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A.N.A. Bulletin, 31/07/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 951), July 31, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Metropolitan of Italy Spyridon elected Archbishop of America

  • [2] Parthenios buried in Cairo

  • [3] Several Greek organizations condemn Turkish human rights abuses

  • [4] New draft bill to overhaul conscription regulations

  • [5] Congratulations sent to Greece's fourth gold medalist

  • [6] Cabinet convenes on issue of mass media operation

  • [7] Mitsotakis, Samaras criticize Gov't over handling of FYROM issue

  • [8] 2 new cases of foot-and-mouth disease reported

  • [9] Police believe November 17 suspect attempted to flee Greece from Corfu

  • [10] ND deputy testifies on controversial OTE, Intracom case

  • [11] 3 Argentine nationals arrested for armed robberies

  • [12] Ancient amphora theft foiled

  • [13] Forest fires being fought on three Aegean islands

  • [14] Decree to decide framework for foreign-flagged cruises in Greek waters

  • [15] OTE board agrees on managing consultant position

  • [16] Papantoniou cites what he calls favorable OECD report on the economy

  • [17] Evert sharply criticizes government's first six-month performance


  • [1] Metropolitan of Italy Spyridon elected Archbishop of America

    Istanbul, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate's Holy Synod yesterday unanimously elected Metropolitan of Italy Spyridon as the new Archbishop of America.

    The announcement of the election result was made following a ballot of the 12-member Church Synod, which chose Spyridon in a vote among three candidates. The other two candidates were the Metropolitan of New Zealand Dionysios and the Bishop of Zinoupolis Aristarchos.

    The new Archbishop of America, who was born in Florida but whose family hails from Rhodes, attended the Halki Academy of Theology (1962-1966) with postgraduate studies in Switzerland (1967-1968) and Germany as an Ecumenical Patriarchate scholar (1969-1973). Besides Greek, he speaks English, German and Italian.

    Spyridon served with the Ecumenical Patriarchate's permanent representation at the World Council of Churches (Geneva 1966-1967), and as a secretary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Orthodox Center in Geneva, while at the same time serving as chief editor of the "Episkepsis" magazine.

    As of 1984, and headquartered in Rome, he carried out the duties of secretary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's representation at the theological dialogue between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

    In November 1985 he was elected Bishop of Apameia by the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Holy Synod and Metropolitan of Italy in November 1991, with his headquarters in Venice.

    Spyridon, 52, succeeds Archbishop Iakovos who is retiring.

    In addition to the election of the new Archbishop of America, the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Synod decided to establish three new Ecumenical Metropolitan thrones in the western hemisphere, specifically in Toronto (Canada), Buenos Aires and Mexico City.

    The election of the new Metropolitans will take place at a later date.

    The Holy Synod expressed its appreciation and respect for outgoing Archbishop of North and South America Iakovos and its satisfaction for his long-standing contribution to the Church and Hellenism.

    The new Archbishop of America is the fifth since the establishment of this region of the Ecumenical Throne 75 years ago. Spyridon was also proclaimed the Ecumenical Patriarch's Exarch in America.

    Spyridon will be enthroned on Sept. 21 and Bishop of Toronto Sotirios has been appointed commissioner of the Holy Archdiocese of America until then.

    Assistant Bishop of Krateia Yennadios was appointed Patriarchal Commissioner in Italy.

    In a related development, Greece's main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert addressed a message of congratulations to Spyridon, saying his appointment constituted recognition of his great virtues, adding that he worthily succeeded a distinguished clergyman, Iakovos.

    [2] Parthenios buried in Cairo

    Cairo, 31/07/1996 (ANA - M. Papoutsaki)

    The late Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Parthenios was buried in Cairo yesterday after a funeral service in the city's Agios Nikolaos Orthodox church.

    The service was attended by representatives of the Greek and Cypriot governments as well as representatives of other religious faiths and scores of faithful.

    Athens was represented by Education Minister George Papandreou, Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos and Environment Under-secretary Elisabeth Papazoi. Nicosia was represented by Agriculture Minister Costas Petrides.

    The large number of representatives of other religious denominations that attended the church service were a testament to the important role the late Patriarch played in contacts and dialogue between Christianity and Islam. The funeral was attended by high-ranking clerics from all Orthodox churches and the Coptic Patriarch of Egypt Senouda.

    Parthenios was laid to rest in the crypt of the Agios Georgios monastery as dictated by tradition.

    A new Patriarch is scheduled to be elected in November, and according to reports, the most likely candidate is the Metropolitan of Cameroon Petros.

