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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-16

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 1391), January 16, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Britain's Cook: No legal obstacle for Cyprus to join EU
  • [02] Gov't unfazed by US position, says 10-mile airspace the status quo
  • [03] ... Turkish violations continue unabated
  • [04] US, British ambassadors briefed on escalating Turkish provocations
  • [05] State Dept.: FIR and delineation of national airspace unrelated
  • [06] Praise for Turkish architect's comments on sexton's murder
  • [07] Constantopoulos proposes redefinition of Greek foreign policy
  • [08] Cabinet discussion on Article 19
  • [09] Stephanopoulos visits Taj Mahal
  • [10] KYSEA decides replacement of navy leadership
  • [11] Burns visits Intrakom facilities
  • [12] Karamanlis focuses criticism on Gov't 'no new taxes' pledge
  • [13] ... Evert: Early elections inevitable
  • [14] ... Gov't lashes back at Karamanlis over criticism
  • [15] Spraos report on agriculture
  • [16] Simitis chairs meeting on agricultural policy
  • [17] Bill on awarding public works ratified clause by clause
  • [18] Seamen strike against coming cabotage abolition
  • [19] Costakis collection headed to Thessaloniki
  • [20] 'Greece in Britain' events begin next week
  • [21] 100,000 Greeks suffer from schizophrenia
  • [22] Treasures of Mt. Athos exhibition reopens
  • [23] Legal center for training of Balkan attorneys in Thessaloniki
  • [24] Legal status not available to new illegal immigrants
  • [25] 'Open university' programs begin in late February
  • [26] Gov't warms to idea of president heading 2004 c'tee
  • [27] Reppas on concerns of risks over distribution of radio frequencies
  • [28] Smoking banned in Parliament's main chamber
  • [29] Greek stocks end at three-month lows
  • [30] Tsakiridis approved as OA president by Parliament committee
  • [31] Government seeks labor peace in national carrier
  • [32] Finance ministry collects 39 bln Drs. in tax fines
  • [33] Regulation on penalty rates soon, Gov't says
  • [34] Budget committee completes debate on tax bill
  • [35] GSEE strike at banks, public utilities next Thursday
  • [36] Greece, Chile look to strengthen tourist ties

  • [01] Britain's Cook: No legal obstacle for Cyprus to join EU

    Washington, 16/01/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    British Foreign Secretary and European Council President Robin Cook yesterday emphasized the island republic's excellent prospects of joining the Union.

    "In our view, there is no legal obstacle for Cyprus to become a full European Union member. On the contrary, we consider Cyprus as being one of the strongest candidates," Mr. Cook told a Turkish reporter who asked whether Cyprus' 1960 constitution prohibited Cyprus from joining an international organization in which both Turkey and Greece are not members.

    "It (Cyprus) has the highest standard of living among all the candidates. Naturally, it would be much better if Cyprus were to join the EU as one country. For this reason we encourage the Republic of Cyprus to include the Turkish Cypriots in its negotiating team. Nobody has more to gain from the accession of Cyprus to the EU than those living in the Turkish Cypriot sector of the island, because their standard of living is only a quarter of the corresponding one for the Greek Cypriots and they (the Turkish Cypriots) will have huge benefits from economic support by the EU," Mr. Cook added.

    Addressing the European Institute in Washington yesterday, Mr. Cook also said rapprochement between Turkey and the EU constitutes one of the British presidency's main challenges.

    "The EU announced at the recent Luxembourg summit that Turkey is eligible for accession. We recognize its European dimension and the need for Turkey to participate in the EU's enlargement process," he said.

    "We have set criteria for all states wishing to join the EU, such as democratic government and the protection of human rights. Turkey's candidacy for EU accession will be judged on the basis of the same objective criteria which also have effect for all the other countries," he added.

    Mr. Cook was due to meet his US counterpart Madeleine Albright at the US State Department later in the day yesterday.

    The two ministers were expected to include Turkey and Cyprus in their talks.

    [02] Gov't unfazed by US position, says 10-mile airspace the status quo

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek government yesterday expressed disagreement over statements by new US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns concerning the extent of Greece's airspace limits.

