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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-12-12

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1064), December 12, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Greece, Cyprus reiterate joint defense doctrine stands firm
  • [02] Meeting with President of the Republic
  • [03] IOBE urges government to speed up streamlining of public finances
  • [04] Kaklamanis to address Black Sea Economic Co-operation Council today
  • [05] Farmers' blockades continue, country 'held hostage', Gov't says
  • [06] New Democracy
  • [07] Evert irresponsible, Reppas says
  • [08] Northern Greece
  • [09] Food, accommodation, expenses provided for blockaded foreign truck drivers
  • [10] Simitis to discuss Dublin Summit issues with Dutch counterpart
  • [11] Niles briefed on EU-Cyprus accession procedures by Papandreou
  • [12] Greece cannot discuss rotating NATO headquarters presidency in Larissa, Reppas says
  • [13] Merchant marine minister to attend EU Council on Friday
  • [14] Greek-Turkish business conference viewed favorably by Turkish press
  • [15] Study for landfill sites to be submitted tomorrow
  • [16] Maritime workers demonstrate against changes to tax regime
  • [17] Teachers begin three day strike
  • [18] Pensioners say talk with Papaioannou produced no results
  • [19] Credits earmarked for road, port, anti-flood projects
  • [20] Arab interest in Greek products
  • [21] Consumer groups take action on expected profiteering
  • [22] No going back on abolition of tax exemptions, Papantoniou says
  • [23] Basketball match between Greek, Turkish teams degenerates into brawl
  • [24] Turkey 'a state of mobsters', Kurdish organization says
  • [25] Mirage jet fighter runs off runway in Crete
  • [26] Film festival in Brussels dedicated to Greek cinema
  • [27] Botsis Foundation presents journalism awards
  • [28] Stiff measures to protect historical character of Plaka
  • [29] Woman receives jail sentence for keeping cats

  • [01] Greece, Cyprus reiterate joint defense doctrine stands firm

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday assured Cyprus that all the initiatives and exercises which began or were planned during 1996 within the framework of the joint defense doctrine between the two countries would proceed normally also during 1997.

    Speaking to reporters after the conclusion of two-day talks with his Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that the joint defense doctrine "constitutes the political reply against any external threat, specifically against Turkey, which threatens both Greece and Cyprus."

    The talks between the two defense ministers started on Monday and focused on ways to better coordinate the defense policy of Greece and Cyprus.

    According to informed sources, specific decisions were taken at the meeting concerning the purchase of defense equipment, the realization of infrastructure works to boost Cyprus' defense and the better use of manpower.

    "Within the framework of this defense mechanism," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added, "we discussed promotion of the defense policy, issues related to coordination of the armed forces in both countries, issues related to armaments, co-operation between the two ministries for the promotion of infrastructure works reinforcing Cyprus's defense mechanisms, such as the Paphos Airport, and the better use of manpower through training of Armed Forces officers in both countries."

    Expressing satisfaction regarding co-operation between Greece and Cyprus, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "it is contributing to the defense shielding of the two countries, ensuring peace and stability in the region as well as the promotion of procedure s based on the UN Security Council resolutions guaranteeing a just, democratic, peaceful and accepted solution to the Cyprus problem."

    Mr. Eliades told reporters that there was a total identity of views on all issues and that programs concerning infrastructure works, armaments and training would go ahead as planned.

    He said that the Cyprus government will implement the armaments program "since every country has the sacred right of defense against any threat."

    Commenting on the same issue, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "it would be absurd to exert pressure on an issue relating to this sacred right of every country against hostile attack."

    Asked to comment on UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's report attributing responsibility for the recent bloodshed in Cyprus to the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides, Mr. Eliades said that the Turkish provocations could not but be recognized "since there are cold-blooded assassinations of innocent people in a region which falls under the command of the United Nations."

    Four people were killed by Turkish armed forces and a mob in the buffer zone of the Mediterranean island republic over the summer. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and since then, has occupied one-third of Cyprus territory.

