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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-08-26

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, 26/08/97


  • The leader of New Democracy in Cyprus - Kostas Karamanlis calls for Hellenism to unite in defence of freedom.
  • A Greek-Australian researcher talks about her hopes of a cancer cure.
  • The lone survivor of a tragedy at sea tells her story.


New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis supports plans to make Cyprus a member of the European Union.

On an official visit to Cyprus, Karamanlis met with the Cypriot president Monday.

After meeting with Cypriot president Glavcos Clirides, New Democracy's Kostas Karamanlis slammed the ongoing Turkish military occupation of the northern part of the island, an occupation that began with 1974's invasion.

Karamanlis said all of Hellenism is vigilant, because international law is being trampled underfoot in northern Cyprus, there's an army of occupation, and the principles of freedom and human dignity are being violated.

Karamanlis said the unfolding plans to make Cyprus a member of the European Union deserve support, because Cypriot admission into the EU could contribute to a solution of the problems of the divided island.

At UN talks between bot Cypriot communities two weeks ago, Turkish-Cypriot leader Raouf Denktash refused to accept any UN proposals designed to pave the way for Cyprus's reunification.

Denktash said if the EU doesn't shelve its plans to take in Cyprus, no progress can be made. He and Turkish leaders have gone even further, threatening to incorporate northern Cyprus fully into Turkey if the EU doesn't withdraw the plan.

But Karamanlis, calling Cyprus the testing ground of Hellenism's endurance, said it's Turkish obstinacy and truculence that's hindering a solution in Cyprus.

Karamanlis feels the timing of his trip is important, coming as it does on the heels of the breakdown in the UN talks.

He told a meeting of expatriate Cypriots that on the island, we're seeing a clash between those who believe in freedom, and the forces of obscurantism.

Hellenism must be united and have a sense of common purpose.

Cypriot foreign minister Giannakis Kassoulides says his government's aims are twofold: to solve the Cyprus problem, and get Cyprus into the EU.

He warns that if Turkey tries to annex occupied Cyprus, then Greece will be within its rights to stop Turkey from developing ties with the EU.


In Cyprus, Kostas Karamanlis was present at a number of events in memory of two young Greek-Cypriot men killed by Turkish troops and mobs in Cyprus's neutral zone last August.

Tassos Isaac was taking part in a peaceful demonstration in the neutral zone in Cyprus on August 11th 1996. He tried to flee a mob from the Turkish- occupied side, but got caught in the barbed wire separating the neutral zone from free Cyprus. The mob descended on him, beating him to death.

Three days later, during another peaceful demonstration at the spot where he was murdered, Turkish troops shot Solomos Solomou dead as he tried to lower the Turkish flag just inside the occupied territory.

On Sunday night, Greek singer Giorgos Dalaras topped the bill at a concert in their memory, in their home town of Paralimni.

Giorgos Darlaras, Tokas and Antinos Ioannides sang in memory of Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou. So did thousands of people at the concert, ordinary people, and politicians.

There was strong emotion as Hellenism raised a defiant voice against the brutality that made heroes of the two young men a year ago.

One voice sent a message of unity, the unity of Hellenism in defence of Cyprus against indifference and injustice.

Earlier Sunday a commemorative mass was held at the graveside of the two men who gave their lives demanding freedom for northern Cyprus.

The Greek government was represented by deputy foreign minister Giannos Kranidiotis. There were a number of other Greek politicians present too:

New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, Democratic Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas, Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, and a number of MPs showed by their presence that Greece stands by Cyprus.

Three small speedboats arrived in Paralimni from Greece for the service. Their crews brought with them a flame lit on the Acropolis, and Athenian soil. Both were deposited at the graves of Isaac and Solomou.

The flame was also taken to Sunday night's concert. A flame of hope, a flame of vigilance, a flame of remembrance.

The concert, like the symbolic journey of the speedboats, showed everyone that Cyprus is never far from Greece.


The International Monetary Fund's recipe for the Greek economy is belt- tightening and no new taxes next year.

