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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-02-03
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, February 3, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PARLIAMENT APPROVES AMENDMENT ON PUBLIC UTILITIES
Athens, February 3 (MPA)The Greek Parliament has approved the government's amendment concerning changes in labor relations in public utilities and enterprises (DEKO), in spite of the strong objections voiced by trade unions.
The amendment was carried by 142 votes in favor and 121 against. Two deputies -former New Democracy ministers Vasilis Kontoyiannopoulos and Giorgos Souflias- abstained, while 35 were absent -20 of them being members of the ruling party.
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said public utilities have to undergo restructuring in order to survive.
 FARMERS LINE TRACTORS ALONG HIGHWAY, BUT HAVEN’T BLOCKED THE ROAD
Thessaloniki, February 3 (MPA)The farmers of central Greece have parked their tractors along the length of the national highway, but haven’t proceeded to blocking the traffic .
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas again rejected farmers' calls for direct talks with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, saying there were specific bodies for this, while the Agriculture Ministry was "always open".
Meanwhile, farmers protesting the government's agricultural policy yesterday blocked the road leading into Preveza for half an hour. They said yesterday's protest, without the use of tractors, was a warning and that further action would follow in the coming days.
 GREEK FM: TURKEY HAS TO RECOGNIZE THE HAGUE
Athens, February 3 (MPA)The Greek government wants Turkey to recognize the jurisdiction of the International court of Justice at The Hague, stated the country’s Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.
Mr. Pangalos also criticized Greece’s main opposition party leader, New Democracy’s Kostas Karamanlis.
 CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS TO BE FILED OVER LAST YEAR’S CAPSIZED SHIP
Athens, February 3 (MPA)The Piraeus Public Prosecutor is expected to embark on criminal proceedings today over the sinking of the Greek cargo ship "Distos" which capsized on December 28, 1996, off the port of Kimi on the island of Euboia, in which 20 persons drowned.
The public prosecutor stated he has received a summary of the expert report on the cause of the tragedy, which report focuses on the standard of maintenance of the ship.
The main burden of responsibility however appears to be attributed to the Hellenic Shipping Registry and the owner of the vessel, "Herakles", a subsidiary of the AGET cement company.
The cargo ship, laden with 5,300 tons of cement, left Volos on December 26, heading for Piraeus. The following day it sought shelter at the nearby island of Skiathos due to bad weather and sailed for the Athens port. Late on December 28 it capsized, after tilting 90 degrees.
 DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS WITH US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
Athens, February 3 (MPA)Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos yesterday received the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Mark Grossman, the Vice-chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff Joseph Ralston and ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns. According reports, the Minister and the US officials exchanged views and information on the recent crisis with Iraq and Mr. Grossman said that the US is awaiting for the diplomatic initiatives to defuse the crisis
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos is said to have pointed out to Mr. Grossman that all diplomatic efforts must be exhausted for a peaceful settlement of the crisis.
Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/