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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New labour relations bill unveiled by gov't
  • [02] PM calls on workers, unions to back privatisation
  • [03] Greek, foreign firms eye Cretabank ahead of sale deadline Monday
  • [04] Gov't sets up elite crime squad to nab high-profile tax evaders
  • [05] Greek stocks rise spurred by blue chip buying
  • [06] Agricultural Bank to sell Bank of Central Greece by end-July
  • [07] Delta Informatics to hold Dr 6.0 bln share capital rise
  • [08] European Popular Bank notes increased growth in '97
  • [09] Listed engineering contractors join forces with Enel SpA
  • [10] Sfakianakis posts Jan-May profit rise
  • [11] Tourist arrivals seen rising by 12 pct-analysts
  • [12] Lion's share of Elaiourgiki's debts expected to be written-off
  • [13] Greek president on historic visit to Cyprus today
  • [14] Greek proposal at CoE for defusion of Kosovo crisis
  • [15] Tsohatzopoulos cites 'systematic effort'by Ankara to revise Lausanne Treaty
  • [16] BSEC parliamentary conference in Bucharest
  • [17] Venizelos to attend ESP roundtable on culture
  • [18] Burns visits Museum of Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Eurodeputy says Slavia in UEFA Cup competition instead of AEK
  • [20] Police officer suspended over incident involving college student's beating
  • [21] Police fear November 17 link to new terrorist group
  • [22] Papadopoulos cites positive signs in public administration
  • [23] Health services on standby as heat wave forecast
  • [24] New 5,000-drachma bill out next month
  • [25] EU wants bloc's court to impose fines on Greece
  • [26] 29 Iraqis, truck driver arrested near Turkish border

  • [01] New labour relations bill unveiled by gov't

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou yesterday stated that a draft law on regulating labour relations is aimed at promoting flexibility in the labour market, as well as consolidating security among working people.

    He was speaking while unveiling the relevant text to representatives of social partners and to the press.

    Part-time work, regulating work time, local employment agreements and the creation of a Labour Inspection Corps are the main issues expected to attract the attention and objections of trade unions.

    According to measures anticipated by the bill, part-time work will be permissible from now on in all public enterprises as well as organisations and other agencies in the wider public sector.

    The overall settlement of work time is initiated following an agreement between employers and employees. For a period of time of up to three months, an increased number of work hours up to nine hours a day can be set, while in specific cases and for a period of up to six months an increased number of work hours up to 10 hours a day and up to 48 hours a week can be set.

    In such cases, the employer does not pay for work exceeding eight hours with an increase, but returns the workhours with a corresponding increase in days off or an increase in paid leave.

    In every case, the average work time over the six-month period, and in special cases the 12-month period, cannot exceed 40 hours a week.

    Mr. Papaioannou conceded that this measure leads to a decrease in the cost of labour since it rids employers of the considerable cost of overtime work, adding that it is applied throughout Europe and that Greece has delayed four years in implementing this measure.

    Local Employment Agreements (TSA) are initiated for agreements concluded between social partners, local administration and the state. They are aimed at increasing employment through attracting investments to areas which are pockets of unemployment.

    A Labour Inspection Corps (SEPE) will be established at the ministry with the main task of supervising the observance of labour legislation. In essence, it means the reinstatement of labour inspections at the labour ministry because, as Mr. Papaioannou said, their transfer to local administrations did not produce results. The positions of Social, Technical and Health Labour Inspector will also be initiated.

    Furthermore, the bill anticipates the creation of private "employers counselling bureaus" for the purpose of finding local and foreign labour for employers for specific categories.

    Reactions : Meanwhile, an announcement by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece's (GSEE) deputy president Georgios Mavrikos referred to an abolition of the eight-hour work day, branch agreements, preparation for the dissolution of the Manpower Employment Org anisation (OAED) and the fragmentation of labour inspections. Mr. Mavrikos called on working people to resist and defend what they hold most sacred even in the middle of the summer.

    A later GSEE announcement said the fact that the draft bill does not contain clauses for unilateral changes in large firms' work hours is a positive development, among others, and emanates from the confederation's efforts.

    The press office of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued a similar tough announcement.

