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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-08-23

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, 23/08/97


  • The US ambassador says the recently-signed non- aggreession pact between Greece and Turkey points the way forward.
  • Scientists knocking at the door of a cure for cancer in five years: great expectations on two fronts.
  • Eleven divers have a brush with a watery death.


The US ambassador to Greece expressed his hope that the spirit of the non- aggression pact between Greece and Turkey can set the tone for future efforts to work out problems in the region.

Thomas Niles was with members of the US Senate foreign relations committee in Athens Friday.

US ambassador Thomas Niles said he believes the spirit behind the non- aggression pact signed at last month's Nato summit in Madrid is still alive.

Tensions have mounted in recent days: At the UN talks on Cyprus last week, the Turkish-Cypriots said no progress could be made unless the European Union cancelled plans to bring Cyprus into its ranks. Turkish officials have threatened to annex northern Cyprus if those plans go ahead. And former Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit incited Greek anger this week when he said that Turkey could've taken all of Cyprus in 1974 if it had wanted to, and the Greek islands and even Thessaloniki at different times.

But Niles hopes the recent problems can be overcome.

The US senators met with a number of Greek government and opposition leaders

Niles said that Richard Holbrooke, recently appointed to spearhead US efforts to mediate a settlement in Cyprus, will also try to bolster the Greek-Turkish agreement in Madrid.

The Madrid pact calls on both sides to refrain from acts of war, or from acts which could lead to hostilities. It also commits them to respecting international law and legally-defined borders.

Greece would like better relations with Turkey, but after meeting with the American senators, parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis said Turkey's continuing intransigence and the provocative statements of its leaders are NOT in keeping with the Madrid accord.


The Cypriot foreign minister says Greece and Cyprus are prepared to react strongly to any Turkish move to annex northern Cyprus. Giannakis Kassoulides adds that such a move would justify Greece in preventing Turkey from developing closer ties with the EU.

The foreign minister also says that Cyprus should be joining the EU in the year 2001.

Summer holidays are over for the government. The prime minister huddled with top cabinet and Pasok members for five hours Friday afternoon.

On the agenda of Kostas Simitis's meeting with Pasok's political secretariat were foreign policy issues, namely, Greek-Turkish relations and the Balkans; the 3.3 billion-dollar shortfall in the 1997 budget, and where to make cutbacks to make up for it; and the negative reaction to government plans to join small towns under one municipal government.

At the meeting, finance minister Giannos Papantoniou recommended the government cut spending corners by freezing public sector hiring for the duration of the year. He also suggested that next year's budget be even tighter than this year's. And he proposed that public sector pay hikes be restricted to 2.5 per cent in 1998. Inflation is currently running at 5.5 per cent.


The main opposition party is also back from vacation. New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis met with Giorgos Souflias, his main opponent in the battle for the party leadership several months ago.

The two men discussed foreign policy issues and the economy. They also talked about organisational changes in the party, aimed at enabling members to get in step with the demands of the modern media.

Karamanlis is considering setting up a number of working groups to deal with different policy areas, each headed by a top party member.

It is unknown whether or not he will appoint Souflias to lead one of the groups. But sources say he could take over the group charged with working on the party's programme. Souflias handled that task in the 1980s.


Nearly all forms of cancer may be curable in 15 to 20 years.

And the key to eradicating the disease lies in genetics.

That's the word from scientists from around the world, holding a two-day conference on "Gene Therapy" in Iraklio, Crete.

While the battle against cancer may be over in two decades, many forms of the illness will be wiped out thanks to gene therapy within 5 years, say the doctors at the conference in Crete.

Many specialists at the conference say they have the cure.

Virologist Dimitris Spantidos explains, "we're at the heart of the problem. We've identified the genes responsible for cancer. Now, we're studying them in detail".

One problem attracting much interest among researchers is that of perfecting ways of getting the anti-cancer genes to cancer sites via vascular injections.

Tennis Pourlikas, director of California Institute of Cellular Biology, says gene treatments have already been effective against some tumours. In experiments, gene therapy has arrested and reversed advanced cases of lung cancer.

And gene therapy treatments for melanomas will soon be on the market.

Poulikas says it's a fact that in many cases, the injection of genes directly into tumours can destroy them. What is vital at this point is getting to a tumour before cancer starts spreading to other parts of the body.


There's considerable interest being generated on the cancer front by the work of a Greek-Australian researcher, who's produced a drug that mobilises the body's immune system into killing cancerous cells.

Vaso Apostolopoulou's vaccine-cure is already at an advanced trial stage. And she's being flooded with calls from colleagues around the world for information about what is looking like a wonder drug.

The first tests with Vaso Apostolopoulou's the cancer-fighting drug M-FP in humans have shown it works. Now, women suffering from breast, uterus, and fallopian tube cancer will take part in a second round of trials in Australia with M-FP. The drug's basic component is synthetic Mucin, a substance found in cancer cells.

In addition, the vaccine will be tried out on men suffering from cancer of the lungs, pancreas, prostate, and large intestine.

In all, 50 men and women will be included in the second round of tests on humans.

The new trials will be used to confirm the positive results from the earlier experiments on human cancer patients.

Apostolopoulou is soon to visit Greece, where she has been cited for her pioneering work by the Greek president.

And Greece will become the second country where trials of the new wonder drug will be run on cancer patients.

The next round of trials will end in 5 years.

The Greek-Austrlian's father, Kostas Apostolpoulos, says his daughter is confident the time's not far off when cancer will be history for mankind.


Eleven holiday divers had a narrow escape during an Aegean adventure Thursday. They were nearly lost at sea for good after their small speedboat capsized in rough seas between the islands of Paros and Naxos.

The 4 Greeks, 5 Italians, and 2 Frenchmen set off from Paros at around 5pm, after the weather took a temporary turn for the better.

Their destination was a point just off the small rocks known as Amarides, where they planned to dive in search of a ship that sank there many years ago.

But the weather worsened and the divers almost joined the sunken ship for good!

Kostas Halas recalls, "We capsized in the rough weather".

It was 5 pm when the accident occurred. 10 of the divers swam for an hour and a half, reaching Amarides.

The 11th team member, one of the Frenchmen, swam for Naxos, and help. It took him 5 and a half hours to reach his destination.

In the meantime, the coast guard learned of the mishap, and a search and rescue operation was launched in the inclement weather.

All 10 of the divers were picked up at about 11 pm. They were checked out at an island hospital and released in good health.


In sports, the Greek men's under-18 volleyball team is number two in the world. The Greek's were up against Italy in the world championship final in Tehran Friday afternoon.

In its first-ever appearance in a world championship final, Greece comes away with the silver medal, after going down 3 sets to none.

It was deja vu for the Greeks.

Three months ago, they also dropped the European championship final to the Italians the result there was 3-2.


In soccer, following Bosnia's victory over Denmark in their European zone world cup qualifier Wednesday, Greece's hopes of advancing to the 1998 tournament finals in Paris are on the up.

Greece is currently in second place in its five- team qualifying group. But following Denmark's loss, Greece could capture first, and an automatic place in Paris.

Dussan Bayevich, coach of Greek champion Olympiakos urges caution however. he says the Danes upset at the hands of the Bosnians should be a lesson.

If the Greek squad doesn't play well in its next match against ostensibly inferior Slovenia, it could be the next upset victim, and find its paris hopes fading.

Greece meets Slovenia on September 6th. Its final match in its qualifying group will be against Denmark.

If Greece finished second, it would likely end up having to play one of the second-place finishers from one of the 8 other European zone groups for one of Europe's 14 positions in Paris.

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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