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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 09/02/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Iacovou takes narrow lead in first round of Cyprus polls
  • Cyprus Presidential election vote at 01.30 am. Monday
  • Turkish policy on Cyprus, Aegean issues, a source of instability
  • ND leader says he will not tolerate any more 'backstabbing'
  • Elections held for PASOK's new Prefectural, Regional Committees
  • Papantoniou stresses Greece's determination to join EMU
  • Resolution calls for an end to 'sex racism' in employment
  • Athens' Psyrri district being upgraded
  • SAE to organise collection of funds for medical centres
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Iacovou takes narrow lead in first round of Cyprus polls

Independent presidential candidate George Iacovou, backed by left-wing party AKEL and centre-right Democratic Party, was late last night slightly ahead of incumbent President Glafcos Clerides in yesterday's presidential elections in Cyprus with 41.07 per cent out of 89.78 per cent of the vote counted.

Seven candidates contested the election.

President Clerides, who is supported by the Democratic Rally party, came second with 39.91 per cent. He will face Mr. Iacovou in the second round next Sunday.

Socialist EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides obtained 10.44 per cent and emerged as the power broker for the second round.

Alexis Galanos, of the Democratic Party, standing in defiance of his party decision, received 4.02 per cent, George Vassiliou, former Cyprus president, 2.92 per cent, Nicos Koutsou, of the New Horizons party 0.90 and Nicos Rolandis, leader of the Liber al party, 0.74 per cent.

In a statement last night, Mr. Clerides said he will start efforts as of today to create a national unity government because, as he said, this is necessitated by the interests of the people of Cyprus. He expressed satisfaction over the fact that the elections were carried out with absolute order and calm.

Independent candidate George Iacovou said that 60 per cent of the people have expressed disapproval of the Clerides administration, adding that he extended a hand of cooperation to the Socialist EDEK party and George Vassiliou. He added that he will start consultations today with all the "bordering forces" with the purpose of having the second round of elections "bring victory to the progressive democratic forces". Lastly, he said he will also have consultations with independent candidate Alexis Galanos .

Vassos Lyssarides expressed his warm thanks to the voters who "honoured him with their vote", adding that he will "live up to their expectations with consistency and integrity". Mr. Lyssarides said the voters gave EDEK an important role which he will ex ercise with "full consciousness towards Cypriot Hellenism and the entire nation".

Cyprus presidential election vote at 01.30 am. Monday

The following are results of the Cyprus presidential election as reported at 01.30 am. Monday, with 96.7 percent of the vote counted: GEORGE IAKOVOU (INDEPENDENT)................40.6 per cent GLAFCOS CLERIDES (DEMOCRATIC RALLY).........40.1 " VASSOS LYSSARIDES (SOCIALIST PARTY).........10.6 " ALEXIS GALANOS (INDEPENDENT)................4.0 " GEORGE VASSILIOU (UNITED DEMOCRATS)..........3.0 " NICOS KOUTSOU (NEW HORIZONS)................0.9 " NICOS ROLANDIS (LIBERAL PARTY)...............0.8

Turkish policy on Cyprus, Aegean issues, a source of instability

Turkish policy on the Cyprus issue and the Aegean is a source of instability for Europe and NATO, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told the "Conference on Security Policies", which ended in Munich yesterday.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that Cyprus' entry to the European Union would reinforce security on the whole island as well as the wider region. He said that this would be achieved even without Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession talks, due to Ankara's and the Turkish Cypriot leadership's intransigence.

The defence minister compared Cyprus' EU membership with the inclusion of former Western Germany in the European Community and NATO where, as he said, it served as a "security guarantee" for Eastern Germany in spite of the country's division at the time .

"The Cyprus issue might be of special concern to us -- Greece -- but it is also a problem concerning the collective security of Europe and NATO", said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos. Referring to "Greek-Turkish problems", he stressed that the use of the term in no way implies that Greece makes any claim towards Turkey. He repeated the government's stated position that Turkey should develop "a new European perspective" and pointed to comments made on Saturday by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who said that Turkey should comply with EU criteria and accept its values before the two sides can develop closer ties.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also met his German counterpart Volker Ruehe on the sidelines of the conference.

Issues of bilateral concern and the Western European Union were the focus of the meeting. Greece currently holds the WEU rotating presidency, while Germany was the immediate past president.

