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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-11-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Seminar on `European identity` addressed by Simitis,Delors
  • [02] Events to honour 500th anniversary of Greek community in Venice conclude
  • [03] Karamanlis calls for real EU convergence, cutback in public spending
  • [04] Patriot missile veers off course at Crete firing range
  • [05] Gov't reiterates support for Kurds' self -determination
  • [06] Seminar focuses on issues related to deportation of illegals from EU
  • [07] Security stepped up in light of Nov. 17 events
  • [08] Delegation of diplomats briefed on western Macedonia's prospects
  • [09] Balkanesque 'Powder Keg' picked as best Euro-film at Thessalonki festival
  • [10] NAPC warns that operations will end next week
  • [11] Seminar on combatting juvenile sex exploitation ends

  • [01] Seminar on `European identity` addressed by Simitis,Delors

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and former European Commission president Jacques Delors were the two keynote speakers at a weekend seminar focusing on the quest for a European identity, which ended in Athens on Saturday.

    The democratic ideal is perhaps the weightiest element that could contribute to the formation of a single European political identity, above cultural or utility criteria, Mr. Delors noted.

    "Of these three criteria, the one I believe should weigh more than the others is that of democracy. Without ignoring local or regional solidarity, the incentives for a European identity are not incentives of kindred relations or geographical proximity, but are based on whether one accepts the basic ideals of the Rights of Man and democracy," he said.

    The seminar, whose attendants included 30 prominent European academics, was organised by the "Our Europe" foundation which Mr. Delors heads, and the Greek Centre of European Studies (EKEM).

    The attainment of such a political community required that the EU itself sought greater democracy, gre-ater transparency and that it came nearer its citizens, Mr. Delors stressed.

    "The Union must become more effective in order to achieve these goals. I consider it would be simpler if we set a specific number of fields in which member-states would have an exclusive competence, and leave the exclusive jurisdiction to the Union in other sectors," he said. Mr. Simitis referred to scepticism regarding the continuation of the course towards European unification.

    "A vision, a plan that excites and mobilises, cannot merely reproduce what already exists, but must supercede it, moving feelings and imagination. But the watershed is not visible. The creation of a single market, a single currency and single institutions does not guarantee that an area with different languages, different religions and different lifestyles will become a single entity and overcome either increasing socio-economic differentials or the deeply rooted perception of the nation-state," Mr. Simitis said.

    The answer lay in the activation of unification processes on many levels that would promote cohesive dynamics.

    "Such problems are common to all European nations, and can only be dealt with jointly, particularly regarding the conditions for greater social cohesion and solidarity," he stressed.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Events to honour 500th anniversary of Greek community in Venice conclude

    VENICE 16/11/1998 (ANA - S. Aravopoulou)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos yesterday officiated at a liturgy concluding three-days of events marking the anniversary of the presence of a Greek community here.

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos led a Greek delegation attending events at the Agios Georgios Cathedral, along with a large number of expatriate Greeks from around Italy.

    The day's events ended with a banquet hosted by Minoan Lines on the cruiser "Arethousa" for some 400 officials participating in the events.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos and the Patriarch met with the Mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari, for talks on issues concering the future venues of European unification, as well as the city's Roman and Byzantine tradition.

    The Greek president, touching on Catholic and Orthodox doctrines and traditions, said:

    "We are not two worlds, we are one...I believe that Europe could not exist without the Catholic world or without the Orthodox.

    "We are the heirs apparent of two great civilisations, which together comprise European civilisation...We all hope to see (European unification) expand not only to other countries but also in other sectors," he added.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos went on to say that he hoped "Europe, beyond EMU (Economic Monetary Union), will be able to acquire a common foreign policy, which will be more decisive compared to the one exercised today, so as to play the role which belongs to it."

    This common policy, he added, "should expand on the defence sector, an issue my country feels more strongly about than other countries, since it is the only European country that in modern times is threatened by war, however, weird this may seem."

    On his part, Vartholomeos, during the meeting with the mayor said that "Venice is a city blessed by God, as are its inhabitants, who supported Orthodoxy these last 500 years and made us feel that we are one family."

