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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-08-26

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

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1272), August 26, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Pangalos rejects Turkish criticism, supports Madrid communiqui
  • [02] G. Papandreou
  • [03] Cyprus President meets Karamanlis
  • [04] Tsovolas meets Clerides
  • [05] Greek ambassador to Zagreb says bilateral relations 'excellent'
  • [06] Greece, Arab League confer on Mideast issues
  • [07] US senators begin briefing visit in Thessaloniki
  • [08] Pangalos, Reppas comment on relations with Patriarchate
  • [09] Talk of joint Athens mayor candidate "premature", Pangalos says
  • [10] .... Constantopoulos
  • [11] Farm issues promoted within September, EU's Fischler says
  • [12] Gov't, party discuss nation's top priorities
  • [13] Gov't committed to education restructuring
  • [14] Training seminars for teachers
  • [15] Disagreements over VAN quake prediction method aired at conference
  • [16] Greek government launches talks on 1998 budget
  • [17] Greek Gov't satisfied with implementation of '97 budget
  • [18] Greek stocks tumble 1.75 pct on '98 budget jitters
  • [19] Greece hosts international farming conference
  • [20] Xiosbank mutual fund management posts increase
  • [21] Alpha Credit lending rates for foreign currency
  • [22] ND blasts Gov't over economy, Olympic Airways
  • [23] Five bodies found from yacht tragedy
  • [24] Police target drunk drivers
  • [25] Court issues stiff sentences for Athens-area DWI convictions

  • [01] Pangalos rejects Turkish criticism, supports Madrid communiqui

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Greece is correctly interpreting the Madrid communiqui, adding that Greek-Turkish relations should not be based on the use of or threat to use force.

    He was commenting on statements yesterday by Turkish-European Union and Cypriot Affairs Minister Sukru Gurel, who said that he doubted Greece's intentions regarding the Madrid communiqui and attributed responsibilities on the Greek side over delays in work by the "experts committees" set up by the two countries to record Greek-Turkish differences.

    In an interview with Athens daily "Exousia", Mr. Gurel also said that unless the European Union decided by the end of this year to include Turkey among the nations to join the Union, Ankara would consider withdrawing its application for full accession to the 15-member Union.

    Asked if Mr. Gurel's statement was compatible with the spirit of the Madrid communiqui, signed between Greece and Turkey on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid this summer in an effort to normalize relations between the two NATO allies, Mr. Pangalos said:

    "The Madrid communiqui is just a written statement of intent. It does not solve any problem. Greece is interpreting correctly the joint communiqui and relations between states should not be based on the use of violence and the threat of use of violence. "

    The Greek minister added that statements made recently by Turkish officials were not made "in the right direction," and that Athens "has no reason to be pleased with them."

    Mr. Pangalos added that Turkey was behaving in an irrational manner since in essence it was forcing Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to freeze face-to-face consultations with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

    "Ankara is thus driving Turkey further away from the European Union," Mr. Pangalos said, adding that no progress could be made in this way between the neighboring country and the European Union. "Turkey is driving itself to marginalization," the minister said, adding that this was not desired by Greece, a country which favors the development of Turkey's European orientation.

    Turkey expressed its opposition to the commencement of accession talks between Cyprus and the European Union, maintaining that Cyprus cannot become an EU unless Turkey joins the Union at the same time.

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas attributed statements to "the fluidity of political life in Turkey," adding that the various statements made recently by Turkish officials were not made on the "same wavelength." He said statements were made in view of political developments in Turkey, adding that Greece should not be "disoriented by such statements."

    Greece, Mr. Reppas said, "must maintain a strong deterrent force, reinforce its international status and not be disoriented by careless and hostile initiatives on the part of Turkish politicians."

    Regarding Mr. Gurel's statement that Turkey would consider withdrawing its application for full membership from the European Union, he said that Turkey was far away from meeting even the most basic criteria for equal participation into the European Union.

    "The European Union will not succumb to blackmail," he added.

    [02] G. Papandreou

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou underlined yesterday that Turkey's path to Europe dictated that Ankara improve its relations with Athens.

