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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-11

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, 11/06/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • FM Papandreou in Belgrade for talks
  • British soldiers move out to Skopje
  • Quake in western Greece registers 5.6
  • Small-scale exercise scheduled
  • Kranidiotis confers with EU Mideast envoy
  • Chopper pilot dies in accident
  • Three charged in murder-for-hire case
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

FM Papandreou in Belgrade for talks

Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrived in Belgrade at noon on Friday and immediately began talks with his Yugoslav counterpart Zivadin Jovanovic. Papandreou will also be having talks with Serb President Milan Milutinovic and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, while a meeting has been scheduled with former deputy premier Vuk Draskovic. Today, Papandreou will visit areas of Belgrade destroyed by NATO bombing and this evening, before returning to Athens, he will stop off in Skopje where he will meet with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who is on an official visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Papandreou is the first foreign minister to visit the country since the bombing ended.

British soldiers move out to Skopje

One hundred and ten British soldiers destined for the peacekeeping force in Kosovo arrived at Thessaloniki airport late last night on a passenger plane. They will take delivery of weaponry and military vehicles at Thessaloniki port, and are expected to depart for FYROM early next week, according to defence ministry sources.

Quake in western Greece registers 5.6

A strong earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale shook western Greece today causing panic among inhabitants in the region, but initial police reports said there was no damage or casualties. The tremor was recorded at 10.54 local time at a depth of 25 kilometres in the sea region between the Ionian island of Zakynthos and the coast of the Peloponnese. According to seismologists in Patras, the quake, which was of long duration, was strongly felt in Zakynthos, Pyrgos and the prefectures of Ilia and Ahaia, causing concern among the inhabitants who rushed out of their homes. Students sitting for the year-end exams dashed out of schools.

Small-scale exercise scheduled

A small-scale exercise codenamed 'Prometheus '99' will be held for the third successive year from June 12-22 in Polykastro, Kilkis within the framework of 'Cooperation for Europe' programme, the defence ministry announced on Friday. Taking part in the exercise will be units from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania, while Turkey will be participating with staff officers only. The main objective of the exercise is to enhance the effectiveness of staff commands and troops in carrying out operations in support of peace.

Kranidiotis confers with EU Mideast envoy

Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis had talks on Friday with the European Union's envoy for the Middle East, Miguel Angel Moratinos within the framework of regular meetings between the two officials. Speaking to reporters after the talks, Kranidiotis praised Moratinos' activity in the Middle East, saying he had been most energetic in promoting peace "with proposals, ideas and imagination". Among the issues discussed was the forthcoming fourth meeting of Israelis and Palestinians which will be held in Athens from July 7-11. "We believe that the new government in Israel will give fresh impetus to the peace process and for this reason we attach particular importance to the meeting," Kranidiotis said.

Chopper pilot dies in accident

A helicopter pilot was killed on Friday when his craft became entangled in power lines and burst into flames while spraying pesticides near the northern Greek town of Serres, police said. The pilot was identified as George Patsidis, 45, a retired air force officer from Thessaloniki. Police said the accident occured around 11 a.m. as the helicopter was flying between the towns of Koumarias and Mikroklissias, near Serres. Farmers in the fields took the badly injured pilot to the region's health centre, where he was transferred to the Serres Prefectural Hospital, where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Three charged in murder-for-hire case

Businessman Theodoros Yianikaras and two Albanians whom he is alleged to have contracted to kill his former wife were formally charged by a public prosecutor on Friday. Yianikaras allegedly hired the Albanians to kill Sofia Asimakopoulou for an undisclosed large sum of money, but instead, the Albanians approached the intended victim, told her of the plot and demanded 1.5 million drachmas in return for not carrying it out. Asimakopoulou contacted the police who arrested the two Albanians as the money was being handed over. The two Albanians were today charged with attempted murder and attempted blackmail. Yianikaras, who maintains he is completely innocent, was charged with instigating the murder attempt.

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with the possibility of showers in central and northern Greece in the afternoon. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Few clouds in otherwise sunny Athens with temperatures between 21-34C. Possibility of showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 18-31C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          307.163
Pound sterling       492.687
Japanese yen (100)   257.652
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.            43.255
Austrian sch.         23.355
Spanish peseta         1.931
Swedish kr.           36.049
Norwegian kr.         39.134
Swiss franc          201.515
Port. Escudo           1.603
Can. dollar          208.538
Aus. dollar          203.097
Cyprus pound         555.897
Euro                 321.368
(M.P.)
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