    Asked to comment on the Turkish-Israeli military agreement, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it did not affect the joint defense doctrine, "our political reply to Turkey's threats."

    [02] Meeting with President of the Republic

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also met yesterday with President Kostis Stephanopoulos to discuss Greece's defense policy and capability as well as the efforts being made by the national defense ministry on a diplomatic level.

    Asked by reporters after the meeting to comment on a thinly veiled threat by Turkey that it would destroy S-300 missiles which Nicosia is considering purchasing in order to upgrade its defense capability, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said: "Everyone must realize that threats and aggressive actions for the attainment of political targets are not acceptable and do not contribute to the safeguarding of peace in the region. Whoever exercises a policy of threatening to use force is acting as a destabilizing factor in the region and this concerns not only Greece and Cyprus but all international organizations which must reply that such threats are unacceptable."

    Stressing that Greece's responsibility towards Cyprus was a given fact, particularly within the framework of the two countries' joint defense doctrine, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that any attack against Cyprus would be a cause for war and be dealt with accordingly.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos yesterday also briefed the members of the ruling PASOK's party National Defense Parliamentary Control Group on ministry issues.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos informed the members on issues regarding the Armed Forces armament program, the government's position on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations and the NATO headquarters.

    [03] IOBE urges government to speed up streamlining of public finances

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Institute for Economic and Industrial Studies (IOBE) yesterday advised the government to speed up its streamlining of public finances and spending cuts and press ahead more vigorously with structural changes, particularly with regard to privatization and the liberalization of the labor market.

    In its latest four-month report on the Greek economy released yesterday, IOBE acknowledges that the government has taken a number of positive steps but comments that "the markets have received the new budget with mixed feelings."

    At the same time, the institute basically echoes the complaints expressed by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) and the country's business world in general, namely that more could be done to hasten Greece's entry to European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    The report, which traditionally reflects in academic fashion the views of private initiative in the country, said that the slackening of economic policy in 1996 due to general elections had brought a series of adverse repercussions.

    The result, IOBE said, was that "the Greek economy once again finds itself at the start of a new and tough effort to adjust...".

    Despite the fact that inflation dropped below the 8 per cent mark in November for the first time in 25 years, to stand at 7.7 per cent, IOBE said "the specific anti-inflationary mix of exchange and monetary policy has been exhausted to its limits."

    The institute warned that if production was not boosted, "the insistence on this type of anti-inflationary policy will lead to a continuous increase in unemployment and multiply social reactions."

    Real development could only be achieved, the report said, through sharp cuts in public spending, a restrictive incomes policy and more effective structural policy, including more vigorous privatization and incentives for new hirings.

    IOBE said very little progress had been made in 1996 in the area of structural change, particularly on the privatization front.

    The report acknowledges that the 1997 state budget sets "ambitious and necessary" targets, but expresses the view that it does not provide for "specific arrangements and mechanisms which will ensure the attainment of those targets."

    It also supports the government's position that wages and salaries did increase considerably in real terms in 1996 "confounding forecasts of continuing austerity for workers."

    On the economy's principal economic indicators, the report said the anticipated further widening of the trade deficit and current accounts deficit left no room for complacency, despite the high level of exchange reserves which totaled some 18 billion dollars in November. The report concludes with the warning that when the drachma joins the exchange parity mechanism of the European Monetary System, heavy pressure may be brought to bear to "correct" the value of the drachma, in effect that is, devaluation.

    [04] Kaklamanis to address Black Sea Economic Co-operation Council today

    Tbilisi, Georgia, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    President of the Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis will today address the 8th Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Council which began its sessions yesterday.

    Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze, who opened the sessions, stressed the importance of the alliance not as "competitive with other international organizations but as complementary and with respect to the particularities of the region."

    On the sidelines of the Tbilisi meeting, Mr. Kaklamanis held a meeting yesterday with his Georgian counterpart focusing on strengthening ties and co-operation between the two parliaments.

    Both parties noted the historic ties linking the two peoples and their common will to develop relations in all sectors.

