Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-08-13
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 13/08/1998 (ANA)
- Drugs squad make arrests after cocaine found in courier delivery
- Bride-to-be catches groom embracing best man
- Hellenic Air Force pilot found dead after plane crashes
- July tax revenue sets record increase
- Kinkel: EU accession negotiations with Turkey 'cannot open yet'
- Parliament interest over Turkey's nuclear intentions
- Kranidiotis: S-300s to arrive on Cyprus in two and a half months
- Greece to take part in EU foreign ministers meeting
- Financial crimes squad finds fuel violations
- Suspect in multiple forest fires arrested in Ilia prefecture
- Commotion over Calvin Klein show at Herod Atticus continues
- Alpha Credit Bank seeks to take over Cypriot bank
- Cyprus Airways plane makes forced landing in bomb hoax
- Eight Italians safe after sea rescue
- OTEnet to launch 17 new Internet access points
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Drugs squad make arrests after cocaine found in courier delivery
Drug squad officers in Thessaloniki have arrested three persons after
intercepting a small quantity of cocaine detected by sniffer dogs in a
letter being delivered by a private courier service.
The three arrested were named as Nikolaos Vlavianos, 41, a seaman and
resident of Thessaloniki, Androniki Tsarvena, 23, a beautician and resident
of Kastoria, and Albanian Eduard Isarai, 27, who has been living in
Police dogs detected 6 grams of cocaine sent in a letter by courier from
Vlavianos in Thessaloniki to Tsarvena in Kastoria. A subsequent search of
Vlavianos' home turned up a further 0.7 grams of the narcotic.
After questioning Vlavianos, police arrested Isarai at a bus station in
Thessaloniki just after he had arrived from Athens. He was found in
possession of 20.3 grams of cocaine.
Isarai, who has refused to name his accomplices, has admitted selling
cocaine in Attica during the past five months. He claimed it was the first
time he had taken narcotics to Thessaloniki.
Bride-to-be catches groom embracing best man
A bride-to-be suffered a nervous breakdown on Crete when she caught her
groom in the arms of their best man on the eve of their wedding, wearing
her bridal gown.
The couple from Heraklion, who met and fell in love several years ago,
decided to tie the knot after a turbulent relationship and the wedding date
was set for last Saturday.
On the eve of the wedding, the bride and groom went out separately with
their friends to celebrate, keeping the tradition that the groom should not
see the bride the day before the wedding.
Late Friday night, the bride and her friends, who wanted to see the wedding
gown, went to the home the newlyweds had set up for themselves.
They caught the groom unawares, however, as he was having his own bachelor
party, dressed in the bridal gown and in the arms of his best man.
The bride, whose name was not made public, suffered a nervous breakdown and
Hellenic Air Force pilot found dead after plane crashes
A Hellenic Air Force plane crashed off Schiza islet in the Messinian Gulf
this morning and a search and rescue mission later found the body of the
pilot 100 metres off the coast of the islet, Airforce sources said.
Unconfirmed reports said the pilot had parachuted from the plane, but was
at too low an altitude to enable the parachute to break his fall.
The sources told the ANA that the single-seat Corsair A-7 had taken of from
the Souda airbase on Crete for target practice at the Schiza target range,
together with another twin-seater plane.
They said the plane went down at 9:20 a.m. about 3-4 miles off the islet's
July tax revenue sets record increase
Tax revenue increased by 12.45 per cent in July, setting a new record for
the rate of increase in that month, the government announced yesterday.
Revenue in January-July rose by 14.86 per cent, exceeding a budgetary
target of a 10.8 per cent rate of increase, Finance Undersecretary George
Drys told a news conference.
Budgetary revenue showed a surplus of 140 billion drachmas so far this year
with the better-than-expected figure due to a rise in income tax and Value
Added Tax (VAT) collected by the state, he said.
Revenue from income tax increased by 21.20 per cent from January to July
this year compared with the corresponding period in 1997, while VAT
revenues rose 15.32 per cent in the same period.
Mr. Drys also said that the imposition of a 0.3 per cent tax on stock sales
at the bourse would add a further 30 billion drachmas to state coffers this
year, up from an early estimate of 12 billion drachmas due to a major rise
in transactions at the Ath ens Stock Exchange.
Ministry sources warned, however, that the budgetary surplus in income this
year was jeopardised by a jump in spending that was expected to exceed
budgetary targets by 100 billion drachmas in 1998.
Mr. Drys finally said that the government would finalise its 1999 budget in
October following a scrutiny of revenue and spending in the next two
Kinkel: EU accession negotiations with Turkey 'cannot open yet'
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel has stressed that although Europe's
position is that Turkey does have a European orientation, "accession
negotiations cannot open yet".
The German FM's statement come in an interview published in yesterday's
issue of the Bonn-based newspaper "General-Anzeiger."
Mr. Kinkel added that he believed Bonn will continue with the same foreign
policy line vis-a-vis Ankara even if there was a government change after
the Sept. 27 general elections.
