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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-01-14

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.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, January 14, 2000

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEK FIRMS RELUCTANT TO INVEST IN KOSOVO
  • [02] GREECE REJECTS "PACKAGE" SOLUTION WITH TURKEY
  • [03] LAB TESTS TO EXAMINE CAUSES OF MYSTERIOUS DEATHS
  • [04] TWO OUT OF 3 GREEK KIDS GET SPANKED EVERY DAY
  • [05] IOC TEAM TO VISIT ATHENS THIS MONTH
  • [06] PARALYZED BABY FROM KOSOVO OPERATED IN GREECE
  • [07] ELEFTHERIOS VENIZELOS VOTED "GREEK OF THE CENTURY"
  • [08] DUKAKIS OPTIMISTIC OVER CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [09] STATE URGES CALM OVER FLU EPIDEMIC RUMORS
  • [10] BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION BOARD MEETS ON MONDAY
  • [11] CRPM'S EUROPEAN MEETING IN KASTORIA
  • [12] MONEY IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR THE YOUNG GREEKS
  • [13] GAINS OF 1.78% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [14] PAPANTONIOU EXPRESSED SATISFACTION OVER THE REVALUATION OF THE DRACHMA
  • [15] THE COST OF LIVING IN GREECE IS LOW
  • [16] THE ASIA FORUM 2000 WILL BE HELD IN FEBRUARY
  • [17] SIMITIS: ELECTIONS WILL BE HELD WHEN IT WILL BE DICTATED BY NATIONAL INTEREST
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [18] GREEK FM MEETS WITH BRITISH COUNTERPART OVER CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [19] CYPRUS, UK TO SIGN MEMORANDUM
  • [20] AEGEAN PHOTOGRAPHS EXHIBITED IN WASHINGTON
  • [21] ORTHODOX NEW YEAR CELEBRATED IN YUGOSLAVIA
  • [22] STABILITY PACT MEETING HELD IN SKOPJE
  • [23] PROTEST LETTER AGAINST THE VIOLATIONS OF THE NICOSIA FIR

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREEK FIRMS RELUCTANT TO INVEST IN KOSOVO

    Greek investors have their misgivings towards Kosovo's market, fearing the high risk entailed in their ventures as a result of the unstable political situation and the non-existent legal and legislative framework.

    To be more exact, a mere two percent out of about 3,000 firms that have expressed an interest in undertaking projects in Kosovo is Greek, which lack of interest is attributed to the belief that Kossovars have animosity for Greeks given their pro- Serb stance during the crisis.

    Nevertheless, the anti-Greek climate has apparently subsided, as it was ascertained during a business mission conducted to Prishtina yesterday by the Association of Northern Greek Industries (SVVE) and the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.

    The 56-member delegation was the first to be organized by European firms, thus paving the way for similar initiatives from other countries as well.

    The visa issuance process is another "thorn" in the strengthening trade between Kosovar and Greek investors, as the latter are forced to travel to Belgrade and Nis and wait in long queues for the necessary paperwork.

    As a result, bilateral business trade remains at poor levels, in spite of the vast investment opportunities that are emerging in the region through the reconstruction process.

    [02] GREECE REJECTS "PACKAGE" SOLUTION WITH TURKEY

    Greece is flatly rejecting any "package" solution that would link Aegean Sea matters that cause friction between the two countries with the Cyprus issue, stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou during an interview with the BBC.

    Moreover, Mr. Papandreou underlined that Greece will not accept a confederation solution for the island, while he did not confirm reports of a European Union plan concerning Famagusta's supervision.

    Referring to the confidence building measures (CBMs), the Foreign Minister stated that they are "positive", adding that they are designed to strengthen the negotiations conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that he and his British counterpart Robin Cook, with whom he had met earlier in London, agreed that he European Union needs to undertake a more active role in the Cyprus issue, proposing that "it could encourage contacts between Greek- Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots at a non-governmental level."

    The talks between Messrs. Papandreou and Cook also spanned the present situation in Yugoslavia.