    Mr. Kaklamanis renewed his proposal to his counterpart to visit Greece in the first six months of 1997.

    Greece will assume the rotating six-month-long presidency of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Parliamentary Assembly Plenary in January. Mr. Kaklamanis also held a meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Mr. Menagarisvili focusing on issues of mutual interest, especially co-operation between the two countries in the framework of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation and the Inter-Orthodox Parliamentary Assembly.

    Mr. Menagarisvili praised the positive Greek attitude in international organizations regarding issues related to Georgian interests and in turn termed the Cyprus problem "an international problem pending settlement."

    Today, Mr. Kaklamanis is also due to meet with Mr. Shevardnadze.

    [05] Farmers' blockades continue, country 'held hostage', Gov't says

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Serious traffic and transportation problems continued yesterday as farmers showed no signs of backing down from their 14-day blockades of roads throughout the country.

    PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis said after chairing a broad meeting at party headquarters that although farmers' and other working peoples' demands for improved income were legitimate, "the pursuit of a total political confrontation by some, three months after the election," was not.

    "Only naive individuals would wish for a blind confrontation at this level," he stressed, conceding, however, that it was normal for opposition parties to be seeking to combine farmers' mobilizations with those of other working people in view of the upcoming discussion of the budget in parliament.

    Mr. Skandalidis added the government was trying to solve the admittedly real problem of Thessaly's cotton farmers, and called again for a lifting of the blockades that would permit the commencement of a dialogue for a "national agricultural policy".

    The topics of this dialogue, he said, would include the setting of a ceiling for cotton production in 1997, a deadline for the drafting of a Farmers' Register, a framework for claims in the European Union and structural changes in the sector.

    [06] New Democracy

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, main opposition leader Miltiades Evert moved against the government's flanks by touring farmers' roadblocks in central Greece, and announcing he would meet with other party leaders with a view to undertaking a joint mediatory effort to resolve the crisis.

    Mr. Evert called on Prime Minister Costas Simitis to fulfill his pre-election pledges regarding the protection of farmers' incomes, and countered charges of populism against him by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas by retorting that it was precisely such inconsistency that amounted to populism.

    He called for a four to five year grace period for farmers' debts, and challenged the government's claim that the total cost of their demands amounted to one trillion drachmas, claiming it was more in the region of 150-170 billion.

    He added that if this was properly established through costing by experts, the government should be prepared to shoulder it, and that his party was prepared to accept the result of such costing if it amounted to less than 200 billion.

    [07] Evert irresponsible, Reppas says

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Commenting on Mr. Evert's tour, Government Spokesman Dimitris Reppas accused him of irresponsibility and of "supporting the mobilizations of groups of farmers in order to immobilize his internal party dissenters and opponents".

    He pointed the accusing fingers at the other party leaders too, saying that they could not act as accomplices in phenomena which had side-effects on the nation's economic and social life.

    He reiterated that the government did not intend to use force to end the mobilizations, adding that public institutions and bodies such as those of farmers' and other professional organizations, as well as justice institutions "have to act effectively" for the solution of the problems arising, in cases where the numbers of those taking part in blockades was small.

    He noted "the interest shown on the part of the Community in the problems arising to citizens of EU member-states who are affected by the blockades."

    Replying to a question as to why the prime minister was not prepared to meet with the farmers, Mr. Reppas stressed that none of the other groups Mr. Simitis had met were holding the country hostage.

    [08] Northern Greece

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Farmers yesterday moved to block Thessaloniki's last exit to the east, and access to the city's 'Macedonia' airport could only be gained with extreme difficulty through small side roads.

    However, two minor roadblocks were lifted in the region, one liberating the old Kavala to Thessaloniki road, and the other easing traffic around the city of Alexandroupolis near the Greek-Turkish border.

    Nevertheless, traffic from the city to the border, and the town of Oresteiada and the Greek-Bulgarian border posts to the north remained cut off. More than 150 TIR vehicles, mostly headed for Turkey, remained blocked in the Evros district.

