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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-05-03

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, May 3, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEKS SUPPORT UNIFIED EUROPE, BUT REMAIN GREEKS
  • [02] REPORTS ON GREEK ECONOMY EXPECTED TO BE POSITIVE
  • [03] PRINCE CHARLES IN GREECE, VISITS MOUNT ATHOS
  • [04] THESSALONIKI'S GRAPHIS 2000" TO ATTRACT THOUSANDS
  • [05] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS RESUMES FLIGHTS TO LIBYA
  • [06] FIFTY KILLED IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS DURING EASTER
  • [07] CULTURE, FINANCE MINISTERS DISCUSS OLYMPIC GAMES
  • [08] WORLD DAY AGAINST ASTHMA MARKED TODAY
  • [09] THE BABY-BOY HELD BY HIS EGYPTIAN GRANDFATHER WAS RETURNED TO HIS PARENTS IN GREECE
  • [10] GREECE WILL JOIN THE EMU
  • [11] REPPAS: THE GOVERNMENT IS FULLY SATISFIED WITH THE EMU REPORTS
  • [12] HALF OF THE GREEKS OWN MOBILE PHONES
  • [13] GAINS OF 0.30% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [14] REPPAS: FREEDOM OF PRESS IS AT AN ENVIABLE LEVEL IN GREECE
  • [15] THE "PLASTICS OF CRETE" COMPANY WILL ESTABLISH A JOINT VENTURE IN CHINA
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [16] GREEK, TURKISH FMs DISCUSS CYPRUS WITH HOLBROOKE
  • [17] FOREIGN ENVOYS DUE IN CYPRUS THIS WEEK
  • [18] US STATE SECRETARY SUPPORTS G/T RAPPROCHEMENT
  • [19] PORTUGUESE FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS CYPRUS
  • [20] US STATE SECRETARY CALLS INVESTORS TO BALKANS
  • [21] GREEK FM BRINGS UP TERRORISM ISSUE WITH ALBRIGHT
  • [22] GREEK FM EXPRESSES CONTAINED OPTIMISM
  • [23] GREEK,TURKISH FMs MEET IN NEW YORK
  • [24] THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT WILL RATIFY THREE AGREEMENTS WITH GREECE
  • [25] COUNTERFEIT GREEK PAPER MONEY IN ALBANIA
  • [26] NINETY TWO GREEKS VISITED THE PRINCE ISLANDS IN ISTANBUL

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREEKS SUPPORT UNIFIED EUROPE, BUT REMAIN GREEKS

    The majority of Greeks are fervent supporters of a unified Europe, albeit not forgetting that they remain thoroughly Greek.

    According to the 52nd "Eurobarometer" poll published in the Athens daily "Ta Nea", 57 percent of Greeks, along with the Danish (60%) and the Dutch (55%) support Europe's unification, all ranking among the countries with the most positive view of this feat.

    Greece is also the country with the most ardent supporters of a common European defense and foreign policy, with 80 percent of its citizens viewing this development as absolutely essential.

    According to the report, those least enamored with the idea of Europe's unification are the French, only 34% of whom hold this development in a positive light.

    [02] REPORTS ON GREEK ECONOMY EXPECTED TO BE POSITIVE

    The assessment reports on the Greek economy by the European Central Bank and the European Commission are to be published today and confidence abounds that their content will be a positive one as Greece has satisfied the five prerequisites for entry into the Economic and Monetary Union.

    ECB governor Wim Duizenberg and Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Pedro Solbes are to submit their views on the Greek economy to the Economic and Monetary Committee at noon today. The report is expected to contain suggestions as to how the Greek government should conduct its economy policy and correct weaknesses.

    Following its accession into the EMU, the country will implement an economic policy that will aim to sustain low inflation and fiscal deficit.

    The Greek inflation rate is already on a downward trend and expected to decelerate even more in the second half of the year following OPEC's decision to increase oil production.

