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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-08-20

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, 20/08/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 borders.

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 Yugoslav president.

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 transportation fares.

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 dioxide emissions.

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 averages.

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 unchanged.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(L.G.)


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