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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-02-25

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Wednesday, 25-Feb-98 16:19:14


  • [01] Iraq
  • [02] Archbishop Seraphim
  • [03] New Democracy
  • [04] Simitis
  • [05] Tsochatzopoulos
  • [06] Stock Market
  • [07] Cyprus-Attilas
  • [08] A Taste of Byzantium

  • [01] Iraq

    Greek defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos welcomed the UN agreement that, for the time being at least, appears to put an end to the threat of military action against Iraq.

    Tsochatzopoulos said the UN deal brought a sigh of relief to humanity. Greece wants to see Iraq obey the UN's resolutions without any bombs going off.

    But Saddam Hussein is presenting the UN deal as a victory. And Antenna's correspondents in the Middle East report that the Iraqi leader has many ordinary people in the region squarely in HIS corner.

    There were rallies on the streets of Bagdad all day - people celebrating what is seen in Iraq as a victory over the United States.

    Posters of Saddam Hussein were a hot item, as the Iraqi leader was toasted by ordinary people

    love Saddam Husein, yeah".

    "We all bought pictures of Saddam Husein",ains this man. Iraq won because of his wisdom. In the nation's schools, children had a special art lesson: they drew and painted pictures of Saddam, which will find there way to the regular exhibitions of his portraits that take place in the schools.

    Saddam Husein has declared February 23rd, the date of his agreement with the UN, flag day. Every year, they'll celebrate their victory.

    If, that is, the confrontation is over for good.

    The support for Saddam is by no means limited to Iraq. For many people throughout the Middle East, his conflict with the West is of regional significance.

    Antenna's Georgos Vlavianos saw this picture of Saddam perched proudly in a Palestinian restaurant in Hebron, the West Bank.

    And learned why it is that they support Saddam.

    "Saddam Husein is one of the leaders, Arab leaders, who is asking for the independence and human rights of the Palestinians. That's why they give support to Saddam. I think if somebody else of the Arab leaders it would be the same".

    "We see that Saddam Husein is a ... who represnets all the Arabs, not the Muslims, but the Arabs".

    At the central square, one man said Saddam needs support from others in the region. <P "The problem is for all the Arab and Muslim world. Saddam alone couldn't do anything. He should have help from other Arab leaders".

    Saddam has not had help from the other Arab leaders, either during the Gulf War, or in the latest standoff with the UN. But whenever he finds himself pitted against the West, he can probably count on a lot of support from ordinary people across the region.

    [02] Archbishop Seraphim

    Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Seraphim was admitted to an Athens hospital Tuesday evening, with a bad case of the flu.

    This is the second time the archbishop has been in the hospital in two weeks. The last time, he spent three days there after complaining of abdominal discomfort.

    Sources say Serafim started showing signs of the flu Saturday, when he ran a high fever. Monday night a bad cough kept him from sleeping, prompting him to check into the hospital Tuesday.

    Doctors say his fever is down, and the archbishop may be released from the hospital Wednesday, following his scheduled kidney dialysis treatment.

    [03] New Democracy

    There's tension in New Democracy, following a leadership decision to exclude former party leader Constantinos Mitsotakis from the party's organs.

    Mitsotakis, now honorary party leader, was NOT invited to Tuesday's meeting of the party's executive committee.

    Leading him to ask what the party leader is trying to do.

    At a press conference Tuesday, New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis said he's setting the limits of

    former party leader Constantinos Mitsotakis with the party.

    That means distancing Mitsotakis from the party's institutional bodies.

    Karamanlis's comments came after Mitsotakis was NOT asked to attend a meeting of the party's executive committee Tuesday evening. All the other leading party members have been invited to it - the subject will be the party strategy in October's local elections.

    In excluding Mitsotakis the current party leader explained: "Mr Mitsotakis is above the party and party organs. Thus, he won't take part in the procedural flow of party life, but will only be invited to meetings when there's a major - mainly foreign policy - issue on the table.

    Karamanlis added that he and the party rank and file expect Mitsotakis to support him, just as he supported him when he were at the helm.

    The party leader also underscored that Mitsotakis, like all other New Democracy members with a long political history, is valuable electoral capital for the party.

    At the same time, Karamanlis repeated his warning that he will not allow the party to return to its intorverted ways - a euphemism for internal squabbling.

    Karamanlis upset some in the party a few weeks ago when he expelled three MPs and suspended three more for failing to vote against government legislation in parliament.

    Even though he missed the voting session without good reason, Mitsotakis was not disciplined, out of deference to the fact that he was once prime minister.

    But the message has been clear: Karamanlis will brook no opposition from his MPs. He said during Tuesday's press conference that it isn't up to him to decide if there will be more disciplinary moves - it's up to others in the party to behave themselves and make them unnecessary.

    After he wasn't invited to the executive committee meeting, Mitsotakis told reporters he wonders what the party leadership is up to.

    But MP Ioannis Varvitsiotis justified the exclusion, noting that Mitsotakis himself has said he only wants to take part in executive committee meetings when important issues, especially concerning foreign policy, are discussed".

    Another deputy, Thanasis Nakos, said Karamanlis has no intention of pushing Mitsotakis out of the limelight. "Mitsotakis's presence has never been annoying", he reasoned, "but always helpful, to the party and the country".

