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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-02

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 1405), February 2, 1998

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


  • [01] Unions, farmers open difficult week for government
  • [02] ... Farmers on the move
  • [03] Kranidiotis tours southern, eastern African countries
  • [04] US armed forces chief on Greece-Turkey visit
  • [05] EOA president attends Winter Olympics in Japan
  • [06] Archbishop Anastasios receives honor
  • [07] 'Sailing through Time to the Aegean Islands' essay contest
  • [08] Iraqi Illegal immigrants arrested on Samos
  • [09] Protests meet USS La Salle
  • [10] Casino strives for annulment of fine
  • [11] Pangalos slams former armed forces chief
  • [12] ... Praise on Pangalos by Rallis
  • [13] SAE initiative to re-open the Halki School of Theology
  • [14] Basketball Cup goes to Aris

  • [01] Unions, farmers open difficult week for government

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    The conflict between trade unions and the government over a controversial provision on labor relations in public utilities (DEKO) is coming to a peak today, with a rally organized by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSSE) outside Parliament, to coincide with the debate of the provision.

    The vote on the provision has more trouble in stock for the leadership of both major parties, PASOK and New Democracy, with many PASOK deputies having voiced objections to the contents and usefulness of the provision.

    Some main opposition ND deputies are also opposed to the party's negative stance.

    According to sources, the opposition is likely to require a roll-call vote.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis have scheduled a meeting with a loaded agenda a few hours before the debate on the crucial amendment, and they are considered certain to discuss the stand of ruling party deputies who disagree with the manner in which the issue has been handed by the National Economy Ministry.

    Addressing a party meeting yesterday, Mr. Skandalidis charged internal party opposition with a disposition to create tension regarding certain issues, resulting in the ruling party showing a situation of "not positive development and functioning".

    Government sources said in spite of objections, PASOK deputies will vote in favor of the amendment.

    On Friday, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said that structural problems in DEKO needed to be immediately fixed, otherwise these public utilities and enterprises would not be able to face up to upcoming challenges.

    Meanwhile, a survey on DEKO published in yesterday's newspaper Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia, found that as many as 78.4 percent of those asked were dissatisfied with services rendered by public corporations, with public transportation among the worst.

    Today's schedule of industrial action in public transportation includes work stoppages by the Athens-Piraeus railway (HSAP) from 3 pm, trolley bus service and OASA from 5 pm, all until the end of the evening shift.

    Disruptions are also expected to both international and domestic flight schedules by the national air carrier, Olympic Airways.

    Unionists are further considering to take action, such as 24-hour rolling strikes, as each of the changes in the provision is debated in Parliament.

    GSEE has said that unions are in doubt as to whether they will continue the "social dialogue" with the government and employers during the next six months.

    [02] ... Farmers on the move

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    Farmers from Thessaly are taking action in their tractors as of today, to follow up the escalation of action in the past month.

    Hundreds of tractors are expected to line up on both sides of the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway, from Tempi to Mikrothives, in protest against the government's agricultural policy.

    Members of the Panthessaliki Coordinating Committee of Struggle have given reassurances that, at least at the present phase, they will not block the highway or disrupt traffic.

    It is not unlikely, however, that blockades may be set up, since farmers are awaiting the government's response.

    A demand by farmers to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis has already failed, while a meeting with Agriculture Minister Stefanos Tzoumakas seems to be out of the question, as farmers say there is no understanding between them and the minister.

    Tractors will start arriving on the national highway after 11 am this morning.

    [03] Kranidiotis tours southern, eastern African countries

    Johannesburg, 02/02/1998 (ANA - N. Voulelis)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yannos Kranidiotis is currently on a six-day tour of southern and eastern African countries to promote Greece's candidacy for a non-permanent member seat on the UN Security Council for the period 1 999-2000 and to boost bilateral relations.

    Mr. Kranidiotis was in Johannesburg yesterday, in a visit that coincided with the arrival of Patriarch Petros of Alexandria and All Africa and president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) for the installation of the new Metropolitan of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Ioannis. It is recalled that the Patriarchate of Alexandria announced in September 1997 the establishment of four new bishoprics, including one in Tanzania.

    Addressing the Greek Chamber of Commerce of S. Africa last night, Mr. Kranidiotis confirmed Greece's interest in the overseas Greeks and their "invaluable role" as a bridge with other peoples and their contribution to strengthening Greece's positions internationally.

