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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-11-19

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 1044), November 19, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Simitis says '97 budget will lead Greece to EMU
  • [02] Papantoniou
  • [03] Gov't spokesman
  • [04] Opposition
  • [05] Athens' environmental problems examined at conference
  • [06] Petsalnikos outlines Greece's Balkan role to Canadian audience
  • [07] Varvitsiotis proposal anticipated on expanding ND's congress
  • [08] Souflias sees difficulties ahead for main opposition
  • [09] Evert critical of Gov't policy regarding ethnic Greeks in Albania
  • [10] Tsohatzopoulos, Papandreou attend WEU ministerial summit
  • [11] Arsonists target Communist Party office
  • [12] Civil defense forces fire on Turkish illegal immigrant smugglers
  • [13] Turks report death
  • [14] Ankara protest
  • [15] Attica municipalities announce protests over funding cutbacks
  • [16] 1998 World Conference of Mechanical Engineers to be held in Athens
  • [17] Greek technical chamber delegation to visit Romania
  • [18] Diamantopoulou refers to privatizations as tools of gov't's economic policy
  • [19] Drys cites need to quickly implement 'TAXIS' program
  • [20] Chinese silkworm specialists to pay visit to Evros
  • [21] Drachma appreciates against all foreign currencies in October
  • [22] Thessaloniki hosts business conference
  • [23] British film takes first-place honor at Thessaloniki film festival
  • [24] Athens competition commemorates centenary of birth of Mitropoulos

  • [01] Simitis says '97 budget will lead Greece to EMU

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday urged ruling party PASOK deputies and the party's central committee to give their fullest support to the government's economic policies and the 1997 budget.

    Speaking at a joint meeting of the party's Parliamentary group and central committee, which began yesterday morning, Mr. Simitis stressed that there was no other path than the one the government was currently following.

    "The government's aim with the new budget is modernization of the economy and achievement of the targets foreseen in the convergence program," Mr. Simitis said, adding "this period is the most important since the return of democracy in 1974".

    Mr. Simitis stressed the dangers of marginalization facing Greece if it failed to meet Maastricht Treaty criteria, which would allow its participation in the EU economic and monetary union (EMU), stressing that responsibility lay with all the members of the party and that implementation of government policy was not only an issue for the finance ministry but for all, warning that "if it is not achieved, there will be wide-ranging repercussions".

    "We are founding a new period in the relations between party and government," he said. "The party will plan and the government will implement ... Over the past two months we have drafted a unified government four-year plan with the central aim of participation in a new Europe, reform and bolstering of the economy and the strengthening of Greece in the Balkans and southeastern Mediterranean."

    The cabinet is expected to give final approval to the budget today.

    The aims of the government's economic policy were threefold, Mr. Simitis said, namely, fiscal discipline, economic growth and social cohesion, all of which demanded what he referred to as hard work to enable the country to participate in the second stag e of EMU.

    "Greece can no longer delay implementation of the efforts for inclusion in European unification," Mr. Simitis said.

    He added, however, that in contrast with other EU countries, economic growth in Greece was increasing along with social cohesion and justice.

    Mr. Simitis said there were certain "tough, but fair" measures in the government's economy policies for the next four years.

    The main aim of fiscal policy, he noted, was reform of revenues and spending in such a way as to promote growth and combat wasteful spending.

    In other statements, he said the 1997 budget was based on the following major points:

    Abolition of all unjustified tax breaks.

    Measures to control and contain spending in the wider public sector and public organizations.

    Raising an extra 900 billion drachmas in revenues so as to reduce the public debt from 7.6 percent of GDP to 4.2 percent.

    Drastically reduced public sector appointments, and,

    A 30 percent increase in spending on the public investment program.

    The increase in revenues would be achieved, Mr. Simitis added, by a stricter incomes policy keeping spending on wages and pensions at levels which will improve real incomes and at the same time allow de-escalation of inflation, alongside a strict anti-inflationary policy to cut inflation drastically by the end of next year.

