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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-02-10

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <http://www.antenna.gr> - email: antenna@compulink.gr

Last Updated: Tuesday, 10-Feb-98 15:44:25


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus-Elections
  • [02] New Democracy
  • [03] Floods
  • [04] Farmers
  • [05] Economy
  • [06] Gavras
  • [07] Sports
  • [08] Elytis-Seferis

  • [01] Cyprus-Elections

    Giorgos Iakovou finished a breath ahead of incumbent Glavcos Clirides in Sunday's presidential election in Cyprus.

    The two will compete in a runoff election next Sunday.

    Giorgos Iakovou, backed by the Diko and communist Akel parties, emerged ahead of the pack in Sunday's balloting. The former foreign minister pulled in 40.6 per cent of the votes, to incumbent president Glavcos Clirides's 40.1 per cent.

    Voter turnout was high - with 92 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots.

    Both Iakovou and Clirides - who will compete in the run off election next sunday - expressed satisfaction over the first round outcome.

    Clirides said he will now start trying to put together a national unity government.

    Iakovou was happy that 60 per cent of the voters cast ballots against the incumbent, as he put it. He is trying to rally what he calls the progressive forces of the nation around his banner for next weekend's runoff.

    EDEK, the socialist party led by Vasos Lyssarides, picked up 10.6 per cent of the votes - making Lyssarides something of a key player in the runoff between the top two finishers.

    Both Iakovou and Clirides have their eyes on his critical 10 per cent.

    Iakovou is extending a hand of cooperation toward EDEK, hoping its voters will back him in the next round.

    And sources say Clirides is prepared to offer the foreign affairs and defence portfolios to EDEK if it backs him.

    Lyssarides, eager to see his party get some ministerial positions, is talking about the formation of a government backed by a quote "large social- democratic front", unquote. Lyssarides says he will think deeply about where to throw his support next Sunday.

    The other four candidates in the first round pulled in a grand total of just under 9 per cent of the vote. Independent Alexis Galanos got 4 per cent; the United Democrats, headed by former Cypriot president Giorgos Vasiliou, finished with 3 per cent; Nikos Koutsou and the New Horizon party polled .9 per cent; and Nikos RolAndis' Liberal Party picked up .8 per cent of the votes.

    Whoever emerges triumphant from the second round, will begin what some are calling the most significant 5-year presidential term in Cyprus's history.

    European Union talks on Cypriot entry into the EU

    are set to begin this year; also in 1998, Cyprus intends to deploy defensive Russian missiles, over strident Turkish objections; and this spring, US envoy Richard Holbrooke is expected to begin his push to resolve the Cyprus problem once and for all.

    The Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus dominates local politics. And in his current campaign, Clirides has maintained that his four decades of negotiating with the Turkish Cypriots makes him indispensable to the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Iakovou has charged that Clirides has given in to US pressure to take up a compromising position, one that could lead to partition of the island. The 59-year-old Iakovou also says the 78-year-old Clirides is too old and ineffective for the presidency.

    [02] New Democracy

    A week after the tumultuous expulsion of three of its leading MPs, New Democracy is regrouping.

    Over the weekend, the party leader renewed his warning to party members to stay in line, or find themselves outside the party.

    Over the weekend, party leader Kostas Karamanlis expressed his determination to move ahead with the opposition policies he thinks are right, and without compromising because of pressure from within his own ranks.

    That warning to any would-be future dissenters with his line included, said the party spokesman Monday, two former party leaders, Constantinos Mitstotakis and Miltiades Evert.

    Stephanos Manos, Giorgos Souflias, and Vassilis Kontogiannopoulos were expelled for failing to vote against Pasok legislation that would curtail union right in the public sector.

    All said the legislation, though weak, was a step in the right direction. Karamanlis, arguing

    that they had effectively offered the government support, showed them the door.

    In a weekend interview, Souflias didn't rule out the possibility of forming a new party, though neither he nor Manos have said at any point that they believe that would be the right way to go. Souflias says there is social pressure for something new, but his personal aim is to help bring about a regeneration of New Democracy.

    Meeting in London Monday, Manos and Andreas Andrionopoulos - another former New Democracy member - agreed that keeping things low key is the best thing for the party at this point.

    MP Dora Bakoyianni went on record against the expulsions over the weekend.

    And Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who has often been mentioned as a possible future party leader, said events in New Democracy are symptomatic of a general crisis of the political system.

    While the speculation and reflection continue, the line from the leadership of the party is that there's no looking back.

    Anna Psarouda Benaki, who replaces Manos in the shadow cabinet, says the expulsions were painful for everyone, but the party must now rise to meet the expectations of its supporters.

    Nonetheless, the chill of last week's events was evident as the shadow cabinet convened in an inordinately strained and formal atmosphere Monday.

    There was none of the familiar chit chat in front of the reporters before the press was asked to leave the conference room.

    Source say that during the shadow cabinet meeting, the expulsions were the one issue NOT discussed. Talk covered farmers' protest - New Demoracy is opposing the farmers' roadblocks - and interest rates.

    [03] Floods

    The rain may have stopped but flood-level waters are receding very slowly.

