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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-12-18

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, 18/12/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece concerned about Iraq
  • Court rules against airport strikes
  • Nine soccer hooligans face charges
  • Students blocks roads in major towns
  • U.S. writer on symbolic hunger strike
  • Zorba's grandchildren Greeks again
  • Concern over Kosovo
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece concerned about Iraq

Deputy Foreign Minister Yannos Kranidiotis on Friday expressed the government's concern over the developments in Iraq, telling reporters after a Cabinet meeting that the government was carefully monitoring the developments "because instability in the region is something that could have repercussions on Greece, too". Kranidiotis expressed his conviction that the operations should be terminated as soon as possible and an effort should be made to find a political solution through peaceful means. "The international community must exercise its influence so that international law and the international rules are always employed and avoid the phenomenon of double standards," he said.

Court rules against airport strikes

An Athens court on Friday ruled that labour action called by civil aviation unions was illegal and an abuse of labour law. The court ruling related to an air traffic controllers' four-hour walkout slated to begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, and a telecoms workers 12-4 p.m. walkout on the same day. Civil aviation employees said earlier this week that they would hold a range of walkouts in the lead up to Christmas to press demands for more personnel and wage-related and other issues. The walkouts are expected to have a serious effect on flight scheduling over the busy Christmas season.

Nine soccer hooligans face charges

Nine youths arrested during Thursday night's unrest at a Greek cup match between football teams Aris and Olympiakos will face a magistrate on Friday. The nine were arrested for throwing rocks and planks at police. About 20 police officers were injured during the unrest - none seriously. The violence forced referees to call off the match for 30 minutes. Olympiakos won the match 3-1.

Students blocks roads in major towns

High-school students took their protests literally to the roads on Friday when they held coordinated road blocks in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra and other major towns around the country. Students blocked roads at four intersections in the wider Athens area, causing traffic jams in midday traffic. At the education ministry in Athens, students from the Pallini Music High School strummed guitars, played violas and sang songs against the education ministy's reforms. The approach of the Christmas and New Year holiday break appears to have had little effect on hundreds of students still occupying school premises in protest at the education ministry's reforms. Nationwide the number of schools under occupation is estimated to be a thousand.

U.S. writer on symbolic hunger strike

An American writer has launched a symbolic hunger strike on the buffer zone dividing the free section of Cyprus from the Turkish-occupied north, protesting the US stance on the Cyprus issue, an ANA dispatch from Nicosia said. It said Matthew Stowell had begun a hunger strike on Wednesday morning that would be concluded tonight. Stowell's Limassol-born wife Olga Glyki and women relatives of the missing persons from the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island republic were keeping vigil with the author.

Zorba's grandchildren Greeks again

The two surviving grandchildren of the real Zorba the Greek, on whom the central character of Nikos Kazantzakis's eponymous book was based, and for decades a symbol of the indomitable Greek spirit, will receive Greek citizenship on Friday night at a special ceremony in Thessaloniki. Anna Gaiger and Vangelis Yiantas, the children of Zorbas' youngest daughter, Katerina, live in Belgrade and have been trying for some time to receive Greek citizenship. George Zorbas provided the role model for Kazantzakis's character of Alexis Zorbas. Zorbas was born in 1878 in Kozani and, after wandering the Balkans and the world, settled in Skopje, where he died in 1942. The character was immortalised by actor Anthony Quinn in the 1963 film directed by Michael Cacoyiannis and co-starring Alan Bates and Irene Pappas.

Concern over Kosovo

Greece and its Balkan neighbours are extremely concerned about the possibility of more tension in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, Greece's Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis told new Yugoslav ambassador to Greece Dragomir Vucicevic on Friday. Kakalamanis said every effort possible was needed to find a resolution to the problem. Vucicevic briefed Kaklamanis on the course of the Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement and added that Belgrade wanted political dialogue with the leaders of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo to continue, but that they were not responding to the invitation.

WEATHER

Western Greece is expected to be partly cloudy on Friday, while northern Greece is forecast cloudy with scattered snowfall mostly on highground. The rest of the country is expected to have bad weather with rainfall, storms at the Aegean Sea and snowfall on highground as well as in central Greece areas. Winds northerly, strong to very strong. Athens is forecast cloudy with rainfall or sleet, scattered snowfall on highground and temperatures ranging from 5C to 10C. Thessaloniki is expected to be partly cloudy with scattered snowfall mostly on highground and temperatures ranging from 3C to 6C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 277.135 British pound 465.645 Japanese yen (100) 238.278 French franc 49.733 German mark 166.760 Italian lira (100) 16.843 Irish Punt 414.061 Belgian franc 8.086 Finnish mark 54.870 Dutch guilder 147.992 Danish kr. 43.850 Austrian sch. 23.706 Spanish peseta 1.960 Swedish kr. 34.530 Norwegian kr. 36.238 Swiss franc 206.455 Port. Escudo 1.628 Aus. dollar 173.149 Can. dollar 180.147

(M.P.)


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