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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-04-14

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, 14/04/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens hopeful of progress at EU summit
  • New Democracy critical of government
  • Left Coalition leader in Skopje
  • Greece offers to run FYROM refugee camp
  • Greeks offer themselves as human shields
  • Two Albanians arrested in hash bust
  • Australia prepares for murder trial in Greece
  • Quake shakes western Greece
  • Greek equities end moderately higher
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens hopeful of progress at EU summit

Greece on Wednesday expressed guarded optimism that today's informal meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels would be a step forward for peace in Yugoslavia. Prime Minister Costas Simitis is due to leave shortly for the Brussels meeting which will focus on the Kosovo crisis and the appointment of a new European Commission, which was originally the main reason for the meeting. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that although the conditions for today's meeting were good, "we should not be overly optimistic". He reiterated Greece's position in favour of a peaceful settlement to the Kosovo crisis.

New Democracy critical of government

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday appeared to sharpen his criticism of the government's policy in the Kosovo crisis and expressed deep concern about destabilisation in the greater region. Speaking to reporters after meeting with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Karamanlis said the ongoing crisis was having multiple effects, such as general destabilisation in the greater region of the Balkans while entailing a threat for the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania.

Left Coalition leader in Skopje

Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos will be in Skopje on Thursday for talks with government and political party officials. "The point of my trip is to ascertain, on the ground, the problems facing the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and express my concerns about the repercussions on the country this war is having," Constantopoulos told a news conference. Constantopoulos, who travelled to Belgrade and met with Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic last week, criticised the Greek government for its stance on the Yugoslav crisis and called on the prime minister to promote Greece's "special place" in the quest for peace and a political settlement of the problem.

Greece offers to run FYROM refugee camp

The Greek government is planning to set up a refugee camp in FYROM similar to three such camps it has established in Albania to help house refugees fleeing from Kosovo, reliable sources told ANA. Greece will assume the resonsibility of setting up and maintaining the camp following a request by FYROM president Kiro Gligorov during talks in Skopje last week with Greek foreign minister George Papandreou and minister for Macedonia-Thrace Yannis Magriotis. FYROM has proposed an area near the town of Tetovo, which is populated mainly by Albanian-speaking citizens, as the site for the camp, which will comprise 100 large container-homes and hundreds of tents capable of sheltering 2,000 Kosovars.

Greeks offer themselves as human shields

Ten Greeks from Thessaloniki are preparing to head for Belgrade to join Serbs in forming human shields along the bridges of the Danube River, one of the campaigners, who requested anonymity, told ANA today. "It is a symbolic gesture. We are doing it as a show of moral support," the campaigner, a woman, said. "We will spend three nights on the bridges together with the ordinary Yugoslav citizens, in an effort to avert, if we can, the destruction of the Serb people's heritage," she said. Taking part in the initiative are professors, businesspersons and private sector employees. The campaigners are tentatively due to leave Friday for Belgrade via Sofia.

Two Albanians arrested in hash bust

Two Albanian nationals were arrested in the western port city of Patras while trying to sell 30 kilos of hashish to plainclothesmen, police said today. They said Musaku Hatzi Adem, 32 and Rustemi Rakipe Flamour, 26, were arrested last night as they tried, together with two other Albanians who escaped arrest, to sell the hashish to undercover policemen for 6.6 million dr. Adem was lightly injured in the head in a scuffle when back-up police arrived on the scene. Police launched a manhunt for the other two Albanians who fled in the dark.

Australia prepares for murder trial in Greece

Witnesses to a 1994 robbery and murder of a Greek-Australian woman in Sydney are preparing to travel to Greece to testify in the trial of a man charged with planning the robbery, an ANA dispatch from Melbourne reported. Citing Australian press reports, the dispatch said that Australian judicial authorities were also involved in preparing for the trial of Steve Anas (Anastasopoulos), expected to be held next month. Anas was sought by Australian police in connection with the murder of Toula Soravia in April 1994. He fled to Greece a month after Soravia's murder and was arrested in Ioannina in October 1995. Although Greece and Australia have an extradition treaty, Greece refused to deport Anas, saying he was a Greek citizen and that it would try him on the charges under Greek law, a decision that was criticised in the Australian press.

Quake shakes western Greece

An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale shook western Greece today but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. According to the Athens observatory, the tremor was recorded at 08.20 local time and its epicentre was the sea region south of the Ionian island of Zakynthos. Police said it was also felt in the prefectures of Ilia and Achaia and the port city of Patras.

Greek equities end moderately higher

Equity prices ended moderately higher on Wednesday recovering from an early strong correction on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 0.34 percent up to 3,732.64 points, after falling as much as 1.74 percent early in the session on profit taking. Traders said the market easily absorbed waves of stock offers giving further evidence of its positive underlying trend despite worries over developments in Kosovo. Turnover was 137.8 billion drachmas and volume 19,866,843 shares.

WEATHER

Cloud with sunny spells and scattered showers are expected in most parts of Greece today. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Mostly fair in Athens with temperatures ranging between 11-21C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 8-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          297.521
Pound sterling       480.267
Japanese yen (100)   247.097
French franc          48.983
German mark          164.282
Italian lira (100)    16.594
Irish Punt           407.978
Belgian franc          7.965
Luxembourg franc       7.965
Finnish mark          54.040
Dutch guilder        145.803
Danish kr.            43.239
Austrian sch.         23.351
Spanish peseta         1.931
Swedish kr.           35.845
Norwegian kr.         38.400
Swiss franc          200.270
Port. Escudo           1.603
Aus. dollar          189.249
Can. dollar          199.332
Cyprus pound         556.512
Euro                 321.309
(M.P.)
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