Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-11-16
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 16/11/1998 (ANA)
- Seminar on `European identity` addressed by Simitis, Delors
- Karamanlis calls for real EU convergence, cuts in public spending
- Patriot missile veers off course at Crete firing range
- Gov't reiterates support for Kurds' self -determination
- Seminar on issues related to deportation of illegals from EU
- Security stepped up in light of Nov. 17 events
- Diplomats briefed on western Macedonia's prospects
- Balkanesque 'Powder Keg' picked as best Euro-film
- NAPC warns that operations will end next week
- Seminar on combatting juvenile sex exploitation
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Seminar on `European identity` addressed by Simitis, Delors
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and former European Commission president
Jacques Delors were the two keynote speakers at a weekend seminar focusing
on the quest for a European identity, which ended in Athens on Saturday.
The democratic ideal is perhaps the weightiest element that could
contribute to the formation of a single European political identity, above
cultural or utility criteria, Mr. Delors noted.
The seminar, whose attendants included 30 prominent European academics, was
organised by the "Our Europe" foundation which Mr. Delors heads, and the
Greek Centre of European Studies (EKEM).
The attainment of such a political community required that the EU itself
sought greater democracy, greater transparency and that it came nearer its
citizens, Mr. Delors stressed.
In his speech Mr. Simitis siad: "A vision, a plan that excites and
mobilises, cannot merely reproduce what already exists, but must supercede
it, moving feelings and imagination. The creation of a single market, a
single currency and single institutions does not guarantee that an area
with different languages, different religions and different lifestyles will
become a single entity and overcome either increasing socio-economic
differentials or the deeply rooted perception of the nation-state," Mr.
The answer lay in the activation of unification processes on many levels
that would promote cohesive dynamics.
Karamanlis calls for real EU convergence, cuts in public spending
Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said on Saturday
that Greece ought to promote "real, rather than merely nominal convergence
with other European Union economies", placing particular emphasis on the
state's role and the trimming of public expenditures.
"The excessive involvement of the state in the productive process, its
centralised form and the very poor quality of its services constitute the
most serious problems that must be solved," he said during an address at
the "Money Show" conference.
Referring to the Greek tax system, the ND leader said it needed simplification
on a stable four-year basis, a gradual reduction of rates, and an immediate
abolition of taxes on large real estate holdings and banking transactions.
Patriot missile veers off course at Crete firing range
A Patriot anti-aircraft missile fell into the sea off the Crete firing
range last Thursday morning before reaching its target, causing concern
among some residents in Hania prefecture.
The military command of the firing range, as reported in several of
yesterday's Athens papers, issued a press release noting that the missile
did not overfly the range's boundaries.
The press release added that an investigation is underway.
According to reports, a unit of German officers specialising on missile
systems arrived at the firing range a week ago.
Gov't reiterates support for Kurds' self -determination
Athens has renewed its criticism of Turkey for its military operations
against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, reiterating its support for the
self-determination of the Kurdish people.
"Greece has systematically supported the right of the Kurds to their
national self-determination," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told
reporters Saturday, in response to questions on the arrest of the Kurdish
Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in Rome on Thursday.
"We have repeatedly and in a more thorough manner than anyone else raised
before international fora the problem posed by the crude violation of human
rights in southeastern Turkey, as well as the problem created by Turkey's
military operations in northern Iraq," he said.
"It is clear that Greece does not support violence as a means of resolving
political differences, and neither encourages nor covers armed activities
against other countries. Greece respects international treaties and
legality. This position is the axis and the founding stone of our policy,"
Mr. Ocalan's arrest and Turkish demands for his extradition drew condemnation
from Greek political parties on Saturday and yesterday. "The extradition of
PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan would be a vindication of the murder of
thousands of Kurds, of the in tervention of the Turkish armed forces in
Iraqi Kurdistan, of the threats against Syria, and of a series of other
terrorist actions," according to a press release by the Communist Party of
KKE also called on the Greek government to exert all its influence as not
to extradite the legendary PKK leader either to Turkey or to Germany.
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) called on the Italian
government not to extradite the Kurdish leader.
"At a time when the Kurdish issue is going through a new phase, the
European Union is called upon to take initiatives with Greece's active
contribution as well, in order to lay the bases for a political handling of
the problem according to the rules of international legality," Synaspismos
said in a statement. The Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) said Mr. Ocalan
was not "a terrorist but a symbol and the leader of the Kurdish people's
liberation struggle", and called on Athens to use all diplo matic means and
influence with Italy to grant him political asylum.
Seminar on issues related to deportation of illegals from EU
The public order ministry is organising a two-day seminar today in Athens
and focusing on the issue of deporting and reintroducting illegal
immigrants into their own society.
The European Commission-funded seminar, part of the "Odysseas" programme
initiative, will focus on the exchange of technical knowledge, practices
and methods of planning for the deportation of illegal immigrants from the
The Greek ministry has invited representatives from France, Germany,
Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal, as well
as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.
