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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-02-03

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, February 3, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] TURKEY'S FM IN ATHENS TODAY
  • [02] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE IN ATHENS
  • [03] ELECTIONS: PM EXPECTED TO UNVEIL HIS INTENTIONS TOMORROW
  • [04] GREEK FM RECEIVES US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
  • [05] GREEK PAVILION AMONG MOST PROMINENT AT EXPO 2000
  • [06] POLL: PASOK STILL AHEAD BY WIDE MARGIN
  • [07] THESSALONIKI KIDS PARTY MORE, WORKOUT LESS THAN ATHENIANS
  • [08] GREEK FM SALUTES G/T RAPPROCHEMENT
  • [09] HALCYON DAYS ON ATHENS BOURSE
  • [10] OECD GIVES SIX POINTERS TO GREEK ECONOMY
  • [11] TEENAGERS SMOKE AND DRINK
  • [12] THE INFLATION CRITERION WILL BE MET IN FEBRUARY
  • [13] THE CHARTER OF RIGAS - INTER-BALKAN INSTITUTION
  • [14] GAINS RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] THE GREEK CABLES WILL PURCHASE A ROMANIAN COMPANY
  • [16] CONSULTATIONS ON THE FYROM - CYPRUS RECOGNITION
  • [17] 138 PEOPLE WERE INJURED WHEN A FLOOR COLLAPSED

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] TURKEY'S FM IN ATHENS TODAY

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ismael Cem is to arrive in Athens today where he and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou will sign four "low policy" agreements.

    During Mr. Cem's three-day visit - which government spokesman Dimitiris Reppas hailed yesterday as "yet another sign of normalization in bilateral relations" - the two foreign ministers are expected to sign agreements of cooperation on matters of science and technology, shipping, customs, education and economic affairs. Discussions are also underway for an agreement on avoiding double taxation.

    The Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense convened yesterday in order to discuss Greek-Turkish relations. Mr. Papandreou made it clear that he expects nothing more from Mr. Cem's visit than the signing of the said agreements.

    Meanwhile, Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos stated that Greece is rejecting the Turkish proposal for the establishment of a military-political committee over Aegean-related issues.

    Mr. Reppas, when asked to comment on Mr. Cem's statements concerning the resolution of the Cyprus issue if the island's occupied part is recognized, responded that such statements may be made by Turkey for domestic consumption but, he added, they undermine the efforts to resolve the issue.

    Mr. Reppas underlined that Cyprus is one of Greece's national priorities.

    [02] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE IN ATHENS

    The second European Parliamentary Conference on information and communication technology is taking place in Athens today, featuring the participation of 50 deputies from the European Union's member-states, as well as deputies from countries presently under accession.

    The two-day conference will be inaugurated by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis while PASOk deputies Theodoros Katsanevas and Dimitrios Sarris are to jointly preside over the event.

    The conference is also attended by two deputies from each Greek party represented in parliament.

    [03] ELECTIONS: PM EXPECTED TO UNVEIL HIS INTENTIONS TOMORROW

    Persistent rumors of early elections are expected to be silenced once and for all tomorrow, when Prime Minister and ruling PASOK party leader Costas Simitis will chair a Cabinet meeting during which he is expected to announce when the country will go to the ballot line.

    PASOK is also organizing an ideological conference on February 5-6 during which the Prime Minister is expected to announce the party's agenda for the next governmental term.

    Even if the county were to go to early elections, Mr. Simitis' cadres are not really "sweating it out", primarily as a result of the ECOFIN's recent nod of approval regarding the country's course to the Economic and Monetary Union, as well as recent polls that give a clear edge to the ruling party and its leader over the opposition.

    [04] GREEK FM RECEIVES US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE

    Foreign Misnter George Papandreou received the US assistant Secretary of State Thomas Pickering yesterday, during the latter's visit to Athens, part of a Balkan tour.

    Messrs. Pickering and Papandreou discussed the developments in the Balkan region, Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.

    Regarding the Balkan Reconstruction Program, Mr. Papandreou stated that various formulas have to be discovered so as to not exclude the Serb people from the regional programs.

    Concerning Greek-US relations, the two men discussed bilateral cooperation on police issues. Earlier, Mr. Pickering was received by Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and the leader of the main opposition party, New Democracy's Costas Karamanlis.

    [05] GREEK PAVILION AMONG MOST PROMINENT AT EXPO 2000

    A Greek pavilion will be set up in the most prominent portion of the world Expo 2000 exhibition in Hannover this year.

