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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 21/01/1999 (ANA)


  • Violence mars Athens student march
  • Ministry to extend first school quarter
  • FM Pangalos lashes out at all over education
  • Govt: no question of Arsenis resigning
  • ND deputy tells students not to return 'defeated'
  • Police break up drug trafficking ring
  • Dutch woman arrested for drug smuggling
  • Casus belli cornerstone of Greek-Cypriot defence
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Violence mars Athens student march

Riot police fired tear gas at masked youths throwing fire bombs and stones during a student protest march through the centre of Athens on Thursday morning. Police said that a branch of Ionian Bank, on the corner of Omirou and Stadiou Streets in downtown Athens, and a television van were targeted by the students. A student was injured by stones and a passerby knocked down during the violence. Riot police arrested 20 people, two carrying fire bombs, after they came under attack. It was the latest clash between young protestors and police in a series of protest marches held since the beginning of the year to protest the education ministry's reforms. Police estimated the number of marchers in Athens at around 6,000 people.

Ministry to extend first school quarter

The education ministry meanwhile said it would issue a circular extending the first quarter of the school year to February 5. The move is calculated to allay fears of entire schools missing out on annual examinations in June due to the loss of class time due to school occupations. The man at the centre of the protests, Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, is expected to meet later in the day with representatives of private schools as well as students. Arsenis has issued a new invitation for talks with high school teachers, who participated in today's march and held a 24-hour strike, but reiterated the government's position that the new education law would not be withdrawn. The teachers maintain that no dialogue can be held until the law is recalled.

FM Pangalos lashes out at all over education

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Thursday attributed responsibility for the present situation in the education sector to previous governments of the ruling PASOK party. Pangalos, a member of PASOK's Executive Bureau, also called on all opposition parties to assume their responsibilities, accusing them of "deviating" from their stated principles. Asked by reporters to comment in general on the situation, Pangalos said both high- school students and teachers were "working unacceptably little", the main responsibility for which he attributed to previous PASOK governments. Pangalos expressed full support for the government's education reforms, saying that in effect they constituted a return to state education "which we have abolished".

Govt: no question of Arsenis resigning

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that there was no question of a change in the composition of the government "of which Mr. Arsenis is a member". Reppas made the statement when asked by reporters whether there was any possibility that Arsenis would tender his resignation at Friday's Cabinet meeting. The spokesman criticised opposition parties, particularly the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, for their stance on the government's education reforms and the student protests. He accused ND leader Costas Karamanlis of being a hypocrite, saying that on the one hand he was urging high-school students to return to classes, while on the other, ND cadres active in the Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) were maintaining a completely different stance in support of school occupations.

ND deputy tells students not to return 'defeated'

After today's protest march in Athens, a delegation of students handed resolutions to representatives of parties at the parliament building and had talks with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis. Tension arose within the ranks of New Democracy following a meeting between the delegation and ND deputy Savvas Tsitouridis, who told the students that they should not return to school "defeated". Tsitouridis' comments provoked discussion and criticism among other ND deputies.

Police break up drug trafficking ring

Police broke up a drug smuggling ring and arrested three people in the northern Greek capital of Thessaloniki that was bringing in large quanities of heroin and cocaine from Bulgaria, police said today. Police confiscated 1.72 kilos of cocaine and 486 grams of heroin as well as a substantial amount of money. The ring members on the Biulgarian side would bring the drugs into Greece and hide them in previously specified spots on rural roads, to be picked up by their Greek accomplices.

Dutch woman arrested for drug smuggling

A Dutch woman was arrested at a northern Greek border post for smuggling 110 grams of heroin from Turkey in plastic eggs she had swallowed, police said today. They said the woman was arrested at the Eidomenis border post in Kilkis as she entered Greece from Istanbul via Bulgaria. She told police she had bought the heroin in Istanbul and planned to smuggle it into The Netherlands for her own personal use. Kilkis security police were questioning the woman.

Casus belli cornerstone of Greek-Cypriot defence

"The core and substance of the Greece-Cyprus joint defence doctrine is that which we call the 'casus belli'", deputy foreign minister Yannos Kranidiotis said in an exclusive interview with Antenna-Cyprus television station. Kranidiotis, in the interview which was aired late Wednesday night, said that the "casus belli (cause of war) is in force", explaining: Any aggressive action by Turkey against Cyprus is a casus belli for Greece, and a cause of war with not only Cyprus as the field of battle, but also a Greek-Turkish war". He said that this acted as a deterrent not only for Turkey but also for the "major powers that influence things".


Fair weather will prevail in the west and north of Greece today. Light rain in the rest of the country. Winds variable, moderate to strong in the Aegean Sea . Overcast in Athens with temperatures between4-12C. Good weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-10C.


Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 276.470 Pound sterling 456.419 Japanese yen (100) 243.189 French franc 48.824 German mark 163.750 Italian lira (100) 16.540 Irish Punt 406.655 Belgian franc 7.939 Finnish mark 53.865 Dutch guilder 145.331 Danish kr. 43.053 Austrian sch. 23.275 Spanish peseta 1.925 Swedish kr. 35.756 Norwegian kr. 37.246 Swiss franc 199.784 Port. Escudo 1.597 Aus. dollar 176.516 Can. dollar 181.100 Cyprus pound 550.064


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