    Other measures calculated to raise revenues are expansion of the tax base with imposition of taxes on larger real estate holdings, interest on state titles, interbank market deposits and derivatives, capital gains of non-listed firms and an increase in taxation on banks. State subsidies and exemptions would be cut back and wealth indicators for yachts and vehicles would be readjusted.

    The budget also foresees establishment of a new body to manage health spending as well as new forms of social support for large families.

    Jobs are projected to increase by 1.3 per cent in the new budget, while spending on education, health and welfare will total 12 per cent.

    Mr. Simitis stressed that the budget that had been drafted "had exhausted all the margins".

    [02] Papantoniou

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Speaking after the prime minister, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said the budget was "austere, but fair" and that it attempted to introduce structural changes, such as the establishment of a wage scale for public servants.

    Wage increases will be "restrained but above inflation", he said.

    Mr. Papantoniou said indexation of pension levels and the introduction of a "social solidarity bonus" - budgeted at 40 billion drachmas - were the second major structural change and that legislation cutting back public expenditures, with the exception of health and education, was another major feature of the budget.

    Forthcoming legislation slashing a large number of tax breaks and exemptions was "a major step forward for fairer taxation" and would increase revenues for state coffers," he added.

    The government's aim in macro-economic terms, the minister added, was to increase GDP to 4.5-5.0 per cent by the year 2000. He noted that PASOK's past three years at the helm had brought GDP growth from -0.1 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

    This achievement, Mr. Papantoniou said, is an indication in real terms that Greece's economy is growing at a faster rate than the EU average.

    "This effort must continue and be completed because we are not prepared to leave Greece on the sidelines of European developments," he said.

    [03] Gov't spokesman

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    The 1997 budget is the best possible and will keep Greece on track for development, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later said. Calling the budget "harsh but fair", Mr. Reppas said the goals of the budget were fiscal stability, growth and social justice.

    "Decisions on the budget, which will be taken tomorrow (today) at the cabinet meeting will regard the expansion of the tax base and containment of spending," he said.

    The burden, he added, will be distributed amongst all, but particularly among the more affluent.

    "This budget keeps Greece on track for development, is the best possible, will be executed faithfully and everyone will be able to judge the results."

    Asked to comment on the meeting yesterday, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said it was critical.

    The meeting, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, was convened to examine the government's goals within the next four years, including Greece's inclusion in EMU over a minimum span of time.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the party's central committee "has full sense of its responsibility to the Greek people" and that it would "proceed with success in this course."

    The minister was speaking before his departure for Brussels to attend a Western European Union (WEU) meeting.

    [04] Opposition

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Reacting to the premier's statements, main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert harshly criticized Mr. Simitis, saying that "with a unique act of unreliability (he) announced a new whirlwind of tax measures which will primarily deal a blow at t he average and low-income brackets.

    "The only people he provided for are those having yachts and those illegally in possession of luxury cars. He did not honor what he promised before the elections and the available income of low- and average-size income brackets is expected to decrease through failure to link the tax scale to the price index as well as through all the other taxes."

    Commenting on Mr. Simitis' speech at a joint meeting of PASOK's Parliamentary group and central committee yesterday, Mr. Evert said ND's position is that new taxes are not necessary, stressing the need for a drastic reduction in expenditures, as well as combating extravagance, squandering and fraud prevailing in the public sector at present and at the same time instituting a development process through investments. The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) said yesterday's speech by Mr. Simitis specifies a one-sided, harsh and deadlocked economic policy for 1997, which places the greatest burdens on the shoulders of small- and average-income brackets and not on higher-income taxpayers.

    Commenting on Mr. Simitis' speech, Synaspismos said the country needs an impetus for development, social justice and a productive reorganization in policy applied, while the government must claim changes and readjustments both in the timetable and criteria of the Maastricht Treaty by creating alliances.

    In a similar statement, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said the government is "unreliable for the umpteenth time."

    "The government is continuing the unpopular as well as economically and socially deadlocked and unfair policy in an even tougher way than before, in contrast to the pre-election announcements of both PASOK and the prime minister himself," he said.

