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A.N.A. Bulletin, 05/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 955), August 5, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece comes away from Atlanta with best Olympic performance in 100 years

  • [2] Homecoming celebrations

  • [3] Spyridon says strengthening of expatriate Greek institutions a priority

  • [4] Evert: Gov't economic policy a failure

  • [5] Political parties strongly react to reports of Agia Sofia's conversion into a mosque

  • [6] Former Larisa Metropolitan buried

  • [7] Maritime workers' protest fails to disrupt Marco Polo's docking

  • [8] Historical research center given famous general's name

  • [9] Papariga comments on early election rumors

  • [10] EU's ban due to foot-and-mouth disease discussed during Evros meeting

  • [11] Opposition reacts

  • [12] Ancient settlement discovered near Stageira

  • [13] CORRECTION


  • [1] Greece comes away from Atlanta with best Olympic performance in 100 years

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Greece comes away from the Atlanta Olympics today with four gold medals and four silver, its highest total since the first modern Olympic Games 100 years ago in Athens.

    During early Sunday morning (local time) competition, high-jumper Niki Bakoyianni won the silver medal with a 2.03 meter jump.

    Bakoyianni, 28, a sports academy student, also took the silver medal at the European championship in Stockholm last March. She had won the event at the European track and field cup games in 1991, going on to be crowned Balkan champion the following year and again in 1994.

    Party leaders hastened to congratulate the latest silver medal winner.

    Statements were made by main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert, Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras, Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga.

    Also over the weekend, Greece's basketball team defeated Brazil and placed fifth. Four members of the team, Nikos Economou, Giorgos Sigalas, Fanis Christodoulou and Panayiotis Fassoulas, were named among the best players at the Atlanta Olympics. The national water polo team finished in sixth position.

    [2] Homecoming celebrations

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Greece's Olympic team will be given a heroes' welcome upon its return to Athens tomorrow evening. Athens' municipality and the sports undersecretariat are organizing a celebration at the historic Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games w ere held in 1896. The event will begin after the athletes' motorcade arrives from Athens airport, where their plane is expected to land at approximately 6 p.m.

    In a related development, the nation's Olympic medallists will be conferred military ranks in the country's armed forces in recognition of their athletic accomplishments.

    Weightlifter Pyrros Dimas, an army lieutenant since receiving his 1992 gold medal, will be promoted to captain.

    Akakios Kakhiashvili, Nikos Kaklamanakis, Yiannis Melissanidis, Niki Bakoyianni, Valerios Leonidis, Leonidas Sabanis and Leonidas Kokkas will be offered military lieutenant commissions or equivalent rank in the services.

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis has decided that the ministry will honor the Olympic champions at a ceremony.

    [3] Spyridon says strengthening of expatriate Greek institutions a priority

    Istanbul, 05/08/1996 (ANA - A.Kourkoulas)

    Newly elected Archbishop of America Spyridon said he was optimistic about dealing with problems facing the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas, during a press conference at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul yesterday.

    He declared his general goals to be a strengthening of ethnic Greek community institutions, while enabling the Church to meet the challenges of the times.

    Archbishop Spyridon was born in Ohio, where he finished his secondary education before going on to study at the Halki Theological School, fulfilling a wish of his father - a doctor from Rhodes who emigrated to the United States via France.

    Having studied Protestantism in Geneva and Catholicism in Rome, Archbishop Spyridon originally expressed optimism over the idea of the unification of the Christian churches, before settling on the current "realistic" dimensions of the issue.

    [4] Evert: Gov't economic policy a failure

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy president Miltiades Evert criticized the government yesterday for "inaction and inability" to produce, claiming it was making false promises equal to those of its 1985 election campaign, despite what he called "the failure of its economic policy."

    He declined, however, to reply to speculation regarding the possibility of early general elections.

    Mr. Evert made the statements during a tour of the eastern Aegean island of Ikaria.

    The ND leader stressed that what is needed is "work, effectiveness, decisiveness and realistic policies," while he said a New Democracy government would work towards this.

    "I will not make promises I will not keep," Mr. Evert said.

    He said Greek society could be modernized with decentralization and with the upgrading of local self-administration, and stressed that his party believes there must be a speedy economic development of the islands in order to reinforce the country's border regions. He also criticized the government for being unable to absorb Community funds.

    Speaking later in the day on the Fournoi isles, Mr. Evert said that when his party comes to power "it will abolish objective tax criteria and a 35 per cent tax on businesses."

    Mr. Evert is due to arrive on Samos this evening, where he will remain until tomorrow.

    [5] Political parties strongly react to reports of Agia Sofia's conversion into a mosque

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga said Ankara's reported intention of turning Istanbul's historic Byzantine church of Agia Sofia into a mosque was "impermissible and illegal", attributing it to an attempt on the part of the Turkish government to distract its people from domestic problems.

    Turkish press reports on Friday stated that Turkey's Minister to the Prime Minister, Jemil Tudc, had initiated preliminary legal procedures to convert Agia Sofia, currently a museum, into a mosque.

    The Greek government the same day reacted strongly, saying that an eventual conversion of Agia Sofia into a mosque would be "an unprecedented international provocation and a major problem in Turkey's relations with the western world".

    Opposition New Democracy and Political Spring parties also reacted strongly to the reports.

    Meanwhile, the Coalition of the Left said on Saturday that the threatened conversion of Agia Sofia by Turkey's new Islamist-led government was an "insult to history and civilization."

    "The plan in essence constitutes a violation of international law and treaties which protect monuments, the cultural identity, and human rights as values in our lives," it said in a statement.

    It also called on Athens to react in the most effective manner possible, mobilizing international organizations and public opinion "for this unbelievable insult."

