Special programme for gypsies
NEWS IN DETAIL
Farmers to file charges against police
Following a decision by the Pan-Thessaly Coordinating Committee, Thessaly's
farmers demand the government to repair damage to their machinery after
riot police on Friday deflated the tyres of 1,5 thousand tractors in
Central Greece to prevent farmers from blockading the North-South national
"We reqest that the government stops misinforming (the public) and realise
that it is fully responsible for its political and penal actions and will
soon be called to pay," a Pan-Thessaly Coordinating Committee announcement
said this afternoon.
Thessaly farmers said they will file charges against police for extensive
damage caused to their tractors but the Public Order Ministry denies the
In another development, yesterday, the farmers announced an end to their
second round of protest but warned of future action.
A Pan-Thessaly Coordinating Committee meeting this morning, however, did
not reach decision as to whether the protests will continue.
Senior government officials are meanwhile continuing a briefing campaign
accross the country side.
Speaking today in Thessaloniki, Undersecretary to the Prime Minister's
Office, George Paschalidis, said that "farmers' problems can not be
discussed in an atmosphere of tension," adding that "a social dialogue is
being organised and should take place with the participation of all
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said in
Thessaloniki on Saturday evening that the government is not willing to
deviate from its present economic policy.
"The new fall in inflation shows that the (existing) economic policy is
yielding results and it would be a shame not to keep up this effort," the
minister said adding that "tax exemptions and illegal subsidies will not
constitute the solution (to the problems facing the farmers) and will cause
immense problems for the remaining farming community."
Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos said the government will proceed,
as promised, with the great structural changes in the agricultural
"We've given farmers everything we could," Mr. Yiannopoulos said.
Yesterday, the Panthessaly Coordinating Committee members yesterday said
the farmers will continue their struggle with greater intensity until their
demands are finally met and the government's agricultural policy is
The Committee said in an announcement that it considers "the government's
stance a serious political slide to despotism," and invited all political
parties and the Greek people to condemn it.
In another development, a Volos Court, yesterday, sentenced to six months
in prison with three year suspension, nine farmers who where arrested on
Friday morning in scuffles with police who tried to prevent them from
blockading the Athens-Thessaloniki road.
Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman, Prokopis Pavlopoulos said
the key to the problem was in the hands of the government.
"The key is dialogue," Mr. Pavlopoulos said pointing to the fact that the
government was entering talks with other social groups.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Greece condemned the government's
"methods against the farmers," adding that the government should pay for
the damage that it "planned and caused."
Teachers extend strike
High schools and primary schools will remain closed this coming week
folowing a decision by the teachers yesterday to extend their strike.
There is a likelihood of a meeting taking place today between teachers'
representatives and Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis.
The teachers are due to hold another rally in Athens tomorrow.
Escape attempt from Patras prison
Five Albanian inmates, one seriously, were injured on Saturday afternoon,
one seriously, when about 70 prisoners tried to escape from Ayios Stephanos
prison in Patras.
Prison sources said the inmates managed to escape from their cells and
tried to reach the main entrance when they were noticed by prison
Riot police who arrived in the scene finally managed to return them all
back to their cells.
Extensive damage is reported.
January CPI inflation down to 6.8 per cent
Inflation dropped to 6.8 per cent in January to reach the lowest point in
25 years, according to figures released yesterday by the National
Statistics Service (NSS).
In January 1996 inflation stood at 8.4 per cent.
The drop was the result of a 0.5 per cent reduction in the Consumer Price
Index in January, compared to 0.1 per cent in January 1996.
The CPI decrease was due to reductions in the prices of clothing and
footwear, durable consumer goods and household items. In contrast,
increases were recorded in the categories of housing, transport and
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou described the
drop in inflation as a significant development for the economy ''since it
affords protection for low incomes while at the same time interest rates
National Bank announces new lower interest rates
The National Bank of Greece yesterday announced new reduced interest rates
which will take effect as of Monday February 10: 1. Lending -The main
interest rate for working capital 16.50 per cent (from 16.75 per cent). -
The main interest rate for fixed installations 14.75 per cent (from 15 per
cent). The above interest rates fluctuate in accordance with profit margins
and as a result they are shaped at very competitive levels for the bank's
good and solvent clients. 2. Consumer credit -Consumer loans 22.50 per
cent (from 22.75 per cent). -Personal loans 23.75 per cent (from 24
per cent). -Credit cards 25.75 per cent (from 26 per cent). 3. Deposits
-Savings bank deposits 10 per cent (from 10.25 per cent). -Current accounts
8.50 per cent (from 8.75 per cent).
