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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-01
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 01/06/1999 (ANA)
NEWS IN DETAILMigration laws will be upheld - govt
Greece will continue to implement its policy of granting residence permits to economic refugees and deporting illegal immigrants, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday. Reppas reiterated that all foreigners living in Greece had to respect the law, just like Greek citizens. He said the Greek government would not give preferential treatment to citizens of Albania or any other country. The issue of immigrants and the law has come to the fore following last Friday's hijacking of a Greek bus in Thessaloniki by an armed Albanian who took the eight passengers hostage. After forcing the driver to cross the border into Albania, the hijacker was killed when Albanian police stormed the bus on Saturday morning. One Greek hostage died in the operation, another was injured and a third had to be treated for severe shock. The action of the Albanian police was strongly criticised by Greece.
Athens comments on Albanian FM statements
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, commenting on statements by the Albanian foreign minister, stressed that Greece had done much to help Albania, both with respect to its general problems and the problems created by the influx of refugees from Kosovo. In an interview with the BBC at the weekend, Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo claimed that Greece was expelling large numbers of Albanians from the country. Replying to reporters' questions on the operation in Albania against the bus hijacker, Reppas said the Albanian police should not have made any move without first briefing the Greek side "which it did not". For as long as the bus was in Greece, Reppas said, "our efforts were focused on protecting the lives of all the hostages".
Greece critical of Turkish foreign policy
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Tuesday said Turkey's foreign policy was "at an impasse" and criticised Ankara's tactics of supposedly extending the hand of friendship to Greece while at the same time making claims on Greek territory. Reppas was responding to reporters asking about Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem's letter to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, in which he called for cooperation and improved relations. The Turkish minister, however, made no reference to taking differences to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Greece has frequently told Ankara should take its unilateral claims disputing Greek sovereignty over a number of rocky outcrops in the eastern Aegean to the court. On Monday, Turkish patrol boats briefly entered Greek territorial waters near Agathonissi, a small inhabited island near Samos. They left without incident. Agathonissi has in the past been cited by Ankara as one of four "disputed" inhabited Greek islands.
Five tonnes of Belgian chickens impounded
Deputy Agriculture Minister Paraskevas Foundas said on Tuesday that the state veterinary authorities had impounded five tonnes of frozen chickens imported from Belgium which are believed to be contaminated with health- threatening dioxin. Foundas told a news conference that derivative products such as eggs and albumen, used mainly in making confectionery, had also been impounded. But ministry general secretary Dimitris Tzouvannos did not rule out the possibility of quantities of the dangerous chicken already having been released on the market. Dioxin,trace amounts of which were found in 'Agent Orange', the defoliant used by US forces in the Vietnam war, is a toxic compound that is carcinogenic and has been linked to birth defects in certain animals. Once absorbed by the human body, dioxin is not excreted. At the same news conference today, veterinary service officials said 40 tonnes of French chickens contaminated with salmonella had been impounded at the port of Piraeus.
Kosovo refugees leave for Australia
A third group of Kosovo refugees came through Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport on Tuesday, en route to temporary shelter in Australia. The group of 432 refugees, including 180 children, were brought to Thessaloniki by 10 coaches from refugee camps in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. On hand at the airport were a delegation from the Central Macedonian Region, which distributed drinks, cigarettes and toys for the children. Thessaloniki's airport is being used as an alternative transit point, as is Rome, Frankfurt and London. A fourth group of refugees is expected in the city on June 17. According to reports, an estimated 20,000 refugees will use Thessaloniki as a transit point for countries of the West. To date more than 1,200 refugees have transited through Thessaloniki to Australia.
Aid shipment heads to FYROM refugee camps
A major shipment of humanitarian aid collected by the Humanitarian Defence Initiative left Thessaloniki today for FYROM for the refugees from the war in Yugoslavia. The group's first aid shipment includes three tons of foodstuffs packaged in "family packages", a tonne of bottled water, 4.4 tons of clothing -- mainly new undergarments for men and children -- 600 kilos of diapers donated by local industries, and 3.2 tonnes of second-hand clothing in excellent condition donated by local citizens, a spokesman for the group told ANA. The spokesman said the group, in collaboration with the Doctors of the World organisation, would also send another shipment to Pristina later today containing medicines and surgical supplies worth five million dr., as well as tinned preserved fruit and baby diapers.
Police foil 50-kg hashish shipment
Two unidentified men smuggled some 50 kilos of hashish into Greece over the border with Albania but abandoned the narcotic and fled back into the neighbouring country when they were spotted by a border guard team, police said today. They said a local border patrol spotted the two men outside Karya village in Florina carrying four sacks. When the two men saw the border guards approaching, they dropped the sacks, which contained 47.3 kilos of hashish, and a pistol and ammunition, and disappeared, police said. They said the two men probably fled back across the Greek-Albanian border.
Eight charged with involvement in cocaine ring
The eight Greek citizens detained on suspicion of participating in a major cocaine smuggling ring operating out of Columbia appeared before an investigating magistrate on Tuesday. Four of the accused were given 24 hours to prepare their depositions and the other four 48 hours. According to press sources, the eight deny all charges. The same sources said the police would soon be issuing warrants for the arrest of other persons alleged to be involved in the drug ring. The operation involved cooperation between the Greek police, the Coast Guard and the finance ministry's financial crimes squad (SDOE).
Greek equities on the rebound
Equity prices rebounded spectacularly on Tuesday recovering a big part of last week's sharp losses on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 4.36 percent higher at 4,106.43 points, at the day's highs, moving closer to its all-time high of 4,206.76 points. The index lost 6.5 percent last week. Renewed hopes of a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis, reports of new mergers and takeovers between listed companies and the purchase of Heracles Cement by UK's Blue Circle Industries, all contributed in the creation of a positive climate in the market. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 5.69 percent higher. A total of 114 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.
WEATHERFine weather is forecast throughout Greece today with local cloud in the mainland in the afternoon with the possibility of rain or rainstorms in eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Light to moderate winds in the Aegean. Hot and sunny in Athens with temperatures from 17-33C. Same in Thessaloniki with temnperatures between 16-32C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 307.758 Pound sterling 492.270 Japanese yen (100) 254.131 French franc 49.173 German mark 164.922 Italian lira (100) 16.659 Irish Punt 409.565 Belgian franc 7.996 Luxembourg franc 7.996 Finnish mark 54.250 Dutch guilder 146.371 Danish kr. 43.390 Austrian sch. 23.441 Spanish peseta 1.938 Swedish kr. 35.885 Norwegian kr. 39.134 Swiss franc 202.145 Port. Escudo 1.609 Can. dollar 208.003 Aus. dollar 200.275 Cyprus pound 557.504 Euro 322.559(M.P.)
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