    "Greece and the United Kingdom do not agree on all issues pertaining to Yugoslavia," Mr. Papandreou stated, adding that "nevertheless, both countries recognize the need to establish democracy in Belgrade so as to facilitate Yugoslavia's rapprochement with Europe."

    [03] LAB TESTS TO EXAMINE CAUSES OF MYSTERIOUS DEATHS

    Laboratory tests are to be conducted in Thessaloniki in order to determine what caused the deaths of three persons who had developed flu-like symptoms.

    According to Thessaloniki coroner Dimitris Psaroulis, the three individuals, who are unrelated, showed symptoms of a viral infection which probably caused the deaths, although he has added that he does not know where it originated from and stated that he will wait for the lab test results in order to ascertain the causes. He said that the deaths could have been caused by meningitis, although he did not exclude the possibility of influenza.

    The family members of one of the victims, a 30-year-old mother of two, have all been hospitalized at Thessaloniki's Hospital for Infectious Diseases as a precautionary measure.

    [04] TWO OUT OF 3 GREEK KIDS GET SPANKED EVERY DAY

    Two out of every three children in Greece, even as young as pre-schoolers, get spanked by their parents almost on a daily basis, according to a study conducted by the Children's Health Institute.

    Specifically, 65 percent of the parents polled admitted to exercising various forms of corporal punishment at home, with the striking at times (two percent) becoming so severe as to require the child's hospitalization. Moreover, the study revealed that six out of every hundred kids who beat at home suffer some form of physical injury.

    Apparently, most parents "beat the devil out of them" in an effort to control or influence their child's behavior, yet, the study reveals, this form of "virtuous violence" is hardly effective as nine out of ten children repeat the mischievous act over which they were punished.

    [05] IOC TEAM TO VISIT ATHENS THIS MONTH

    A delegation of officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are to arrive in Athens on January 26 in order to review the preparations for the 2004 Olympics to be held in Athens.

    According to official reports, 75 percent of the sports facilities for the Olympic Games have been completed, with the Olympic Village, a media center and some sports venues remaining to be built.

    [06] PARALYZED BABY FROM KOSOVO OPERATED IN GREECE

    A 13-month-old baby from Kosovo paralyzed in one leg underwent surgery in Athens yesterday where doctors removed a cyst from its back.

    The baby girl, Rita Bekceli, was paralyzed after an unsuccessful operation performed in Belgrade last month. Accompanied by her Albanian parents, she will arrive in Athens aboard a Greek air force plane provided by the Greek government.

    The Greek branch of the Doctors of the World, which is active in Kosovo, was contacted by the baby's parents and arranged for the for the family's transportation to Greece in cooperation with the Greek foreign ministry.

    [07] ELEFTHERIOS VENIZELOS VOTED "GREEK OF THE CENTURY"

    According to the results of nationwide poll conducted in December by the Athens daily "Ta Nea", Eleftherios Venizelos, the leading Greek statesman of the early decades of the century, has been voted as the "Greek of the 20th Century".

    In 1910 Venizelos became prime minister of Greece and supported the Balkan League against Turkey (1912) and Bulgaria (1913). As a result of these conflicts Greece gained territory from its defeated rivals.

    On the outbreak of WWI, Venizelos favored an alliance with Britain, France and Russia against the Central Powers. Venizelos wanted Greece to give military aid to the Allies during the Dardanelles campaign, and when King Constantine I refused to agree, he resigned from office.

    Upon his re-election after a landslide victory in March 1915, he ordered mobilization of the Greek Army. When Venizelos invited the Allied forces to Salonika he was dismissed by the king. Venizelos returned to Crete where he formed a provisional revolutionary government.

    With the support of Allied forces, Venizelos made plans to march on Athens. In June 1917 King Constantine I was deposed and Venizelos was able to regain power without resorting to force. He led the Greek war effort until the Armistice in November 1918. At the Versailles Peace Conference, Venizelos won substantial territorial gains from Bulgaria and Turkey.

