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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-08-22

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, 22/08/97


  • The UN blames the Turkish-Cypriot leader for the failure in last week's Cyprus talks.
  • A controversial method of predicting earthquakes causes a rumble at the international seismology conference.
  • Former prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis remembers old times in Crete.


The United Nations has criticised the Turkish- Cypriots for causing last week's talks on Cypriot reunification to fail.

As we hear in this report, the UN security council was disappointed by Turkish-Cypriot leader Raouf Denktash's bargaining position, but pleased with Cypriot president Glavcos Clirides's stance.

Meeting with Cypriot president Glavcos Clirides in Switzerland last week, Turkish-Cypriot leader Raouf Danktash said he would not accept any UN proposals on Cyprus until the European Union canelled its plans to make Cyprus an EU member.

Anticipating Wednesday's security council meeting where the Cyprus talks were discussed, Clirides had been hoping the UN would publicly acknowledge that the Turkish-Cypriots were to blame for the UN talks bogging down last week.

And security council president John Weston did just that, upbraiding Turkish-Cypriot leader Raouf Denktash for trying to "bring preconditions to the table" in Switzerland.

Clirides had also been hoping the UN would take action against Denktash for his attempt to dictate terms to the EU.

Weston, expressing regret over the fact that Denktash's stance prevented real progress from being made last week, only urged both sides to refrain from doing anything that could damage the prospects of future talks, which the UN hopes can take place early next year, after the Cypriot presidential election.

Weston had good words for Clirides, who was willing to accept a number of UN proposals tabled at last week's negotiations, concerning refugee and security issues, and the shape a new constitution for a reunited Cyprus would take. Weston said Clirides had been cooperative and flexible in Switzerland.


On the sidelines of the World Seismology Conference in Thessaloniki Japanese seismologists were taken on a tour of an installation used to predict earthquakes.

Panagiotis Varotsos, head of the pioneering VAN team, which specialises in providing earthquake warnings, showed Saya Ouienta, head of the International Seismic Research Institute, around the VAN site.

But as we hear in this report, not everyone is sold on the VAN system.

The controverisal VAN method, which its proponents claim can predict earthquakes several weeks in advance by picking up electric signals and other phenomena that precede them, has always been met with skepticism by the Greek government. And American seismologists at the conference says they found it unhelpful in predicting four large earthquakes in California.

But the Japanese feel differently.

Visiting the VAN site, Saya Ouienta said the Japanese goernment is sold on VAN, on the basis of the experimental work that's been done by the VAN team in Greece.

Panagiotis Varotsos, head of the VAN group, says the Japanese have been studying the results of their experiments for years, and found them to be 60 per cent accurate.

The Greek state authorities say VAN's forecasts are too vague and general to be useful.

And geophysicist Vassilis Papazachos, head of the committee organising the current World Seismology Conference in Thessaloniki, issued a statement saying "the prediction of earthquakes on the basis of natural phenomena that precede them belongs to the future. For now, we must limit ourselves to tried and tested methods".

Ouienta says that VAN is not advanced enough yet in Japan to be considered reliable. But in

Greece, which has a ten-year head start with the system, he thinks the results are reliable enough that the public should be warned when VAN predicts a shaker.

Ouienta acknowledges that there are doubts about VAN. But he believes that of the many methods of earthquake prediction being experimented with, VAN is the only one far enough along to be used seriously at this point.


1998 will be another year of belt-tightening. The government's top economic people are back from their summer vacations, and after their first meeting, the finance minister said restricting state spending will continue to be a priority.

His eye on what looks like a shortfall in this year's budget, Giannos Papantoniou wants to freeze public sector hiring for the rest of the year and restrict overtime. For next year, there could be abolition of some state agencies, and others could be merged. And a meagre 2.5 per cent pay raise limit. Inflation is currently running at 5.5 per cent.

Papantoniou will meet with the prime minister Friday to discuss his strategy for meeting this year'sbudget, and ideas for next year.


As summer winds down, it's beginning to look a little bit like school time. School TEACHERS are going into the autumn season ready for a fight over changes the government is planning to the hiring system.

Teachers protested plans to abolish the current system, whereby people waiting to be hired by the state school system are given a number.

In its place, the government wants to institute a competitive system, whereby candidates are hired according to their credentials.

Teachers' union rep Nikos Tzoulias says the union will resist the change, and will decide what action to take on September 6th.


