NEWS IN DETAIL
Port authorities seize contraband cigarettes in the north
Port authorities in northern Greece have arrested the five-member crew of a
Ukraine-flagged ship off the island of Samothrace after finding 280 crates
of contraband cigarettes on board.
The authorities were alerted to the vessel, identified as the Avers, when a
patrol boat sighted it on Saturday breaching international rules on the
avoidance of collisions and jeopardising the safety of shipping in the area,
about 300 metres south of the island.
A search of the vessel reavealed the crates containing brand-name Marlboro
and L&M cigarattes from abroad that had been loaded at the port of Burgas
in Bulgaria, and were due for illegal sale in the Greek market, evading
Overruling the objections of the crew, two patrol boats led the vessel into
Working with a public prosecutor in the northern town of Alexandroupoli,
port authorities impounded the vessel and confiscated the haul, also
arresting the entire crew on suspicion of smuggling.
The authorities identified the crew as Viktor Pisarev, 67, ship's captain;
Balery Tiyrhin, 48, first engineer; Alexander Kulakov, 24, engineer; Andrey
Mamontov, 35, seaman; and Micola Musey, 54, seaman.
Greek PM, Austrian Chancellor visit Mount Athos
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima visited
the monastic community of Mount Athos in northern Greece.
Klima, who is currently on a private visit to Greece, was shown the Iviron
and Megisti Lavra monasteries.
On the agenda for talks between the two officials are the Cyprus issue,
relations between Greece and Turkey, events in the European Union and
Austria holds the EU's rotating six-month presidency until the end of the
The Austrian Chancellor, who is the first EU president to visit the more
than 1,000 years old monastic community said after his visit on Saturday
the EU would make all possible efforts so that "the particular characteristics
of Mt. Athos would be respected and the wonderful cultural heritage, in the
form of the holy relics and buildings, would be maintained and preserved".
In statements after the two leaders' return to Thessaloniki, Klima
expressed his particular admiration for "the work being achieved in this
religious centre and its cultural heritage."
Simitis also provided assurances that the Greek state would continue to
help the monastic community so that it would continue its course with the
same vitality, and its ecumenical character and democratic ideal as it has
for more than 1,000 years.
"Greece is proud that Mt. Athos belongs to its territory, because it not
only constitutes an ark of Orthodox Christianity, but also the largest
centre of Christanity and monastic life," added the prime minister.
Weeklong NATO exercise in Albania ends
A weeklong NATO exercise in Albania, bordering the troubled Kosovo region,
ended on Saturday after demonstrating readiness to intervene in the event
of a crisis.
Taking part in the exercise named Cooperative Assembly 98 that began on
Monday were 14 nations including Greece, and observers from six countries,
among them Russia.
The exercise was part of a programme entitled Partnership for Peace,
adopted in January 1994 by a NATO summit.
The exercise aimed to show Serbia that the alliance was ready to intervene
at any time in the region, especially if tension escalated in Kosovo.
Greece took part with a C-130 transport plane, two F-16 jetfighters, two
helicopters and a company of parachutists, who performed joint manoeuvres
with US parachutists.
The country also sent a medical unit to the exercise, which treated the
residents of remote villages in the mountain range where the exercise was
Among the services offered was dental treatment for tens of young children,
who saw a dentist for the first time.
The exercise was launched by NATO commander-in-chief for Southern Europe,
Admiral T. Joseph Lopez, who said the alliance was prepared to intervene in
the region at a moment's notice on receiving the go-ahead by the leaders of
NATO member states.
He also said the exercise, as all Partnership for Peace manoeuvres, aimed
at regional stability and was not directed against any party in Kosovo or
The exercise was scaled down when the US reduced its contingent by 70
percent following the August 7 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania, in which at least 257 people were killed. Washington cited the
risk of terrorist attacks against American targets in Albania.
The exercise included search and rescue operations, close air support,
medical evacuation, air-drop procedures, and infantry peace support
Two Syrians, one Greek charged for circulating fake banknotes
Two Syrians and a Greek were charged on the island of Crete yesterday for
circulating counterfeit banknotes after being found in possession of 146
forged 10,000 drachma bills.
Arrested yesterday, the men were identified as Nafi Bayzied and Abdulrahman
Hidan, both 37; and Emmanouil Tsibragos, a butcher from Iraklio on the
The criminal charges were brought by Irakli deputy public prosecutor
The three will appear before investigating magistrate Ekaterini Papadaki to
give evidence on Tuesday after their request for an extension was
Yesterday the Syrians told police that they were given the forged banknotes
Italian yacht runs aground, no injuries
An Italian-flagged yacht ran aground on a reef off the island of Corfu but
none of its occupants - three Italians and a Pole - were injured.
Vessels in the region, a coast guard patrol boat and the fishing boat
"Ioannis" immediately rushed to the assistance of the yacht on Friday.
The "Ioannis" eventually managed to dislodge the "Let Live" from the reef
and tow it into deeper water.
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
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
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.
Mortgage Bank shareholders approve merger with National Bank
A Mortgage Bank shareholders' extraordinary general assembly has 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 has 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.
Gov't promises tabling of bill for land registry
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis has
promised that he will 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 has 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 support in emergency situations in times of peace
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 on Friday 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
Mostly sunny weather forecast throughout the country tomorrow with
scattered cloud in the north. Winds northerly, light to moderate.
Temperatures in Athens will range between 23C and 35C; in Thessaloniki
between 20C and 32C.
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