    Despite his achievements Venizelos was defeated in the 1920 General Election. The new pro-royalist government invited King Constantine I back to power.

    He served as prime minister again in 1924, 1928-32 and 1933. In 1935 Venizelos came out of retirement to support another revolt in Crete. When this failed Eleftherios Venizelos was forced to flee to France where he died in 1936.

    Ranking second on the poll, which also drew responses from as far abroad as the US, Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada and even Japan, is Andreas Papandreou, the founder of the leading PASOK party.

    George Papanikolaou, the Greek medical scientist who invented the life-saving Pap smear test for cervical cancer, ranked high on the poll, as well as former minister of culture Melina Mercouri, famous for her screen role in the film Never on Sunday and her campaign fore the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    World-renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis was the only musician to be named leading figure of the century, while opera diva Maria Callas was also chosen by a relative minority.

    Novelist Nikos Kazantzakis - twice nominated for the Nobel literature prize - and Nobel-laureate in poetry Odysseas Elytis, were also favorite choices in the poll.

    [08] DUKAKIS OPTIMISTIC OVER CYPRUS ISSUE

    Former Democratic Party presidential nominee Michael Dukakis is both optimistic and confident that United States President Bill Clinton's recent visit to Turkey and Greece could well accelerate the process for a settlement to the festering 25-years Cyprus problem.

    Speaking during the inauguration of a faculty chair (named after him) in Public Policy and Service at Thessaloniki's American Anatolia College this fall, Mr. Dukakis stated that "there's no question in my mind that President Clinton is far more personally committed to attempting to do something about this problem than any president that I've known,"

    The chairmanship for the department is the first of any school in Greece to be named after an American leader and the first with an eponymous chair in public policy in northern Greece.

    For 12 years the governor of Massachusetts, a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston as well as a visiting professor at the department of policy studies at UCLA, Mr. Dukakis noted that the world had entered a new phase with the collapse of communist rule in eastern Europe.

    As the Greek-American daily "National Herald" reported, Mr. Dukakis stated that "we lived for nearly 40 years in a world where nearly everything was interpreted through the prism of the Cold War.

    "The Soviet Union went broke in the process. The United States almost did... Virtually every regional conflict, rightly or wrongly, was viewed as being part of the ideological struggle..." he said, adding that in the meantime the international outlook had changed dramatically for the better.

    [09] STATE URGES CALM OVER FLU EPIDEMIC RUMORS

    Undersecretary of Health Theodoros Kotsonis has urged the public to remain calm and not be swayed be the recent rumors of an influenza epidemic, stressing that the state has drawn all the necessary measures to address the issue.

    State physicians are also urging calmness and have pointed out that most of the patients who flocked to the hospitals are panic-stricken over rumors of a deadly influenza epidemic.

    [10] BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION BOARD MEETS ON MONDAY

    The Balkan Reconstruction Organization will hold its first session in Thessaloniki on Monday, following a four-month delay.

    The Organization's board will convene at the CEDEFOP premises, where the European Union and Greece will be represented by Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten and the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis, respectively.

    Moreover, the head of the Kossovo Task Force Marco Franco will be present, along with the French EU official Iger Migarelli who is slated to become Mr. Franco's successor as soon as next week.

    Commenting on Mr. Migarelli's appointment, Mr. Franco stated that "he is a French official with lengthy experience, who, upon the undertaking of the post, is to shuffle between Thessaloniki and Prishtina. .

    [11] CRPM'S EUROPEAN MEETING IN KASTORIA

    The first meeting of the political office of the Conference of Mediterranean Coastal Regions (CRPM) for the year 2000 will be held in Kastoria, north-western Greece on January 21.

    The decision for the meeting to be held in that specific region had been made during CRPM's general assembly meeting in Finland in 1999.

    North-western Greece is a full member of CRPM since 1995. CRPM's goal is the development of the European Union coastal regions, the solution of their special problems, the establishment of solidarity mechanisms and the development of dialogue and cohesion among its members.

