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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-02-26

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Thursday, 26-Feb-98 16:39:27


  • [01] Archbishop Serafeim
  • [02] New Democracy
  • [03] Iraq
  • [04] Russia-Fage
  • [05] Teachers
  • [06] Medical
  • [07] Sports

  • [01] Archbishop Serafeim

    Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Serafeim remains in critical but stable condition at an Athens hospital.

    Serafeim was admitted Thursday, after several days of acute flu symptoms, including a high fever and cough.

    Doctors say that the archbishop's infection is a normal complication in patients who undergo frequent kidney dialysis treatment, as Serafeim does.

    Journalist Giorgos Kastrinakis, who also has kidney problems, has been undergoing regular dialysis treatments side-by-side with Serafeim for four years.

    He said after the archbishop's treatment Wednesday that Serafeim was talkative and in good spirits.

    [02] New Democracy

    Constantinos Mitsotakis has openly criticised the leadership of New Democracy. Mitsotakis headed the last New Democracy government, which ended in 1993.

    Today, he is the party's honorary leader and an MP. In recent weeks, his relations with current New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis have been visibly strained.

    The tension became worse when Karamanlis virtually exculded Mitsotakis from the party's organs.

    Observers say there could be a complete break between New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis and former prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis.

    Two days after Karamanlis decided not to ask him to attend Tuesday's executive committee meeting, Mitsotakis told journalists the party is quote "certainly not moving forward", unquote.

    Sources say Mitsotakis is angry at not having been asked to the executive committee meeting, and worried about where the party is headed.

    One of the questions being asked is: will the feud at the top lead to a split in the party?

    Many MPs, like Vasilis Michaloliakos, rule that out. He says the political system couldn't bear a split, and the Greek people wouldn't want to see it.

    Karamanlis also rules out the formation of another party, simply because, he explains, there's no demand for one among voters.

    In recent weeks, Karamanlis has shown resolute determination to stifle in- house critics and challengers. He expelled or suspended six MPs a few weeks ago for disregarding the party whip in a parliamentary vote.

    While Mitsotakis defiantly refused to show up for the vote, Karamanlis didn't discipline him, because he is a former prime minister. Since then, Karamanlis has used that to justify removing Mitsotakis from all party committees - Mitsotakis is above party affairs, he says.

    But Mitsotakis does not agree, and isn't hiding it. Karamanlis has also ruffled the feathers of another former party leader, Miltiades Evert. Karmanlis says he expects Evert to support him. People close to Evert say Evert cannot become a self-proclaimed advisor. He's ready to help Karamanlis, but his help has never been requested.

    Mitsotakis's daughter, Dora Bakoyianni, is also voicing criticism of Karamanlis. Like her father, she says the party isn't going forward, but backward. At Tuesday's executive committee meeting, she said the party needs to define itself politically.

    Students at a university where she spoke Tuesday are confused about the party's political identity. They asked her if New Democracy is right-wing or ultra-right wing. Their confusion stems from one party MP's view that supporters of a far-right wing newspaper should be brought into the party. Justifying his position, Giorgos Karatzaferis says he believes it's safer to have people with extreme views in the main political parties, rather than isolated on the political fringe.

    Many are the voices in New Democracy that want peace to be restored to the party. MP Giorgos Sourlas is proposing toward that end that Karamanlis begin a dialogue with the party's leading members.

    [03] Iraq

    The UN deal with the Iraqi government has brought a sigh of relief to many Iraqi's. The devastating war of 1990, and seven years of economic sanctions have left large sections of the population destitute and struggling to feed themselves and their children.

    Nachita lives in one of Bagdad's many poor neighborhoods. At the age of 20, she has two children, and little to offer them.

    Her youngest, Kemal, was born with a defect in his hand, one of the side effects of the devastating military strikes on the country seven years ago.

    "Since 1991, many children have been born with health problems", explains Nachita, and it's really hard to raise them today".

    Because of UN sanctions, Iraq cannot sell its oil, so has no money to import food, agricultural equipment, fertilizers, and medicine.

    Nachita shares her room with several other families. The men work - and earn less than 40 cents a day. The UN says anyone in the Third World making under a dollar a day lives below the poverty line. Plenty of people in Iraq fall well beneath that line.

    Says one of Nachita's neighbours: "The poverty is great. Many kids suffer. The eat just a little bread and rice a day".

    The governement provides the people with meagre rations of those staples in an attempt to ward off famine.

    In these wretched abodes, all the women can hope to do is boil a pot of rice for their families every day.

    To go along with the stranglehold of the sanctions, there is the renewed threat of military attack.

    The women of Iraq are not just spouses and mothers. They are also soldiers. Military service is obligatory for them, and training is more intense during periods of crisis.

    For the past month, women in Bagdad have been training for an hour-and-a- half a day, five days a week. They learn not only to handle weapons but also how to give first aid.

    They say they're ready to defend their country, and to defend Saddam Hussein.

    And they await the day when the sanctions will be lifted, and the threat of war will recede for good.

    [04] Russia-Fage

    Greek dairy giant Fage is one of the companies pioneering the drive to strengthen trade bonds between Greece and Russia.

    At Fage's invitation, Russian ambassador to Greece Valentina Matvienko visited the company's Athens plant.

    The Russians and Greeks are considering a joint venture, with Fage opening a plant in Russia to produce products similar to those churned out in Athens: yoghurt, milk, ice cream, and cheese.

    After a tour of the Fage facilities, Matvienko

    dwelt on the ties between Greece and Russia, two orthodox countries. She added that the Bourgas to Alexandropouli oil pipeline, that will carry Russian oil to Greece, is a great economic opportunity for both nations.

    [05] Teachers

    The nation's teachers and students held protests in Athens and Thessaloniki Wednesday, demanding the government repeal legislation that alters many aspects of the educational system.

    Education minister Gerasimos Arsenis's changes include stricter hiring guidelines and teacher assessment, and a restructuring of the way school pupils are assessed.

    A number of educators say what bothers them most is that the government has passed its legislation without consulting them.

    School teachers' union president Christos Christou enumerated the educators' main demands: "We want more permanent staff taken on; obligatory pre- school education for the nation's kids; and longer school days".

    The teachers also oppose the government's plan to gradually abolish the current hiring system, under which staff are hired according to their number on the waiting list. The government wants to start hiring according to an applicant's qualifications. Teachers fear that will allow favoritism to be shown in hiring.

    In Thessaloniki, participation in the 24-hour education strike was estimated at over 60 per cent.

    [06] Medical

    A group of doctors in Thessaloniki is making it easier for people to get late-night medical help - at home.

    Members of the city's medical association are setting up a help line. People in need at night can phone in and a doctor will pay them a house call.

    Pathologist Kostas Koutsomytelis explains the advantages to patients: they won't have to go through the trouble of going to the hospital, and their state insurance funds will reimburse them for the cost of the doctors' house calls.

    The medical association points out that only 10 per cent of patients who arrive at the hospital in an ambulance need to be admitted to the hospital. That, they argue, is another argument in favour of treatment at home.

    [07] Sports

    In sports, and soccer, we have two results to report in the quarterfinals of the Greek cupship.

    Irakles and Panionios advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament, as expected. Apollon drops out despite beating Irakles 1-nil Wednesday afternoon. Irakles won the first leg 4-nil.

    And Panionios completed a two-game sweep of Kalamaria.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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