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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-27

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, 27/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek man confesses to murder of U.S. fiancee
  • Government vows to maintain law at road blocks
  • Athens condemns U.S. mistake in Iraq
  • Greece refuses to be drawn into slanging match with Ankara
  • No change in Greek policy on FYROM
  • FM launches attack on Communist Party MPs
  • Rail services to be disrupted during work stoppage
  • Ancient amphora stolen from castle
  • Israeli firms arrive for Agrotica trade fair
  • Health minister apologises for hospital problems
  • Eminent Greek musician Simon Karas dies
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek man confesses to murder of U.S. fiancee

A Greek man was arrested on Tuesday when he confessed to murdering his American girlfriend, dismembering her body and hiding the parts near a lake in Kavala, northwest Greece. Julie Marie Scully, 31, from New Jersey, had been missing since January 10. Her boyfriend, George Skiadopoulos, a 24- year-old merchant marine officer, was the one who reported her disappearance to the police, the US embassy in Athens and the Greek mass media. A police source told ANA that Skiadopoulos broke down late Tuesday night and confessed to the murder. He was taken early Wednesday by police to Kavala where he was due to take them to the site where he buried the pieces of the girl's body.

Government vows to maintain law at road blocks

The government said on Wednesday that it will ensure the law is enforced, referring to violence from young protestors during road blocks in Athens and other parts of the country. Snap road blocks from secondary school students opposed to education reforms has become a hallmark of the near- three month long protest, causing serious disruption to traffic and with students and motorists caught up in traffic often coming to blows. Students again set up road blocks on Wednesday, despite indications that the number of occupations of school premises had fallen since the beginning of the week. More traffic chaos is expected on Thursday when students hold a rally and march - the third in as many weeks - through the city centre.

Athens condemns U.S. mistake in Iraq

The Greek government on Wednesday condemned the latest bombings of Iraq, after the United States admitted that a missile accidentally hit a residential area in the south of the country. "We condemn the use of force and believe that such types of military initiatives, which result in civilian victims, should be avoided," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. The spokesman added that the Greek government supported the policy being followed on Iraq by the European Union, while stressing that there was a need to safeguard the prestige of the United Nations. Washington yesterday admitted that an errant missile had hit a village south of Basra on Monday. According to Iraqi reports, 11 civilians were killed in the attack. US jets have also continued to attack military targets in the no- fly zone of northern Iraq.

Greece refuses to be drawn into slanging match with Ankara

Turkey is trying to draw Greece into dialogue on issues on which there can be no dialogue, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday when asked to comment on a Turkish General Staff report. Reppas said there was no reason for Greece to be drawn into Turkey's "gibberish" and reiterated the Greek government's position that if Ankara believes a problem exists, it should refer the matter to the International Court at The Hague. "Everything else is meaningless. Turkey is heading for elections and all this is for domestic consumption," Reppas said. The General Staff report, published in Tuesday's edition of the Turkish daily "Cumhurriyet", warned that "if the problems between Turkey and Greece are not resolved, new tension in the Aegean could lead the two countries to clashes for which there is no intention".

No change in Greek policy on FYROM

Greece remains firm in its positions regarding its relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) because it follows a policy based on principles, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday. Reppas said the Greek government had always wanted rapprochement between the two countries on the basis of mutual understanding and relations one would expect of good neighbours. "Unfortunately, however, during the recent visit to Skopje by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos (on December 22), the stance adopted by the FYROM government, with the issues which it raised, was not constructive," Reppas said. The spokesman said there had been no progress on the thorny issue of the neighbouring country's name - a problem which has been the main sticking point in relations with Greece ever since FYROM declared independence from Yugoslavia.

FM launches attack on Communist Party MPs

The first day of debate at parliamentary committee level of the Amsterdam treaty was cut short on Wednesday, following a no-holds-barred attack by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on the Communist Party of Greece. "The Communist Party of Greece questions, both politically and theoretically, parliamentary democracy. It questions it in practice, organising the upheaval of social life, through mob rule which supposedly expresses the best interests of the people, as this is perceived by minorities, of course, " Pangalos told the committee meeting. "Such procedures led to callous dictatorships, in which ruthless bureaucracies exterminated entire peoples in Eastern Europe," he said. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has long opposed Greece's membership of the European Union and has called for a national referendum to be held on the prospect of European unification, which the Amsterdam treaty represents.

Rail services to be disrupted during work stoppage

The Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) on Wednesday said it would probably have to make some changes to its schedules between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday due to the participation of the Panhellenic Federation of Rail Workers in the four-hour nationwide work stoppage called by the General Confederation of Greek Labour. OSE said it was making every effort to minimise inconvenience to passengers, who it advised to contact local railway stations before travelling tomorrow.

Ancient amphora stolen from castle

A 4th century B.C. amphora has been stolen from the Pylos Castle in Messinia, police said today. The "Merchant Amphora", was stolen from an open-air exhibition in the Castle's courtyard, which is guarded round-the- clock. The theft was discovered by guards early Wednesday morning, a Messinia security police spokesman said. The spokesman said the theft took place between late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

Israeli firms arrive for Agrotica trade fair

A large Israeli delegation made up of representatives of 13 of Israel's major companies has arrived in Thessaloniki to take part in the Agrotica '99 international farm industry fair. The delegation will present Israel's latest achievements in the fields of irrigation, water filtering, the production of pesticides, fertilizers and special seeds, and biotechnology. Greece and Israel already have close ties in the agricultural sector, with farm products accounting for 35 percent of Israel's exports to Greece in 1998.

Health minister apologises for hospital problems

Health and Welfare Minister Lambros Papadimas apologised to Greek taxpayers on Wednesday for what he said was the sorry state prevailing in the country's public hospitals. He underlined however that he did not mean to say that the national health system was unable to deal with the problems it was facing and denied outright reports that management of public hospitals would be put in the hands of the private sector. A survey of the country's 59 biggest hospitals, released earlier this month, showed that most Greeks had little faith in public health services, with most hospitals characterised as "inhospitable and dirty". Although he praised the work of medical and nursing staff, Papadimas said the system was wasteful, the standard of accommodation and equipment bad and that there were too few staff to deal with demand.

Eminent Greek musician Simon Karas dies

Simon Karas, the master of Greek ethnic music, has died at the age of 96 after a long illness, his family announced today. Karas died late Tuesday night in an Athens hospital after a lengthy illness and hospitalisation. Throughout his life, Karas devoted himself to Byzantine ecclesiastical music and the traditional "demotiko" music of Greece.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather will prevail throughout Greece today with rain in the west. Winds westerly, southwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and temperatures ranging between 4-14C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-10C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.756 Pound sterling 457.272 Japanese yen (100) 242.772 French franc 48.651 German mark 163.167 Italian lira (100) 16.482 Irish Punt 405.207 Belgian franc 7.911 Finnish mark 53.673 Dutch guilder 144.813 Danish kr. 42.924 Austrian sch. 23.192 Spanish peseta 1.918 Swedish kr. 35.760 Norwegian kr. 37.101 Swiss franc 198.975 Port. Escudo 1.592 Aus. dollar 173.898 Can. dollar 181.536 Cyprus pound 550.124

(M.P.)


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