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Antenna: News in English, 96-12-10

Antenna Radio News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, of 10/12/1996


  • No sign of an end to farmers' roadblocks.
  • iades Evert says the prime minister should meet with the protesting farmers.
  • Antenna helps get help to flood victims.


Farmers who've blocked major and secondary roads at some 100 points around Greece with their vehicles, say they aren't about to pull back and let the traffic through.

Government sources say that the resolve of the farming population to maintain the roadblocks is waning. They express optimism that a solution to the problem will be found soon. But that's NOT what the farmers say, and the protests have spread to Crete.

Yiannis Pattakis, chairman of the Thessaly protestors' coordinating committee, said Monday that the farmers' front remains "solid". The farmers and their families are hurting financially he told Antenna, and they can't afford to quit their struggle now. The farmers want a tax break on fuel, larger subsidies, and easier loan repayment terms.

The prime minister huddled with the agriculture and public order ministers Monday, to assess the situation.

And the finance minister made it clear once again that the government won't give the farmers what they're demanding.

Said Yiannos Papantoniou, "It is inconceivable that a social group should impose its will on the whole of society. We cannot give into blackmail. The government is obliged to ensure that the state and the economy work. Pasok was just given a mandate by the voters to implement its programme".

Pattakis's response to that is, "The government was elected by only 41 per cent of the voters", and that many of the protestors voted Pasok, but NOT for the policies Pasok is now implementing.

Papantoniou says the inflation rate has dropped to 7.7 per cent, and that Pasok will not risk seeing it go up again, with profligate spending.

Pattakis says Pasok shouldn't just look at the numbers, there are real social problems.

The government puts the damage to the economy from the roadblocks at 10 million US dollars, and the TOTAL damage thus far, at 100 million dollars.

The days and nights are cold for the protestors. There was one happy event to distract attention from the hardship Sunday: "Just Married" - a farmer an his new bride drove through a roadblock near Thessaloniki, to cheers.

But the good times are few, especially on the other side of the blocks. Truck drivers are at their wits' ends. Many are desperate to get to other countries.


The nation may be at a virtual standstill, but so far, Athens has not felt the transportation crunch.

There are no shortages in the capital. In some cases, trucks and goods are beating the roadblocks by being transported via ferry boat.

In Iannena, though, there are problems. It is now difficult for motorists to find gasoline.

The government is feeling the anger of the nation's farmers. Wage-earners are also none too happy, as the labour minister found out.

Miltiades Papaioannou was heckled by laid-off Goodyear workers, when he arrived for a visit to a workers' centre there.

And the government will be hearing lots more from the disgruntled. The country's two largest unions are preparing strike action over the government's austerity budget. The civil servants have already announced that they'll be out on December 17th.

The nation's teachers have also announced a series of strikes for this month.


Miltiades Evert says he's concerned about the standoff that has the roads tied up in knots.

The leader of New Democracy met with Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos Monday morning.

Afterwards, Evert called the government's tough stance "unacceptable". He thinks the prime minister should talk to the farmers, regardless of whether or not he's willing to accede to their demands.

As Evert and Stephanopoulos sat down to talk, Evert remarked, "We've forgotten what political dialogue means in this country".

"There is political dialogue", replied the president.

Stephanopoulos met up with protesting farmers on a roadblock over the weekend. He expressed his hope that the protests will end soon.


MP Giorgos Souflias, a main contender for the leadership of New Democracy, said Wednesday night that the prime minister should talk to the farmers.

Arriving in Larisa, Souflias said some of the farmers' demands can be met, not all of them though. The main thing, he added, is for the prime minister to stop using language that angers the farmers.

25 per cent of the population makes its living from agriculture said, the MP. You can't ignore the needs of a quarter of the population.

Souflias added that the problems plaguing agriculture are going to worsen in comin years. What's needed, he thinks, is a new agricultural policy, one which will make Greek farmers more competitive.