    Meanwhile, businessmen in northern Greece yesterday called on the Supreme Court to intervene to end the 14-day farmers blockade of road and rail links which they say has cost them 150 billion drachmas so far.

    The administrative board of the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) said the lack of raw materials would force many of its members to shut down and would leave them unable to pay wages and Christmas bonuses to workers and pension contribution s to the state.

    Meanwhile, the Northern Greek Federation of Export Companies (SEBE) said that on the basis of a survey involving about one fifth of its 560 members, the blockade had so far cost them an estimated total of 40 billion drachmas in cancellation of orders an d non-deliveries and said the sector was being held 'hostage' to the farmers.

    Considering that there were approximately 2,000 export firms active in the northern Greek area, SEBE calculated the total cost at 150 billion drachmas for the whole of the region. Of that amount, direct losses resulting from inability to deliver goods abroad amounted to about 95 billion, representing 42 per cent of the country's total exports for December, on the basis of last year's performance.

    Apart from financial damage, SEBE stressed that the blockade's continuation would have adverse repercussions on the credibility and viability of the country's export sector.

    [09] Food, accommodation, expenses provided for blockaded foreign truck drivers

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    The ambassadors of Britain and the Netherlands visited Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos yesterday for talks on the problem being faced by British and Dutch truck drivers who have been stranded in Greece due to the blockading of motorways by protesting farmers.

    Mr. Papadopoulos told the ambassadors he instructed regional governors days ago to take measures for providing food and accommodation. He added that funds have also been provided for expenses.

    [10] Simitis to discuss Dublin Summit issues with Dutch counterpart

    Amsterdam, 12/12/1996 (ANA-G. Aliboutaki)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Dutch counterpart Vim Kok are scheduled to meet today in order to discuss a range of issues to be raised during the Dublin Summit on Friday and Saturday, including the consolidation of security and territorial integrity of the European Union member-states and the protection of the Union's external borders.

    Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos also arrived at The Hague yesterday, while the prime Minister, who is accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, leaves for Dublin today to attend the Summit.

    The Dublin Summit is to focus on the Intergovernmental Conference and the revision of the Maastricht Treaty as well as on the Economic and Monetary Union and the single currency process.

    [11] Niles briefed on EU-Cyprus accession procedures by Papandreou

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    US Ambassador in Athens Thomas Niles met yesterday with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou in order to be briefed on developments relating to the EU-Cyprus accession procedures.

    Speaking to reporters, Mr. Papandreou said a Cyprus-EU accession was positive since it could potentially help in the direction of finding a solution to the Cyprus issue. "We would like the Cyprus issue to be solved even before talks (concerning Cyprus's accession)," Mr. Papandreou said, ruling out the possibility of setting the settlement of the Cyprus issue as a pre-condition for the island's accession to the Union.

    Mr. Papandreou said Mr. Niles also agreed that the Cyprus-EU accession course was a positive factor for the settlement of the issue and that it should be hindered.

    [12] Greece cannot discuss rotating NATO headquarters presidency in Larissa, Reppas says

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, said that a proposal by Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller at the NATO Foreign Ministers Summit on Tuesday for rotating the Presidency of NATO headquarters in Larissa between Greek and Turkish commanders cannot be the subject of discussion for us," adding that the proposal did not draw the support of any other NATO member.

    He described the Turkish diplomacy's failed efforts to upgrade Turkey's membership to the Western European Union to full member status as being a "success" of the Greek delegation.

    [13] Merchant marine minister to attend EU Council on Friday

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis will leave for Brussels today in order to participate in the EU Maritime Transport Ministers Council to be held on Friday. The Council will focus on such issues as the European Commission's proposal to amend an existing directive on sea transportation of dangerous and toxic cargoes, the safety of more than 24-metre-long fishing vessels and the Community strategy on the improvement of the EU shipping industry competitiveness.

    "We are firm on our positions regarding competitiveness and the reinforcement of the Greek flag," Mr. Soumakis told a press conference.