    On his part, GSEE Alternate Secretary Alekos Kalyvis (affiliated with the Coalition of the Left and Progress) said that the bill leads to greater unsettlement in the labour market, widens inequalities, weakens collective negotiations, while it will not have positive repercussions on unemployment.

    An announcement by the opposition Democratic Social Movement party (DHKKI) said that the bill abolishes the eight-hour work day, while with part-time work it distributes poverty and unemployment among more working people, leading to a labour status "rem iniscent of the middle ages." DHKKI called on working people to resist democratically but militantly.

    New civil servants' code : In an related development, a new civil service code, tabled in draft bill form in Parliament yesterday abolishes punitive transfers in cases of misdeeds, introducing instead temporary suspension between three to six months with a full deduction of pay, re legation to a lower scale as well as a freezing of promotion rights from one to five years.

    The bill was tabled by Interior and Public Administration Minister Alekos Papadopoulos.

    It also provides for the free expression of political, philosophical and religious convictions of public servants, and an increase in annual leave from 22 to 25 work days. The code is expected to be brought into force early in 1999.

    ND : Main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos noted that ND will vote against the code, since as he said, it does not solve existing problems, rather it only recycles old problems of the "partisan- created bureaucracy."

    Mr. Pavlopoulos said ND will submit its own "modern and comprehensive" proposals.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] PM calls on workers, unions to back privatisation

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday called on workers and recalcitrant trade unions to back his privatisation policy as the only way to boost investment and safeguard jobs.

    The prime minister was speaking during a tour of three partly or fully privatised enterprises in order to promote the government's privatisation plan.

    "Only this policy will allow inflows of investment capital so that enterprises may become competitive abroad,in turn safeguarding jobs," Mr. Simitis told workers at Hellenic Petroleum, who questioned the privatisation scheme.

    "The point of privatisation is not some kind of psychological compulsion to give firms to a handful of private investors, but to secure better returns for the nation's economy. The state has no business selling cigarettes and perfume," he said.

    The government pledged to carry out a wide-ranging privatisation scheme in commitments made in March to the European Union when the drachma joined the EU's exchange rate mechanism as a stepping stone to economic and monetary union by January 1, 2001.

    "Our policy of structural changes (to the economy) is the only realistic one in a new global environment," Mr. Simitis said.

    The privatisation plan has triggered protests among trade unionists, including some aligned to the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement, led by Mr. Simitis. The angriest protests were by banking workers.

    During his tour of Hellenic Petroleum's Aspropyrgos refinery, Elefsina Shipyards and Skaramanga Shipyards, the prime minister welcomed the contribution of management and workers in improving profits and productivity, reversing a trend of decline.

    At the same time, he slammed what he called small trade union groups representing vested interests whose outdated attitudes could jeopardise Greece's economic convergence with other EU countries.

    "They will not stop us. We will continue our effort with passion and perseverence," Mr. Simitis said.

    He also backed the government's policy of making industrial relations more flexible, saying the move would aid competitiveness. A bill revising labour relations was released yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis pointed out that new tax reforms targeted the privileged - not the poor - and that the country was now seeing the most extensive programme of infrastructure projects ever carried out.

    Among senior government officials accompanying the prime minister on his tour were Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou.

    • Hellenic Petroleum will make its trading debut on the Athens bourse at the end of June. It has a 1998-2002 investment plan of 203 billion drachmas.
    • Skaramanga Shipyards, the country's largest, is 49 percent owned by its workers with state Hellenic Industrial Development Bank holding the remaining 51 percent of shares. Its managers are British.
    • Elefsina Shipyards is owned by a private company belonging to Nikos Taboularis, who also holds Syros Shipyards.
    Athens News Agency

    [03] Greek, foreign firms eye Cretabank ahead of sale deadline Monday

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Banks, brokerages and investors have expressed non-binding interest in an international tender called by the government to sell almost 100 percent of state-owned Cretabank, banking sources said yesterday.

    The deadline for bids is Monday in the latest tender, which follows two abortive attempts by the government since 1996 to privatise the bank.

    There is no minimum bid, in contrast with a starting price of 30 billion drachmas in the last tender; and the government hopes to announce the winner by September.