    In an interview with the Athens daily "Ethnos" published yesterday, Mr. Papandreou said recent statements by Turkish Deputy Premier Bulent Ecevit "harmed" the joint communiqui.

    Noting that adherence to the spirit and letter of the communiqui would benefit both countries, Mr. Papandreou said the party which went back on its word would be responsible for its actions in the eyes of the international community.

    "Greece will not backpedal," Mr. Papandreou stressed.

    Recent statements by Mr. Ecevit, he added, ran contrary not only to the letter from new Turkish Premier Mesut Yilmaz to Mr. Simitis, seeking Greek support for Ankara's efforts for EU membership, but also to the stance adopted by Turkish President Demirel in Madrid.

    "Mr. Ecevit's provocative statements about Cyprus, if they indeed reflect official Turkish policy, make it meaningless to continue talks aimed at finding a solution of the Cyprus problem and dynamite efforts for its effective confrontation," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Asked to comment on the Turkish deputy premier's claims that Turkey could have seized the Dodecanese islands after World War II, all of Cyprus in 1974 and Thessaloniki in 1922, Mr. Papandreou said Greece was confronting the threats through diplomacy and defense preparations "so that the threats do not materialize".

    Mr. Papandreou stated emphatically that "Turkey's course to Europe presupposes the fulfillment of certain conditions, such as (respect for) human rights, the settlement of the Cyprus problem and resolution of the (Aegean) continental shelf issue through recourse to the International Court of Justice at The Hague".

    [03] Cyprus President meets Karamanlis

    Nicosia, 26/08/1997 (ANA - A. Panagopoulos/CNA)

    Main opposition New Democracy fully supports Cyprus' struggle for a just solution to its protracted problem, ND leader Costas Karamanlis stressed yesterday.

    Mr. Karamanlis, who is visiting the island republic, was received here by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and exchanged views on the 23-year-old Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr. Karamanlis said he assured the Cypriot president of his personal and ND's commitment to a just solution to the Cyprus problem in compliance with relevant UN resolutions.

    He also affirmed New Democracy's full support for Cyprus' bid to become a European Union (EU) member.

    "We do not only think this will facilitate the Cyprus problem but most of all we believe that Cyprus is part of a united Europe and this should be formalized" he said.

    Mr. Karamanlis told the press he had a "very thorough discussion on all aspects of the Cyprus problem" with President Clerides, particularly at this "very crucial stage", during which the Turkish side continues and intensifies its provocative policy.

    Mr. Karamanlis, who arrived in Cyprus Sunday for a four-day visit at the invitation of the ruling right-wing Democratic Rally (DISY) party, was accompanied by DISY leader Nicos Anastasiades. Mr. Karamanlis, who leaves Cyprus tomorrow, will also meet with the ministers of foreign affairs and defense, Ioannis Kasoulides and Costas Eliades, respectively, House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou, the head of the Orthodox Church on the island, Archbishop Chrysostomos, as well as political p arty and military leaders.

    [04] Tsovolas meets Clerides

    Nicosia, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) President Dimitris Tsovolas also held talks yesterday with President Clerides.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Tsovolas said that "we should all help towards projecting (to the international public opinion) Turkey's intransigence because this ongoing violation of international legality and Cypriot Hellenism's human rights can no longer be tolerated".

    Mr. Tsovolas also held talks with Mr. Kyprianou.

    [05] Greek ambassador to Zagreb says bilateral relations 'excellent'

    Belgrade, 26/08/1997 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Greece's relations with Croatia are excellent, the Greek ambassador to Zagreb Constantinos Gerokostopoulos was reported as telling the 'Novi List' newspaper, published in Rijeka.

    The Greek ambassador also said the two countries hold identical views on many international issues, adding that Athens is interested in the development of economic co-operation with Croatia on all sectors.

    He specified that this interest is particularly focused on the use of the port of Rijeka, and the provision of aid for the construction of a national highway along the Adriatic coast, which will extend as far as the Greek border via Albania.

    [06] Greece, Arab League confer on Mideast issues

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos had talks in Athens yesterday with Arab League Secretary-General Abdel Meguid focusing on the Middle East and the development of Greece's relations with the Arab world.