The IMF says that will help bring Greece closer to European economic convergence. The EU's monetary union plans require governments to have an inflation level of no higher than 3.5 per cent, and to reign in deficit spending.

The prime minister will likely hear the IMF recommendations officially Tueaday.

The IMF's recommendations on wage restraint in both the public and private sector are in keeping with the government's ideas.

The government is also planning hiring freeze in the public sector for at least the rest of this year.


The government may be getting back to business after the summer holidays, but the nation's president is still enjoying the summer sea.

The cameras caught up with Kostis Stephanopoulos taking a leisurely dip in Rio in the Gulf of Corinth.

The president spent Sunday relaxing with family members, and with the foreign minister. On his way back from Patra, Theodoros Pangalos took the president up on an invitation to dine.


The education minister says he'll discuss everything with the nation's schoolteachers, except his plan to change the way teachers are hired.

Gerasimos Arsenis wants to abolish the current system, whereby teachers are hired according to their number on a national waiting list.

Instead, he wants to hire on the basis of merit.

But the teachers are firmly opposed.

Teachers' rep Christos Christou says the new system would bring a return of autocratic monitoring and controls over teaching staff. "We won't go back to that".

Grigoris Kalomiris, another trade unionist, says "We want the government to forget its plans and start hiring the people we need for this year off the waiting lists".

Arsenis shows no sign of retreating on that issue. There are other changes on the way, affecting students.

Already, 12 thousand first-year high school teachers are attending seminars to learn about new ways of assessing students's classroom achievements. New tests will de-emphasise regurgitation of memorised material.

Arsenis says the old method of examination by rote learning is on its way out. "What we need to do, is teach young people not to memorise, but how to think analytically and synthesize ideas".


Rescue teams found five bodies Monday morning, including that of two children floating near an inflatable dinghy, near island of Lesbos off the Turkish coast.

Members of three families wearing life jackets, abandoned the burning sailing yacht at noon on Friday, boarding the small inflatable dinghy and braving gale force winds and rough mountainous seas for more than 16 hours.

34 year old Vagia Zisi, the only known survivor managed to swim to an islet 500 yards away.

In stable condition in the Mytilini hospital Vagia described the last dramatic hours for the three families from Thessaloniki aboard the pleasure yacht, 'Golden Fin'.

34 year old Vagia Zisi says, "at 12 noon on Friday we were sailing 13 nautical miles outside of MOlevo on our 40 foot yacht. The sea was turbulent with gale-force winds.

Suddenly smoke appeared and we saw fire coming from the engine room. My husband and Mavrides noticed it first. We ran to wake up the two children.

We got into our inflatable raft, having time only to grab some soft drinks. We didn't have time to grab the radio, the flares, or their phones. here were some Turkish fishing boats were nearby.

They saw us but did not come to help us. The young woman says she and 35 year old Mavrides did not board the inflatable dinghy, but held onto the life saver's side ropes since there wasn't room in the boat for all eight.

From a distance we saw the boat sinking in flames. We paddled with the oars. The waves were enormous, spilling over the dinghy, filling it with water. We tried as best we could to empty it out with the soft drink cans.

Sixteen hours later, we were exhausted.

Vagia continued from her hospital bed, "My husband asked me...will you be able to reach the rocks?

She started swimming against the current in the middle of the night at her husband's urging. She says that at one point he called out to her. I turned my head and thought about going back but didn't have the energy. Maybe they were afraid of trying for fear of the children, or maybe there were swept away by the current. It was the last time she would see her husband alive. Ten minutes later she reached an islet, luckily washed ashore on a sandy beach. She was also lucky to find a half-filled bottle of water.

36 hours after her ordeal began, 66 year old Yiannis Margaritis a retired ship's captain was out fishing when he spotted Vagia. Margaritis says she told him there was a smell of diesel from inside the yacht. He says, "surely there was some kind of leakage. A short circuit might have caused a spark and the fire.

Breaking into tears she added from her hospital bed, "We were all experienced in sailing and very good swimmers. We had vacationed together on the yacht many times.

Those who lost their lives are: 52 year old Haralambos Zisi husband of Vagia, 35 year old Evangelia Mavrides, and her five year old son Tasos. 32 year old Sofia Theorides and her 8 year old son Kostas.

