Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-14
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 14/09/1997 (ANA)
- OA flight delays over
- Crackdown on drunk drivers continues
- Olive oil protects against osteoporosis - study
- Georgian president visits Athens tomorrow
- Opposition leader blasts gov't
- Military exercise starts tomorrow
- Fire continues to rage for 6th day
- Eclipse of the moon
- Greece grants initial two billion drachma loan to Albania
- Albanian FM: improved relations noted
- Athens: Yilmaz remarks part of 'dead end' Turkish policy
- Greece to give Serbia Dlrs 100 million for roadbuilding
- Greece swamped by proposals for EU-funded energy plan
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
OA flight delays over
Olympic Airways domestic and international flights are being carried out as
scheduled following the lifting of protest action by Olympic Airways
stewards. Talks between the stewards and the Olympic Airways administration
will be held within the day to further discuss their demands.
Crackdown on drunk drivers continues
Another seven cars were confiscated by Attica Traffic Police over the
weekend, as part of the recent get-tough campaign on drunk drivers. In 443
checks carried out since Saturday evening, 29 people were found to be over
the limit and 22 have been charged.
Motorcycle drivers caught driving drunk, causing excessive noise, or
participating in drag racing will have their motorbikes impounded,
according to another circular issued on traffic violations by the chief
prosecutor of the Athens First Instance court, who recently issued a
similar edict on car drivers under the influence of alcohol.
Olive oil protests against osteoporosis - study
The best natural defence against the onset of osteoporosis - a crippling
bone disease that affects one in two Greek women over the age of 55 - is
olive oil, experts from the University of Athens have claimed in a recent
The study of 118 women and 32 men aged between 25 and 69, was presented on
Mega television recently and claimed that the frequent consumption of
virgin olive oil led to a decreased incidence of osteoporosis and to
protection against heart disease and breast and ovarian cancer.
"The more olive oil these people consumed, the denser their bones were, the
greater bone mass they had, which means that they had a lesser tendency
towards osteoporosis and fractures," the head of the study, Athens
University professor of nutrition and biochemistry A. Trihopoulou
The study, which is the first to link osteoporosis with olive oil, has been
called one of the most significant of the year by the respected publication,
the British Medical Journal.
Experts say osteoporosis affects one in two Greek women over the age of 55
today and has increased markedly in recent years for reasons primarily
linked to the dietary habits of a former era.
"The women who are now presenting osteoporosis... are the generation of the
(Nazi) occupation. A generation, in other words, which suffered much worse
nourishment in its adolescence than the respective American, Danish or
Western European woman," associate professor of medicine at Athens
University Georgiou says.
Olive oil may have been in short supply during the occupation years but
experts say that it is still not too late to take advantage of its effects.
The study appeared to show that olive oil had beneficial effects even after
the age of 40.
"We all know about vitamin E. But virgin olive oil contains 200 elements
which are now being studied. In the near future, many of olive oil's
secrets will be known and we will value it all the more," Trihopoulou
The study also showed that a diet of calcium-rich milk, yoghurt and cheese
was a defence against osteoporosis only if it was consumed in the first 20
years of life and accompanied by exercise.
"It appears that up to the age of 25, when we build up our bone mass, the
amount of calcium we have consumed plays an important role. Later on, less
so," Georgiou said.
Georgian president visits Athens tomorrow
Greece and Georgia will sign a friendship and cooperation agreement
tomorrow when Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze begins an official
three-day visit to Greece, at the invitation of his Greek counterpart
Kostis Stephanopoulos. Shevardnadze will meet privately with Stephanopoulos
tomorrow morning and later with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Shevardnadze
will receive the Onassis Foundation's prize for International Understanding
and Social Achievement during his visit to Athens and will also fly to
Thessaloniki to visit the neighbouring autonomous monastic community of
Opposition leader blasts gov't
The leader of main opposition party New Democracy Costas Karamanlis today
stressed the need to step up the pace of major public works projects in
Thessaloniki and Northern Greece to enable Greece to have a dynamic
presence in southeastern Europe.
Karamanlis was speaking during his visit to the Thessaloniki International
Fairgrounds this morning.
He reiterated his comments on Saturday evening that he was "not at all
satisfied" by the pace of public works projects in the region.
The 62nd international fair, he said, plays, and could play in the future,
the role of a bridge of friendship and cooperation with all the peoples of
the Balkan region.
Earlier, Karamanlis had outlined his party's philosophy on support for
small and medium-size enterprises at a national meeting of small businessmen.
The government's efforts to meet Maastricht convergence criteria, he said,
were "mistaken", claiming that the economy was in fact on course for
"divergence" which would leave Greece on the sidelines of developed
A New Democracy government, he said, would reform the taxation system,
introduce incentives for SME growth and give the state the role of monitor
of the operation of the market.
He said the current tax system worked against the creation of prosperity
and new jobs, with "objective tax criteria" - designed to calculate taxable
income for self-employed professionals and SMEs - bringing more damage than
good to the market, despite an increase in inflows for the state.
Karamanlis last night described the government's economic policy as "grim"
saying it was heading towards a "dead end".
Speaking at a dinner given in his honour at the International Trade Fair of
Thessaloniki, Karamanlis said that over the past four years "the people
have been subjected to a merciless tax raid which has exhausted its limits
and that of the people." Karamanlis criticised the government for not
daring to go ahead with reforms that would limit what he called "wasteful"
Military exercise starts tomorrow
A large scale military exercise code-named "Philippos '97" is to be held in
western Macedonia from tomorrow until Friday, the National Defence General
Its purpose is to train units in conditions of modern warfare and promote
cooperation between the services.
