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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-08

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 08/10/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Numerous violations of Athens, Nicosia FIRs by Turkish fighters
  • Prime Minister begins consultations with ministers prior to presenting his govt's policy statement
  • President of the Republic leaves for official visit to Finland
  • Irene Papa to get 'Rodolfo Valentino' film award tomorrow
  • Industry officials lobby to keep tax exemption on life insurance premiums
  • Eurochambers sign agreement giving Mediterranean a high profile

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Turkish warplanes engaged in large-scale violations of the Athens and Nicosia Flight Information Regions (FIR) between Rhodes and Cyprus late yesterday.

    According to reports, 12 pairs of Turkish fighters violated air traffic regulations on 25 instances and harassed Greek aircraft taking part in joint Greek and Cypriot military exercises.

    In every instance the violaters were intercepted, while close engagements were reported on 20 interceptions.


    Two young Turkish soldiers crashed through the Kipoi border post in northern Greece shortly after midnight yesterday in a dramatic escape from what they called "unbearable conditions in the Turkish army".

    Police identified them as Urkun Usal, 21, Mumin Cicek, 20. With them was a civilian, identified as Rifat Ayaz, 17.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the two soldiers, who are of Kurdish origin, intended to apply for political asylum. He said that the competent authorities were dealing with the matter.


    Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night began meetings with top ministers in view of a debate in Parliament on the government's policy statements, which will begin on Thursday evening.

    Sources said the government is highly concerned with the drafting of the 1997 budget, as a significant increase in revenues will be required without the imposition of new taxes, one of PASOK's pre-election campaign planks.

    It is considered that the policy statements will provide ample indication of the government's intentions regarding economic policy in 1997.

    The budget was also discussed at a meeting at the finance ministry.

    One of Mr. Simitis earlier meetings was with Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas at the Maximos Mansion.

    Mr. Tzoumakas said afterwards that issues concerning his ministry were discussed in connection with the government's policy statements.

    Replying to a question on his statements concerning instances of mismanagement of certain sectors by the ministry, Mr. Tzoumakas said he has given several files on the matter to a judicial investigator, which will be examined by court officials.

    Gov't pondering political restrictions for ministries' secretary-generals, utility heads

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis is entertaining the thought of setting political restrictions for ministerial secretary-generals and heads of organisations in order to combat a clientele system and prevent high-ranking officials from exploiting their positions.

    According to the Constitution, secretary-generals of ministries have to resign six months before their four-year period of office is up if they wish to participate in elections.

    Referring to the heads of public organisations, and their general directors in particular, Mr. Reppas said such executives are chosen with objective criteria through international tendering. The process, he said, starts with the Hellenic Telecommunicati ons Organisation (OTE) and will continue with other public utilities.

    The government spokesman added that criticism against the appointment of individuals failing to be elected to Parliament at the head of public utilities is unfair, saying this does not mean they cannot be utilised.

    Papadopoulos meets with ADEDY leadership

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Alekos Papadopoulos held talks yesterday with senior officials of the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), who raised the issues concerning the upgrading of public services, a new salary scale, initiation of collective negotiations and the civil servants' code.

    According to ADEDY President Yiannis Koutsoukos, Mr. Papadopoulos warned that hirings in the public sector will be very limited, but avoided any commitment on whether the ratio of departures and hirings will be five to one or three to one.

    Mr. Papadopoulos reportedly appeared to agree with ADEDY on the issue of transfers, which will be postponed. He also told union officials that a new code will be ready in six months.


    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday voiced dissatisfaction over reports that he will be the party's leader temporarily until an ND congress takes place early next year.

    Replying to a question on whether the congress will take place as planned, Mr. Evert said "the congress will take place as anticipated by the charter, and what is being written and said about my being a provisional (leader) is absurd, and if that was th e case neither would I be here nor would the party's vice-president."

    Some deputies interpreted the statement as reaction to statements by ND deputy Costas Karamanlis, who in an interview in Sunday's "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia" newspaper, alluded his possible candidacy for the main opposition's leadership at a congress u nder certain conditions.

    In replying to a proposal by deputy Mihalis Liapis on examaning the reasons behind the party's defeat in the Sept. 22 general elections, Mr. Evert said: "this should take place calmly and not during the heat of the moment. An assiduous analysis should be made of results in urban, suburban and agricultural regions, and what the Greek people now expect from New Democracy is to counter-attack, focusing its attention on the government's policy statements."


    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos leaves for a three-day official visit to Finland today, at the invitation of his counterpart Martti Ahtisaari.

    Discussion is expected to centre on bilateral relations, the situation in the Balkans and developments in the European Union.

