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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-14

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 14/01/1999 (ANA)


  • Censure debate to begin tonight
  • Government accepts the challenge over education
  • Scuffles and tension continue at country's schools
  • Government insists on implementation of reforms
  • Defence minister outlines priorities for 1999
  • Ukrainian crew face smuggling charges
  • Missouri Governor begins visit to Greece
  • Trawler runs aground
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Censure debate to begin tonight

Conservative opposition New Democracy petitioned Parliament today to hold a no-confidence vote on Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis. The motion would require Parliament to suspend regular business to hold a three-day debate on the situation in the education sector. The debate will be held at party leader level and followed by a roll-call vote. If the motion passes with a simple majority, Arsenis will be obliged to resign as education minister. Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said that debate would begin at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday, continue Friday afternoon and Saturday, depending on the list of speakers.

Government accepts the challenge over education

The government said later that it greeted the ND motion as a "tactical move against normality, democratic legality and the government's efforts to create the right conditions for education in Greece." "Your motion reveals in the most blatant manner that behind this facade of championing democracy there lies a deep hypocrisy motivated by the logic of increasing tension and petty political point-scoring," Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, representing the government in Simitis's absence, told Karamanlis.

Scuffles and tension continue at country's schools

Tension and minor scuffles reigned again on Thursday as high school students opposed to sweeping changes to the structure of secondary education continued to clash with parents and teachers over the occupations of their schools. Students blocked roads in Athens and Piraeus, in defiance of a judicial ban, infuriating passing motorists and, at times, coming to blows with them. An hour-long blockade of major Alexandras Avenue in the morning caused serious traffic congestion in the city centre. There will be no let-up for drivers again on Friday, when students and teachers opposed to the reforms hold a nationwide march through the city centre.

Government insists on implementation of reforms

Government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said the government insisted on the implementation of a controversial education reform law but was open to talks on how it should be applied in practice. Nikolaou warned "those trying to score political points" that they had chosen the wrong time and place "because the government will not be harmed by students". He also called on teachers to use their influence to enable schools to reopen.

Defence minister outlines priorities for 1999

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Thursday outlined the ministry's priorities for 1999 aimed at further upgrading Greece's role in the greater geopolitical region. Speaking at a New Year cake-cutting ceremony at the General Directorate for Armaments, Tsohatzopoulos said one of the top priorities was to upgrade the training and qualifications of armed forces personnel. Other priorities, he said, are the installation and operation of a single electronic data processing system and the ministry's substantial intervention in European developments with respect to the integration of defence industries through its participation in joint- production programmes. Tsohatzopoulos said also that Greece's armaments programme for the period 2001-2006 would be formulated during 1999.

Ukrainian crew face smuggling charges

The four-member crew of a Ukrainian cargo vessel arrested by the Greek coastguard off the Cycladic island of Kea with 170 large cases of contraband cigarrettes was charged with smuggling by a Piraeus public prosecutor today. The vessel, identified as the Orion and its four-member Ukrainian crew, were taken to Lavrion port opposite Kea, northeast of Athens, a harbour authority spokesman at Lavrion told the ANA. Coastguard police who spotted the ship in an isolated beach of the island late on Wednesday found the cigarettes hidden in secret compartments of the ship's holds.

Missouri Governor begins visit to Greece

Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan on Thursday began a three-day official visit to Greece during which he will have talks with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and other government officials focusing on trade relations between his state and Greece. According to reports, Carnahan will be lobbying for the award of military aircraft and construction contracts to Missouri-based companies such as Boeing.

Trawler runs aground

A fishing boat ran aground on a sandbank in the sea near Alexandroupoli airport,northern Greece, Thursday morning for as yet unknown reasons. None of the six crew members - three Greeks and three Egyptians - aboard the "Yiannakos" were injured in the incident. The tug-boats "Ierax" and "Theofilos" sailed to the scene and are currently trying to dislodge the trawler from the sandbank.


Cloudy weather and rain will prevail throughout Greece today. Snowfall in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece. A general improvement is expected by nightfall. Winds, southerly, southwesterly, strong. Athens will be rainy with temperatures between 10-15C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-9C.


Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 276.530 Pound sterling 456.042 Japanese yen (100) 246.661 French franc 49.293 German mark 165.322 Italian lira (100) 16.699 Irish Punt 410.560 Belgian franc 8.015 Finnish mark 54.382 Dutch guilder 146.726 Danish kr. 43.430 Austrian sch. 23.498 Spanish peseta 1.943 Swedish kr. 35.420 Norwegian kr. 36.978 Swiss franc 202.313 Port. Escudo 1.613 Aus. dollar 175.683 Can. dollar 181.020 Cyprus pound 553.536


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