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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-28

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, 28/06/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Government denies being strong-armed over terrorism
  • Greek FM to meet Cem, Kosovo 'friends' on Wednesday
  • Opposition leader meets with UN chief's emissary
  • Government comments on ex-dictator's passing
  • Police say ex-Albanian army officer in drug ring
  • No second chances for high school students
  • Greek equities begin week on upward note
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Government denies being strong-armed over terrorism

The government on Monday quashed speculation that the U.S. was pressuring Athens to take more effective action to stamp out terrorism. "The government is not aware of any type of pressure or suggestion on the part of the U.S. for Greece to intensify its efforts to combat terrorism," government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said. "Compared to other countries, Greece is not the one with the greatest terrorism problem, but this does not mean that the issue does not concern us," he added. He said Greek authorities were cooperating with other countries on the issue, but there was no question of the authorities being pressured to do so.

Greek FM to meet Cem, Kosovo 'friends' on Wednesday

Foreign Minister George Papandreou later expressed satisfaction that his proposal for a private meeting with Cem in New York on Wednesday had been accepted by his Turkish counterpart. The talks between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers will take place on the sidelines of a meeting of "the friends of Kosovo", a group of countries formed by UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan. The group comprises the G8 countries along with China, Greece, Turkey, Finland, the Netherlands and three international organisations - the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Papandreou was speaking to reporters after talks in Athens with former Swedish premier Karl Bildt, who is the UN Secretary-General's special emissary.

Opposition leader meets with UN chief's emissary

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis also met with visiting former Swedish premier Carl Bildt, the EU's former Bosnia mediator, for a review of the situation in the Balkans, and the Yugoslav province of Kosovo in particular. "The ceasfire in Kosovo is not sufficient in itself," Karamanlis said after the meeting. "The big challenge is the stabilisation and restructuring of the region". Karamanlis warned that Greece and its northern capital Thessaloniki were being sidelined as the seat and springboard for Balkan reconstruction. He said a more active and efficient foreign policy was necessary in order for Greece to play a leading role in the Balkans.

Government comments on ex-dictator's passing

The government on Monday expressed the hope that Greece would never again experience the "dark pages" it suffered under the seven-year military dictatorship which began with a coup in 1967 led by army colonel George Papadopoulos who died yesterday. Government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou made the statement when asked to comment on the death of Papadopoulos at the age of 80 in the Laiko General Hospital following a long illness. "George Papadopoulos was the head of one of the darkest pages for the country and its people. The accursed dictatorship did not only imprison, it did not only exile, it did not only kill, but it was also responsible for the amputation of Cyprus," Nikolaou said.

Police say ex-Albanian army officer in drug ring

Greek police said on Monday they had arrested a former Albanian army and police officer heading a ring trafficking heroin into Greece. Jerci Lame, 32, Albanian national Arkil Ziou, 33, and Ziou's wife, Eleni Potouridi, 29, from Kazakhstan, were arrested after undercover police in Thessaloniki struck a deal with Lame to buy a kilo of heroin for eight million drachmas.

No second chances for high school students

The education ministry on Monday morning said it would not make any exceptions and allow first year junior high school students who fail year- end exams to resit their exams. Deputy Education Minister Yiannis Anthopoulos, meeting with teachers' union OLME representatives on Monday, rejected their demand that the ministry allow these students to retake their exams in September. This is the first year that students will be unable to resit their exams. The abolition of these exams is part of sweeping reforms introduced by the ministry to the structure and grading system of secondary education. Estimates from press reports and teachers grading the exams put the percentage of students who stand to fail the year at between 40 and 25 percent.

Greek equities begin week on upward note

Equity prices ended the first session of the week substantially higher on the Athens Stock Exchange despite a decline in turnover. Traders said buying interest focused on smaller capitalisation stocks and noted that Greek investors remained cautious, adopting a pattern in international markets, ahead of a decision on US interest rates in the next 48 hours. The general index ended 0.71 percent higher at 3,976.71 points, unable to hold on above the 4,000 level which it briefly reached early in the session. Turnover was 128.557 billion drachmas with 25,399,362 shares changing hands.

WEATHER

Fine weather with a chance of local cloud and rain in the northwest of the country is forecast for today. Winds moderate westerlies and strong in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with cloud increasing in the afternoon and temperatures between 20-35C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 18-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          308.046
Pound sterling       490.246
Japanese yen (100)   253.853
French franc          49.110
German mark          164.709
Italian lira (100)    16.637
Irish Punt           409.036
Belgian franc          7.986
Finnish mark          54.180
Dutch guilder        146.182
Danish kr.            43.386
Austrian sch.         23.411
Spanish peseta         1.936
Swedish kr.           36.773
Norwegian kr.         39.482
Swiss franc          201.475
Port. Escudo           1.607
Can. dollar          209.510
Aus. dollar          204.168
Cyprus pound         557.901
Euro                 322.142
(M.P.)
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