    In a related development, former PASOK public order minister Stelios Papathemelis has called for a Greek-led international campaign to place the church of Agia Sofia under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is based in the city.

    "The new Turkish provocation can provide a first-class opportunity for a start to an international mobilization," he told reporters in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    "Only such a counter-attack can neutralize the desecration," he added.

    [6] Former Larisa Metropolitan buried

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Former Metropolitan of Larisa Theologos was buried Saturday with full religious honors in the central Greek city's Agios Achilleios Cathedral.

    The funeral service was attended by several main opposition New Democracy deputies, Larisa Mayor Chritodoulos Kaffes and representatives of prefectural and military authorities, as well as many high-ranking clerics.

    [7] Maritime workers' protest fails to disrupt Marco Polo's docking

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Tourists disembarked without incident from the Bahamas-flagged "Marco Polo" cruise ship Saturday morning at the port of Piraeus, despite an attempt by protesting Greek maritime workers to prevent their landing.

    Demonstrators continued their tactic of attempting to disrupt the cruise ship's landing of tourists at Greek ports as part of their protests over the issue non-Greek crews employed by the Marco Polo's shipowners and what they claimed was a violation of cabotage regulations. Cabotage, among others, prohibits foreign-flagged vessels from conducting cruises originating from a Greek port and ending at a Greek port.

    Two men received minor injuries in scuffles with riot police.

    After the tourists had disembarked, two of the 14 seamen's unions within the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO), PEMEN and SEFENSON, gathered outside the federation's offices, calling for an emergency meeting to discuss disagreements between seamen's unions. According to reports, a majority of these unions consider the mobilizations unacceptable, saying they reflect poorly on the nation's tourism sector.

    Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) accused port police of viciously attacking and beating workers during yesterday's incidents, resulting in the two injuries.

    KKE referred to "governmental autocracy" and criticized the Simitis government as being a "government of shipowners, which does not hesitate to trample on cabotage laws in order to serve local and foreign shipowning interests and to condemn the last remaining seamen to unemployment and hunger."

    [8] Historical research center given famous general's name

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday officially opened the "Nikolaos Plastiras Historical Research Center," named after the renowned Greek general and politician, in his birthplace of Morfovouni, Karditsa prefecture.

    During his speech, Mr. Kaklamanis spoke of Gen. Plastiras' contribution to the country, from his military career during the first decades of the century, to his contribution of restoration of national self-confidence after the destruction in Asia Minor and the founding of the first modern Greek democracy.

    "The nation is once again in danger today. Hellenism has an open wound in the form of occupied northern Cyprus and at the same time faces a strengthened threat from the country's eastern borders," he said.

    The Parliament president said Greece faces new provocations daily from Turkey, such as the recent "threat of Islamist (Turkish Premier Necmettin) Erbakan to convert Agia Sofia into a mosque, while the supposed friends, allies, Christians of the United States and western Europe wash their hands of the issue, like new Pontus Pilots."

    Mr. Kaklamanis added that once again, Greeks were called upon "to guard the gates."

    [9] Papariga comments on early election rumors

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga commented on the recent surge of press reports and rumors of early parliamentary elections during a visit to Konitsa, where she is heading a delegation.

    "Elections will be held in Greece when SEB (the Federation of Greek Industries) and officials in the European Union decide. Whenever the elections take place, the Greek people should consider their interests and the experience of the past few years, the governments of PASOK and New Democracy, which have brought nothing but trouble and unhappiness."

    [10] EU's ban due to foot-and-mouth disease discussed during Evros meeting

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    Problems in the stockbreeding sector arising from a temporary European Union ban on Greek exports of livestock, fresh meat and unpasteurized dairy products were discussed at a meeting in Alexandroupoli Saturday, attended by Agriculture Under-secretary Apostolos Fotiadis, Evros Prefect Giorgos Dolios, Parliament deputies and representatives of local agricultural cooperatives.

    On Friday, the EU's Standing Veterinary Committee decided to extend restrictive measures for at least a month on such products, due to recent outbreaks of the disease in the Evros Delta region.

    After the meeting, Mr. Fotiadis said the Committee's decision was not expected to have any immediate effect on the economy, since Greece did not export such products. However, he did note that the psychological repercussions of the temporary ban would have on the economy.

    "Since we cannot permit Greece to be treated by the EU as an outsider and not as an equal member protests by our representatives have been made against the behavior of the EU, particularly the Commission," he said.

    He noted that in effect the decision was not a new one, but an extension of the original ban. EU veterinary experts are expected to revisit Evros prefecture within the next few days. Their findings will form the basis of a decision by the Commission on the issue by the end of August or the beginning of September.

    [11] Opposition reacts

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party on Saturday accused the government of being responsible for the extension of the European Union's ban on Greek meat and livestock exports.

    In a statement, ND said the extension was due to the government's "delay in adopting appropriate preventive and control measures to effectively deal with the foot-and-mouth outbreak."

    [12] Ancient settlement discovered near Stageira

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    An ancient settlement dating to pre-Classical times has been discovered some 1.5 kilometers from the community of Stageira in the northern Halkidiki prefecture, it was announced.

    According to the head of a team of archaeologists that made the discovery, a settlement almost as large as that of ancient Stageira, birthplace of Aristotle, was discovered last week. Although believed to date from pre-Classical times, the site could be older.

    Costas Simanidis stressed the importance of the find, saying archaeologists recovered a large amount of objects, including pottery and coins.

    "On the surface, we even found a very important Amphipolis (city) coin from the Classical period," he said.

    [13] CORRECTION

    Athens, 05/08/1996 (ANA)

    A front-page caption in Saturday's "Bulletin" incorrectly reported Greek athlete Costas Gatsioudis' national record-breaking javelin throw at 82.12m. He actually threw 87.12m.

    End of English language section.

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