    [14] Greek-Turkish business conference viewed favorably by Turkish press

    Istanbul, 12/12/1996 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)

    A Greek-Turkish business conference which ended in Athens on Tuesday gained positive coverage in the Turkish press, which ran articles under headlines such as "search for an economic peace with Greece," and "Slogun: Business not war."

    Most press reports consider the conference, organized by the Business Consultants Company "Kantor," as the "beginning of a serious rapprochement," noting that "trade will make politicians more flexible."

    President of the Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists Association, Halis Komili said that businessmen wanted to improve economic relations between the two countries, believing that this will also have an effect in politics.

    [15] Study for landfill sites to be submitted tomorrow

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said the study by the Dimokrition University on possible sites for landfills will be submitted tomorrow at a meeting of the Prefectural Council of eastern Attica.

    Mr. Laliotis made the announcement yesterday after meeting Ano Liosia Mayor Nikos Papadimas and representatives of the Unified Federation of Municipalities and Communities. He added that he is awaiting a decision by prefectural self-administration to en able the ministry to proceed.

    The issue of unlicensed landfills in eastern Attica, which will have to close down by December 17, is also to be raised tomorrow.

    The Unified Federation accused the prefecture of eastern Attica of delaying the tabling of the study for three months.

    [16] Maritime workers demonstrate against changes to tax regime

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Scores of maritime workers held a rally and march through the streets of Piraeus in torrential rain yesterday to protest the government's decision to abolish the special tax regime in force since 1955 for the officers and crew members of Greek ships.

    The march to the merchant marine ministry was led by the administrative boards of the Panhellenic Maritime Federation (PNO) and the Piraeus Labor Center which, after reading out a resolution, met with Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis.

    The minister reiterated that "strike action in (Greece's) overseas shipping is a criminal act" and called on the maritime workers to reconsider their decision to hold a 48-hour strike beginning December 16.

    The strike, called by the PNO, will affect all ports throughout the country and all categories of vessels. The PNO said the strike could escalate into a series of successive stoppages if the government did not reconsider its decision to abolish tax exemptions for seamen.

    [17] Teachers begin three day strike

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Teachers at state secondary schools yesterday began a three-day strike in support of wage demands with a protest rally and march to Parliament in Athens and similar protests in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. They are demanding higher salaries, a minimum salary of 250,000 drachmas for teachers appointed for the first time, the appointment of more teachers at schools and an increase in government spending on education in general.

    The administrative board of the Union of Public Secondary School Teachers (OLME) was scheduled to meet later yesterday to decide on the dates for strikes of indefinite duration planned for January.

    The final decision will be taken by teachers from all over the country who will meet in Athens after the Christmas holiday if by then their demands have not been met.

    Private school teachers were also holding a 24-hour strike yesterday to press for higher salaries.

    [18] Pensioners say talk with Papaioannou produced no results

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou described talks held with pensioners' representatives yesterday as a beginning of discussions on social security.

    The pensioners' representatives, however, said they left empty-handed.

    Mr. Papaioannou said the government will not make "fragmentary interventions", adding that with the social solidarity supplement for low pension earners (EKAS) a considerable number of pensions have reached the level of 18.8 per cent of the wage of an unskilled worker, and promised that injustices in the system will be remedied.

    Mr. Papaioannou mentioned that retirement at a younger age was an issue worthy of examination and discussion. The pensioners' representatives said the only solution to their problems is bringing pensions back in line with 20 daily wages of an unskilled worker.

    [19] Credits earmarked for road, port, anti-flood projects

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry has earmarked credits amounting to 1.63 billion drachmas for roadworks, anti-flood and port improvement projects.

    Of the above amount, 290 million drachmas will go to restore the Xanthi-Ehinou-Bulgarian border highway, 100 million for lights and improvements at crossroads in the Attica region, 100 million for works to contain the Kosynthos River and 1.05 billion for works at the Kasteli-Kissamou port on the island of Crete.

