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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-15

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, 15/06/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek Kosovo battalion moves out
  • Ten Syrians found semi-conscious in boat
  • Greek students begin sitting exams
  • Australian PM invited to Greece
  • Police investigate financial scandal-suicide link
  • 16-year-old to be charged with hit-and-run
  • Greek equities dip below 4,000-mark
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek Kosovo battalion moves out

The first group of troops comprising the Greek contingent to the NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo left this morning to take up its position in the Urosevac region of Kosovo, some 50 kilometres south of Pristina. The 501st mechanised infantry battalion, comprising 480 men and 180 vehicles, left Yannitsa, northern Greece. Greece is sending an 800- strong infantry brigade to the peace force. The battalion includes 60-65 volunteer conscripts.

Ten Syrians found semi-conscious in boat

Ten Syrian illegal immigrants were found semi-conscious in the hold of a Syrian motorship carrying a cargo of ammonia as it docked in Elefsis harbour near Piraeus, port authorities said today. They were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. The Syrians told harbour authorities that they were taken on board the Syrian-flagegd "Fuli", paying 2,000 dollars each to the ship's skipper, 23-year-old Yussef Ossaili, who was arrested. After questioning, the skipper told the harbour authorities that he was taking the immigrants to Crete on behalf of another Syrian who was also arrested.

Greek students begin sitting exams

High school juniors around the country on Tuesday began sitting their end- year examinations, the first time that the education ministry's controversial new grading system has been put into practice. The examination schedule this year has begun later than usual, due to the need for some schools to provide make-up classes to compensate for lesson time lost over almost three months of protests against the new system late last year. High school students effectively closed down schools around the country for about three months, in protest at the education ministry pushing through new examination and grading systems. Examinations will continue through to June 30 and results are expected to be released on July 10.

Australian PM invited to Greece

The Greek government has invited Australian Prime Minister John Howard to visit Greece and attend the Olympic Flame lighting ceremony for the 2000 Olympics, to be hosted by Sydney, it was announced today. The invitation was conveyed by Stratis Stratigis, chairman of the Athens 2004 Olympics organising committee, who attended the official opening of Sydney's Olympic Stadium over the weekend. The lighting of the sacred flame, which will be relayed to Sydney for the 2000 Olympics, will take place on May 12, 2000 at Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games.

Police investigate financial scandal-suicide link

Police on Tuesday were examining whether the suicide of a man in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki is linked to an ongoing investigation into alleged financial irregularities by a former employee of a local brokerage. According to reports from the city, the 50-year-old director of a branch of the Alpha Credit Bank was found dead at his home at midday, apparently after ingesting pesticide. Police, who have not released the man's full name, are looking into reports that he was linked to the central figure being investigated, Leonidas Tezapsidis. Tezapsidis has reportedly admitted to embezzling some 500 million drachmas from the firm and to fraud against a local businessman for 200 million drachmas.

16-year-old to be charged with hit-and-run

A 16-year-old youth was arraigned before a prosecutor on Tuesday after he hit and seriously injured a three-year-old boy with his motorbike and then abandoned the child. The youth, identified only by his initials I.D., turned himself in to police late on Monday. He was accompanied by his mother. The injured child, Petros Sideris, was listed as being in a serious but stable condition at the intensive care unit of children's hospital Aglaia Kyriakou. Under Greek law, motorbike licences can be issued to 16- year-olds, provided they have the consent of their parents or guardians.

Greek equities dip below 4,000-mark

Equity prices continued moving lower breaking the 4,000 support level on Tuesday, hit by profit-taking in selected industrial blue chips and news of an increase in state bond yields. The general index ended 0.66 percent lower at 3,994.04 points, reversing an early strong rally which brought the index briefly 0.87 percent higher. It was the first time the index ended below 4,000 points in the last 10 sessions. Turnover was 160.763 billion drachmas with 29,671,666 shares changing hands. Smaller capitalisation stocks outperformed the market with the parallel market index ending a spectacular 5.95 percent higher.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast in most parts of the country today with the possibility of scattered showers or storms in the afternoon in the mountainous regions of northern Greece. Wind variable, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 21-34C. Partly cloudy with showers in Thessaloniki and temperatures from 19-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          307.282
Pound sterling       495.742
Japanese yen (100)   255.281
French franc          48.991
German mark          164.308
Italian lira (100)    16.597
Irish Punt           408.041
Belgian franc          7.966
Luxembourg franc       7.966
Finnish mark          54.048
Dutch guilder        145.826
Danish kr.            43.259
Austrian sch.         23.354
Spanish peseta         1.931
Swedish kr.           36.258
Norwegian kr.         39.267
Swiss franc          201.515
Port. Escudo           1.603
Can. dollar          210.364
Aus. dollar          203.509
Cyprus pound         556.512
Euro                 321.358
(M.P.)
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