    The next stage in the Greek application will come on May 26 when the economic and financial committee meets to discuss the issue.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou has stated that the country has completed its participation in membership procedures and that it now faced two milestones: first, an ECOFIN Council meeting on June 6 and the final decision on Greece's EMU membership by an EU summit in Lisbon, June 19.

    [03] PRINCE CHARLES IN GREECE, VISITS MOUNT ATHOS

    Prince Charles arrived at the all-male monastic community of Mount Athos yesterday, where he participated in the vespers service and was reported to also attend the morning Orthros service.

    The Prince of Wales arrived at the Greek island of Limnos on Monday accompanied by Camilla Parker and his bodyguards.

    According to press reports, the prince has been active in supporting the activities of "The Friends of Mount Athos" in Britain, especially in the of efforts to preserve the unique animal and plant wildlife of the peninsula.

    [04] THESSALONIKI'S GRAPHIS 2000" TO ATTRACT THOUSANDS

    Four thousand retailers are expected to visit the 8th "Graphis 2000" exhibition of office supplies, books and toys, to be held at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair between May 5-8.

    About 100 companies will be taking part in the exhibition, which will be held on a 3,000 sq. meter area, especially from the Balkan region and Southeastern Europe.

    The "Helexpo" organizers of the exhibition have received requests for details from as far as Ukraine, India and Cameroon while a delegation of Russian business agents is expected to arrive, their visit organized by Greece's Bureau of Economic and Trade Affairs in Moscow.

    The exhibition will run between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the first day, 11 a.m. to 9p.m. during the weekend, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.

    The National Book Center will hold an event on the modernization of bookstores on Sunday, within the framework of the exhibition.

    [05] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS RESUMES FLIGHTS TO LIBYA

    Greece's national carrier Olympic Airways has resumed flights to Libya after the United Nations lifted an embargo on the country in place since 1990.

    Olympic Airways now runs three flights a week to Benghazi - on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

    [06] FIFTY KILLED IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS DURING EASTER

    In spite of the extra measures traffic police had taken, the Easter exodus this year was one of the worst on record in terms of traffic accidents, as 50 people lost their lives and 500 others injured in 328 reported accidents from Easter Thursday up to Monday evening.

    According to traffic police reports, most of the fatal accidents were due to driver error, such as speeding, overtaking, driving on the wrong side of the road, driving distractions and other factors.

    [07] CULTURE, FINANCE MINISTERS DISCUSS OLYMPIC GAMES

    Following a meeting with Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos, the National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou stated that with a strong economy, the government would implement its policy statements and boost the culture sector.

    The two ministers discussed all issues relating to the culture ministry's financial situation, as well as possible revenue sources for the 2004 Olympic Games to be held in Athens.

    [08] WORLD DAY AGAINST ASTHMA MARKED TODAY

    The Health Ministry is sponsoring a series of events to mark World Day against Asthma, a disease that affects about 700,000 Greeks, most of them children, and costs around 30 billion drachmas annually in treatment.

    A seminar is to take place at the ministry today with a representative of the Education Ministry, to set up educational programs for schools on dealing with the disease.

    [09] THE BABY-BOY HELD BY HIS EGYPTIAN GRANDFATHER WAS RETURNED TO HIS PARENTS IN GREECE

    The 20-month old baby-boy kept by his Egyptian grandfather since last August was returned to his parents in Greece (Greek father and Egyptian mother). The little boy arrived in Athens on board a flight from Alexandria, Egypt last night after the mediation of the Greek government.

    The boy was accompanied by Greek consul general Michalis Daratzikis and his grandmother and was handed over to his parents Yiannis and Jihad Diamanti.

    [10] GREECE WILL JOIN THE EMU

    The European Commission report that was given to publicity in Brussels today gave the green light to Greece's EMU membership. European Commissioner Pedro Soibles stressed that Greece meets most of the economic preconditions, while it was pointed out that in the past years the country had achieved a notable progress and stability was secured by the economic policy followed.

