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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-31

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, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

NEWS HEADLINES

  • New cabinet members sworn in
  • Violence in Athens after party
  • US says Greece, Turkey not keen on armed conflict
  • Greek dermatologist says many hair loss therapies useless
  • European Journalists' Union conference in Athens
  • Greek Atomic Energy Committee to participate in int'l exercise
  • Gov't outbidded for Archimedes` palimpsest
  • Theologian favours women's ordination
  • Major haul of contraband cigarettes in Piraeus
  • Eurostat: Greece last in EU for social insurance spending
  • Tax-free bonds to be issued on Monday
  • Police officer suspended after woman escapes from custody
  • WEATHER
  • FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    New cabinet members sworn in

    Seven new ministers and deputy ministers were sworn in on Friday after Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced a minor cabinet reshuffle Thursday evening and sought a Parliamentary vote of confidence.

    The swearing-in ceremony before President Kostis Stephanopoulos and the premier was followed by the first meeting of the Cabinet with its new composition.

    Addressing the cabinet, Mr. Simitis reiterated the three major targets which the government would be striving to attain during the coming period.

    The first, he said, was to maintain and increase the pace of the upward and developmental course of the Greek economy, the ultimate objective being the country's entry into EMU.

    The second target, Mr. Simitis said, was to strengthen Greece's role on the international scene.

    While this role has already been boosted by the major initiatives taken by Greece, the premier added: "We must intensify our efforts".

    The premier said the third target was to improve the quality of life and deal with citizens' daily problems, particularly unemployment, crime and issues related to the country's health services.

    The mini reshuffle, the premier said, means the continuation of the government's task but at a more intensive pace, with greater attention to problems, speed, efficiency as well as "comradeship and cooperation".

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that the government was resolved to seek a Parliamentary absolute majority of at least 151 votes in the confidence vote on Tuesday night.

    Violence in Athens after party

    Stone-throwing youths caused damage to cars and shops in the vicinity of the Athens Polytechnic School in Patision St early Saturday morning, after clashing with police.

    The incidents took place after a party inside the Polytechnic, and caused a two-hour disruption in traffic on the main thoroughfare in front of the building.

    Police arrested 20 individuals.

    US says Greece, Turkey not keen on armed conflict

    WASHINGTON (ANA) US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns said here on Friday that he was convinced that Greece and Turkey did not want to be involved in an armed confrontation.

    However, he added that warplane engagements over the Aegean increased the danger of such a prospect. The US envoy, who was speaking during events organised by two Greek-American organisations, stressed that despite concerns raised through tensions from time to time such as engagements and violations of Greece's national airspace had considerably diminished over the past year.

    Regarding the Cyprus issue, Mr. Burns said that Washington did not object to Cyprus' right to bolster its defence, adding that if the Russian-made S- 300 anti-aircraft missile system was deployed on Cyprus, regardless of US objections, no country would have the right to use military action to destroy the missiles.

    Mr. Burns, though, appeared somewhat reserved with regard to the prospects for a solution to the Cyprus problem, saying he "was not expecting any dramatically positive developments" over a Cyprus solution in the near future.

    Greek dermatologist says many hair loss therapies useless

    A Greek dermatologist has warned that many of the recommended therapies for hair loss are not only ineffective, but they may also cause significant skin problems.

    Speaking at the 49th International Cosmetics and Health Congress in Athens, Dr. Athanasios Papachristopoulos said that "therapies based on vitamins, amino acids and trace-elements do not contribute to hair growth, while frequent use may cause major pro blems."

    "Surgical hair transplants are scientifically proven solutions that have taken on huge dimensions for the past two decades," he added.

    European Journalists` Union conference in Athens

    A European Journalists' Union two-day conference on human rights ended in Athens on Saturday. It was held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe and the Nov. 3 inauguration of the New European Court.

    The permanent representative of Greece to the Council, Ambassador Dimitris Konstas, addressed the issues that the Greek presidency promoted, one of which he said, was the new human rights court.

    He added that both citizens and states will be able to seek recourse to this 40-member justice body, which will be the largest in Europe.

    Mr. Konstas also said that the inistitution of the human rights commissioner was promoted by Greece during its presidency, despite reactions. In addition, Greece, only four days ago, presented a declaration on political refugees and those seeking politi cal asylum, which was accepted by all member countries.

    On his part, the Council's press director Jack Hanning addressed the need for restructuring the mechanisms for the protection of human rights.

    Greek Atomic Energy Committee to participate in int'l exercise

    The Greek Atomic Energy Committee will participate in an Internaional Readiness Exercise on tackling the consequences of a possible nuclear accident, to be conducted on Tuesday.

    The OECD's Nuclear energy Organisation has planned a series of international exercises. The first took place in the spring of 1993 with the participation of 16 countries and a series of exercises was planned afterwards which is developing in four phases .

    The first phase was held on Nov. 17, 1996 with a hypothetical nuclear accident in Switzerland and about 40 countries participated, including Greece. The second phase was held on April 17 1997 and focused on Finland with the participation of about 30 countries, including Greece. The third phase will be held on Nov. 3 with a hypothetical nuclear accident in Hungary.

    Gov't outbidded for Archimedes` palimpsest

    The government said on Friday it was outbidded in its attempt to purchase a priceless 12th century palimpsest containing a letter from ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes, during an auction in New York on Thursday.

    "The culture ministry cannot compete with a rich American investor," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.

    The palimpsest was sold to an unnamed US collector for 2.2 million dollars. Bidding began at between $800,000-1.2 million.

