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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-22

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, 22/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Cabinets focuses on how to boost employment
  • Defence minister very concerned about Kosovo
  • 26 charged over Thursday's student march violence
  • PASOK Youth organisation says 'hold the reforms'
  • Deputy defence minister denies missiles press report
  • Cypriot defence minister to visit Athens
  • Greek MPs to attend Council of Europe meeting
  • Eurocentral Bank's Duisenberg has praise for Greece
  • Stocks end the week moderately lower
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Cabinets focuses on how to boost employment

Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday chaired a Cabinet meeting which focused on ways of increasing employment and reviewed developments in 1998 which were considered positive. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou stressed that the fight against unemployment would be a top priority for the government this year. He described as "positive" developments in 1998, noting that 85,000 new jobs were created, while prospects were even better for 1999 owing to anticipated higher rates of growth generated by private and public investments, as well as structural changes in the labour market. Some 110, 000 new jobs are expected to be created in the near future, Papaioannou said, of which 60,000 will be for young people between the ages of 20 and 29.

Defence minister very concerned about Kosovo

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos warned that "the worst" could happen if a solution to the crisis in Yugoslavia's troubled Kosovo province was not achieved before the end of this winter, stressing that the solution must be a political one. In an interview with the Athens-published German language newspaper "Athener Zeitung", Tsohatzopoulos noted that while the international organisations' policy had succeeded in Bosnia and Albania, the situation in Kosovo "appears to be uncontrollable". Tsohatzopoulos rejected any kind of military solution to the problem, adding: "The solution can only be a political one.

26 charged over Thursday's student march violence

One of the 26 youths arrested during Thursday's violent student protest march was detained for further questioning on Friday, after he was arrested in possession of a fire bomb. He is expected to be charged with procurement and possession of explosive material, a felony charge, as well as resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. Security was tight at the court as the group was led in to be formally charged. About 150 people had gathered outside the courts as a show of support for those arrested. The remaining 25 youths were charged with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and abuse before a prosecutor this morning: 11 minors in the group were released, pending their appearance before the juvenile court.

PASOK Youth organisation says 'hold the reforms'

The executive secretariat of ruling party PASOK's Youth Organisation on Friday issued a statement calling for the suspension "for as long as it is deemed necessary" of the education reform law and for talks on any reforms to begin anew. The youth organisation said the government's perception that the students' protests were "instigated" had led it to the wrong conclusions. "These protests express the genuine concerns of the younger generation suffering the extended downgrading of the education process and (are) a refusal to compromise with the 'grey' future it promises," the statement said. Any changes to the education system, the statement continued, must have the "widest possible consensus".

Deputy defence minister denies missiles press report

National Defence Deputy Minister Dimitris Apostolakis on Friday denied a report in the Greek-American community newspaper "Proini" claiming that negotiations were under way for the sale of the S-300 missiles to Egypt. He was replying in Parliament to a question tabled by ruling PASOK deputy Lefteris Veryvakis. Apostolakis said that when the S-300 and recently ordered US-made Patriot missiles came to Greece, they would have the capability of operating in conjunction with electronic weapons systems already deployed in Greece.

Cypriot defence minister to visit Athens

Cypriot Defence Minister Yiannakis Chryssostomos arrives in Athens on February 8 for a four-day visit expected to focus on the transport and installation of Russian S-300 missiles on the Greek island of Crete, according to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia. Chryssostomos will meet with Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos during his visit. The Cypriot defence minister said in Nicosia on Friday that defence department officials were continuing talks on the S-300 issue in Athens and that the ministry would act "in line with developments". Cyprus announced late last year that it would not deploy the Russian surface to air missile system on the island, after consultations with the Greek government in Athens.

Greek MPs to attend Council of Europe meeting

An eleven-member Greek parliamentary delegation leaves for Strasbourg on Sunday to participate in the first part of the 1999 Meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The sessions of the meeting, which will be held from January 25-29, will deal with a number of issues including commitments and obligations of Turkey as a CoE member- state, the creation of an enlarged Europe, religion and democracy, the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, the situation in Federal Yugoslavia and internal security in Europe.

Eurocentral Bank's Duisenberg has praise for Greece

The Greek economy has made significant progress in the last few years, European Central Bank's chairman Wim Duisenberg said today in Frankfurt. Duisenberg said he hoped that Greece, along with the other EU member-states not participating in the euro, would soon participate in the single European currency. Speaking to reporters, the ECB's chairman noted that Greece has fought hard improving its macro-economic and fiscal conditions, although not yet fully achieving all the convergence criteria to participate in economic and monetary union. Duisenberg said he was aware of the government's pledge to participate in the euro by 2001 and he hoped that the EU's council would respond positively to the Greek demand.

Stocks end the week moderately lower

Greek equities ended the last trading session of the week moderately lower on the Athens Stock Exchange with sentiment hit by negative developments in international markets. The general index ended 0.65 percent down to 2, 985.75 points, off the day's lows. The index ended the week 3.55 percent higher. Turnover was 91.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 19,886,000 shares. The week's average daily turnover rose to 100.2 billion drachmas, up from 97.5 billion the previous week. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.10 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 0.89 percent off to 1,894.27.

WEATHER

Overcast weather and showers will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Winds variable, moderate to strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be partly cloudy with possible light rain in the suburbs and temperatures between 4- 12C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-10C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 276.599 Pound sterling 454.733 Japanese yen (100) 245.351 French franc 48.809 German mark 163.699 Italian lira (100) 16.535 Irish Punt 406.529 Belgian franc 7.937 Finnish mark 53.848 Dutch guilder 145.286 Danish kr. 43.041 Austrian sch. 23.268 Spanish peseta 1.924 Swedish kr. 35.764 Norwegian kr. 37.140 Swiss franc 199.566 Port. Escudo 1.597 Aus. dollar 176.512 Can. dollar 181.834 Cyprus pound 549.667

(M.P.)


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