Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-30
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 30/11/1998 (ANA)
- Athens working with EU on Ocalan issue
- Government unfazed by opinion poll
- PM reveals youth employment plan
- Nervous drivers queue for petrol
- Customs strike unwarranted, gov't says
- Trolley workers call off strike
- Checks begin on all bridges
- Two arrested over oil slick
- Bomb razes Cretan abbatoir
- Greek first division soccer results
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens working with EU on Ocalan issue
Greece confirmed on Monday that it was in touch with other European Union
governments on the issue of Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan with
a view to holding a meeting on the Kurdish problem. Government spokesman
Dimitris Reppas said the contacts were being carried out at the ministerial
level. Ocalan has been placed under house arrest pending further developments
following his arrival in Rome some weeks ago to request political asylum. A
Rome court refused a Turkish warrant for his arrest, severely taxing
relations with Ankara. Germany, which has also issued a warrant for
Ocalan's arrest, has said it will not file for his extradition for the
Government unfazed by opinion poll
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the government was not concerned
by the results of an opinion poll published on Monday in Ta Nea newspaper,
showing relatively high dissatisfaction rates for both ruling party and
opposition. "The government is judged on its work at national elections,"
Reppas said. "And the present government and the prime minister will be
PM reveals youth employment plan
Prime Minister Costas Simitis today unveiled an ambitious programme aimed
at creating job opportunities for 1.15 million youths. The 425 billion dr.
"Below-30 Greece" programme, of a two-year duration, encompasses a broad
range of fields, including agriculture and business, Simitis told a press
conference. Drafted by an interministerial committee on youth, the plan
earmarks 300 billion dr. to support employment programmes and another 100
billion dr. to support young farmers. It includes subsidies and special
programmes for young entrepreneurs, and incentives and training for
young farmers in a bid to revitalise the provinces.
Nervous drivers queue for petrol
Cars queued up Monday outside petrol stations whose reserves have not been
depleted as customs employees began a week of rolling strikes after the
collapse of talks with the labour ministry over the future of their pension
fund. Customs workers want their pension fund exempted from labour ministry
plans to merge a number of sector-specific pension funds, part of the
ministry's "mini-reforms" of the pension and health system. The strike is
also expected to cause shortages in heating oil. Northern Greece was the
hardest hit as local merchants, industrialists and farmers - representing
64 percent of export trade -- saw their products' exit gates to Europe
shut down, threatening them with delays and cancellations of orders.
Customs strike unwarranted, gov't says
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the government was
monitoring labour action such as the customs officials' strike through its
ministerial committees. "The phenomena are not welcome but within the
expected annual framework of labour protests," he said. The government has
shown that it is open to dialogue but not on certain non-negotiable issues,
he said. Referring specifically to the customs strike, Reppas said their
interests were not harmed by the government's decisions and noted that the
sector had the highest supplementary pensions of all civil servants.
Trolley workers call off strike
Electric trolley bus workers on Monday said they were calling off labour
action scheduled for the week as a goodwill gesture that might be
reciprocated from the ministry and the Athens and Piraeus Trolley Bus
Authority, ILPAP. "We believe that the managment of ILPAP and the competent
ministries will show the same responsibility in regard to the just demands
of the workers and that reason will prevail in dialogue so that the grief
caused to commuters in the Athens and Piraeus can be avoided in the future,
" a statement from the workers union said. Trolley bus workers last week
staged a series of work stoppages to protest the government's plans to
overhaul public transport organisations.
Checks begin on all bridges
Environment and Public Works ministry technical experts on Monday began
inspections of all old bridges on the country's national highways after the
collapse Saturday of a bridge in Pieria that nearly cut the country in two.
Circulation was restored Sunday along the motorway linking Athens to
Thessaloniki after a bridge in Pieria collapsed in heavy rain on Saturday,
fortunately without causing injuries or damage to vehicles. The highway was
closed to traffic when subsidence caused the bridge at Ziliana, between
Leptokarya and Skotina, to collapse over both sides of the motorway.
Hundreds of vehicles were stranded far from exit points. A newly built
flyover was opened earlier than planned after special army units put in
steel supports in order to restore circulation.
Two arrested over oil slick
The captains of a Portuguese-flag freighter and Greek tugboat have been
arrested on charges of causing an oil spill in the sea off the AGET-
Heracles cement company in Aliveri, merchant marine sources said today.
They said a 400 metre long by 10 metres wide mazut slick resulted when the
freighter "Maria Dolores" collided with the tug, creating a hole in the
former from which an unspecified amount of mazut leaked into the sea.
Inclement weather conditions threatened to spread the slick the open sea,
as floating obstacles were put in place to contain the spill and a harbour
authority vessel had commenced clean-up operations, the sources said. The
captains were due to appear before a public prosecutor in nearby Halkis.
Bomb razes Cretan abbatoir
A powerful bomb has literally razed the municipal abbatoirs at Kiassamos in
Hania, Crete, but caused no injuries, police said today. They said the
blast, caused by a "large quantity of ammoniacal dynamite" Sunday night,
could be heard two kilometres away while narby windows were shattered. The
explosion totally destroyed the abbatoir's slaughterhouse and meat packing
building, while a third building was designated as highly unstable and the
entire complex was declared off limits. The bomb made a half-metre deep
crater, police added. They said it was a miracle that there were no victims,
as just half an hour before the explosion a Kissamos municipal garbage
truck had parked in the abbatoir's yard. The truck suffered extensive
Greek first division soccer results
PAOK Thessaloniki-Panelfsiniakos 3-1 Panionios Athens-Paniliakos Pyrgos 5-
2 Iraklis Thessaloniki-Ethnikos Piraeus 5-0
Ionikos-Apollon Athens 3-0 Proodeftiki-OFI Iraklion 0-1
Ethnikos Asteras-Veria 4-0 Olympiakos Piraeus-Kavala 4-1
AEK Athens-Aris Thessaloniki 6-0 Monday: Xanthi vs Panathinaikos
Standings: AEK 26, Panathinaikos, Olympiakos 25, Xanthi 20, Aris, PAOK 17,
Panionios, OFI, Ionikos, Ethnikos Asteras, Paniliakos 16.
The Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) stripped three points from PAOK for crowd
trouble in an interrupted match with Olympiakos, awarding the match to
Olympiakos with a 2-0 score. The actual score at time of interruption was 2-
1 in favour of Olympiakos.
Rainy weather and storms are forecast in eastern Greece today easing later
in the day. Cloudy in the rest of the country likely to turn into rain in
the evening, especially in the west. Winds variable, moderate to strong.
Sunny with scattered cloud in Athens and temperatures ranging from 10-16C.
Overcast in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7C to 12C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.345
British pound 469.117 Japanese yen (100) 231.265
French franc 49.650 German mark 166.458
Italian lira (100) 16.814 Irish Punt 414.061
Belgian franc 8.070 Finnish mark 54.768
Dutch guilder 147.684 Danish kr. 43.793
Austrian sch. 23.660 Spanish peseta 1.956
Swedish kr. 34.899 Norwegian kr. 37.849
Swiss franc 201.996 Port. Escudo 1.623
Aus. dollar 179.671 Can. dollar 184.532
Cyprus pound 563.456