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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-19

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1420), February 19, 1998

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens says 'no margin' for new initiative on Greek-Turkish relations
  • [02] ... Turkey
  • [03] Greece hopes for successful outcome of Annan's Iraqi visit
  • [04] Tsohatzopoulos: Right to extend territorial waters indisputable
  • [05] ... Meeting with Patriarch Petros
  • [06] Karamanlis meeting with Belgium's Dehaene, Cutilheiro
  • [07] Turkish Cypriots can gain from Cyprus EU membership - Kranidiotis
  • [08] Papariga says plan to formally divide Cyprus, Aegean in the works
  • [09] Gov't concern over Turkish nuclear waste processing plant
  • [10] Papantoniou on Lisbon's EXPO '98 exhibition
  • [11] Simitis responds to tabled question on troubled Olympic Airways
  • [12] ... Gov't on DEKO policies
  • [13] Simitis, PASOK deputy Pipergias discuss energy issues
  • [14] Gov't spokesman on farmers' demands
  • [15] PM satisfied with end of farmers' mobilizations
  • [16] Greek stocks slump in edgy trade
  • [17] Greeks fall under Lady Luck's spell
  • [18] Greek olive farmers occupy local government office
  • [19] National Bank of Greece courts Bulgarian bank
  • [20] Greece to spend Dr 14 bln to advertise tourism in 1998
  • [21] Olympic Airways denies allegations of hiring abroad
  • [22] News agency set up to cover EU linguistic minorities
  • [23] Euro-Parliament demands tougher petrol standards
  • [24] Gov't studies business plan by state railway
  • [25] Lions Club event for visiting Kalash tribe children
  • [26] Avramopoulos declines to run for EU's regions committee
  • [27] Jules Dassin undergoes operation
  • [28] Campaign to save the wolf
  • [29] One million Greeks suffer from migraines

  • [01] Athens says 'no margin' for new initiative on Greek-Turkish relations

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Athens stressed yesterday that there was no margin for undertaking a new initiative to improve relations with Turkey.

    "We consider that, at present, conditions for doing something different from what has been done thus far are not in place," said government spokesman Demetris Reppas, after a meeting at the foreign ministry that was chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    The meeting dealt with Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, as well as a recent five-point proposal by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

    "The other side must exhibit a behavior that shows respect for the rules of good neighborliness and abstain from the provocations, violations and infringements it has been engaging in lately, so as to contribute to a climate that will render fruitful the contacts between officials of the two sides," he added. Referring to a Turkish foreign ministry statement yesterday, Mr. Reppas protested that it was inconceivable that the (possible) exercise of Greece's lawful right to extend territorial waters to 12 nautical miles should be considered a hostile act or be construed as a threat.

    "It is not possible that international law, which by definition safeguards the legitimate and vital interests of all nations, should be used by Turkey as a tool for illegal pursuits," he said.

    "Greece's foreign policy is compatible with the international legal order, and so should Turkey's," he added, stressing that Greece would continue insisting on its veto of EU financial aid to Turkey.

    Mr. Reppas specified that no meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers, Theodoros Pangalos and Mr. Cem, had been scheduled. He said any such meeting, which was possible and desirable in the framework of international organizations, had no relation to dialogue, and, indeed, with any form of negotiation on sovereign rights.

    Regarding Cyprus, in view of an expected renewed US mediation, he said Greece would "contribute towards an effective tackling of the problem in the framework of this initiative". Additionally, he described as a "good sign" the renewed interest on the is sue, but noted that "a lot has to be done still for a just and viable solution to emerge".

    "The international factor seems to have a genuine interest to deal with the problem," he continued, expressing the hope it would continue, but cautioning against hasty conclusions.

    Finally, responding to questions, he said the exact time and manner of the reply to the Turkish proposal could not be determined as yet. Sources told ANA after yesterday's meeting that Greece's reply to Turkey, in the form of a verbal note, will underline that the Turkish proposals pertain to procedures which are already in progress, such as the talks on confidence-building measures in the Aegean, currently being held within the framework of NATO.

    Athens is also expected to reiterate Greece's positions on procedural aspects of the two countries' expert committees, set up to examine ways of approaching and recording differences.

    On Mr. Cem's proposal for a high-level meeting of Greek and Turkish foreign ministry officials, the reply will point out that such meetings have always been held by ministers of the two countries and would continue in the future.