    Replying to reporters' questions, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said Athens would not allow any questioning of its policy, "according to which Greek airspace has extended to 10 nautical miles for about the past 60 years and no one has disputed this for very many years".

    While noting that Mr. Burns had retracted some of his initial statements on the subject, Mr. Reppas said Athens did not agree with the position of the US ambassador, "since it does not conform with the principles of international law adhered to for decades in the region". Mr. Burns last Friday reiterated the US position that the limits of each country's airspace should correspond to those of its territorial waters, which would mean that Washington recognizes a six-nautical-mile limit for Greek airs pace.

    Asked whether there was a problem with Mr. Burns, Mr. Reppas replied that the government had not been occupied with any issue concerning the ambassador.

    The spokesman was also asked whether Washington's services were welcome with regard to the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations.

    With respect to Cyprus, he replied that any initiatives will be judged by whether they are within the framework of UN resolutions and the 1977 summit meetings in Cyprus (between the late President Makarios and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash).

    On the issue of Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Reppas said no US initiative was currently in progress.

    [03] ... Turkish violations continue unabated

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, the government emphasized that Turkish warplanes again violated Greek airspace yesterday, this time between the Aegean islands of Lesvos and Hios. Mr. Reppas said the Turkish warplanes were on all occasions recognized and intercepted by Hellenic Air Force fighters.

    Commenting on the latest violations, Mr. Reppas said Turkey was persisting in its "meaningless policy which will be confronted in practice".

    He added that Greece's diplomatic and other actions in response to the Turkish violations were bearing fruit and enhancing the country's international position.

    According to press sources, since 11:30 a.m. yesterday, a total of 32 Turkish warplanes - 16 F-16s, 12 F-4s and four RF-4s (photo reconnaissance) - had without warning entered the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) without previously submitting flight plans. The FIR infringements and airspace violations, sources said, took place between Lesvos and Hios, and Lesvos and Limnos.

    Commenting on the violations, National Defense Under-secretary Demetris Apostolakis said Ankara should realize that it was playing a dangerous game given that "our country has the capability and determination to respond to such provocation".

    On his part, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said that "while we focus on issues that were finalized decades ago, such as the width of Greek national airspace, we do not see the issue at hand, which are the Turkish provocations."

    The Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), in a press release, called Mr. Burns "Ankara's salesman", who "haggles in the most unacceptable way our national sovereign rights."

    [04] US, British ambassadors briefed on escalating Turkish provocations

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was summoned to the foreign ministry yesterday by the head of the Greek-Turkish affairs department, Ilias Klis, in order to be briefed on intensifying Turkish provocativeness in the Aegean.

    Sources said that Mr. Burns was, among others, briefed on yesterday's incident near the Imia islets, in which two Turkish fishing boats approached, accompanied by a Turkish coast-guard vessel.

    All three trespassers withdrew from the area when a Greek coast-guard vessel headed to the area. The same sources said that both Mr. Burns and the British ambassador, Sir Michael Llewelyn Smith, were summoned to the foreign ministry on the instructions of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    [05] State Dept.: FIR and delineation of national airspace unrelated

    Washington, 16/01/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    A US State Department press release yesterday stated that "FIRs (Flight Information Regions) have been established according to the regulations of international air traffic as a part of the system of air traffic control. A FIR has nothing to do with delineation of national airspace."

    The statement came as a response to a Turkish reporter's question on whether delineation of the Athens FIR constitutes Greece's national airspace.

    In a related development, commenting on a soon-to-be operational air base in southwestern Cyprus, a US State Department official said that "the fact of the construction of the base is public knowledge for some time now."

    He added that the position of the US on this issue, as well as others which relate to the increasing militarization of Cyprus, was unchanged.

    He added that "we encourage all sides to abstain from actions or statements which lead to the increase of tension in the area and disorient (us) from efforts for the achievement of a just and viable peace on the island."

