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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 25/01/1999 (ANA)


  • Europe's socialists call for diplomatic solution to Kosovo problem
  • ND leader voices conditional support for Turkey's EU prospects
  • Greece should work harder to entice more US investments
  • British paper calls for permanent holding of Olympics in Greece
  • Seminar on sexual education at schools
  • Police arrest Albanian wanted in Dutch shooting
  • Arsenis to meet OLME leaders in bid to defuse crisis in education
  • AHEPA reforestation initiative kicks off
  • Labour minister welcomes Intracom decision for 35-hour working week
  • Greek first division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Europe's socialists call for diplomatic solution to Kosovo problem

Europe's socialists can only see a diplomatic solution to the problem of Kosovo, while Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos called in his address to the European Socialist Party's (ESP) conference in Thessaloniki on Saturday, concluded later in the evening , for a differentiation by Europe from the options of the US which, as he said, have been proved to be wrong on quite a few occasions.

The conclusions of the two-day conference were presented by Defence Minister and ESP Deputy President Akis Tsohatzopoulos. A proclamation ratified by the participants said that "all the attending parties condemn the continuing aggressiveness and infring ement of human rights and international principles by (Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic. They stress that only a diplomatic solution obliging Milosevic to comply with international agreements and will guarantee respect for all minorities living in the region can constitute a longstanding and viable solution."

The proclamation also called on the Kosovar guerrillas' organisation (KLA) to refrain from all aggressive actions and use of violence, saying that "the international community cannot accept the continuous confrontation of the two sides."

The European socialists called on the two sides to start immediate negotiations in the framework of international rules of law and existing borders.

Referring to the role played by the European Union, the European socialists said "it must continue to assume its responsibilities towards the crisis and constitute that international force which will guide the course towards finding a solution to the crisis."

Speaking at the conference, Mr. Pangalos was critical of Washington's position and of the policy applied by European socialist and social democrat parties.

Mr. Pangalos said that the "tail policy followed by Europe for Washington's options" can bring about a worsening of the situation in the Balkans. He said that the US have made "fundamental mistakes in the Balkans" since the transatlantic policy followed by Washington created crises in the region, while in certain cases Washington ignored the crisis created by its options, such as in the case of former Albanian President Sali Berisha in Albania.

Commenting on the crisis in Kosovo, Mr. Pangalos also attributed responsibilities to Albania and called on its government not to support irredentist claims but efforts to develop the country.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis told the conference that Greece is prepared to play a role and contribute towards defusing the crisis in Kosovo in the framework of diplomatic initiatives.

ND leader voices conditional support for Turkey's EU prospects

Speaking at the end of the European Democratic Union meeting here on Saturday, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis expressed support for Turkey's European prospects, saying "we support a Turkey w hich will meet and fulfill all European prospects and will be a more compatible neighbour for Greece."

Mr. Karamanlis said this meant that on its part Turkey will also honour absolutely and fulfill obligations and terms set by the European Union concerning the need for the country's complete democratisation, respect for human rights and minorities, the denunciation of force or the threat of the use of force and will show absolute respect for international law and treaties.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Karamanlis met British Conservative party leader William Hague who requested closer contact between the two parties since, as he said, ND might form a government soon and can help the Conservative party.

Mr. Hague said that there is a tradition in relations not of the two parties but primarily of the two peoples and invited Mr. Karamanlis to visit Britain, while Mr. Karamanlis extended a similar invitation to his British counterpart.

Yesterday, Mr. Karamanlis held talks with former Swedish prime minister and mediator for the Bosnia issue Carl Bildt with whom he discussed developments in Kosovo and, according to reports, Mr. Bildt appeared extremely concerned over the prevailing situation, expressing fears that tension will escalate.

Mr. Karamanlis completed his visit here yesterday with a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

Welcoming Mr. Karamanlis, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that "the fact that we prayed all together as one family for the good of the church and the people was also another pleasure for us in the visit of New Democracy's president."