    The Ecumenical Patriarch also met with Partiarch of Venice, Cardinal Marco Ce, sending greetings to Pope John Paul II, expressing his wish for the advancement of the dialogue between the two churches.

    Athens News Agenc

    [03] Karamanlis calls for real EU convergence, cutback in public spending

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said on Saturday that Greece ought to promote "real, rather than merely nominal convergence with other European Union economies", placing particular emphasis on the state's role and the trimming of public expenditures.

    "The excessive involvement of the state in the productive process, its centralised form and the very poor quality of its services constitute the most serious problems that must be solved," he said during an address at the "Money Show" conference.

    Referring to the Greek tax system, the ND leader said it needed simplification on a stable four-year basis, a gradual reduction of rates, and an immediate abolition of taxes on large real estate holdings and banking transactions.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Patriot missile veers off course at Crete firing range

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    A Patriot anti-aircraft missile fell into the sea off the Crete firing range last Thursday morning before reaching its target, causing concern among some residents in Hania prefecture.

    The military command of the firing range, as reported in several of yesterday's Athens papers, issued a press release noting that the missile did not overfly the range's boundaries.

    The press release added that an investigation is underway.

    According to reports, a unit of German officers specialising on missile systems arrived at the firing range a week ago.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Gov't reiterates support for Kurds' self -determination

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    Athens has renewed its criticism of Turkey for its military operations against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, reiterating its support for the self-determination of the Kurdish people.

    "Greece has systematically supported the right of the Kurds to their national self-determination," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters Saturday, in response to questions on the arrest of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in Rome on Thursday.

    "We have repeatedly and in a more thorough manner than anyone else raised before international fora the problem posed by the crude violation of human rights in southeastern Turkey, as well as the problem created by Turkey's military operations in northern Iraq," he said.

    "It is clear that Greece does not support violence as a means of resolving political differences, and neither encourages nor covers armed activities against other countries. Greece respects international treaties and legality. This position is the axis and the founding stone of our policy," he added.

    Mr. Ocalan's arrest and Turkish demands for his extradition drew condemnation from Greek political parties on Saturday and yesterday. "The extradition of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan would be a vindication of the murder of thousands of Kurds, of the in tervention of the Turkish armed forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, of the threats against Syria, and of a series of other terrorist actions," according to a press release by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    KKE also called on the Greek government to exert all its influence as not to extradite the legendary PKK leader either to Turkey or to Germany.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) called on the Italian government not to extradite the Kurdish leader.

    "At a time when the Kurdish issue is going through a new phase, the European Union is called upon to take initiatives with Greece's active contribution as well, in order to lay the bases for a political handling of the problem according to the rules of international legality," Synaspismos said in a statement. The Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) said Mr. Ocalan was not "a terrorist but a symbol and the leader of the Kurdish people's liberation struggle", and called on Athens to use all diplo matic means and influence with Italy to grant him political asylum.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Seminar focuses on issues related to deportation of illegals from EU

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    The public order ministry is organising a two-day seminar today in Athens and focusing on the issue of deporting and reintroducting illegal immigrants into their own society.

    The European Commission-funded seminar, part of the "Odysseas" programme initiative, will focus on the exchange of technical knowledge, practices and methods of planning for the deportation of illegal immigrants from the European Union.

    The Greek ministry has invited representatives from France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Security stepped up in light of Nov. 17 events

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    The Athens Polytechnic's gates opened yesterday morning in light of three days of events to mark the 25th anniversary of a students' uprising at the campus in 1973 against a military junta then ruling Greece (1967-1974).

    Dozens of residents were seen laying flowers at a monument inside the Polytechnic.

    As in past years, concern is again focused on security at the downtown Athens campus.

    Additional police units were deployed in the Polytechnic's vicinity and other university and public buildings as of yesterday, a preventive measure against disturbances.

    Violent protests and widespread vandalism, mostly by self-styled anarchist youths, have plagued Nov. 17 anniversaries in recent years.

    On its part, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) stressed that the Nov. 17 uprising should become a "source of inspiration and renewal of historical collective memory with new struggles for democratic and social rights, for human and modern public education, for productive employment and for respect of differences..."