    Earlier, Mr. Kranidiotis visited Swaziland, the first by a Greek minister, and had talks with Swazi Foreign Minister Arthur Koza on prospects for development of relations between the two countries. He pledged Greece's assistance in financing several development programs in Swaziland in such sectors as animal breeding and tourism.

    He also invited Mr. Koza to visit Greece, while the latter said his country would favorably examine Greece's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

    On Friday Mr. Kranidiotis was in Dar-es-Salaam where he met with Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikuete for talks on bilateral relations and international developments. He recalled the "Initiative of the Six" for peace launched in 1982 by the late Andreas Papandreou, then prime minister of Greece, together with then Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, the presidents of Mexico and Argentina and the prime ministers of Sweden and India, and described relations between the two countries as excellent, with margins for investment collaboration among Greek and Tanzanian businessmen.

    Mr. Kranidiotis also conveyed an invitation to Tanzanian President Benjamin Mgapa to visit Greece from his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The foreign under-secretary began his African tour last Thursday with a meeting in Nairobi with newly re-elected Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi, whom he briefed on Greek foreign policy issues including Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue, Greece's course in the context of the European Union and its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

    They also discussed prospects for developing bilateral relations, while Mr. Kranidiotis further held talks with the Kenyan foreign minister and under-secretary, the minister for industrial development and the health minister.

    He presented President Daniel arap Moi with a check for 50,000 dollars as symbolic Greek assistance to the victims of the recent floods, and promised food aid.

    Greece plans to help finance several developmental projects in Kenya through non-governmental organizations, while the Kenyan government has expressed strong interest in Greek investments.

    Mr. Kranidiotis also delivered two letters to the Kenyan president from Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis inviting him to visit Greece.

    The Greek foreign under-secretary is scheduled to visit Namibia, Mozambique and Ethiopia before departing tomorrow for his return to Greece.

    [04] US armed forces chief on Greece-Turkey visit

    Washington, 02/02/1998 (ANA/ AFP)

    The Pentagon announced on Friday that the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. (Air) Joseph Ralston would begin a three-day visit to Greece and Turkey yesterday.

    The announcement said Gen. Ralston would discuss "bilateral and multilateral defense and security issues of mutual interest".

    Details of his itinerary were not given for security reasons.

    [05] EOA president attends Winter Olympics in Japan

    Nagano, Japan, 02/02/1998 (ANA - Reuters)

    The ancient myth of Icarus is likely to come to life again during the Athens Olympics in 2004, according to the president of the Greek Olympic Committee (EOA) Lambis Nikolaou.

    Mr. Nikolaou, who is currently here to attend the Winter Olympics, said that there has been an application for the inclusion of a glider flight in Athens in 2004.

    "I believe the proposal has been made by the Greek federation of the sport. In Greece, there is quite an interest in the sport because it is spectacular", said Mr. Nikolaou.

    The EOA president also disclosed that an application was received for the inclusion of sea skiing in Athens 2004 in the official program.

    According to sources, circles by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have said that in the six years to the Athens Olympics many things could change.

    Many new sports have already been included in the official program of the Games, such as the Triathlon which will be inaugurated in Sydney 2000.

    [06] Archbishop Anastasios receives honor

    Tirana, 02/02/1998 (ANA- P. Haritos)

    Albanian political leaders and government ministers on Saturday attended a plain ceremony in the residence of the Greek ambassador during which Orthodox Archbishop of Albania Anastasios was awarded the Greek Cross of the Legion of Honor.

    The event was attended by President Rexhep Mejdani, Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, Minister to the Prime Minister Kastriot Islami, and many foreign diplomats.

    The medal was awarded on behalf of Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos by ambassador K. Prevedourakis.

    [07] 'Sailing through Time to the Aegean Islands' essay contest

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    The National Tourism Organization of Greece (EOT) and the Federation of the Aegean Islands Associations in the United States, are sponsoring an essay context for 10th and 11th grade students, an EOT representative has told the ANA.

    The contest, taking place in collaboration with the Board of Education of New York City, carries a prize of a cruise to the Aegean islands in Greece in the spring of 1998 for four student winners and two teacher chaperones.

    The contestants must submit essays of between 750 and 1,000 words on the historical achievements of the Aegean islands in Greece and how they affect life today.

    Information is available from Ms. Ronnie Solow, Director of Special Projects, School Programs and Support Services at (718) 935-3475 in New York.

    [08] Iraqi Illegal immigrants arrested on Samos

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    A group of 13 Iraqi illegal immigrants were arrested at dawn yesterday on the island of Samos, police said.

