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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 15/10/1998 (ANA)


  • Budget primary spending slows
  • No final decisions yet on budget
  • Greece ups absorption of EU funds
  • FM Pangalos farewells Russian ambassador
  • Nobel economics prizewinner in Athens next week
  • Captain gets 10 year sentence
  • Convicted rapist strikes again
  • Children occupy school election centre
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Budget primary spending slows

Greek budget's primary spending growth slowed down to 6.5 percent in the first 10 months of 1998, near a budget target of a 6.3 percent annual increase, a finance ministry statement said. Budget spending increased by 7.9 and 8.1 percent in the first seven and eight months of 1998, respectively. The finance ministry also said that interest rate spending growth fell to 6.3 percent in the first nine months of the year, from 7.0 percent in the eight-month period. The ministry expects interest rate spending growth to fall to 3.9 percent in the period January-October and to 1.8 percent in December, hitting this year's budget target.

No final decisions yet on budget

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the government had not yet concluded discussions on drafting next year's budget. Reppas said there were no disagreements but different views in the government which were unified into a single and binding policy. He said he was optimistic that the deficit target would be fulfilled by the end of the year and he expressed the hope of achieving the inflation target as well.

Greece ups absorption of EU funds

The National Economy Ministry on Thursday announced figures showing an increase this year in Greece's absorption of European Union funds which approaches the maximum amount technically feasible to be absorbed before the end of 1998. According to the ministry, by the end of the current year the amount of 8,898 MECU is expected to have been absorbed, compared to 7, 213 MECU in 1997. The 1998 figure corresponds to 63.8 per cent of total funds allocated to Greece under the Second Community Support Framework and 83.6 per cent of the initially estimated amount for the period 1994- 98.

FM Pangalos farewells Russian ambassador

Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos today described Greece's bilateral cooperation with Russia as being of "strategic importance", noting that Russia's participation in several international organisations was of "decisive significance" and recalling the coincidence of views between Athens and Moscow on the Yugoslav problem. He was speaking to reporters after a fare-well visit by Russia's outgoing ambassador to Greece, Valentina Matvienko, who recently accepted her nomination as a Deputy Premier in charge of social policy in Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov's new government. He said he had invited Matvienko to visit Greece in her new capacity, noting that he himself was scheduled to visit Moscow on October 21, when he would have extensive talks with members of the new Russian government.

Nobel economics prizewinner in Athens next week

1998 Nobel prizewinner for economics Dr. Amartya Sen will be in Athens on Tuesday to speak at an event organised by the Andreas Papandreou Institute. Sen, who received the Nobel prize on Wednesday, will speak on "The political element of economic development: a tribute to Andreas Papandreou", the late founder of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. The event will be held at the Old Parliament Building.

Captain gets 10 year sentence

A Samos court on Thursday sentenced the Greek captain of a St. Vincents- flagged vessel to 10 years jail and fined him five million drachmas for trying to transport 42 illegal immigrants. Thomas Papadakis was arrested while the vessel was sailing off the island of Ikaria on Sunday evening. He and an Albanian accomplice from Kusadasy, Turkey, had picked up the 37 Pakistani and five Bangladeshi immigrants. They had paid between 2,000-3, 000 dollars each to be taken to the Italian coast.

Convicted rapist strikes again

A 36-year-old convicted rapist released from prison just one month ago was on Thursday charged in Thessaloniki with the kidnapping and rape of a ten- year-old boy. Dimitris Sakellaris, from Naousa, had in the past been sentenced to eleven years in prison for the rape of a young boy and previously to four years for theft. He was released on parole just one month ago after serving the term for theft and about one half of the rape sentence. Sakellaris has reportedly confessed to raping the ten-year-old on Sunday. It is the second case in less than a month in northern Greece involving an assault against young boys by a convicted sex offender. A 40- year-old man was remanded in custody in Kavala on September 22 to answer charges of indecent assault on three boys, aged 10, 11 and 12. The man was convicted in 1991 of indecent assault on six minors and sentenced to five years in jail. His term was reduced to three years on appeal.

Children occupy school election centre

Voters in the Thessaloniki suburb of Polihni wanting to cast their ballots in Sunday's run-off municipal poll may have to do battle with the seven- and eight-year-olds who have occupied the school. The Fifth Polihni Elementary School also doubles as an election centre, but it may be out of action on Sunday, following the second grade's decision to protest the school's plans to merge certain classes. The students, and their parents, want the school's authorities to change its mind about the mergers of classes, brought about by the chronic lack of teachers in the Thessaloniki area. An official at the Thessaloniki education authority said talks were under way to try and resolve the dispute.


Cloud and rain will prevail throughout Greece on Thursday.

Winds will be northerly, northwesterly, moderate to strong.

Unsettled weather in Athens where temperatures will range between 15-21C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 13- 18C.


Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 280.538 British pound 477.331 Japanese yen (100) 235.719 French franc 51.068 German mark 171.160 Italian lira (100) 17.304 Irish Punt 425.945 Belgian franc 8.300 Finnish mark 56.316 Dutch guilder 151.786 Danish kr. 45.027 Austrian sch. 24.359 Spanish peseta 2.016 Swedish kr. 35.351 Norwegian kr. 37.000 Swiss franc 211.301 Port. Escudo 1.670 Aus. dollar 176.229 Can. dollar 181.020 Cyprus pound 579.328


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