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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-09

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, 09/06/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Kosovo focus of Finnish FM talks in Athens
  • Canadian troops en route to Skopje
  • Briton Burns wins 46th Acropolis Rally
  • Greece mulls dioxin testing centre
  • Belgrade bears to come to Greek reserve
  • Kustirica says art only response to bombs
  • Church to pay benefit for third child
  • Two arrested in oil slick
  • Bank of Cyprus hopes for ASE listing
  • Wariness reverses price rally
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Kosovo focus of Finnish FM talks in Athens

Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis at noon today in Athens on her first stop of a tour of EU capitals in view of Finland's assumption of the rotating six-month EU presidency as of July 1. Halonen, who was last month nominated by her Social Democratic Party for next year's presidential elections in Finland, also held talks earlier in the day with Greek counterpart George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Yannos Kranidiotis. Speaking to the press after talks between the two countries' foreign ministry delegations, Papandreou hailed Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari's efforts for "peace soon in Kosovo and for the commencement of reconstruction efforts in the region".

Canadian troops en route to Skopje

A unit of Canadian troops destined for the Kosovo peacekeeping force arrived in Thessaloniki on Wednesday and were headed overland to Skopje. The 250 Canadians arrived at the northern Greek city's Macedonia Airport on a Canadian Airlines Jumbo. Meanwhile, 2,200 U.S. Marines on three U.S. warships off Litochoro are expected to get the all-clear to come ashore as soon as military talks on a Serb pullout from Kosovo conclude in an agreement. Government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said later on Wednesday that the issue of the passage of the 2,200 US marines through Greece was a "technical" not a political issue. Asked by reporters when the US marines would land at Litochoro, the spokesman intimated that it could be within the next few days or even hours.

Briton Burns wins 46th Acropolis Rally

Briton Richard Burns was on Wednesday declared winner of the 46th Acropolis Rally after withstanding late challenges from Finland's Tommi Makinen and Spaniard Carlos Sainz. Burns, driving a Subaru Imbreza WRC 99, finished the last stage of the rally with a total time of 4 hours 21 minutes and 21.2 seconds. Sainz, in a Toyota Corolla, was second with 4 hours 22 minutes and 22.5 seconds. Reigning world champion Makinen finished third with 4 hours 25 minutes and 1.02 seconds. Points gained in the Acropolis Rally count towards the world championship.

Greece mulls dioxin testing centre

Greece's development and agriculture ministers announced today that a laboratory equipped to test food products on dioxin-content would soon be established in the country. Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos also told reporters after an inter-ministerial meeting that there was no problem with Greek fresh pasteurized milk, while Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis reiterated that Greece did not import animal feed from Belgium. The ministers said that on orders of Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Greece would demand from the authoritative EU bodies that monitoring of the movement of foodstuffs in the EU take place on a uniform basis.

Belgrade bears to come to Greek reserve

Two Greek wildlife conservationists are on their way to Belgrade to bring three bears from the Belgrade Zoo to safety in a Greek wildlife reserve, the ANA reports from Thessaloniki. The three bears, aged between two and three, will be moved from Belgrade to the Arktouros brown bear reserve in Florina, on the border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on Friday. Carrying out the mission are biologist Constantine Godis, the head of Balkan cooperation for Arktouros, and veterinary Tassos Amaslidis. A number of ecological organisations have expressed concern about the immediate threat of lack of care and food for the animals in the Yugoslav capital's zoo, in the wake of the bombing of Yugoslavia and the disruption of normal life.

Kustirica says art only response to bombs

Emir Kusturica, the award-wining director whose films have been strongly influenced by the disintegration of his homeland of Yugoslavia, said on Tuesday that art was the best way to respond to was happening in Yugoslavia. "The reason I make films and play music is to show the positive cultural aspects of my country, its energy and its possibilities," Kusturica told Greek journalists on Tuesday, a day before his 'No Smoking Band' plays in Athens. The Sarajevo-born Kusturica and his 12-member band will play the Athens Lykavittos Theatre on Wednesday evening before leaving on 25-city tour of Italy. The tour is called "Collateral Damage." "You bomb a market and think it is something civilised but at the same time say that Serb bombs are barbaric. This is the irrationality of war, a war which I believe is a purely about business," Kusturica said.

Church to pay benefit for third child

The Church of Greece's Holy Synod on Wednesday decided to begin paying a monthly benefit of 40,000 drachmas ($130) to women in the region of Thrace who have a third child. The benefit will be paid to families whose their third child was born after January 1, 1999. The benefit will be paid until the child turns 12. Payment of the benefit has been scheduled to begin in September. Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, who presided over Wednesday's meeting, had earlier this year underlined the dangers of Greece's falling birth rate, saying it was the country's leading problem.

Two arrested in oil slick

The Greek and Filippino first and second engineers of a Maltese-flag tanker have been arrested after an oil slick was discovered off the Piraeus port's anchorage on Tuesday, the Piraeus Port Authority said. First engineer Lazaros Panayotidis and Filippino second engineer Nikolas Gabriel Gala will appear before the Piraeus public prosecutor today. A 100m x 60m oil slick was spotted Tuesday by a Harbour Corps helicopter, and an investigation revealed that the slick was caused by engine oil from the tanker "Star II".

Bank of Cyprus hopes for ASE listing

The Bank of Cyprus will be the first foreign company to be listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, its chairman told ANA. Solon Triantafillides also said that the bank planned to set up a insurance desk in Greece. He stressed that the financial system in Cyprus would benefit from a forthcoming liberalisation and noted that there was no danger of a massive capital outflow from the country. Bank of Cyprus already operates 15 branches in Greece with the aim to raise its network to 22 by the end of the year to 30 by the end of 2000.

Wariness reverses price rally

Equity prices ended moderately higher on Wednesday reflecting cautiousness among investors over talk of liquidity problems facing big securities firms. The general index ended 0.15 percent higher at 4,060.10 points, sharply off the day's highs of 2.19 percent. Traders said a wave of profit- taking hit the market and partly reversed a rally of prices. Dealers said an aggressive move by Latsis Group to acquire a majority stake in Ergobank had initially encouraged sentiment. Turnover was 180.959 billion drachmas with 33,010,984 shares changing hands. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 0.24 percent lower, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for heavy traded stocks and blue chips rose 0.57 percent to 2,431.93 points.

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with showers expected in central and northern Greece in the afternoon. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 20- 32C. Possibility of showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 18- 30C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          309.514
Pound sterling       496.595
Japanese yen (100)   254.795
French franc          48.992
German mark          164.313
Italian lira (100)    16.597
Irish Punt           408.053
Belgian franc          7.967
Luxembourg franc       7.967
Finnish mark          54.050
Dutch guilder        145.831
Danish kr.            43.247
Austrian sch.         23.355
Spanish peseta         1.931
Swedish kr.           36.085
Norwegian kr.         39.214
Swiss franc          202.036
Port. Escudo           1.603
Can. dollar          210.562
Aus. dollar          204.253
Cyprus pound         557.187
Euro                 321.368
(M.P.)
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