    A police spokesman told the ANA that the 10 men and three women had been dropped off at Cape Prasso on the eastern coast of the island.

    The illegal immigrants told police they had been conveyed to Samos by a Turkish captain in a white, seven-meter long speedboat, police said.

    They said the same smuggler "has been described by several groups" of illegal immigrants as having brought them over from the Turkish coast.

    [09] Protests meet USS La Salle

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    As the US Sixth Fleet flagship "USS La Salle" docked in Thessaloniki's harbor yesterday, a crowd of around 200 people from peace groups and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) gathered in the docks to protest against the US policy in the region.

    The demonstrators, holding candles in their hands, shouted anti-American slogans, and later marched outside the US Consulate where they stayed for half an hour before dispersing.

    The flagship's captain and Sixth Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Charles Abbot, told reporters that the US and Greece's military leaderships were working together for peace in the region.

    Earlier, the vice admiral visited the city's Archaeological Museum and the church of Aghios Demetrios, while he met Thessaloniki mayor Constantinos Kosmopoulos and the commander of the Third Army Corps, Lt. Gen. Panagiotakos.

    In the five days of their stay, the vessel's crew of 25 officers and 420 sailors will be shown the sights around the city, while classical and jazz concerts have been organized on the occasion.

    Yesterday evening, Vice Admiral Abbot hosted a reception in honor of the city's authorities. The event was also attended by US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.

    [10] Casino strives for annulment of fine

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    The "Porto Karras Halkidiki Casino" has taken recourse to the Council of State, requesting that a decision by the Casino Operation Committee to fine the casino company with 170 million dr. be annulled.

    The fine relates to various infringements, including non-payment of ticket dues to the state, delayed payment of arrears to the N. Marmaras community and assigning the casino's management to persons of inappropriate skills.

    The company argues that the management has been changed and all debts, amounting to 4 billion dr., have been paid.

    [11] Pangalos slams former armed forces chief

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    "There was no proposal by anyone for a violent confrontation with the initiation of hostilities on our part," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said in an interview with the Sunday edition of the newspaper Ethnos, in reference to the night of the serious Greek-Turkish stand-off in the eastern Aegean two years ago.

    In the interview, which marked the second anniversary of the Imia crisis, Mr. Pangalos launched a strong attack on the then Greek armed forces chief Admiral Christos Lymberis.

    Replying to a question on the criticism of the government's handling of the crisis, the foreign minister said the chief of staff showed a most undignified attitude in the days that followed, in his particularly humiliating effort to avoid resignation.

    "I do not wish to describe Mr. Lymberis' deplorable behavior and obvious inefficiency during the incidents", said Mr. Pangalos. "However, I wish to say that apart of all moral shortcomings the chief of our armed forces showed that night, he has now proved to be a shameful liar", he added.

    The minister said that he had cross-checked information that Admiral Lymberis "did not make the proposals he is now saying he was ready to make".

    In a reply to the accusations, Admiral Lymberis attributed them to Mr. Pangalos' emotionally unstable reactions and inaccuracies, and announced he would give a press conference on the issue today.

    [12] ... Praise on Pangalos by Rallis

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy prime minister George Rallis, in an article published in yesterday's Kathimerini, praised the foreign policy followed by minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    The former PM further accused those who disagreed with the current foreign policy that they were acting on an "opposition drive".

    Mr. Rallis, who has also served as a foreign minister, said in his article that the "turn" in the Greek foreign policy, brought about by Mr. Pangalos, "has a favorable development in the EU".

    He said Mr. Pangalos' tactic proved that it was not merely Greece that hampered Turkey's EU course, but rather a series of Turkey's own problems.

    [13] SAE initiative to re-open the Halki School of Theology

    Chicago, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    The World Council of Hellenes (SAE) is embarking on an international campaign aimed at having the Halki Scholl of Theology re-opened.

    The campaign will be officially launched on March 12 in Washington, and the ceremony will be attended by US officials and international dignitaries.

    Last Saturday, SAE president Andrew Athens visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and they made a joint visit to the Halki School of Theology.

    Mr. Athens told Patriarch Vartholomeos that all SAE bodies will participate in the international campaign, while he pledged that SAE will do everything in its power to assist the Patriarchate in attaining economic independence.

    The historic school was shut down in 1973 after a Turkish government decision.

    [14] Basketball Cup goes to Aris

    Athens, 02/02/1998 (ANA)

    Aris Thessaloniki yesterday won the men's Greek Basketball Cup, beating AEK Athens 71-68 (34-36 at half time).

    End of English language section.

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