    The next steps will be the final evaluation by the Council of finance ministers and the approval of its EMU membership by the June 19 EU Summit in Lisbon.

    Minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou pointed out the positive character of the European Commission and the European Central Bank reports on Greece's EMU membership. He also stressed that Greece met easily all the criteria for its accession into the EMU and pointed out that the country will adopt the Euro at the same time with the 11 Euro-zone countries, adding that the contents of the report concerning Greece were more positive compared to the reports drawn up two years ago on the accession of the 11 European countries into the EMU.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that no clearly stated praise of the economic policy followed by a government was included in any other report in the past, while he underlined that the European Commission report does not include any suggestions whatsoever, on the Greek economy.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that it was recognized that Greece in the last 6 years covered a distance four times bigger compared to the other Euro-zone countries in order to achieve its economic targets. He said that Greece started out in 1993 with a four times bigger state budget deficit of 14% of the GDP and with four times bigger inflation. Therefore, stated Mr. Papantoniou, Greece's progress was more impressive than that achieved by the rest 11 Euro-zone countries.

    Referring to the Commission's positions on the fulfillment of the five convergence points, Mr. Papantoniou said that the inflation criterion was set by the Maastricht Treaty at 2.4% when the Greek inflation was at 2% in March. On the public deficit, Mr. Papantoniou reminded that in 1999 was at 1.6% of the GDP, while the criterion set was at 3%.

    On the debt, Mr. Papantoniou cited the Commission's report in which it is estimated that it is on a constant decline with the prospect to drop under 100% of the GDP in 2001. On the criterion of the foreign exchange rate, it is mentioned that the drachma is part of the Foreign Exchange Mechanism for a period of over 2 years and that during that time it did not face serious pressures.

    Finally, the interest rate criterion will be met easily. The criterion for the long-term interest rates is set at 7.2%, while the average interest rate in Greece in the month of March was at 6.4%.

    Referring to the structural changes, Mr. Papantoniou stated that the Commission report does not include any recommendations whatsoever toward this direction, while on the job market, he stressed that the report also does not include any recommendation, clarifying that at present there is no issue for a review of the existing institutional framework.

    [11] REPPAS: THE GOVERNMENT IS FULLY SATISFIED WITH THE EMU REPORTS

    The Greek government is fully satisfied with the EMU reports issued by the European Commission and the European Central Bank, stated government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, adding that they are a reward for the efforts made by the Greek people.

    Mr. Reppas said that the government policy is successful and the efforts made were justified, while the contents of the reports fully reflect the successes achieved. He also added that the same course will be continued with the necessary adjustments, while the goal is the restructuring and establishment of the social state.

    [12] HALF OF THE GREEKS OWN MOBILE PHONES

    Almost 4.300.000 Greeks own mobile phones, according to the figures provided by the three main mobile companies in Greece namely, Panafon, Telestet and Cosmote.

    However, 82% of those who do not have a mobile phone do not intent to get one in the next 12 months, leading the companies to a race for the reduction of their rates aimed at attracting more customers.

    Those facts, gathered in a research conducted by the company FOCUS and were presented by the Athens newspaper "ETHNOS", confirm that the Greek mobile phone market is on the rise and at the same time it is close to its limits.

    The same research shows that men use mobile phones more compared to women, while regarding the professional groups using the mobile phones the leading place is held by architects and engineers with 78.9%.

    By March 31, Panafon had 1.773.000 clients, Telestet 1.278.321 and Cosmote 1.220.172.

    [13] GAINS OF 0.30% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains of 0.30% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.381,14 points while the volume of transactions was at satisfactory levels over 110 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 102 recorded gains, 231 had losses while 35 remained at yesterday's levels.

    [14] REPPAS: FREEDOM OF PRESS IS AT AN ENVIABLE LEVEL IN GREECE

    The freedom of press is synonymous with democracy and the respect for the rights of the citizens, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on the occasion of the Freedom of Press World Day.