    The Greek government bid for the palimpsest after calling for donations.

    Mr. Venizelos said the two million dollars collected "could be gainfully used in research, maintenance and publishing documents of the Jerusalem Patriarchate kept at the National Library".

    He said that some of these documents could prove to be more valuable than the palimpsest.

    Last week, Greece stated that the palimpsest was legally the property of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and filed a suit with a U.S court on behalf of the Patriarchate to stop the auction.

    The injunction was denied.

    Mr. Venizelos said investigations by the ministry into the ownership status of the palimpsest showed that it had been in the possession of a French family for 75 years, which had acquired it from a monastery in Istanbul.

    However, Mr. Venizelos said, the manuscript originally came from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Patriarch Diodoros had informed his ministry that there was no record of it ever having been sold.

    Theologian favours women's ordination

    A memorandum submitted to the Holy Synod by theologian Giorgos Moustakis calls on the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece's leadership to consider a proposal for the ordination of women.

    Speaking during a press conference, Mr. Moustakis explained that he was asking for the ordination of women in the lower ranks of the clergy, "where they could prove of great assistance with worship and religious life", as he said.

    A Roman Catholic clergyman in Athens shared the Orthodox theologian's views.

    Major haul of contraband cigarettes in Piraeus

    The finance ministry's economic crimes squad (SDOE) seized four containers of contraband cigarettes at the port of Piraeus on Friday, in the largest single haul of smuggled cigarettes ever in Greece.

    A statement said the four containers held some two million packets of Super King and Regal cigarettes.

    The containers had been sent from the United Arab Emirates on the MSC Huston and arrived in Piraeus on Oct. 12. The bill of lading said the containers held grills.

    SDOE officers kept a watch on the containers and finally moved when an as- yet unidentified person presented himself to take delivery of the containers.

    Some 14 million packets of contraband cigarettes have been confiscated since the beginning of the year in Attica alone. The income to the state in lost duties payable on the cigarettes is thought to run in the hundreds of millions of drachmas.

    Eurostat: Greece last in EU for social insurance spending

    Spending on social insurance in Greece is the lowest in the European Union, both in absolute figures and as a percentage of GDP, according to statistical figures on the EU's member-states unveiled by the Union's statistical service - Eurostat.

    According to Eurostat estimates, the main conclusion reached on the expenditure of each country per capita in the social insurance sector is that in Greece this expenditure represents a percentage which is clearly less than 50 per cent of the average EU expenditure.

    The estimates were based on Purchase Value Units (PVU), namely an "artificial currency" used by Eurostat to enable it to compare expenditures made by EU countries.

    According to these estimates (with 1995 being the year of reference), Greece spends 2250 PVU per person annually to cover social insurance, while the corresponding average EU expenditure is 4831 PVU.

    Apart from Greece, other countries having below EU average expenditures are Portugal (2313), Spain (2914), Ireland (3165), Italy (4491) and Britain (4543). Luxembourg heads the list with 7725 PVU.

    Tax-free bonds to be issued on Monday

    The finance ministry is issuing two-year bonds in electronic form on Monday and Tuesday, at a fixed annual rate of 10.75 per cent.

    The bonds are freely transferrable, and tax-free if retained until maturity.

    An auction of 150 billion drachmas worth of five-year bonds through primary dealers, at a fixed annual rate of 8.9 percent, is also scheduled for Tuesday. The ministry may also accept non-competitive bids totalling 30 billion drachmas.

    Sources say the government is now considering a return to issuing long-term securities, as the money market appears to be back on the way to normalisation.

    Meanwhile, according to the Bank of Greece, the economy's total liquidity, as measured by the benchmark M3 indicator, increased by 1.3 per cent in September, down from 2.8 per cent in August.

    Police officer suspended after woman escapes from custody

    A police officer was suspended after a Ukrainian national arrested for working illegally in a bar near Piraeus escaped from custody during questioning at a local aliens bureau, police said on Saturday.

    The Ukrainian, identified as Leonila Vilskova, 33, was arrested in the early hours of Friday for working as a waitress without a work permit in a bar in Drapetsona.

    Hours later Vilskova disappeared, evading the attention of at least twenty police officers in the Piraeus police department and two armed guards at the building's entrance. She has yet to be found.

    Also arrested by Attica - not Piraeus - aliens' police was the bar's owner, Vangelis Geranios, and two other Ukrainian women working at the bar, who also lacked work permits and passports. The three are to appear in court on Monday.

    The four were being questioned at the aliens' bureau, housed in the Piraeus police department building, when Vilskova disappeared.

    Suspended from duty was officer Antonis Karabekios.

    Police reporters noted that the authorities had announced the incident to the media a day late.

    WEATHER

    Overcast weather is forecast throughout Greece on Sunday with rain expected mainly in the northwest of the country. Winds variable, light to moderate, likely to become stronger later in the day. Temperatures in Athens ranging from 15C to 22C, and in Thessaloniki from 10C to 17C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.762 British pound 467.827 Japanese yen (100) 238.516 French franc 50.346 German mark 168.724 Italian lira (100) 17.061 Irish Punt 420.013 Belgian franc 8.182 Finnish mark 55.473 Dutch guilder 149.608 Danish kr. 44.410 Austrian sch. 24.017 Spanish peseta 1.985 Swedish kr. 36.006 Norwegian kr. 37.904 Swiss franc 206.753 Port. Escudo 1.646 Aus. dollar 173.526 Can. dollar 179.552 Cyprus pound 569.507

    (C.S.)


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