Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-07
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 07/01/1998 (ANA)
- Ankara accountable for Exodus of Kurds, Greek airspace violations
- Pangalos: Turkey violating international law
- DHKKI founder Tsovolas undergoes successful heart surgery
- Georgian defence minister in Greece on Friday
- Karamanlis calls for unity amid Turkish provocations
- Cyprus foreign minister due in Athens
- Tax bill to be tabled in parliament today
- Alternative service for conscientious objectors introduced
- Outflows of 200 million Ecus reported by central bank
- Greek stocks surge during first session of 1998
- National Economy Ministry pleased with '97 investments programme
- Two Albanians charged in connection with seized arms cache
- Ancient tombs discovered on Lesvos
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Ankara accountable for exodus of Kurds, Greek airspace violations
Greece yesterday pointed to Ankara as accountable to the international
community for the mass exodus of Kurds fleeing from Turkey to Europe as
well as the multiple violations of Greek airspace and the Athens FIR by
Turkish warplanes on the Epiphany religious holiday, a direct violation of
the 1988 Papoulias-Yilmaz agreement.
"Turkey is accountable to the international community for its overall
stance, with which it dynamites peace and stability in the region and
consequently it cannot demand that European countries should turn a blind
eye," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said in Thessaloniki, while speaking to the Union
of Journalists of Macedonia-Thrace.
The Greek defence minister's comments followed the announcement that a
conference will be held in Rome tomorrow on the issue of the mass exodus of
Kurds from Turkey, and especially on the problems being created for the
Greece will be represented at the highest possible level, according to a
decision taken on Monday, with Greek police (ELAS) chief Lt. Gen.
Athanasios Vassilopoulos and the director of state security, Brig. Gen.
Georgios Yianes, set to leave for Rome today.
Furthermore, two Italian police officials are due to arrive in Athens today
to cooperate with the Greek authorities on the problem of illegal Kurdish
emigration from Turkey.
Pangalos: Turkey violating international law
In a statement to the state-run ET-1 television station yesterday, Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos said that with its attitude Turkey is violating
international law and the recently signed Madrid communique, adding that
with the methods Ankara is applying it reminds of "its old bad self."
Speaking on the Kurdish problem, Mr. Pangalos criticised the international
community over what he called the indifference it has been systematically
showing for years, and said that he has received a letter from his Italian
counterpart Lamberto Dini sounding the alarm.
"I had sounded the alarm two years ago, but then the others had closed
their ears," he countered.
Mr. Pangalos added that the problem lies with organised action by Turkey's
military, which is evacuating regions in Turkish and Iraqi Kurdistan.
Mr. Pangalos compared the attitude of the Turkish authorities towards the
Kurds with that shown toward the Jews by Hitler.
DHKKI founder Tsovolas undergoes successful heart surgery
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas underwent heart
by-pass surgery yesterday at the Papanicolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki,
with the first medical bulletins listing his condition as excellent.
The quadruple by-pass operation was conducted by a team of surgeons headed
by Panayiotis Spyrou, a close friend of Mr. Tsovolas.
Press sources said the 55-year-old Mr. Tsovolas, who was admitted into the
hospital on Monday, had suffered a heart attack shortly before Christmas.
Dr. Spyrou said that Mr. Tsovolas was in "excellent condition" after the
one hour and 45 minute procedure.
The one-time national economy minister under PASOK will remain in the
intensive care unit for monitoring for the next 24-48 hours, and in about
10 days will be ready to return to his duties, Dr. Spyrou said.
Georgian defence minister in Greece on Friday
Georgian National Defence Minister,Lt.-Gen. V. Nadibaize, will arrive in
Athens on Friday on a three-day official visit to Greece.
He is scheduled to hold talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos
on defence cooperation between the two countries and developments in the
greater region. On the same evening, Mr. Nadibaize will be received by
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Mr. Nadibaize will visit, among others, the PYRKAL firm, the Skaramangas
Shipyards, as well as several archaeological sites.
Karamanlis calls for unity amid Turkish provocations
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday
called for unity and determination in the face of what he called Turkish
Mr. Karamanlis spoke during his visit to the eastern Aegean island of Psara,
famous for its struggle for liberation from Ottoman rule during the Greek
War of Independence.