    Mr. Reppas referred to the free, unhindered and objective operation of the mass media which is the main ingredient for the functioning of the democratic institutions and added that Greece has achieved an enviable level of freedom of press.

    [15] THE "PLASTICS OF CRETE" COMPANY WILL ESTABLISH A JOINT VENTURE IN CHINA

    The Greek company "Plastics of Crete" will found a joint venture in China after an agreement signed with the state-run company "Shanghai San Hua Film Plant".

    The new company in which the "Plastics of Crete" and its partners from Taiwan own 80% of the shares, while the Chinese company owns 20%, is named "Shanghai HiTec Plastics Co. Ltd" and will proceed with an investment of US$10 million for the production in China of plastic sheets used in greenhouses and in other farming sector applications, based on the know-how that will be provided by the Greek company.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [16] GREEK, TURKISH FMs DISCUSS CYPRUS WITH HOLBROOKE

    The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbooke received the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Papandreou and Ismail Cem respectively, yesterday, with whom he discussed the Cyprus problem.

    According to reports, Mr. Holbrooke stressed the need for a resolution to the issue, and underlined US President Bill Clinton's willingness to do all he can down to the last hour of his presidency.

    Moreover, the US diplomat is reported to have implied that he could be personally involved with the resolution of the Cyprus problem at some point.

    [17] FOREIGN ENVOYS DUE IN CYPRUS THIS WEEK

    Foreign envoys dealing with the Cyprus issue on are expected on the island this week in an effort to move the peace process forward.

    British envoy Sir David Hannay is to arrive in Cyprus tomorrow, during which he will meet with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and, separately, with Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. The visit comes in advance of the forthcoming third round of the UN-sponsored "proximity talks."

    The United Nations special advisor for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will arrive on May 8, when he is scheduled to have meetings with the President and the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    [18] US STATE SECRETARY SUPPORTS G/T RAPPROCHEMENT

    In an awards ceremony honoring the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, Messrs. George Papandreou and Ismael Cem respectively, United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pledged support for Greek-Turkish rapprochement in Cyprus.

    Ms. Albright stated that "the United States will do everything in its power to help our dear friends and allies sustain their extraordinary momentum, and to encourage new steps towards a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus."

    Moreover, she added that both Messrs. Papandreou and Cem, "have done more to bring about reconciliation between Greece and Turkey than any comparable duo in living memory."

    The Secretary of State also praised the two countries' role in helping to end the Balkans conflict, calling both nations "incredible allies to the US."

    Mr. Papandreou called the division of Cyprus a "tragedy," and expressed "hope that Cyprus may one day be united." He further added that Prime Minister Costas Simitis "is committed to patiently pursuing this cause."

    Mr. Cem, addressing his Greek counterpart as "a colleague and friend," called for better relations between the two countries through "carefully crafted agreements" and noted that Greece and Turkey have concluded nine such agreements between them thus far.

    [19] PORTUGUESE FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS CYPRUS

    Portugal's Foreign Minister and president of the EU Council of ministers, Haime Gama, arrived in Cyprus yesterday for talks with his Cypriot counterpart Yannakis Kasoulidis, as well as with the head of the negotiating team for Cyprus' EU accession, George Vasiliou.

    The Portuguese foreign minister's visit to Cyprus marks the beginning of a series of diplomatic visits, in view of the upcoming third round of proximity talks on Cyprus in New York.

    Mr. Gama will also be received by the Cypriot president Glafcos Clerides, while he is scheduled to meet with the Turkish- Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    [20] US STATE SECRETARY CALLS INVESTORS TO BALKANS

    US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urged private investors to support the efforts of the United States and European governments to bring political stability to the Balkans through economic development.

    Addressing a conference organized by the East-West Institute on the theme "the new geopolitics in southeast Europe and the climate for investment.", Ms. Albright described the Stability Pact with Balkan countries as "a two-way bargain" rather than a one-way street, and said "the region has agreed to do all it can to create the economic, political and security conditions that will make development possible and private investment rewarding."

