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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-08-30

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, 30/08/97


  • The prime minister cites the importance of Greece's unique position in the Balkans.
  • The Greeks of Imvros cling to what remains of their homeland.
  • And, rebetiko star Sotiria Bellou makes her final journey.


Greece's strategy in the Balkans was the main item on the agenda at Friday's cabinet meeting.

The meeting came in the run-up to a conference of Balkan leaders in Crete at the beginning of November.

Prime minister Kostas Simitis said the driving force behind his Balkan policies will continue to be the fact that Greece is the only member of Nato, the European Union, and the West European Union in the region.

Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos talked about Greece's economic plans in the Balkans, where the priority is on developing transportation, energy, and communications systems, and on undertaking development projects.

During the meeting, Simitis touched on a number of other issues. He said there will be no early elections - his party will see out its four-year term of office, which ends in the year 2000.

The prime minister also called for better coordination between the different ministries in implementing the government's policies.

And he told his ministers to concentrate on dealing with the everyday problems of the Greek people.

He made special reference to four ministries - public order, agriculture, health, and transport - asking that they provide better services to people.


The annual conference, "The Athens Meeting on Democracy" began Friday. Politicians, artists, and economists from around the world offer their views on the problems facing their nations and the world.

In his speech at the "Meeting on Democracy", Greek defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos called on the international community to see that international treaties are respected, a reference to Turkish expansionism.

Tsochatzopoulos added that the move to make Cyprus a member of the European Union will be a boon to peace and stability in the region.

Christos Papoutsis, a member of the European Commission said Turkish attempts to stop Cyprus getting into the UN will get nowhere. Negotiations will start next year, as scheduled.

Papoutsis also said the economic power of large multi-national companies is diminishing the political decision-making power of governments - that can lead to problems like unemployment left unsolved, and threaten social harmony.

Greek government Dimitris Reppas agreed. He said democracy requires social and environmental harmony. When economic development is only looked at in quantitative terms, problems result. Europe needs development models based on quality of life.

New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis said a healthy democracy means citizen participation. Apathy is a recipe for mediocrity in government. Karamanlis added that in modern society, political corruption, and a lack of transparency in governmental activities are undermining democracy.


Like many of the speakers we heard there, the Greek president also puts a premium on regional stability.

Kostis Stephanopoulos visited three townships in the Peloponese Friday.

In Itelos, where he has roots, and in Gytheio and Areopoli, Stephanopoulos was warmly welcomd by the people, chatting with them as he walked about.

The president said stability must be the goal of the international community in the region.

Stephanopoulos expressed one regret on his trip. he said he misses being a member of parliament. MPs, he said, have the most important role of any politician to play in a democracy.


Cypriots of the diaspora are calling on Greece and Cyprus to formulate a unified strategy to defend the interests of Hellenism.

Delegates at the tenth World Congress of the Diaspora in Cyprus urged the Greek prime minister and the Cypriot president to work together to deter Turkish expansionism from Thrace to Cyprus.

The congress also addressed a petition to the world's great powers, asking them to intervene to put an end to Turkish intransigence.


From Thrace to Cyprus, Greeks have had to deal with Turkish and persecution.

The island of Imvros in the northeastern Aegean was once a thriving island with 15 thousand Greek inhabitants. Today, after decades of Turkish rule, the Greek villages are ghost towns, or mere shells of their former selves.

Greeks from Imvros who now live in other countries recently returned to their homeland, to celebrate and remember.

Despite the hardships heaped on them by the Turks, the Greeks remaining in Imvros still have the joy of life.

On the Feast of the Assumption this year, the Greeks that still live in Imvros were joined by people whose roots are there, even if they live far away.

The reunion was held in the village of Agion Theodoron, once a prosperous town of four thousand Greeks. It is the birthplace of ecumenical orthodox patriarch Vartholomeos.

In 1964, the Turks forced many Greeks to sell their land to Muslims at knock down prices. The teaching of Greek is forbidden in the schools.

This year's island reunion was held in a Greek kindergarten that never opened.

Because of the persecution, many Greeks left the island long ago for a brighter future elsewhere.

Those who stayed behind have mixed views on life on the island.

One young woman said, "It's hard, I'm only happy in the summertime".

But a young man added: "We're doing fine. The only thing we ask is not to be forgotten".

They aren't forgotten by Greece. At the reunion, the mayor of Lesvos presented the bishop of Imvros and nearby Tenedos, which has suffered a similar fate, a plaque bearing an olive twig, a gift from the Greek state.

Bishop Fotios in turn treated his guests to rakEE, an alcoholic drink. Hospitality has survived hardship.

The morning after their celebration, the Greeks attended a mass at the Church of our Lady.

Then, they took a walk around the forgotten villages. Skinoudi was once a thriving town of 4 thousand people. Today, the church of Agia Marina, which stands abandoned, is a reminder of the plight that has befallen Hellenism on the island.


Sotiria Bellou was buried in Athens Friday afternoon. The grand old lady of the music known as rebetiko passed away after a long battle with cancer Wednesday.

She was accompanied to her final resting place by one of the songs she had sung, "Cloudy Sunday":

Before the funeral service, Bellou lay in state in the small chapel near Athens Metropolitan Cathedral.

Hundreds of people came to say farewell to the woman whose music said so much to them, to leave a flower and write something in her memory.

Manolis Mitsias, a fellow artist and one of the last people to visit Bellou at her home, said her songs will be missed.

For her fans, she was more than just a singer of rebetiko, the music form some have called the Greek blues.

She was an interpreter of pain, poverty, and sorrow.


New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis says Turkey is a de-stabilising factor in the region.