    [06] Praise for Turkish architect's comments on sexton's murder

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Athens secretariat of the Ipekci awards committee issued a statement yesterday praising Turkish architect and poet Genghiz Bektas for his "courageous and unequivocal" statement regarding the murder earlier this week in Istanbul of the Agios Therapon Church's sexton.

    Members of the secretariat also congratulated Mr. Bektas for his statements regarding the protection of Istanbul's monuments as "part of world history".

    Mr. Bektas is president of the Turkish-Greek Friendship Committee, formed by members of the Turkish National Assembly.

    [07] Constantopoulos proposes redefinition of Greek foreign policy

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Speaking at the Panteion University at the invitation of the International Relations Institute yesterday, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos proposed a radical redefinition of Greece's foreign policy.

    Mr. Constantopoulos opposed "dogmatism, the absence of strategic understanding between parties, slogan talk and personification" which, he said, characterize Greece's foreign policy.

    He reviewed his party's policy in the specific sector, in connection with the assumption of initiatives by the Greek government for the internationalization of the Kurdish issue and Greek-Turkish problems, the creation of a political framework to renegotiate the Amsterdam Treaty, the creation of a Foreign Policy Council corresponding to the creation of a secretariat at the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), etc.

    In Mr. Constantopoulos' view "Turkey having its back against the wall is not in Greece's interests" but, on the contrary, it must get involved in the European Union's processes so that Greek-Turkish friction will be transferred to the framework of the EU itself and the margins of US involvement in the region should be reduced.

    [08] Cabinet discussion on Article 19

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Abolition of Constitutional Article 19 of the citizenship code is to be discussed by Cabinet today following a recommendation by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    According to provisions of the article, individuals belonging to ethnic minorities are stripped of citizenship when they emigrate abroad with the intention of never returning.

    [09] Stephanopoulos visits Taj Mahal

    Udaipur, India, 16/01/1998 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday wound up his official visit to New Delhi and left for Agra, where he was given a guided tour of the legendary Taj Mahal and the city's imposing fortress.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos later traveled to the city of Udaipur where he visited a hotel housing a collection of rare crystals.

    Today, he is scheduled to visit Bombay.

    [10] KYSEA decides replacement of navy leadership

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday chaired a meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), where it was unanimously decided to replace the Hellenic Navy's leadership.

    KYSEA chose Vice-Adm. Georgios Ioannidis, fleet commander until now, as the new navy general staff chief. He succeeds Vice-Adm. Leonidas Paliogiorgos who was placed in retirement.

    Furthermore, KYSEA unanimously decided to maintain Lt.-Gen. Manousos Paragioudakis at the head of the army and Georgios Antonetis at the head of the air force for another year.

    According to the law on officers' seniority and promotion, the armed forces' new leadership is announced a month before it assumes its duties to have time to be briefed on its new activities.

    The change of guard at the Hellenic Navy is expected to take place on Feb. 15. The annual promotions and retirements of officers will start on March 1.

    [11] Burns visits Intrakom facilities

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday visited the facilities of the Intrakom Corp. in Paiania, outside Athens, focusing on the company's activities in the sectors of communications, informatics, network management and defense applications.

    Discussions with Intrakom founder and president Socrates Kokkalis also included the company's intentions regarding closer co-operation with US companies and its expansion on the other side of the Atlantic with the buy-out of a small firm specializing in software for major telecommunications concerns.

    Although nothing was officially announced by the company, sources told ANA that during the meeting progress was made towards an agreement with Northrop-Grumman, the second largest US defense contractor, and that an agreement will be officially announced at the end of January.

    The two companies' co-operation will concern joint production of electronic defense systems, particularly the flying E-2C radars, which will be extensively used by the Greek military.

    Intrakom last month signed an agreement for the manufacturing of wireless sets for the Hellenic Army, worth 14 billion drachmas.

    [12] Karamanlis focuses criticism on Gov't 'no new taxes' pledge

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday called on ND's heads of parliamentary control groups (OKE) to assign responsibilities to every OKE member-deputy with a view to producing comprehensive policy positions.

    These positions, he said, must be realistic, reliable and not necessarily pleasant.

    "There must be a collective effort and harmonious co-operation," he added.

