Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-23
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 23/08/1997 (ANA)
- Greece, FYROM to begin unofficial culture cooperation
- Van den Broek slams Denktash
- Niles confident over improvement in Greek-Turkish relations
- Simitis chairs PASOK political secretariat meeting
- Tougher measures to combat drink driving
- Arab League General Secretary to visit
- Greek-Australian researcher's success
- Shipowner Ventouris arrested in child custody battle
- Retired Albanian army officer arrested for child labour trafficking
- Controversial education bill tabled in Parliament
- Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena
- European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli
- Tzoumakas claims torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored
- Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece, FYROM to begin unofficial culture cooperation
The Culture Ministers of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia said on Saturday thay intended to launch a lasting and systematic,
yet unofficial cooperation in the sector of cultural creativity between the
Evangelos Venizelos and Slobodan Unkofski, culture ministers of Greece and
FYROM respectively, made the joint statement on the fringes of the seventh
Prespian 97 cultural festival which they had been invited to attend.
"Culture is the most useful means to create common understanding in the
world," Venizelos said.
"It is not a means for national propaganda but a field for cooperation,
peace and mutual understanding," he added.
Mr. Unkofski said he had observed "substantial changes" in both countries'
policies, adding that "we are both open to continuing communication between
the two peoples who share so much in common."
"It will take a long time to solve the name question," FYROM's culture
"But this should not mean that cultural cooperation should not begin
between the two countries,"he added.
Greece and FYROM are locked in an argument over the term Macedonia.
Greece opposes the use of the name Macedonia or its derivative by Skopje on
the grounds that it harbors territorial designs against its northern region
of the same name.
Van den Broek slams Denktash
EU Commissioner for external relations Hans Van den Broek has accused
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of setting preconditions on talks
about Cyprus' future.
In a statement yesterday, Mr. Van den Broek expressed "deep concern"
following the "disappointing outcome" of the second round of UN-led direct
talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash.
He said the preconditions set by Mr. Denktash regarding Cyprus' EU
accession were unacceptable, adding that negotiations with Nicosia would go
ahead as planned in early 1998.
The Commissioner responsible for relations with Cyprus and Turkey also
criticised the signing of an "association agreement" between Turkey and the
Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, which threatens partial annexation of the
Turkish-occupied areas if accession negotiations go ahead with the legal
government of Cyprus, as not being conducive to creating the right
Niles confident over improvement in Greek-Turkish relations
US ambassador in Athens Thomas Niles said yesterday that "the process which
began in Madrid is alive, and we believe that progress will continue", in
referring to the most recent developments in Greek-Turkish relations.
Mr. Niles made the statements to reporters after accompanying a visiting
delegation of US Congressmen for talks with main opposition New Democracy
party leader Costas Karamanlis, focusing on the Cyprus problem and Greek-
Turkish relations. "There will be problems along the way. No one believed
that this process would be easy and without difficulties, nor that the
problems would automatically be resolved," he said.
On the Cyprus problem, the US ambassador said Washington had a clear
commitment and would work for a settlement.
"Richard Holbrooke will now act as President Clinton's special envoy and we
shall continue to work to find ways so as to consolidate the understanding
attained in Madrid. You must be prepared for the problems which will arise
throughout the process, as we are," Mr. Niles said.
He is scheduled to turn over his post as ambassador to former US State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on Sept. 27.
Earlier, the head of the visiting US House of Representatives delegation
expressed concern over the Cyprus issue and the Aegean.
"We are concerned with tensions in the Aegean and the Cyprus issue, and are
seeking a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem," Congressman
Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) said after talks with Parliament President
Mr. Menendez is heading the delegation of US House of Representatives'
Foreign Relations Committee members, who were briefed by Mr. Kaklamanis on
Greek-Turkish relations and developments on the Cyprus issue.
Simitis chairs PASOK political secretariat meeting
Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired yesterday a five-hour meeting of
ruling PASOK's political secretariat held with the participation of
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
The meeting focused on the government's economic policy for 1998,
developments in Greek-Turkish relations and the recent talks between Cyprus
President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
The meeting also discussed the programme for compulsory mergers between
municipalities and the reconstruction of the party.
The meeting was also attended by PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis,
Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, National Defence Minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou.
The political secretariat will reconvene on Monday.
Tougher measures to combat drink driving
The police have begun implementing tougher measures to combat drink driving,
including the confiscation of cars on the spot.
Athens Public Prosecutor Anastasios Kanellopoulos yesterday ordered the
traffic police to confiscate cars driven by drunk drivers.
The tougher measures follow a tragic accident earlier this week in which a
22-year-old girl ran down two women and injured one man as they were
crossing the Athens-Sounion coast road outside a nightclub.
An alcotest showed that the driver was more than three times over the legal
Traffic police last night confiscated eight cars after alcotests of the
drivers proved positive. In one of the cases, a 25-year-old man had killed
an 87-year-old woman as she was crossing the busy Katechaki ringroad.
Arab League General Secretary to visit
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos
Kranidiotis will meet with Arab League General Secretary, Abdel Meguid, on
During his stay in Athens, Mr. Meguid will also have talks with Parliament
Vice President Panagiotis Kritikos.
Greek-Australian researcher's success
Research into the effects of a vaccine againt breast cancer developed by
Greek-Australian Dr. Vasso Apostolopoulou has produced encouraging results
in a tests carried out on 30 women in the state of Queensland, an ANA
despatch from Melbourne said yesterday.