    The buyers so far of a 2.8-million drachma information package on Cretabank prepared by Deloitte and Touche are as follows:

    • Alpha Finance, on behalf of its parent, Alpha Credit Bank
    • Ergobank
    • Eurobank
    • Xiosbank
    • Bank of Piraeus
    • General Bank
    • Bayerische Vereinsbank
    • P&K Brokerage
    • Eurox brokerage
    • ND Devlotoglou Brokerage
    • Representatives of unnamed US investors
    • Representatives of US investment group Capital V Partners.

    Macedonia-Thrace Bank told its shareholders this week that it would submit a joint bid for Cretabank with Bank of Piraeus. Both banks are listed.

    Cretabank has 71 branches and 16 other outlets in Greece with a staff of 1, 485 people. Its share capital was 41.9 billion drachmas at the end of 1997.

    The bank has a loans portfolio of 199.6 billion drachmas, deposits of 331.7 billion and assets totalling 406.8 billion drachmas.

    Also for sale this summer are at least 51 percent of Ionian Bank, which belongs to state-owned Commercial Bank of Greece, and roughly 56 percent of Bank of Central Greece, a subsidiary of state Agricultural Bank of Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Gov't sets up elite crime squad to nab high-profile tax evaders

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    An elite financial crimes squad has been created to catch high-profile tax evaders as part of a government drive to collect revenue, National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou said yesterday. Among targets for the new squad are professio nals including eminent lawyers, doctors and business people. The task force is already at work on 10 well-known personalities in the Attica region and another five in Thessaloniki, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The task force, which comprises 25 tax officers from the finance ministry's existing tax crimes squad (SDOE), will check 200 individuals within a year and report directly to the ministry.

    Established with wide-ranging powers last year and dubbed the "Rambos" of the tax department, SDOE carries out snap checks on businesses around the country.

    Liable to the new controls, which involve cross-checking tax returns with client records, are self-employed professionals who have made a name for themselves nationally or locally.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Greek stocks rise spurred by blue chip buying

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended higher yesterday recovering from a previous two-day decline with renewed buying interest in banks and other blue chips propelling the market.

    A sharp decline in the first two sessions of the week offered opportunities for bargain hunters, brokers said.

    Investors were also encouraged by a successful initial public offer by state-owned Hellenic Petroleum, which is due to make its trading debut at the end of the month, the brokers said.

    The general index ended 0.95 percent higher at 2,434.66 points with highs showing gains of 2.0 percent during the session. Sector indices were mixed, and trading was moderate to active with turnover at 60.3 billion drachmas.

    Banks rose 1.88 percent, Insurance jumped 2.57 percent, Investment was stable, Leasing fell 1.23 percent, Industrials dropped 0.31 percent, Construction rose 2.14 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.20 percent up and Holding eased 1.0 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.94 percent higher. The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 1.32 percent up at 1,461.23.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 146 to 93 with another 27 issues unchanged.

    Bank of Athens, Bank of Central Greece, Papoutsanis, Riopesca, Dane and General Warehouses scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Mediterranean Invest, Britannia, Demetriadis, DIS, Intrasoft, Desmos, Ideal, Allatini and Orion suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 39,710 drachmas, Ergobank at 26,195, Alpha Credit Bank at 27,000, Ionian Bank at 13,450, Delta Dairy at 3,920, Titan Cement at 20,500, Intracom at 10,500 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,310 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Agricultural Bank to sell Bank of Central Greece by end-July

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) will sell about 56 percent of its subsidiary, Bank of Central Greece, by the end of July, its governor Petros Lambrou told ATE's shareholders' meeting yesterday.

    The sale by the state-owned bank is part of a drive by the government to shrink the sprawling public sector.

    In addition, Agricultural Bank will eventually seek entry into the Athens Stock Exchange and internationalise its activities, Mr. Lambrou said.

    The bank reported a 9.2 percent rise in assets to 4.1 trillion drachmas in 1997, and a 6.0 percent increase in deposits to 3.2 billion drachmas.

    It has a leading 17.3 percent share in the country's credit market, and ranks second in deposits.

    Mr. Lambrou said that an improvement in performance combined with changes in the bank's operation would aid efforts to restructure the state-owned bank into a multi-purpose institution and strengthen its credibility in the domestic market and abroad.