ND leader says he will not tolerate any more 'backstabbing'

The turmoil in the ranks of the main opposition New Democracy party continued over the weekend with ND leader Costas Karamanlis laying down the law yesterday and saying he would not tolerate any more "backstabbing".

Speaking to supporters in Egio yesterday, Mr. Karamanlis said that the three leading New Democracy deputies expelled from the party last Tuesday had "provided the government with alibis".

"Today, the time of big decisions has come, and this presupposes a clear definition of the things we want to do, clear policy, unity and cohesion," Mr. Karamanlis told his audience.

"We are not dependent on vested interests and for this reason we will be uncompromising... it is inconceivable and unacceptable to have people among us who are providing with alibis and support a government which is collapsing and does harm to the country," he added.

The three deputies were expelled from the party for failing to toe the party line against a government provision changing relations between workers and management at state-run public utilities.

Elections held for PASOK's new Prefectural, Regional Committees

Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis yesterday praised the democratic functioning in the party on completion of intraparty processes for the election of new Prefectural and Regional Committees.

"The elections for the creation of new Prefectural and Regional Committees of PASOK showed that the party has consolidated the rules of democratic functioning. The differences in views and approaches are being overcome in the common effort for a party with unified and modern functioning. Today's elections showed that PASOK can and must be the party of active citizens, a party open to society, new forces, ideas and approaches. It must be a party capable of leading Greece to the 21st century," he said.

PASOK's intraparty elections involved about 170,000 members. The party's Central Committee Secretary, Costas Skandalidis, said the elections were carried out with absolute calm and no incident occurred dealing a blow at the process in its entirety. He also hailed strict observance of democratic processes by the party's members.

Papantoniou stresses Greece's determination to join EMU

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stressed Greece's steadfast European orientation and its determination to join Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a speech at the Hellenic Centre in London on Friday.

"In southeastern Europe, a region with a long record of relative instability, but of high potential at the same time, Greece remains the only country with a developed market economy, adequate infrastructure, established democratic rule and political stability. It is unnecessary to remind the audience that Greece, alone in this region, is a founding member of the OECD and NATO, and a member of the European Union. Our cultural ties and trading links to the peoples of this region, combined with the country's advantageous location at the crossroads of three continents, provide the potential for Greece to become a gateway to the region's emerging markets," he said.

Mr. Papantoniou also referred to the considerable improvement in all of the country's economic indicators, the decrease in the fiscal deficit, an increase in the GDP and a decrease in the debt as a percentage of GDP.

"On present trends, Greece is set to achieve the Maastricht Treaty deficit targets in 1998 and the inflation and interest rate targets in 1999, and hence to participate in the third stage of the European Monetary Union from the start of the year 2001," he added.

Mr. Papantoniou further underlined efforts being made to strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek economy and its adjustment to the global economy through the entire or partial privatisation of certain organisations in the public sector and the intro duction of flexible forms and regulations in the labour market.

Resolution calls for an end to 'sex racism' in employment

The 3rd Panhellenic Conference of Women Trade Unionists from the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) came to a close on Saturday with the ratification of a resolution focusing on full employment and full rights.

The resolution includes specific actions on abolishing "sex racism" in employment and remuneration.

Targets will concern a 35-hour working week without a decrease in wages. Immigrant women workers will enjoy equal labour and social rights with Greeks. In the health and insurance sector, protective measures should be taken for pregnant women, while a legal framework will be created to protect women from sexual harassment.

In the trade union sector, equal opportunities should be provided for women in the trade union movement and at least one woman trade unionist should participate in collective negotiations.

The national expert on the European employment network Ms. M. Karamesini provided interesting data on unemployment among women in Europe. Over the past two decades, a considerable increase in both women's employment and unemployment was observed in all developed countries, including Greece. In the European Union between the years 1975 and 1991 11.7 million new jobs were created of which 11.4 million correspond to women's jobs.

Athens' Psyrri district being upgraded

The appearance of the wider region surrounding Psyrri Square in downtown Athens is changing radically with projects being carried out by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry over the past two years to promote the region. The projects are budgeted at 50 billion drachmas.

"Everything has changed here," Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said after visiting Heroes' Square, Agioi Anargyroi Square and other parts of the Psyrri district.