Karamanlis spoke at the launch of "Security in the Southeastern Balkans", a book by Thomas Varvitsiotis.

The book was released with the help of the Karamanlis Foundation, the Fletcher Institute in the United States, and the Vourdouri Foundation.

Karamanlis said it's important that the United States be persuaded to pay more attention to Turkey's de-stabilising ways, and to show more sensitivity when dealing with regional issues.

"Sometimes issues may seem like details from afar, but they may be very important for developments in the region", Karamanlis explained.

Greece's main opposition leader also said it's important to make sure Greece plays a more active and decisive role in defending its vital interests.

Those at the launch believe Varvitsiotis's book will help deepen an understanding of security issues in the area, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Karamanlis said in order for there to be security, nations must have relations based on equality, not aggression.


Just a few days before the International Olympic Committee decides whether Athens, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Rome, or Stockholm will get the 2004 summer Olympics, betting people are weighing up the pros and cons.

English bookmaker Ladbrokes, give Rome the best chance of landing the games. Athens follows; then it's Cape Town, Stockholm, and Burenos Aires at a long shot.

Another English betting house, William Hill, also pegs Rome first, but has Cape Town second, followed by Athens, Stockholm, and Buenos Aires.

For many people, Athens is the sentimental favourite, and its bid is strengthened following the success of the recent World Track and Field Championships held in the Greek capital.

Athens is also made attractive by the quality of its athletic facilities, and the fact that it will have a new airport and metro by 2004.

One IOC member said this is the fourth time she's voting to see which city will get the games, but it's the first time she hasn't known who the front- runner is. She believes a third of the 109 voting members haven't made up their minds yet.

The IOC vote for the 2004 games is on September 5th.


In soccer, the Greek teams getting ready for the 1997-98 European season, know who they'll be up against in the early rounds of their respective tournaments.

In the Champions League, Olympiakos joins Porto of Portugal, Real Madrid, and Norway's Rosenborg in Group D.

There are six groups overall in the first round of that tournament.

In the European cupwinners' cup, Aek's first opponent will be Dinamo Dinaborg of Latvia. They'll square off on September 18th in Athens, and two weeks later in Latvia.

Over in the Uefa Cup, Ofi meets Hungarian

Ferentsvaros in Budapest on the 16th of September. The second leg will be in Crete on the 30th.

And Paok will be up against powerhouse Arsenal. They kick off first in Athens, then in London. The dates are the same as for Ofi.


Two young Greek athletes were honoured by the city of Porto Heli: Maria Pan- gAlou, who won two silver medals at the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, and polo player Antigoni Roubesi.

The award ceremony rounded out this summer's cultural fest in the seaside town.

Pangalou said she was surprised at being singled out for her achievements, and especially honoured since she has family roots in Porto Heli.

Roubesi said she wasn't expecting it either.

Local officials said they wanted to hold the ceremony in honour of the athletes during the cultural fest. It's important to encourage and recognise young athletes.

Local dignitaries also had special thanks for

Antenna president Minos Kyriakou, for his support for the annual Porto Heli festival, and the concern he's shown for the community.

The final evening also featured a performance by the local children's choir.

Antenna satellite and pacific programing

ANTENNA and the Greek Soccer League (ΕΠΑΕ) have reached a two year agreement concerning the exclusive transmission of the matches of the professional Greek Soccer League, via ANTENNA SATELLITE in the US and ANTENNA PACIFIC in Australia.

OLYMPIAKOS, PANATHINAIKOS, AEK, PAOK and all the teams of the National Championship are coming to ANTENNA subscribers live (where time zones permit it).Three matches per championship day shall be broadcasted by ANTENNA SATELLITE and ANTENNA PACIFIC, for a total of 102 matches per season,

The deal includes the 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 seasons and will bring to ANTENNA viewers in the US and Australia all the action and the excitement of Greek Soccer !!

Αγώνες Ποδοσφαίρου Antenna Satellite

Σάββατο 30-08-97 13:00(Ν.Υόρκη) Πανιώνιος-Παναθηναϊκός(LIVE) 21:15 " Πανιώνιος-Παναθηναϊκός(ΕΠΑΝ) Κυριακή 31-09-97 11:45 " ΠΑΟΚ-ΑΕΚ (LIVE) 21:15 " ΠΑΟΚ-ΑΕΚ (ΕΠΑΝΑΛΗΨΗ) Δευτέρα 01-09-97 10:00 " ΚΑΛΑΜΑΤΑ-ΠΑΝΗΛΕΙΑΚΟΣ(LIVE) 22:15 " ΚΑΛΑΜΑΤΑ-ΠΑΝΗΛΕΙΑΚΟΣ(ΕΠΑΝ) Αγώνες Ποδοσφαίρου Antenna Pacific ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ 31-08-97 03:00(Σύδνευ) Πανιώνιος-Παναθηναϊκός(LIVE) 17:30 " Πανιώνιος-Παναθηναϊκός(ΕΠΑΝ) ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑ 01-09-97 02:00 " ΠΑΟΚ-ΑΕΚ (LIVE) 21:30 " ΠΑΟΚ-ΑΕΚ (ΕΠΑΝΑΛΗΨΗ) ΤΡΙΤΗ 02-09-97 24:00 " ΚΑΛΑΜΑΤΑ-ΠΑΝΗΛΕΙΑΚΟΣ(LIVE) 21:30 " ΚΑΛΑΜΑΤΑ-ΠΑΝΗΛΕΙΑΚΟΣ(ΕΠΑΝ)

Action starts on August 30th, and lasts to mid-May; additionally highlights of all the matches of each championship day shall be brought to ANTENNA viewers in the US and Australia, enabling the Greek communitiesin the US and Australia to follow their favorite teams !

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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