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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 19/03/1999 (ANA)


  • Albanian PM pleads for end to Kosovo strife
  • Three dead, one seriously injured in suburban shootout
  • Defence Minister says NATO evolving in Euro-body
  • Latvian president arrives in Thessaloniki
  • Panamanian president to visit Greece
  • Port authorities try to prevent fuel spill
  • Two Albanians arrested in drug haul
  • Greek equities surge to new records
  • Onassis fortune adminstrators allowed to appeal
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Albanian PM pleads for end to Kosovo strife

Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko on Friday extended full support for the ethnic Albanians' struggle in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo, saying the Kosovar separatists were acting in self-defence. "They are simple citizens protecting their homes against a war machine," Majko said during an address to the 5th Congress of Greece's ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement. He was speaking as peace talks between the Kosovo Albanians and Serbia appeared to collapse. The Kosovo Albanian side has signed a political settlement for Kosovo, but Serbia is refusing to put its name to what it has described as a phony agreement.

Three dead, one seriously injured in suburban shootout

A lone gunman shot and killed two people and seriously wounded another before turning the gun on himself in front of dozens of shoppers in the Athens suburb of Kallithea on Friday. Police said the man, as yet identified, began arguing with another man shortly after midday on Thiseos Avenue, Kallithea, a major shopping street. Witnesses said they saw the one man pull out a revolver and shoot the other. Two women who ran to the wounded man's assistance were also shot, at point blank range. Passersby chased the man as he fled. But after running about 200 metres, he stopped and shot himself, killing himself instantly. Initial reports from police say that the two men had a long-running feud over a woman.

Defence Minister says NATO evolving in Euro-body

NATO is evolving into a Europe-wide security organisation, and the April summit in Washington will reaffirm that role, national defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said today. He told an Athens international conference of the North Atlantic Treaty Association marking NATO's 50th anniversary that the Alliance now covered multi-lateral security needs, leading to the countries of central eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, the nations of the former Soviet Union) to no longer view the organisation competitively but as an institution of cooperation.

Latvian president arrives in Thessaloniki

Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis on Friday began a two-day visit to northern Greece after signing five bilateral cooperation agreements during a two-day stay in Athens. Bad weather forced a change in plans for Ulmanis to fly by helicopter to the all-male monastic community of Mt. Athos, where he was to have visited the Holy Monastery of Xenophon which this year celebrates the 1000th anniversary of its founding. Instead, shortly after arriving in Thessaloniki, Ulmanis and his entourage visited the archaeological site of Vergina, where the royal Macedonian tombs were discovered. Ulmanis is accompanied by Foreign Minister Virkas Valtis, Defence Minister Girtz Kristovskis, Orthodox Archbishop of Latvia Alexandros and other officials.

Panamanian president to visit Greece

Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balandares will pay an official visit to Greece from March 31 to April 2, the Greek presidency said. Balandares is visiting Greece on the invitation of Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos.

Port authorities try to prevent fuel spill

Halkidiki port authorities were trying to siphon out 200 tonnes of liquid fuel to prevent any leaking and pollution of the sea after a Ukrainian- flagged freighter ran aground on a rocky shoreline off the peninsula. A port official told the ANA the freighter's cargo of zinc and lead in powder form was secure and did not pose any danger. The Khaza ran aground on a rocky shoreline off Halkidiki Peninsula in northern Greece on Wednesday after its cables broke in strong winds as it was trying to manoeuvre around the loading ramp. Choppy seas have prevented tugboats from approaching the freighter to begin operations to dislodge it.

Two Albanians arrested in drug haul

Two Albanians have been arrested in the rural area of Angelochorio, northern Greece after attempting to sell five kilos of hashish to an undercover narcotics agent posing as a buyer. They were identified as Agim Venari, 21 and Sokol Venari, 23, who tried to attack the agent with knives when he revealed his true identity. The officers' colleagues intervened immediately and the two Albanians, both of whom were armed with knives, were arrested.

Greek equities surge to new records

Equity prices surged to new records on Friday as the market reacted positively to a prime minister's speech at the opening of Pasok's party congress on Thursday. The general index surpassed the 3,700 level to end at a record 3,774.29 points, up 3.12 percent. It was its 22nd record close this year. Turnover also hit record levels surpassing 200 billion drachmas. Foreign institutional investors were particularly active and opened new positions in Greek blue chip stocks. Traders said the premier's pledge to remain firm on his policy to adhere to a timetable for the country's participation in EMU restored confidence in the country's political and economic outlook.

Onassis fortune adminstrators allowed to appeal

The Greek administrators of the patrimony of 14-year-old Athina Roussel, sole heir to the vast fortune of Aristotle Onassis, said on Friday that the initial stage of an appeal process against a Swiss authority's decision to assign administration of the assets to a Lucerne-based auditing firm had been successful. The Athens-based administrators on March 15 filed an appeal with the First Instance Court of Maloja against the decision of the Guardianship Authority of Oberengadin removing administration of the patrimony from them and assigning it to the auditing firm KPMG Fides. In a press release issued on Friday, the Greek administrators said the president of the Maloja court ruled yesteday that they had an arguable case and ordered a stay of execution of the Guardianship Authority's decision, even though they had made no request to this effect. The last surviving heir of the Onassis shipping fortune, Athina will inherit an estimated US$600 million on her 18th birthday.


Unsettled weather with rain and snow will prevail throughout Greece today. Snowfall in the northern mountainous regions. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Athens will be cloudy and rainy with an improvement later in the day and temperatures between 8-13C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 2-7C.


Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          289.565
Pound sterling       471.656
Japanese yen (100)   244.865
French franc          48.605
German mark          163.014
Italian lira (100)    16.466
Irish Punt           404.829
Belgian franc          7.904
Luxembourg franc       7.904
Finnish mark          53.624
Dutch guilder        144.678
Danish kr.            42.902
Austrian sch.         23.170
Spanish peseta         1.917
Swedish kr.           35.627
Norwegian kr.         37.517
Swiss franc          199.610
Port. Escudo           1.590
Aus. dollar          182.330
Can. dollar          190.464
Cyprus pound         549.667
Euro                 318.829
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