Visit the Hellenic Biomedical Scientists of the Diaspora Homepage A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Friday, 23 April 2021
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-12-18

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, 18/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Government ready for ND's push for early polls, PM says
  • IHT feature on Rhodes Colossus
  • "Kranidiotis Forum" to be set up
  • Former PM Rallis backs re-election of Stephanopoulos
  • Government releases bill on status of ex-USSR ethnic Greeks
  • Papandreou says Greece and Turkey must not dwell on the past
  • Illegal immigrant found dead on Greek ferry
  • Papandreou comments on Turkish fighter activity
  • Cypriot FM due in Athens on Monday
  • Kidnapping charges dropped against mother of five
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Government ready for ND's push for early polls, PM says

Prime Minister Costas Simitis put his cabinet on election footing on Friday, saying that Thursday's rally by main opposition New Democracy party clearly indicated the beginning of its election campaign.

It was the second indication in as many days that the prime minister was preparing to deal head-on with the eventuality of the opposition forcing through general elections by not re-electing President Kostis Stephanopoulos to a second term in February.

On Thursday, Mr. Simitis announced that the ruling party PASOK's election committee would convene immediately after the New Year holidays.

Sources said that the prime minister told the cabinet meeting yesterday that the government wanted to see out its four-year mandate and hold elections at the end of its term in September 2000.

But to date, the premier said, New Democracy's actions have indicated that they will try to force the issue of general elections when the president's term comes up for renewal.

According to the Constitution, Parliament must hold a roll-call vote at a special session at least one month before the incumbent president's five- year term expires. Mr. Stephanopoulos' term expires on March 9, meaning that this session would be held on February 8.

If the presidential candidate fails to garner two-thirds of the total of MPs in Parliament - 200 deputies - at the first vote, a repeat is held in five days' time.

If at this poll, the quota of 200 fails to be reached, another vote is held in another five days. In the third and final vote, a president is elected on the basis of three-fifths of the House, or 180 deputies.

If the number falls short, parliament is dissolved in 10 days' time and general elections called. The first available Sunday for the holding of elections in this eventuality is March 26.

New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis' speech at a party rally in Piraeus on Thursday was clearly a pre-election speech, according to Mr. Simitis, who said it marked the beginning of the opposition's campaign.

He told the cabinet that it was necessary for PASOK to point out to the Greek people that it was the opposition, not the ruling party, which was pushing for early elections.

According to a poll released earlier this week, only 22 percent of Greeks asked believe early elections are desirable and 49.1 percent want the present Parliament to elect a president.

Kostis Stephanopoulos was far and away the most popular choice for president, according to the survey, polling 61.4 percent of the vote.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated yesterday that New Democracy could vote for President Stephanopoulos' second term and that this would be a positive development.

Prime Minister Simitis told his ministers that while the government's achievements had been positive to date - and that this had been indicated in recent polls, giving the ruling party a lead over the opposition - the government could not afford to rest on its laurels.

He asked for the pace of ministers' work to be stepped up and for more emphasis to be given to issues affecting the daily lives of Greeks.

IHT feature on Rhodes Colossus

The International Herald Tribune (IHT) carried a feature on plans to build a monument for the new millennium based on the lost Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

In the IHT's December 17 edition, Rhodes Mayor George Yiannopoulos is quoted as saying:

"It will be a contemporary monument with modern artistic expression and technical construction that will surpass conventional standards.

"It will borrow all the ancient symbolic values of the original Colossus and will enrich them further with a current ideological content related mainly to world peace and cooperation and mankind's hopes for a better world in the new millennium."

The municipal council of Rhodes, which devised the scheme, also wants the renewed Colossus to be seen as an international millennium project that will symbolise growing European unification, the IHT said.

Architects, sculptors and engineers worldwide will be asked to submit their ideas based on the historical references available and symbolic values inspired by the Colossus, which was destroyed in 224 B.C.

Rhodes council endorsed the idea for the monument in July.

"Kranidiotis Forum" to be set up

Researchers from countries in southeastern Europe on Saturday agreed to set up a regional union of institutes to be named "The Kranidiotis Forum", in memory of the late Greek politician.

Meeting in Thessaloniki, the representatives of research institutes in fields including law and international relations said naming the union after Kranidiotis was a mark of respect as the veteran diplomat had actively supported the scheme.

Kranidiotis was killed on September 14 when the prime minister's Falcon jet on which he was travelling hit turbulence over Romania.

Attending the session were researchers from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Moldova, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.

At the session - the first of its kind - delegates agreed that their institutes should launch cooperation through exchanges of experts and information on reseach programmes.

The group's second meeting is scheduled for December 2000, again in Thessaloniki.

Former PM Rallis backs re-election of Stephanopoulos

Former New Democracy party Prime Minister George Rallis on Friday criticised both the ruling PASOK party and the main opposition New Democracy party in particular over their position concerning the issue of the election of the President of the Republic and after meeting President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

Mr. Rallis said the two parties misinterpreted the constitution, and on the occasion of statements by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, but added that if he was an ND deputy he would vote for the incumbent president with both hands, who is deservedly fulfilling his duties.

He further said that the agreement reached at the European Union Helsinki summit was good because, as he said, Turkey was obliged to accept that Cyprus will join the EU regardless of whether the political problem is resolved and resort to the Internatio nal Court at The Hague, which was something it had been refusing for 20 years, if differences are not resolved by 2004.

Government releases bill on status of ex-USSR ethnic Greeks

The government on Friday revealed a draft law regulating the status of an estimated 150,000 ethnic Greeks who sought refuge in Greece in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union 10 years ago. The new bill provides the ethnic Greek refugees with formal Greek nationality, special passports providing them with the right to leave and enter the country without restriction and working papers.