    After the talks, which lasted about one hour, Mr. Pangalos told reporters that in addition to Middle East issues, he had also discussed the "incorporation" of certain Arab countries such as Iraq and Libya in the international community and prospects for the development of Greece's relations with these countries.

    Mr. Meguid said he had discussed the role of the European Union in the Middle East peace process. He welcomed the appointment by the EU of an envoy for the Middle East and rejected the measures taken by the Israeli government.

    Mr. Meguid also expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem which ensured the territorial integrity of the island republic. Mr. Pangalos said the confrontation of the Palestinian problem would depend on the behavior of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian population.

    While condemning terrorism, Mr. Pangalos said it was "also not right to carry out reprisals against non-combatants".

    The EU, he added, had means at its disposal to exert pressure on Israel and "should use them".

    [07] US senators begin briefing visit in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Visiting US Senator Michael Bilirakis expressed the conviction on Monday that "the real Macedonia" is the area corresponding to northern Greece and not "the area to the north of the Greek border".

    Mr. Bilirakis arrived in Thessaloniki on Sunday at the head of a six-member delegation of US senators in order to be briefed on issues which currently concern Greece.

    Yesterday, the senators met with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who told reporters he had briefed the delegation on issues relating to northern Greece, particularly the role played by the region in Greece's co-operation with the neighboring Balkan states.

    Mr. Bilirakis explained that the delegation had come to Greece to be briefed on issues with which members of the US Congress were not very familiar.

    "In the United States, we take important decisions which affect not only Americans but the entire world and many of these decisions are taken without the necessary knowledge.

    This is why we make such trips so that we can see with our own eyes and hear for ourselves the problems of Greece and particularly the region of Macedonia," Mr. Bilirakis said.

    "To see that this region is the real Macedonia and not the region north of the border," he added.

    The other senators in the delegation are Randy Cunningham, Ron Klink, John Laflace, Dan Schaefer and Michael Pappas. Mr. Klink and Mr. Laflace are Democrats while the other four are Republicans.

    [08] Pangalos, Reppas comment on relations with Patriarchate

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry does not intervene in relations between bishoprics and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday in response to press questions.

    Mr. Pangalos referred his questioners to the foreign ministry official competent to speak on religious matters, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Referring to reports of Patriarch Vartholomeos' dissatisfaction that Mr. Pangalos failed to pay the Patriarch a visit while he was in Istanbul, Mr. Pangalos said it was a great honor to be invited to dinner with the Patriarch but that the nature of hi s visit precluded his attending.

    Mr. Pangalos was in Istanbul to attend the summit of Black Sea countries.

    In related statements, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas categorically denied that the government was pursuing a breach in relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    On the contrary, Mr. Reppas said, "it is inconceivable that these relations could no longer be relations of friendship, love and co-operation."

    Greece, Mr. Reppas said, supported the work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, adding that relations between the Patriarchate and the Greek government were very good and co-operation between them unhindered.

    Asked why Mr. Pangalos did not pay a visit to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos during his visit to Istanbul, Mr. Reppas said a visit to the Patriarchate was not on the minister's agenda.

    Asked if the Patriarch would visit Athens, Mr. Reppas said the government did not interfere with church matters.

    [09] Talk of joint Athens mayor candidate "premature", Pangalos says

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called "premature" statements by Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas on a possible joint PASOK and Coalition of the Left and Progress candidacy for Athens mayor in forthcoming municipal elections.

    Mr. Pangalos was responding to press questions regarding Mr. Reppas' statements in Sunday's "Eleftherotypia" which hinted at a possible joining of forces to back the Coalition's Maria Damanaki as mayor of Athens.

    Mr. Pangalos said he respected Ms Damanaki as an opponent, adding "Maria Damanaki is a good candidate but elections are neither a competition or beauty contest. The best person is the winner."

    Later, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said he had outlined his personal opinions in the interview and that they were not representative of the position of the government or the prime minister.

    He clarified that his personal opinions were not the same as those expressed in his capacity as government spokesman.