    The reply will also attach particular importance to Greece's proposal that Turkey should accept the general jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague, sources said.

    Discussion of the Cyprus problem at the meeting was in the light of presidential elections on the island republic last Sunday, as well as forthcoming negotiations on its accession to the European Union.

    Also taking part in the meeting were Mr. Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, the premier's adviser Nikos Themelis and the director of Mr. Simitis' diplomatic office, Christos Sotiropoulos.

    [02] ... Turkey

    Ankara, 19/02/1998 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    Turkey is waiting for an "official reply" by Athens on its recent proposal for dialogue, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Necati Utkan said yesterday.

    "Greece's official reply has not yet arrived, only some negative comments through the press," he said, stressing that "contrary to what the Greek side claims, our proposal has new elements".

    [03] Greece hopes for successful outcome of Annan's Iraqi visit

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece reiterated yesterday its opposition to any country producing, possessing or using chemical or nuclear weapons.

    "Greece does not want somebody producing, possessing or, furthermore, using chemical or nuclear weapons," government spokesman Demetris Reppas told reporters when asked to comment on the Iraqi crisis.

    "There is no manifestation of the tripartite initiative of (Foreign Minister Theodoros) Pangalos, (Russian counterpart Yevgeny) Primakov and the French foreign minister for peace in the (Persian) Gulf, other than their telephone contact with the Iraqi government," Mr. Reppas added.

    On Tuesday, visiting FM Primakov and his Greek counterpart, together with Hubert Vedrine, the French foreign minister, initiated efforts aimed at promoting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's visit to Iraq to persuade Baghdad to allow UN weapons inspections.

    Mr. Annan will travel to Baghdad tomorrow, having received full UN Security Council backing, and will meet Iraqi President Saddam Hussein over the weekend.

    Mr. Reppas said Mr. Annan's visit to Iraq was a positive development, adding that the Greek government hoped for a successful outcome of the UN chief's mission, thus averting the use of force. He also underlined that UN Security Council resolutions should be respected.

    In an ANA dispatch from Alexandria, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said "there is an urgent need for a political and diplomatic solution", adding that (military) intervention would crea-te more problems than it would solve.

    "There is time, unfortunately only a little, and I hope it will be utilized to the utmost in the coming days for results to be produced," he said, implying indirectly that there is very little time before a possible US attack on Iraq.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos concluded a three-day official visit to Egypt yesterday.

    [04] Tsohatzopoulos: Right to extend territorial waters indisputable

    Alexandria, 19/02/1998 (ANA - S. Trilikis)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated yesterday that Greece's right to extend territorial waters to 12 nautical miles emanates from "internationally consolidated rights, such as the treaty on the Law of the Sea, which nobody can question."

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was speaking here during his three-day visit to Egypt.

    Replying to an announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry, warning that unless the existing status quo is maintained on the extent of territorial waters in the Aegean, resolving Greek-Turkish issues will be impossible, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "Turkey's position can never be raised as a precondition for dialogue... In no way can this be done."

    However, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that Greece "does not have the intention of extending territorial waters now. However, according to what is anticipated by the treaty, it is possible that the safeguarding of absolute freedom of passage in the Aegean can be carried out. When Greece will decide such a thing is a matter of time.

    "There is no point in getting involved now in a discussion on these possibilities, whether or not territorial waters will be extended, if indeed we want to move ahead in this period to ease tension and find specific processes which will provide a solution to whatever side considers it to be a problem," he added.

    [05] ... Meeting with Patriarch Petros

    Alexandria, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' visit here focused on defense issues and co-operation in the military sector, as well as on the views of Arab countries regarding a possible US military strike against Iraq.

    While in Alexandria, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also met with the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros and members of the Greek community.

    Summing up the results of his visit to Egypt, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the two countries agreed to the implementation of joint co-operation programs on the holding of military exercises in the southeastern Mediterranean and exchanges of military representations to enable Athens and Cairo to contribute towards the consolidation of peace, security and stability in the region.

    [06] Karamanlis meeting with Belgium's Dehaene, Cutilheiro

    Brussels, 19/02/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday held talks with Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene and the Secretary General of the Western European Union (WEU), Jose Cutilheiro, during the second day of his visit here.