    Mr. Tsovolas also criticized the government of using "false titles" to cover "its harsh conservative policy with left-wing terminology, which conscientiously makes the rich richer and the poor poorer."

    On its part, the Political Spring (Pol.An) party issued an announcement yesterday criticizing Mr. Simitis' address on the 1997 budget, accusing the government of a "barbarous and mass tax attack on citizens' income.

    "Through Mr. Simitis' budget of social storm, development is sacrificed on the altar of covering deficits of a wasteful and unjust state," the Pol.An announcement stated.

    [05] Athens' environmental problems examined at conference

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    The serious environmental and town planning problems facing Athens went under the microscope yesterday as an international conference, entitled "A vision for Athens", got under way.

    The conference, jointly organized by the Municipality of Athens and the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE), aims to chart the course of planning and action for the capital and Attica basin.

    "We are obliged - state, government, parties, social and professional bodies as well as citizens - to work together for the sake of Athens which is sending out an SOS signal," Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis told participants.

    Mr. Laliotis said the ministry had already put together a program addressing most of the issues and which responded positively to the challenges of the times and laid the preconditions to "allow hope for the Attica prefecture".

    Mr. Laliotis also said the government was committed to realizing the dream of former Athens mayor, the late Antonis Tritsis, to re-establish a tram network in the city. Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos said that a municipality study on the tram network, which would extend to the seaside suburb of Vouliagmeni, should be put into action.

    "We need revolutionary changes to the public transport status to be able to compete with private vehicles," Mr. Avramopoulos said, referring to the daily problem of traffic congestion. Too much attention is being focused on the Athens Metro urban rail network as a solution, Mr. Avramopoulos added. "The Metro is not enough. Communication between the center and the region must be based on a high-quality public transport system."

    The conference will end on Thursday.

    [06] Petsalnikos outlines Greece's Balkan role to Canadian audience

    Toronto, 19/11/1996 (ANA/G. Georgiou)

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister, Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday presented the Greek government's strategic options in becoming a source of stability in the Balkans to the Greek community of Toronto.

    Addressing an event on Sunday night, Mr. Petsalnikos, who began his visit to Canada on Saturday, said the government's aims were directed at empowering national defense and reinforcing development in the economic, social and cultural fields.

    Regarding national defense, Mr. Petsalnikos pointed to the need for modern, well-equipped, well-trained armed forces, while, referring to the Greek-Cyprus national defense doctrine "the requirements for which are fully met today."

    Focusing on Turkey as the threat facing Greece, the minister said the political, military and diplomatic establishment governing the neighboring country was likely to "continue creating problems for us."

    Regarding development, Mr. Petsalnikos mentioned the role bestowed on northern Greece to serve as "the bridge for a peaceful charge of Hellenism to the neighboring countries."

    "Great infrastructural works are currently being constructed in Macedonia and Thrace in order to facilitate this goal," Mr. Petsalnikos said.

    Regarding Thrace, Mr. Petsalnikos said the government aimed at presenting the Moslems in the region with "equal opportunities, equal rights and equal participation in the productive and economic making".

    Reiterating that Skopje could not claim the name "Republic of Macedonia," Mr. Petsalnikos noted the need for greater emphasis on the teaching of the Greek language in Greek communities around the world.

    Yesterday Mr. Petsalnikos inaugurated the Cultural Center of the Ontario Pan-Macedonian Union and announced that two awards will be established within 1997 - the "Alexander the Great Award," for politicians and the "Aristotelis Award" for scientists, be stowed, he said, on "Greece's friends in Canada."

    [07] Varvitsiotis proposal anticipated on expanding ND's congress

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis is expected to deliver his proposal tomorrow on widening the party's next congress with new delegates, while on a daily basis he is receiving pressure and suggestions from all sides concerned for new categories of delegates to be included among the additional delegates.

    Mr. Varvitsiotis has also not yet decided on the way with which the number of women attending the congress will be increased, reports state.

    Meanwhile, three elections will deliver a report to ND leader Miltiades Evert today, detailing the reasons leading the party to defeat in the September 22 general elections. The report will be discussed in a joint meeting of the party's Parliamentary group and central committee.