    [3] Several Greek organizations condemn Turkish human rights abuses

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    The Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA) held a joint press conference yesterday on the human rights situation in Turkey along with the Civil Servants' Union ADEDY), the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the Athens Bar Association and other organizations.

    "The struggle for the restoration of democracy, which political prisoners in Turkey are waging, must not stop here," ESHEA president Dimitris Glavas said, adding: "the voices of protest may not be heard by the Turkish regime, Europe may be keeping silent, but the voices from Greece will be heard in every direction, to Europe, America and particularly Turkey."

    The event came in the aftermath of a hunger strike by political prisoners in Turkey, in which 12 inmates died before the hunger strike was called off over the weekend, following Ankara's acceptance of some of their demands.

    Turkish prisons currently hold 11,000 political prisoners, of whom only 1,300 have been tried.

    ESHEA member Fani Palli-Petralia, a main opposition New Democracy deputy, who recently visited Turkey as part of a delegation in solidarity with the hunger strikers said 33 lawyers and 20 journalists have been murdered, while about 1,500 disappearances have been reported within the last year.

    [4] New draft bill to overhaul conscription regulations

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    The national defense ministry unveiled draft legislation yesterday regarding universal conscription, aimed at solving a shortage of military personnel and at the same time making the system of compulsory military service fairer.

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said the bill would most likely be tabled in Parliament for vote by the summer session in September.

    The bill lowers the age for compulsory military service from the current age of 20 to 19, while enabling the defense minister to revise the age limit according to requirements. It also provides incentives in the form of reduced service for men who do not exercise their right to postpone enlistment due to higher education studies.

    The ministry's target is to eventually establish a 12-month term of service plus two or three summers.

    Under the bill, Mr. Arsenis said deferments will be granted for studies, including post-graduate level, up until the age of 28, after which no further deferment will be granted.

    According to ministry figures, 40 per cent of young Greek men begin their military service immediately upon reaching the required age, while 30-35 per cent postpone it in order to study until they reach 25 years of age.

    The number of draft evaders currently totals about 16,000, a relatively small percentage. The new bill stipulates that all individuals in this category must serve a minimum of three months, which in some cases, according to their age and physical condition may be increased to 12 months.

    However, they must pay off the difference between months served and the number of months for regular military service for an amount (per month) to be fixed by ministerial decision.

    This amount will under no circumstances be less than the monthly salary of a five-year volunteer, which is currently about 150,000 drachmas.

    Those choosing not to pay off the remaining months of service will be able to serve within an armed forces framework by doing community work or working in the public sector, or for local government organizations etc., according to their profession in the border areas of the Aegean and Thrace.

    Under the bill, conscientious objectors will be able to complete their military service in unarmed duties, although no provision has been made for alternative service in this category. The issue of alternative service for conscientious objectors is expected to be examined within the framework of discussions on revision of the Constitution.

    According to the bill, those refusing military service on religious or ideological grounds will be able to serve in an unarmed capacity for a period normally completed by their armed colleagues, plus half as much of that tenure. The ministry believes, however, that not many conscientious objectors will take advantage of this provision since the majority do not want to serve in the armed forces in any capacity.

    The bill also makes the fathers of at least three children exempt from all military obligations.

    Mr. Arsenis said the new provisions would not solve the country's demographic problem but would increase the number of men joining the armed forces, adding that further provisions concerning the country's civil defense would be announced at a later date .

    He also clarified that it was not in the ministry's intentions at the present time to increase the term of service, which is currently as long as 24 months depending on the service and other factors.

    [5] Congratulations sent to Greece's fourth gold medalist

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Greek Olympic windsurfing champion Nikos Kaklamanakis, who won the gold medal in the mistral category yesterday, was sent congratulations by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert also addressed a message of congratulations to the Greek champion, saying his victory honored Greece.

    Carlos Espinola of Argentina took the silver and Gal Fridman of Israel the bronze.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas congratulated all Greek Olympic athletes, and particularly the most recent gold medalist on behalf of all members of the cabinet, which convened yesterday.

    Answering a question on the mistral board medals being presented by Greece's former king, Constantine Gl0ksburg, Mr. Reppas said Sports Under-secretary Andreas Fouras had been unable to reach Savannah, Georgia, where the sailing events are being held.

    He added that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch had been notified that this would not be acceptable, after the former monarch awarded a gymnastics medal to Yiannis Melissanidis on Sunday, adding that Mr. Samaranch had acknowledged this. The government spokesman said he did not know what had changed.

    He noted that had there been any connection with Greece, the government would have made the appropriate response, and added that the former monarch is attempting to make his presence known through underhand means, as he no longer has anything to do with Greece.