    The ND leader accused the government of lying when saying that no new taxes would be imposed, and of a lack of boldness in introducing structural changes and radical innovations.

    Referring to the recent profiteering attacks on the drachma, Mr. Karamanlis said it was due to the lack of confidence in the Greek economy, and referred to the view expressed by the governor of the Bank of Greece, Lucas Papadimos, in a financial magazine, namely, that a policy based only on currency dimension cannot yield results forever.

    Bold changes are needed to free the creative forces of the Greek economy, Mr. Karamanlis added.

    [13] ... Evert: Early elections inevitable

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The prime minister will very likely call early elections due to reactions of government deputies to several unpopular bills, former ND leader Miltiades Evert said in an interview, published in yesterday's edition of the Athens daily 'Eleftheros Typos'.

    Referring to the economy, Mr. Evert stressed that "the greatest problem is the instability and uncertainty due to the policy of the 'hard drachma'."

    Regarding foreign relations, he said "the limits of compromises and concessions (to Turkey) have been long exhausted. The conciliatory attitude is misinterpreted, it feeds Ankara's expansionist bulimia and it undermines peace".

    In a separate statement, Mr. Evert reacted to the finance ministry's announcement that the self-employed would have to state their incomes in the last five years in their forthcoming annual income tax statement by saying that he had no intention of doing so.

    He said the ministry was already in possession of all the relevant figures, and that the government had to respect ordinary citizens.

    [14] ... Gov't lashes back at Karamanlis over criticism

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas accused main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis of irresponsibility and lying, after statements the ND leader made yesterday on the state of the economy and the government's economic policy.

    Mr. Reppas called on Mr. Karamanlis not to refer to these issues "with such irresponsibility" and added that the government contrasts the truth of its works with the lies in the ND leader's words.

    He further said that with his statements yesterday, the ND leader exceeded his own self and accused him of willfully concealing the truth on such issues as the achievement of convergence targets, unemployment and the need for structural incisions.

    Mr. Reppas said Greece is very close to achieving convergence criteria, on the question of unemployment it has far lower rates than most European Union countries, while all structural incisions which have been made were carried out by the present PASOK government.

    [15] Spraos report on agriculture

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek agriculture is deficient in four important respects, namely competitiveness, cohesion, prospects and institutions, says a report on the sector prepared by a committee headed by Prof. Ioannis Spraos, and released yesterday.

    Its structural deficiencies are not insurmountable, given economic realism, social sensitivity and vision.

    The authors of the report are strongly critical of the anachronistic views prevailing with regard to development in the sector, and political partisanship permeating agricultural organizations.

    They caution against repetition of past practices whereby subsidies were wasted, resulting in no increase in the value added to products, no reduction in production costs and no improvement in competitiveness.

    They stress the need for carving a national agricultural policy with rules that are compatible with CAP, and with full utilization of the support envisaged in the Agenda 2000.

    The report calls, among other things, for a re-examination of the role of agricultural cooperatives, the organization of a national system of products of certified quality, the creation of a 'Land Bank' (possibly a subsidiary of the Agricultural Bank o f Greece - ATE) that would act as buyer, seller or broker, the setting up of a water management organization with appropriate pricing policies that would discourage waste, and emphasis on measures that promote local development.

    Commenting on the report, Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas said it contained vital recommendations for farming deve-lopment which would be evaluated in the context of the ongoing dialogue in the sector.

    [16] Simitis chairs meeting on agricultural policy

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday discussed measures relating to the agricultural sector at a broad meeting attended by ministers, Agricultural Bank officials and representatives of the cooperative movement.

    Issues discussed included the expediting of a law providing incentives to new farmers, improvements in the system of disbursements, compensations, supports and subsidies of the CAP, as well as the modernization of the Agricultural Bank.

    [17] Bill on awarding public works ratified clause by clause

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    A bill prepared by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry on improving processes for awarding public works had its clauses ratified in Parliament individually yesterday, the third day on which the bill was discussed.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis tabled an amendment by which earthquake sufferers in Konitsa will be housed in a home provided free of charge, as well as sufferers in Kozani and Grevena.