    He said that ATE had launched implementation of a restructuring programme in 1997 aimed to improve the quality of loans, modernise lending procedures, decentralise departments and expand banking services.

    Mr. Lambrou said that Agricultural Insurance, a member of the ATE group, reported profits of 1.9 billion drachmas in 1997 from 200.9 million in 1996.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Delta Informatics to hold Dr 6.0 bln share capital rise

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Delta Informatics is planning to increase its share capital by six billion drachmas though a cash deposit and capitalisation of reserves.

    The firm will issue four million new shares and distribute another six million free. Shareholders will be eligible to buy eight new shares at 1, 500 drachmas each per 10 old shares.

    Registration begins on July 6 and ends on August 7 if approval is given by the development ministry and Athens Stock Exchange.

    DeltaYs managing director said the company saw a boom in demand for electronic trading services in the near future.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] European Popular Bank notes increased growth in '97

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    The European Popular Bank (EPB) continued to grow in 1997 with an extension of its branch network and provision of new competitive products and services, board president Kikis Lazarides told a bank shareholders' general assembly yesterday.

    Pre-tax profits totalled 1.04 billion drachmas, compared to 768 million in 1996, while deposits and loans reached 124 and 53 billion drachmas, respectively, recording increases of 32 and 42 per cent, respectively.

    Mr. Lazarides noted that the bank's growth rate was much higher than the average for Greece-based banks. The EPB network in Greece numbers 10 branches.

    The group last year launched a leasing subsidiary, adding to its mutual fund Popular Telesis and Popular Factoring companies.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Listed engineering contractors join forces with Enel SpA

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Engineering contractors Avax and Aktor have struck a deal with Enel SpA of Italy to bid jointly in tenders for energy projects in Greece and the Balkans.

    The three firms signed the agreement yesterday.

    Avax and Aktor are listed on the Athens bourse.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Sfakianakis posts Jan-May profit rise

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Sfakianakis, which is listed on the Athens bourse, posted profits of 2.34 billion drachmas in January-May, marking a 9.38 percent rise, it said yesterday.

    Turnover in the same period was 18.35 billion drachmas, up 9.5 percent in the same period of 1997, the firm said in a statement.

    Management will propose a share capital rise at a shareholdersY meeting on June 30 through the issue of three new free shares for 10 old ones.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Tourist arrivals seen rising by 12 pct-analysts

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    The outlook for Greek tourism in 1998 is optimistic, the Institute of Tourism Studies and Forecasts (ITEP) and the Association of Tourism Studies and Forecasts (SETE) said yesterday.

    During a news conference by ITEP to promote the release of the fifth volume of "Greek Economy and Tourism", officials said they were expecting tourist arrivals to rise by at least 12 percent compared to last year.

    ITEP said it based the forecast on factors including the devaluation of the drachma last March, favourable economic conditions in the US and Europe, and a shift from other Mediterranean destinations to Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Lion's share of Elaiourgiki's debts expected to be written-off

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    The General Council of the Agricultural Bank of Greece is to debate an economic viability study for Elaiourgiki, the national federation of olive- oil producers' cooperatives, whose debts total 72 billion drachmas.

    The announcement was made at the concern's annual general assembly yesterday.

    Of the total debt, 67 billion drachmas are expected to be written- off.

    Another of the issues discussed yesterday was the single standardisation of olive oil by cooperatives.

    In the next general assembly in September, Elaiourgiki's management will present the federation's members with its final revised proposals for participation of regional cooperatives.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Greek president on historic visit to Cyprus today

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos leaves today for a four-day state visit to Cyprus, the first ever by a Greek head of state to the island republic.

    President Stephanopoulos' visit coincides with increased Turkish provocations, such as yesterday's violations by Turkish warplanes of Nicosia's Flight Information Region (FIR) and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's visit to the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, scheduled for Sunday.

    Turkey occupies 37 per cent of the island republic's territory since 1974.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will be greeted at Larnaca Airport this morning by the entire Cypriot leadership, headed by President Glafcos Clerides.

