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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-15

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, 15/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • ND leader accuses gov't of not daring to go ahead with reforms
  • Karamanlis voices reservations over the "Madrid Accord"
  • Public Order minister visits Germany
  • Kranidiotis: Turkey creates artificial issue around S-300 missiles
  • Constantopoulos visits Ecumenical Patriarch
  • Anti-racism festival on Kolonos hill
  • Helicopter makes emergency landing, no injuries
  • Drink-driving campaign continues
  • Changes in income tax statements
  • Arsenis: educational reform will proceed as planned
  • OA stewards walk out of meeting
  • Court decision vindicates consumers
  • Olive oil fights osteoporosis
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

ND leader accuses gov't of not daring to go ahead with reforms

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday 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 Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF), Mr. 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. "

Mr. Karamanlis criticised the government for not daring to go ahead with reforms that would limit what he called "wasteful" state expenditures.

Mr. Karamanlis said that industrial production indexes were "stagnant", unemployment was increasing and the agrarian economy was "faltering".

The New Democracy party leader called for drastic cuts in public sector spending, fewer and simpler taxes through the " adjustment" of the tax scales on assumed income based on life-style, strengthening of private and state investments through a "legal and stable framework" and incentives for investments in new sectors and a more flexible work market.

Mr. Karamanlis said what was of primary importance for his party was Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and criticised the government of not aiming at real convergence what, in other words, shortens the distance separating Greece from the European Union' s developed countries, but nominal convergence and even that, he said, without success.

Mr. Karamanlis said the main problem of the economy is the size, mission and functioning of the state, saying that "the state continues to control over 50 per cent of the country's overall economic activity, when it is confirmed worldwide that the state , as a producer, failed and indeed blatantly. Games to be held permanently in Greece.

Responding to Mr. Karamanlis' speech in Thessaloniki, Press and Media Minister and government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said "the speech by the President of New Democracy revealed his party's programme destitution", adding that "the course of the country 's modernisation and development, the creation of a powerful Greece, is an irrefutable reality on which New Democracy's empty talk knocks."

Karamanlis voices reservations over the "Madrid Accord"

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday expressed grave reservations over results of the so-called "Madrid Agreement", saying it includes certain self-evident things but also introduces elements which Turkey could exploit and primarily "it is not clarified what kind of concessions are made and indeed without something in exchange."

Mr. Karamanlis, who was speaking at a press conference in Thessaloniki on the sidelines of his visit to the TIF, expressed serious doubts whether the rapprochement attempted in Madrid, and which as a position does not find his ND party opposed, has help ed progress in relations between the two peoples when indeed Turkey's attitude has not changed at all.

Referring to the statement by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Thessaloniki a week ago that a possible intervention by Turkey to prevent the deployment of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus will constitute "casus belli", Mr. Karamanlis said the exchange of these statements by the Greek and Turkish sides shows clearly where the spirit of Madrid lies.

On the question of the S-300 missiles, he said it is the legal right of every country to safeguard its defence and, replying indirectly to both this and the previous question on "casus belli", he said "all of us Greeks are committed to the defence of Cyprus."

Public Order minister visits Germany

Greece's Public Order Minister George Romeos began an official two-day visit to Germany today, at the invitation of the home minister of the state of Bavaria Gunther Beckstein.

Mr. Romeos, who is accompanied by Greek police officials, is expected to discuss coordination and exchange of experience between the two sides on the battle against organised crime.

Mr. Beckstein and Mr. Romeos's talks are expected to also examine how far signatory countries to the Schengen treaty have got in regard to implementing provisions.

Kranidiotis: Turkey creates artificial issue around S-300 missiles

Responding on Saturday to rumours that a crisis would be provoked in Cyprus so that negotiations will follow, and on the known statements concerning casus belli over the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said "we are ready to handle whatever issue arises."

In an interview with the newspaper "Exypno Chrima" , Mr. Kranidiotis said "I have the feeling that Turkey is creating an issue from nothing over the S-300s, because it has realised that it has been pushed into the corner, and indeed after the footdraggi ng tactic it followed in Montreux. Therefore, the fact that Turkey has been isolated has led it to creating an artificial issue around the S-300s and to disorientate the international community and international public opinion from the real problem."

Replying to a question on whether Greek aircraft will fly to Cyprus during the exercise codenamed Nikiforos, Mr. Kranidiotis said "the exercise has been scheduled to go ahead as normal. The Paphos airport will be inaugurated. These are included in the elementary effort for the defensive safeguarding of Cyprus."

Constantopoulos visits Ecumenical Patriarch

Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Fanar on Saturday.

Mr. Constantopoulos stressed the significance of "a continuous pursuit of understanding and dialogue between Greece and Turkey."