    Moreover, she praised the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Papandreou and Ismael Cem respectively, "for aiding development, promoting investment, and helping to turn the Balkans problem into the Southeast European opportunity."

    She also stated that Serbia would be welcome to participate in the Stability Pact's projects and programs when it became democratic.

    [21] GREEK FM BRINGS UP TERRORISM ISSUE WITH ALBRIGHT

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou discussed the State Department report on global terrorism, which essentially accuses Greece of inaction, with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during their meeting in New York yesterday.

    Stating that the report is unjust to Greece, Mr. Papandreou said that "it is known everywhere that Greece has made it a top aim to deal with terrorism, that it is a country with especially great security for its citizens and that it has signed many relevant agreements with other countries."

    [22] GREEK FM EXPRESSES CONTAINED OPTIMISM

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed "contained optimism" following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ismael Cem and U.S. Secretary of state Madeleine Albright, with whom he discussed issues pertaining to Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem.

    "I believe that it was a very significant opportunity for our country to promote the Cyprus issue in light of the developments, especially of the (forthcoming) third round of talks to begin on May 23 under the auspices of the United Nations.

    It is a significant matter to us, whose positive outcome will definitely contribute to the Greek-Turkish rapprochement," he stated.

    While he stated that the US have underlined their interest in resolving the issue, he added that he cannot assess Turkey's stance, albeit he added that "we will soon see Mr. Denktash's stance and will be able to draw our own conclusions."

    [23] GREEK,TURKISH FMs MEET IN NEW YORK

    The Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Papandreou and Ismael Cem respectively, met in New York yesterday where they expressed their intent to promote the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) over the Aegean.

    According to reports, in a trilateral meeting with Messrs. Papandreou and Cem, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked them to maintain the present climate in Greek-Turkish relations and to deal with their differences constructively.

    Mr. Papandreou is to meet with the US presidential envoy to Cyprus Alfred Moses.

    [24] THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT WILL RATIFY THREE AGREEMENTS WITH GREECE

    Three of the agreements signed by Greece and Turkey will be ratified by the Turkish parliament.

    According to the Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet", prime minister Bulent Ecevit decided to bring the agreements on economic cooperation, investment protection and sea transportation to parliament for ratification.

    The agreements will be discussed in parliament immediately after the election of the new Turkish president.

    [25] COUNTERFEIT GREEK PAPER MONEY IN ALBANIA

    An Albanian from Korce tried to sell in the black market of the city of Lezia counterfeit Greek paper money with a total value of 350.000 drachmas.

    According to information from the ministry of public order, an investigation is underway to determine if the individual arrested is a member of an international ring of counterfeiters who are channeling hundreds of thousands of counterfeit paper money from different countries in Albania.

    [26] NINETY TWO GREEKS VISITED THE PRINCE ISLANDS IN ISTANBUL

    Greeks from the Buyukada island, the largest of the Prince Islands in Istanbul, they were forced to leave 45 years ago during the violent riots that erupted against the Greeks, returned there for a one-week visit looking for signs of the past and anticipating to meet with some of their old friends. The Turkish newspaper "Radikal" wrote that "their hearts were always here" and all 92 visitors from Greece were received warmly with a sign writing "Welcome".

    The moving report published on the Turkish newspaper underlines that the Greeks were sobbing because the islands were their home and they had lived there in peace with their Turkish neighbors.

    One of them, called Miltos, remembered that during the riots his family's Turkish friends had raised a Turkish flag at their house in order to protect them from the rioters and had slept outside their door to chase away any intruder. A woman, called Irene, visited Buyukada with her son. Her father had died in Athens and was buried there but before his death he had expressed the wish to be buried in Buyukada. His daughter fulfilled his wish and brought her father's remains to the island in 1992.


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