    The exhibition, to be held between June 1 and October 31, will focus on "Man, Nature and Technology" and will be dedicated to sciences, technology and arts, with man being the focal point.

    Featuring the participation of a total of 190 countries and international organizations, Expo 2000 is expected to be visited by some 40 million visitors.

    Held every four years, the exhibition will feature each participating country in a "national day", offering the public a chance to focus more particularly on each nation's display.

    The Greek pavilion, which will have its national day on June 25, will be divided into three areas: first, the balance between man, technology and nature; second, the technologies of yesterday, today and tomorrow; and third, the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

    [06] POLL: PASOK STILL AHEAD BY WIDE MARGIN

    The ruling PASOK party enjoys a significant lead over opposition New Democracy in the Attica basin, leading by seven percentage points, according to a survey conducted by "Metron Analysis".

    Specifically, 35.7 percent of those polled responded that they intend to vote for PASOK, as opposed to 28.7 percent who opted for New Democracy. The Communist Party of Greece amassed 5.5% of the respondents' votes, followed by the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) with 4.8%, the Democratic and Social Movement with 4.2%, the Liberals with 1.6% and Political Spring with .9%.

    When asked to assess which will win the elections, 56.7 percent of those polled responded "PASOK", while 22.1% believe that New Democracy will prevail.

    [07] THESSALONIKI KIDS PARTY MORE, WORKOUT LESS THAN ATHENIANS

    Thessaloniki's kids party more but workout less than their Athenian counterparts, according to a survey conducted by the Mental Health Research Institute on students between the ages of 11-15.

    Since partying entails night clubbing, the study also revealed that thirty percent of the pre-teens and teenagers polled in the northern city go out at least three nights a week, a rate unmatched by the capital where only 21% of the kids surveyed are allowed to go out on school nights and so frequently.

    However, sixty percent of the youngsters in Athens work out on a regular basis, whereas in Thessaloniki the comparable rate is, well, negligible. Since lack of exercise often leads to gluttony, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Thessaloniki's kids have a sweet tooth and an overall craving for junk food and soda pop, both of which they consume at a higher rate than their Athenian counterparts, according to the survey.

    [08] GREEK FM SALUTES G/T RAPPROCHEMENT

    Turkey's European prospect has established new horizons for the said country and the positive climate currently noted in Greek- Turkish relations is a very positive tool for diplomacy , according to Greece' s Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    In an on-the-air discussion with Athens's Flash radio listeners, Mr. Papandreou stated that all activities expressing friendly sentiments between the two peoples are welcome, albeit, he added, any such initiatives should not surpass the limits of the law.

    Concerning the infringement of Athens's air space by Turkish military aircraft, Mr. Papandreou stated that that these acts are not conducive to the establishment of a positive climate between the two peoples and that they should stop altogether.

    He did refer to data presented by Defense Minster Akis Tsochatzopoulos, according to which these phenomena have become rare and simulated air fights are no longer taking place.

    Concerning the re-operation of the Theological School of Chalki and the Greek minority residing in Turkey, Mr. Papandreou assessed that these issues will be resolved through Turkey's European course.

    Regarding the Moslems in Thrace, the Foreign Minister stated that the government wants to ensure them with a sense of security so that they feel as Greek citizens, Europeans.

    As for the Cyprus issue, Mr. Papandreou ruled out the confederation option and stressed that both morally and practically, a one-state federation is the best solution, while he said that no wall can be erected between the Greek -Cypriots and the Turkish-Cypriots.

    [09] HALCYON DAYS ON ATHENS BOURSE

    Halcyon days have appeared on the Athens Stock Exchange, whose upward trend is propelled on the one hand by persistent rumors over early elections (thus giving investors an outlet for psychological pressures) and, on the other hand, over the recent nod of approval given by the ECOFIN.

    Moreover, the further de-escalation of interest rates, rendering Greek titles an even more attractive option, is expected to further boost the ASE, which surpassed the 5,200- points mark after yesterday's session, the second consecutively upward-bound one.

    [10] OECD GIVES SIX POINTERS TO GREEK ECONOMY

    Greece's Ministry of National Economy has received a "sample" of the pointers to be included in the annual report of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from the organization's delegation currently in Athens,

    Namely, the OECD officials urge the Greek government to adopt regulations that will ease the permit issuance process for goods and product importation. Also, it suggests that Greece should review its licensing process for public transportation vehicles, combat bureaucracy related to foreign investment, limit the voluminous paperwork necessary for job establishment in Greece, alleviate the income tax filing procedures, and to overhaul the insurance sector, expediting the privatization process.