The announcement said army and air force units would be involved in the
exercise, while reserve officers and servicemen would also be called up for
Fire continues to rage for 6th day
The presence of landmines dating back to the Second World War has been
touted as the reason for the inability to bring a fire in the Konitsa area
under control. The fire has been burning for six days and has destroyed
some 4000 stremmata of forestland. Fire fighters' efforts to bring the fire
under control have been hindered by the mountainous terrain.
Eclipse of the moon
Tuesday night will see a total eclipse of the moon, according to reports.
The eclipse is scheduled for 9.15pm and will last for an hour.
Greece grants initial two billion drachma loan to Albania
Greece on Friday presented Albania with two billion drachmas (seven million
dollars) as urgent economic aid for the Albanian state, and said relations
with Tirana were developing "in a most favourable manner".
"This is an element which Greece considers definitive for its foreign
policy," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said, handing over the money
to visiting Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo after their one-hour
meeting on Saturday.
Mr. Milo, who is on a three-day official visit to Greece, the first by an
Albanian foreign minister since civil unrest wracked the neighbouring
country earlier in the year, also met earlier with President of the
Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Speaking
to reporters after their meeting, Mr. Pangalos said the Greek president had
extended an invitation through Mr. Milo for his Albanian counterpart to
visit Greece in the first half of 1998.
He said that, apart from the two billion drachmas, committees of experts
from both countries would be meeting soon to thrash out the details of 18
million drachmas worth of Greek loans promised to Albania to aid in the
implementation of public works projects in Albania.
Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Milo called their meeting "the most favourable
development in Greek-Albanian relations in recent times".
Among these, Mr. Pangalos said, were plans for contacts between the public
order ministries of both countries to "maintain law on both sides of the
border", a planned visit by the chief of the Albanian armed forces to
discuss the reform and reorganisation of the Albanian military with his
Albanian FM: Improved relations noted
Mr. Milo said that bilateral relations were at "their best point ever",
thanking the Greek people and government for "standing by Albania in its
"This was a historic stance and something the Albanian people are not
likely to ever forget," Mr. Milo said.
He called on Albanians residing and working in Greece to abide by Greek
laws and "act honourably". At the beginning of the year there was an
estimated 400,000 Albanians in Greece, although that figure may have
increased following the violence and mayhem in the neighbouring country,
after thousands lost their life savings in collapsed 'pyramid' investment
Mr. Milo invited back Greek investors who had fled Albania in the wake of
the unrest, assuring them that "the situation is now under the control of
the Albanian government. We will take all the necessary steps to protect
your businesses," he said.
Athens: Yilmaz remarks part of 'dead-end' Turkish policy
Greece said on Friday that statements by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut
Yilmaz threatening the annexation of the occupied north of Cyprus were "no
surprise". "(These statements) are an indication of the dead-end policy
that Turkey is following in issues which concern us, particularly Cyprus,"
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou told reporters. "The
international community is awaiting respect of international law. I hope
Turkey realises that only if it follows the rules of international law will
it find a response to its course towards Europe," he said.
Greece to give Serbia Dlrs 100 million for roadbuilding
The Greek government will provide credits worth 100 million US dollars to
fund construction of a new motorway in Serbia.
A consortium of Greek contractors, led by Meton and Aktor, signed a
memorandum for the creation of a joint venture with Serbia's ministry of
The joint company will take part in an international tender for the
construction of a motorway in the Balkan country. Serbian Public Works
Minister Branislav Ivkovic said that the Greek companies had pledged to
secure satisfactory funding for construct ion of the road. Greece has shown
great interest in the project because it will significantly improve road
links and transport from Greece to Europe.
Greece swamped by proposals for EU-funded energy plan
Greece's development ministry has been swamped by proposals from private
companies seeking funds under its European Union funded energy saving and
renewable energy programme. The call for proposals in mid-July has brought
investment plans across the board with renewable energy projects being the
most popular, ministry secretary general Andonis Papathanasopoulos told a
news conference at Thessalonkiki international trade fair.
The programme, budgeted at 90 billion drachmas, is funded under the EU's
second support framework. Sixty billion drachmas are destined for energy
saving and 30 billion for renewable energy projects.
The ministry also expects more proposals on technology for energy co-
production by the October 15 deadline, sparked by progress in building a
national natural gas network for industrial and household use.
In the first round, spanning December 1996-March 1997, proposals for energy
co-production represented only four percent of investment plans.
Eligible to apply are private concerns that wish to launch a project
budgeted at a minimum 100 million drachmas for energy co-production and 20
million for energy saving technology. The ministry's subsidies range
between 35 percent and 55 percent.
No further proposals will be sought until 2000 but the ministry is
preparing a new programme it hopes will fall under the EU's third support
package, Mr. Papathanasopoulos said.
Mostly fine weather throughout Greece today with some cloudiness in western
Greece late in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning
strong in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens will range
from 17C to 31C and in Thessaloniki from 15C to 29C. Both cities sunny.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 278.365
Pound sterling 446.856 Cyprus pd 529.371
French franc 46.441 Swiss franc 188.738
German mark 156.136 Italian lira (100) 15.984
Yen (100) 230.303 Canadian dlr. 200.027
Australian dlr. 201.049 Irish Punt 418.505
Belgian franc 7.562 Finnish mark 52.080
Dutch guilder 138.627 Danish kr. 41.019
Swedish kr. 36.008 Norwegian kr. 37.934
Austrian sch. 22.188 Spanish peseta 1.851
Port. Escudo 1.538