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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-09-22
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From: Antenna Radio <http://www.antenna.gr> - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: Tuesday, 22-Sep-98 21:37:12
 P.M's speech in KallitheaBefore a large outdoor crowd, Kostas Simitis defended his government's record since it was elected to power in 1996.
The government's economic policies have been tough, but the prime minister said the sacrifice has paid off.
The rally atmosphere blended some things old with some things new.
There is criticism from within Pasok the government's policies to stabilise the Greek economy and whip it into shape for the unifed European economy have shifted the party too far away from its old socialist principles.
Kostas Simitis responded by emphatically restating the continuity between the old Pasok of founder Andreas Papandreou and the new Pasok.
On the modern side: the crowd was dotted with flags bedecked in the 15 stars of the European Union - a symbol of the government's commitment to impose economic austerity so Greece can join the single European currency in the year 2001.
On the tradition side, there were the old Pasok flags; there were the speakers who preceded the prime minister, people who'd spoken at the large rallies addressed by party founder Andreas Papandreou in '80s.
And there was what was perhaps the most traditional aspect of all - the rally itself, redolent of the rallies Papandreou had attended.
Just as Papandreou rallied the faithful two years into his first term in 1983, Simitis told those at the crowded Athenian square that the party has achieved much.
Under the slogan "Participation, Victory, Prospects", Simitis Pasok has shown the doubters that it is still capable of staging a large enthusiastic rally.
The reason: "Pasok has the spirit and conviction to do it", Simitis answered. "Pasok represents the millions of people working for tomorrow".
"We're moving forward", the prime minister assured the nation. "We're sending out a message of hope, certainty, and continuity".
Defending the austere economic policies of his government, the premier said "We've asked the people to make sacrifices, and we're proud the sacrifices are paying off. Greece is moving ahead, it has a voice, and it's an equal partner in the European Union".
"The future belongs to us, to the youth, to all who have a plan for the future", he continued.
People want a strong Greece, and Pasok is building it, said Simitis; Greece is winning its battles, because everyone's fighting together.
Turning his fire on the main opposition party, New Democracy, Simitis recalled how it had scoffed at his decision to devalue the drachma in March so Greece could join the European stable exchange rate system.
"The global crisis recently showed we'd made the right decision", he said. "As a result of the March decision, we were able to weather the international economic storm well. If we hadn't entered the exchange rate mechanism, not only the drachma but the entire country would've been destabilised when crisis hit".
The prime minister also said that his tough stabilisation policies have been socially sensitive, defedning not only the nation's currency, but also working people's wages.
 Simitis-Mitsotakis meetingFormer Greek prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis wasn't giving anything away in public about his weekend meeting with the Turkish prime minister
That meeting was on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Mitsotakis briefed the Greek prime minister on his talks on Greek-Turkish relations and Cyprus in Constantinople.
After filling in Kostas Simitis, Mitsotakis told he press, "We had a long discussion about my meeting with Turkish prime minister Mesout Gilmaz. That is all I am at liberty to say".
Political analysts say Mitsotakis's contacts indicate something is going on, but nobody is choosing to elaborate.
After his meeting with Mitsotakis Sunday, Mesout Gilmaz himself said cryptically that there are messages. But like Mitsotakis, he was unwilling to go any further.
 Tension continue in AlbaniaTension continues in Albania this week; a group of small right-wing parties has formed a union against the socialist government of prime minister Fatos Nano.
The alliance intends to stage daily protests against the government in Tirana.
The calm in the Albanian capital of Tirana was disrupted last week when armed Democratic Party supporters seized state offices and even tanks, in what the government called an attempted coup.
Socialist prime minister Fatos Nano quickly quoshed that uprising, and Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha may be charged with overthrowing the government.
Berisha has disowned any such intention, but he now appears to be supporting the newly-formed band of right-wing parties which says it will conduct strictly non-violent anti-government protests.
Tension is being exacerbated by criminal activity with political overtones.
There was an explosion at the home of Vassilos Melo, president of the Greek- minority-backed Human Rights Party. There was damage but no injuries.
Suspicions are that the blast was the work of Berisha supporters, who've been vocally anti- Greek recently.
In Tirana, Ahmet Krasniki was murdered while he was walking in the streets. The consulate of the self-declared ethnic-Albanian government of the Serbian province of Kosovo revealed that Krasniki was the defence minister in the ethnic-Albanian government in exile.
Asked to comment on the murder, Sali Berisha said it was the responsibility of the Albanian government and the Serbs of Kosovo.
 ArsakioOne of Greece's most prestigious private schools has opened its doors in Albania.
In its first year in the capital, Tirana, Arsakio is teaching first and second-graders Albanian and Greek.
It was a very special first day of school for these
youngsters in Tirana, lucky enough to be among those accepted by Arsakio - hundreds of families applied to get their kids into the school, only eighty pupils were accepted under the tough admission requirements.
The school's director says Arsakio's aim is to sustain Albanian culture and to add Greek culture to youngsters' learning, so that the kids can live in peace in the future.
There are 700 thousand pupils in Albania. In this country with an exceptionally young population, nearly one in four people is a pupil.
Good foreign language schools are high in demand. One teacher says he was really surprised by the kids' willingness to learn Greek.
In Albania, education is mandatory for eight years. But over the past four years, the turmoil in the country has disrupted the education system - resulting in a high drop out rate.
There are 45 thousand school teachers and university professors in the country. A third of the nation's civil servants are educators.
And they're all poorly paid. The average monthly salary is 60 US dollars.
Private education seems set to expand. A Turkish- Albanian school opened four years ago; and there will be an Italian-Albanian school.
Given the demand, Arsakio is expanding; starting next year grades one through six will be available there.
(c) ANT1 Radio 1998
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