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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-14

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, 14/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 study.

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 said.

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 said.

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 Mount Athos.

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 European countries.

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" state expenditures.

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 Staff announced.

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 training.

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 Greek counterparts.

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 difficult times".

"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 schemes.

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 public works.

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.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(M.P.)


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