Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-11
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 11/01/1999 (ANA)
- Gov't optimistic about end to students' protests
- Education ministry says most schools open
- Parents throw cordon on school to prevent sit-in
- No truth to tripartite meeting reports
- Minister's office attacked
- SE Europe defence ministers meet in Athens
- Bomb defused at importing company
- Police thwart coffee bean smuggling operation
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Gov't optimistic about end to students' protests
The education ministry's efforts to reopen schools has worked and the
situation is markedly better, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on
Monday, as high schools opened around the country for the first time since
widespread protests and school occupations late last year. Students at high
schools around the country boycotted classes and occupied schools late in
the year to protest a series of education ministry changes to the structure
and grading system of secondary education. Reppas said that the majority of
schools in the regions were operating normally and that a "small minority"
were under occupation.
Education ministry says most schools open
The education ministry said on Monday morning that 95 percent of schools in
the Attica region were operating normally. The figure was contradicted by
the pupils, who claimed 450 schools were still under occupation. In
Thessaloniki, education authorities said that on Monday morning almost all
schools in the area were back to classes. In Hania, Crete, occupations
resumed at seven schools in the prefecture, with a student committee saying
that occupations at more schools were possible as of Tuesday. In Patras,
Peloponnese, 15 of the 19 senior high schools and four junior high schools
were under occupation, although most schools in the wider region of the
Achaia prefecture were operating normally. Pupils were holding general
assemblies at many schools to take a final decision on whether they would
continue occupations and protests, interrupted by the Christmas holiday.
Parents throw cordon on school to prevent sit-in
At one school in northern Greece, parents turned the tables on the errant
pupils, throwing a protective ring around the local school to prevent a
resumption of occupations. The president of the parents and guardians'
association, Sotiris Dimiropoulos, told the ANA that members of the
association had begun patrolling the school grounds and went on overnight
watch on January 7 to prevent the pupils gaining entry and resuming the
occupation. The 413-pupil school had been occupied continuously by its
pupils since November 23. The occupation effectively ended on December 23,
with the start of the Christmas break.
No truth to tripartite meeting reports
Greece on Monday denied that there were plans for a tripartite meeting
between the U.S., Greek and Turkish leaders in Washington in April. "A
tripartite meeting between U.S. President Bill Clinton with the prime
ministers of Greece and Turkey has not been brought up, has not been
discussed and has not been examined," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
said in response to press questions. Reports said the meeting would be held
on the occasion of the NATO summit in Washington in April.
Minister's office attacked
A makeshift incideniary device exploded outside the entrance to Alternate
Foreign Minister George Papandreou's political office on Monday, causing a
fire but no injuries. The device, comprised of a gas cannister and a
container of fuel, went off at approximately 1.45 p.m. at the first floor
office in central Athens. An anonymous caller to Athens daily newspaper
Athinaiki later claimed the bomb was the work of "Children of November",
which last surfaced in December, when it claimed responsibility for a
similar gas cannister bomb attack on the offices of a former Communist
Party deputy, Leon Avdis. The group has claimed responsibility for four
similar attacks last year.
SE Europe defence ministers meet in Athens
NATO and Partnership for Peace programme countries' defence ministers begin
meeting in Athens on Monday to sign a supplementary protocol to the treaty
establishing a multinational peacekeeping force in southeast Europe.
Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will open proceedings. The additional
protocol contains proposals drafted by military experts during their recent
Istanbul meeting on issues that remained unresolved. These proposals
include defining the force's base as Plovdiv, Bulgaria, with Turkey
undertaking management of the force for the first period and Greece taking
over the presidency of the political and military committee. The defence
ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, and the Romanian chief of
staff will be participating in the meeting. Slovenia and the United States
will attend as observers. The Turkish defence minister has been invited
but it was unclear whether he would be able to attend.
Bomb defused at importing company
Bomb disposal experts today dismantled a powerful explosive device planted
at an importing company in the western port city of Patras, police said.
They said the building guard spotted the home-made device, planted at the
entrance of the "Olympic Bravo" cigarette and coffee importer's garage
where the merchandise is loaded and unloaded. A similar bomb exploded last
year at the premises of the same company -- owned by Panayotis Oros, a
Greek from South Africa -- causing extensive damage but no injuries as the
explosion took place late at night.
Police thwart coffee bean smuggling operation
Police in the northern Greek town of Kastoria said on Monday that they had
arrested a Greek national trying to cross the border into Albania with 2.5
tonnes of coffee beans on his tractor. Dimitrios Grigoriadis, 32, from the
village of Komninades, is reported to have undertaken the mission on behalf
of an Albanian ring illegally importing coffee to Albania from Greece.
Police are seeking another two people on the tractor at the time of
Grigoriadis's arrest, who fled the scene when police stopped the tractor.
Partly cloudy weather is forecast for most parts of the country today with
showers likely in the west. Winds southerly, moderate to strong. Temperatures
in the north are expected to range from 0-13C; in the rest of the mainland
2-18C; and in the islands 9-18C. Athens will be partly cloudy with
temperatures from 8-17C. Same in Thessaloniki with the possibility of rain
and temperatures between 4-11C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.746
Pound sterling 453.086 Japanese yen (100) 246.214
French franc 49.013 German mark 164.384
Italian lira (100) 16.604 Irish Punt 408.230
Belgian franc 7.970 Finnish mark 54.074
Dutch guilder 145.894 Danish kr. 43.204
Austrian sch. 23.365 Spanish peseta 1.932
Swedish kr. 35.156 Norwegian kr. 37.478
Swiss franc 199.094 Port. Escudo 1.604
Aus. dollar 174.438 Can. dollar 181.754
Cyprus pound 551.552