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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-07

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 07/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 European Union.

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 provocativeness.

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 international terrorist."

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. 13.

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 partners.

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 shares.

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 the navy.

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 entities.

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 cent.

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 losses.

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, 030.

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 Wilkins-Kaltsas.

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 accomplices.

Vassilis Kaltsas died in a car crash in Halkidiki, northern Greece, last month.

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 property.

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".

WEATHER

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 between 3-10C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(C.E.)


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