    Ms Damanaki, he added, had made no proposal but Mr. Reppas said he believed that progressive forces working together could win the municipal elections and introduce the necessary changes to improve the quality of life of the city's residents.

    Mr. Reppas stressed that the municipal elections or any other election apart from parliamentary elections did not define the tenure of the government.

    [10] .... Constantopoulos

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Commenting on the matter, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said PASOK was currently showing a strong interest in the Athens municipality race for lack of substantive policies.

    "PASOK is showing a systematic interest in the Athens municipality because at this moment it has no profile, or policy or no specific program, and is therefore concerned and is trying to overcome its own internal problems," he said.

    He added that "in no case will Synaspismos start a discussion about persons and schemes one year before the (municipal) elections, in the absence of our programmatic principles".

    [11] Farm issues promoted within September, EU's Fischler says

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    EU Agricultural Commissioner Franz Fischler is expected in Greece on September 26 to discuss issues related to olive oil, tobacco, cotton, grape and wine production, Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas said in Hania yesterday.

    Mr. Tzoumakas said that the European Union (EU) Council of Agriculture Ministers would meet on September 9 in Luxembourg to negotiate on revising the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    A revised CAP will place on a new basis all products from southern Europe and the farm economy of Mediterranean countries.

    Domestically, the minister said that a new comprehensive draft bill on agriculture would become law by September 4.

    He said the bill would regulate issues that had been pending for years and had prevented rural Greece from developing properly.

    Under the bill, agricultural cooperatives would be further combined as a means of dealing with their debts, which in the case of Crete amount to more than 30 billion drachmas.

    [12] Gov't, party discuss nation's top priorities

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    PASOK political secretariat yesterday spelled out the government's and the ruling party's goals for the next three years, at a meeting that began on Friday.

    According to government sources, there was full agreement between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and PASOK's political secretariat on the government's priorities for the long term.

    The priorities, as reportedly proposed by Mr. Simitis, are topped by Greece's inclusion in the Economic and Monetary Union, as formulated by the European Union.

    The country's participation in European developments on an equal basis is a second priority.

    Greece's presence in the Balkans, another important target, must effectively use its twin advantage of being both an EU and NATO member, as well as being part of the Balkans.

    The modernization of the country is a fourth priority, including great changes in the sectors of education, health and public administration.

    The organizing of a modern social state completed the government's top priority list for the next few years. This type of state should promote social policy, which would give special emphasis to employment, without diverging from the economic program.

    [13] Gov't committed to education restructuring

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    The government's policy on education is going ahead in line with previous announcements and the education ministry is entrusted with completing the project, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    In addition, a meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis took place yesterday to discuss the issue, while sources said afterwards that the bill will be tabled in a reverent Parliament committee at the end of the week.

    Mr. Reppas was talking to reporters about the content of talks between Mr. Simitis and Mr. Arsenis.

    He added that decisions had already been taken and would not be withdrawn under the threat or pressure of industrial action which, he added, was duly respected.

    Mr. Arsenis reiterated the government's commitment to proceeding with education policy decisions in statements to reporters later.

    He said the new legislation on changes to the education system would go ahead despite reactions from teachers, adding however, that the government was open to dialogue with teachers.

    Discussion on the bill will begin in Parliament today. Among the forecast changes are the abolition of the current system appointing teachers to positions in public schools, which was the focus of a meeting yesterday.

    Teachers from primary and secondary education said they were continuing discussions on action to protest the change. A national rally has been scheduled for Athens on Thursday, while teachers awaiting public school appointments will proceed with their own protests, including the takeover of education offices.

    [14] Training seminars for teachers

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, training seminars for teachers on the new curriculum beginning this school year began yesterday at the Evgenidio Institute. Some 13,000 teachers from junior high school will be participating in the seminars on how to grade students.

    "A new education program for secondary education is beginning," Mr. Arsenis said. "This will create a new school which will assist in the development of the student's own thought while evaluation will be geared to allowing the student to realize his capabilities. Private coaching schools will no longer be necessary since there will be educational programs throughout the course of the school year."

