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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 25/03/1999 (ANA)


  • Simitis disagrees with Clinton, Blair over Kosovo repercussions
  • Widespread opposition in Greece to NATO strikes
  • Yugoslav envoy warns of "problems" in greater region
  • Hundreds of Greek students return from Yugoslavia
  • Business community concerns
  • Seven injured in landing mishap
  • Simitis welcomes Prodi as new Commission president
  • Police break up extortion ring at university
  • 20,000 pirate CDs confiscated in raid
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Simitis disagrees with Clinton, Blair over Kosovo repercussions

PM Costas Simitis said on Wednesday that he completely disagreed with US President Bill Clinton and British Premier Tony Blair that developments in Kosovo could lead to a Greek-Turkish clash. Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Simitis said he had told his EU counterparts at a EU summit that he totally disagreed with the view expressed by Clinton and Blair. "This view can in no way be justified," Simitis underlined. Speaking on Thursday, Simitis reiterated that the only possible solution to the Kosovo crisis was a political one. Athens has already lodged a demarch with Washington over Clinton's remarks.

Widespread opposition in Greece to NATO strikes

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis stressed on Thursday that a political solution must be found to the Kosovo problem and under no circumstances should there be any change in borders in the region. He also accused the international community of adopting "double standards". The NATO strikes were condemned by President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, Archbishop Spyridon of North and South America, the Communist Party of Greece, the Coalition of the Left and the Democratic Social Movement.

Yugoslav envoy warns of "problems" in greater region

Slobodan Milosevic will not budge from the position he has so far adopted, since it concerns Yugoslavia's vital interests, Yugoslav Ambassador to Greece, Dragomir Vucicevic, told a news conference in Athens on Thursday. Vucicevic appealed for an end to the NATO attacks and for efforts to be made by the international community in support of international law. "Each broadening of the incidents will create problems in the greater region," Vucicevic warned. The envoy criticised UN Secretary General Kofi Annan "for trying to legalise the intervention against Yugoslavia".

Hundreds of Greek students return from Yugoslavia

Hundreds of Greek students studying in Belgrade and the Yugoslav city of Nis returned to Greece on Thursday. They arrived at the Promachonas frontier post on the border with Bulgaria in 16 coaches early this morning. Another group of about 50 students arrived in Greece early on Wednesday after travelling by rail from Belgrade to Thessaloniki.

Business community concerns

The tourist and business community and local officials in Macedonia and Thrace expressed their concern about the toll any possible fighting in Kosovo would take on their business. "The issue of Kosovo will bring us to our knees," Pieria Prefect George Papastergiou said. Thousands of Serbs, Croatians, Montenegrins and residents of FYROM have flocked to the coasts and islands of northern Greece over recent years, boosting tourism in the region after setbacks the industry suffered in the wake of the Bosnian and Croatian wars. Hotel owners and local businessmen said they feared that the violence in Yugoslavia would put an end to the flow of tourists, which reached record numbers last year.

Seven injured in landing mishap

Seven passengers on an airplane were injured when the plane skidded off the runway on the island of Rhodes and landed in a neighbouring field. The passengers were injured during the exit procedures and were taken to a local hospital. There has been no report on their nationality. The airplane, belonging to "Emiri Flights", was carrying 220 passengers and was flying from Dubai to Rabat. It was scheduled to stop in Rhodes for refuelling.

Simitis welcomes Prodi as new Commission president

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi as the new president of the European Commission, saying he was confident he would do a good job. "Romano Prodi is well versed in European affairs and has made a positive contribution both to European unification as well as to Italy's participation in the final phase of economic and monetary union," Simitis told a news conference in Berlin. "He has all the qualities necessary for the job." Prodi is expected to be formally appointed by an extraordinary summit meeting at the beginning of April. Simitis praised outgoing Commission President Jacques Santer, saying that his tenure as president had been positive for Greece.

Police break up extortion ring at university

Police on Tuesday uncovered a sophisticated grades-for-bribes scam operating at the University of Athens School of Mathematics, allowing students to buy their way to a degree. Involved in the scheme were a senior university professor, mathematics lecturers and graduates and an employee of the university's administrative office. Police expect to charge up to 12 people with involvement in the scam and have arrested four. At least five students are expected to be charged with buying their grades in various classes. Police said the group had been operating for at least five years and estimate that at least 200 students had taken advantage of the scam.

20,000 pirate CDs confiscated in raid

Police confiscated more than 20,000 pirate CDs and cassettes when they raided the grounds of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki on Tuesday. Twenty-nine people were arrested in the raid and are due to be charged on Wednesday, most likely with breach of copyright and forgery. Police said the bulk of the recordings were manufactured illegally either in Greece or neighbouring Bulgaria. It was the second such raid by police; last year police confiscated 21,000 CDs. Most of those arrested for selling the pirate CDs and cassettes were foreigners, including Albanian, Georgian and Russian nationals.


The forecast for Friday is cloudy in western regions with light rain gradually becoming stronger. Some cloud in the rest of the country, increasing after midday with possibility of scattered showers. Winds east- northeasterly, moderate, later becoming southerly with the same strength and, in the west, southeasterly, moderate, and after noon in the Ionian strong to gale force. Temperatures will range from 0-15C in the north, 4- 17C in the Ionian and rest of the mainland and 8-18C in the Aegean. Some cloud in Athens and temperatures of 7-17C. Thessaloniki fine at first but cloudy later in the day and temperatures of 3-15C.


Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          294.624
Pound sterling       482.152
Japanese yen (100)   250.916
French franc          49.110
German mark          164.709
Italian lira (100)    16.637
Irish Punt           409.036
Belgian franc          7.986
Luxembourg franc       7.986
Finnish mark          54.180
Dutch guilder        146.182
Danish kr.            43.368
Austrian sch.         23.411
Spanish peseta         1.936
Swedish kr.           35.893
Norwegian kr.         37.212
Swiss franc          202.259
Port. Escudo           1.607
Aus. dollar          187.810
Can. dollar          194.829
Cyprus pound         556.909
Euro                 322.142
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