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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-25

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, 25/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Government undisturbed by poll results
  • Athens comments on IOC scandal
  • Farmers protest 'a message' to minister
  • Albanian man arrested on drug charges
  • Disgruntled workers occupy hotel
  • Montenegro underlines press freedom
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Government undisturbed by poll results

The government on Monday dismissed opinion polls showing a fall in the prime minister and government's popularity, saying that it was confident of a return to power at the next general elections in 2000. The poll, published in daily Ta Nea, showed 56.7 percent of respondents not at all satisfied with the government and Prime Minister Costas Simitis's popularity rating falling to 24.8 percent. Main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis's popularity also fell, to 34.4 percent, as did most other political party leaders. Some 55.3 percent of respondents said they were unhappy with the opposition New Democracy's performance. The Simitis government has vowed to make Greece the 12th member of European economic and monetary union by 2001 and has implemented a strict austerity programme to meet the criteria for inclusion.

Athens comments on IOC scandal

Athens is focusing on organising a successful 2004 Olympic Games and is not considering at this stage hosting the Games on a permanent basis, the government said on Monday. Replying to reporters' questions, spokesman Dimitris Reppas noted that the issue of Athens becoming a permament home for the Olympic Games, in the wake of the influence-peddling scandal in the ranks of the International Olympic Committee, had been mentioned in a number of press reports. He added that the Olympic ideal and the holding of the world's premier sporting event should not be identified with the "blameworthy actions of a few".

Farmers protest 'a message' to minister

Farmers in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki camped out in front of the Agricultural Bank's central offices on Monday in a symbolic protest against EU farm policies. In statements, the two federation of farmers in the Thessaloniki prefecture stressed that their action was a "message" for Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis to immediately meet their demands. Farmers are demanding a higher production ceiling for cotton crops and government intervention in Brussels to prevent what they claim will be a 30 per cent reduction in cereal crop prices this year if the European Union does not alter its regulations.

Albanian man arrested on drug charges

Athens police on Monday announced the arrest of an Albanian man caught in possession of nearly one kilo of heroin, 14.5 kilos of marijuana and 170 grams of cocaine. He was identified as Pano Piero, 39, who police believe has been selling large quantities of narcotics to dealers in Athens. Piero was arrested after a surveillance operation lasting almost two weeks. Another Albanian, Krista Kavo, 33 was arrested in Athens after being found in possession of two kilos of marijuana, while a third, Claudian Tzatzo, 21 was arrested after police found nearly half a kilo of heroin and 242 grams of cocaine in his possession.

Disgruntled workers occupy hotel

Former employees of the Porto Carras hotel complex in Sithonia, Chalkidiki on Monday occupied the premises to protest their dismissal after the company was sold. The employees are demanding their re-hire, claiming that the new owner - "Potidaia - Tourist, Hotel and Agricultural Enterprises" - has violated the purchase agreement. They said the occupation would continue until a meeting was arranged between representatives of their labour union, the General Confederation of Greek Labour, the company and the ministries of labour, development and finance for the purpose of finding some solution. The approximately 500 employees - 200 permanent and 300 hired on a seasonal basis - have ejected the manager and other senior staff members from the hotel and are blocking the main entrance.

Montenegro underlines press freedom

Montenegrin government press secretary Bozidar Yaredic emphasised today his country's insistence on promoting freedom of the press and free speech, repeatedly drawing a difference between Montenegro and Serbia. Citing "internal pressures" on his government by Belgrade, Yaredic said EU sanctions on the whole of Yugoslavia were taking a severe toll on his republic's economy and development, with only some 20 per cent of the adult workforce among a population of about 650,000 residents in Montenegro fully employed. Yaredic reiterated that his government favours an expanded autonomy in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo but absolutely no change of borders or independence.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather is forecast throughout the country today. Winds north, northweasterly in the west and east, light to strong, and very strong in the southern Aegean, easing off towards evening. Athens will be mostly sunny with scattered cloud and temperatures ranging from 2-13C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from -1C to 10C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.687 Pound sterling 456.161 Japanese yen (100) 242.028 French franc 48.814 German mark 163.715 Italian lira (100) 16.537 Irish Punt 406.567 Belgian franc 7.937 Finnish mark 53.853 Dutch guilder 145.299 Danish kr. 43.833 Austrian sch. 23.270 Spanish peseta 1.924 Swedish kr. 35.597 Norwegian kr. 37.091 Swiss franc 200.131 Port. Escudo 1.597 Aus. dollar 175.405 Can. dollar 182.151 Cyprus pound 550.421

(M.P.)


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