Prosecutor examines British film 'Trainspotting'
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece plans elite rapid deployment force, defence minister says
Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said today that one of government's
priorities was the establishment of an elite rapid deployment force in the
Greek armed forces.
"The establishment of a strong rapid intervention force, made up of well-
trained men, and with fully-equipped firepower is the priority in the
national defence ministry's planning," Tsohatzopoulos said in an interview
with the Athens afternoon daily 'Ta Nea'.
He said that the men in the 1,000-3,000-strong force would be volunteers on
a five-year tour of duty but would also include conscripts after a planned
restructuring of the armed forces, aimed at making better use of manpower.
Additional needs would be covered by veterans of multi-national forces
outside Greece, he said.
Other defence ministry plans include the increase the operational
effectiveness and pre-emptive capability of the armed forces, the
completion of the second phase of the Greece-Cyprus joint defence doctrine
ensuring fully coordinated weapon system planning, and the establishment of
two peacekeeping units made up of between 100-200 men to take part in
European Union and United Nations missions.
Referring to the five-year (1996-2000) weapons system programme, Tsohatzopoulos
said the programme introducing new technologies and weapons systems would
exceed the three trillion drachma mark.
He said the country's military defence diplomacy would be strengthened not
only within the framework of NATO and the Western European Union (WEU) but
through bilateral defence agreements.
Tsohatzopoulos said that Greece's national strategy "is exclusively of a
Kazakhstan seeks stronger ties with Greece
Kazakhstan's deputy culture minister said today that he hoped to promote
stronger culture ties with Greece during his week-long visit here.
Vladimir Koutovoi, who is visiting Greece at the invitation of MTI, one of
a consortium of Greek companies organising the national lottery of
Kazakhstan, said he expected his visit to be an opportunity for further
cultural contacts between the two countries.
"There is a Greek community and a Greek Cultural Centre in Alma Ata, the
capital of Kazakhstan and its members are very active," he said.
"Now, with the cultural fund that will be financed by the lottery the
consortium of Greek companies has organised, we will proceed to carry out
several cultural projects including excavations, restoration of antiquities
and expansion of our cultural relations with other countries," he
Kazakhstan, one of the largest republics of the former Soviet Union, is
siutated north of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Although there are no ancient Greek cities in the area, Koutovoi said, the
archaeological museum has many ancient Greek vases.
"We don't know how they came, but it seems that our relations with Greece
go very far back," Koutovoi said.
Koutovoi, who is scheduled to return to Kazakhstan next week, expects to
meet and discuss promotion of Greek-Kazakhstani relations with Greek
Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Yugoslav counterpart
Milan Milutinovic signed a protocol on cooperation between their ministries
Earlier in the day, Mr. Pangalos, who is on a three-day tour of countries
of former Yugoslavia, held successive meetings with Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and Federal Prime Minister Radoye Kodic.
According to the Serbian president's press office, the Greek foreign
minister's meeting with Mr. Milosevic underlined that Greece and Yugoslavia
are "successfully advancing their cooperation in all sectors, based on
their traditional friendly relations and common interests especially in the
"The cooperation protocol will contribute to a more regular exchange of
views between the two ministries on bilateral, regional and international
issues of mutual interest," Mr. Milutinovic told reporters after the
Stressing that the meeting was held in "a friendly atmosphere of mutual
understanding and coincidence or rapprochement of views," Mr. Milutinovic
said that consultations will begin immediately between the two ministries
aiming at the signing of inter-state agreements creating the conditions for
Greek investment activity in Yugoslavia.
The Greek foreign minister said that Yugoslavia concluded its obligations
stemming from the Dayton peace accord and the inter-Balkan cooperation and
therefore deserved to be fully integrated into the international community.
According to the Greek foreign minister, Greece will raise the issue of an
equal treatment of Yugoslavia when the Council of Ministers meets at the
close of this month.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis is due to visit Yugoslavia within the
next three months, Mr. Pangalos said, adding that prospects were now being
shaped regarding greater freedom of movement of people, goods and capital
between the two countries.
At the meeting, Mr. Pangalos agreed to "a future unhindered movement of
Yugoslav citizens to Greece within the framework of Community policies."
Yugoslavia has asked for the abolition of visas due to friendly relations
between the two countries. The meeting agreed to a simplification of
procedures for granting Greek visas to Yugoslav citizens.
The meeting between the two foreign ministers also centred on development
of economic cooperation emphasising the creation of strong economic ties
with northern Greece.
It was agreed that in the framework of such efforts economic officials and
businessmen from both countries should meet in March in Thessaloniki.
The meeting also focused on strategically important projects in the fields
of railway and transport. Transport ministries in both countries discussed
in the past the issue of Greece's request for more transit permits.
Mr. Milutinovic said consultations would accelerate between experts from
both countries regarding the Thessaloniki port issue.
Mr. Pangalos stressed the need to modernise the highway, in cooperation
with the European Union, linking Greece to Hungary and Slovenia through
Mr. Pangalos said the highway constituted a "vital artery for Greek exports,
" also proposing the construction of a railway linking Thessaloniki to
Munich in eight hours by high-speed trains.
Mr. Pangalos, who on Wednesday held talks in Sarajevo, was due to depart
last night for Zagreb, last stop of his tour.
Chairman of the Capital Market Commission professor Stavros Thomadakis
yesterday presented the new institutional framework for investment and
financial services, updated with three new administrative regulations,
which will come into force on November 1.
The new provisions set the conditions for the granting of licences to
Investment Services Companies (EPEY) with minimum own funds of 200 million
and 1 billion drachmas, and institutes certificates, or deeds of representation,
for foreign securities traded in the Greek stock market. It is considered
that these certificates will provide a new substantial tool for attracting
securities and stocks from other Balkan countries as well as other foreign
investment funds for their purchase.
