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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-05-13

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, 13/05/97


  • New rules for Greeks abroad who haven't done their military service.
  • The prime minister tells Pasok to turn the page, and look to the future.
  • And, Olympiakos ends a decade-long drought.


The nation's universities are opening the doors of learning to more students. The education minister announced that more young people will be entering higher education, after a meeting with school deans over the weekend.

The deans of seven schools told education minister Gerasimos ARsenis that they can take in greater numbers. The University of Thrace says it has an additional 500 places in speech therapy, bio- ethics, and environmental studies.

600 more places are opening up at the University of Athens, in the social and human sciences, and modern Greek civilisation.

The Pantio, Ionian, and Aegean universities, and the universities of Iannena and Thessaly are establishing medical schools, and archeologhy and computer science departments.

The government estimates that in all an additional 3 thousand students will enter the country's universities next year, without taking entrance exams.


Some Greeks living abroad who haven't yet done their military service may be called on to serve PART of the normal term. How long, will be determined by their age and family situation.

The government is putting a bill on the issue before parliament. Defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos says 18,500 of the Greeks abroad who have avoided their military service, will be called on to put in from 3 to 12 months. They'll be able to buy off the rest of their term. The changes refer to those born between 1948 and 1966 only.

Conscientious objectors will be called on to do an alternative term of service, twice as long as the usual one.

The bill will also contain provisions concerning those wishing to postpone their military service until they complete their higher education.


The prosecution of war criminals was the main topic of discussion at a conference of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.

Thirty countries from all over the world are taking part in the conference in Athens.

Addressing the delegates, Greek deputy defence minister Giorgos Apostolakis said international rules need to be enforced to confront war criminals, especially after the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.

Chairman of the conference organising committee Athanassios KossiOris, talked of the great importance of law in armed conflict, and the importance of investigations of violatons of rules of conduct.

International Society chairman Krugel Spreigel said it's important that nations from Africa and central and eastern Europe are taking part in the conference.


Greece says it has no intention of surrendering any control over its Aegean airspace.

The prime minister and the defence minister discussed the matter of military flights over the Aegean, in advance of Tuesday's Western European Union conference, where the matter of Aegean flights was to be discussed.

Defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos said the 10-mile high-flight zone, or FIR, monitored by Athens, will stay as it is. That comment came after a press report saying Greece is preparing to allow some Turkish military flights unregulated access to some flight paths.

"Anyone can enter the Athens FIR", explained Tsochatzopoulos, "as long as they declare their nationality and submit a flight plan to Athens. It's up to Athens to grant the flight request".

Tsochatzopoulos is joining foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos at the WEU conference in Paris, where much of the attention will be on achieving an eventual meeting of the Greek and Turkish foreign and defence ministers.

Pangalos was asked if he will meet with the Turkish foreign minister in Paris, but gave no indication that he will do so.


Pasok followed up last week's stormy parliamentary group meeting with a low- key organisational conference over the weekend.

Prime minister Kostas Simitis, who used harsh tones in defending his Turkish policy before critical Pasok MPs last week, made an appeal for unity to the 100s of party members at the weekend conference.

Addressing the conference, Kostas Simtis called on party members to "reunite". "Pasok has already turned the page", he added, urging members to give up what he called "spurious differences and shadow boxing in the ranks over issues of no substance". The man who gained the party leadership by defeating opposing wings of the party at the last party congress said, "It's a political choice for us to bind together, whatever views we held at the congress, however we feel about this or that issue".

At last week's parliamentary group meeting, it was a tough Simitis who chastised 32 MPs for sending him a letter critical of his Turkish policy. The 32 said his decision to go ahead with a Greek- Turkish committee to list differences between the two countries would allow Turkey to put its claims on Greek soil on an eventual negotiating agenda.

Simitis said that's simply not true. The committee will have no negotiating power, and Greece will not accept Turkey listing its claims on Greek sovereignty as differences to be settled.

Over the weekend, Simitis again reassured the party that Greece will not negotiate over its sovereign rights. And, defending the committee, he added that Greece shouldn't be afraid of promoting its positions either.

Giving his views on what changes need to be made in the party, Simits, known as a moderniser, said "on the threshold of the 21st century, Pasok can no longer be the heroic party of the years after the fall of the military dictatorship, it can no longer simply be an anti-right-wing grouping".

Simitis also said that Pasok organisations can no longer just be parts of an election machine. Rather, they must become forums of political discussion.

The prime minister also defended his much-discussed "social dialogue", a plan to discuss economic problems and possible policy solutions with the groups to be affected by them. Many on the left say the dialogue is just a way making the pill of economic austerity go down more easily. Over the weekend, Simitis said those who reject the dialogue are in effect proposing that the country and the young be left to rot in stagnation. And he reassured them that Pasok would maintain its socially-concerned side.

Despite the low tones at the weekend conference, discontent exists. Many MPs are angry over a torrid interview given by the foreign minister last week, in which he calls the 32 MPs critical of the Greek-Turkish committee "silly", and "panderers".

People close to education minister Gerasimos Arsenis, one of those who has expressed reservations over the Greek-Turkish committee, wants the prime minister to intervene over the interview.

And some leading party members appear disinclined to cut out the criticism of the government. Executive bureau member Manolis Daskalakis says, "There are two solutions. One is acceptance of the current situation, which would mean guilty consent in the ideological, political, organisational, shrinkage of the party, and defeat. The other solution is to change the current situation".

All in all, party secretary Kostas Skandalides was happy with the way the weekend conference went. He said the smoothe proceedings belied the predictions of heated clashes.