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos praised the contribution of Mr. Constantopoulos to public life and referred to the contribution of both Mr. Constantopoulos and the Coalition to the creation of a climate of dialogue and understanding with all neighbour ing peoples.

Mr. Constantopoulos was accompanied on his visit to the Fanar by his party's public relations manager Nikos Bistis and by Costas Mygdalis.

Anti-racism festival on Kolonos hill

The coordinating agency of immigrant and anti-racist organisations of Greece held the 2nd anti-racist festival on the Kolonos hill over the past three days, focussing on the message that racism does not only harm those affected by it but also all those who tolerate it.

The festival, supported by trade union organisations from the fourth sector of the Athens municipality, promotes the legalisation of all immigrants, an end to deportations, humane living conditions for Kurdish refugees living in Greece and the containme nt of all forms of xenophobia and racism.

In this context, a discussion was held on Saturday on the anti-racist movement in Europe and was followed by a concert by music groups.

Helicopter makes emergency landing, no injuries

The pilot of a helicopter and his passenger were safe after it made a forced landing in the sea off the northern port city of Thessaloniki yesterday. The two men swum 200 metres to the shore The chopper sank shortly afterwards.

The Thessaloniki Central Harbour Authority said it was launching a preliminary inquiry into the incident.

Drink-driving campaign continues

Attica traffic police continued their campaign against drinking and driving in earnest over the weekend with a total of 433 drivers being tested by special teams on major roads in Athens and Piraeus.

Police said 29 were found to be over the limit, with seven having their cars impounded and being charged with being significantly in excess of the limit.

A recent court order to confiscate motorcycles from riders found to be intoxicated, making excessive noise or participating in drag races also came into effect over the weekend, with police saying three motorbike owners arrested over the weekend would have their number plates seized.

Number plates will be returned only after the owners have proven to the department of road transport that they have satisfied road safety regulations.

Changes in income tax statements

Finance Undersecretary George Drys has announced has considerable changes in the way tax statements possibility will be submitted by taxpayers and the various forms subm,itted until now.

Mr. Drys said that the form, known as E8, on the house in which a person or family resides would be incorporated in the main tax statement, while the form known as E9 will not be be submitted unless there has been a change in the taxpayer's assets.

He also announced that in the future, businesses will have the possibility of submitting value added tax statements through an electronic computer, when the Finance Ministry's computerised system will have been completed.

He said the purpose of these changes is on the one hand to simplify the statement to facilitate taxpayers and on the other to decongest the tax authority.

Arsenis: educational reform will proceed as planned

Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis reiterated yesterday that the educational reform will be implemented as planned by the government.

However, certain professors were reacting to the application of the new measures and said they will go ahead with mobilisations for its non- implementation.

At the same time, abstention is continuing at universities, while as from September 16 when new students will start enrolling, university and technological institute employees have called a strike.

"The educational reform is proceeding as planned by the government. So that in the year 2000 we will have a new educational system. I have no doubts that there will be reaction which, however, comes from isolated elements. However, the reform will go ah ead because that is what the Greek people want. The government can and the children want an education related to their scepticisms," he said.

OA stewards walk out of meeting

Olympic Airways stewards walked out of a scheduled meeting with the administration of Greece's national carrier yesterday, after finding that the president and managing consultant of the company had failed to appear. Representatives of the stewards said that the administration's attitude to their demands could result in further disruption of the Olympic Airways flight schedule, which suffered a number of delays and cancellations late last week due to their protests.

Stewards are refusing to work overtime and demanding the appointment of more staff to the sector.

Court decision vindicates consumers

A decision taken by an Athens court vindicates and protects consumers from arbitrary increases by insurance companies on hospital fee insurance programmes.

The EKPOIZO group (consumer union), with a collective lawsuit against the ASTIR insurance company called for the general term by which the company maintains the right to unilaterally increase insurance premiums every year to be declared abusive and void .

The court convicted the insurance company and called on it to pay the amount of 20 million drachmas for moral harm caused to the public (the amount will be provided for charitable purposes).

EKPOIZO said the decision paves the way for consumers obliged to pay increases in the past on the basis of the above term to request a refund of their money corresponding to such increases.

Olive oil fights osteoporosis

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 Greek 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 b iochemistry 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.

WEATHER

Almost fine weather is forecast for today, which will change abruptly towards the afternoon in the west, central and northern Greece to cloudy with possible rain or local storms. Light winds getting stronger in the evening. Athens will be sunny, turning cloudy in the afternoon with temperatures from 17-33C. Same in Thessaloniki with possible rain and temperatures from 16-28C.

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

(C.E.)


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