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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-08-21

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, 21/08/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Major shipment of cocaine seized on bulk carrier
  • Marijuana seized in western Greece
  • Air force jet pilots presumed dead
  • Mortgage Bank shareholders approve merger with National Bank
  • Greece's Vasdeki takes triple jump gold
  • Klima due in Thessaloniki today
  • Gov't promises tabling of bill for land registry
  • Civil defence bill approved
  • Greek equities end the week lower after profit-taking
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Major shipment of cocaine seized on bulk carrier

Coastguard officers apparently acting on a tip-off boarded a Cypriot- flagged bulk carrier at a port in western Evia and found 248 kilos of cocaine yesterday morning.

According to reports, the cocaine was stashed in pipes inside the engine room of the "Kleovoulos of Rhodes".

Coastguard officials said the vessel, owned by the shipping firm "Celestial Maritime Corp," had sailed from Colombia for the port of Aliveri with a shipment of coal. Once unloading of the coal began, divers and drug squad officers boarded the 65,000 dwt vessel and found the cocaine.

Eight Greek and 33 foreign merchant seamen were arrested and the vessel was impounded.

Marijuana seized in western Greece

Drug squad officers from Corfu and Igoumenitsa have arrested two Albanians and seized over 150 kilos of marijuana.

According to press sources, the police two months ago received information that Albanian drug traffickers were using a speedboat to smuggle large quantities of marijuana into the country via the west coast of Corfu or southern Thesprotia.

Late last night, police following a suspect arrested both him and another another whom he met in the dark near a beach in the community of Vatos. The two Albanians were found to be in possession of 153 kilos of marijuana wrapped in 17 packets.

The two were named as Stara Bakiou, 27, a permanent resident of Corfu, and Thanasi Naso, a construction worker from Sarande.

In an unrelated incident, five illegal immigrants from Albania, four of them minors, were arrested in a rural area of Florina prefecture in northern Greece after being found in possession of 1.3 kilos of hashish.

Air force jet pilots presumed dead

The two pilots of the Hellenic Air Force F-4 jet which crashed in the sea off the Aegean island of Andros were presumed dead, national defence ministry sources said today.

The sources said evidence had been found in the wreckage of the aircraft which indicate that the pilot and co-pilot died when the F-4 crashed yesterday during a training exercise with other aircraft.

The two missing pilots are Captain Petros Polychronakis and First Lieutenant Georgios Papathanasiou.

The wreckage of the F-4 was found on the sea bed last night about 25 miles east of Andros.

Mortgage Bank shareholders approve merger with National Bank

A Mortgage Bank shareholders' extraordinary general assembly yesterday approved a merger plan for the bank's absorption by National Bank of Greece.

Mortgage Bank shareholders provided their authorisation to the board to sign and complete the plan, while National Bank of Greece's shareholders are also expected to approve the plan in a meeting on Sept. 9.

Mortgage Bank's governor, Vassilis Rapanos, said that a new National Bank that will be formed from the merger will have total assets of 12.5 trillion drachmas, pre-tax profits and provisions of 175 billion drachmas, deposits more than 10 trillion drachm as, of which 3.4 trillion in foreign exchange, and a lending portfolio totalling 3.3 trillion drachmas.

Greece's Vasdeki takes triple jump gold

Triple-jumper Olga Vasdeki yesterday won Greece's second ever gold medal at the European Athletics Championships, with a 14.55-metre effort.

It was the third medal won by Greek athletes at this year's tournament, after sprinters Haris Papadias and Katerina Thanou both took third place in the men's and women's 100-metre dashes, respectively, on Wednesday.

Klima due in Thessaloniki today

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will today receive Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima in Thessaloniki, as the latter begins a three-day unofficial visit to Greece.

The two leaders are expected to discuss major political developments in the European Union as well as bilateral relations and the priorities of the Austrian EU presidency.

The Austrian chancellor is also expected to visit the Mount Athos monastic community.

Gov't promises tabling of bill for land registry

Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday announced that he would soon table a bill in Parliament dealing with the legal framework for the proposed National Land Registry.

The registry, which is mandated by the European Union, will be financed by EU structural aid programmes.

Greece currently has no national land registry, instead local authorities often delineate land use and ownership.

Civil defence bill approved

Parliament yesterday passed a bill on civil defence together with a number of amendments tabled by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

Under the new legislation, women in border regions will be obliged to serve in civil defence units for the first time in modern Greek history. One of the main aims of the bill is to organise local civil defence forces in border areas to provide supp ort in emergency situations in times of peace and war.

Civil defence (PAM) units will be set up in each municipality or community according to available manpower, in addition to national guard units.

Participation in PAM will be on a voluntary basis for young men and women aged 16-18, and for men and women above 65 and 50, respectively.

It will, however, be mandatory for men aged 18-65 except those serving in the military, national guard and security forces and those registered in reserve forces, and for women aged 18-50, except women who are pregnant, mothers of children up to 12 years old or mothers of large families.

Greek equities end the week lower after profit-taking

Greek equities ended the week lower after succumbing to profit-taking with the market sidelined ahead of a final decision on a sale of state-owned Ionian Bank.

The general index ended 1.39 percent off at 2,638.14 points, to show a net gain of 2.20 percent in the week. The index stands 78.30 percent higher from the start of the year.

Sector indices were lower. Banks fell 1.83 percent to show a 3.53 percent gain in the week, Insurance eased 0.11 percent, Investment ended 1.30 percent off, Leasing dropped 1.35 percent, Industrials fell 0.83 percent to a 2.32 percent weekly loss, Construction ended 1.43 percent off, Miscellaneous ended 1.50 percent down and Holding rose 0.77 percent.

The parallel market index ended 0.96 percent off while the FTSE/ASE 20 index dropped 1.62 percent to 1,614.68.

Trading was heavy with turnover at 55.7 billion drachmas. The week's turnover totalled 231.87 billion drachmas or a daily average of 46.38 billion, down from 51.6 billion the previous week.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 163 to 64 with another 21 issues unchanged.

WEATHER

Fair weather throughout the country today with some cloud in mainland Greece in the afternoon. Storms in the northern Ionian Sea, Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly. Winds will be westerly, northwesterly, light to moderate. Temperatures in Athens will range between 22-34C, while in Thessaloniki from 20-31C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 298.999 British pound 486.516 Japanese yen (100) 209.610 French franc 49.735 German mark 166.730 Italian lira (100) 16.903 Irish Punt 418.624 Belgian franc 8.084 Finnish mark 54.832 Dutch guilder 147.808 Danish kr. 43.791 Austrian sch. 23.694 Spanish peseta 1.965 Swedish kr. 36.853 Norwegian kr. 38.871 Swiss franc 198.851 Port. Escudo 1.629 Aus. dollar 177.122 Can. dollar 195.622 Cyprus pound 566.630

(S.S.)


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