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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-12-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 22/12/1998 (ANA)


  • FM has talks in Skopje with FYROM president
  • Athens protests documentary screening to Skopje
  • Students sign carols at national road blockade
  • Greece, Romania express concern over Kosovo
  • Authorities exhume body of young woman
  • Cleric against cremation in Greece
  • Central bank concerned over explosion in consumer credit
  • Athens stock exchange general index up 0.62 pct
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


FM has talks in Skopje with FYROM president

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos had talks in Skopje on Tuesday with FYROM Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski during which both sides expressed the desire for the further development of bilateral economic cooperation. Speaking to reporters after his talks, Pangalos said he had discussed the issue of the neighbouring country's name with Georgievski - a major sticking point in relations between Athens and Skopje since the latter declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Pangalos said consultations on the name issue would continue in New York under UN auspices. Pangalos' one-day visit to Skopje was at the invitation of Georgievski.

Athens protests documentary screening to Skopje

Greece meanwhile lodged a protest with Skopje concerning the screening Monday night on state-run television - for the second time - of a documentary about the departure from Greece of so-called "Slavomacedonians" at the end of the Second World War. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the other side had provided explanations, acknowledging that it was not a "friendly act" and did not reflect the positions of the FYROM government. Asked by reporters about the possible reasons for the broadcast on the eve of Pangalos' visit, Reppas said "it may be that certain persons wished to create a provocation".

Students sign carols at national road blockade

High school students protesting education ministry reforms sang carols dedicated to embattled minister Gerasimos Arsenis as they blocked the Athens-Thessaloniki highway at Larissa on Tuesday. The some 250 students used desks to block the road for about an hour. Also on hand to help was a tractor and the head of the Greek Farmers Coordinating Committee Yannis Pattakis, who led a campaign of road blockades by Greek farmers last year that effectively cut the country in two. The protest ended peacefully when students removed the desks and allowed traffic through. In Athens at a hastily-called news conference, Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis presented compromise proposals aimed at ending the deadlock.

Greece, Romania express concern over Kosovo

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Romanian counterpart, Victor Babiuc, on Tuesday expressed concern about the situation in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo during talks in Athens. The two ministers expressed the view that if talks did not begin by the end of winter aimed at a peaceful settlement of the problem, there would be greater tension in the region in March, given the presence of paramilitary organisations in Kosovo. Babiuc stressed also that if the situation in Albania was not normalised, the country would constitute a constant destabilising factor in the region.

Authorities exhume body of young woman

Authorities in the northern Greek town of Sfendami, near Pieria, on Tuesday exhumed the body of a 20-year-old woman to investigate claims by her mother that she was murdered and did not die of a drug overdose. The woman's mother, Eleni Fotiadou, was at the exhumation. The 44-year-old Thessaloniki woman revealed earlier this month that she went "undercover" as a prostitute and drug addict for 20 days to investigate the causes of her daughter's death last June. She maintains her daughter died from injuries following a brutal beating and gang-rape. The exhumation was ordered last week by an investigating magistrate handling Fotiadou's charges.

Cleric against cremation in Greece

A senior cleric has come out against plans by the government to introduce cremation to Greece, an issue that threatens to pit the state against the Church. Xanthi Metropolitan Pantelimonas told reporters that he was opposed to the proposal, announced earlier this month by Deputy Interior Minister George Floridis. Cremation is currently not available in Greece, as it runs counter to Orthodox Church teachings. Pantelimonas said he would personally set out his view in favour of burial of the dead when the issue came up for discussion at the Holy Synod. On Saturday, Ioannina Metropolitan Theoklitos dissociated himself from a position taken by Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos on debate over whether to allow cremation in Greece. Theoklitos maintained that the state had the right to go ahead with the introduction of legislation for cremation.

Central bank concerned over explosion in consumer credit

Consumer credit growth accelerated in October showing a 31.4 percent increase from the same month last year for a 25.1 percent rise in 1998, the Bank of Greece said. The central bank said that credit expansion rose in the wider economy with a significant rise in foreign exchange loans. The figures confirmed Bank of Greece fears of the dangers of a rapid credit expansion in the economy. The central bank is examining a package of measures aimed to impose stricter rules on credit, likely to be implemented from the start of 1999.

Athens stock exchange general index up 0.62 pct

Greek equities ended moderately higher on Tuesday led by strong buying interest in banks and smaller capitalisation stocks. The general index ended 0.62 percent up to 2,542.19 points in heavy turnover of 65.2 billion drachmas. Volume was 13,449,000 shares. Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 1.50 percent, Leasing fell 0.16 percent, Insurance increased 0.94 percent, Investment ended 1.08 percent higher, Construction rose 0.51 percent, Industrials eased 0.24 percent, Miscellaneous dropped 1.26 percent and Holding rose 0.17 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.37 percent higher, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 0.93 percent up to 1,588.93.


Cloudy skies with rainfall in most parts of Greece today and snowfall on highground. Winds, strong to very strong and temperatures will range in the north from 3-11C, in the Ionian and mainland 7-15C and in the Aegean 12- 87C. Athens will be cloudy with rainfall and temperatures from 9-15C. Thessaloniki will be cloudy with rain and temperatures from 5-10C.


Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 277.175 British pound 466.855 Japanese yen (100) 240.044 French franc 49.679 German mark 166.582 Italian lira (100) 16.821 Irish Punt 414.001 Belgian franc 8.077 Finnish mark 54.873 Dutch guilder 147.843 Danish kr. 43.805 Austrian sch. 23.681 Spanish peseta 1.958 Swedish kr. 34.672 Norwegian kr. 36.319 Swiss franc 205.319 Port. Escudo 1.626 Aus. dollar 171.616 Can. dollar 178.957


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