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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-05-30

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 30, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] ONLY TRAINED STAFF IN PUBLIC SECTOR FROM NOW ON
  • [02] GREEK PRESIDENT ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO CANADA
  • [03] GREECE REMAINS FIRM ON WWII REPARATIONS MATTER
  • [04] CANADIAN PM ON TURKEY'S NUCLEAR REACTORS BUY
  • [05] ONASSIS AWARDS TO THEODORAKIS, D'ESTAING, DORAN
  • [06] STRING OF MEASURES FOR REFORMING PUBLIC SECTOR
  • [07] FAA REPORTEDLY REFUSES LANDING TO O.A. AIRBUSES
  • [08] PM TO ATTEND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN BERLIN
  • [09] BSTDB EFFORTS FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE BLACK SEA ECONOMIES
  • [10] OECD ON THE GREEK ECONOMY
  • [11] PAPANTONIOU: THE OTE MANAGEMENT WILL REMAIN IN THE HANDS OF THE STATE
  • [12] SIMITIS AND PAPANDREOU DISCUSSED THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS AND CYPRUS
  • [13] VARDINOYIANNIS LEFT THE ATHENS FOOTBALL TEAM OF PANATHINAIKOS
  • [14] LOSSES OF 0.52% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [15] SIMITIS: WE ARE BOTH GREEKS AND EUROPEANS
  • [16] MEETING OF THE PRIME MINISTERS OF GREECE AND BELGIUM
  • [17] INTER-BALKAN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION CENTER IN THESSALONIKI
  • [18] THESSALONIKI COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY CHAMBER DELEGATION WILL VISIT BURSA AND ISTANBUL
  • [19] GREEKS DO NOT TAKE THE RISKS OF SUN EXPOSURE SERIOUSLY
  • [20] GREEKS AND TURKS HAVE NOTHING TO DIVIDE BETWEEN THEM
  • [21] THE CHINESE ARE EXCITED WITH THE OLIVE OIL FROM MESSINIA
  • [22] WATER MELONS ARE USED TO HIDE CONTRABAND CIGARETTES
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [23] CANADIAN PM, GREEK PRESIDENT DISCUSS CYPRUS
  • [24] EU IS SIMPLIFYING DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] ONLY TRAINED STAFF IN PUBLIC SECTOR FROM NOW ON

    In an effort to purge the country's ailing public sector, whose present labor force is mostly composed of elementary or high school graduates, the Ministry of the Interior has announced that only trained public servants will be hired from now, with preference granted to those holding a university or technical college degree.

    As Interior Minister Vaso Papandreou indicated, out of Greece's 410,000 public servants -excluding teaching staff, the judicial body, state-employed doctors and security personnel -, 49 percent have only finished high school and 24 percent only made it to elementary. A mere 12 percent holds a technical college diploma, while only 15 percent have a university degree.

    [02] GREEK PRESIDENT ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO CANADA

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos is presently on an official visit to Canada, at the invitation of the country's General Governor Adrien Clarkson.

    During his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Cretien, President Stephanopoulos expressed his concern over the possible establishment of a nuclear plant in Akuyu, Turkey, through the aid of Canadian technology.

    Messrs. Stephanopoulos and Cretien discussed bilateral relations and the prospect of their development in the political, economic and cultural sectors.

    The Canadian Premier referred to Greek-Turkish relations and expressed his satisfaction over the steps taken by both coutrnies' foreign ministers.

    Moreover, the secretary of Canada's Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures, Steven Aston, presented the Greek President with a declaration that read "we must tell Britain that it is time to return the sculptures to the place where they belong, Greece."

    The President, who is accompanied by a 30-member delegation of Greek businessmen, laid a wreath at Ottawa's Monument of the Unknown Soldier yesterday.

    [03] GREECE REMAINS FIRM ON WWII REPARATIONS MATTER

    Greece continues to remain firm on the matter of reparations to be paid by the German state to descendants of 214 Greeks brutally executed in the Viotia town of Distomo by German occupation troops during World War II.

    Responding to a relevant question tabled in Parliament by deputy Spyridon Striftaris (Communist Party of Greece), alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi also said that the state is in search of a political resolution that will be satisfy Greece's claim, but not harm Greek-German bilateral ties, which she characterized as excellent.

    Ms. Papazoi stressed that "we are justified, both morally and historically." However, she added, "there are complex legal processes which need to be handled carefully. The matter was recently presented by the President of The Republic (Kostis Stephanopoulos) to his German counterpart (Johannes) Rau and by Foreign Minister (George Papandreou) to his German counterpart (Joschka) Fischer. Germany is refusing to recognize the Greek court's jurisdiction."

    When the suit was initially filed in a Livadia lower court in 1995 on behalf of the descendants, the German state refused to recognize the competence of the local court and thus the case was not considered legally represented.

    The Supreme Court admitted the case and ruled to award the victims' families 8 billion drachmas, with interest accrued for the delay from the time the decision was announced to the German government.

    Germany then proceeded to appeal the case directly to the Greek supreme court, whose competence it thus proceeded to recognize, arguing that German court had the right to adjudicate the case extraterritorially.

    If the German state does not to comply with the content of the ruling, the interested parties intend to hasten the necessary execution of a writ against it.