    According to reports, the 30-page report listed the parameters shaping trends and ultimately the final result of the elections. The main reasons specified is that the ruling socialist PASOK party enjoyed greater reliability as a government, that PASOK leader and Prime Minister Costas Simitis was more popular than Mr. Evert, that the ND leader failed to convince public opinion, as well as the fact that ND's government over the 1990-1993 period left a bad impression, in addition to intra-party bickering intensified during the 1993-1996 period.

    The report registers trends in the electorate since the Euro-elections in 1994 until this year's national elections, according to opinion polls, voting trends and moves from one party to another based on exit polls. It further states that ND received votes from farmers and self-employed professionals, but lost votes from young people.

    [08] Souflias sees difficulties ahead for main opposition

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    In an interview with the daily newspaper "Apogevmatini," New Democracy former minister George Souflias yesterday forecast that the course to the party Congress would be "difficult."

    "The course to a Congress electing the leadership is difficult for ND, as this is the case with all democratic parties throughout the world," Mr. Souflias said. He recently lost internal party elections to ND leader Miltiades Evert who resigned after the party's defeat in September's general elections only to re-claim the party leadership soon after.

    Calling on Mr. Evert to clarify as to whether he will claim the party leadership in the upcoming congress, Mr. Souflias reiterated that "nobody wishes the partition of New Democracy." "New Democracy has been founded as a party of power and should remain as such," he added.

    Indirectly hinting against Mr. Evert, Mr. Souflias said "the predominant element of the pro-Karamanlis tendencies and the political presence of (former president of the republic and founder of New Democracy) Constantine Karamanlis is persistence, seriousness, responsibility and aversion to populism.

    [09] Evert critical of Gov't policy regarding ethnic Greeks in Albania

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday accused the government of "inconsistency, a makeshift mentality and irresponsibility in the exercise of foreign policy," during a Parliamentary debate on the results of the municipal elections in Albania and the ethnic Greek minority in that country. He criticized the government not only over its policy towards Tirana, but more specifically regarding its handling of differences with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greek-Turkish relations.

    "Today, we are witnessing a peculiar anti-Americanism coming from the government itself. All this would be ridiculous if it were not dangerous. Unfortunately, for the country, the team that is governing is following personal diplomacy. Competent ministers express contradictory views, while the prime minister is regurgitating clear insinuations," he said. He said there was a need for carving out a single national strategy, accusing the government of a lack of continuity and consistency in its foreign policy, and of indifference and lack of any policy regarding the Greek minority in Albania.

    Foreign Under-secretary Christos Rozakis said that Greece had to protect with all its strength the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, which he said faced serious political and social problems, causing many to emigrate to Greece. "There is a need to promote a modern Balkan policy, aiming to give these countries the potential of developing in order to obtain positive results. "Improved relations will lead to improving the conditions for Greeks," he said, adding that the government was in the process of planning a comprehensive Balkan policy that will develop institutions, the economy and society.

    [10] Tsohatzopoulos, Papandreou attend WEU ministerial summit

    Ostend, 19/11/1996 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis/M. Savva)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday attended the first session of a ministerial summit of Western European Union (WEU) member-states.

    After the session, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed his satisfaction over the fact that general orientations as well as terms and conditions for establishment of a European Armaments Organization, which is expected tomorrow, will be determined by WEU member-states. The decision is considered as the first step towards creating the European Armaments Agency, which is envisaged by the Maastricht Treaty.

    The organization is essentially a continuation of the Armaments Group of western Europe, where, besides the 10 members of the WEU, Denmark, Norway and Turkey also participate.

    According to reports, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos had the opportunity to meet with his counterparts from Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, as well as with WEU Secretary General Jose Cutilheiro. Today, he will meet with his counterparts from Spain, Portugal and France.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said creation of an organization to deal with armament-related issues was at a preliminary stage and its main focus was promotion of research programs.

    He stressed that the Union's strategic goal was to serve as the defense arm of the EU.

