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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-03-22

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


Last Update: 20:14 GMT+2

SECTIONS

  • [A] GREECE
  • [B] BALKANS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] GREECE

  • [01] CRIMINALS FIRE AT POLICE IN ATHENS SUBURB, ONE SUSPECT KILLED
  • [02] ADVERSE WEATHER STRIKES NORTHERN, CENTRAL GREECE WITH SNOW
  • [03] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS STAFF TO EMBARK ON STRIKES, IRKED OVER REVITALIZATION
  • [04] THE GOVERNMENT'S PLANS FOR OLYMPIC AIRWAYS
  • [05] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS TO TOUR CANADA IN MAY
  • [B] BALKANS

  • [06] DIEGO CORDOVEZ: RESTARTING TALKS ON CYPRUS IS IMPOSSIBLE
  • [07] ELECTIONS HELD TODAY IN KOSSOVO
  • [08] US DELEGATION IN KOSSOVO FOR ELECTIONS, BUT WAS DENIED ACCESS

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] GREECE

    [01] CRIMINALS FIRE AT POLICE IN ATHENS SUBURB, ONE SUSPECT KILLED

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Athens, March 22 (MPA)

    An unknown number of assailants opened fire against two policemen in the Athens suburb of Kallithea early yesterday evening.

    One of the criminal suspects was killed during the exchange of shots, while the second one, who is reportedly the killed man's brother, managed to get away although the police chased him by foot. The two policemen were slightly wounded.

    [02] ADVERSE WEATHER STRIKES NORTHERN, CENTRAL GREECE WITH SNOW

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Thessaloniki, March 22 (MPA)

    In spite of the official inauguration of the spring moths, March 21, adverse weather continues to strike central and northern Greece causing an array of problems in transportation and mobility. The National Weather Service forecasts a worsening turn in the weather as of today, with temperatures reaching the below-zero mark. It is snowing in Athens, while in Thessaloniki in spite of the sunny weather, temperatures are low, reaching zero.

    [03] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS STAFF TO EMBARK ON STRIKES, IRKED OVER REVITALIZATION

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Athens, March 22 (MPA)

    The government's plans to subject the national air carrier, Olympic Airways, to a revitalization process in an effort to reduce the company's annual operational costs by 50 billion drachmas, through a reduction on overtime, a freeze on new hires, a more flexible working schedule, an increase in working hours and an end to free tickets for the staff, is being met with stiff resistance by the O.A. staff who threaten with mobilizations and strikes.

    The airline's staff are being supported by the country's General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE). On Tuesday, the day set for holding a dialogue between the O.A.'s administration and staff, the workers are to conduct a work stoppage between noon and 3 p.m., while the GSEE is to conduct a massive, countrywide 24-hour strike during the first ten days of April.

    The President of the Federation of Civil Aviation Association, Michalis Peros announced today that the workers not only do not accept the cutback measures, but are not even open to discussing them. However, he stressed, they will attend Tuesday's talks in order to submit their proposals,

    Meanwhile, the President of GSEE Christos Polyzogopoulos said that the government aims at turning the OA into a private company and announced April's strike.

    [04] THE GOVERNMENT'S PLANS FOR OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Athens, March 22 (MPA)

    The government has launched a new five-year plan to save loss-making Olympic Airways (OA) from closure.

    Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis has stated that a restructuring program for 1998-2002 aims to save 50 billion drachmas a year from the national carrier's operating costs. Due to European Union directives, the state could no longer

    subsidize the ailing state-run airline and no other funds were available, Mr. Mantelis stressed.

    "If we extend the airline's operation for five years, a 50-billion-drachma deficit will emerge without taking into account necessary investments, which would take the deficit to 150 billion," he said.