The differences within Pasok between the modernisers and the so-called traditional wing was evident at the Piraeus nightclub the prime minister had invited leading party members to Saturday night.

Notable by their absence were the 32 critics of the Greek-Turkish committee.


Kiro Gligorov, president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is confident that relations between his country and Greece will improve. Even though he shows no sing of compromising over the issue of his country's name.

Fyrom wants to call itself Macedonia. Greece objects, saying that would be pilfering Greece's ancient Macedonian heritage, and imply expansionist claims on the Greek province of Macedonia.

The two countries are trying to work out a compromise solution at UN talks in New York.

Gligorov says his country has no desire to change any borders. But he also says pubic opinion in his nation is against any compromise name. He calls it incomprehensible that the issue is still pending.

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas says the time is ripe for the matter to be settled, and hints that a compound compromise name is being discussed in New York. He he also accuses Fyrom of obstructing progress on the issue.

Reppas also says Greece will not accept a state on its border being called just Macedonia.


Greece's credit bank has announced a significant drop in interest rates.

The rate on deposit accounts is dropping from 9.5 to 8.5 per cent.

On deposits of less than the equivalent of 4 thousand US dollars, the interest rate will be even lower - 6 per cent.

People looking for a loan will find it easier going. Investment loan interest is falling 2.5 points from its 14.75 per cent level.

The housing loan rate is dropping from 11.5 to 10.5 per cent.

And the rate for loans to set up business premises is going to be set at 12.5 per cent, down a point.

The consumer loan rate is dropping from 22 per cent to 20 per cent.

Following the Credit Bank lead, the Bank of Greece knocked a point off its inter-bank rate.

The interest rate changes are expected to give a boost to the Athens stock exchange.


New Democracy is submitting a proposal for changes to the Greek constitution.

Announcing that the proposal will be made soon, party leader Kostas Karamanlis criticised Pasok for not moving on the issue.

Karamanlis says, "Unfortunately, on this issue, Pasok has once again shown how hypocritical it is. Though it talks about modernisation, it does nothing". Karamanlis adds that because of Pasok's inactivity, the opportunity for the current parliament to revise the constitution has been lost.

Karamanlis did NOT comment on the exchange between his uncle, party founder Constantinos Karamnlis, and former king Constantine last week. The elder Karamanlis essentially said that the monarchy cannot be restored. Constantine replied that only the Greek people have the right to decide what kind of political system they want.

But party MP Prokopis Pavlopoulos says the clauses in the constitution that determine the country's political system are not open to alteration.

Documents from the Karamanlis archives from 1976 touched off debate between him and the former king last week.

Observers in New Democracy are expecting more controversy after the official launch of the 12th volume of Constantinos Karamanlis's archives Wednesday. That volume will contain references to the period 1990-1993.


The president of the European Commission wrapped up his visit to Greece with a tour of Mount Athos, with its many ancient monasteries.

Before his trip to Athos, Jacques Santer commented on the large, EU-funded infrastructure projects. He quipped, "There haven't been so many works in progress in Athens since the age of Pericles".

Santer was accompanied to Athos by EU commissioner Christos Papoutsis, and Greek cabinet members.

Chief superintendent of Athos, Father Germanos, underscored the importance of the region as an ecumenical spiritual centre. He called it a place of civilation, not one delineated by geographic boundaries.

Santer reassured religious leaders that the EU will continue to fund restoration work on Athos monasteries. He said the EU recognises the monateries' spiritual, historic, and artistic importance.

In Greece, Santer also met with New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis. Afterward, he expressed his hope that Greece enter's the EU's unified monetary system as soon as possible.


For the first time in 10 years, Olympiakos has won the Greek soccer championship. The Piraeus club clinched the title with a win victory second- place Aek over the weekend.

And Olympiakos gets going early. Here's the first goal, coming off the boot of Alexandris just 12 minutes into the match.

Then, in the 25 minute Karapialis is brought down as he goes one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Georgevich converts the penalty, and the celebrations begin in the bleachers. 2-nil is the final score.

And the team goes off to celebrate at a night spot. This is club manager Dussan Bayevich's fifth title, the first four came as he sat on Aek's bench, this one at Aek's expense.


Well, the season is really over for Olympiakos. But not for Aek and three other teams competing for slots in European tournaments next season.

Ofi, just a point behind Aek in third place, pummeled Ionikos 4-nil over the weekend.

Elsewhere, fourth-place Panathinaikos stayed five points behind Ofi, devouring last-place Kastoria. Pao's Christof Vazecha gets four goals in that one, shooting to the top of the individual scoring category. He now has 19 goals on the season. Three other players have 18.

Paok is tied for fourth with Pao after its easy win over Xanthi.

Edessaikos is in danger of joining Kastoria in the second division next year. It's in second-to-last place after its weekend loss. Athinaikos and Apollon have no problems at home on Sunday. And Kavala and Aris triumph on the road.


In pro-basektball, Olympiakos and Aek squared off in the all-important first game of their best-of- five Greek championship series Sunday.

Aek on the road against the defending Greek champs, but doesn't seem to mind early in the first half, as it jumps out to a 31-18 lead against its sloppy host, and goes into the break up by 4.

But Olympiakos wastes no time coming back, and grabs its first lead four minutes into the second half.

The home team is up by nine late in the contest, but then AEK comes back, to within one. Then David Rivers wakes up, scoring 6 points down the stretch, and lifting his team to a 68-62 victory.

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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