    Shortly after his arrival, he will be presented with the gold key to the city of Nicosia by the city's mayor.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will hold talks with his Cypriot counterpart later in the day, while delegations of the two countries will also be meeting.

    In the afternoon, Mr. Stephanopoulos will visit the Enclaved Tombs and the Tomb of the Makedonitissa, before meeting with Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos. He will attend an official dinner in his honour hosted by Mr. Clerides in the evening.

    Tomorrow, Mr. Stephanopoulos will visit the Kykkos Monastery and lay a wreath at Throni, at the tomb of Archbishop Makarios, while in the afternoon he will meet with representatives of Cypriot political parties as well as address the Cyprus House of Representatives.

    Saturday's schedule includes visits to the ELDYK (Greek Forces of Cyprus) camp, the Cyprus National Guard headquarters, and the towns of Paphos and Limassol.

    The Greek president will visit the Green Line - the UN-controlled buffer zone between the free areas and the Turkish-occupied sector in the north of the island republic - on Sunday. He will also visit the cities of Larnaca, Dherynia and the town of Paralimni before departing Sunday afternoon for Athens.

    The first premier ever to visit Cyprus was then premier Andreas Papandreou in February 1982, followed by Constantine Mitsotakis in June 1991. Prime Minister Costas Simitis officially visited Cyprus in August 1996, before again heading to the island repu blic in early October 1996.

    Cyprus gov't, parties on Stephanopoulos' visit : NICOSIA (ANA/CNA) - The Cyprus government considers the visit of Mr. Stephanopoulos to Cyprus a "historic event", government spo-kesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday.

    The first official visit of a Greek head of state to Cyprus is "an extremely important event and its obvious symbolism makes this an historic event," the spokesman said.

    "The government calls upon the Cyprus people to display their gratitude and brotherly solidarity with the Greek people, in the person of the president of the republic of Greece", Mr. Stylianides added.

    Cypriot political parties also hailed Mr. Stephanopoulos' visit and expressed the conviction that it will be supportive of the strong ties and close cooperation between Cyprus and Greece.

    In a written statement, the ruling right-wing Democratic Rally (DISY) party welcomed the visit, stressing that Mr. Stephanopoulos' presence proves the close and harmonious cooperation between Cyprus and Greece.

    The visit, DISY adds, is the culmination of Greece's interest and support for a just Cyprus struggle, both in defence matters and on an international level, and in Cyprus' EU accession course.

    Main oppostion left-wing AKEL points out that Mr. Stephanopoulos' visit "acquires great importance because it takes place at a very crucial period for the Cyprus problem".

    AKEL also stresses that "it strengthens our determination to continue the struggle for a Cyprus settlement based on UN resolutions."

    In its announcement, the Democratic Party (DIKO) notes that the first official visit of a Greek president to Cyprus coincides with "a period of decisive importance on the course of the Cyprus problem".

    Mr. Stephanopoulos' presence here, DIKO added, "underlines the substantial and decisive support of Greece to Cyprus' Hellenism and reaffirms the will of Hellenism as a whole to fight for Cyprus' rights."

    Socialist EDEK party points out that Mr. Stephanopoulos' visit "proves Greece's intention to fulfill its moral, national and contractual obligations towards Cyprus".

    EDEK noted that the visit by the Greek head of state should aim to further strengthen the unity between the two countries and "reinforce our defensive power within the framework of the joint defence doctrine between Greece and Cyprus".

    The United Democrats movement noted that the visit reaffirms Greece's interest and support to the long-standing struggle of Cyprus for a just and viable solution to its political problem and for EU accession.

    The movement also stresses that the critical period Cyprus is going through "calls for the utmost unity and consent" and urges that the visit should be used to "send the right political messages to all directions".

    The New Horizons party expressed hope that Mr. Stephanopoulos' visit will mark the need for the development of a national strategy of Hellenism as a whole on Cyprus. It also calls on Cypriot Hellenism to show its appreciation towards Greece for its supp ort toward the struggle of Cyprus.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Greek proposal at CoE for defusion of Kosovo crisis

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed yesterday that the Council of Europe (CoE) cannot simply wait for a political settlement of the crisis in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, particularly in Kosovo.