Vartholomeos revealed that the Metropolitans of Serres and Veroia visited him a few days ago and prepared with him the programme of his visit to Athens on May 20. He said that according to protocol he will be received with honours bestowed upon a head of state and, consequently, he will meet the political leadership and the President of the Republic, adding that he will visit certain cathedrals in northern Greece with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

Greece should work harder to entice more US investments

Greece would welcome more investments by US companies, who say that red tape and a rigid labour market are still a deterrent, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou told a news conference late on Friday.

US investments in Greece total 1.2 billion dollars, which is much too low, Ms. Papandreou said after talks with senior US government officials.

At the same time, Athens should work harder to entice Greek-American capital into the country, she added.

According to the minister, several US companies have shown interest in Greek natural gas and renewable energy projects.

Ms. Papandreou also said she had rejected US criticism of Greece for seeking business links with Iran, saying the policy was pursued throughout the European Union.

The EU believed that developing trade ties with Tehran was the best way to aid reform within Iran, and a growing number of US companies agreed, she said.

Ms. Papandreou, whose ministry is to hold a politics and economy conference in the US in November, left for New York on Friday, the second port of call in her seven-day visit to the US.

British paper calls for permanent holding of Olympics in Greece

Peter Corrigan, a reporter and commentator of the newspaper Independent referred yesterday to the scandal regarding bribes between members of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in an article titled "No place can be compared with a permanent Olympic home" again raising and promoting the idea of the Olympic Games being established in Greece permanently. He said he has been supporting this view for years.

Mr. Corrigan refers in the same article to Athens as the venue for the 2004 Olympic Games, saying that "it was the most objective and fair process ever made by the International Olympics Committee."

Seminar on sexual education at schools

Young people feel great stress over sex and prefer masturbation, while their encounters are limited primarily to petting without completing sexual intercourse and most of their knowledge about sex is incorrect.

This was noted at the second post-educational seminar on sexual education at schools, organised over the weekend by the Greek Sexology Society and the Patras University's Gynaecological and Obstetrics clinic.

Speakers said that the role played by advertising and ignorance of basic facts have reversed roles and from being the "stronger" sex, men have turned into the "weaker" one.

Women are also greatly to blame since they expect their partners to resemble the new models portrayed in advertising. It also appears that they prefer men who are quite older in age and who are financially well- off.

Research has shown that men aged between 25-30 have, up to 36 per cent, sexual intercourse once a month. They do not prefer dynamic women since they are unable to prove to them that they are "ladykillers."

Lastly, women do not lose their interest in sex as they grow older. On the contrary, the older they are the fewer inhibitions they have.

Police arrest Albanian wanted in Dutch shooting

Police have arrested an Albanian national wanted by Dutch authorities in connection with a street shooting in the centre of The Hague last year that left two people dead and three injured.

Andrea Pata, 30, was arrested on Saturday evening while trying to enter Greece from Albania at the Kakavia border post.

He was taken to a prosecutor in Ioannina yesterday amid tight security, police said.

Dutch authorities had issued an international arrest warrant after the attack on October 25 last year when a gang including Pata shot into the crowd.

Pata was reported to have driven away in the gang's car, evading arrest. He was sighted in Albania several days later.

Dutch authorities are expected to seek his extradition through the justice ministry.

Pata, who claimed to be heading for Athens, has been remanded in custody at Ioannina jail pending extradition proceedings.

Arsenis to meet OLME leaders in bid to defuse crisis in education

Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis is to meet leaders of the secondary school teachers union (OLME) today to seek ways of defusing a crisis sparked by education reforms that has led to sit-ins by pupils and strikes by teachers in the past two months.

"Tension in secondary education has created operational problems for schools and harbours danger for pupils," Mr. Arsenis said in a letter to the union yesterday, in which he requested the meeting.

"I believe you agree that these phenomena, which give a negative image of state education and the country, must be averted," he said.

OLME responded positively to the minister's invitation.

Mr. Arsenis held talks with pupils' leaders on Saturday, which he later described as constructive. Three out of 55 pupils' representatives walked out of the meeting in protest.

He said that he and his associates will examine their proposals.