    On the question of the transfer of duties from the Athens Water and Sewerage Co. (EYDAP) to local administration bodies (OTA) in the Attika region, the speaker for the majority said EYDAP will supervise and approve studies for local network construction projects.

    Parliament ratified an amendment by Mr. Laliotis with which the minister will be responsible for considering public works contracts signed by local and prefectural self-administration.

    [18] Seamen strike against coming cabotage abolition

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek-flag merchant ships remained tied up at ports throughout the country as crews went on a 24-hour strike demanding non-lifting of coastal shipping restrictions under European Union-wide transport deregulation.

    Under cabotage restrictions, which must be gradually abolished in Greece by January 1, 2004, only Greek vessels are allowed to carry out coastal passenger and cargo routes originating in one Greek port and ending in another Greek port.

    The restrictions, by decision of all the EU countries, cease to be in effect for cruise-ships as of 1999 and for coastal shipping as of the year 2004.

    In the meantime, a delegation of the Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) was due to meet in Brussels with EU Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock to seek the extension of cabotage restrictions beyond the slated dates.

    PNO Secretary General Yannis Halas told the ANA that the abolition of cabotage would cause "severe unemployment problems among the Greek seamen, who are already suffering the consequences of the withdrawal of ocean-going Greek ships from the Greek regis try (flag)".

    Striking seamen in Piraeus were due to march to the merchant marine ministry for a demonstration, where they would also present a resolution to Minister Stavros Soumakis.

    [19] Costakis collection headed to Thessaloniki

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The "Costakis Collection" of Russian avant-garde works of art, collected over 30 years by Georgios Costakis, a Muscovite of Greek descent, is to be brought to Greece from Cologne as part of an interim agreement for the final purchase of the collection, the government announced yesterday.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the interim agreement had been signed for the purchase of the "western" part of the collection, the works being kept in the German city, which will be brought to Thessaloniki and kept initially at the Lazariston

    Monastery until the completion of a modern art museum, which is to house and display the collection, which will also be taken on tour around the country.

    Mr. Venizelos stressed that the move did not signify that the purchase had been finalized, but that it was in a sense "a pledge".

    The culture minister also took exception to what he called criticism "from all around" over the decision to bring the works to the district he represents.

    In response to press questions, he said: "I won't answer. These questions are unacceptable, and downgrade a major initiative by the government."

    Costakis built up the collection between 1930 and 1960 by exchanging works by western artists for paintings dating from the period 1910-1930 by then unknown Russian avant-garde artists.

    The collection, which now belongs to the daughter of the famous collector, Aliki Costaki, includes works by Malevic, founder of the "Supremacist" school, Tatlin, the founder of "Constructivism", as well as works by Popova, Rozanova and Mathiushin.

    [20] 'Greece in Britain' events begin next week

    London, 16/01/1998 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    "Greece in Britain", a program focusing on modern Greek cultural events including politics, civilization, the Olympics, commerce, the economy, merchant shipping, cuisine etc., will begin Wednesday and last for six months. It coincides with the British presidency of the European Union. Alternate Foreign Minister G. Papandreou will inaugurate the events, while Athens' ambassador to the Court of St. James, Vassilis Zapheiropoulos, will be responsible for the organization of the events.

    [21] 100,000 Greeks suffer from schizophrenia

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Some 100,000 Greeks suffer from some form of schizophrenia, experts told a news conference yesterday. The first symptoms usually appear during puberty, although the condition usually appears in the patient between the ages of 20 and 25. Nevertheless, 20 percent of patients usually suffer only one episode of the disease during their lifetimes.

    While its causes still remain unclear, it appears that heredity is involved, as well as illnesses suffered by the mother during pregnancy, such as influenza. The symptoms usually appear under the influence of external factors such as stress.

    Experts said that many cases were still kept concealed by families even though the condition can be dealt with through the use of medication and psychological support for the family.

    [22] Treasures of Mt. Athos exhibition reopens

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The exhibition "Treasures of Mt. Athos", currently being held in Thessaloniki's Museum of Byzantine Culture, which has been closed for maintenance work, is to reopen on Tuesday, January 20. The exhibition, which opened last year as part of celebrations for Thessaloniki's year as Cultural Capital of Europe, was extended until April by popular demand.