The two men still reported missing are Evangellos Mavridis and Dimitris Theodoridis, both 35.


An air and sea search continued Monday night for the two missing men, but two days after the mishap, there were slim hopes of finding them alive.

A Greek researcher whose pioneering work in Australia may have produced a vaccine and a cure for cancer has been honoured by the Greek president.

Last week, the positive results of tests conducted in Australia with a drug that in some cases has been shown to spur the body's immune system into destroying cancerous cells shot Vasso Apostolopoulou into the international headlines.

The work of 27-year-old Vaso Apostolopoulou is at the top of the news in Australia.

The basic component of her experimental drug, M-FP, is synthetic Mucin, which is found in cancerous cells.

As doctor Ian Mackenzie, working with Apostolopoulou, explains,

A second round of clinical tests with cancer patients is about to begin in Australia. Greece will be the second nation where the drug is tested, when Apostolopoulou visits here soon.

We'll be trying this out in patients with...these patients will be patients who've undergone all the treatments".

Three esearchers are careful to point out that they can't claim to have a wonder drug yet. But they appear to be on the right road.

"We discovered that the vaccine is safe. It has no side effects. Some patients made an immune response".

Apostolopoulou's work has earned her the Greek "Legion of the Palm". Accept the award bestowed on her by president Kostis Stephanopoulos, Apostolopoulou said it's an honour for her, her professors, and the Austin Research Institute in Australia, where she works. She said the award is also an honour for her family and the Greeks of Australia.

Greek merchant marine minister Stavros SoumAkis made the award presentation in Australia on behalf of the president.


The "Prespes '97" cultural festival ended with a concert in Florina, which music from Greece, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Fyrom.

Elevtheria Arvanitaki, one of Greece's best-known singers, gave her all before the packed stadium.

The concert also featured the gypsy band of Ferrous MustaphA, from Fyrom.


In sports, Panathinaikos's soccer team is looking good on the eve of the 1997 season. Pao won handily in its final pre-season match, beating Kalamata 4-nil.


In basketball, Panathinaikos, with two names of NBA repute on its roster, returned from Italy with a 3-oh sweep of a pre-season tournament in PEzaro.

Guard Byron Scott, formerly of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, and big man Dino Raja, with the Boston Celtics last season, proved too much for Turkish champion Efes Pilsen in the final of the Pezaro tournament. Raja led Pao with 20 points in that 63-55 victory.

In its previous two contests, Pao beat Italian Scavolini and Spanish Barcelona.

A little further north, in the city of Trevizo, Olympiakos got 18 points from Artouras Karnisovas in knocking off Italian champ Benetton, 76-65.


Greece's Angeliki AndriopOUlou came away from the 21-and-unders' European Water Skiing championship in the Czech Republic over the weekend with an enviable cache of medals.

Andriopoulou copped a gold in the triathlon. She also finished first in the figure skiing and in the jump, giving her a total of three gold medals.

She added a bronze to that, finishing third in the slalom.


Wherever you live, you've probably had eggplant at some point in your life. So what?, you may ask.

Well, there's eggplant and then there's eggplant.

The residents of the coastal town of Leonidiou in the Peloponese think that's a point well worth making.

Their eggplant is famous throughout Europe for its sweetness.

And local pride put on an eggplant fest to share the local jewel of a food with all and sundry.

Some of the top chefs in Europe came to taste the traditional Greek dishes made gourmet thanks to the Leonidiou eggplant.

There was eggplant pizza, moussakas, eggplant salad, spaghetti with eggplant, and eggplant baked with meat and yoghurt.

One Greek chef said his European colleaagues went wild for the stuff, but also for the finely balanced recipes used in putting the feast together.

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas hails from these parts. And he needed no directive from the prime minister to speak authoritatively on the subject: "It's the only sweet eggplant that exists. I've experienced its value".

The celebrations included a reenactment of how the farmers got their eggplants off to market in the last century. today, the region produces six thousand tonnes of the purple food a year.

All of which called for fireworks.

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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