"Proposals were made on the part of the pupils concerning the upgrading of education. I and my associates will be examining their proposals in the evening, while I must point out that I have met and have held talks with many pupils. I have replied to ma ny questions. My associates did the same, " he said.

Mr. Arsenis expressed his dissatisfaction and his disappointment because certain education ministry circulars did not reach schools, such as those concerning supportive teaching.

Mr. Arsenis said that Saturday's meeting was of great interest and reiterated that the discussion was held in a very good climate.

Today, state primary and secondary school teachers are staging a 24-hour strike.

This afternoon, striking teachers are to rally outside the education ministry, and the leaders of pupils occupying schools will meet in Galatsi to debate their next move.

Schoolchildren have already announced a fresh rally in central Athens on Thursday morning.

AHEPA reforestation initiative kicks off

U.S. ambassador to Athens Nicolas Burns and Agriculture Deputy Minister Costas Vrettos kicked off on Saturday the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association's (AHEPA) reforestation initiative in Greece.

The initiative is supported by the US embassy.

AHEPA representatives, main opposition New Democracy deputy Fani Pali- Petralia and locally elected officials participated in this first of a series of tree-planting efforts on the 15 hectar AHEPA owned land at Sounion, eastern Attica.

Mr. Burns said that Greece is the most beautiful country in Europe, and for this reason the Greek people and the government should protect nature, while he added that he became very sad over last summer's forest fires and for that reason he supported the AHEPA initiative.

Labour minister welcomes Intracom decision for 35-hour working week

Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou on Saturday welcomed a decision by Intracom, an information technology and telecoms manufacturer, to launch a 35-hour working week on full pay.

"It is very positive that one of the biggest Greek firms is to apply the 35- hour week with no pay cuts at a time when talks are starting on the issue with social groups. I hope other firms move in the same direction," Mr. Papaioannou told reporters.

Intracom's chairman,Socrates Kokkalis, said on Friday that the reduction in working hours would come into effect in the first half of the year for the firm's 1,807 employees.

The Federation of Greek Industry has not backed the 35-hour week being debated in the European Union, and consultations so far have implied a pay cut if the measure were to be introduced.

Opponents of the move have argued that the competitiveness of domestic firms would drop against their rivals abroad.

Intracom is a blue chip on the Athens bourse whose customers include NATO, the EU and the Greek armed forces.

The government has so far refused to legislate a 35-hour working week, but has said it would welcome initiatives by individual companies.

Greek first division soccer results

Ethnikos Piraeus-Panelefsiniakos 2-2 Xanthi-AEK Athens 2-1 Olympiakos Piraeus- Panionios Athens 5-0 Ethnikos Astir Athens-PAOK Thessaloniki 1-0 Proodeftiki Piraeus-Ionikos Piraeus 0-0 Iraklis Thessaloniki-Apollon Athens 2-0 Paniliakos Pyrgos-Aris Thessaloniki 3-1 OFI Heraklion-Kavala 4-0 Veria-Panathinaikos 0-1 Standings/points: Olympiakos 40, Panathinaikos 34, AEK 33, PAOK 32, Xanthi 31, Aris 27, OFI 26, Iraklis, Ethnikos Astir 23, Ionikos 22, Panionios 20.


Mostly fair weather is forecast throughout the country today. Winds north, northweasterly in the west and east, light to strong, and very strong in the southern Aegean, easing off towards evening. Athens will be mostly sunny with scattered cloud and temperatures ranging from 2-13C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from -1C to 10C.


Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.687 Pound sterling 456.161 Japanese yen (100) 242.028 French franc 48.814 German mark 163.715 Italian lira (100) 16.537 Irish Punt 406.567 Belgian franc 7.937 Finnish mark 53.853 Dutch guilder 145.299 Danish kr. 43.833 Austrian sch. 23.270 Spanish peseta 1.924 Swedish kr. 35.597 Norwegian kr. 37.091 Swiss franc 200.131 Port. Escudo 1.597 Aus. dollar 175.405 Can. dollar 182.151 Cyprus pound 550.421


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