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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-12-16

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, 16/12/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Youths rampage through occupied school
  • Government will go ahead with reforms
  • Popular actor in intensive care
  • Strong winds tear off school roof
  • School leavers, unemployed tend to drugs
  • Flight delays expected over Christmas
  • Greenpeace Santas protest PVC in toys
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Youths rampage through occupied school

A gang of about 40 youths rampaged through a Thessaloniki high school under occupation on Tuesday night, breaking desks and chairs and setting fire to the school's records. Students of the school who are occupying the premises in protest at education ministry reforms said that some of the youths, who were not students, approached them and offered them narcotics. About 50 junior and senior high schools are under occupation in the northern Greek city. On Tuesday, a local teacher and father chained himself to the gate of a school under occupation, to protest the state's inaction to the continuing protests.

Government will go ahead with reforms

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated the government's commitment to implementing the ministry's reforms "in their entirety". He expressed optimism that the spate of school occupations around the country, thought to number about 1,500, were decreasing in number. Students, teachers and parents are protesting on a number of issues, including teacher shortages, education ministry changes to grading and examinations at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, the introduction of open university type programmes, and changes to procedures for appointing new teachers. Also sparking discontent are budget allocations for education, private schooling, and the prosecution of those occupying or vandalising school property.

Popular actor in intensive care

One of Greece's best-loved comic actors, Dinos Iliopoulos, was admitted to intensive care on Wednesday suffering from a severe respiratory infection. Doctors at the KAT Hospital said Iliopoulos was on a respirator to aid his breathing. They called his condition "serious but not irreversible" but expressed concern about the actor's advanced age. Iliopoulos, one of the leading figures of Greece's cinema "Golden Age" of the 50s and 60s, spent six days in hospital last month after complaining of feeling poorly at the end of a theatrical performance. His illness prevented him from receiving an honorary "Golden Alexander" award at this year's Thessaloniki Film Festival. The award was bestowed for his contribution to Greek cinema and theatre.

Strong winds tear off school roof

Gale force winds tore off part of the roof of a primary school in Hania, Crete, on Wednesday but there were no injuries, school authorities said. The school's headmaster said the classroom in which most of the debris fell was empty at the time. The prefecture of Hania has borne the brunt of the recent cold snap, with torrential rain, strong winds and low temperatures hitting the region for the second consecutive day. Part of a wall on the old port of Hania was brought down by the rough seas on Tuesday, and strong winds uprooted a number of trees in the area.

School leavers, unemployed tend to drugs

Early school leavers and the unemployed are more likely to find themselves with a drug dependency problem, indicating that information campaigns on drug abuse must begin from the end of primary school, experts said on Wednesday, "Most users experiment with cannabis or pills at around 16. This age coincides with the age they left school," Gerasimos Notaras, the president of the Centre for Drug Dependency (KETHEA), told a news conference. Notaras was presenting the centre's annual survey of the details of those who sought help from KETHEA's nine centres in 1997.

Flight delays expected over Christmas

Flight delays and cancellations are expected to mark the Christmas week in Greece again this year, following the announcement of labour action by civil aviation employees. The Federation of Civil Aviation Authority Unions (OSYPA) said its members would hold two four-hour walkouts from December 21 through to December 23. The work stoppages begin at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. OSYPA said it was taking the action to press for the immediate hiring of personnel to cover needs at regional airports around the country. Also striking are the union of telecommunications employees, who will stage a four-hour walkout from 12 noon on December 18 and from 9 a.m. on December 19. They are calling for the immediate appointment of 95 people.

Greenpeace Santas protest PVC in toys

Fifteen members of Greenpeace dressed as Santa Clauses and accompanied by a saxophone sang carols against the use of PVC in toys outside the commerce ministry on Wednesday, drawing applause from passersby. The protestors later met with the secretary general for consumerr protection Christina Papanikolaou to express their concerns. Papanikolaou said that the government was working on legislation that would outlaw the use of PVC in toys. Greenpeace says the manufacture and incineration of plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) causes health and environmental problems.

WEATHER

Western and northern Greece is expected to be partly cloudy on Wednesday. The rest of the country cloudy with rainfall, scattered snowfall mainly on the highlands and storms in southern sea areas. Winds northerly, strong to very strong. Athens is forecast cloudy with light rainfall in the morning and temperatures ranging from 5C to 11C. Thessaloniki is expected to be partly cloudy with temperatures ranging from 2C to 9C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.439 British pound 465.030 Japanese yen (100) 236.165 French franc 49.671 German mark 166.512 Italian lira (100) 16.821 Irish Punt 413.466 Belgian franc 8.075 Finnish mark 54.778 Dutch guilder 147.778 Danish kr. 43.815 Austrian sch. 23.645 Spanish peseta 1.958 Swedish kr. 34.262 Norwegian kr. 35.216 Swiss franc 206.177 Port. Escudo 1.636 Aus. dollar 172.057 Can. dollar 178.897

(M.P.)


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