Constantinos Mitsotakis is one of Greece's leading post-war political figures. He has been at the centre of political events since the 1960s, and was elected prime minister in 1990.

The man who today is honorary leader of New Democracy, and whom some believe could one day be president, went back to his roots in Crete, to remember the bonds of unity forged among Greeks in World War II.

Half a century later, old comrades welcomed Mitsotakis to the mountain village of Melidoni near Chania with traditional dances, food, and the local firewater - raki.

Mitsotakis said he was deeply touched to see old friends from the difficult days of the war. "We go back half a century. We all fought together. Crete was united in the struggle for freedom and a better world. I want to thank all the old comrades who later on supported me in my political struggles".

Mitsotakis also had advice for the politicians of today. "We must try harder. We must tell the people the truth", he said. "I've paid the political price for telling the truth. But I'd rather lose with the truth than win by fooling the people".

The celebrations in this mountain village went on till long after midnight. Mitsotakis himself even dance a traditional Chania Syrto.


A Greek-Australian doctor has soared into the headlines with a revolutionary vaccination against breast cancer she's come up with.

The vaccine created by Vaso ApostolopOUlou has hundreds of volunteers lined up to try it out.

And, as we hear in this report, the young researcher isn't stopping there: she's already trying find out if her drug can fight other forms of the lethal disease.

The "Herald Sun", Australia's top-selling newspaper, at 700,000 issues a day, carried Vaso Apostolopoulou's revolutionary medical find on its front page.

The vaccine will be tried out soon in Melbourne on women suffering from breast cancer.

Apostolopoulou says that her synthetic vaccine was initially tested on lab mice, with very encouraging results. Following that, it was tried out on 25 women in Queensland who had breast cancer, and vital information was culled from the tests.

Apostolopoulou explains:

"These trials helped us determine the vaccine dosage required in human beings. We also learned that the drug, known as M-FP, has no side effects".

The Melbourne trials will be conducted with women suffering from advanced forms of breast cancer. It is hoped that those tests will verify the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The basic component of M-FP is a synthetic form of Mucin, a substance found in cancerous cells. When Mucin is injected into the human body, it incites the white cells into wiping out cancerous cells.

Given that, it is believed that the new wonder drug, manufactured at the Austin Medical Research Centre in Melbourne, will also be useful in the battle against other forms of cancer.


Margaret Papanadreou and Dimitra Liani Papandreou shared the love of the late Andreas Papandreou, the former Greek prime minister.

Now, they're sharing what he left behind.

According to a report in the daily "Ethnos", Dimitra Papandreou, Andreas Papandreou's last wife, has won a battle in Minnesota giving her the rights to the proceeds of a life insurance policy her late husband took out there.

In Canada, Margaret Papandreou, married to the Greek political leader before he met Dimitra, has won the rights to a pension he paid into as a professor at York University in Toronto.

Dimitra Papandreou received a lump sum of 15,000 dollars from the life insurance policy. Andreas Papandreou had made Margaret the beneficiary when they were still married in 1954, but in 1989, made Dimitra the beneficiary. Dimitra informed the Great West Life Insurance Company in Colorado, and they sided with her.

Margaret Papandreou will receive a monthly pension cheque of 400 Canadian dollars. Ethnos says Dimitra claimed the pension too, but Canadian insurance authorities ruled that his wife at the time when he was a professor - Margaret - has rights to that.


In sports, and soccer, Greece saw its hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Paris revived, thanks to Bosnia, which beat Denmark 3-nil in Sarajevo.

With its easy victory over the 1992 European champions, Bosnia improved Greece's chances of finishing first or second in their five-team qualifying group for the 1998 World Cup.

As you can see, with 2 matches left in its group, Greece is in good position. There are nine qualifying groups for the European zone. The first- place team in each group will make it to Paris, as will the best of the nine second-place finishers. The other 8 second-place teams will battle for Europe's other 4 slots in the World Cup.

Greece's next match is against Slovenia, on September 6th. Greece meets Denmark on October 11th.

Bosnia had a surprisingly easy time of it against Denmark Wednesday, getting all three of its goals in a 9 minute stretch of the first half, two of them off penalties.

Moutsin scored the winner, opening the scoring in the 25th minute.

One final note, both the Greek men and women finished in 7th place at the European water polo championship in Spain.

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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