The Austin Research Institute, to which Dr. Apostolopoulou belongs, has
announced that tests have begun in Melbourne on 50 men and women suffering
from various forms of the disease, including not only cancer of the breast,
ovaries and uterus, but lung, pancreas, prostate, bowel and other forms of
The current trials are expected to be completed within the next five
Shipowner Ventouris arrested in child custody battle
Pandemonium broke out in an Athens court yesterday morning after police
arrested shipowner Georgios Ventouris, following allegations by his
estranged wife Hara that he had kidnapped their three children and
prevented her from seeing them.
A court has awarded custody of the children to their mother. However, Mr.
Ventouris allegedly took the children and hid them. He appeared in court
yesterday after making an appeal against the custody ruling, based on what
he said was a secret report by several child psychologists at a public
The case was postponed to allow Ms Ventouris' lawyer to study the report.
After the court session, police moved in to arrest Mr. Ventouris, whose
bodyguards began to push away reporters and cameramen.
Mr. Ventouris will face a three-member misdemeanor court today, while he
may request a customary three-day postponement. It remains to be seen
whether the court will free him or continue to keep him in jail.
Representatives of the Women's Union of Greece, including Margaret
Papandreou, were at the court to offer moral support to Ms Ventouris.
Retired Albanian army officer arrested for child labour trafficking
A retired Albanian army colonel was arrested by Patra Port Authority
officials on charges of trafficking in child labour as he stepped off a
passenger ferry arriving from Vlore, Albania.
Damaz Pavli, 44, was arrested late Thursday after disembarking in Patra
accompanied by two 16-year-old boys, both of whom carried false papers
claiming they were Pavli's sons.
The suspect, who authorities allege is one of the masterminds behind a
child labour trafficking network, told the port officials he had come to
Athens three times before, accompanying under-aged boys and girls whom he
would deliver at various spots in Athens, mostly hotels. From there they
would be picked up by their employers.
Controversial education bill tabled in Parliament
An education ministry bill, introducing several controversial changes,
particularly in secondary and tertiary education, was tabled in Parliament
The bill, among others, envisages abolition of entrance examinations for
colleges and universities in 2001, as well as of the system of teaching
appointments based on seniority in graduation.
The bill has sparked strong reactions, particularly among unemployed and
unappointed educators, who have already held, and are planning further
protest rallies during the Parliamentary debate and at the opening
ceremonies of the international trade fai r in Thessaloniki in early
The teachers' union has left open the possibility of a strike at the start
of the school year, and is planning an information campaign to brief
parents and students.
Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena
Two earth tremors yesterday caused further minor damage to buildings in
villages in Kozani and Grevena, northern Greece, which had been hit by the
destructive 1995 quake.
The two tremors, measuring 4 and 4.6 on the Richter scale were recorded at
06.10 and 06.18 local time yesterday. Their epicentre was 295 kilometres
northwest of Athens in the area of Kozani and Grevena.
Kozani Prefect Paschalis Mitliagas told the ANA that the tremors caused
further minor damage to buildings - in twenty villages of Kozani and
Grevena - which had not been repaired since the May 1995 earthquake.
Seismologists did not appear to be concerned by the latest tremors
generated by the Rymnio fault, attributing them to normal post-seismic
activity in the wake of the 1995 quake.
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded in the same
region last Saturday.
European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli
The European Congress of the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network
(GREEN) opened in Alexandroupoli yesterday under the aegis of the
University of Thrace.
In opening remarks, National Economy Secretary General Apostolos Fotiadis
conveyed a message by the national economy minister, saying the ministry
would always remain supportive of initiatives that promote environmental
education and sensitivity.
The GREEN Congress, which ends Monday, is being attended by more than 30
scientists and specialists in environmental education from around Europe,
most of whom are coordinators of the project on a national level.
Tzoumakas claims torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored
Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday reiterated that the
Seikh Sou forest in Thessaloniki, about half of which was burned in a
recent fire, will retain its public character and that its area would be
extended with compulsory purchases and re forestation programmes.
He made the statement after touring the area and in the course of a press
conference, also attended by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos,
who said he had signed a protocol suspending the issuing of building
licences in the area, and that any under-construction structures would be
Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts
Greek equities came under strong selling pressure in the last trading
session of the week driving the general index below the 1,600 mark.
Traders said the market looked vulnerable following the government's pledge
to drastically cut public spending in 1998.
The general index closed 1.63 percent lower at 1,592.82 points to show a
3.22 percent loss on the week. Sector indices lost ground. Banks fell 1.74
percent, Leasing was 0.81 percent off, Insurance eased 0.66 percent,
Investment dropped 1.66 percent, Industrials fell 1.37 percent, Construction
was 1.96 percent off, Holding eased 1.36 percent and Miscellaneous eased
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.14 percent
Trading was moderate and turnover was 9.9 billion drachmas.
Broadly, declining issues led advancing ones by 144 to 51 with another 22
Mostly fair throughout Greece today except for some cloudiness and showers
in the mainland, the Ionian and the northern Aegean Sea. Winds will be
variable, light to strong, becoming gale force in the Aegean Sea. Sunny in
Athens, turning cloudy towards the afternoon, with temperatures of 20-29C.
Similar weather in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 18-
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.099
Pound sterling 453.780 Cyprus pd 530.026
French franc 46.283 Swiss franc 188.381
German mark 155.833 Italian lira (100) 15.979
Yen (100) 242.604 Canadian dlr. 203.162
Australian dlr. 212.080 Irish Punt 415.648
Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 52.209
Dutch guilder 138.419 Danish kr. 40.916
Swedish kr. 35.752 Norwegian kr. 37.383
Austrian sch. 22.142 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.538