"A German position that would be different with the Euorpean line, as set
in Luxembourg, would be inconceivable", he said.
Asked whether the Cyrpus problem could potentially block EU expansion, Mr.
Kinkel underlined that a normalisation of relations between Greece and
Turkey was a key to the solution of the Cyprus problem as well as the
success of the island republic's acce ssion processes.
"If these relations (between Greece and Turkey) do not become normal, then
Cyprus' accession will become a major problem", he said.
In a separate development, the German Christian-Democratic Party's (CDU)
committee of foreign policy and political security released a text
yesterday in which it favoured a recourse to the International Court at The
Hague for all Greek-Turkish differenc es that cannot be resolved in
The text, which refers the EU Mediterranean Policy guidelines and has the
approval of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, said dialogue should be held
between the two sides. It adds that both sides should also accept the
international court's decisions as bi nding.
With regard to Turkey, it stressed the necessity for a revitalisation of
the EU-Turkey customs union and the lifting of Greece's veto on Ankara's EU
financial protocol. It also underlined Ankara's key role to Mediterranean
"The way the EU's strategic cooperation will develop with NATO ally Turkey
is the key to formulating the European Mediterranean policy", the text
According to the guidelines set by the Christian-Democrats, solutions to
Greek-Turkish differences "can be found only through unconditional
negotiations with mediation by NATO members or the EU".
Parliament interest over Turkey's nuclear intentions
Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday noted that Greece's
Parliament was particularly interested in efforts to brief international
public opinion regarding the dangers a nuclear power plant on the
southeastern coast of Turkey would pose.
He made the statement during a meeting with a five-member delegation of a
group recently created to rally support against the building of nuclear
plants in the neighbouring country.
Mr. Kaklamanis said that Parliament would inform the Canadian Parliament
about Greece's concerns regarding Ankara's intent to place a Canadian-made
nuclear reactor at a proposed plant in Akkuyu, Turkey, near the city of
Adana and across from Cyprus. Ank ara's plans have sparked domestic and
international concerns, as among others, the region is considered an area
of high seismic activity.
Mr. Kaklamanis also said various methods would be examined to assist in
cancelling the plant's construction.
Members of the group briefed Mr. Kaklamanis on their appeals to pacifist
and environmental organisations in Europe and Canada to mobilise over the
issue, while they stressed that Turkey's aim is to gradually become a
nuclear power in terms of weapons production.
Kranidiotis: S-300s to arrive on Cyprus in two and a half months
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, on a visit to Nicosia, said
yesterday that the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles will arrive on Cyprus in
about two and a half months.
However, he underlined that the issue of the missiles should not dominate
the Cyprus issue, adding that it is imperative to work hard and quickly
toward a resumption of bicommunal dialogue on the Cyprus problem.
Furthermore, he noted that US State Department special coordinator for the
Cyrpus problem, Thomas Miller, will visit Ankara, Athens and Nicosia during
the first half of September.
The Greek official added that Mr. Miller is expected to table several new
ideas for discussion on the issue, while he also announced that Athens is
expecting a visit by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.
Finally, Mr. Kranidiotis noted that he will brief Prime Minister Costas
Simitis and Foriegn Minister Theodoros Pangalos on the issues discussed
during his visit on the island republic.
Greece to take part in EU foreign ministers meeting
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou left today for Salzburg to
attend a meeting of European Union foreign ministers at the invitation of
the Austrian presidency.
Informed sources said the meeting tomorrow afternoon would focus on the
major issues currently of concern to the EU and possibly institutional
matters such as the number of votes held by member-states at the Council of
Ministers and representation by commissioners.
Financial crimes squad finds fuel violations
The financial crimes squad ascertained fuel-related violations by 40
companies during checks carried out in July.
The offenders were petrol stations which had not issued retail sale
receipts and other enterprises, mainly hotels, which were using heating oil
for purposes other than those specified by the law.
Specifically, in June the squad found 16 petrol stations which had not
issued retail sale receipts for a total quantity of 245,200 litres of
In addition, it ascertained 24 cases of companies, chiefly hotels, using a
total of 377,924 litres of heating oil unlawfully.
Suspect in multiple forest fires arrested in Ilia prefecture
The public order minister yesterday announced later that a 31-year-old man
had been arrested and had admitted to starting six out of seven major
forest fires in the prefecture of Ilia this summer.
Georgios Anastasopoulos reportedly told police that he had been persuaded
to start the fires by an uncle, Georgios Mavroeidis, 46, who had promised
him a large sum of money he was to receive from a forestry service employee,
later identified as Alexios Kranitis, 47.
Public Order Minister Giorgos Romeos said the suspect had accepted his
uncle's proposition, citing financial problems.
The minister said also that authorities were considering issuing a warrant
for the arrest of community president Fotis Alexopoulos, 55, who has also
been implicated in the case.
In a separate case, another three persons, who according to sources are
forestry service employees, are being held and questioned on suspicion of
arson by the fire brigade in Pyrgos, western Peloponnese.
