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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-18

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, 18/07/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • President marks 'black anniversary' for Cyprus
  • Parliamentary immunity discussed
  • EOT reports increase of profits
  • Spurned suitor gets revenge
  • Noted poet Karelli buried
  • IOC chief confers with culture minister
  • Flynn, Simitis discuss job training programmes
  • Gov't to issue low-cost bonds for small investors
  • Kranidiotis details Greece's initiatives on Mideast problem
  • Pangalos talks with Albania's leadership next week
  • Measures against police corruption discussed
  • Medical students volunteer programme
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

President marks 'black anniversary' for Cyprus

President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday reaffirmed Greece's support for Cyprus in efforts to find a just, viable and feasible solution to the problems which continue to cause great hardship for the Cypriot people and undermine international legality. In a message on the 24th "black anniversary" since the Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of one- third of Cyprus, Stephanopoulos said the Turkish occupation forces must at long last leave so that all Cypriots, irrespective of ethnic origin or religion, could "march together down the road of conciliation and creation" within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Parliamentary immunity discussed

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday met with Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos for talks on the issue of Parliament deputies' immunity, following recent improprieties by two MPs.

The two men agreed that Parliament regulations must change to allow for open voting on the lifting of immunity. The current regulation prescribes that such voting is conducted through secret ballot.

Mr. Kaklamanis noted the responsibility of voters who vote for individuals according to "how many times they appear in the media."

He also noted the responsibilities of parties, which must discuss issues of behaviour so as to protect Parliament. Furthermore, Mr. Kaklamanis said that he has opted for open voting on such instances.

However, he added that before any such vote there must be an indepth investigation of every charge brought against a deputy.

On his part, Mr. Constantopoulos requested a meeting of the national political leadership on the issue, presided over by Mr. Kaklamanis.

In a related development, former New Democracy premier Constantine Mitsotakis, during a radio interview, said he will promote an initiative of 50 main opposition ND deputies to propose that the Constitution be amended with regard to deputies' immunity.

On his part, ND deputy Ioannis Varvitsiotis said that such a proposal could not come to Parliament since the present body has voted against it when ND proposed the change earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that in the event that Parliamentary immunity is lifted, it will lead to a "dark ages" of nuisance lawsuits against deputies.

Mr. Reppas also said that it is up to the Greek people to judge the deputies' actions so as not to be let down by their choice of representatives.

In a related development, a Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday requested the lifting of deputy Varsamos Yiovanoudas' immunity in order to investigate the lawsuit filed by a 25-year-old woman, his ex-girlfriend, who claims that she was beaten by the deput y.

The woman is currently hospitalised in a Thessaloniki clinic.

Deputy Gerasimos Yiakoumatos is accused of threatening to kill Public Order Minister George Romeos, after the former's home was burglarised, as well as carrying an automatic handgun into Parliament.

EOT reports increase of profits

The Greek Tourism Organisation's (EOT) results showed an improvement in the first half of the year, according to the state-run agency's figures.

EOT's profits during the above period amounted to 1.8 billion drachmas, compared to profits of one billion drachmas in 1997.

Commenting on increased profits, EOT Secretary General Nikos Skoulas said the results refute critics' allegations regarding the organisation's ineffectiveness.

It is reminded that many of EOT's staff, as well as opposition parties, have often painted a gloomy picture of EOT's financial state.

Mr. Skoulas also said that economic results over the first half of the year are visibly better compared to last year at EOT's marinas and beaches.

Spurned suitor gets revenge

A 57-year-old man tossed two hand-grenades into a couple's home yesterday because they refused to allow him to marry their 35-year-old daughter. Police said they arrested Vassilis Zachopoulos after the dawn attack, in which Evgenia and Efthymios Lytras, 52 and 29 respectively, the mother and brother of 35-year-old Theodora, were seriously injured.

Noted poet Karelli buried

Poet Zoe Karelli, who died on Thursday at the age of 96, was buried yesterday in Thessaloniki. The woman who called herself "I, the Human" using the female article for the masculine noun 'man' (anthropos) introduced a feminist voice to early 20th century Greek literature at a time when the feminist movement in Greece was almost unknown.

