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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-18

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, 18/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Finnish PM begins visit to Athens
  • Greece condemns Kosovo massacre
  • Ocalan not coming to Greece - govt
  • Athens rejects Turkey's FIR claims
  • Most schools open, govt says
  • Student injured in road block
  • Shady group claims dud bomb
  • Refugees' hunger strike continues
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Finnish PM begins visit to Athens

Finland has been impressed by Greece's efforts to join European economic and monetary union, Finland's Prime Minister, Paavo Lipponen, said in Athens on Monday. Lipponen arrived in Greece on Sunday evening for a two- day visit expected to focus on European Union issues, developments in the Balkan and eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and the course of Turkey's relations with the EU. Lipponen was speaking after meeting with his Greek counterpart, Costas Simitis, who said the meeting was constructive and particularly important in light of Finland's presidency of the European Union in the second half of 1999. Greece's progress towards EMU, the allocation of EU funds, Agenda 2000 and continuing talks on EU expansion are all items on the agenda for Finland's presidency.

Greece condemns Kosovo massacre

Greece on Monday expressed its disgust and condemnation of the massacre of 45 unarmed ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo and said that such acts were detrimental to a defusion of the crisis. "We hope that those responsible will be arrested and held to account," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. He said blame for the killings should be laid on both sides and reiterated that UN Security Council resolutions provided the only framework for a way out of the crisis.

Ocalan not coming to Greece - govt

The Greek government has not received any request from separatist Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan to come to Greece, spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Monday. Responding to press reports regarding Ocalan's desire to come to Greece, Reppas said that Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) had no contact with government officials. "In any case, as we have stressed in the past, we do not believe the entry or stay of Ocalan in Greece to be of any benefit to the Kurdish issue," Reppas said. Ocalan left Rome on Saturday after a two-month stay in which Rome refused to turn him over to Ankara, which holds him responsible for 30,000 deaths during the PKK's armed insurgency. Turkey has repeatedly claimed Greece is supporting the PKK, which has drawn vehement denials from Athens.

Athens rejects Turkey's FIR claims

Greece today accused Turkey of creating tension and seeking a confrontation, commenting on recent criticism by Turkish officials of Greece's ability to exercise control in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and statements on the ownership status of Greek islets in the Aegean. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas suggested that Turkey take recourse in the International Court of Justice at The Hague, since "Turkey has the problem, let it undertake its resolution. The roads for its resolution are very specific. Unless it (Ankara) desires war...".

Most schools open, govt says

The government claimed on Monday that most Greek schools were operating normally, particularly those in rural areas, and underlined the need for a greater show of responsibility from both teachers and students over the ongoing protests. "...(This would) lead to a start of dialogue on the adjustments and details which relate to the implementation of the education reforms," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. He condemned acts of violence during Friday's students marches in major towns and cities and expressed the goverment's complete confidence in Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis. Parliament on Saturday night voted 163-127 to reject a no confidence motion filed against Arsenis by main opposition New Democracy party last week.

Student injured in road block

A young high school student was hit by a car and injured during a road block set up by students protesting education ministry reforms. The accident occured outside a school that is being occupied in the northern Athens suburb of Paleo Psyhiko. Police said some 50 students had blocked the road outside the school and were milling around when the car, driven by George Theodorou, 47, hit the 16-year-old girl. After the girl was transferred to hospital, more protesting students gathered at the site and continued to block the road as a mark of protest at the incident. The girl was reported to be in a satisfactory condition.

Shady group claims dud bomb

A group calling itself 'Francisco Ferre' claimed responsibility for placing a makeshift incendiary device at the entrance to the Pedagogical Institute in the Athens residential area of Ayia Paraskevi on Sunday night. The device, comprised of a container of fuel and a lit cigarette placed atop a box of matches on top of the container, failed to go off. An anonymous caller to Skai television station said that the group had placed the device and called for the release of the ten youths arrested during violence at Friday's student march in Athens.

Refugees' hunger strike continues

Twenty-one illegal refugees on a hunger strike in Crete have been transferred to the local Sitia Hospital for treatment, an Amnesty International statement said on Monday. The hunger strikers are in the eighth day of their strike and are refusing all food except for water and tea. The refugees began the strike on Monday to protest their continued detention despite their having submitted requests for political asylum. A health committee from the local hospital said that the lack of basic hygiene in the living quarters of the refugees constituted a danger to public health and required "immediate action to ensure public health and human dignity".

WEATHER

Fair weather with lower temperatures throughout Greece today with local clouds on the east. Winds in the west of the country will be weak, possible showers in the north and east. Fair weather in Athens turning overcast later with local clouds and chances of light rains in the north and east of the prefecture in the afternoon, and temperatures from 4-13C. Thessaloniki will be overcast, with temperatures between 0-9C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 276.490 Pound sterling 458.562 Japanese yen (100) 245.550 French franc 49.165 German mark 164.891 Italian lira (100) 16.656 Irish Punt 409.490 Belgian franc 7.995 Finnish mark 54.240 Dutch guilder 146.344 Danish kr. 43.319 Austrian sch. 23.437 Spanish peseta 1.938 Swedish kr. 35.200 Norwegian kr. 36.994 Swiss franc 203.087 Port. Escudo 1.609 Aus. dollar 174.404 Can. dollar 179.949 Cyprus pound 553.060

(M.P.)


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