    Visibly displeased at the exclusion though, MP Dora Bakoyianni, Mitsotakis's daughter, said she'd speak her mind at party meetings. Addressing university students Tuesday, she came out against the recent expulsions, which Karamanlis has no intention of reversing in the forseeable future. She believes New Democracy needs to be a plurlaist organisation; and that in a democratic party expulsions should be a measure of the last resort.

    [04] Simitis

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis has reaffirmed his determination to run the government as he sees fit, and not as his critics inside ruling Pasok think he should.

    Simitis spoke after a meeting of Pasok's executive bureau Monday.

    Shrugging off suggestions that his in-house opponents constitute a problem, Simitis told the press: "I can govern as I like. Pasok's MPs have so far stood behind the government, and will continue to do so", he added, despite the fact that in some parliamentary votes there have been a few voices of dissent.

    Simitis told the executive bureau that the latest dispute to erupt in Pasok - over the party's youth congress last weekend - is bad for the party's image, and should be dealt with calmly.

    Simitis wanted that congress, which his supporters boycotted, to be postponed.

    Now, sources say the government may even meet with the new youth leadership, elected at the congress, to see how the friction can be eliminated.

    Nonetheless, the prime minister underscored his dissatisfaction with the internal feuding Monday. He called it a trap that can distract Pasok from its goals.

    [05] Tsochatzopoulos

    Defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was impressed by a demonstration of what advanced Russian land-to- air missiles can do.

    Tsochatzopoulos attended the display at a firing range in Crete.

    In all, four of the Russian Osa missiles were fired at moving targets flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet.

    Greece intends to purchase the Russian weapons.

    [06] Stock Market

    The Athens stock exchange made impressive gains Tuesday, following eight consecutive days of decline. Trading ended with the market up 2.5 per cent on Monday.

    The upswing took pressure off the drachma, allowing inter-bank lending rates to fall. On Monday they had reached the 18 per cent mark, as stocks slid 2.4 per cent, the biggest drop in the eight-day fall.

    The Monday tumble was sparked when Moody's - a company that rates countries' ability to repay loans - gave Greece a higher loan risk rating.

    The higher interest rates and currency instability touched off fears that Greece will

    not be able to meet targets for entry into the single European currency at the beginning of the next century.

    But the government and the Bank of Greece insist that they will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the drachma, be it with higher interest rates, or by selling off foreign currency reserves.

    [07] Cyprus-Attilas

    A Greek-Cypriot man has come forth to confirm a story told by a Turkish officer, a story which took place during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

    In an exclusive interview aired on Antenna recently, Yialtsin Kouchouk, a former Turkish lieutenant, told Sophia Iordanidou how he saved two Greek- Cypriots, one of them a young boy, from certain execution.

    Georgos Arestis has told Antenna's Evthimios Georgiou, "I was that 12 year old kid".

    July, 1974; Ammochostos, Cyprus; Turkish paratroopers land; they will eventually occupy the northern part of the island.

    One day, Georgos Arestis, then a 14-year-old from Vrissoules, was sitting in a tractor in a field with a man, Andreas Rialas.

    Arestis still remembers in vivid detail: "We were ready to leave the tractor when Andreas said,

    'Look behind you'. I saw a field full of soldiers with their rifles trained on us. In the middle of the field there was an officer and another man dressed in civilian clothes. They called out to us to approach them".

    Yialtsin Kouchouk, then a lieutenant, also remembers his encounter with Arestis.

    "Two Greeks, one of them 30 years old and the

    other 11 or 12 years old I like very much that child, he was really brave".

    Arestis recalls how money fell out of his pocket as one of the soldiers lifted him up to put him in a vehicle. He usually had 30 to 40 pounds on him, he says, since he sold a daily newspaper.

    "I'll never forget", Arestis says, "how one of them picked up my money. Putting it in my pocket, he said, 'When you go home, tell them we're soldiers, not thieves'".

    But according to Kouchouk, the captives' lives were in danger.

    "My soldiers were ready to kill them".

    Kouchouk says he stopped his troops from murdering them by convincing them they had only just arrived in Cyprus from England.

    "I told my soldiers he was not here during the war but in London. In order to make them believe.... frlom Manchester part of London....I could save them".

    Arestis remembers thinking then that Kouchouk was trying to save his life.

    "He asked us if we'd lived in England. Maybe he wanted to save us, to find a way. I only knew five or six words of English. But I remembered 'Manchester'. he said, 'I know where Manchester is', loudly, as if he wanted to make sure the other soldiers could here him. We talked for about five minutes more".

    Arestis adds that the Turks told them they were the first ones they'd taken prisoner. Letting them go, they told them to tell the villagers to leave the Vrissoules.

    [08] A Taste of Byzantium

    Byzantine life and culture are the themes of a festival coming up in London. "A Taste of Byzantium", to be held at the orthodox church of Agia Sophia and St Paul's Cathedral will feature lecutres, concerts, and exhibitions. <P "Response has been overwhelming" says public relations director Giorgos Davlas. "Concert tickets are already sold out. People are telling us how excited they are".

    And it's not just for Greeks. Event organiser Thanasis Angelou explains that there will be a series of readings of Byzantine literature translated into English.

    Isidoros Kakouris of the Greek culture ministry says there will be a rich array of exhibitions and lectures - something, that is, for everyone.

    Greek actress Mimi Denissi is all for the event. She feels it's time people got to know what Byzantium was all about.

    The festival, being held under the auspices of Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Vartholomeos, runs from February 28th to March 8th.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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