    [12] MONEY IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR THE YOUNG GREEKS

    Money is the most important value for the young Greeks, according to a research conducted by the VRC Institute on behalf of the Young Generation general secretariat. In the research participated 1.600 young people from across the country aged 15-29 years old who were asked questions about their values and their goals in life.

    According to the research, their views are being formed based on the region where they live. Therefore, the young people in Thessaloniki appear more cynical, in Athens more tired, in Crete more romantic, in Thessaly more spoiled.

    Money have a special value for 49.9% of the young men and 45.4% of the young women and it should be noted that most of them are not concerned about their vacations because they prefer to work. In Thessaloniki, only 28.8% regard entertainment as important and 29.7% in Athens. On the contrary, 42.2% of the young people in Crete appear to be more fun-loving. When asked to give their opinion about the feeling of being in love, 74.5% of the young men and 67.7% of the young women responded that it is important in their lives.

    However, young people in Thessaloniki and Athens appear to be more satisfied with their lives compared to those in other regions (Athens 73.2%, Thessaloniki 71.7%, Macedonia and Thrace 63.7%, Thessaly and Epirus 61% and Crete 50.6%).

    Based on the research, they appear to prefer to watch more the state television programs (55%) as 70% are mistrustful toward the private television stations. The young men are more cautious toward the newspapers 65.5%, compared to women with 57.2%. The young people in Thessaloniki appear to trust the newspapers (52.4%) more compared to those living in other regions, while the young people in Crete trust them less (11.8%).

    [13] GAINS OF 1.78% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The general index in the Athens Stock Exchange closed with gains of 1.78% at 5.273,83 points today.

    However, the volume of transactions remained low under 200 billion drachmas at 197,1 billion. The change in the drachma exchange rate is expected to give a boost to the Athens Stock Exchange as according to minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou, the revaluation of the drachma will be regarded as an indication of the strength of the Greek economy.

    [14] PAPANTONIOU EXPRESSED SATISFACTION OVER THE REVALUATION OF THE DRACHMA

    Minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou stated that the revaluation of the drachma will have a positive effect on the Greek economy and the stock market while at the same time he expressed the view that the foreign institutional investors will return to the Athens Stock Exchange soon.

    The exact date when the drachma's new central rate of exchange will be decided remains unknown for the time being as according to Mr. Papantoniou it will be decided in consultation with the European Union partners.

    The minister of national economy categorically denied the rumors circulating from time to time according to which, the government is the one making the stock market to record gains or losses. He said that the stock market does not need saviors as it has its own autonomous logic and there is no intervention on behalf of the state.

    On the interest rates front, the developments are clear according to Mr. Papantoniou who stated that there will be a downward course in 2000 as they will have to approach the 4-4.5% level of the European interest rates.

    [15] THE COST OF LIVING IN GREECE IS LOW

    Greece is among the cheapest EU countries in terms of the cost of living according to a research by British and French consumers organizations. The Greeks pay less for the most common products and services together with the Spaniards and the Portuguese while the British pay the most.

    Sports items, electronic games and fuel are cheaper in Greece compared to other EU countries, while a fast-food meal is much more expensive. Also, the car prices are much higher in Greece compared to other countries contributing decisively to the cost of living in the country.

    However, the Greeks based on figures provided by the EU statistics agency Eurostat, continue to be the poorest of all the EU citizens as they have the smallest purchase power and spend most of their income on food.

    [16] THE ASIA FORUM 2000 WILL BE HELD IN FEBRUARY

    The "Asia Forum 2000" which is organized for the first time next February and May under the auspices of the Greek government is aimed at opening up new markets for the Greek products and promote the Greek exports and investments.

    The geographic field of the Forum which will be held in Thessaloniki covers 90 countries with a total population of 4.5 billion people. It is a Greek initiative aimed at the permanent business meeting of Asian, European Union, Eastern Europe, Balkan, Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East countries.