    Speaking before the organisation's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, Mr. Papandreou said the CoE has a standing mandate to act in order to prevent new human rights violations. To this end, he intends to propose to his colleagues a specific four-point plan calling for an immediate ceasefire, firm condemnation of any use of violence intending to postpone or delay political dialogue, continuous and credible monitoring of the human rights situation in Kosovo by the Council of Europe and the establishment of an index of steps to be immediately adopted by the Yugoslav authorities in order to lift all existing restrictions on the most elementary rights of all Yugoslav citizens.

    "This last step would be a useful reply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's request for admission to the Council of Europe, but could not be misinterpreted as accession negotiations or whatsoever," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou also met with Sonia Licht, a representative of several Yugoslav NGOs, who expressed to the Greek minister her concerns about media freedom in Yugoslavia, particularly regarding the broadcast media.

    Kranidiotis : BELGRADE (ANA - G. Mouratidis) - Meanwhile, in an interview with a Zagreb-based newspaper, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said that Kosovo Albanians must secure wide autonomy in Yugoslavia and not independence or secession.

    In an interview with the newspaper "Viesnik", Mr. Kranidiotis said Greece is concerned over the situation in Kosovo, adding that he believes prudence will prevail and a peaceful solution to the crisis will be found.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Tsohatzopoulos cites 'systematic effort'by Ankara to revise Lausanne Treaty

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatz opoulos charged yesterday that Turkey was engaged in a systematic effort to revise the Treaty of Lausanne at the expense of Greece and Cyprus through the implementation of a destabilising policy of tension and crisis.

    "Ankara's claims that the treaty does not adequately define the territorial status quo with reference to Greece and Turkey are no different from the Nazi theory of Lebensraum (vital space) and are founded on unstable foundations which also run contrary to the principles of international law, " Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, speaking at the presentation of the book "Chronicle of the Asia Minor War - 1919-1922" by Iacovos Z. Aktsoglou.

    This tactic of Turkey's, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos continued, is supplemented with the creation of faits accomplis, as reflected by the de-hellenisation of Imvros and Tenedos, the enormous shrinking of the ethnic Greek community of Istanbul and more recently, the occupation, albeit for a few hours, of Greek territory on the Imia islet in the eastern Aegean.

    On the Cyprus problem, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said Turkey was using every possible pretext, such as the harmless visit of Hellenic Air Force jets to the island on a training mission, to stir up trouble, even threatening war.

    "This stance shows that Turkey does not wish to allow any smooth development in any efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus problem, while at the same time it wants to impede Nicosia's accession negotiations with the European Union," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] BSEC parliamentary conference in Bucharest

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    A Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact parliamentary representatives' two-day conference began yesterday in Bucharest with the signing of a common declaration, including an account of the pact's accomplishments over the last five years.

    The conference is expected to examine the possibility for the creation of BSEC stock exchange.

    BSEC members include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Venizelos to attend ESP roundtable on culture

    VIENNA 25/06/1998 (ANA - D.Dimitrakoudis)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos will be in Vienna on Saturday to take part in the European Socialist Party's (ESP) roundtable on "cultural policies in Europe". The two-day discussion is part of a series be ing held by the ESP on issues of interest to Europe, such as the environment, employment and social policies.

    Issues on the agenda of the discussion are: cultural cooperation between European Union countries, the effect of new technologies on culture and the arts and employment and culture.

    Athens News Agenc

    [18] Burns visits Museum of Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday arrived in Thessaloniki, with one of his first stops being at the Museum of Macedonian Struggle.

    Mr. Burns was given a guided tour by museum historian Vassilis Gounaris. According to reports he requested of resident historians and researchers their views on the issue of the name "Macedonia".

    The US ambassador is visiting the northern Greek port city at the invitation of the the American College Anatolia, where he will address the class of 1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Eurodeputy says Slavia in UEFA Cup competition instead of AEK

    BRUSSELS 25/06/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    One of Greece's most popular football clubs, AEK Athens, appears to have been "knocked out" of this coming season's UEFA Cup competition by Slavia Prague, even before a ball has been kicked.

    British Eurodeputy Glynn Ford yesterday revealed to the ANA that ENIC, the British company which owns AEK, had decided that Slavia Prague, which also belongs to ENIC, will play in the lucrative competition.