According to the same sources, the three men are being questioned in
connection with a fire that destroyed about 12 acres of agricultural and
forest land at the Kalidona site near ancient Olympia last Friday, and
about other recent fires in the prefectu re of Ilia.
The chief of the Pyrgos fire brigade, Panayiotis Spyropoulos, declined to
make any comment to reporters and declined to announce the names of the
Finally, a marble mason from Eliki, northern Peloponnese, was due to appear
before a public prosecutor in Aegio, charged with attempted arson. Georgios
Zombos, 53, was arrested Tuesday evening on the Corinth-Patra highway near
Diakofto after he allegedl y threw a flaming rag out of his car.
He was pursued by other motorists who detained him until police arrived.
Commotion over Calvin Klein show at Herod Atticus continues
The president of the archaeologists' society yesterday condemned a decision
by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday to perm it a fashion-cum-
ballet show next month at the ancient Herod Atticus Theatre by well-known
US designer Calvin Klein .
"The permission granted is a follow-up to a poor precedent, when the
theatre was allowed to host varieties of music other than classical and
opera. Let it be noted that Greek fashion designers have been P rightly P
refused permission to host similar sho ws there in the past. We archaeologists
must stress the particular character of such monuments-symbols," said
Aglaia Arhontidou, president of the Greek Archaeologists Society.
Mr. Venizelos, justifying his approval for the show at the Roman-era
theatre at the foot of the Acropolis, said there was nothing wrong in Mr.
Klein wishing to promote the products of the fashion industry."Cinema,
television, music and book and magazin e publications are also big
industries," he said. Meanwhile, according to the Zoobidon Communications
firm, which represents the fashion designer in Greece, Academy-award
winning composer Vangelis Papathanasiou will not be participating in the
event for various reasons, including other prior engagements.
Alpha Credit Bank seeks to take over Cypriot bank
Alpha Credit Bank, the country's largest private bank, said yesterday it
was in talks with Lombard North Central Plc in order to buy its 75 percent
stake in Lombard NatWest Bank Limited, the fourth largest bank in
Lombard NatWest holds a roughly five percent stake in the Cypriot banking
market with 25 branches and a staff of more than 300.
Its assets total around 400 million Cyprus pounds and its pre-tax profits
in 1997 were 3.2 million Cyprus pounds.
Lombard North Central Plc is a member of NatWest, the UK banking group,
which had assets of 14.4 billion pounds sterling in 1997.
Alpha Credit Bank holds a market stake in Greece of around 12 percent with
203 branches, assets of about 3.4 trillion drachmas (or 6.2 billion Cyprus
pounds), and a staff of 4,450 employees.
Its 1997 pre-tax profits were 73 billion drachmas.
Cyprus Airways plane makes forced landing in bomb hoax
A Cyprus Airways plane en route from Larnaca to London made a forced
landing at Athens International Airport last night after an unknown caller
to Larnaca Airport said there was a bomb on board.
Larnaca Airport officials told ANA that a woman called the airport about 45
minutes after the Airbus-310 had taken off for London, claiming there was a
bomb planted on the plane.
The plane's pilot was immediately informed and requested -- and was granted -- permission to land at an auxilidary runway at the Greek airport.
The passengers were evacuated in Athens and Greek bomb disposal exports
searched the airbus and luggage on board but found no trace of a bomb.
The Cyprus Airways plane left Athens Airport shortly after 2:00 a.m. to
continue its flight to the British capital.
Eight Italians safe after sea rescue
Eight Italians were safe today after a coastguard vessel and a Hellenic
Navy frigate rushed to their assistance when the yacht in which they were
sailing between the islands of Hydra and Serifos developed a major
The problem arose when the mast of the yacht "Phaedra" snapped and the boat
began to be buffetted by the strong winds prevailing in the area.
A coastguard lifeboat and the frigate "Hydra" sped to the scene and
escorted the yacht into Hydra harbour.
OTEnet to launch 17 new Internet access points
OTEnet, a subsidiary of the country's state telecom, will launch seven new
Internet access points on August 17 as part of an effort to expand its
The new access points will start operating in Alexandroupolis, Veria,
Kastoria, Komotini, Nafplio, Rethymno and Serres. An eighth in Agrinio is
slated to start working in the near future.
OTEnet and software companies Compulink and Ideal Telecom are to establish
new Internet links in order to better serve their clients.
Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country tomorrow. Scattered cloud
likely in mainland Greece. Winds will be northerly, light to strong,
turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens will range
from 24C-34C, and in Thessaloniki from 22C-33C.
Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 292.640
British pound 477.231 Japanese yen (100) 201.892
French franc 49.271 German mark 165.163
Italian lira (100) 16.740 Irish Punt 416.640
Belgian franc 8.009 Finnish mark 54.346
Dutch guilder 146.484 Danish kr. 43.356
Austrian sch. 23.465 Spanish peseta 1.946
Swedish kr. 36.182 Norwegian kr. 38.757
Swiss franc 197.224 Port. Escudo 1.613
Aus. dollar 175.559 Can. dollar 192.666
Cyprus pound 561.472