    [17] SIMITIS: ELECTIONS WILL BE HELD WHEN IT WILL BE DICTATED BY NATIONAL INTEREST

    The Greek cabinet met in Athens today presided over by prime minister Kostas Simitis. The prime minister speaking to the participating government ministers pointed out that the "election talk" in the country creates a climate of insecurity, while he made it clear that the government is not concerned with the scenarios over early elections.

    Mr. Simitis stated that elections will be held when it will be dictated by national interest reiterating that the first goal of the government in the following six months is Greece's participation in the European Economic and Monetary Union, EMU.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [18] GREEK FM MEETS WITH BRITISH COUNTERPART OVER CYPRUS ISSUE

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with his British counterpart Robin Cook in London yesterday with who he discussed the Cyprus issue and the situation in the Balkan region.

    Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated that he briefed Mr. Cook on the contacts he had in Cyprus earlier this week and the climate prevailing there with regard to future developments.

    In turn, Mr. Cook referred to the efforts exerted by the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, in achieving a settlement of the Cyprus problem. The British Foreign Secretary stated that these efforts should lead to a solution that will put an end to the present situation on the island.

    Commenting on his talks with the Greek foreign minister, Mr. Cook said they had the opportunity to exchange views on issues of concern to the Balkan region and the future of Europe, as well as how to maximize the benefits from the achievements of the Helsinki summit.

    [19] CYPRUS, UK TO SIGN MEMORANDUM

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Yannakis Kasoulidis and the British High Commissioner on the island, Edward Clay are to sign a memorandum today which will amend one of the provisions of the Treaty for the Establishment of the Cyprus Republic.

    According to press reports, the memorandum will give the British forces official permission to use the area of Kalo Horio as a firing range instead of Akama, which has been used until now by the British infantry and men from the air force and navy in accordance with the Treaty of Establishment signed in 1960.

    [20] AEGEAN PHOTOGRAPHS EXHIBITED IN WASHINGTON

    A photography exhibition titled "The Aegean: Images of Greece" will be inaugurated in Washington next week by the general secretary of the Greek press ministry, Yannis Nikolaou.

    Eleven of Greece's best photographers have joined forces in displaying 160 photographs which depict the faces and landscapes of the Aegean, the birthplace of Greek civilization and a source of inspiration for writers and artists over the centuries.

    The exhibition will open on January 21.

    [21] ORTHODOX NEW YEAR CELEBRATED IN YUGOSLAVIA

    Tens of thousands of Yugoslav revelers, including opponents of the governing regime, took to the streets of Belgrade and the rest of Yugoslavia last night to celebrate the start of the Orthodox New Year.

    Most of Yugoslavia's 10 million population are Orthodox Christians and celebrate the New Year according to the Julian calendar on January 14.

    According to the French news agency AFP, most events were sponsored by local authorities, but in Belgrade 15,000 people turned up for an anti-regime concert organized by the students' group Otpor (Resistance), which has actively opposed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

    [22] STABILITY PACT MEETING HELD IN SKOPJE

    The establishment of a task force, whose primary duty will be the overcoming of hurdles in the development of trade cooperation in Southeastern Europe, was decided upon during yesterday's Skopje-held meeting of the Stability Pact.

    The meeting was attended by officials from S.E. European countries, the European Union, European Commission, the United States and Canada, as well as representatives of international organizations and financial institutions.

    The issues primarily discussed were the trade regulations in S.E. Europe, ways of improving customs services and the expedition of import-export processes.

    [23] PROTEST LETTER AGAINST THE VIOLATIONS OF THE NICOSIA FIR

    A protest letter against the violations of the Nicosia FIR and the Cypriot airspace by Turkish fighter jets was sent to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan by permanent representative of Cyprus to the United Nations Mr. Sotos Zakheos.

    The letter was sent on January 3 and concerns the violations recorded on December 7, 8, 20, 22, 24, 27, 28 and 29.

    In the letter Mr. Zakheos underlined the need for Turkey to comply with the UN resolutions pointing out that after the recent resumption of the proximity talks on Cyprus a positive behavior was expected that would have ended similar provocation in order to avoid affecting the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem in a negative way.


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