    The problem arose after UEFA ruled that if the same company owns more than one soccer club, only one team will be eligible for each of the three main European cup competitions.

    Both AEK and Slavia Prague had qualified for this year's UEFA Cup competition.

    Mr. Ford told the ANA after talks with ENIC officials in London yesterday morning that the company had evaluated the two teams on the basis of their performance over the last five years and had decided to opt for Slavia.

    The Eurodeputy expressed the opinion that UEFA's decision that the company be the one to decide which team participates in a competition was unfair.

    He added that he would be seeking the intervention of the European Commission on the matter and would be meeting with Commissioner for competition Karel Van Miert later this week.

    Mr. Ford said his first objective was to secure a postponement of the implementation of UEFA's ruling for at least one year and subsequently for other ways to be found to resolve the problem.

    One alternative, according to Mr. Ford, could be that UEFA make the decision which team participates on the basis of "objective and commonly acceptable criteria".

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Police officer suspended over incident involving college student's beating

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Romaios yesterday ordered the suspension of a police officer who has admitted witnessing the savage beating of three students and teachers' activists earlier this month, one of whom is still hospitalised in serious condition.

    Vassilis Sotiriou, the suspended policeman, claimed he happened to be sitting in the same cafeteria outside the Athens court complex off Evelpidon Avenue where the three victims were attacked by a group of eight suspects. However, he said he did not rep ort anything, fearing for his personal safety.

    Meanwhile, lawyers representing Dimitris Kousouris, the 24-year-old university student seriously injured in the incident and one of his companions, said yesterday that both men had recognised through photographs one of the suspects. According to reports , Antonios Androutsopoulos was recognised as one of the attackers. Aged between 35 and 40, he is a member of the Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) ultra-nationalist fringe organisation.

    Police officers investigating the incident have asked Kousouris' lawyers to provide them with further evidence of the complicity of Mr. Androutsopoulos, who has not yet been questioned. The three victims of the attack had been participating in mobilisat ions of part-time teachers awaiting appointment and protesting the abolition of the system of permanent hirings based on seniority in graduation. Mr. Kousouris is an elected left-wing member of the National Students Organisation (EFEE).

    In a press conference yesterday, members of a solidarity committee accused riot police for their stand during incidents with protesting teachers, also alleging attempts to suppress evidence that could lead to the apprehension of the attackers. They also claimed they were in possession of signed allegations purporting links between police circles and Chryssi Avgi.

    The committee is planning a rally on July 2 to highlight the issue.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Police fear November 17 link to new terrorist group

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    The "May '98" group which claim-ed responsibility for Monday night's bombing of an Alpha Credit Bank branch in Athens may be a branch of the notorious terrorist organisation "November 17", according to anti-terrorist police.

    An anonymous caller telephoned the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" late Tuesday night and claimed responsibility on behalf of "May '98" for the bomb attack.

    The blast caused material damage but no injuries.

    Senior police officials said the bomb, comprised of a timing mechanism made with two clocks and a large amount of dynamite, was typical of devices used by "November 17".

    The anonymous caller said the attack was an act of solidarity with the employees of the state-run Ionian Bank which is soon to be sold. Alpha Credit is considered a front-runner to purchase a majority stake in Ionian.

    Since Tuesday night's phone call, senior police officials have held three meetings at Athens police headquarters and a further two at the Ministry of Public Order. The meetings reportedly focused on the possibility of "May '98" being somehow linked with "November 17".

    In particular, informed sources said the police were considering whether "May '98" is made up of new members recruited and now being trained by "November 17".

    "May '98" first appeared on May 16 this year when it claimed responsibility for two bomb attacks - one against a branch of the Ionian Bank and the other against the offices of the national carrier "Olympic Airways" in Athens.

    Concern in London : LONDON (ANA) - A member of the House of Lords yesterday called for the British government to ask the European Union to place pressure on Greece to take security measures against possible terrorist attacks during the 2004 Olympics.

    "Is the British government prepared to ask from the European Union that it pressure Greece to take drastic measures against an attack by the terrorist organisation November 17," Lord Bethel, a former Conservative party Eurodeputy, asked.