    He blasted the former OA boards of directors for what he called overspending, especially on labor. OA's board will present its final decisions on cost- cutting to employees' representatives tomorrow. An evaluation of the national airline's first revitalization plan showed a failure to meet targets, with labor costs in 1997 alone

    jumping to 25 billion drachmas, Mr. Mantelis said. The figure represented 48 per cent of the airline's total spending against 25-29 per cent in other such companies, or around 51 per cent in 1995-1997, he said. "The government has decided that there is a final chance for OA to be saved. Therefore, we all have to make the right decisions for structural changes and good industrial relations." Elaborating on what must follow, Mr. Mantelis said the attitude of employees towards the citizen/client must change, routes must be restructured on the basis of customers' demands, flight timetables must be strictly adhered to, while commercial policy must change and a strategic investor-ally must be found soon. In addition, Olympic must exploit subsidiaries, he noted.

    Moreover, alliances must be found for catering-fuel, handling and repairs units.

    Additionally, OA employees will be called to discussions to find ways of saving the 50 billion a year from the restructuring program.

    If all this is done and after the value of the company is assessed, the government intends to give a 6 per cent share to employees during an initial phase and on Dec. 31, 2000, while an additional 4 per cent will be given if the plan goes smoothly.

    Mr. Mantelis clarified that these measures are being taken exclusively for Olympic Airways, which is considered an exceptional case, and has nothing to do with other public utilities. Replying to press questions, Mr. Mantelis explained that the government does not intend to dismiss any employee. Moreover, the state will immediately pay nine billion drachmas it owes to the national carrier, while it will also call on other parties to pay their debts. It estimated the deficit to amount to 6-6.5 billion drachmas in 1997.

    He also replied that at this phase there is no strategic investor interested in the company. He again recognized the government's responsibilities for Olympic's deficits, adding that entry to the Athens Stock Exchange is not anticipated at this period. According to initial reactions by employees, the company's future is

    considered ominous following the announcements made by the minister.

    [05] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS TO TOUR CANADA IN MAY

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Athens, March 22 (MPA)

    The Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos is to embark on a tour to six Canadian cities in late May, the first ever visit to the North American country by a Patriarch. According to an announcement by the Orthodox Bishopric of Canada,

    Vartholomeos will first visit Ottawa, where he will meet with Canada's governor-general Romeo A. LeBlanc, Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy as well as Athens' and Ankara's ambassadors to Ottawa.

    The Patriarch's May 25-June 2 tour will also include visits to the Orthodox communities in Vancouver, Winnipeg, London, Toronto and Montreal.

    [B] BALKANS

    [06] DIEGO CORDOVEZ: RESTARTING TALKS ON CYPRUS IS IMPOSSIBLE

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Nicosia, March 22 (MPA)

    The special envoy of the United Nations secretary-general Diego Cordovez has stated that restarting talks for resolving the Cyprus issue is not possible, following

    a meeting he had with the self-called leader of the Turkish-Cypriots Rauf Denktash, who insists that his enclave be recognized as a "state" before restarting talks between the two communities.

    Mr. Cordovez stated that following his talks with the President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides and Mr. Rauf Denktash, the issue is now up to the Security Council.

    Ecumenical Patriarch to visit six Canadian cities.

    [07] ELECTIONS HELD TODAY IN KOSSOVO

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Prishtina, March 22 (MPA)

    Presidential and parliamentary elections are being held today in Kossovo by the region's ethnic Albanians, without episodes and fanfare, although they are not recognized by the Yugoslav government.

    According to the state-owned news agency HINA, 60% of the registered voters had cast their votes by this afternoon, while in certain municipalities over 80% f the registered voters turned up at the booths.

    Meanwhile the "contact group" is to convene tomorrow in order to review the developments in the region. The participants are expects to proceed to decisions concerning the imposition of sanctions on the Yugoslav government.

    [08] US DELEGATION IN KOSSOVO FOR ELECTIONS, BUT WAS DENIED ACCESS

    Web Posted: 20:14 GMT+2

    Prishtina, March 22 (MPA)

    A 15-member delegation of United States officials, headed by three congressmen, was denied access to Kossovo where the members were to meet with Albanian leaders and overview today's unofficial elections in the region.

    According to press reports, the Serb authorities refused to grant them a visa.


    Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/


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