    Sources close to the main opposition leader reported that Mr. Karamanlis and Mr. Dehaene had discussions on European Union issues, such as Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), boosting employment, fiscal prospects, as well as Cyprus' membership to the EU and Greece's relations with Turkey.

    Mr. Dehaene was reported to have told Mr. Karamanlis of his view that Turkey should participate in the European Conference in London on March 12, although on the condition that it respected the basic principles contained in the Luxembourg summit communiqui.

    "There is still some likelihood that Turkish intransigence will be curbed," he was quoted as saying.

    The EU has asked Turkey to improve its human rights record, contribute to efforts to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem and sort out its differences with Greece.

    The Belgian premier welcomed the fact that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has asked the Turkish Cypriots to participate in the EU accession talks, describing this move as "positive".

    He added that the negotiations would go ahead on schedule, regardless of whether the Turkish Cypriots decided to participate.

    During their meeting, both men expressed the hope that the development would pave the way for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    In brief statements to the press after the meeting, Mr. Karamanlis said they had reaffirmed their faith in the implementation of EMU, but noted that Greece was the only member-state which, despite its willingness, would not be in the first group of countries that would participate in the euro, "a fact which shows the mistakes and omissions made over a number of years, but also the need for deep structural changes in the Greek economy".

    With Mr. Cutilheiro, Mr. Karamanlis held extensive talks on relations between the WEU and NATO.

    Today, he will meet European Commission President Jacques Santer, a number of EU Commissioners, and NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

    [07] Turkish Cypriots can gain from Cyprus EU membership - Kranidiotis

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Cyprus' economic prosperity is a strong incentive for Turkey to put an end to its occupation of one third of the island, Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday.

    The average Turkish Cypriot, he added, would greatly benefit from a settlement to the problem "if of course Turkey allows this" because they are comparatively few in number and have a low standard of living.

    As such, Mr. Kranidiotis said, they would be given considerable assistance. "Despite the Turkish invasion and 23-year occupation, Cyprus' economy is going from strength to strength and already fulfills the Maastricht criteria for participation in EMU, in deed having a very low rate of unemployment," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

    Due to its strong economy, he added, it is believed that very little time will be required to overcome whatever problems may arise during EU accession negotiations which begin next month.

    Mr. Kranidiotis was speaking at an event organized to mark Greek and Cypriot co-operation in insurance studies.

    [08] Papariga says plan to formally divide Cyprus, Aegean in the works

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga focused on Greek-Turkish relations yesterday during a press conference at Zappeio Hall.

    Ms Papariga said there is a plan to divide the Aegean's sovereignty and to legalize the division of Cyprus.

    "What is left are the signatures," she said, adding the Greek and Turkish governments are bickering for reasons of internal political consumption and prestige.

    Regarding the recent proposals by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, she said they emanate from last summer's Madrid communiqui, which she noted KKE had strenuously condemned at the time. Ms Papariga also said that KKE was against taking recourse to t he International Court at The Hague for issues dealing with national sovereignty and borders, except in the case of the Aegean's continental shelf.

    In regards to the ongoing Iraqi crisis, Ms Papariga said a "massacre" is being prepared for Iraq, while she criticized the government for its stance on the issue, as well as other opposition parties.

    She wondered what right the US has to intervene in Iraq, when that country has the most dangerous weapons, and which have been placed throughout the world and in Greece.

    [09] Gov't concern over Turkish nuclear waste processing plant

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday expressed the government's concern regarding an under construction Turkish plant for the processing of nuclear waste at Mersin, on that country's southern coast.

    In reply to a question by main opposition ND deputy Anastasios Kamarios, he described the issue as serious, adding that the Greek government was closely following its construction and has drawn attention to the unacceptability of certain arrangements.

    He also said the government had made representations to the Canadian government regarding the terms of the contract between Turkey and a Canadian firm.

    Finally, Mr. Pangalos drew attention to the fact that the area where the plant was being constructed was earthquake prone and that according to information, construction did not meet international safety standards.

    [10] Papantoniou on Lisbon's EXPO '98 exhibition

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday referred to the major significance of Greece's participation in the international EXPO '98 exhibition in Lisbon, on the subject of "Oceans and Heritage for the Future".

    Speaking at a Hellenic External Trade Organization event, he said EXPO '98 - between May 22 and Sept. 30 - constitutes one more opportunity for boosting international economic co-operation, stressing that Greece will be able to project the advantages of its economy, particularly regarding merchant shipping and culture.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will visit the exhibition on July 7, which has been set as Greek Day.