IOC chief confers with culture minister

Visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch met yesterday with culture minister Evangelos Venizelos, who is also chairman of the inter-ministerial committee for the 2004 Olympics. The talks dealt with a general review of preparations so far for the Athens 2004 Games in view of the first meeting -- in Athens on September 2-4 -- of the IOC coordinating committee which supervises preparations for the Games. Samaranch arrived in Athens yesterday for the opening ceremony of the International Olympic Academy's annual session on Pnyx Hill. The meeting, which runs through July 30, brings together a record 202 delegates from 97 countries.

Flynn, Simitis discuss job training programmes

Prime Minister Costas Simitis met last night with visiting European Commissioner Padraig Flynn and discussed ways to improve Greece's absoption rate of EU structural funds regarding job training programmes. Mr. Flynn, who is on an visit to Greece, also discussed with Mr. Simitis issues related to the rest of the structural funds' absorption rates, which he called satisfactory. According to reports, a selection procedure began to choose which programmes will be given a priority status, while those considered ineffective will be cut.

Gov't to issue low-cost bonds for small investors

The state will begin issuing low-cost, tax-free bonds in September in order to entice small investors into the debt market, Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis said Thursday. The new bonds, priced at 50,000-100, 000 drachmas, will be tax-free if buyers retain them until maturity. The bonds, which have a duration of three, five and 10 years, are not negotiable on the secondary market, Mr. Christodoulakis said.

Kranidiotis details Greece's initiatives on Mideast problem

Greece fully supports peace and stability in the Middle East, and undertakes initiatives with a view to rekindling the peace process, while it also contributes decisively to the formulation of European policy in the region and believes that Europe must undertake a more active role in the Mideast problem, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said in an exclusive interview with ANA. "Greece has every interest in the promotion of peace and stability in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. It seeks, therefore, to assist in the rekindling of the Middle East process, which has been deadlocked for the last year-and-a-half. Kranidiotis, who represented Athens at a recent conference of prominent Israeli and Palestinian personalities and journalists, said it was decided on Rhodes that the conferences for dialogue should continue on a permanent basis.

Pangalos talks with Albania's leadership next week

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations as well as issues concerning the situation in the Balkans - especially Kosovo - when he meets the Albanian leadership in Tirana on July 20-21, the foreign ministry announced yesterday. Mr. Pangalos, who will be accompanied by a business delegation, will meet Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, PM Fatos Nano, FM Paskal Milo, Tirana's public order minister, the parliament president, and the president of the Albanian parliament's constit utional revision committee. The agenda of discussions will also include cross-border and economic cooperation as well as a bilateral educational agreement, to be signed during Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis' forthcoming visit to Tirana.

Measures against police corruption discussed

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with Public Order Minister George Romeos to focus on measures against corruption in the police force. After the meeting, Mr. Romeos stated that the government will introduce a bill in Parliament in August for the creation of an internal affairs division, which will be overseen by a prosecutor. He added that he personally approved 2,300 residence permits for foreigners out of a total of 70,000 applications in Attica and 400,000 around the country over the past five months, as was prescibed by law.

Medical students volunteer programme

The Society of Greek Medical Students (EFIE) will organise a volunteer programme to staff medical clinics on various Greek islands during the summer. The programme is financed by the New Generetion general secretariat and includes 95 medical students from seven medical schools in Greece as well as other countries. Room and board costs will be met be local governments on the islands. Greek students will volunteer their services in Istanbul, Ankara and Anatolia hospitals, while their Turkish counterparts will volunteer on the islands of Lesvos, Hios and Kos.

WEATHER

The forecast for today is fine and sunny. Temperatures will range from 17- 34 on the mainland and 20-30 on the islands. Athens will be fine, with temperatures of 21-33. Thessaloniki will be the same with temperatures of 20-31.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 294.743 British pound 482.945 Japanese yen (100) 210/949 French franc 49.118 German mark 164.771 Italian lira (100) 16.699 Irish Punt 414.160 Belgian franc 7.984 Finnish mark 54.191 Dutch guilder 146.057 Danish kr. 43.221 Austrian sch. 23.416 Spanish peseta 1.939 Swedish kr. 37.133 Norwegian kr. 39.035 Swiss franc 195.037 Port. Escudo 1.609 Aus. dollar 184.854 Can. dollar 198.737 Cyprus pound 561.968

(M.S.)


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