    Meanwhile, the Greek basketball team suffered a crushing defeat yesterday, missing qualification for the final four. The team was beaten by Lithuania 99-66, losing 19 to 45 at half time. It will now play for the fifth to eighth position, and will face the loser from the match between Yugoslavia and China.

    [6] Cabinet convenes on issue of mass media operation

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    The cabinet convened yesterday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Costas Simitis in order to discuss the operation of the mass media.

    Opening the meeting, Press Minister Dimitris Reppas said discussion focused on implementation of Law 2328 regarding the media in an attempt to create effective mechanisms for transparency and legality.

    He said a unanimous decision was taken to create a new control and transparency department within the framework of the politically appointed national broadcasting council, which will draw up a record with full information on all businesses concerned wit h the media.

    Mr. Reppas said these efforts will face certain difficulties as "until today there have been no analytical procedures and the transfer from a state of lawlessness and anarchy to an operational state is difficult."

    The press minister said this department will be created by specialized staff and will not be related to political parties. Mr. Reppas added that public bodies awarding commissions or projects must ask companies for a "transparency certificate", which will be issued by the responsible broadcasting council department.

    In commenting on the cabinet meeting, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos criticized the government for its inactivity and failure in this sector.

    Political Spring issued an announcement regarding the decisions taken during yesterday's cabinet meeting, saying that "one year after the voting of the law regarding the media, the government has issued a single decree with the exclusive aim of reinforcing its own control of the media."

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said any changes in the "unacceptable" status governing the mass media are welcome, with a prerequisite being a significant transformation in the law 2328/95.

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress party proposed the law relating to the media be radically changed, and asked for effective anti-monopolistic measures.

    [7] Mitsotakis, Samaras criticize Gov't over handling of FYROM issue

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis warned yesterday that "if the government continued its ostrich-like attitude on foreign policy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) would be recognized under the name 'Republic of Macedonia'".

    Further, he charged that Prime Minister Costas Simitis' statement that Greece was not in a hurry to settle the name issue had dealt a final blow to efforts to obtain a nationally beneficial solution.

    Meanwhile, Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras accused the government of "exasperating inertia" on the issue, warning that "it is mistaken if it believes that with its stand it will bring the Greek people before de facto events."

    [8] 2 new cases of foot-and-mouth disease reported

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Two new cases of foot-and-mouth disease were recorded in the Evros border communities of Isaakio and Thyrea, Didimotihou, resulting in the two communities being "quarantined."

    The Evros veterinary department announced that about 520 small and large animals in the region will be slaughtered. Crews from the department are already conducting investigations and disinfections in the region, but fears are being expressed that it is very possible that new cases of foot-and-mouth disease and cowpox might break out in herds in the area, despite stringent measures already taken.

    Additionally, prefectural veterinary services are in constant contact with the agriculture ministry to tackle the problem.

    Meanwhile, the first unfavorable results are already visible for stock-breeding and dairy products in the region, as the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Alexandroupolis announced that an order for 6,000 containers of cheese destined for Thessaloniki was canceled due to the outbreak.

    On its part, the Evros prefectural council wants the government to take an initiative for sanctions to be imposed on Turkey, saying it is indifferent toward the spread of animal diseases outside its borders.

    [9] Police believe November 17 suspect attempted to flee Greece from Corfu

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Police on Corfu are combing the Ionian island to detect a man reportedly resembling a sketch drawing of a suspect connected to the November 17 terrorist group.

    Using a forged passport, the man tried to travel from Corfu to Italy on a passenger boat Monday night. However, he fled after a computer passport control was slow in giving him clearance.

    Outside the customs office he stopped a passing car, dragged out its 46-year-old female driver, jumped into the car and attempted to make his getaway.

    According to reports, bystanders and motorists witnessing the scene managed to block the vehicle a short distance away, but the man threatened them at gun-point before managing to escape.

    Initial reports state that the passport left behind with the name of Vassilis Leonidas Vivanis, 30, is most certainly forged and is probably one of the passports stolen from the Kilkis prefecture about a year ago.

    The photograph in the passport is also making authorities examine the possibility of a November 17 connection.

    [10] ND deputy testifies on controversial OTE, Intracom case

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party deputy Petros Tatoulis testified for 90 minutes yesterday to a special judicial investigator on the issue of a digital phone line contract commissioned by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE).

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Tatoulis said at present "new evidence emerged confirming that there is a continuation to the major political and economic scandal."

    Mr. Tatoulis referred to the agreement between Development Minister Vasso Papandreou with OTE and the Greek telecommunications firm Intracom, which he said "continues to bind OTE and the Greek state with the specific economic interests on which the country's political life now depends."