The bill also introduces incentives in the form of subsidies to attract these ethnic Greeks to settle in underpopulated and economically depressed border regions, such as the northern Aegean or Thrace.

Sixty thousand refugees are estimated to be in Thessaloniki and around 30, 000 more in the Thrace region.

According to Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis and Mr. Magriotis, Parliament is expected to vote on the bill in late January.

Mr. Papandreou told a news conference yesterday that the text was a "significant innovation", attempting to build on the experience of a decade to deal with the problems created in the wake of the collapse of the communist system and the tidal wave of refugees to Greece. He said 11 ministries had been involved in the drafting of the text. Mr. Niotis said the legislation gave those people wanting to settle in these areas encouragement and noted that in Thrace 2,500 plots of land were available.

"Our aim is to liberate these people from the insecurity which they were trapped in in the wake of the collapse of the former Soviet Union," he said.

Papandreou says Greece and Turkey must not dwell on the past

Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday that the new spirit in Greek-Turkish relations had to be given a chance to bloom and that dwelling on the past was detrimental to both sides.

"At Helsinki we saw the opening of a new dynamic which will allow a new long-term strategy of improvement in the climate," he said. Mr. Papandreou was responding to reporters' questions on infringements of Greek air space by Turkish fighter jets.

"If we dwell on isolated incidents and on practices of the past, we will not be able to see the wood for the trees," Mr. Papandreou said.

"We didn't open the gates to paradise at Helsinki, but we did open the gate of opportunity."

According to reports on Thursday, seven formations of Turkish F-16 and Phantom fighter jets violated Athens FIR guidelines on nine occasions and proceeded to eight infringements of national air space between the islands of Lesvos, Hios and Rhodes.

Greek jets intercepted the Turkish aircraft on all occasions; on three, the interception developed into dogfights.

It was the first time that Turkish fighter activity had been noted over the Aegean since the EU summit at Helsinki last Friday decided to attribute candidacy status to Turkey.

In later comments, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that Thursday's infringements of Greek air space were "a negative development and indicated a negative stance" on the part of the neighbouring country.

"Helsinki has not solved all the problems and reaching this solution will be a long road," he said.

Illegal immigrant found dead on Greek ferry

An illegal immigrant died and 46 others were arrested on two different Greek ferries on the way from the central Greek port city of Patras to Italy, harbour authorities said Friday. Harbour officials said one man, said to be an Iraqi of Kurdish origin, was found dead late Thursday night in a liquid gas tank truck in the garage section of the Superfast II ferry. Another 26 men, also said to be Iraqis of Kurdish origin, were found in the same truck as the ferry arrived in the Italian port of Ancona. In a separate incident, 20 illegal immigrants, including a young boy, were found hidden in a sealed Bulgarian truck on the Superfast I ferry also on the way from Patras to the Italian port of Bari. The boy, suffering from Mediterranean anaemia, was having breathing problems. The Italian authorities allowed only the boy and his parents to disembark so that the child could be given urgent medical attention.

Papandreou comments on Turkish fighter activity

Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday that the new spirit in Greek-Turkish relations had to be given a chance to bloom and that dwelling on the past was detrimental to both sides. "At Helsinki we saw the opening of a new dynamic which will allow a new long-term strategy of improvement in the climate," he said. Papandreou was responding to reporters' questions on infringements of Greek air space by Turkish fighter jets. "If we dwell on isolated incidents and on practices of the past, we will not be able to see the forest for all the trees," Papandreou said. "We didn't open the gates to paradise at Helsinki, but we did open the gate of opportunity." According to media reports on Thursday, seven formations of Turkish F-16 and Phantom fighter jets violated Athens FIR guidelines on nine occasions and proceeded to eight infringements of national air space between the islands of Lesvos, Hios and Rhodes. It was the first time that Turkish fighter activity had been noted over the Aegean since the EU summit at Helsinki last Friday decided to attribute candidacy status to Turkey.

Cypriot FM due in Athens on Monday

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will visit Athens on Monday for talks with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, an ANA dispatch from Nicosia reported. Kasoulides is expected to brief Papandreou on the first round of proximity talks on the Cyprus issue, held in New York earlier this week. Papandreou will brief his Cypriot counterpart in turn on the decisions affecting Cyprus taken at last week's EU summit in Helsinki.

Kidnapping charges dropped against mother of five

A public prosecutor in the northern Greek town of Drama dropped charges of kidnapping filed against a 33-year-old mother of five after she returned her 16-year-old lover to his parents. Vassiliki Savvidou, who is also a grandmother, was sued for kidnapping by the parents of the technical school student after the couple disappeared on Friday evening. The charges were filed after the parents of the boy filed a missing persons' report with police. Police say the two began their illicit affair after the youth, Costas D. made frequent visits to his friend, Savvidou's son.

WEATHER

Light cloud and scattered showers are forecast in many parts of the country on Sunday with limited visibility early in the morning. Winds southerly, light to strong, turning gale force in the Ionian and possibly the Aegean. Some cloud in Athens with temperatures from 12C to 20C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7C to 18C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          320.922
Pound sterling       519.114
Japanese yen (100)   312.034
French franc          49.943
German mark          167.503
Italian lira (100)    16.920
Irish Punt           415.976
Belgian franc          8.121
Finnish mark          55.100
Dutch guilder        148.662
Danish kr.            44.035
Austrian sch.         23.808
Spanish peseta         1.969
Swedish kr.           38.113
Norwegian kr.         40.503
Swiss franc          204.347
Port. Escudo           1.634
Can. dollar          217.863
Aus. dollar          206.892
Cyprus pound         566.630
Euro                 327.608
(C.S.)
Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
Back to Top
Copyright © 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
All Rights Reserved.

HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
apeen2html v2.01 run on Saturday, 18 December 1999 - 15:05:22 UTC