    Today, sessions will focus on relations of the WEU member-states with the associate countries, namely Turkey, Norway and Iceland.

    "What we must ensure," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, "is the institutional framework for the diversification between the associated members and those countries which constitute the basis of the WEU."

    On his part, Mr. Papandreou said Greece had already forwarded its positions regarding the gradual integration of the WEU within the EU as a tool for common defense policy.

    Asked on a proposal of the Irish EU presidency regarding relations between Turkey and Europe, Mr. Papandreou said the Irish presidency "has a firm position that the problems should be resolved within the framework of international justice."

    In a related development, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos and Mr. Papandreou were not scheduled to meet with their Turkish counterparts on the sidelines of the WEU summit.

    [11] Arsonists target Communist Party office

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Arsonists set fire to the entrance of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) local office in Piraeus at dawn yesterday, causing slight damage but no injuries, police said.

    Five plastic containers of gasoline were set on fire outside the KKE office, causing damage only to the windows of the semi-basement office.

    The fire brigade and neighbors extinguished the fire, while the anti-terrorist squad arrived on the spot to investigate the causes. Eyewitnesses said that the fire was set by a man who fled on a motorcycle.

    An unidentified man later called a local private television and radio station "SKAI", claiming responsibility on behalf of the "Athens Polytechnic uprising participants as a response to the 'party-dogs' of the KKE who, today just as then, are the left h and of suppression".

    A KKE announcement deplored the arson, saying it was "part of efforts by various mechanisms to terrorize the popular movement which ... ensured the anti-imperialistic nature of the Polytechnic".

    [12] Civil defense forces fire on Turkish illegal immigrant smugglers

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Civil defense forces on Sunday fired on a Turkish fishing vessel fleeing towards the Turkish coast after landing 10 illegal immigrants on the eastern Aegean islet of Farmakonisi, according to sources in the foreign and defense ministries.

    The same sources expressed displeasure at the lack of adequate policing on the Turkish coast, as well as the lack of guilty sentences for the few illegal immigrant smugglers arrested in the neighboring country.

    [13] Turks report death

    Istanbul, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    On its part, the semi-official Anadolu agency reported that a Hellenic coast-guard vessel on Sunday fired on the Turkish boat, adding that one crew-member had been killed and another injured.

    Anadolu reported that the fishing boat had landed seven Iraqi illegal immigrants on the Greek islet for US$300 each.

    Quoting official Turkish sources, the report stated that the coast-guard vessel had ordered the smugglers to stop, which they ignored before attempting to flee towards the Asia Minor coast.

    The injured smuggler managed to reach port and reported the incident.

    He was detained by Turkish authorities and questioned on charges of violating the border and smuggling individuals out of Turkey, the same sources added.

    [14] Ankara protest

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Later in the day, the Turkish foreign ministry issued a protest to Athens' embassy in Ankara over the incident, a statement read.

    The statement claimed that the Turkish boat was fired upon from the island of Bulamas at 3 p.m., and not at 6 p.m., as originally reported by Anadolu.

    The foreign ministry also claimed that the damaged boat drifted for three hours, and was located by another Turkish vessel later on, which notified the Turkish coast-guard.

    "We cannot understand this indifference on the part of the Greek authorities," the statement added.

    [15] Attica municipalities announce protests over funding cutbacks

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    The Union of Attica Municipalities yesterday decided to shut down municipal services, except refuse collection, every Thursday until the end of November to protest against the government's decision to cut back 25 per cent of road tax revenue earmarked for local governments over the next two years.

    They also decided to shut down services completely at the end of the month and hold a protest march to Parliament on the day of the debate on the draft bill on cutbacks in public spending.

    On Nov. 28, they will participate in a 23-hour nationwide strike by labor unions and civil servants on the occasion of the presentation of the new budget.

    Many mayors announced their intention to raise municipal rates for lighting and waste collection between 8.5 and 47 per cent as of next year, in order to meet financial requirements.

    [16] 1998 World Conference of Mechanical Engineers to be held in Athens

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Greece will host the fifth "World Conference of Mechanical Engineers," following an announcement yesterday in Hania.