Security stepped up in light of Nov. 17 events
The Athens Polytechnic's gates opened yesterday morning in light of three
days of events to mark the 25th anniversary of a students' uprising at the
campus in 1973 against a military junta then ruling Greece (1967-1974).
Dozens of residents were seen laying flowers at a monument inside the
As in past years, concern is again focused on security at the downtown
Additional police units were deployed in the Polytechnic's vicinity and
other university and public buildings as of yesterday, a preventive measure
Violent protests and widespread vandalism, mostly by self-styled anarchist
youths, have plagued Nov. 17 anniversaries in recent years.
Diplomats briefed on western Macedonia's prospects
Development Deputy Minister Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday spoke to a
diplomatic delegation regarding the development potential of the Kozani and
The ambassadors of Canada, Korea and Romania as well as several consuls
assigned to Thessaloniki yesterday visited lignite pits in the region,
where 75 per cent of Greece's electricity is produced. They also visited
the village of Krokos, where 80 per cent of the medicinal plant by the same
name is cultivated.
Ms Diamantopoulou noted the comparative advantages that Greece offers for
joint investments as well as direct investments, following an improvment of
the country's economic indicators over the past few years.
Regarding western Macedonia, she referred to major infrastructure projects,
such as the under-construction Egnatia motorway and industrial parks, among
Balkanesque 'Powder Keg' picked as best Euro-film
Yugoslav director Goran Paskalievic's "Powder Keg" has won the best
European film of the year award at the 39th Thessalonki Film festival over
The announcement was made by the secretary of the International Union of
Film Critics (FIPRESI) Klaus Eder.
Mr. Paskalievic later said the film, shot in two months, was the result of
his need to speak about his country, and the hope that can come from
"The war in Bosnia has become a fashionable theme, something like Vietman,
but I wished to present another aspect; to show that the Serbian nation is
not a nation of murderers. I wanted to make a simple story with common
people," he said.
In a separate development, noted British film director Peter Greenaway said
he saw no future in cinema as we know it today.
"Cinema is dead. There are no longer interesting film directors, having
turned to other areas, such as new technologies, which open new possibilities
for a presentation of non-narrative thought. Cinema today is like a video
satyrical work or a literary text," he told reporters attending the
"We are no longer happy with Casablanca art. In a few years' time, the
'Titanic' will seem like a 19th century lecture," he added.
Mr. Greenaway revealed he planned to stage a large art exhibition in
Thessalonki in 2001, entitled "Zero-2001," and extending to all subjects
from 0 until 2001.
Yesterday, an exhibition of Mr. Greenaway's paintings, texts and sketches
was inaugurated at the Macedonian Modern Art Centre.
Meanwhile, repeat performances of his "100 Objects Representing the World"
prop-opera at the theatre of the Macedonian Studies Society are scheduled
for today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.
NAPC warns that operations will end next week
The North Aegean Petroleum Co. (NAPC), which currently holds the concession
for exploitation of offshore oil deposits at the Prinos site, near the
island of Thassos, announced on Saturday that it would cease production
next week due to rising losses.
The move follows bitter acrimony with workers, who have opposed the
consortium's announcement of redundancies and pay cuts.
NAPC had stated last month it would halt operations at the oilfield
In a bid to defuse the clash, NAPC executives, union leaders and government
representatives are scheduled to meet on Wednesday at the development
On the agenda are whether NAPC will continue to exploit oil deposits at the
site or cease operations on all fronts.
NAPC has ordered 180 lay-offs among its 400 staff at installations on
Thassos and near the mainland port city of of Kavala; and a 30 per cent pay
cut for remaining workers.
Last month NAPC said that losses were rising, and the company could only
manage to break even through a roughly 30 per cent reduction in operational
costs. In the absence of cutbacks, most workers would be laid off and a
small team retained in order to wind up production and guard installations.
The union has said its members are adamant in resisting any redundancies or
Seminar on combatting juvenile sex exploitation
A "Save the Children" seminar on "sexual exploitation and the trade of
minors" concluded yesterday in Athens.
The European Commission-sponsored event examined methods to prevent such
tragic phenomena. 'Save the Children' President Niki Goulandri said: "You
are the voice for these children. Today, the struggle begins...It regards
an issue with many dark sides, an issue that is taboo for western societies,
but is so widespread and inhumane."
The seminar's conclusions defined the problem's parameters as sexual abuse
inside and outside the home, sexual exploitation with the production of
pornographic films and magazines as well as the international trading of
Participants stressed the fact that part of the problem is lack of correct
exposure by the media and lack of legal infrastructure.
The conclusions of the seminar presented solutions, including healthcare
Overcast weather with rain and storms is forecast throughout Greece today.
Winds variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures
beween 13-20C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures will be
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 282.621
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