    The program is funded in part by the Community Support Framework.

    [15] Disagreements over VAN quake prediction method aired at conference

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Seismologists attending an international congress in Thessaloniki were divided into two camps yesterday following disagreements on the effectiveness of VAN, a method of predicting earthquakes invented by a team of Greek researchers.

    Scientists attending the 29th World Seismology Conference, which opened on August 18, said the methods results were "entirely vague" and called for one of its founders, University of Athens physics professor Costas Varotsos, to provide infallible scientific proof for the validity of his method. The VAN method, first introduced in Greece in 1981, bears the initials of the three Greek scientists that collaborated in devising it, two physicists and an electronics expert.

    Prof. Varotsos defended the method, saying that the success of the method had "been published last year in a serious scientific magazine, which was not replied to by critics".

    His comments raised storms of protest from a noted American professor at Tokyo University, Robert Geller, and French professor Pascal Bernard, as well as from Greek professor Vassilis Papazachos.

    "The VAN method may be used only as a method of understanding the genesis of the phenomenon of earthquakes, not for their prediction," Prof. Bernard said.

    The 10-day conference is being attended by some 1,000 scientists from around the world.

    [16] Greek government launches talks on 1998 budget

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's economic leadership began a week-long round of meetings, yesterday, to examine the 1997 budget's performance, draft the 1998 budget, and take measures to bring state finances under control.

    During the first of the meetings, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou discussed implementation of this year's budget with Finance Undersecretaries George Drys and Nikos Christodoulakis.

    The three men also discussed measures to be taken on curbing spending by state enterprises in an effort to achieve restructuring and modernization.

    The new measures are expected to be finalized by next week.

    This week's remaining meetings will assess state revenues and prepare the main points of Prime Minister Costas Simitis' fiscal and incomes policy speech at the inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair on September 5.

    [17] Greek Gov't satisfied with implementation of '97 budget

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's socialist government expects its 1997 budget to attain at least the same rate of implementation as in the last two years, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Replying to questions, Mr. Reppas told reporters that the government had no plans to introduce new taxes, a sign that economic policy so far was effective and targets were being met.

    Asked whether the government would resort to foreign borrowing in order to make up state deficits, Mr. Reppas said discussion of loans from abroad was usual while drafting the budget.

    [18] Greek stocks tumble 1.75 pct on '98 budget jitters

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greek equities remained under strong pressure on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday to end substantially lower, extending Friday's heavy losses.

    Traders said the market was uneasy ahead of the government's final decisions over next year's budget.

    Investors were also awaiting the International Olympic Committee's decision on September 5 on whether Athens would host the 2004 Olympics.

    The general index closed 1.75 percent lower at 1,564.99 points with most sector indices losing ground. Banks fell 1.91 percent, Leasing was 0.82 percent off, Insurance eased 1.82 percent, Investment dropped 1.98 percent, Industrials fell 2.05 percent, Construction plunged 3.06 percent, Holding fell 2.49 percent.

    Miscellaneous bucked the trend to end 0.15 percent higher.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.16 percent.

    Trading remained subdued and turnover was 8.2 billion drachmas.

    In the broader market decliners led advancers by 171 to 30 with another 16 issues unchanged.

    Halyps Cement, Nafpaktos Mills, Remek and Heliofin scored the biggest percentage gains, while Mouriades, Atemke, Parnassos Enterprises and Aemet suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 35,900 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,100, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,905, Delta Dairy at 3,935, Titan Cement at 14,680, Intracom at 12,280 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 6,365.

    In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar rose by 0.09 percent against the drachma.

    [19] Greece hosts international farming conference

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greek Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday opened a farming conference on the island of Crete that will debate the internationalization of farming and its repercussions on production, society and the economy.

    Three hundred delegates from around the world divided into 17 working groups are attending the conference, whose language is English.

    [20] Xiosbank mutual fund management posts increase

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Total mutual fund management by Xiosbank recorded an 85.7 per cent increase in the first seven months of 1997, reaching 143. 238 billion drachmas on August 22.