    The conference has been scheduled for Athens in May 1998, the Hania branch of the Panhellenic Association of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was told during its general meeting here yesterday.

    In addition, four preliminary conferences are to be held in Greece within the framework of the world conference. The first of these will be held in Hania in May 1997 and will concern Crete's energy problem, while the others are scheduled to be held on the island of Lesvos, in Thessaloniki and in Patra.

    [17] Greek technical chamber delegation to visit Romania

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    University officials, technical firms representatives and contractors are to visit Romania during the second half of January on the initiative of the central Macedonia chapter of the Technical Chamber of Commerce.

    During the visit, the Greek delegation is scheduled to discuss issues of commercial, scientific and trade union interest.

    The visit had originally been scheduled for Nov. 19-24, but was postponed in order to allow a new government in Bucharest to take office following the Nov. 3 elections.

    [18] Diamantopoulou refers to privatizations as tools of gov't's economic policy

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Development Under-secretary Anna Diamantopoulou said yesterday that "privatizations are one of the tools of our (government) economic policy. The basic one is the 'Industry Business Program' which, complemented by privatizations, will contribute to the crucial efforts of modernization of Greek industry."

    Ms. Diamantopoulou was speaking during a conference organized by the "Naftemboriki" financial daily, held within the framework of the "Money Show '96" on the subject of "Privatizations - A Question of Survival and Reliability".

    The under-secretary noted that privatization procedures have been accelerated, and mentioned the organization of the development ministry's special privatization secretariat and the establishment of a schedule for each concern being privatized.

    She added that procedures for the immediate privatization of four companies in the Organization for the Rehabilitation of Ailing Enterprises have already been scheduled.

    During her speech, Ms Diamantopoulou noted "the importance of public dialogue in the forming of public opinion," and stressed that "without vision and social conscience, all efforts for privatization are doomed."

    [19] Drys cites need to quickly implement 'TAXIS' program

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    Speaking at a conference organized by the finance ministry's training academy yesterday, Finance Under-secretary George Drys stressed the need for accelerating procedures for implementation of the comprehensive data processing system "TAXIS".

    Mr. Drys said the main goals of the program are modernizing the ministry's tax services, improving services rendered to taxpayers, widening the tax base and combating tax evasion.

    He also announced that 10,000 tax bureau employees will be given training in light of the new informatics system's implementation.

    [20] Chinese silkworm specialists to pay visit to Evros

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    A group of Chinese specialists on the raising of silkworms will pay a two-day visit to Soufli, Evros from Nov. 27-28.

    According to an announcement, the visit by the Chinese delegation will take place within the framework of co-operation between the National Agricultural Research Foundation (ETHIAGE) and the state-run Chinese Research and Technology Committee.

    The two foundations have signed an agreement on common research programs in the sector of silkworm cultivation being applied in Thrace on new varieties of cotton and cultivation as well as production of mushrooms.

    ETHIAGE is developing strong research activities with Bulgaria, Cyprus and China. In this framework, a co-operation protocol is expected to be signed soon with Bulgaria on developing three research programs concerning silkworm cultivation, cheese and cattle production.

    [21] Drachma appreciates against all foreign currencies in October

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    The drachma appreciated against all foreign currencies in October, according to weighted parity indicators followed by the Center for Export Studies and Research (KEEM).

    Specifically, the weighted parity indicator for all foreign currencies fell by 0.57 per cent, and that of European currencies by 0.56 per cent - on the basis of the weightings of the countries total foreign trade (imports-exports).

    In relation to all other currencies, except the US dollar, the weighted parity indicator fell by 1.45 per cent on the basis of their participation in the country's external trade.

    From developments in the first 10 months of 1996, it can be deduced that if the change in the drachma's parity continues at the same average rate until the end of the year, its cumulative appreciation will reach 2 per cent against all currencies, and 1. 6 per cent in relation to European currencies.

    [22] Thessaloniki hosts business conference

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    A business conference, entitled "the strategic options of a company facing the year 2000," is due to be held on Friday in Thessaloniki.