    [20] Arab interest in Greek products

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Businessmen in the United Arab Emirates have shown great interest in importing Greek products, it was announced yesterday. Representatives from the biggest chain of consumer goods in the region, "Sultan Center," arrived in Greece on Monday at the invitation of the Greek Organization for External Trade, and expressed their interest in importing Greek products.

    [21] Consumer groups take action on expected profiteering

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    Consumers' group INKA and the General Federation of Consumers of Greece have proposed the drafting of an action plan to combat profiteering in the market and to ensure the normal operation of the market.

    Among the measures to be discussed by consumer groups is the publication of a daily briefing on availability and recommended retail price of items.

    At the same time, a delegation from the federation and the Union of Consumers in Thessaly will meet in Larissa today with a representation of the protesting farmers to discuss ways to alleviate the repercussions of the blockade on consumers.

    [22] No going back on abolition of tax exemptions, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday that the issue of tax exemptions had "closed" as far as the government was concerned and the relevant bill would be voted on by Parliament in the form in which it has been tabled.

    Mr. Papantoniou was speaking to representatives of finance ministry employees, including tax officials and customs officers, who had requested that tax exemptions applicable to them to date not be abolished.

    The government's new fiscal bill provides for the abolition of scores of tax exemptions.

    The employees' representatives told Mr. Papantoniou that the abolition of tax exemptions and the government's refusal to index-link tax brackets to inflation would mean they would have to pay higher taxes of 180,000 drachmas per year on average, stressing they would not be willing to accept this.

    Tax officials have already planned a two-day strike for December 17-18, while customs officers are expected to strike from December 17-19.

    In a related development, the Center for Economic Planning and Research (KEPE) yesterday released the findings of a study according to which the present cost of tax exemptions to the state, (before the new tax law comes into force) is over 2 trillion drachmas annually.

    According to KEPE, the loss in revenue for the state from the tax exemptions presently granted to natural persons alone amounts to 600 billion drachmas.

    [23] Basketball match between Greek, Turkish teams degenerates into brawl

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    A basketball match between Aris Thessaloniki of Greece and Besiktas of Turkey was abandoned yesterday when the game degenerated into a general brawl during the second half, after a Turkish player punched a member of the Greek team to the ground and threw him off the pitch.

    Shortly before the second half was due to start, the Turks had refused to return to the pitch because Aris fans had erected a banner reading "Constantinople is the capital of Greece."

    Aris, playing on home ground in Thessaloniki, was winning 40-31 at the time the scuffle broke out and was tipped to qualify for the next round of the European Korac Basketball Cup after beating Besiktas 65-64 in Istanbul a week ago.

    The trouble began when one of the Turkish team's American players, Gary Alexander, punched Aris player Dinos Angelidis from behind and then threw him off the pitch. Alexander then punched Angelidis in the face and knocked him to the floor.

    All hell broke loose afterwards when players and officials went for each other and police moved in to stop the fighting. Another player appearing to play a leading role in the scuffling was Besiktas' player Eran.

    The commissar of the FIBA basketball association took the two referees to the dressing room where it was decided to abandon the match. The fate of the match is expected to be decided by the reports they will make.

    [24] Turkey 'a state of mobsters', Kurdish organization says

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    A National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (NLFK) spokesman yesterday described Turkey as "a state of mobsters" at a press conference at which he presented a dossier of information, mainly from the Turkish press, concerning the involvement of the Turkish police, army and politicians in criminal activities.

    NLFK spokesman Chevded Amet said that "the reality of the Turkish state of mobsters which is increasingly coming to light is strongly linked to the barbaric, dirty war being waged against our people."

    Listing Turkey's deep economic problems and Ankara's insistence on spending approximately 15 billion dollars a year on the war, Mr. Amet alleged that the military's main source of funding, apart from tourism, came from drug trafficking and other illegal activities in which the state was directly involved.

    [25] Mirage jet fighter runs off runway in Crete

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    A Hellenic Air Force Mirage-2000 jet fighter ran into the protective netting at the Nikos Kazantzakis airport in Heraklion, Crete after an apparent brake failure, coming to a halt about 150 metros from a residential area.

