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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-05-23

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, 23/05/97


  • A suspect in the death of a Greek consulate guard in Albania is identified.
  • An annual walk on hot coals.
  • And, Olympiakos's trophy sweep.


Investigations indicate that a Greek consulate guard in Albania was shot by another policeman.

Dimitris Tzavellas, assigned to the consulate, was arrested after ballistics showed that his gun had fired the fatal shot.

35-year-old Nikos Markakis died on the spot in Tuesday's incident.


Greece is backing Romania's efforts to join Nato. The Greek and Romanian presidents discussed that and a number of other issues in Athens.

Kostis Stephanopoulos not only expressed his desire to see Romania in Nato; he also said that Greece is focussing on strengthening economic and cultural ties with its Balkan neighbour.

Romania's Emil Konstandineskou welcomed Greece's support, calling it a true friend.

He added that his country also looks forward to a deepening of cooperation between the two nations.


It looks like US state department Nicholas Burns is going to be the next American ambassador to Greece.

Diplomatic sources say secretary of state Madelaine Albright is pushing for the appointment of the 41- year-old Burns.

Albright has repeatedly said that resolving Greek- Turkish tensions and the Cyprus is a priority for her.

Burns has been state department spokesman since 1995. He has considerable exposure to the Greek-Turkish problems, and the Cyprus issue. He was the state department's public voice during the Imia crisis and the murder of three Greek-Cypriots by the Turks last year. He was handled the press during when the announcement by Cyprus that it intended to by Russian land to air missiles, sparked international controversy.


The International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Cooperaton and Development are calling for more belt-tightening in Greece.

They want fewer public-sector hirings, an end to restrictions on private- sector layoffs, and lower entry-level salaries.

Those recommendations are worrying workers; and pensioners are concerned by suggestions that the state take care of public pension-fund deficits.

The IMF and OECD urge Greece to usher in changes to the state insurance system by 2004; otherwise, they say, it will collapse.

The government is trying to appease the concerns aroused by the reports.

Labour minister Miltiades Papaioannou says the government alone makes economic policy decisions.

The deputy labour minister adds that there will be no increase in the number of people that can be fired at any one time. Nor will there be any decreases in salaries coupled with a reduction in the length of the work day.

He adds that raising the retirement age to take the burden off the social insurance system, is also out of the question.


The main opposition leader says that the IMF and OECD reports confirm that Pasok is doing nothing to help the economy.

New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis also says that tesnion within ruling Pasok is a foreign policy danger.

Karamanlis addressed a meeting of his party's MPs Thursday.

Karamanlis was referring to recent disagreements within Pasok ranks over the government's handling of relations with Turkey.

32 Pasok MPs protested in writing the government's agreement to go ahead with the setting up of expert committees to list Greek-Turkish differences. Though the Greek and Turkish experts are not scheduled to meet at this stage, the 32 MPs were worried, at least initially, that Turkey would use the committees to get its claims on Greece listed as bi-lateral issues to be resolved.

Karamanlis says the government hasn't made it clear enough that if Turkey wants dialogue with Greece it must do three things: stop making claims on Greece in the Aegean; agree to take any claims it insists on to the international court; and strop threatening Greece with violence to get its way.


Giorgos Koskotas could be out of jail by the year 2000. Koskotas was at the centre of the Bank of Crete embezzlement scandal that rocked the Pasok government at the end of the 1980s.

The scandal involving Giorgos Kokotas's embezzlement of 210 million dollars from the Bank of Crete, when he was at its head in the 1980s, stunned the Pasok government, after 8 years in power.

Koskotas allged that then-prime minister Andreas Papandreou authorised the embezzlement, and even took bribes.

Koskotas was also a press baron, and the backing his papers gave the Pasok government added another facet to the scandal, strengthening the view that Koskotas and Pasok were working hand in glove.

In 1994, Giorgos Koskotas was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Andreas Papandreou refused to appear in court, but was acquitted of all corruption charges in 1992, and was elected prime minister again in 1993.

An appeals court has upheld the Koskotas sentence, but he's already spent 9 years in prison, two of them in Massachusetts, where he was held before being extradited to Greece to stand trial.

Koskotas has promised to return part of the money he stole, and with time off for good behaviour and prison work, he could be out in a few years.

Five other people were convicted along with Koskotas. They were all given sentences ranging from 2 to 5 years.


Doctors are optimistic about intestinal transplants in new-borns and children.

The transplants were discussed at the annual conference of the European Society for Pediatric Gastro-Enterology and Nutrition in Thessaloniki.

The good news is that the transplants are a successful treatment for short bowel syndrome infants.

The latest statistics on the procedure show a 70 to 80 per cent success rate.

Andreas Tzakis, a university professor in Miami, explains that after the transplant, doctors inject marrow from the organ donor into the recipient, to help balance the immune system.

Doctors also stress that the basis for a child's normal development lies in a well-balanced diet.

Pediatric gastro-enterolgist Sanda Noussia- Arvanitaki explains that meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and fruit should be the key elements in a healthy child's diet.


Every year on the feast day of Constantinos and Eleni, they walk on hot coals in a northeastern Greek village.

Christians in Mavrolefki, in Thrace, see the walk not only as a test of their endurance, but of their faith.

The custom was popular among Christians in Constantinople in the 5th century. It was revived in 1922, in Thrace first.

The first coal-walker holds the icon of Saint Constantinos and Saint Eleni. 12 other walkers follow, and their ritual dance continues until the coal has cooled off.


Turning to pro basketball, Olympiakos put the final feather in its cap this season. The Piraeus powerhouse won the Greek championship Wednesday night, picking up the third of a possible three trophies.

On the road, Olympiakos beats Aek 68-53, and wins the best-of-five championship series 3-1.

Dragan Tarlach leads five Olympiakos players to score in double figures, with 16 points.

It's a dissapointing end to the season for Aek, which emerged from nowhere last year, to reach the finals this sring.

But Aek's second-place finish gives it the right to play in the European champions' league next season.

Olympiakos wins its fifth straight national title. This year it also won the European championship and the Greek cupship. It is now just the 8th club in European history to complete the triple.


The Cycladic islands are known for blue and white - the blue of the sea, the white of their houses. Now the Aegean islands are on display in black and white - it's an exhibition of photos by Greek- American Maris Embirikos.

The theme of the exhibit, which runs at the Goulandris gallery until August 14th, is Greek mythology inspired by the Cyclades. Along with street scenes, the artist has also captured works of art on film.

Playing with black and white, Embirikos creates his own modern mythology.

"Cycladic art", he feels, "is very contemporary. The forms, the spirituality of the small statues, the geometry of the figures".

The artist's goal is to show his photos around the world, helping to spread awareness of Greek civilisation.

His first stop after Greece will be the USA.

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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