Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-15
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 15/09/1997 (ANA)
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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.
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.
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