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Delegation of diplomats briefed on western Macedonia's prospects

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    Development Deputy Minister Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday spoke to a diplomatic delegation regarding the development potential of the Kozani and Florina regions.

    The ambassadors of Canada, Korea and Romania as well as several consuls assigned to Thessaloniki yesterday visited lignite pits in the region, where 75 per cent of Greece's electricity is produced. They also visited the village of Krokos, where 80 per cent of the medicinal plant by the same name is cultivated.

    Ms Diamantopoulou noted the comparative advantages that Greece offers for joint investments as well as direct investments, following an improvment of the country's economic indicators over the past few years.

    Regarding western Macedonia, she referred to major infrastructure projects, such as the under-construction Egnatia motorway and industrial parks, among others.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Balkanesque 'Powder Keg' picked as best Euro-film at Thessalonki festival

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    Yugoslav director Goran Paskalievic's "Powder Keg" has won the best European film of the year award at the 39th Thessalonki Film festival over the weekend.

    The announcement was made by the secretary of the International Union of Film Critics (FIPRESI) Klaus Eder.

    Mr. Paskalievic later said the film, shot in two months, was the result of his need to speak about his country, and the hope that can come from humanism.

    "The war in Bosnia has become a fashionable theme, something like Vietman, but I wished to present another aspect; to show that the Serbian nation is not a nation of murderers. I wanted to make a simple story with common people," he said.

    In a separate development, noted British film director Peter Greenaway said he saw no future in cinema as we know it today.

    "Cinema is dead. There are no longer interesting film directors, having turned to other areas, such as new technologies, which open new possibilities for a presentation of non-narrative thought. Cinema today is like a video satyrical work or a literary text," he told reporters attending the festival.

    "We are no longer happy with Casablanca art. In a few years' time, the 'Titanic' will seem like a 19th century lecture," he added.

    Mr. Greenaway revealed he planned to stage a large art exhibition in Thessalonki in 2001, entitled "Zero-2001," and extending to all subjects from 0 until 2001.

    Yesterday, an exhibiion of Mr. Greenaway's paintings, texts and sketches was inaugurated at the Macedonian Modern Art Centre.

    Meanwhile, repeat performances of his "100 Objects Representing the World" prop-opera at the theatre of the Macedonian Studies Society are scheduled for today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] NAPC warns that operations will end next week

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    The North Aegean Petroleum Co. (NAPC), which currently holds the concession for exploitation of offshore oil deposits at the Prinos site, near the island of Thassos, announced on Saturday that it would cease production next week due to rising losses.

    The move follows bitter acrimony with workers, who have opposed the consortium's announcement of redundancies and pay cuts.

    NAPC had stated last month it would halt operations at the oilfield yesterday.

    In a bid to defuse the clash, NAPC executives, union leaders and government representatives are scheduled to meet on Wednesday at the development ministry.

    On the agenda are whether NAPC will continue to exploit oil deposits at the site or cease operations on all fronts.

    NAPC has ordered 180 lay-offs among its 400 staff at installations on Thassos and near the mainland port city of of Kavala; and a 30 per cent pay cut for remaining workers.

    Last month NAPC said that losses were rising, and the company could only manage to break even through a roughly 30 per cent reduction in operational costs. In the absence of cutbacks, most workers would be laid off and a small team retained in order to wind up production and guard installations.

    The union has said its members are adamant in resisting any redundancies or pay cuts.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Seminar on combatting juvenile sex exploitation ends

    Athens 16/11/1998 (ANA)

    A "Save the Children" seminar on "sexual exploitation and the trade of minors" concluded yesterday in Athens.

    The European Commission-sponsored event examined methods to prevent such tragic phenomena. 'Save the Children' President Niki Goulandri said: "You are the voice for these children. Today, the struggle begins...It regards an issue with many dark sides, an issue that is taboo for western societies, but is so widespread and inhumane."

    The seminar's conclusions defined the problem's parameters as sexual abuse inside and outside the home, sexual exploitation with the production of pornographic films and magazines as well as the international trading of minors.

    Participants stressed the fact that part of the problem is lack of correct exposure by the media and lack of legal infrastructure.

    The conclusions of the seminar presented solutions, including healthcare programmes.

    Athens News Agency

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