    The exhibition will host 158 countries and 10 international organizations. The Greek pavilion will cover an area of 900 sq.m., and will display Greece's contribution to science, culture, ecology, trade and tourism in relation to the sea.

    Yesterday's event was addressed by EXPO '98 vice-president of the organizational committee, Raul Kapela.

    [11] Simitis responds to tabled question on troubled Olympic Airways

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said that Olympic Airways (OA) will very soon be on the road to recovery, since the situation in the loss-making state-run national carrier is one "that must be confronted."

    The prime minister said during his Parliament address and in answer to a relevant question posed by Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, namely, that OA's future is bleak, and that OA employees and management will not decisively help confront the problem.

    Mr. Simitis announced that the government will exhaust all margins for dialogue with employees.

    He added that by April 1, at the latest, "dialogue with employees will begin, if there will be no conclusion to dialogue, the government will take all necessary legislative measures."

    Mr. Simitis noted that the government will take all the necessary measures to guard the role of the national air carrier as a viable and competative one for the benefit of the public and the employees.

    On his part, Mr. Constantopoulos said the government has no recovery plans for OA or its relocation to the new airport at Spata.

    Synaspismos' leader added that the government is responsible for the "bankruptcy of a monopoly, such as OA."

    Mr. Simitis answered that there is a specific recovery plan that has been decided upon by relevant ministers, while "employees are attempting to force solutions that we are not going to accept."

    [12] ... Gov't on DEKO policies

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday said that the government is not selling out public utilities and enterprises (DEKOs), rather it wants them to be profitable and able to provide high-quality services to citizens.

    Mr. Reppas added that the government has created specific plans for each DEKO, and for this reason discussions are held with both employees and DEKO managements.

    [13] Simitis, PASOK deputy Pipergias discuss energy issues

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks with PASOK deputy Demetris Pipergias yesterday focusing on energy issues.

    Replying to a question on whether the latter's objections on a Public Power Corp. (DEH) plant being built in Florina were discussed, Mr. Pipergias said that "we discussed energy planning issues and the possible options for DEH, as well as for the government in the energy sector."

    Mr. Simitis was also visited by writer Vassilis Vassilikos, who briefed him on activities Greece has developed with UNESCO and the issue of the country's cultural representation abroad.

    Mr. Vassilikos is Greece's ambassador at UNESCO.

    [14] Gov't spokesman on farmers' demands

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday said that the government cannot allocate huge amounts of money to satisfy farmers' demands, because such a move would lead the national economy to destruction.

    Mr. Reppas added that the government is making every effort to satisfy the just claims of farmers, citing the case of the private stockpiling of olive oil, recently allowed by the European Union. The last of the blockades set up by farmers on roads in western and central Macedonia were dismantled yesterday.

    The last of the tractors left the Malgara and Stivos junctions yesterday.

    Traffic on all national roads is now normal.

    [15] PM satisfied with end of farmers' mobilizations

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday expressed satisfaction over the end of farmers' mobilizations and roadblocks.

    During a Parliament address in answer to a relevant question by the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Demetris Tsovolas, he said that the end of the mobilizations proved that the vast majority of farmers did not agree with the specific demands presented by protesting colleagues.

    Mr. Simitis added that the farmers who took part in demonstrations admitted that their demands where excessive.

    On his part, Mr. Tsovolas accused the premier of anti-farm policies and efforts to urbanize farmers.

    [16] Greek stocks slump in edgy trade

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities came under strong pressure to end substantially lower yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said market sentiment was hit especially hard by worries of particularly high yields in interbank rates despite a regular weekly intervention by the Bank of Greece.

    The central bank drained 600 billion drachmas in excess liquidity in two-week repos at 17 percent, down from 17.5 percent last week.

    Banks lost sharp ground as high interest rates were expected to hit the sector's profitability.

    The general index closed 1.62 percent lower at 1,455.63 points with most sector indices losing ground. Banks fell 2.36 percent, Insurance dropped 1.13 percent, Leasing was 0.93 percent off, Investment was stable, Industrials and Construction fell by 1.12 percent respectively, Holding eased 0.35 percent and Miscellaneous dropped 1.61 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 1.22 percent. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index ended 1.86 percent lower to 805.14 points.

