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Antenna: News in English (AM), 98-02-11

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Wednesday, 11-Feb-98 11:08:23


  • [01] Serafim
  • [02] DEKO
  • [03] New Democracy
  • [04] Farmers
  • [05] Floods
  • [06] Giorgos Papandreou
  • [07] Ancient monuments
  • [08] Sheepdog

  • [01] Serafim

    Orthodox archbishop of Athens and all Greece Serafim is in stable condition in an Athens hospital.

    The 84-year-old archbishop went in for his monthly kidney diaysis treatment Monday night, but was admitted for tests owing to slight discomfort in his stomach.

    Sources say Serafim, long plagued by renal failure, may be released Wednesday - it all depends on the outcome of the tests.

    [02] DEKO

    The government is preparing to make deep cuts in cash-strapped state-owned enterprises.

    And the first firm to go up on the chopping block will be Olympic Airways.

    Government medicine for troubled companies will include hiring freezes, mergers, and privatisations.

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis and top aides discussed their plans, just a week after passing legislation that gives the government a freer hand in regulating indebted state companies.

    Trade unions, losing much of their collective bargaining power, oppose the new regime.

    After meeting with the prime minister, the finance minister was eager to reconcile the unions to the government moves. "All of our decisions", said Giannos Papantoniou, "will be made after dialogue with the unions".

    Over the next two months, Olympic Airways will see staff reductions, a hiring freeze, and longer working hours.

    Transport minister Tasos Mantelis says, "We made it clear that we'd have to move quickly on Olympic, making the changes that will allow it to survive in an international market. Competition is razor sharp".

    Mantelis will not accede to worker demands that seasonal employees in state industries be made permanent. It would be illegal, he explains.

    Apart from Olympic, the government is also shaking out the post office and public transport. Here there will be office closures and merging of services.

    Shares will be sold in the state-owned petroleum company. Three banks - the Macedonia-Thrace, Cretabank, and the Ionian - will be privatised.

    And there will be a gradual opening up of the state's monopoly over electricity.

    [03] New Democracy

    Three MPs expelled from New Democracy last week, and three others suspended for a year, appear to be coordinating their political activities.

    One of the expelled, Giorgos Souflias, is asking the president of parliament to assign them seats in parliament, and an office.

    Souflias is also requesting that each of the six also be assigned to a parliamentary committee.

    "We need our own space as independent MPs", reasons Souflias, who made his first appearance in parliament since being ousted from the party.

    He sat in on a session of the parliamentary committee on constitutional revision, and was warmly received by Pasok and New Democracy deputies.

    Asked about the recent tumult in the party, former New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert advised reporters to focus on the nation's real problems. "You should talk about unemployment and poverty", he said.

    In pushing ahead with the expulsions, party leader Kostas Karamanlis sent the message that he will brook no serious opposition within his own ranks.

    Evert was dismissive of suggestions that Karamanlis's warning to other MPs not to stray from the party line is also being directed at him.

    And Karamanlis himself seems to want to forget all about expulsions, and get on with the business of being the opposition leader.

    [04] Farmers

    Protesting farmers are warning that if they don't hear what they want to hear at their meeting with the agricultur minister Thursday, then the government will be responsible for what follows.

    That could mean a repeat of last winter, when farmers, mainly in central Greece, used their tractors to block off the Athens to Thessaloniki highway.

    Those protests disrupted transport for weeks. And the government does not want to see a repeat.

    Their demands that the government help stop their incomes from sliding unmet, one year on the nation's farmers are up in arms again.

    So far, they've staged only small protests, to let the government know they're out there.

    They blocked off the Athens-Thessaloniki highway for a total of four hours in central Greece Tuesday.

    The farmers want tax breaks, better bank loan repayment terms, and better retirement pensions to help ease their plight.

    The government counters that the only solution to the farmers' problems is for them to raise productivity.

    The farmers are warning Pasok that Thursday's meeting had better show some results, or they'll escalate their roadblocks.

    In Crete, a rift appears to have opened up in the farmers' ranks. most of the farmers withdrew from a blockade of the county hall in Chania Tuesday, saying they want to see if anything good comes out of the meeting of European Union agricultural ministries on February 16th.

    The rump of farmers who stayed at the protest site called the others traitors.

    Chania prefect Aleka Markoyiannai, who spent all night in her county hall office, said she sympathises with the farmers, but added that their their problems are complex and they should cooperate with the government, at the local and national levels.