    Other cultural activities that have continued into the new year include an exhibit of traditional Turkish rugs at the old Archaeological Museum, to run until January 22, the exhibition "Alexander and the East" as well as other art exhibitions due to continue until the end of the month.

    [23] Legal center for training of Balkan attorneys in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and Thessaloniki Bar Association president Georgios Ignatiadis yesterday announced the creation in the city of a center for further training of Balkan lawyers in European law.

    It was noted that the center will operate in the framework of the Union of Balkan Bar Associations, a basic aim of which was its creation.

    Mr. Petsalnikos also said that his ministry supported the efforts for the creation in Thessaloniki of a regional international center for commercial arbitration.

    [24] Legal status not available to new illegal immigrants

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The procedure for legal status for immigrants applies only to those who entered Greece before December 31, 1997, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said today.

    He was speaking in response to questions concerning the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants from Albania.

    [25] 'Open university' programs begin in late February

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday announced the commencement of "The Open University", modeled on the British system, at the end of February, with two pilot post-graduate programs in English for teachers.

    The two programs will have 100 and 200 slots available, respectively, while students will pay fees of 15,000 drachmas.

    [26] Gov't warms to idea of president heading 2004 c'tee

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday responded favorably to the possibility of President Kostis Stephanopoulos heading the organizing committee to be set up to oversee preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

    Asked by reporters to comment on the possibility, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said it would be "a good development" provided the president himself consented.

    Mr. Reppas added however that it was still too early for any announcement to be made.

    A draft bill on the formation of the Athens Olympic organizing committee is due to be tabled in Parliament this week.

    Mr. Reppas said yesterday that the committee would be made up of officials selected on the basis of their knowledge and ability "and not political or party criteria".

    [27] Reppas on concerns of risks over distribution of radio frequencies

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Press reports claiming that the distribution of radio frequencies was a threat to public safety were denied by Press Minister and government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday.

    The reports appeared in the newspaper "Exousia".

    Mr. Reppas expressed his sorrow that "certain elements in public life have not contributed towards clearing up the radio and television landscape and are now undermining efforts to bring order out of chaos".

    The transport and communications ministry issued a statement stressing that the frequencies had been allocated on the basis of technical studies by the relevant authorities and posed no threat to public safety.

    [28] Smoking banned in Parliament's main chamber

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis has banned smoking in the legislature's main chamber and during Parliamentary committee meetings, while he asked deputies to refrain from using mobile phones while the House or committees are in session.

    [29] Greek stocks end at three-month lows

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities came under strong pressure yesterday to end at three-month lows on the Athens Stock Exchange following a similar trend in international markets.

    Traders said a turbulent domestic money market also depressed sentiment.

    The general index fell below the 1,400 level for the first time in three months to end at 1,393.99 points, down 2.25 percent but off the day's lows of 3.21 percent.

    Dealers said the market was dragged down by a 4.27 percent plunge in banking issues. Banks were particularly hit because of fears that high interest rates in the domestic money market would finally hit the sector's profitability.

    Insurance fell 0.52 percent, Leasing dropped 3.42 percent, Investment ended 1.19 percent off, Constructions ended 2.11 percent down, Industrials fell 0.75 percent, Miscellaneous rose 2.51 percent and Holding fell 0.58 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.36 percent higher, while the FTSE/ASE ended 3.17 percent down at 767.06 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 19.4 billion drachmas reflecting massive liquidation.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 149 to 71 with another 18 issues unchanged.

    Athens Medical, Euromedica, Galis, Kreka and Ideal scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's upper limit of 8.0 percent, while Nafpaktos Mills, Eteva, Sato, Commercial Bank and Yalco suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,005 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,005, Delta Dairy at 2,800, Titan Cement at 13,500, Intracom at 14,100 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,555.

