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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-10-18

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, 18/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis cites need for EU-wide asylum, immigration policies
  • ND barrage against PM over Tampere summit
  • New unmanned aircraft prototype developed by Univ. of Crete
  • Greek, Turkish journalists exchange views, agree to more contacts
  • Protest outside Souda Bay
  • Twin Japanese victory at Grigoris Lambrakis marathon
  • Papantoniou predicts lower interest rates by year's end
  • Skandalidis optimistic over PASOK's prospects
  • Karamanlis heightens attack on transparency issue, gov't reaction
  • Synaspismos to hold pre-electoral congress
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis cites need for EU-wide asylum, immigration policies

Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday summarised the conclusions of a special EU summit here by saying that the meeting had given a "new direction" to EU policies.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Simitis said the summit had made it clear that the Union could and must deal with issues which are of interest to the daily lives of European citizens.

The aim of the summit, he said, was to secure "an area of freedom, security and justice in the EU".

Among the issues discussed, he added, was a charter for the fundamental rights of the European citizen, which would have constitutional value and constitute a supplement to existing EU conventions.

The premier said EU leaders had also discussed issues related to the granting of asylum by member-states, emigration to the EU and the combatting of organised crime.

"In Greece, on a daily basis we face a situation in which hundreds of people are arriving either from the Middle East or Europe, and we believe that the EU must tackle this issue," Mr. Simitis said, adding that a draft law was being prepared in Greece on the country's immigration policy.

The Greek prime minister said a uniform Community policy on granting political asylum vis-a-vis third countries was also needed. This, he continued, is of particular importance for Greece, given that the country accounts for 35 per cent of the Community's borders.

On efforts to combat money laundering, Mr. Simitis indicated that Greek legislation might have to be adapted to render it more effective.

ND barrage against PM over Tampere summit

The main opposition New Democracy party on Saturday vehemently condemned the prime minister over his handling of Ankara's request to acquire EU candidate status, during the special EU Tampere summit over the weekend.

ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said in a statement that Prime Minister Costas Simitis handled the issue "in an irresponsible, immature and, finally, dangerous manner".

The candidacy proposal was submitted by Commission President Romano Prodi, who said the Commission wished to open Turkey's European prospects, and that the country should satisfy accession criteria during the pre-accession phase.

New unmanned aircraft prototype developed by Univ. of Crete

A prototype of a "smart airplane" which can fly without a pilot and transmit information from a height of 25,000 feet and within a radius of 200 kilometres has been constructed by the University of Crete, in cooperation with the 3 Sigma firm.

Dubbed the "Nearchos", the aircraft is currently on show at the "EMEX '99" commercial trade exhibition in Hania.

It has a length of five metres and a wing span of 6.5 metres and can reach speeds of up to 215 kms per hour.

Under normal conditions, the Nearchos can fly for eight hours on its own power. It was developed in the framework of a new "smart system" for unmanned aircraft and cost 80 million drachmas to construct. The plane is linked with ground control through a satellite transmission. It is also programmed for safe landing with parachutes if low on fuel.

Greek, Turkish journalists exchange views, agree to more contacts

Greek and Turkish journalists meeting here over the weekend said they would make more such joint meetings a regular occurrence. The meeting, in Istanbul, organised by the Turkish Press Council, ended yesterday, and included the participation of 12 Greek and 17 Turkish print and broadcast reporters as well as several top media executives.

One of the decisions taken called for the establishment of a work group to coordinate further contacts and to lay the ground for a major conference on press issues.

The work group, comprising three Greek and three Turkish journalists, will meet in Athens on Nov. 26.

The Press Council is a non-governmental organisation which operates on a voluntary membership basis. It has as its aim the promotion of codes of conduct and the protection of the journalistic profession.

Oktai Eksy, the president of the Press Council, thanked the Greek journalists for their contribution and said the ties being developed could prove particularly useful and constructive in times of crisis or difficulty.

"We are certain that the tension between Greece and Turkey serves only those who draw profit from this situation," he said.

Greek Radio general director Yiannis Tzanetakos said that during the two- day meeting that "it was ascertained that an important part of the Turkish press world shares the same values and same anxieties as does a corresponding part of Greece's journalist s".

Taking part in the meeting on the Greek side were the general director of the Athens News Agency (ANA) Andreas Christodoulides; the general director of state-run New Greek Television (NET) Nikiforos Antonopoulos; the general director of Greek Radio Yian nis Tzanetakos; Flash radio station director Panos Koliopanos; A-Sky TV newscaster Nikos Evangelatos, ANT1 television reporter Nikos Megrelis, "To Vima" daily reporter Nikos Marakis, "Exousia" reporter Nikos Georgiadis and "Naftemporiki" reporter Korina Lampsa.

Protest outside Souda Bay

About 300 protesters gathered yesterday outside a naval facility used by US forces at Souda Bay, Crete, demanding an end to a US military presence at the site.