    Trading remained thin with turnover at 13.7 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 141 to 64 with another 25 issues unchanged.

    Giannoussis shares jumped 17.6 percent higher on the first day of transactions in the market. Papoutsanis, Oinerga, Athinea and Ergas scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit.

    Dane, Hatzioannou, Boutaris, Kalpinis and Piraeus Leasing suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,700 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,320, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,610, Delta Dairy at 2,910, Titan Cement at 13,595, Intracom at 15,020 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,630.

    [17] Greeks fall under Lady Luck's spell

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greeks are not just flirting with Lady Luck. They're head-over-heels in love with her.

    According to official figures released yesterday, Greeks spent 836.2 billion drachmas on legal gambling in 1997, compared to 678.2 billion in 1995, an increase of 23.3 per cent.

    The figure includes money spent on horse-racing, football pools, weekly lotteries, instant lottery "scratch" cards and similar games of chance.

    The lion's share went to casinos, which raked in 425.6 billion drachmas, up from 273.8 billion drachmas the previous year.

    [18] Greek olive farmers occupy local government office

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Olive oil farmers protesting low prices for their produce yesterday occupied a local government office on the island of Lesvos.

    Farmers obstructed the operation of a public revenue department and the Agricultural Bank, while roadblocks cut the town of Mytilene off from the rest of the island.

    A delegation of olive oil producers from the island is in Athens in the hope of holding talks with opposition party leaders.

    Protesters occupying the prefectural offices said they would decide after the delegation's return from Athens whether or not to resume the occupation today.

    Olive oil is one of the most important agricultural products of the eastern Aegean island.

    [19] National Bank of Greece courts Bulgarian bank

    Sofia, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece, the country's largest, is the most suitable buyer for Bulgaria's Postbank, the Greek bank's chief executive in Bulgaria said yesterday.

    Christos Kastanis told the Bulgarian press that National Bank of Greece's advantages were its policy of fully developing banking activities. At the same time it was the only European institution seeking to take part in the privatization.

    Japanese financial group Nomura and US-based AIG insurance group are also participants in the sale of Postbank.

    National Bank of Greece sees its bid for Postbank bank as a strategic investment that would turn the bank into a major financial institution in the Balkans, the Greek banker said.

    [20] Greece to spend Dr 14 bln to advertise tourism in 1998

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's tourism advertising campaign budget totals 14 billion drachmas this year, the Greek National Tourist Organization said yesterday in a statement.

    The country's tourism agency said that it will spend 4.0 billion drachmas on its traditional advertising campaign in 1998 in more than 20 countries around the world, and another 10 billion on promotion.

    Greek tourism authorities will focus their efforts on improving marketing and public relations.

    [21] Olympic Airways denies allegations of hiring abroad

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    Olympic Airways, Greece's national carrier, yesterday denied media reports that it was advertising in the European press to recruit seasonal staff from abroad.

    Its management said in a statement that the reports were inaccurate, and betrayed hostility to the government's plan to revitalize the airline, whose survival is in jeopardy.

    [22] News agency set up to cover EU linguistic minorities

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    The European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages, a European Union sponsored agency based in Dublin, has decided to set up a news agency to cover linguistic minorities living in EU member-states.

    The agency plans to expand its activities to central and east European countries - candidates for EU accession - with large numbers of minorities speaking different languages from the official state language.

    [23] Euro-Parliament demands tougher petrol standards

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    The European Parliament yesterday shrugged off intense lobbying from the European Union's oil industry and demanded tougher standards than agreed by EU governments for oil and diesel quality.

    Adopting a report by Finnish Green Euro-MP Heidi Hautala, the assembly, which has a power of joint decision with EU governments on the issue, said binding rather than target standards should be set for petrol and diesel for 2005.

    The outcome of the vote had been uncertain until the end as some deputies wilted under lobbying from national oil companies, who said binding standards from 2005 would be expensive to implement. The Parliament also said exemptions, granted to countries unable to meet a ban on leaded petrol from 2000 for social or economic reasons, should be tightened up.

    [24] Gov't studies business plan by state railway

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Labor Under-secretary Christos Protopapas and the management of state railways met yesterday to discuss a business plan drafted by the company.

    The final version of the plan to help revitalize the company has to be submitted in March. Changes are expected to be made to labor relations.