Ironically, during his visit, several Turkish warplanes violated Greek
airspace over the same island.
Mr. Karamanlis said that "...from this border island, a symbol of sacrifice
and glory for Hellenism, I want to address a message: 'We Greeks want to
live peacefully with all our neighbours in cooperation...' This, however,
necessitates that Turkey behaves a s a civilised nation and not as an
He said that on matters of national integrity and dignity there can be no
partisan reaction, rather he added, "we are one nation ready to defend with
all means its integral rights."
The ND leader's visit in the eastern Aegean began on Monday on the island
of Hios, while yesterday he arrived in Psara for Epiphany celebrations.
Cyprus foreign minister due in Athens
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will visit Athens and Lisbon
later this week for talks with his Greek and Portuguese counterparts on
issues related to Cyprus' accession to the European Union, according to an
ANA dispatch from Nicosia.
Mr. Kasoulides will arrive in Athens on Friday and will then visit Lisbon
for talks with Portuguese officials. He is due back in Cyprus on Jan.
Tax bill to be tabled in Parliament today
A new tax draft bill aimed at ensuring Greece's economic convergence with
the European Union through a rise in public revenue and drastic cuts in the
fiscal deficit will be submitted for debate in Parliament today.
The finance ministry said that the new tax bill was a natural continuation
of an austere 1998 budget. However, the bill's proposed measures led to
intense reactions from other political parties in Parliament and social
The bill foresees a price indexation of the tax scale by 5.5 per cent in
1998, increased withholding taxes for salaries and professionals, higher
tax-free income for children, a 10 per cent increase on wealth indicators
and a 35-40 per cent rise in taxes for non-listed companies with nominal
The bill also proposes a 0.003 per cent tax on securities sales, imposing
tax on companies' profits and reserves and an increase on minimum capital
for societe anonymes and limited companies.
A Parliament committee will begin discussion on the bill on Jan. 12 and a
final vote is expected by the end of the month.
Alternative service for conscientious objectors introduced
Greece has introduced alternative and unarmed military conscription for
conscientious objectors, putting an end to a long-standing issue that had
drawn criticism from several human rights organisations.
Defence ministry sources said on Monday that under the unarmed military
service system, conscientious objectors will serve an additional 12 months
to the regular conscription term in the three military branches.
According to legislation passed last June, conscientious objectors will
serve 30 months in the army, 32 months in the air force, and 33 months in
Under the alternative conscription system, conscientious objectors will
serve an additional 18 months to the regular conscription term, performing
public service duties in state-owned organisations and local administration
Conscientious objectors opting for public service will serve 36 months in
lieu of army duty, 38 months in lieu of air force duty, and 39 months in
lieu of navy duty.
Conscientious objectors choosing either unarmed military service or
alternative conscription will not be able to serve their term in military
units or public service in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Larisa, Irakleio,
Crete, Volos, or in their home town.
Outflows of 200 million Ecus reported by central bank
The Bank of Greece reported outflows of 200 million Ecus at yesterday's
drachma fixing in the domestic foreign exchange market. Central bank
sources said that short-term interest rates ranged between 16-17 per cent,
while the one-month rate was 15.65 per cent and two-month rates 16.20 per
Greek stocks surge during first session of 1998
Greek equities surged during the first serious session of the new year to
break the 1,500-barrier.
The general index closed 2.87 per cent higher at 1,525.02 points. Sector
indices scored significant gains. Banks rose 2.27 per cent, Insurance
jumped 3.15 per cent, Investment ended 2.14 per cent higher, Constructions
were 0.94 per cent up, Industrials surged 3.99 per cent, Miscellaneous
soared 3.79 per cent, Holding was 3.54 per cent up, but Leasing bucked the
trend to end 0.50 per cent down.
The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 2.78 per cent, while
the FTSE/ASE index ended 2.46 per cent up at 867.82 points.
Trading was moderate with turnover at 11.2 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 169 to 46 with another 21 issues
unchanged. Intracom, Ideal, Intrasoft, Pairis, Alco and Lavipharm scored
the largest gains at the day's upper limit of 8.0 per cent, while Ermis,
Aspis Fund, Kalpinis, Papoutsanis and Xylemporia suffered the heaviest
National Bank of Greece ended at 25,250 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,000; Alpha
Credit Bank at 16,550; Delta Dairy at 3,300; Titan Cement at 13,110;
Intracom at 14,095 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,
National Economy Ministry pleased with '97 investments programme
Greece's national economy ministry expressed its satisfaction over the
implementation of the 1997 public investments programme.
