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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-01

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, 01/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece voices satisfaction over smooth elections in Albania
  • Delors confers with Simitis, political leaders on Europe's future
  • Kranidiotis meets with US official regarding SECI
  • US: no evidence on Turkish claims of Greek help to Kurds
  • Return of Parthenon marbles discussed
  • Greek military chief on official visit to Poland
  • Greek navy chief to visit Bulgaria
  • Civil aviation authority work stoppages
  • New super-catamaran to provide coastal tours of Mount Athos
  • Health sector beset by problems
  • Greek equities edge up, driven by state telecom
  • EU holds traffic control conference in Thessaloniki
  • Greece's Gnomon to build new hospital in Pyrgos
  • EU Commission acts against Greece to curb water pollution
  • Fifth Greek victory at Eurobasket
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece voices satisfaction over smooth elections in Albania

Greece said yesterday that it hoped the completion of the electoral process in neighbouring Albania last Sunday would result in a government of the widest possible consensus to undertake the work of restoring order in the country.

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed his satisfaction that the elections had gone "relatively well".

"There appears to be a healthy participation in the new Parliament of ethnic Greek-Albanians, whom I believe will deservedly respond to the new challenge of Albania for a democratic course, and respect for human rights, " Mr. Papandreou said.

Delors confers with Simitis, political leaders on Europe's future

Representatives from three out of five parties in Parliament met yesterday for talks with former European Commission president Jacques Delors about the future of Europe.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Marietta Yiannakou-Koutsikou from the main opposition New Democracy, and Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

All speakers at the event concluded that development and progress cannot be achieved through uncontrolled forces of the market.

Mr. Delors, the main speaker at the event, noted that under present conditions "we are able to safeguard the principles of democratic socialism", adding that today's socialists want change, but also a sense of security.

The changes that have been completed or are under way today have created three challenges that require answers, Mr. Delors said, naming globalisation, acceleration of technological advances and the serious crisis facing the welfare state.

The former EC president defended the expansion of the European Union by accession of less developed countries. He expressed reservations about whether this would be achieved, since the idea was meeting with resistance by certain EU members.

Mr. Simitis said that the liberalisation of productive powers was no longer enough to create a more humane society, because the economy's independence had led to a new wave of productivity that tore down social relationships. This, however, did offer th e groundwork for social relationships of a higher quality. Whether productivity would prevail or new relationships was a matter of political process and struggles that had to be made, he said.

Mr. Simitis made special note of the social sector, stressing that the systems of social welfare should be adapted to demographic changes, and funds be funneled to those who had real need of them. Social funding should not lead to social discrimination, he said.

Kranidiotis meets with US official regarding SECI

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis held talks yesterday with US ambassador Richard Shifter, President Bill Clinton's special adviser on the Initiative for Cooperation in Southeastern Europe (SECI), which focuses on improving and developing coopera tion between Balkan countries. An extensive review was made of activities being developed in the framework of the initiative, aimed at strengthening regional cooperation between countries in southeastern Europe through the development of economic, technic al and environmental cooperation.

Mr. Shifter stressed the importance of Greece's participation in the SECI initiative, inter-border cooperation programmes aimed at rendering technical assistance and improving infrastructure at border crossings of member-states which are pa rt of this initiative.

Mr. Kranidiotis said Greece participates actively in all initiatives strengthening cooperation in the Balkans and will offer all support possible for activities developing in the framework of the initiative. According to reports, the US attributes particular significance to Greece's active participation in the success of the SECI initiative and assesses that the leading role it can play in the region will help substantially in consolidating peace, stability and development in the Balkans.

US: no evidence on Turkish claims of Greek help to Kurds

Acting US State Department spokesman John Dinger said yesterday that the United States does not have any indications to confirm Turkish allegations that a Greek military officer was training Kurdish separatists.

Replying to a Turkish reporter, who also quoted Turkish sources as saying that the officer had been killed, Mr. Dinger referred to a recent statement by the Greek government spokesman that these charges were "unfounded".