It is worth noting that the new institutional framework also provides for
the setting up of EPEYs with minimum own capital of 30 million drachmas, to
replace today's "producers" of stock market transactions, who will now have
to alter their legal statu s into societes anonymes in order to be able to
continue operating. It is considered that this measure will eliminate many
problems facing investors, especially outside Athens.
Mr. Thomadakis said the new provisions will institute more order in the
Greek stock market, which is necessary for its further development. Under
persistent questioning by reporters he admitted, however, that the Capital
Market Commission does not,for the time being, possess the technical
possibilities to exercise an effective supervisory role, nor can it
exercise control in each individual case, as the Bank of Greece does in the
banking sector. He said that the Commission will carry out weekly sample
checks in the sector until more specialised staff is hired.
He added that another two regulations will be issued soon, concerning a
code of ethics for EPEYs and the adequacy of their capital base respectively.
Turkish threat highlighted in Tsohatzopoulos speech
Speaking at the Armed Forces Officers Club at an official dinner by the
'Young President's Organisation' last night, National Defence Minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos focused on the threat facing Greece from Turkey which keeps
occupation forces on territory of the Republic of Cyprus and nurses
specific claims in the Aegean.
Mr.Tsohatzopoulos said that Greece, the sole European Union, NATO and West
European Union member-state in the region, constitutes a stabilising factor
against Turkey through the preservation of a responsible position capable
of averting actions and fai t accomplis overturning fragile balances in
this geopolitical subsystem.
He said it also constitutes a force of friendship, peace and economic
cooperation in the Balkans, a crucial factor in shaping conditions of
security in the wider geopolitical area and supporting the enlargement of
the European Union, with top priority b eing given to the accession of
Cyprus and Malta.
The leader of the South Australian opposition Labor Party Mike Wran and
the deputy leader of the Victorian opposition Labor Party Dimitris Dollis
have invited Prime Minister Costas Simitis to visit Australia.
Mr. Wran said he hoped the Greek prime minister would accept the invitation
to visit "so as to strengthen the friendly relations between the two
Mr. Wran is heading the campaign to reopen Australian consulate general in
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the President of the National
Council of French Employers Mr. J. Gandois termed the Greek market
"attractive" for French industrialists and noted the sectors of trade,
industry and telecommunications as being the most interesting for future
cooperation between the two countries.
He said Greece is the most developed country in the region and could play
an important role in creating joint businesses with the French, adding that
the problem in the Balkan region, regarding the development of economic
activity, is that "one should n either make haste nor delay."
The board of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation convened
yesterday and decided to purchase 385,000 digital telephones from the
Intracom and Siemens companies to help meet OTE's needs by the end of 1996
and in the first half of 1997.
According to members of the board, if the decision to procure the
telephones was not taken yesterday, OTE ran the risk of losing revenues
running into billions of drachmas, immobilising part of its staff and
losing revenues from the European Union.
The board also decided to hire a group of advisers from the Belicor,
Telecom Italia and Prire Waterhouse companies to advise OTE on the planning
and development of the network, the restructuring of the procurements
system and processes to procure 2,000, 000 digital telephones as anticipated
by its operational programme.
Humanitarian aid to Palestinians
The foreign ministry said today that it was sending medical supplies worth
9.5 million drachmas to the Palestinian self-rule areas.
The supplies were gathered by the health ministry following a decision by
minister Costas Geitonas in response to a Palestinian appeal.
4 Bulgarian teachers killed in crash
Four Bulgarian tourists were killed last night when their car plunged 150
metres off while travelling on the Trikala-Ioannina national road.
Police identified the four as: Martin Perzian, 35; Elila Krumova Luntenova,
24; Stefka Angonelova Christova, 52; and Radoslava Ivanova Radeva,
A fifth passenger, Christina Ktereva Constantinova, 24, was pulled
seriously injured from the wreck of the car.
All five were teachers and visiting Greece to take part in a training
programme for teachers of Modern Greek studies on the island of Lefkada.
Police said the accident occured at the 112th km, near Ioannina, when the
vehicle rounded a corner at excessive speed, hit the rear of another
vehicle and spun out of control, breaking through the protective barrier
and plunging off the cliff.
An Athens prosecutor today ordered a preliminary investigation into claims
by an Athens daily earlier this week that the film "Trainspotting"
glorified drug use.
Prosecutor George Koliokostas said the film would be watched by an expert
panel which would decide if it glamourised the use of narcotics and, if so,
"Trainspotting", one of British cinema's biggest-ever box office hits,
graphically tells the story of a group of Scottish drug addicts.
The film is due to premiere in Athens cinemas tonight. Cinemas screening
the film would be considered to be breaking Greek drug laws and could face
arrest if the panel finds the film to be in favour of drug use.
Heavy rainfalls and occasional rainstorms throughout the country with an
improvement later on in the day. Temperatures will range in Athens from 16-
21C and in Thessaloniki from 14-18C.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 239.032 Can. dlr.176.417, Australian dlr. 189.204, Pound sterling
379.519, Irish punt 383.011, Cyprus pd 510.880, French franc 45.884, Swiss
franc 188.480 Belgian franc 7.535, German mark 155.238 Finnish mark 52.022,
Dutch guilder 138.354 Danish Kr. 40.517, Swedish Kr. 36.018, Norwegian Kr.
36.605, Austrian Sh. 22.062, Italian lira (100) 15.591 Yen (100) 212.982
Spanish Peseta 1.844, Portuguese Escudo 1.539.