Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-08-20
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 20/08/1998 (ANA)
- Tsohatzopoulos stresses that Kosovo issue is `political problem`
- Cross-border cooperation support unit for construction companies
- Civil defence bill debated in Parliament
- New website for recyclable energy sources
- Draft law for creation of environmental inspectors corps
- Bulgarian PM Kostov in Athens next week
- Austrian Chancellor Klima in Greece for private visit
- Greek stocks rise again in wake of rebound abroad
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Tsohatzopoulos stresses that Kosovo issue is `political problem`
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated yesterday that the
Kosovo crisis was a political problem and underlined that Athens supported
the ongoing NATO exercise in Albania, saying it could facilitate a
political solution in the region.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed at the same time that
minorities should not be allowed to change borders in the Balkans,
referring in particular to "extremist" elements among Kosovo Albanians who
want the region to be united with Albania.
Replying to criticism levelled by Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader
Dimitris Tsovolas, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said his recent call for an end to
military operations by Serbian forces in the troubled Yugoslav province was
to jumpstart direct negotiations between Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic and the leader of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova,
aimed at greater autonomy for Kosovo's Albanians but without any change of
Greek armed forces are participating in the NATO exercise with a C-130
military transport aircraft, two F-16 fighter jets, two helicopters and a
company of paratroopers. The exercise began on Monday.
Greece has also sent a medical team to provide services to residents of
remote villages in central Albania and in areas near the exercise,
codenamed "Cooperative Assembly '98".
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos criticised Mr. Milosevic on Saturday for the recent
military operations in Kosovo, comments which were later reprinted in
several Belgrade dailies and condemned by media outlets supporting the
Cross-border cooperation support unit for construction companies
The central Macedonia chapter of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE-TKM)
yesterday announced that the finance ministry has approved the creation of
a cross-border cooperation support unit for construction companies.
The unit will be financed by the European Union's Interreg II programme and
will provide technical and informational support to construction firms and
construction materials manufacturers.
According to the announcement, the unit will provide information on
technical issues related to construction projects in Albania, the Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria, as well as organise
business trips and conferences in the a bove-mentioned countries.
Civil defence bill debated in Parliament
The country's armed forces should be relieved from secondary duties, such
as the transport of patients, forest firefighting etc., National Defence
Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told Parliament yesterday during discussion on
a bill regarding civil defence.
He added that owing to a low birthrate, the number of new conscripts in the
Greek armed forces has dropped by 20 per cent within a year.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos further added that civil defence was designed to effect
a coordinated mobilisation of the entire nation, both in cases of natural
disasters and emergencies at the regional level.
Replying to objections about the drafting of females into the armed forces,
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said civil defence was about a mobilisation of all
citizens wishing to strengthen the country's defence.
The bill on civil defence provides for the drafting of women. It would
exclude the pregnant, mothers with children under the age of 12, those
having more than three children or caring for elderly parents as well as
women with special needs and those with health problems.
With regard to a new plan announced on Monday regarding a compulsory nine-
month period of service in border regions for all conscripts, the defence
minister said that detailed measures will be announced next week, including
provisions maintaining that all soldiers doing their military service in
border regions will be eligible for a short bi-monthly leave and reduced
New website for recyclable energy sources
The European website for recyclable energy sources recently inaugurated a
new Internet address at: www.eurorex.com
The page will be updated by a group of specialists in energy issues from 30
European countries and it will address businesses and organisations active
in the recyclable energy area.
Operation of the website in Greece is supervised by the Center for
Recyclable Energy Sources (KAPE). Information provided by the development
ministry shows that the European market in recyclable energy sources has an
annual revenue reaching 4.3 billion Ecu, and an upward trend since all
countries must conform to Kyoto pact resolutions on the reduction of carbon
Draft law for creation of environmental inspectors corps
The government has tabled a draft law for the establishment of an
"environmental inspectors corps" to ensure enforcement of environmental
conditions in public and regional projects.
The bill, drafted and tabled by the environment, town planning and public
works ministry, aims at crucial interventions in the sectors of environment
and town planning as well as establishment of a national environment and
viable development centre and special environmental management agencies.
The inspectors corps will initially inspect more than 12,500 public and
regional projects and will operate in the form of a company, entitled
"Environmental Inspectors S.A.", and staffed with specialised personnel.
Inspections will be either initiated by the company or conducted at the
request of state agencies or based on reports by individuals, while hefty
fines will reportedly be imposed for violations.
Bulgarian PM Kostov in Athens next week
Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov will pay a one-day working visit to
Athens on Aug. 26, it was announced yesterday.
Mr. Kostov has been invited by Premier Costas Simitis, with whom he will
discuss bilateral issues and the general situation in the region.
Austrian Chancellor Klima in Greece for private visit
Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima is scheduled to arrive in Thessaloniki
tomorrow for a private visit lasting until Sunday.
On Saturday, the Austrian chancellor and Prime Minister Costas Simitis, his
host, will pay a visit to the autonomous Mount Athos monastic community.
Greek stocks rise again in wake of rebound abroad
Equities gained more ground on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday
following a recovery in international markets.
The general index ended 2.21 percent higher at 2,701.46 points in active
trade with turnover at 51.6 billion drachmas, sharply up on recent daily
Traders said buying focused on stocks in the banking sector, which soared
2.62 percent. Sector indices were mixed. Insurance fell 0.25 percent,
Investment rose 0.59 percent, Leasing was 0.05 percent higher, Industrials
increased 1.87 percent, Construction was 1.37 percent up, Miscellaneous
fell 0.89 percent and Holding eased 0.19 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.99 percent. The
FTSE/ASE 20 index jumped 2.73 percent higher to 1,655.25.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 138 to 105 with another 20 issues
Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country today with cloud in
mainland Greece in the afternoon. Storms in Macedonia and Thrace and
possibly in Epirus and Thessaly. Winds will be northerly, light to moderate,
turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens will range between
22-33C, while in Thessaloniki from 20-30C.
Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 299.554
British pound 485.366 Japanese yen (100) 207.497
French franc 49.644 German mark 166.497
Italian lira (100) 16.884 Irish Punt 417.731
Belgian franc 8.075 Finnish mark 54.758
Dutch guilder 147.654 Danish kr. 43.745
Austrian sch. 23.669 Spanish peseta 1.963
Swedish kr. 36.642 Norwegian kr. 38.884
Swiss franc 198.658 Port. Escudo 1.627
Aus. dollar 179.309 Can. dollar 195.860
Cyprus pound 567.821