Return of Parthenon Marbles discussed

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos raised the issue of the Parthenon Marbles' return to Greece from the British Musuem during a meeting with British National Heritage Undersecretary for the Arts Mark Fisher, on the sidelines of the EU culture ministers' summit here.

Mr. Venizelos, who told Mr. Fisher that Athens was willing to discuss the issue on bilateral level, told reporters that the meeting was "especially cordial."

"The discussion has been clear and creative," he said. Mr. Venizelos handed a text to Mr. Fisher containing Athens' positions on the issue.

"I told Mr. Fisher that we raise the issue not in the name of the Greek government and history but in the name of the world's cultural heritage, international cultural sensitivity and mainly in the name of the monument's whole entity."

Greek military chief on official visit to Poland

The chief of the National Defence General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis, will visit Poland at the invitation of his Polish counterpart, Gen. Zumsky.

The Greek official, who leaves tomorrow for Warsaw, is scheduled to meet Poland's political and military leadership, as well as the Polish parliament's defence committee.

During talks with Lt.-Gen. Tzoganis, Polish officials are likely to repeat their proposals in relation to the purchase by Greece of Polish-made transport helicopters, aircraft and AWACS-type radars.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos was briefed on the Polish proposals during a recent visit to Warsaw.

Talks are also expected to focus on NATO expansion and issues of mutual military concern.

Greek navy chief to visit Bulgaria

The Navy General Staff announced that Hellenic Navy chief Vice-Adm. L. Paliogiorgos has accepted an invitation by his Bulgarian counterpart, Adm. Kristov Kontrov, and will leave for Varna tomorrow to observe military activities exercises.

Officials from NATO have also been invited to observe aeronautical exercises in the sea region of Varna.

Civil aviation authority work stoppages

Operations at the country's airports will face problems due to strike actions called by employees at the Civil Aviation Authority (YPA).

The federation of employees announced yesterday that it will go ahead with a series of work stoppages, starting tonight from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The work stoppage will be repeated during the same hours on Thursday and Friday nights, while on Saturday night employees will stop work at 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday morning.

However, the YPA employees decision was depending on last night's meeting between the president of the YPA employees' unions and Transport Minister Haris Kastanidis.

The employees said they will go ahead with the work stoppages on demands of unpaid overtime, night-time and holiday-time, in spite of the fact they had been promised to receive backpay by June 1.

New super-catamaran to provide coastal tours of Mount Athos

Women, traditionally barred from entering the Mount Athos all-male monastic community in northern Greece, will now be able to get a closer glimpse aboard a super catamaran to be launched in late August.

The 45-metre 'Platytera ton Ouranon', named after the famous Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mother, to whom Mt. Athos is dedicated, will be making coastal tours around Mt. Athos throughout the summer months, starting from Ouranoupolis, the last point for women visitors. The 950 million dr. vessel was built wholly in Greece,is the first catamaran to be employed in routes in northern Greece.

The ultra-modern vessel, which develops a speed of 25 knots per hour enabling it to cover large distances in day-cruises, is also designed as a floating congress centre and can accomodate up to 1,300 passengers.

Health sector beset by problems

Hospital doctors in Athens and Piraeus continued their strike for a third day yesterday with representatives noting that participation in the strike was close to total.

Hospital presidents however disputed the figure, saying participation was much lower.

Skeleton staff were on duty to deal with emergencies at all state-run hospitals.

The doctors are on strike to protest a new bill to reorganise the national health system. Today they will rally outside the health ministry before meeting with Health Minister Costas Geitonas at 5pm.

Pharmacists meanwhile said they would go ahead with a 48-hour strike beginning today.

They are protesting the over-pricing of medicines in Greece and want the government to revise recent changes reducing profit margins from sales, which they fear will put small pharmacies out of business and lead to the creation of pharamaceutical retail outlet "giants".