    "I believe that the scheduled agreement constitutes a continuation of the political and economic scandal where the entire game depends on how an award will be made and how political and social commitments undertaken by the present government with the assistance of Socrates Kokkalis will be fulfilled," he told questioners.

    Mr. Tatoulis said the fact OTE is at present seeking through courts the amount of 11 billion drachmas from Siemens Hellas and Intracom does not resolve the fact that terms of international tendering were not observed.

    [11] 3 Argentine nationals arrested for armed robberies

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Three Argentine nationals were arrested yesterday on armed bank robbery charges, police announced.

    The two men and one woman - identified as Francisco-Sebastian Spanta, Hector Alfredo Bouvrard and Norma-Aleanor Peron - were accused of stealing a total of 122 million drachmas from robberies in Athens branches of the National Bank of Greece, General Bank, Ionian Bank and CitiBank.

    Police said the two men would enter the banks wearing hoods and demand money from tellers with the threat of sawed-off shotguns, while the woman kept watch outside or manned an escape vehicle.

    [12] Ancient amphora theft foiled

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    A French national was arrested yesterday while retrieving an ancient amphora from the sea off the island of Crete.

    Port police from the Hora Sfakia area apprehended Silvestre Moal, 43, in possession of the amphora, which is said to date from the second century B.C.

    Another nine artifacts were discovered and confiscated following an investigation in the remote Marmara region.

    Moal is scheduled to appear before prosecutors in Hania, Crete.

    [13] Forest fires being fought on three Aegean islands

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Fire-fighters assisted by three planes continued to battle a blaze on the northern part of Hios for a third day yesterday. The fire has so far destroyed more than 5,250 acres of farm and pasture land.

    The blaze is currently raging on two fronts in the communities of Potamia and Olissi.

    According to reports, large number of local residents were assisting forestry workers and soldiers trying to bring the fire under control.

    Meanwhile, a fire in the Monolithos district on Rhodes was finally brought under control after burning about 500 acres of forest.

    Efforts were also being made to put out a fire in Irakleion prefecture, on Crete.

    [14] Decree to decide framework for foreign-flagged cruises in Greek waters

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Kosmas Sfyriou said terms and conditions concerning tourist cruises in Greece with foreign-flagged cruise ships will be determined by a presidential decree.

    Mr. Sfyriou made this clear at a meeting with officials he chaired at the ministry on Monday.

    The decree also anticipates securing employment for Greek seamen.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas added that an agreement between ship owners and seamen to ensure calm will be a government priority.

    [15] OTE board agrees on managing consultant position

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization's (OTE) board convened yesterday and decided to proceed with proclaiming of the post of managing consultant, whose tenure will begin on Jan. 1, 1997.

    The present Managing Consultant Petros Lambrou will remain at his post until the end of 1996, to have OTE's programme for 1996 completed.

    Meanwhile, the general assembly of OTE's shareholders was set for Aug. 27.

    [16] Papantoniou cites what he calls favorable OECD report on the economy

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis was held yesterday on the course of the economy. Those attending included National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, the Governor of the Bank of Greece Loukas Papadimos and two of the prime minister's financial advisors.

    Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Papantoniou said the country is on the road to recovery, as the budget is being executed according to plan and inflation is falling.

    The national economy minister said an OECD report on the Greek economy published yesterday was "very favorable for the country" and added that it recognizes the achievements of the government's economic policy.

    [17] Evert sharply criticizes government's first six-month performance

    Athens, 31/07/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert made an overall review of the Simitis government's first six months in power, while addressing party deputies participating in the first Parliamentary summer recess committee yesterday.

    Mr. Evert said the government had "no work to show," adding that it continuously limited itself to making ascertainments as if it were in the opposition, while the government considered ND's contact with the people populism.

    Referring to national issues, Mr. Evert spoke of submissiveness on the part of the government which allowed Turkey to claim that so-called "gray" regions existed in the Aegean and to more than double violations of Greek airspace.

    Mr. Evert accused the government of concealing the truth from the Greek people in lifting the veto on funding for Turkey from the MEDA programme, and that it did not safeguard Greek sovereign rights, binding Turkey on its unacceptable claims.

    On the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Mr. Evert said that in making its positions public untimely, it provided FYROM with the opportunity of taking up extreme positions on the issue of the name.

    Mr. Evert painted a grim picture of the Greek economy, saying inflation was about 8.7 per cent, despite the fact it was midsummer, adding that in order to contain inflation the government was overevaluating the drachma and, as a result, the economy's liquidity was being affected and the competitiveness of Greek products was being dealt a blow.

    End of English language section.

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