    [30] Tsakiridis approved as OA president by Parliament committee

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Theodoros Tsakiridis was approved as president and managing director of Olympic Airways late Wednesday night with eight votes from PASOK deputies to five against by New Democracy and the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), while one blank ballot from the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) was cast.

    Replying to questions from committee members, Mr. Tsakiridis spoke of the need for a new restructuring program for the company, adding that he is prepared to hold a tough dialogue with trade unionists. Referring to his priorities, he said they were re location, the labor rule, the new organization program, a new commercial policy and the conclusion of strategic agreements.

    In another development, the candidacy of George Chrysolouris as managing director to the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) was ratified by a majority vote by Parliament's audit committee.

    Eight deputies from the ruling PASOK party voted for the candidacy and three deputies from the main opposition ND party against.

    [31] Government seeks labor peace in national carrier

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday urged Olympic Airways' management and employers to work together to solve the problems facing the national carrier. He said labor peace in Olympic Airways was a priority target for the government.

    [32] Finance ministry collects 39 bln Drs. in tax fines

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's finance ministry collected more than 39 billion drachmas in fines imposed for tax infringements in 1997, it was announced yesterday.

    A financial crime squad launched by the finance ministry in April 1997 reported 97,043 checks in all business sectors last year. It revealed 494,230 tax and customs infringements from 25,375 companies.

    The financial crime squad also reported 7,247 cases of tax infringements in 2,221 companies in the services and goods sector. More than 60 percent of large enterprises were revealed violating the tax law, followed by 43 percent of entertainment firms, 5 0 percent of fuel companies, 43 percent of hotels and 41 percent of both construction and travel firms.

    [33] Regulation on penalty rates soon, Gov't says

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek government will very soon propose an amendment to the law covering penalty interest rates imposed by banks to their debtors, National Economy Under-secretary Christos Pachtas told parliament yesterday. He said that the government will propose that minimum penalty time should equal six months, the same as in deposit interest rates.

    The new regulation would cover all forms of lending (consumer, personal loans and credit cards), Mr. Pachtas said.

    [34] Budget committee completes debate on tax bill

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    A Greek parliament budget committee yesterday completed debate on a new tax bill proposed by the government.

    The bill will be debated in five sessions by the parliament, starting next Tuesday, for a final vote by the end of the month.

    [35] GSEE strike at banks, public utilities next Thursday

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) decided yesterday to call a strike at all public utilities (DEKO) and banks on Thursday, demanding the withdrawal of a clause in a recently tabled taxation bill creating ground for changes in labor relations at DEKOs.

    They are also opposed to changes on operational regulations for organizations being floatated with unilateral legislative settlements.

    Trade unionists held talks with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who conceded that unions not being informed before the amendment was submitted was a mistake and promised a "reformulation" of the controversial clause.

    Referring to working hours, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos said trade unions want a 35-hour work week and only on this basis are they prepared to discuss an overall settlement of working hours. Otherwise, he said, the issue cannot even be raised .

    In another development, unions will appeal to the public order minister to put an immediate end to illegal immigrant deportations.

    The cause for the decision was the deportation of 35 Albanian nationals from eastern Attica yesterday for failing to prove that they had entered the country before Nov. 30, 1997 in order to join registration and legalization processes.

    [36] Greece, Chile look to strengthen tourist ties

    Athens, 16/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece and Chile will discuss the further promotion of bilateral tourism relations at a special event scheduled for January 26 at a central Athens hotel on the occasion of the visit to Athens of Chile's Economy Minister Alvaro Garcia.

    Also attending the event will be Chile's Foreign Minister, Mariano Fernandez, the President and Secretary General of the Greek National Tourist Organization, Yiannis Stephanidis and Nikos Skoulas respectively and Chile's Ambassador in Athens, Marcia Covarrubias.

    Discussion will focus on ways of upgrading bilateral co-operation in the tourism sector, including the organization of conventions, training and special forms of tourism.

    The Chilean delegation will include representatives of major organizations, including the General Director of Sernatur, Chile's tourism organization, as well as businessmen active in the tourism sector, who will have contacts with their Greek counterparts aimed at broadening possibilities for Greek investments in Chile.

    End of English language section.


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