    Papoutsis to pay official visit to China

    European Union Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis will pay an official visit to the People's Republic of China from Oct. 13-20 at the invitation of Beijing for talks on further promoting and strengthening the EU's relations with the world's most popul ous country.

    In addition, the Commission's General Energy Department will organise an international conference in Beijing from Oct. 13-15 entitled "The European Union and China: Cooperation in Energy," in cooperation with China's State Science and Technology Committ ee and within the framework of the SYNERGY Programme.

    During his visit, Mr. Papoutsis is expected to sign a joint statement with the Chinese government on the need to continue and strengthen cooperation between the two sides in the energy sector to further facilitate the development of China's energy infra structure, as well as to encourage the European energy industry's participation in this development.


    Greek actress Irini Pappa will be honoured with the "Rodolfo Valentino International Film" Award in Berlin tomorrow.

    The golden statuette portraying the legendary cinema lover will also be awarded to Spanish actor Antonio Baderas and his equally famous compatriot, noted producer/director Pedro Almodovar, while veteran Italian actor Alberto Sordi will be given a specia l award.

    The awards ceremony will take place under the aegis of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, with all receipts going toward charity.

    Problems and prospects facing Greek industry discussed

    The problems and prospects in the development of Greek industry were discussed at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) yesterday, during an event organised on the occasion of a report prepared by the "Industrial Review" magazine, in collabor ation with the Ecomomist Intelligence Unit.

    The government was represented by Development Undersecretary Anna Diamantopoulou, who in a brief address, reviewed problems facing Greek industry as related to size, management and the organisation of units as well as its general infrastructure.

    She stressed that a constructive cooperation between the state with the private sector would constitute the basic factor in the future development of Greek industry.

    In his address, Association of Greek Industries president A. Kannelopoulos stressed that labour-intensive and low-technology investments were the main structural problem in Greek manufacturing.

    "Industry in our country needs to be strengthened through mergers and strategic alliances so as to create large competitive units," he added.

    Eurocourt rules against Greece on directive concerning pesticides

    The European Court has convicted Greece for failure to implement Community directive 414/1991 concerning the procedure required for pesticide products to be marketed.

    The directive should have been included in Greek legislation before July 26, 1993. The Greek government had maintained at the hearing that the agriculture ministry has processed a draft Presidential Decree which must be ratified by the Council of State in order to be signed by the president of the republic.

    In the European Court's view, Greece's "good intentions" on implementing the directive cannot absolve it from violating its commitment.


    The presidium of the Insurance Companies Union has called on National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou not to abolish a tax exemption on life insurance premiums.

    During their meeting with Mr. Papantoniou yesterday, the representatives of insurance companies gave him a document containing the union's positions.

    Mr. Papantoniou listened to their positions on the issue but did not state his views.

    However, he promised that when he received the relevant committee's proposals studying the issue of tax exemptions, he will call the presidium of the union for talks on their specific request.

    The discount for life insurance premiums at present can in no way exceed the amount of 200,000 drachmas per family.


    An agreement signed here yesterday between Eurochambres and the Associations of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), which together represent thousands of European firms, stresses the role of the Mediterranean in European unification and calls for the strengthening of the European Union's Mediterranean policies.

    The agreement, signed in the seaside resort of Vouliagmeni on the eve of the 4th international conference of European Union industrial chambers and Eurochambres annual general assembly, recognises the important role Greece has to play as both a Mediterr anean country and EU member.

    ASCAME aims to accelerate the transfer of Community funds to the less- developed southern Mediterranean countries and to promote Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in sectors such as development initiatives, tourism, transport, culture and the environment. A mong its goals is the linking of databases of chambers in Mediterranean ports as well as investigating ways to cooperate with chambers in Black Sea countries.

    The conference officially begins today and ends on Wednesday, under the theme "The firm in the 21st century: Technical assistance and support from chambers", with the participation of more than 400 European entrepreneurs. The conference will be opened by Greece's European Commissioner for small and medium-size enterprises Christos Papoutsis.

    WEATHER

    Sunny to partly cloudy in most parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 16-24C in Athens and from 15-20C in Thessaloniki.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 240.905, Can. dlr.176.828, Australian dlr. 190.133, Pound sterling 376.906, Irish punt 384.942, Cyprus pd 514.552, French franc 46.418, Swiss franc 191.628 Belgian franc 7.629, German mark 157.117, Finnish mark 52.642, Dutch guilder 140.049 Danish Kr. 40.987, Swedish Kr. 36.404, Norwegian Kr. 36.943, Austrian Sh. 22.344, Italian lira (100) 15.844 Yen (100) 216.170 Spanish Peseta 1.868, Portuguese Escudo 1.551.

    (C.E.)


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