According to preliminary figures, payments exceed 1.6 two trillion drachmas,
from which 700 billion were Community fund subsidies.
The government expects total payment of more than trillion drachmas for
1998, three times more than 1993 figures.
The ministry also predicts that Community funds will total 840 billion
drachmas for the year.
European Union funds to Greek programmes on environmental protection and
improving the quality of living more than tripled over the past two years,
while EU funds for health care, public investments and education more than
doubled during the same period .
The government expects that total EU inflows in 1997 will cover almost 50
per cent of the sum earmarked for the country until the year 2001.
Two Albanians charged in connection with seized arms cache
Two Albanian nationals arrested in connection with the discovery of a huge
arms cache in Dion, Pieria on Sunday, were on Monday charged with
importation and possession of weapons, explosives and narcotic substances.
Skrendi Peirikliou, 20, and Ilir Rogi, 27, from Elbasan told reporters as
they left a prosecutor's office that they had nothing to do with the
weapons and arms found in the home of 41-year-old US national, Donna
Katerini security police located and seized several anti-tank rockets and
launchers, machine guns, Kalashnikov assault rifles, hand- grenades,
pistols and silencers, ammunition, masks and bullet-proof vests in a pig-
sty behind the American woman's home.
A police spokesman said the weaponry had been smuggled into Greece from
Albania, and was mainly of Russian and Chinese origin.
He also said 153 sticks of TNT had also been confiscated, as well as 12
kilos of hashish and a small quantity of heroin. Police also found two Uzi
submachine guns when they raided the residence, believed to have been
stolen from Greek police.
Wilkins-Kaltsas' husband, Georgios, was found dead with 20 gunshot wounds
near Lamia last week in what appeared to be a gangland killing. Police
believe the weapons were smuggled into Greece over the past few months
after Georgios Kaltsas' brother, Vassilis, escaped from Corfu Prison and
fled to Albania with the help of Albanian criminal gangs and Greek
Vassilis Kaltsas died in a car crash in Halkidiki, northern Greece, last
Wilkins-Kaltsas' lawyer told reporters that his client was innocent and had
no idea of the presence of the weapons, explosives and narcotics on her
Donna Wilkins-Kaltsas was later charged with possession and trafficking in
weapons, explosive materials and narcotics.
The arms cache has been transported to Athens for ballistics testing to
determine whether any of the weapons have been used in criminal activities.
Ancient tombs discovered on Lesvos
Ten ancient tombs dating to the Hellenistic period have been uncovered
approximately two kilometres south of Mytilene city, the capital of the
eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.
The tombs, including a monolotihic sarcophagus made of local stone and
found next to a monument, were unearthed during road works to link Mytilene
with the town of Panagiouda.
A similar tomb had been uncovered two years ago about 200 metres to the
north. Both are in the vicinity of the ancient Moria quarry, which dates to
the Hellenistic-Roman period.
Archaeologists believe the tombs are connected with several ancient
agricultural communities that existed outside the walls of Mytilene city
during the Hellenistic-Roman period, and whose way of life was detailed in
the 2nd century AD pastoral romance " Daphnis and Chloe".
Fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with some
cloudiness and scattered showers in Macedonia, Thrace and the eastern
Aegean Sea. Winds moderate westerly-southwesterly turning to northwesterly
in the evening in the west and north of the country. Athens will be mostly
sunny with temperatures from 7-14C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.129
Pound sterling 467.153 Cyprus pd 535.978
French franc 46.848 Swiss franc 192.974
German mark 156.805 Italian lira (100) 15.952
Yen (100) 213.588 Canadian dlr. 199.571
Australian dlr. 183.446 Irish Punt 401.760
Belgian franc 7.602 Finnish mark 51.812
Dutch guilder 139.118 Danish kr. 41.180
Swedish kr. 35.567 Norwegian kr. 38.440
Austrian sch. 22.295 Spanish peseta 1.852
Port. Escudo 1.532