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Antenna: News in English (AM), 98-01-09
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From: Antenna Radio <http://www.antenna.gr> - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: Friday, 09-Jan-98 11:28:44
 Turkish violationsGreek air force fighters gave chase to dozens of Turkish fighters that violated Greek-monitored air space Thursday. Greece had been prepared for some sort of aggression, given that Turkey had programmed military exercises in the Aegean Thursday. But most of the violations didn't take place in the area where the war games were scheduled.
And Athens was surprised by the scale of the intrusions.
Between 10:30 and 11:05 am, Turkish fighters violated nearly every part of the Athens Flight Information Region, the area monitored by Greek air traffic controllers.
From the island of Samothrace in the northeastern Aegean, to Rhodes in the southeastern, 40 Turkish F- 16s and Phantoms flew into the Athens FIR in wave after wave.
Greek officials believe the Turkish generals wanted to show their superiority in the air.
Five times, Turkish fighters flew into Greek national air space; once, between the islands of Ikaria and Myconos. Turkey had reserved the area for its war games Thursday, claiming that Greek airspace extends six miles outward from each island, leaving seven miles of international air space between them. But Greece claims 10 miles of air space, meaning there is no international air space between Ikaria and Myconos. Four Turkish jets violated the air space there - but not in the context of any exercises.
Each time the Turks invaded Greek air space, Greek fighters scrambled to chase them away.
In two cases, over the islands of Psara and Simi, the Turkish intruders flew in very low.
Greek officials are surprised that Turkey has not
held any exercises in the Aegean since last Friday, when three weeks of manoeuvres in different part of the Sea were scheduled to start.
US Assistant secretary of state Mark Grossman told Antenna's Athanasios Ellis that the US told Turkey the Americans believe the exercises are unhelpful. And the behest of the US, Turkey agreed to cancel parts of its 3- week exercises, including planned flights over the Greek island of Kalogeri.
"To the extent that...there are obviously complications".
The Greek government, which believes Turkey is trying to create tension in the Aegean, is lodging strong international protests over the incursions.
Greek deputy foreign minister Yiannos Kranidiotis condemned the violations, calling them illegal, and adding that his country is determined to defend its sovereign rights. Greece is prepared to meet any threats, he said.
New Democracy MP Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that Turkey becomes more provocative every time it sees Greece retreating. When Greece stands firmly on its rights and international law, Turkey backs off, he added.
Assistant secretary of state Mark Grossman talked to Antenna's Athanassios Ellis about Greek-Turkish relations. We now bring you the full interview, in which Grossman deals at length with the issues separating Greece and the rest of the European Union from Turkey.
 Kurdish refugeesGreek and European leaders are gravely concerned about the wave of Kurdish refugees fleeing Turkey for European shores.
The Greek public order minister said Thursday the refugee problem is a political, and not a policing matter.
Giorgos Romaios explained that the Turkish government claims that the Kurds are leaving Turkish ports in boats undetetected by the local authorities. But no one can believe that large ships carrying 2 thousand Kurds are slipping out of Turkey without the authorities seeing them.
Deputy Greek defence minister Iannos Kranidiotis says there are no police measures the Europeans can implement to stop the refugee flow. A political solution to the Kurdish problem must be found.
Greece and the EU have long urged Turkey to stop its military persecution of the Kurds, and to overcome the issue politically.
 EconomyThe finance minister renewed his commitment to a strong drachmae Thursday. As the Bank of Greece successfully intervened to ward off currency speculators, Iannos Papantoniou said a strong drachmae is the cornerstone of the government's fiscal policy.
On Thursday, the Bank of Greece defended the drachmae by selling off 180 million dollars in foreign reserves, and pushing overnight interbank lending rates up to 12 per cent, while one-month lending rates went up to 30 per cent.
Bank director Lukas Papadimos said the economy can tolerate a new rise in interest rates. He's optimistic the drachmae will stand firm against the latest pressure.
Finance minister Iannos Papantoniou said the government and the Bank are firmly and consistently behind the drachmae. They used high interbank interest rates and foreign reserve sell offs to stop speculative attacks on the Greek currency
Thursday, just as they had done in 1994 and again late last year.
They will do so in the future if need be, he added. Chairman of the Confederation of Greek Industry Iason Stratos says he's confident the Bank will continue to defend the drachmae. He points out that every crisis the drachmae has faced was started by troubles in foreign economies. Stratos thinks keeping the drachmae strong is the right policy. He would be opposed to any devaluation moves.
 Commercial and Industrial Chamber of CommerceLeading members of New Democracy are slamming what they say are the government's tax and spend policies. Pasok's economic policies were on everyone's lips at the annual reception of the Athens Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Commerce.
New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis said next year's budget, with all its taxes, hits the middle classes, wage-earners, and pensioners hard. Karamanlis accused the government of trying to find the cash to maintain and enlarge a state which quote "has become the enemy of the people", unquote.
Calling Kostas Simitis the taxation prime minister, Karamanlis lamented that he hasn't had the courage to implement the changes needed to turn the economy around.
Former prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis said 1998 is going to be a difficult, critical year. Predicting that the day of judgemnent will come for the economy in 1998, Mitsotakis said the economy won't be able to take it if the government continues to impose taxes rather than reduce spending.
Asked to comment on the fact that even some Pasok MPs are critical of the government's new taxes. finance minister Iannos Papantoniou said they shouldn't criticise: the taxes are only there to cover the expenses in the budget, which was discussed and voted on in parliament.
 Natural gasThe government is urging energy consumers at home and work to switch to gas piped to Greece from Russia. Development minister Vaso Papandreou was on a walkabout in central Athens Thursday, visiting restaurants that have already started using the newly-available piped gas.
The manager of this restaurant told the minister the Russian gas burns better, the kitchen staff are finding easier to prepare good food.
Ditto at this McDonald's not far away.
Papandreou is promising consumers that using piped gas will be a cheaper energy alternative. It is predicted that by the year 2006, Russian gas, which went on line a few days ago, will be reaching a million homes.
 TsovolasDimitris Tsovolas is doing well at Papanikolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki.
The founder and leader of the Democratic Movement underwent a quadruple heart bypass there three days ago.
Tsovolas, a prominent minister in the Pasok government in the 1980s, is in good spirits, say his doctors, who expect him to leave intensive care Friday.
If all continues to go well, he will go home in 10 days.
 SportsPanathinaikos looks like a cert for the quarterfinals of the Greek cupship.
Pao beating Panserraikos in the first of their two round of 16 matches Wednesday.
Upstart Panserraikos scores the first goal of the contest, but Pao gets the next four, making its job in the second leg on January 28th look more than easy.
On Thursday, Irakles and Apollon Larisa also all but sewed up a slot in the quarters. Ofi and Veria won their first leg matches at home. Two other matches ended in scoreless draws. And Paok and Ionikos- a late start there means we'll have the result of that one for you tomorrow.
In European championship basketball, Olympiakos made a meal of Its Portugese host, Porto Wednesday night.
Olympiakos crushes Porto 92-63, and now leads its six-team competition group with an 8 and 3 record. Porto is winless in 11 starts, and it's easy to see why as it gets mauled on its home court.
Michael Hawkins hits five of five three-point shots in the second half, on his way to a game- high 20 point night.
Artouras Karnisovas adds 19 points for the winners, who lead at one point by 36 points.
(c) ANT1 Radio 1998
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