    The torrential rainfall last week caused major damage in the north eastern part of the country, destroying 25 thousand acres of farmland, and damaging homes and shops.

    The river Evros in rose to over six meters over the weekend, before ebbing back 10 centimetres Monday.

    In Ioannina, northwestern Greece, lake Pam-vOtida was so swollen that lakeshore homes on the island of Frosini were flooded.

    Sand bags laid last week to protect people's homes from the rising lake were all for nought. And life is being made more difficult because water levels are receding so slowly.

    [04] Farmers

    Protesting farmers and the governemnt will meet Thursday in an attempt to ward off roadblocks by farmers unhappy with falling living standards.

    Agriculture minister Stephanos Tzoumakos heads the government delegation that will discuss the farmers' demands with protesters.

    Among other things, the farmers want easier repayment terms on state bank loans; better retirement pensions; and tax breaks.

    The Athens to Thessaloniki was shut for two hours Monday, at the point where it runs through Larisa.

    And protestors closed off the main highway from Thessaloniki to Katerini at two points with their tractors.

    There were similar roadblocks over the weekend, as the farmers continued their attempt to pressure the government into talks and concessions, before launching large scale blockades.

    In Crete, farmers blocked off the Chania county hall after their 20-day deadline for the government to solve their financial problems expired Monday.

    [05] Economy

    The government is looking for a way to help banks and their debtors come to a compromise over interest rates.

    Greece's constitutional court recently ruled illegal the banking practice of compounding interest on overdue interest payments, when there has been no prior agreement with the debtor.

    The court ruling means borrowers can take the banks to court to reclaim compound interest they've already doled out to their banks.

    Loathe to see that happen, finance minister Yiannos Papantoniou has stepped in to find a way of solving the problem without the banks suffering too much of a loss.

    After meeting with bank chiefs Monday, Papantoniou said he hopes to put legislation before parliament this week, which will give the banks the opportunity to write off old debt comprising interest on overdue interest payments.

    "We looked at the cost of all the possible alternatives", said Papantonioiu after meeting with the bankers. "We want to draw up legislation that will resolve the issue favourably for borrowers".

    The government legislation will allow banks to compound interest at six- monthly intervals, at a rate of 2.5 per cent.

    Despite the Papantoniou move, borrowers are unhappy. Their spokesman, Athanassios Thanopoulos says that this week alone there are to be 4 thousand auctions of properties belonging to people whose bank loan repayments are in arrears.

    [06] Gavras

    Greek director Kostas Gavras, talked about his new movie "Mad City" at an Athens press conference Monday.

    Starring John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman, the film looks at the role the media and publicity play in people's lives.

    In "Mad City", museum guard John Travolta takes a group of hostages when he gets fired.

    He hopes that the act will help him get his job back.

    Journalist Dustin Hoffman, at the museum when the drama begins to unfold, seizes on the story as a chance to promote his career.

    The question is: will the reporter do his job right, or will he sacrifice the truth to success? Gavras believes the media have a great responsibility to their public. He thinks their doing a worse job of living up to that responsibility as time goes by.

    He wonders if the media is able to impose something its version of the truth on the public.

    "It's a question of whether or not journalists have the power to form puclic opinion, or change it", he says.

    The two-hour film, shot in the US in 12 weeks, debuts in Athens Friday.

    [07] Sports

    Pao and Olympiakos have moved ahead of Aek into first place.

    Pao gets the first of three goals from the league's number two scorer. Christos Va-zecha makes it one-nil in the 65th minute of the match.

    Pao gets its other two goals from Alexoudis, as it guns down veria 3-nil.

    Pao now has 52 points, as does weekend winner Olympiakos.

    Aek slides into third place after managing nothing more than a draw against cellar dweller Kavala.

    Paok, Ionikos, Irakles, and Xanthi are next in the pecking order in the first division. Panliakos has no trouble on the road against Panachaiki. And Apollon fails to make use the home field advantage against Panionios.

    In pro basketball, Olympiakos has kept up with Pao at the top of the first division, but it isn't easy. Olympiakos beats last place Larisa with difficulty 62-51, and moves its record out to 16 and 3.

    Earlier, Pao picks up ITS 16th win, knocking off Panionios 95-77. Byron Scott leads the winners with 24 points, and Dino Radja chips in 23.

    On the scoreboard, Aek and Paok are tied for third with 13 and 6 records after their weekend triumphs.

    The upset of the weekend comes from Apollon, which upends Irakles.

    Aris gets a cold shower just a week after winning the Greek cupship.

    And Iraklio remains unbeaten at home after its victory.

    [08] Elytis-Seferis

    Odysseas Elytis and Giorgos Seferis, two nobel prize winning Greek poets were posthumously honored by the philanthropic organization, International Inner-Wheel.

    A sculpture dedicated to the two poets was unveiled by actor Giorgos Foundas.

    Created by Takis Parlavantzas, it depicts the faces of the two poets in relief. A member of the International Rotary Club, the artist feels honoured that he was commissioned to do the sculpture.

    Marianna Halikia Kaloida, manager of Inner-Wheel says, "Our nation will eternally remember these two poets".

    Elytis and Seferis praised Greece with their depictions of the sun and sea in their poems.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998


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