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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-01-22

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Thursday, 22-Jan-98 14:12:39


  • [01] Pangalos
  • [02] Burns
  • [03] Economy
  • [04] Papadopoulos
  • [05] Simitis
  • [06] Patriarch
  • [07] Basketball
  • [08] Voskopoulos
  • [09] Sports

  • [01] Pangalos

    The Greek foreign minister says there is no question of Greece reducing its national air space. Greece claims air space extending 10 miles outward from all of its shores.

    Turkey has made an issue of that in the Aegean, saying it recognises only six miles.

    Theodoros Pangalos says if Turkey wants to challenge Greece's air rights, it should take the matter to the international court.

    Trying to lay to rest an issue that's been in the news for several weeks, foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos told reporters Greece will not reduce its Aegean air space.

    Anyone who dislikes that he added, meaning Turkey, can go to the international court.

    "Turkey has been questioning our air space in the Aegean since 1973", he explained. "Turkey says there's no international agreement delineating the ten miles. That's true, but it is also true that long-standing practices have the validity of law after considerable time has passed, as it has in the case of Greece's 10 mile air space".

    In suggesting Turkey take any disagreement over that to court, Pangalos added, "Of course, that means Turkey should accept the court's jurisdiction over other issues as well".

    More generally, since Turkey staged a military landing on the Greek rocks of Imia in 1996, Athens has told Ankara to take any claims it wants to make on Greek sovereignty to the court. Ankara has refused to do so.

    Pangalos also reiterated Wednesday that Greece has the right to extend its territorial waters from 6 to 12 miles, in accordance with the new Law of the Sea. Turkey has threatened war if Greece takes the 12 miles. Pangalos says Greece still has the right to do so, but would only do it in a responsible way.

    The Greek foreign minister also touched on the

    Cyprus issue, and the question of Turkey's relations with the European Union.

    Pangalos repeated that Greece wants Turkey to take part in the EU's conference of prospective members, but only if it accepts the EU request that it improve its relations with Greece, work toward resolving the Cyprus issue, and clean up its human rights record.

    Says Pangalos: "We're waiting to hear Turkey say that negotiations are needed to resolve the Cyprus problem".

    [02] Burns

    The US ambassador thinks 1998 will be a big year for his country's relations with Greece.

    Nicholas Burns spoke at a reception held by the Hellenic American Chamber of commerce, during which the chamber cut its traditional New Year's cake.

    Nicholas Burns noted that this year a number of Clinton administration cabinet members will pay official visits to Greece.

    He added that Washington has high regard for the job the Simitis government has done so far.

    [03] Economy

    A government move to alter the labour relations map in the country's public sector has trade unionists up in arms.

    A rider to Pasok's 1998 tax bill would remove decision-making on a number of pay, hiring and other workplace-related issues from the collective bargaining process, and give it over to parliament.

    Though the government plans to implement the change only in money-losing state companies, trade unions fear it's the first step in a more general onslaught on their rights.

    The rider in the tax bill is being met with strikes by public transport workers and in the state-owned utility companies and banks.

    Electricity company employees hold a one-day strike Thursday.

    Finance minister Iannos Papantoniou tried to calm things down Tuesday, by offering the trade unions two to six months to work out a consensus solution to the issue with the government.

    The workers are scoffing at that, but the Pasok government appears determined to stick to its guns.

    The battle pits the government against one of its traditional bases of support - the public sector unions - but analysts say the recent attempts by speculators to force the Greek drachma lower give the government little room for retreat.

    The national deficit, worsened by the necessity of financing large state- owned money losers - namely, Olympic Airways, the railroads, the post office, and urban transport systems - undermine the government's attempt to keep the Greek curency strong. Many analysts say that more than rationalisation measures are needed: the government must step up its efforts to privatise the big losers.

    But the policies of the government are meeting stiff resistance from its erstwhile allies.

    Calling the unpopular bill rider an "ultimatum", civil servants' Union leader Giannis Koutsoukos says such moves will not be accepted by the union unless there is prior agreement.

    Pasok MP Levteris Veryvakis agrees that the government should use the tool of dialogue to maintains social consensus.

    But as things stand, it looks like the government will have a number of strikes on its hands in the near future.

    Dimitris Kouselas, president of the state bank union says "We've fought for our rights until now, and will continue to do so".