    - Xios Equity fund showed a 66.09 per cent return, its assets reaching 5.233 billion drachmas - Xios Income recorded a 7. 45 per cent return, its assets totaling 61.4 billion drachmas - Xios Reserve showed a 6.64 per cent return, assets totaling 56.7 billion drachmas - Xios Invest recorded a 31.94 per cent return, with assets totaling 16.2 billion drachmas - Xios Mark assets reached 3.7 billion drachmas, and showed a positive return despite the depreciation of the German currency.

    [21] Alpha Credit lending rates for foreign currency

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Alpha Credit Bank announced that the minimum lending interest rate per currency in "Alpha 605" accounts in foreign exchange is as follows, as of yesterday: - United States dollar, 7.65 per cent - ECU, 6.30 per cent - Deutschmark, 5.25 per cent - Japanese yen, 2.55 per cent - Swiss franc, 3.40 per cent The maximum increase margin is 4.5 percentage units.

    [22] ND blasts Gov't over economy, Olympic Airways

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos yesterday charged the government of providing daily confirmations of its inability to exercise what he called an integral and effective economic policy.

    He also said the government is showing signs of disintegration, with ministers disagreeing on economic policy and ruling PASOK party deputies refusing to approve the government's bills, while the danger of budget targets failing, deficits swelling and the inability to collect revenues continuing paint a picture undermining all efforts for a more energetic presence of the private sector.

    Regarding state-own and operated Olympic Airways, Mr. Spiliotopoulos charged that the disintegration of the national air carrier was continuing, causing problems to passengers and defaming the country abroad.

    He charged the transport minister with "inadequacy and inability to institute some order" in the airline, and that "the best thing he can do is resign".

    [23] Five bodies found from yacht tragedy

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    A coastguard patrol boat yesterday found the bodies of five of the seven people missing since Friday evening, when their yacht sank in the northeastern Aegean.

    A Hellenic Air Force helicopter had earlier spotted the three-meter inflatable dinghy, in which they had fled to safety after the yacht fire, overturned, off the northern coast of the island of Psara.

    According to initial reports, the bodies of four of the persons were found floating in the sea not far from the inflatable, while one woman was spotted lifeless atop the inflatable.

    The search is continuing for two men still missing since the 12-meter "Golden Fin" sank after catching fire, apparently due to a mechanical breakdown. All eight passengers aboard the yacht were Greek nationals.

    A 32-year-old woman, Vayia Zisi, was rescued on Saturday afternoon after swimming to a rocky islet where she was later found and picked up by a fishing boat's crew.

    [24] Police target drunk drivers

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Traffic police in the Attica prefecture are on full alert for those driving under the influence of alcohol following a memorandum from a senior prosecution official.

    Traffic police conducted checks on 711 drivers on major roads over the weekend. Sixty-six drivers were found to be driving over the limit. Of those, 48 were served with summons while another 18 were charged yesterday and their vehicles - both cars and motorcycles - confiscated.

    Sentences for those found guilty of drunk driving include jail terms of up to six months and the impounding of the vehicle.

    Meanwhile, police sources said 28 people lost their lives on Greek roads over the weekend in a total of 214 collisions.

    Some 378 people were injured, 32 seriously, police said.

    [25] Court issues stiff sentences for Athens-area DWI convictions

    Athens, 26/08/1997 (ANA)

    Eight drivers found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol over the weekend were handed fines, jail sentences and had their licenses were suspended, while all eight will have their vehicles' impounded at least until their cases come before an appeals court.

    All eight defendants filed for appeal and were set free. The jail sentences ranged from six to 10 months, although in Greece after an appeals process is completed, most sentences handed down by misdemeanor courts are bought out. Fines ranged from 100,000 to 200,000 drachmas.

    The eight were the first batch of drivers to feel the brunt of a new "get-tough" police campaign against drunk driving in the greater Athens area, which calls for confiscation of cars, among others. Most police road blocks were set up on and near Poseidonos Avenue, Athens coastal highway.

    Police arrested 18 people over the weekend on charges of driving while intoxicated. Ten suspects requested and received a three-day extension to prepare their defense.

    End of English language section.


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