Greek equities edge up, driven by state telecom

Stock prices resumed their upward trend to end moderately higher on the Athens Stock Exchange led by a rebound in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) after a two-week decline.

The general index closed 0.72 percent higher at 1,518.51 points, showing a 62.67 percent rise in the first half of 1997. Trade was moderate with turnover at 18.1 billion drachmas.

Most indices scored gains. Banks fell 0.20 percent, Leasing was 0.76 percent higher, Insurance rose 0.12 percent, Investment was 0.02 percent off, Industrials increased 0.73 percent, Construction eased 0.48 percent, Holding jumped 3.46 percent and Miscellaneous rose 0.74 percent.

The parallel market for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 0.28 percent. OTE's share price ended at 6,450 drachmas, up 3.9 percent from Friday. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 116 to 90 with another 30 issues unchanged.

Metka, Titan Cement, Faliro Medical Centre, Parnassos and Atemke were top gainers, while Xylemporia, Macedonian Mills and Bank of Central Greece suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 33,600 drachmas, Ergobank at 16,500, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,900, Titan at 13,550 and Intracom at 12,510.

EU holds traffic control conference in Thessaloniki

The use of electronic systems and telematics tools in directing traffic in major European cities is the topic of a two-day conference being held in Thessaloniki under the European Union's Concert research programme.

Delegates announced the implementation of a pilot project in Thessaloniki that will provide drivers with information appearing on electronic panels.

The system supplies data on emergencies leading to traffic problems, road accidents and faulty traffic lights. It also provides information on parking availability, public transportation schedules and environmental information.

Attending the conference are representatives from European cities participating in the Concert programme.

Greece's Gnomon to build new hospital in Pyrgos

Greek engineering contractor Gnomon on June 27 signed a turnkey contract for design and construction of a general hospital in the Peloponnese town of Pyrgos.

Gnomon will handle construction of the hospital, budgeted at five billion drachmas, and Germany's IMEC GmbH is to provide 1.5 billion drachmas of basic medical equipment. Completion is scheduled in three years.

Contracts on Gnomon's order book total 20 billion drachmas, double last year's figure. The firm sees profits of 1.165 billion drachmas in 1997 on turnover of nine billion drachmas.

EU Commission acts against Greece to curb water pollution

The European Commission has decided to take further steps in legal actions against Spain, Portugal, Greece and the Netherlands for non-respect of European Union (EU) water legislation.

In the case of Greece and the Netherlands, the Commission decided to make applications to the Court for failures to give proper effect to a directive aimed at reducing water pollution by certain dangerous substances (Council Directive 76/464/EEC on pollution caused by certain dangerous substances discharged into the aquatic environment of the Community).

The directive requires member-states to put in place pollution reduction programmes for these substances with binding quality objectives.

Greece and the Netherlands have failed to fix such quality objectives.

Fifth Greek victory at Eurobasket

Greece posted its second victory yesterday in the second round of action at the Eurobasket championship by beating France 80-71 for its fifth straight victory. The undefeated Greek basketball team beat Lithuania 73-66 in the first match of the second round on Sunday. Today it plays Israel.

WEATHER

Almost fair weather will prevail in most parts of the country today. Locals clouds in central and northern Greece with the possibility of intermittent storms in the afternoon. Winds northerly light to moderate. Fair weather in Athens with temperatures between 23-36C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 19-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 273.018 Pound sterling 453.721 Cyprus pd 530.343 French franc 46.386 Swiss franc 186.952 German mark 156.424 Italian lira (100) 16.029 Yen (100) 238.437 Canadian dlr. 197.765 Australian dlr. 203.360 Irish Punt 411.938 Belgian franc 7.582 Finnish mark 52.477 Dutch guilder 138.999 Danish kr. 41.097 Swedish kr. 35.238 Norwegian kr. 37.224 Austrian sch. 22.237 Spanish peseta 1.852 Port. Escudo 1.550

(C.E.)


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