Local inhabitants and shopkeepers are also satisfied with the projects aimed at upgrading the historic neighbourhood, since it will acquire greater economic value. Rents are increasing, new shops are opening and the region is gradually beginning to resemble Plaka. Reformation work also includes pedestrian roads and other projects budgeted at two billion drachmas.

The Psyrri area is an important neighbourhood in the historic centre of Athens. However, it had been neglected in the infrastructures sector. Moreover, it is gradually acquiring a tourist character and the role of a "tourist path" to and from the archaeological park in Athens.

SAE to organise collection of funds for medical centres

The Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) will organise a world collection in May to enable Greek expatriates to contribute with funds towards the building of Greek medical centres in regions of the former Soviet Union where Greeks live.

The first Greek clinic has already been established and is functioning in Tbilisi, Georgia, with funds collected by SAE. The Council's target is to establish a total of 11 clinics in Black Sea regions, Armenia, Ukraine, and others.

The collection will be conducted on May 23-24 in parts of the world where Greeks live, with the contribution of local radio and TV stations. In one hour alone a collection made by the Greek radio station in Chicago 27,000 dollars were collected.

The collection to build clinics is part of the new activities decided over the weekend by SAE during the first regular meeting of its nine-member presidium (following elections held last December) at its permanent headquarters in Thessaloniki.

SAE's programme includes the creation of a kind of Orthodox Church "network" throughout the world. Consequently, as a result of a proposal by SAE, Orthodox Churches throughout the world will adopt an Orthodox Church in former USSR republics, providing e conomic aid to enable services to be held and the Greek language and civilisation to be taught.

Planning also got underway in the same meeting on actions aimed at expatriate Greeks contributing towards the Athens 2004 Olympiad. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed the SAE presidium in this respect on Saturday.

Organising the 2004 Olympiad, the Cultural Olympiad as a permanent and continuous institution headquartered in Greece and the Young Expatriates' Olympiad, a new permanent institution headquartered in Thessaloniki, were examined at the joint meeting of SAE's presidium with Mr. Venizelos who is president of the Interministerial Committee on issues related to the 2004 Olympiad.

Mr. Venizelos said SAE will participate in the National Council for the 2004 Olympiad with a five-member committee headed by SAE President Andrew Athens.

Mr. Venizelos appealed to expatriate Greek businessmen and investors to participate in preparation projects in Athens, and the country in general, on the major sports event, stressing the need for the mobilisation of the seven million Greek expatriates,whose participation alone will provide absolute success for the event.

Referring to the Young Expatriates' Olympiad, Mr. Venizelos said the government's aim is to make it a permanent institution headquartered in Thessaloniki.

Greek First Division soccer results

First Division soccer: Veria-Panathinaikos 0-3 Kalamata-PAOK 1-1 Apollon-Panionios 0-0 Proodeftiki-Xanthi 0-3 Panahaiki-Paniliakos 0-4 Olympiakos-OFI 1-0 Kavala-AEK 1-1 Ethnikos-Ionikos 0-1 Iraklis-Athinaikos 4-0 Standings-points: Olimpiakos, Panathinaikos 52, AEK 51, PAOK 42, Ionikos 41, Iraklis 40, Xanthi 31, OFI 30, Paniliakos 27, Apollon 26, Panionios 24, Panahaiki, Proodeftiki 19, Veria 18, Kalamata 17.

WEATHER

Cloud and scattered showers are forecast for most parts of Greece today, with light snowfalls in mountainous regions. Northeasterly stong to very strong winds will reach gale force in parts of the Aegean Sea. Athens partly cloudy, with possible light rain and temperatures from 3-10C. Thessaloniki will be overcast with temperatures between 1-6C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 282.164 Pound sterling 464.514 Cyprus pd 533.339 French franc 46.882 Swiss franc 194.635 German mark 157.113 Italian lira (100) 15.903 Yen (100) 227.158 Canadian dlr. 197.507 Australian dlr. 190.772 Irish Punt 393.665 Belgian franc 7.613 Finnish mark 51.802 Dutch guilder 139.386 Danish kr. 41.237 Swedish kr. 35.156 Norwegian kr. 37.706 Austrian sch. 22.333 Spanish peseta 1.853 Port. Escudo 1.535

(C.E.)


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