. The United States placed third after defeating Greece 84-61.

The Yugoslavs, winners in 1990, regained the World Basketball Championship in a tense, closely fought final played out to a near capacity crowd of around 18,000 at the Athens Olympic indoor stadium.

Russia had led 35-30 at half time but Yugoslavia took a critical 57-56 lead with a minute left.

Zeljko Rebraca top scored for the winners on 16 points followed by Dejan Bodiroga with 11. Russia's best marksmen were Sergei Panov and Igor Koudelin, who both ended on 14.

Earlier, the United States took the bronze medal, by easily defeating Greece 84-61.

The non-NBA American team, comprising professional players in Europe and from the minor league CBA, led comfortably by 13 points midway through the first half and never looked back.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent a telegramme congratulating the Greek national basketball team for its success in coming fourth in the world.

Twenty six people die in weekend traffic accidents

Twenty-six people were killed and 339 injured in a total 262 weekend traffic accidents throughout the country between Friday afternoon and early Monday, the public order ministry said, adding that most of the accidents had occurred on rural roads.

Greek, French PMs to meet on Aegean island during holidays

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, on a Greek holiday with his wife, will have a private meeting Tuesday with Greek counterpart Costas Simitis on Siphnos island, where the latter is vacationing.

Jospin, who arrived in Greece on July 31, is holidaying on the small Cyclades island of Antiparos.

Sources told the ANA that Simitis would fly by helicopter to Antiparos to bring the Jospins to Siphnos.

The sources said there was no agenda for the talks, which would last most of the day, while Jospin was due to return to Antiparos in the evening by helicopter.

They said stringent steps had been taken to keep the meeting, "which will be of a private nature" away from media scrutiny.

The same sources said Simitis and Jospin would have "political consultations" on August 31 in Athens, where the two prime ministers will take part in a one-day event on the theme "The forces of the Left in front of the challenges of the year 2000".

Another foreign leader sceduled to visit the country in a private capacity sometime around mid-August is Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima.

During his stay, Klima will visit the all-male monastic community of Mt. Athos in northern Greece, accompanied by Simitis.

Lesvos-Imvros direct ferry link

Lesvos Prefect Alekos Mathiellis yesterday announced that the first direct ferry linkage of the Greek island of Lesvos with the Turkish island of Imvros will take place on Aug. 21.

He added that this first connection of the two islands will coincide with the withdrawl of the Greek forces by the islands of Imvros and Tenedos 75 years ago.

Although, both islands were inhabited by Greek populations, they were the only two of the Aegean given to Turkey by the Treaty of Lausanne, establishing the borders between Greece and Turkey.

The prefect noted that the ferry line will be experimental in the beginning, so as to work out all the possible problems, such as port facility needs and port of entry points and infrastructure.

He added that this line was a long time request of expatriate Imvrians, who will be brought closer to their ancestral land.

Finally, he noted that in its maiden voyage the ferry will transport a Turkish delegation of local administration officials to Lesvos, for talks in efforts to create the preconditions for the long term establishment of the line.

Three youths arrested in hashish haul

Three young men were arrested today in a rural area outside Ptoelmais in northern Greece after police found 9.5 kilos of hashish in their car.

They were named as George Georgiadis, 22, Constantine Iggiris, 22, both from Thessaloniki, and Ilias Halidis, 23, from Krya Vrysi, Kozani.

The marijuana was found in the car belonging to Georgiadis.

Police believe the three bought the marijuana from Albanian drug traffickers somewhere near the border.

Meanwhile, in Thessaloniki, a 48-year-old man was found dead in a park after injecting heroin. Menelaos Kastoriadis is the 27th person to die from narcotics in the northern port city since the beginning of the year.

Fires extinguished in Kavala, Thassos

Firefighters yesterday extinguished the fire that broke out four days ago at the northern regions of the Kavala prefecture, authorities announced.

Fire department officials noted that the fire, which burned 250 hectares was caused by arsonists, who might be digging for gold in the area.

Furthermore, they noted that two smaller fires, which began at landfills at the island of Thassos were quickly extinguished.

Meanwhile, the fire at Sklivani, Ioannina is still in progress, having destroyed large portions of forested land, while 15 firefighters with five- engines are fighting to bring the fire under control.

In a separate fire at Agios Syllas, Messolongi, firefighters were working to extinguish the fire in hard to reach areas.

Finally, according to authorities, most other fires around the country are under control or extinguished, but fire department personnel will be on patrol through the summer to avert further fires.

Meanwile, a French national was arrested for arson after an eye witness reported seeing him start a fire, in the northwestern prefecture of Thesprotia on Friday.

Igoumenitsa police arrested tourist Alain de Fremont, 48, a real estate agent from Paris, after he was reported starting a fire in the forested area of Zavia, near the seaside resort of Syvota. The fire was quickly extinguished by the Igoumenitsa Fire B rigade and local residents.

De Fremont was arrested at 8.30 am after a brief pursuit, about 25 kilometres away from Zavia, in the company of his wife. The police said that although the Frenchman admitted to the arson, he was unable to explain his motives. He is being investigated in connection with other forest fires on the island of Corfu, where he was the previous days.

British woman killed while para-gliding

A 40-year-old British woman was killed yesterday when she fell into the sea while she was para-gliding at the coastal holiday town of Argasi on the island of Zakinthos, authorities said.

Sara-Elisabeth Gzaplincka was para-gliding with her friend Janet Scofield who was not injured.

Port authorities have arrested the owner of the sea sports equipment rental, where the two women rented the para-gliding equipment, and have launched an investigation.


Hot, sunny weather throughout the country tomorrow with some scattered cloud in mainland Greece. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Temperatures in Athens between 24C and 36C; and in Thessaloniki between 22C and 34C.


Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 291.747 British pound 476.398 Japanese yen (100) 200.037 French franc 49.074 German mark 164.543 Italian lira (100) 16.666 Irish Punt 413.664 Belgian franc 7.978 Finnish mark 54.114 Dutch guilder 145.888 Danish kr. 43.182 Austrian sch. 23.353 Spanish peseta 1.937 Swedish kr. 36.424 Norwegian kr. 38.390 Swiss franc 195.226 Port. Escudo 1.608 Aus. dollar 175.227 Can. dollar 190.147 Cyprus pound 556.512


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