Simitis: Gov't remains firm on positions regarding FYROM
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that the government remained
steadfast in its positions regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia (FYROM) name issue as decided during a political party leaders'
summit presided by then president of t he republic Constantine Karamanlis.
Mr. Simitis added that the government remained committed to the provisions
of the interim agreement signed between the two neighbours in 1995 in an
effort to normalise relations.
Stressing that the government is seeking a name for FYROM which would be
mutually accepted by the two states, he went on to say that "we will not
accept a name containing the term 'Macedonia' or its derivative."
"...If Skopje refuses, then (UN envoy for the Skopje issue Cyrus) Vance may
table the mandate without a name," Mr. Simitis said, forecasting that this
could result in the waiving of the temporary name of FYROM and that Skopje
could be addressed as "Macedo nia."
He added that "nobody wishes such a development," stressing that "all of us
should struggle to avert it."
US continues 7:10 ratio in military aid to Turkey, Greece
The Clinton administration yesterday unveiled its 1997 budget for
Congressional approval, which continues a 7:10 ratio of military aid to
Greece and Turkey and includes a $15 million aid package for Cyprus, a ANA
dispatch said from Washington.
The US administration's proposed budget for fiscal 1997 includes $135
million in loans and grants as well as $200,000 in scholarships for Greece.
Conversely, $260 million is provided for Turkey, of which $50 million is in
the form of an aid package.
Ombudsman draft bill tabled
The interior ministry yesterday tabled in Parliament a draft bill on the
establishment of the institution of a public administration commissioner or
ombudsman to operate as an independent authority in arbitrating problems
between citizens and the state.
The "Consumer Advocate" will have a five-year mandate and will be selected
Speaking at a press conference, Interior, Public Administration and
Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said the tabling of the draft
bill was based on research and data processing by the ministry, the cabinet,
and other agencies.
An ombudsman institution exists in 82 nations, including 27 in Europe.
Mr. Papadopoulos emphasised that the existing state administration could
not respond to the needs of the Economic and Monetary Union, adding that by
the year 2000 Greece must go along with the remaining European countries in
Mr. Papadopoulos said the government aimed to implement reforms in state
administration in 1997.
Youths damage banks in Athens
A group of about 30 stone-throwing youths caused damage to two branches of
the Commercial and Ionian banks in the Athens suburb of Kypseli shortly
after midnight. A restaurant and four cars were also damaged by the
rampaging youghts. Police are holding 12 suspects.
Special programme for gypsies
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is due to visit the Athens suburb of Liosia
on Tuesday where he is expected to announce measures for the improvement of
depressed areas in the Attica region. He is also expected to announce a
special programme for gypsies.
Almost fair weather is expected today in western and nothern Greece and in
the islands of the eastern Aegean. Clouds and the possibility of scattered
showers is forecast for the rest of the country. Snow will fall in the
mountain regions. Winds will be northerly, moderate to strong. Temperatures
in Athens will range from 2-10C, while in Thessaloniki between -4c to 11c.
Almost fair weather will also prevail tomorrow and temperatures will
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 258.773
Pound sterling 422.294 Cyprus pd 519.808
French franc 46.128 Swiss franc 180.132
German mark 155.625 Italian lira (100) 15.838
Yen (100) 208.419 Canadian dlr. 191.218
Australian dlr. 196.728 Irish Punt 413.228
Belgian franc 7.544 Finnish mark 52.457
Dutch guilder 138.597 Danish kr. 40.791
Swedish kr. 34.895 Norwegian kr. 39.650
Austrian sch. 22.114 Spanish peseta 1.839
Portuguese escudo 1.549