    Many observers say it's time the government made inroads into what they say are unacceptable privileges the trade unions in the state sector have accumulated over the years.

    Some workers say there are no cushy, extreme trade union perks and privileges. Athens public bus workers say they won't let the government make any inroads, even if its bill is passed in parliament.

    But other state employees acknowledge that things have gone to far. Leonidas Moschos, general secretary of the railway employees, says some political party favourites working for the railway get huge salaries.

    Giannis Manolis, vice president of the General Workers', the country's biggest private sector union, points out that the government's legislative incursion into collective-bargaining rights will mean changes in the length of the working day, bonuses, personnel transfers, and other privileges trade unionists have had until now.

    He adds that some of those privileges, like the rare instance of giving people higher salaries on the basis of degrees they don't have, have already been condemned by the wider trade union movement. Besides, he adds, the government is the one that handed out those privileges and the government taketh away.

    The trade unions, at least for now, disagree.

    [04] Papadopoulos

    The government is keen to rationalise public services. The interior minister has announced a change that will not only reduce staffing requirements in public offices, it will also save people who need official documents from waiting in line to get them.

    Starting February 1st, people will be able to order a copy of their birth certificate by dialing a four-digit number.

    Application fees will be added to the customer's phone bill, and the certificates will arrive by post.

    Three months after the system is implemented, people will also be able to obtain an array of other documents by phone too, from military records, to tax returns, to legal papers, to marriage and death certificates.

    Interior minister Alekos Papadopoulos says, "Traditionally, state office provided people with a shelter from unemployment. We want to change that, so that only those who are really necessary to do the work are hired.

    [05] Simitis

    The government also wants to improve the nation's health care system.

    Prime Minister Kostis Simitis paid a surprise visit to the Laiko hospital in Athens Wednesday.

    The visit, the second of its kind, is part of the prime minister's attempt to get a clear picture of the situation at the nation's hospitals.

    He hopes his visits will give him vital information in forming his health care policies.

    Simitis was accompanied by health minister Kostas Gitonas and deputy health minister Manolis Skou- lakis.

    On their walkabout they visited the operating room, the outpatient department, a number of laboratories and the new pathology wing.

    Simitis told patients "Efforts are being made to improve the health care system. That's why I'm here, to see first hand the problems that exist".

    [06] Patriarch

    The world's Orthodox churches are getting together to look at ways of coordinating their work.

    By the year 2003, the Ecumenical Synod of Orthodox Churches will convene to make a start at doing just that.

    Ecumenical patriarch Vartholomeos made the announcement in Zurich, where he was the guest of one of the ecumenical patriarchate's most generous benefactors, Panagioits AngelO-poulos.

    After what was Vartholomeos's first public reference to the issue, sources said there will be a Panorthodox Synod in Geneva this year in preparation for the later Synod.

    In Geneva, the main topics on the agenda are expected to be the orthodox diaspora and the contribution of orthodox churches to maintaining the predominance of Christian beliefs.

    Vartholomeos attended a liturgy at Agios Dimitrios Church in Zurich, expressing his gratitude to Angelopoulos. "We are all united in the name of our Lord", he told those gathered"

    [07] Basketball

    In pro basketball, Panathinaikos notched up another victory in the European Cup tournament, in its roll toward a slot in the round of 16.

    Pao has a bad night, but still upends Germany's Lever-kuzen 83-71.

    In other action, Apollon beats Israel's Haboel 89- 79, but nonetheless fails to make it to the next round.

    [08] Voskopoulos

    Singer Tolis Voskopoulos and actress Angela Gerekou are rehearsing for a one of a kind musical at the theatre 'Acropole' in Athens.

    The talented husband and wife team are joining forces to charm Athenians with their wide array of talents.

    The musical entitled "You came like a dream" is said to be loosely based on the couple's relationship. They married last summer. Angela Gker-Ekou says it is a direct reflection on them. Adding, "Cooperating with Tolis is like a dream".

    The songs sung during the performance are to be released on a record under the same title.

    [09] Sports

    Greece has won three gold medals at the European Swimming Cup for the physically disabled in Holland. The team returned to Athens with six medals in all.

    Other than the three gold, the Greek team came away with a silver and two bronze medals.

    The high point of the Greek performance was a new world record in the 50 metres freestyle, set by Constantinos Faykas.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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