Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-06
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 06/01/1999 (ANA)
- Problems continue at Olympic Airways
- Three die in gypsy feud
- Smugglers get heavy sentences
- Sailing ban lifted
- Fishing strike continues
- Fire at cotton gin causes extensive damage
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Problems continue at Olympic Airways
There was little hope on Wednesday of an end to the hardships endured by
travellers using the national carrier Olympic Airways after talks between
OA management and pilots failed to resolve the latest crisis to hit the
OA pilots are refusing to work overtime to press their demands, which
include the hiring of more flight personnel - a move which has caused
cancellations and long delays to domestic and international flights.
An announcement released by OA management after the talks on Tuesday night
said the pilots were now putting forward financial demands that the company
could not afford and which, if satisfied, would violate provisions of the
ongoing five-year restructuring plan.
Pilots' representatives meanwhile described as a "mockery" the proposals
put forward by OA management in an effort to resolve the impasse.
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said in a radio interview on
Tuesday that the government was determined to press ahead with plans to
find a strategic partner and establish cooperation with private interests,
adding that this was the only solution which could save the national
Acknowledging that the situation was becoming more difficult, Papantoniou
called for "the active cooperation" of all parties involved and declined to
make further statements saying he did not want to "add fuel to the
Three die in gypsy feud
Police on Wednesday were searching for a gypsy after three people died and
a fourth was seriously injured when a family feud ended in a shootout in
the western port city of Patras.
The gunbattle took place on Tuesday afternoon when two of the victims,
gypsies Manolis Karachalios, 70 and his wife, Eleftheria, 73 were involved
in a violent quarrel with the wanted man - their son-in-law, Vangelis
Alexis Christou, 17, the grandson of Manolis Karachalios, died in the
shootout, while Manolis Christou, 40, Vangelis' brother, was seriously
injured and is being treated at St. Andrew's Hospital in Patras.
Smugglers get heavy sentences
A Kos court on Wednesday sentenced two Greeks and a Yugoslavian each to ten
years' imprisonment and a fine of 3.5 million drachmas after finding them
guilty of ferrying illegal immigrants to Greece in a boat which sank off
the island of Nissyros.
The three crew members of the Italian-flagged "Mustang" were among those
rescued when the vessel sank in icy waters about 7 miles from Nissyros on
About 10 people are presumed to have drowned and 24 were rescued.
The two Greeks sentenced were Iosif Tsagarakis and Constantine Logothetis,
and the Yugoslavian, Ifet Cosovic.
The Mustang sailed from the Turkish coast late at night on December 30. The
exact number of illegal immigrants on the boat has still not been
Sailing ban lifted
Ferryboat sailings resumed on Wednesday morning from the ports of Piraeus
and Rafina to destinations in the Aegean islands, Crete and the Dodecanese
following an improvement in weather conditions.
A sailing ban was imposed at midday on Tuesday because of gale force winds
in the Aegean.
Fishing strike continues
Trawler owners on Tuesday decided to continue to strike in protest against
a European Union directive, following a meeting at Nea Michaniona,
Thessaloniki earlier in the day.
The fishermen are protesting EU Directive 1626 which effectively reduces
the distance from the coast in which fishing is permitted and increases the
mesh size of nets.
At Tuesday's meeting, members of the Panhellenic Union of Trawler Owners
decided not to go out fishing Tuesday and on Thursday to moor their boats
in protest along the Thessaloniki seafront, as they did on Monday.
The feast of the Ephiphany today is a national holiday.
On Thursday, the leadership of the Agriculture Ministry is expected to meet
with union representatives. The vice-president of the trawler owners' union,
Theodosis Maritsas, told the ANA that if the meeting ended without result,
the members would step up their labour action, possibly using their vessels
to blockade ports around the country.
Trawler owners claim the provision of the directive stipulating a larger
mesh for nets will result in a 50 per cent reduction in catches, since
smaller fish will slip through, while Turkish trawlers will continue to
catch those fish and channel them to the Greek market.
The Panhellenic Union of Trawler Owners numbers over 190 members who own
approximately 150 trawlers that supply all the fishmarkets of the
Fire at cotton gin causes extensive damage
A fire which broke out for as yet unknown reasons early Wednesday morning
caused damage estimated at 6 billion drachmas to a cotton gin plant near
the village of Achillio, central Greece.
Eight fire engines were used in the battle against the blaze at the VIOLAR
S.A. plant on the old Larissa-Volos national road before it was finally
brought under control after nearly eight hours at noon.
According to initial estimates, 45,000 bales of cotton, each weighing 230
kilos and worth a total 5 billion drachmas, were destroyed in the
The main plant installations - valued at 1 billion drachmas - were also
The fire brigade managed to save an adjacent covered warehouse area
occupying 10,000 square metres.
Mostly fine weather is expected throughout the country Thursday, with local
clouds in the east. Temperatures will rise slightly.
Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 272.731
Pound sterling 451.618 Japanese yen (100) 245.580
French franc 49.127 German mark 164.764
Italian lira (100) 16.643 Irish Punt 409.175
Belgian franc 7.988 Finnish mark 54.199
Dutch guilder 146.231 Danish kr. 43.251
Austrian sch. 23.419 Spanish peseta 1.937
Swedish kr. 34.272 Norwegian kr. 36.690
Swiss franc 199.585 Port. Escudo 1.607
Aus. dollar 169.632 Can. dollar 178.560
Cyprus pound 553.536