    [05] Floods

    In response to major flooding caused by torrential rainfall last week, Macedonia-Thrace minister Filipos Petsalnikos is promising government aid to help pay for damages suffered by residents of Evros.

    People are still dealing with unwanted water, as water levels are receding only very slowly. In the village of Lavara the overflowing of the Evros river has caused serious damage to farmland, shops, and houses.

    Five homes on the isle of Frosini in lake Pamvotida in the northwestern city of Ioannina have suffered major damages from flooding.

    Experts do not expect a change in water levels for the next five days.

    [06] Giorgos Papandreou

    The Greek government is intent on strengthening the bonds between Greeks of the diaspora and Greece.

    Alternate foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou outlined Tuesday what the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad plans to do to realise that goal.

    Papandreou said the focus will be on bringing prominent Greeks in other countries, and people who've lost touch with their roots into the network of Hellenism.

    The Greek foreign ministry has ambitious plans to help bring expatriate Greeks into touch with the land of their forefathers.

    Alternate foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou told the press that 1999 will see the first-ever World Symposium of Hellenism, a meeting ground for prominent Greeks around the world, be they politicians, journalists, artists, scientists, or academics.

    The World Council of Hellenes Abroad, explained Papandreou, only relates to expatriates it is in touch with, Greeks abroad who already have a deep interest in the old country.

    What the symposium aims to do, is to reach out to Greeks who've risen to success in other countries, but who may not have any special ties to Greece.

    In the run-up to the symposium, there will be a series of specialist conferences in 1998 - politicians of Greek descent will meet at one; there will be others for scientists, artists, and journalists.

    The aim is to establish a network of people in specific fields who all share Greek heritage.

    The 2004 Olympics are another focal point for Greece's efforts to tighten its bonds with its expatriates.

    Greeks abroad can be instrumental in helping promote Greece's plan to see an Olympic Truce implemented globally during the 2004 games.

    And the games provide a special opportunity for Greece to reach out to 3rd, 4th and 5th generation Greeks, young people of Greek descent without any ties or special interest in the land of their forefathers.

    Papandreou says the government intends to recruit such young people as Olympic volunteers. They'll come to Athens to help stage the summer games, working as everything from guides, to translators, to computer experts.

    The volunteers will stay with Greek families, an extension of an already existing programme that has seen some 25 thousand young people of Greek descent stay for a time with Greeks.

    To bring young people closer to Greece, the government is also setting up the "Hospitality Club", which will help get people together as pen pals and hook up young people who have similar interests.

    Greece takes a special interest in the young people of Greek descent in the former Soviet Union. In 1997 alone, the general secretariat sponsored 900 such youths to Greece take part in this educational and recreational programme.

    Greece is establishing Greek libraries in universities in the former Soviet Union, and will continue the "Greek culture month" which began last year in seven cities in southern Russia.

    In 1998, there will be culture months in Georgia, the Ukraine, and South Africa as well.

    [07] Ancient monuments

    An ambitious program is underway to restore the ancient monuments of Rome.

    The European Union program entitled, 'Raphael', aims to identify materials used in constructing the monuments, then propose compatible material suitable for their restoration.

    One of the most important scientific studies ever carried out in Europe, it involves Crete's Polytechnic School, the British Studies Office, the French Archeological School, the Italian State Studies Organization, and Rome's Archeological service.

    Heading the Greek team, Theodoros Markopoulos says they have previously studied material used on monuments constructed after 60AD.

    He and his partners, Eftychia Repouschou and Paola Rotondo, have already studied the monuments which lie along the five-mile long Via Appia Antica, which starts in the centre of the Italian capital.

    "So far", Markopoulos explains, "we've found volcanic rock, lime, and octoplinths, Roman bricks".

    The EU study ends in 1999.

    [08] Sheepdog

    It could be a lost chapter from the 'Hidden Life of Dogs'.

    The valiant hero, a sheepdog, came to the aid of an injured deer near the village of PApigo in northern Greece.

    Our hero was apparently sniffing around Vikos Gorge when he stumbled upon the distressed doe.

    The deer being hurt in the back, weak, and unable to move, the dog remained with her for two days, keeping her company and out of harm's way.

    The owner of the dog, out looking for him in the woods, was alerted to his whereabouts by his frantic barking. Five hours later, accompanied by mountain climbers and residents, the injured doe was put on a stretcher and transferred to a veterinary clinic.

    One mountain climber said, "We contacted Antenna, in the hopes that a vet specializing in deer care would would come to the doe's aid.

    As for our accidental hero, he prefers to remain anonymous.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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