Demonstrators of the "anti-bases movement" also handed a resolution to the base commander.

A strong police presence was deployed at the site, although authorities said the rally was peaceful and without incident.

Twin Japanese victory at Grigoris Lambrakis marathon

Japan's Masato Yonehara and Tamaki Okouno were the winners of the 17th annual Grigoris Lambrakis Peace Marathon yesterday, a race held along the classical route linking the ancient battle ground of Marathon in eastern Attica with the Panathenian Stadium i n Athens.

In the men's category, Mr. Yonehara finished the race at 2:18:35, while Greek runner Nikos Pollias, last year's winner, came in second. Vassilis Zabelis was third. Ms Okouno finished at 2:46:46.

The marathon honours Greek peace activist and left-wing Piraeus MP of the early 1960s Grigoris Lambrakis.

Papantoniou predicts lower interest rates by year's end

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou predicted lower interest rates before the end of the year, In an interview published Mr. Papantoniou said interest rates would fall by the end of the year but denied recent press reports of plans for a further reduction in the price of new cars.

He also predicted that the Athens Stock Exchange would continue to perform well over the next two years, while he claimed that the main opposition New Democracy party would work against Greece's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) if ND came to power. He gave the interview to the "Sunday Ethnos" paper.

Skandalidis optimistic over PASOK's prospects

PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said over the weekend that positive results of the ruling party's policy are "becoming obvious even to the most doubtful."

Speaking in Volos yesterday, he added that voters have no reason to vote for a "conservative restoration", as he called it.

"We have achieved a development surplus which guarantees prosperity and security. On the contrary, the only thing the conservative side has to present is denial, outbidding and a sterile contest," he said.

According to Mr. Skandalidis, the share for weaker classes should increase in the above framework and return PASOK to the forefront of its initial ideas on the reallocation and redistribution of wealth and the social state with a protection index for all citizens.

Karamanlis heightens attack on transparency issue, gov't reaction

Main opposition New Democr acy leader Costas Karamanlis confirmed ND's confrontation course with the government on the issue of transparency in managing public funds, according to evaluations by all sides.

In an interview published in the weekly newspaper "Ependytis" on Saturday, Mr. Karamanlis makes it clearly understood that this will be the main front of confrontation with the PASOK government.

The government reacted strongly with a statement by acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, who accused the ND leader of bringing back scandal-mongering in political confrontation.

In his interview, Mr. Karamanlis expressed his intention to extend "the criticism and control of the government in all sectors of managing public funds."

Mr. Athanasakis said "Mr. Karamanlis proves that ND's so-called 'new start' merely means a new start to scandal-mongering.

Synaspismos to hold pre-electoral congress

The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) will hold a "pre-electoral rally" congress in early December and not a regular congress, following a proposal by party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

After two days of talks, and while a deadlock was visible, Mr. Constantopoulos convened a joint meeting of the party's political secretariat and Parliamentary group at noon yesterday where he proposed that a congress would pave the way for the elections.

After this development, the central political committee convened again and unanimously ratified the joint proposal by the political secretariat and Parliamentary group for a pre-electoral congress.

The Synaspismos' central committee kicked off on Saturday with a brief address by Mr. Constantopoulos who said that the party's target is to increase the percentage it polled in the 1996 elections, adding that "everything which will make things difficult for the Synaspismos on this course bears great responsibilities."

Greek First Division soccer results

Kavala-Olympiakos Piraeus 0-5 Panathinaikos-Kalamata 5-0 Aris Thessaloniki-Panionios Athens 5-1 PAOK Thessaloniki-Ethnikos Astir 2- 0 Trikala-Paniliakos Pyrgos 1-1 AEK Athens-Iraklis Thessaloniki 3-2 Ionikos Piraeus-Apollon Athens 1- 0 OFI Heraklion-Proodeftiki Piraeus 4-3 Xanthi-Panahaiki 1-0 Standings: Olympiakos 12, Panathinaikos, Aris Thessaloniki 10, PAOK, Paniliakos 8, AEK, Ionikos, OFI Heraklion 7, Iraklis, Ethnikos 6.

WEATHER

The weather on today will be overcast with increased cloud in the north. Possibility of storms in the west later in the day. Winds mild to moderate and strong in the Ionian. Athens will be overcast with increased cloud in the north and temperatures ranging from 15-24C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          300.834
Pound sterling       500.801
Japanese yen (100)   284.188
French franc          49.770
German mark          166.920
Italian lira (100)    16.861
Irish Punt           414.528
Belgian franc          8.093
Finnish mark          54.908
Dutch guilder        148.144
Danish kr.            43.924
Austrian sch.         23.726
Spanish peseta         1.962
Swedish kr.           37.204
Norwegian kr.         39.115
Swiss franc          205.547
Port. Escudo           1.629
Can. dollar          202.904
Aus. dollar          195.384
Cyprus pound         563.079
Euro                 326.467
(C.E.)
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