Greek leaders say there are NO talks going on aimed at imposing a moratorium on military flights over Cyprus.

The Greek defence and foreign ministers gave assurances to that effect after meeting.

Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos added that joint Greek and Cypriot military exercises code- named "Archer" and "Victorious" will go ahead as scheduled. He added that no further exercises are planned.


According to the report in in the newspaper "Vima", foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos's letter was delivered to his Turkish counterpart on November 28th.

The letter reportedly came in response to a letter from Ciller to all the European Union foreign ministers. The EU decided that each member state would reply separately to Turkey.

In HIS reply, Pangalos reportedly accuses Turkey of systematically violating human rights, and ignoring international law and internationally- recognised treaties.

"While Greece makes no claims that impinge upon Turkey's sovereign rights", Pangalos is reported as writing, "the matters described by Turkey as unresolved Greek-Turkish issues, exclusively concern GREECE'S sovereign rights and territorial integrity".

Pangalos mentions Turkey's claims to the Greek isles of Imia and Gavdos, and Turkey's threat to go to war over so-called "grey zones", or zones of supposedly disputed sovereignty, in the Aegean.

The Greek foreign minister repeats Greece's position, that it will not negotiate where its national sovereignty is concerned.


Flood victims in the Xanthi area in northern Greece are being inundated with aid, on the heels of heavy rains that ended in death and heavy damages.

Antenna is also kicking in to help.

Antenna television has opened a flood relief bank account at the National Bank of Greece. For those wishing to make a FINANCIAL contribution, the account number is 669/470 192-54.

If you don't want to send money, food and clothes are also welcome.

Xanthi governor Panagiotis Saltouros thanked Antenna for its initiative. And Constantinos Hatzigeorgiou, another local official, also extended his gratitude to all those who have come to the flood victims' aid.

Most grateful of all, perhaps, are those whose homes and personal belongings were destroyed by the floodwaters.


And it's time for a check on weekend sports. When two age-old rivals lock horns, there's almost always controversy, especially if the contest turns out to be a neck-and-neck battle.

And so it was when Olympiakos and Panathinaikos squared off in a first- division soccer bout Sunday.

It all comes down to a controversial penalty call. Is Olympiakos's Ilia Ivich brought down by Pao's Giannis Kalitzakis inside the penalty box or not?

The replay seems to say rather not...but the refs do NOT have the benefit of the replay.

The penalty is called, and Pretag Georgevich scores the only goal of the match, giving the home team the victory.

The win has Olympiakos two games ahead of Pao, Aek, and Ofi in first place.

Elsewhwere, Aek avoids losing any ground with a tougher-than-expected victory at home.

Ofi draws on the road.

Apollon, Panachaiki, and Xanthi are all victorious at home. And Paok and Veria, that match ends in a draw.


Off the pitch, the best Greek soccer players of 1996 have been named.

They are Vassilis Tsartas, Giorgos Donis, and Vassilis Karapialis.

Timour Ketspaya was voted best foreign player of the year. And Nikos Limberopoulos is the best new player.

In pro-basketball: "When it rains, it pours" is about the ONLY way to sum up the way things have been going for Panionios this year. Last season, the team finished third. This year it's floundering in 8th, with a 4 and 7 and record. That's the rain... The downpour comes Sunday.

It looks like clear sailing at the outset, as Panionios blows out to a 25-9 lead on the road against Aris. The lead is still nine at the half, but the rainclouds roll in after the break. Aris showers its visitors with three- pointers and pulls to within a point at 50-49, with a 19-10 run.

Things get no sunnier for Panionios, as Aris goes on to win it 69-63.

Elsewhere, Olympiakos extends its league-best record to 10 and 1, coasting past Larisa. Aek and Pao are both 9 and 2 after their wins. Peristeri is 8 and 3 after besting Iraklis. And Apollon has no trouble with Sporting.

©ANT1-Radio 1996

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