    The OECD report on the Greek economy is to be issued in November.

    [11] TEENAGERS SMOKE AND DRINK

    Most teenage drug addicts had started smoking at an early age, while they show a special preference to alcohol, according to the "Strofi" Center for the Treatment of Addicted Individuals.

    Specifically, 50% of the teenagers, who contacted the center in 1998 to participate in a rehabilitation program, stated that they had started smoking when they were between 14 and 16 years old, while 46.3% responded that they first started smoking when they were under 13 years old. In addition 72.5% of them were smoking up to 20 cigarettes a day.

    On the alcohol consumption, according to figures provided by the center, 50.5% of the teenage drug addicts had consumed up to 5 drinks in the last month before asking for help by the specialists in the center. A 23.6% had consumed from 6 to 15 drinks, while a 3.6% stated that they had consumed up to 200 drinks in a period of one month.

    [12] THE INFLATION CRITERION WILL BE MET IN FEBRUARY

    Minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou after the meeting he had with prime minister Kostas Simitis to brief him of the course of the economy and the approval by ECOFIN of the Greek convergence plan, appeared optimistic that the inflation criterion will be met by Greece in February and the country will join the EMU.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that the ECOFIN decision essentially opens the way for Greece's accession into the EMU and added that the next step will be the filing of the accession application in early March. When asked to comment on the public opinion polls, Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that they are not linked with early elections adding that the time of the elections will be set taking under consideration the national interest.

    [13] THE CHARTER OF RIGAS - INTER-BALKAN INSTITUTION

    An inter-Balkan cultural institution named "The Charter of Rigas" was founded recently in Athens with the backing of 26 distinguished Greek personalities, while the initiative is also expected to have the backing of 10 mayors from northern Greece headed by Thessaloniki mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos.

    The institution was founded last December but its formal presentation will take place in October together with the publication of the magazine "Peritechno" translated into English and all the Balkan languages.

    [14] GAINS RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The Athens Stock Exchange closed its session today with gains for a third consecutive day. It appears that the positive news from the front of the Greek economy in combination with the fact that the market is certain that there will be early elections gave a boost to the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general price index closed at 5.297,32 with gains of 1.69%, while the volume of transactions was at 278 billion drachmas.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] THE GREEK CABLES WILL PURCHASE A ROMANIAN COMPANY

    The Greek Cables company which belongs to the Viochalko Group announced its intention to buy 36.574.512 shares of the Romanian company ICME ECAB.

    The stocks represent 48% of the Romanian company's social capital and the value of each share is 1.740 lei compared to the nominal value which is 1.000 lei.

    According to the Romanian news agency Madiafax, the Greek company has already 51.7% of the ICME ECAB stocks which specializes in the production of cables.

    As soon as the Greek company purchases the package of the ICME ECAB shares it will try to achieve its further development and increase its production through reforms an modernization of its equipment. The ICME ECAB has a social capital of 75.790 billion lei.

    [16] CONSULTATIONS ON THE FYROM - CYPRUS RECOGNITION

    The Skopje newspaper "Dnevnik" referred again to the issue of the establishment of diplomatic relations between FYROM and Cyprus maintaining that in spite of the negative statements made by FYROM foreign minister Alexander Dimitrov the government will recognize Cyprus.

    The newspaper mentions that the second round of consultations between Nicosia and Skopje on the issue will start in the second half of March, while regarding the term set by the government namely, that FYROM should be recognized under its so-called constitutional name, the newspaper writes that there is the precedent of the diplomatic recognition of Romania and Albania. In their case no identical documents were exchanged and the newspaper explains that in the documents of Cyprus FYROM will be mentioned under the name under which it was recognized by the United Nations, while on the FYROM documents will be the country's "constitutional" name.

    [17] 138 PEOPLE WERE INJURED WHEN A FLOOR COLLAPSED

    At least 138 people were injured when the floor of a furniture store collapsed in Seville, Spain. According to the authorities, the floor collapsed when a total of about 400 people rushed to the store to buy chairs at very low prices. The accident happened this morning just five minutes after the opening of the store.

    Five people were seriously injured and are in a critical condition, while the rest were slightly injured and fortunately no one was killed.

    One of the customers who were injured stated that first they heard two loud cracking sounds and then the floor collapsed and all of them ended up at the ground floor.


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