    Tendering has already been proclaimed for the hiring of a project manager for the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) and his selection will take place in the next 10 days.

    The project manager will prepare an integrated program on restructuring urban transport, as well as individual operational plans for the ETHEL, HSAP and HLPAP transport organizations.

    A freeze is expected to be imposed on staff hirings, transfers to others sectors will be carried out and a flexible working timetable will be applied during rush hours to serve the public.

    According to the group of companies PLAN-OSE, the organization (Greek Railways Organization) will have to abolish loss-making routes (nine have already been abolished) and reduce staff by 3,000 employees by the year 2002.

    The above will withdraw with voluntary departure, transfers to other organizations, etc.

    Lastly, plans for both public utilities must be completed by the end of March.

    [25] Lions Club event for visiting Kalash tribe children

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Lions Club hosted an event for a group of 10 visiting children of the Kalash tribe at the War Museum in Athens yesterday.

    The children arrived in Greece two months ago to visit northern Greece and several archaeological sites. Soldiers from Alexander the Great's army are believed to be among the Kalash tribe's ancestors. The Kalash occupy about 20 villages isolated from the rest of the world in the Hindu Kush mountain range of Pakistan and near the border with Afghanistan.

    Athanasios Lerounis, who was among the first individuals in Greece to cultivate ties with the Kalash tribe, spoke at an event on Alexander the Great's campaigns in the Hindu Kush and the presence of Hellenic culture in the area.

    [26] Avramopoulos declines to run for EU's regions committee

    Brussels, 19/02/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos did not submit a candidacy for the presidency of the European Union's regions committee during yesterday's elections.

    German Socialist Manfred Dameyer was elected to the presidency's first two years of a four-year term, while Belgian Joseph Chabert of the European People's Party (EPP) will take over for the remainder.

    [27] Jules Dassin undergoes operation

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    France's veteran film and stage director Jules Dassin yesterday underwent a successful operation for the removal of an aneurysm from a stomach aorta.

    Doctors said after the operation at the Ygeia Hospital in Athens that the widower of actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri was in a satisfactory condition.

    [28] Campaign to save the wolf

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    After a successful campaign to save the endangered brown bear, Greece has launched a new program to save the "Canis lupus" wolf, which is also threatened with extinction. The campaign, launched by the agriculture ministry in collaboration with the " Arktouros" ecological organization and with the support of the European Union, has begun with the establishment of a "Man and Wolf Conciliation Park" atop Mount Vitsi in northern Greece.

    Once found throughout central Greece and the Peloponnese, Canis lupus, which neared extinction in the 1940s, has retreated far into Greece's most remote mountain ranges.

    Its population, which has been dwindling in recent years due mainly to illegal hunting and to urbanization, is estimated today at around 300, ministry sources said.

    Ministry sources said a program was commencing to record the remaining Canis lupus population. The carnivores would then be captured and taken to the new wolf habitat, where their behavior would be monitored in a natural environment.

    Visitors will be able to observe the wolves at a distance and be briefed by scientists on the living habits of the Canis lupus.

    Two orphaned wolf pups found recently on Mount Falakro in Drama have already been set free at the site, while several more wolves currently at a wild animal treatment center in Aegina will also be transferred there.

    Although hunting and killing wolves has been prohibited in Greece, animal breeders are waging an undeclared war on the carnivore. The ministry, under its program, is examining the prospect of raising the reimbursement to farmers for animals lost fro m wolf attacks to 100 per cent of the loss from the current 80 per cent.

    Arktouros hopes to launch another program to save the sheepdog, which is also threatened with extinction in Greece.

    [29] One million Greeks suffer from migraines

    Athens, 19/02/1998 (ANA)

    More than one million Greeks suffer from migraines and two-thirds of that number are women, experts said yesterday.

    However, only 10 percent of Greeks suffering from persistent headaches consulted their doctors who could provide relief with the right combination of medications, they said.

    Migraines are the most common form of headache and are often accompanied by nausea and extreme sensitivity to light. They can be triggered by stress, some forms of medication and emotional and hormonal imbalances prompted by lack of sleep, fatigue, the weather as well as excessive exposure to computer and television screens.

    The unregulated use of some medications for headache relief could lead, paradoxically, to their triggering migraines, doctors said.

    They warned against self-diagnosis and administration of pain killers to provide relief from headaches, saying that doctors should always be consulted first.

    End of English language section.


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