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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-09-01

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Tuesday, 01-Sep-98 21:41:57


  • [01] Papantoniou:"This is going to be a long crisis"
  • [02] Pangalos-Russia
  • [03] Simitis-Jospin
  • [04] Cosmology conference-S.Hawking

  • [01] Papantoniou:"This is going to be a long crisis"

    The Greek and French prime ministers are confident that the European Union can make it through the

    Greek leaders believe the current global financial crisis will be long, but that it can be controlled. After a marathon meeting with the prime minister, finance minister Iannos Papantoniou said there will be fluctuations in Greek financial markets; but the fluctuations will not upset the general tendency toward stabilisation.

    In the midst of the global financial crisis, the Greek government is mapping out its strategy for the economy for the months ahead.

    The prime minister and finance minister Iannos Papantoniou discussed the consequences of the international crisis on Greece at length Tuesday.

    Afterwards, Papantoniou said, "This is going to be a long crisis, but there are clear indications that we can control the situation".

    He pointed to the fact that the Athens bourse closed about even Monday, after plummeting by 18 per cent last week.

    But on Tuesday, the Athens exchange registered another hefty drop - closing nearly four per cent down.

    Commenting on the market troubles, small shareholders' spokesman Dimitris Karagounis opined: "When Europe gets pneumonia, unfortunately it drags the Greek stock market down. What's disappointing and raises questions is the fact that when big European exchanges drop 2 per cent, the Athens bourse drops 6 per cent".

    He concludes that the big declines in Athens are therefore are unjustified, the product of panic selling.

    But Giorgos Alavanos, chairman of the Greek Investors' Society believes Athens has done well compared to the jolts suffered on Wall Street and larger European exchanges. He thinks that if it hadn't been for the govenrment's failed bid to privatise the Ionian Bank last week, then the Athens bourse would've suffered lighter losses.

    The government is taking steps to protect Greek markets from further pain.

    To protect the drachma and attract investors the government is raising interest rates and floating tax-free two-year bonds with rates of 10.75 per cent.

    Deputy finance minister Nikos Christodoulakis believes the bonds will cover the security needs and the financial expectations of small investors as well as big players.

    To bolster the economy, the government is also privatising state companies.

    Papantoniou announced Tuesday that bidding for shares in the duty free shops will be held on September 30th - if the international climate is satisfactory.

    There is more belt-tightening ahead too: wage- earners can expect small raises in 1999, and there will be further spending cuts.

    [02] Pangalos-Russia

    After meeting with the Greek president Tuesday, the foreign minister noted the grave concerns gripping the world's capitals over the crisis in Russia.

    Theodoros Pangalos said Greece feels strong bonds of friendship with the Russian people and the two countries have especially close ties.

    Pangalos added that Greece can but participate in all international efforts to support Russia. He warns that if the West doesn't decide to take the initiative in providing Russia the material support it needs, then things can only get worse in that troubled country, and the rest of the world will feel the consequences.

    [03] Simitis-Jospin

    European socialists have been grappling for several years with what their goals and orientation should be in a changing world.

    Redefining what it means to be a socialist was the subject of a symposium held by Pasok in Athens Monday night.

    The keynote speakers were the Greek and French prime ministers.

    Greek premier Kostas Simitis prefaced his speech about the future with a tribute to the past. "Twenty-four years have passed since the founding of Pasok", he said. "This conference is in honour of the party's founder, Andreas Papandreou. It's also a statement; we're saying that we will always be in the front line of those who question and analyse things".

    In his address, the Greek leader said socialists today need to get away from what he calls "casino capitalism. The unification of Europe", he elaborated, "is a precondition for getting away from the casino phenomenon we've witnessed recently. It's also a precondition for moving toward a more human and rational system.

    Simitis says the unification of Europe will allow for EU members to solve their problems and control reckless profiteering and currency volatility; the EU provide the third world with viable development prospects and investment programmes aimed at creating jobs".

    French prime minister Lionel Jospin said the new century will give birth to new forces of hope and fear. The economic policies of the future must be realistic. The job of social democrats, he added, is to prepare their countries for that.

    Jospin urges socialists to rise to the challenge and show they're clever enough to adapt to the times.

    [04] Cosmology conference-S.Hawking

    Internationally acclaimed British physicist Stephen Hawking spoke Monday at the second annual conference on cosmology, geometry and relativity held on the island of Samos.

    Nobel prize winner Hawking gave a seventy minute address on his theory of the "inflationary universe."

    The conference was held at the University of the Aegean"s new cosmology centre. Set up by professors Spyros Kostakis, Nikos Hatzisavvas and Giorgos Flessas, it will run till Friday, with the participation of some of the worlds leading cosmologists.

    Stephen Hawking explained his concept of the inflationary universe as resulting from the detection of faint ripples in the background of microwaves that fill the universe. He sees this as evidence that the early universe was not homogeneous.

    "The form of the ripples is consistent with the theory of inflation- the idea that the universe had a period of accelerating expansion in the very early stages," he says.

    After his speech, Hawkins threw a question and answer period during which fellow physicists and cosmologists from around the world were able to expand on his theories of the universe.

    Having been diagnosed at 21 with a rare neurological condition - a form of multiple sclerosis called ALS - that has left him virtually paralysed, Hawking lost the power of speech during an emergency tracheostomy. He now communicates by scanning a screen and selecting words printed on the bottom half of the screen. A computer then transcribes the words into synthesised speech.

    Referring to the inflationary universe theory, Spyros Kotsakis said that Hawking had proved that the creation of a universe which is infinite in its volume can come from an initially finite universe. This is especially important, he says, as

    it is the complete opposite of exsisting theories on the creation of the universe.

    The cosmology conference is considered to be one of the most important scientific events of the year in the field of cosmology. Nikos Hatzisavvas says that the University of the Aegean has held other major conferences this year such as one held two months ago in cooperation with Harvard and Stanford Universities and attended by 300n people.

    Hawking is in Greece with his second wife, Elaine. He will be going on to Crete to speak at the University of Iraklio and the Orthodox Academy of Hania.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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