    Sources said the cause of the accident was not yet known but suggested it could have been due either to bad weather, low visibility and a slippery runway, the failure of the pilot to brake in time or a malfunction in the aircraft's brake system.

    The protective netting has been placed 300 metros from the end of the runway to prevent precisely this type of accident.

    The pilot of the Mirage, which was returning from Tanagra air base in central Greece, was unhurt and only minor damage was caused to the aircraft's antennas.

    According to military sources in Heraklion, such incidents are common at airports used by a large number of military aircraft.

    [26] Film festival in Brussels dedicated to Greek cinema

    Brussels, 12/12/1996 (ANA - M. Savva)

    The International Film Festival in Brussels, entitled "70 years of the Greek Cinema: 1926-1996," will present about 30 Greek films in the Belgian cities of Brussels, Gent and Mons.

    The festival is being organized with the co-operation of the Greek Film Center and the participation of "Fonds Culturel Hellenique", based in Brussels, as well of Eurodeputies from all parties.

    Films to be screened will include "Stella" by Mihalis Kakoyiannis, "Maria Pentayiotissa" by Andreas Madras, "Rembetiko" by Costas Ferris, "Attilas '74" by Mihalis Kakoyiannis and "Never on Sunday" by Jules Dassin.

    [27] Botsis Foundation presents journalism awards

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Athanasios Botsis Foundation for the Promotion of Journalism presented awards yesterday for the 15th consecutive year to journalists distinguishing themselves for their work and their adherence to the codes of established journalistic practice. The event was attended by President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Honorary awards were also presented for the first time this year to veteran journalists Costas Nitsos and Athanasios Semptos, as well as to photographer Dimitris Triantafylou.

    The journalists who were given awards are Panayiotis Bailis for discovering the issue of illegal adoptions in Thessaloniki, Theodoros Roussopoulos for his TV program "Seven plus seven", Pantelis Boukalas for his writings and articles, Fotis Sioumboura s for being the first for the second consecutive year to publish the names of candidates succeeding in entering universities and technical colleges and Yiannis Kaligliatis for filming the murder by Turks of Solomos Solomou in Cyprus this summer.

    [28] Stiff measures to protect historical character of Plaka

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    More than 30 business premises are to be closed down in Plaka, Athens' historical center which lies at the foot of the Acropolis, and all buildings constructed without a permit will be demolished as part of efforts to protect the historical nature of the area.

    The decision was announced at a joint press conference yesterday held by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, Public Order Minister George Romeos and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who said they would implement the 1982 Presidential Decree protecting Plaka "to the letter."

    Mr. Laliotis charged that the underworld was "terrorizing" local residents, municipal workers and town planning department officials in an effort to circumvent the provisions of the decree.

    "A climate of terror cannot be allowed to prevail in the neighborhood of the gods," Mr. Laliotis said, using the common Greek expression for the picturesque district which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

    The Presidential Decree protecting the district has been grossly violated in recent years, creating a clear threat to its character and general appearance.

    [29] Woman receives jail sentence for keeping cats

    Athens, 12/12/1996 (ANA)

    An elderly lady was sentenced to 10 days in jail yesterday for keeping 30 cats in her home and turning the lives of complaining neighbors into hell.

    After hearing the verdict, Sofia Nathanailidou, 65, stunned the court in Thessaloniki by telling judges she could not afford to pay off her sentence, amounting to 1,500 drachmas per day, and preferred to go to prison. A man present in court offered to pay the amount and the woman was released.

    One of her neighbors, fed up with the noise caused by the cats, found a law allowing for the possession of only two pets in an apartment and took her to court.

    Ms. Nathanailidou, who turned up in court with a white cat for company, said in her plea "these animals are a secret consolation for me, they are my entire life."

    The court cautioned her that she will have to remove 28 of her cats to be in line with the law, but the defiant woman said "this cannot be done. Wherever we go, even into the woods, all 31 of us will be together."

    End of English language section.

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