    The conference, organized by the Thessaloniki Trade Association and the Thessaloniki Economists Society, aims at elaborating on the dilemmas facing companies on the threshold of the 21st century.

    Professor and Director of Research at the Economics Department of the University of Birmingham, Andrew Cox, will elaborate on the issues.

    The conference will be held at the Thessaloniki Trade and Industry Chamber.

    [23] British film takes first-place honor at Thessaloniki film festival

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    A British film, Udayan Prasad's "Brothers in Trouble" won the first prize at the 37th International Thessaloniki Film Festival's foreign film category on Sunday night.

    "Brothers" marked the Indian-born director's first film, and tells the story of a Bengali illegal immigrant who settles in a deprived north London suburb.

    Presided over by Belgian director Chantal Akerman, the international jury awarded the silver prize to Spanish director Isabel Coixet for "Cosas que nunca te dije" (All that I never told you), while actress Lilli Taylor won the best actress award.

    The best director award went to Taiwanese director Tso Chi Chang for his film "Ah-Chung", while the best script award was divided between Americans Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for "Citizen Ruth" and by Frenchmen Lucas Belvaux and Jean-Pierre Leaud for "Pour rire" (To laugh).

    Cypriot director Andreas Pantzis' "The Slaughter of the Rooster" and Greek director Nikos Grammatikos' "Absentees" shared the best film award in the Greek-language category.

    George Corraface and Valeria Golino were also awarded the best actor and actress honors for their roles in "The Slaughter of the Rooster".

    "Slaughter" took six years to film and is an international co-production between Cyprus, Greece and Italy, as well as participation from Swedish, German, Bulgarian and Syrian interests, not to mention support by the Council of Europe's "Eurimages".

    More than 35,000 film fans, compared to last year's total audience count of 20,000, visited the festival and watched the Greek films.

    Another noteworthy film was Aliki Danezi-Knutsen's "Roads and Oranges", which has received an offer to participate in the Brussels Film Festival.

    Ms. Danezi-Knutsen, a 23-year-old Greek Cypriot, describes in her film the travels of two girls in Turkey on the trail of their father, missing during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

    She told the ANA that "I have no idea of politics ... I did not make a political film."

    "I made a road movie where the issue of the missing is directly projected without heroics or hate, without melodrama. The issue for me is the road of self-knowledge, a journey with which the viewer can empathize," the director said.

    [24] Athens competition commemorates centenary of birth of Mitropoulos

    Athens, 19/11/1996 (ANA)

    The first international competition dedicated to the memory of renowned Greek conductor and composer Dimitris Mitropoulos opens in Athens next week, marking the 100th anniversary since his birth.

    The five-day competition, which is set to become an annual event, is open to orchestra conductors of all nationalities up to the age of 40. The competition, organized by the Orchestra of Colors in close collaboration with the Athens Concert Hall, and under the aegis of the ministry of culture, will take place November 24-28 before a jury comprising distinguished musicians from the international world of music under the chairmanship of conductor Claudio Scimone.

    Out of approximately 300 entries, the jury has selected 32 candidates in a preliminary round to take part in the finals in a November 28 concert at the Athens Concert Hall that will be open to the public.

    According to Traute Lutz, administrator of the competition, there has been considerable interest from Britain in the competition, and a Briton was among the finalists.

    Three prizes will be awarded. The first prize is accompanied by an eight million drachma (approx. $30,000) cash award, the second prize five million drachmas ($18,000) and the third prize three million drachmas ($10,000).

    The first prize winner will also be offered paid engagements with the Orchestra of Colors, founded by the late composer Manos Hadzidakis, and the Camerata Orchestra of the Friends of Music for two concerts over the next three years.

    Mr. Lutz said that the response to the competition was so great that by the June 15 deadline for entries about 300 candidates had applied.

    "Selecting 32 finalists was a very difficult task for the jury, since the overall level of the entrants was extremely high. The final round promises to be very interesting," Mr. Lutz told the ANA.

    End of English language section.

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