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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-08-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


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 Athens.

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 was hospitalised.

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 Akritas bay.

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 months.

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 dialogue.

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 policy.

"The way the EU's strategic cooperation will develop with NATO ally Turkey is the key to formulating the European Mediterranean policy", the text read.

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 heating oil.

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 three men.

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 Cyprus.

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 problem.

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 national network.

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


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