    Lord Whitey, speaking on behalf of the government, said that the British government had made known its willingness to help Greece in organising security for the Games and in combatting terrorist activity.

    "It was in this context that the Greek public order minister visited London last December," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Papadopoulos cites positive signs in public administration

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said the first positive results from the operation of new institutions and control mechanisms in public administration have begun to appear. Mr. Papadopoulos, who was speaki ng yesterday during the presentation of a book by the Centre for the Development of Ideas for Greece in the 21st century, entitled "State and Corruption", said that corruption is a question of "culture and education which is directly linked to the crisis in politics which we are ascertaining in our country."

    He said that the major project that the government has undertaken is the "profound overturning of mentalities, the ways of operation and convenience which were in practice for decades in our country", with decentralisation, securing equality and an end to the clientele state as weapons. The book, whose conclusion was that "those who can react primarily to the phenomena of corruption are the citizens", was also presented among others by former New Democracy ministers Andreas Andrianopoulos and Stephanos Manos.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Health services on standby as heat wave forecast

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Hospitals, ambulance and health services were put on standby yesterday to receive possible cases of heat exposure due to high temperatures in Athens.

    The temperature ratcheted up to 37 degrees Celsius yesterday and the forecast for today was the same. The health ministry, in an announcement, advised residents of the capital to avoid strenuous activity, seek relief in the shade and wear loose clothing .

    Children and the elderly should drink plenty of liquids, preferably water, and eat light meals.

    According to the weather bureau, temperatures will begin to decrease on Saturday.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] New 5,000-drachma bill out next month

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Bank of Greece yesterday unveiled a new 5,000-drachma banknote, in circulation as of July 1, a move aimed at minimising counterfeiting of the bill.

    The central bank's administration said that in the design and production of the new bill, its printing department used state-of-the-art technology that was also used in the 10,000-drachma bill. Advanced technology used also makes it easier for the public to recognise genuine against counterfeit banknotes, officials said.

    The previous "pentohiliaro", featuring Greek independence hero Theodoros Kolokotronis on one side, will be gradually withdrawn from circulation.

    Bank of Greece deputy governor Nikos Garganas said the new banknote will be probably the last Greek legal tender printed, in view of the country's enty into Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 2001, while EU national currencies be replaced by the euro by July 2002.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] EU wants bloc's court to impose fines on Greece

    BRUSSELS 25/06/1998 (Reuters/ANA)

    The European Commission said on Wednesday it would ask the European Union's Court of Justice to fine Greece for breach of EU public procurement law.

    The EU's executive arm proposed daily fines of 39,975 Ecus ($43,900), "in line with the seriousness and duration of the infringement and with the need to achieve a deterrent effect," it said in a statement.

    The legislation on public procurement of services, which requires open and competitive procedures, was due to have been turned into EU law no later than July 1993 but Greece has not yet done so, it said.

    Greece had already been condemned by the court in May 1996 to no avail.

    It was not clear when the court may rule on the request for daily financial penalties.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] 29 Iraqis, truck driver arrested near Turkish border

    Athens 25/06/1998 (ANA)

    Authorities in northern Greece yesterday arrested a Volos truck driver on charges of transporting 29 Iraqi illegal immigrants with his vehicle.

    According to reports, 54-year-old Georgios Temizis was stopped on the 10th kilometre of the Alexandroupoli-Komotini roadway.

    Police said he had picked up the illegals in Ferres, near the Evros River, and was due to take them to Athens. It was not disclosed how much money the Iraqis paid the suspect.

    The detained Iraqi nationals said a Pakistani national identified only as "Ali" is the mastermind behind the smuggling operation. They also claimed he had slipped them into Greece.

    The illegals told police that about 3,000 people are gathered in various border villages in Turkey waiting for an opportune moment to pass into Greece by crossing the Evros River.

    In an unrelated incident, an Iraqi national was arrested yesterday on the Greek-Turkish border in possession of fake travel documents.

    Aziz Karim, 30, told customs officers at the Kastanies border post that he had bought a forged passport a few months ago from an unidentified person in Istanbul for 3,000 dollars. The passport was confiscated and the Iraqi national will appear before a public prosecutor in Orestiada.

    Athens News Agency

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