    That means either seizure by the European Commission, which will proceed to withhold the amount from funds to which Germany is entitled.

    The Treaty of Rome says that with the permission of the Court of the European Communities, seizure can be enforced, with the European Commission collecting the funds, in order to satisfy a claim based on a court ruling against a member-state.

    [04] CANADIAN PM ON TURKEY'S NUCLEAR REACTORS BUY

    Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien assuaged the concerns expressed by visiting President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos over Canada's plan to sell nuclear reactors to Turkey.

    Speaking to journalists after their meeting, Mr. Chretien said that he told President Stephanopoulos that if the CANDU nuclear reactor is constructed in Turkey as planned, then "it will be on a secure site, safe from earthquakes.

    "I assured the president there will be no agreement (to sell the reactor) unless security is assured."

    Furthermore, Mr. Chretien stated there will be a strict agreement restricting the use of the reactor to producing electricity "and nothing else."

    In turn, President Stephanopoulos responded "I am very satisfied with the prime minister's reply."

    [05] ONASSIS AWARDS TO THEODORAKIS, D'ESTAING, DORAN

    Greece's internationally acclaimed composer Mikis Theodorakis, former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Nebraska professor and environmental researcher John W. Doran are this year's recipients of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation awards.

    Each of the recipients will also be awarded a $250,000 cash prize in a ceremony to be held on November 7 in Athens.

    The Foundation refrained from awarding prizes last year, citing the conflicts in the Balkan region.

    [06] STRING OF MEASURES FOR REFORMING PUBLIC SECTOR

    The government has announced a string of measures to reform the public administration system while radically altering the structure and workings of the public sector.

    Following a meeting with Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou, Prime Minister Costas Simitis presented a series of 26 measures which are intended to be in effect by 2004, including a new assessment system for civil servants, less red tape in transactions with citizens, and a more structured hiring system.

    "The state of the economy is very important in the new phase Europe is undergoing, but we will not succeed without an efficient public administration system," the Premier stated, adding that much improvement is needed in the area of local administration.

    [07] FAA REPORTEDLY REFUSES LANDING TO O.A. AIRBUSES

    The United States' Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has reportedly denied landing rights to all of Olympic Airways' new A340 Airbus aircraft, although it has yet to inform the Greek aviation authorities over the said refusal, or the reasons thereof.

    Naturally, a number of questions have arisen over the matter, especially since the Greek national air carrier was intending to replace two of its US-bound older aircraft (Boeing) with the newer Airbus A340.

    At the same time, the FAA has not asked for a reduction in Olympic Airways' routes to the United States, as long as OA maintains the two Boeing aircraft active in its fleet.

    Olympic Airways sources have characterized the FAA's move as "irrational", albeit pointing out that it leads to a number of questions which are to be examined through diplomatic routes.

    [08] PM TO ATTEND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN BERLIN

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to depart for Berlin on Thursday where he will participate in the international conference titled "Progressive Governing in the 21st Century" on June 2-3.

    As the Premier has stressed, this is the first time in Greece's modern history that the country has a role in activities that can shape the beginning of a change in the world's political character.

    United States President Bill Clinton, European center-left leaders and representatives of Latin American countries will also take part in the conference, while eight of the European Union's 15 member-states will be represented, along with Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand and Israel.

    The conference constitutes the first time that the central- left forces and the social democrats are searching for a cohesive strategy in the new era's problems.

    In an article he penned in last Sunday's edition of "To Vima", Mr. Simitis wrote that the conference "has to give essence to the future, discuss ways with other progressive leaders to avail the future to all, with equal opportunities, without exceptions." Mr. Simitis stated that the globalized economy is creating globalized problems, which necessitate international cooperation.

    "Globalization is not a dilemma, it's an irreversible reality," he stated, adding "the question is how do we take advantage of the opportunities, what are the political costs, with what regulatory measures are we going to counter the mechanisms that transform society into a market or ostracize social justice."

    The Greek Premier stressed that the conference will grant the 15 world leaders with the opportunity to search for answers for a progressive government, stemming from the common values that bind us, such as liberty, democracy, social justice, respect for human dignity, as well as solidarity and mutual responsibility.

    The conference features the participation of those socialist leaders in the EU who are presently in office.

    Aside from Mr. Simitis, other European leaders attending the event are the premiers of Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and Sweden.

    [09] BSTDB EFFORTS FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE BLACK SEA ECONOMIES

    The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) is mapping out the sectors in which specific actions can be taken aimed at the recovery of the Black Sea economies. Already, the bank has approved the funding of 7 investment projects, while two new projects of US$5.5 million are expected to get the "green light" of approval by the BSTDB Board of Directors.

    Within this framework, a US$10 million loan deal was signed between the Black Sea Bank and the Turkish SINAI YATIRIM BANKASI (SYB) on April 4 aimed at backing the small and medium sized businesses that were hurt by the recent earthquakes in Turkey. This activity is BSTDB's debut in Turkey, while the distribution of the first package of the approved sums is expected to start next June.

    Furthermore, in a decision reached on April 14 the Bank's Board of Directors chose the Bulgarian FIRST INVESTMENT BANK as an intermediary in view of the US$5 million credit opening for the country. A similar move was made by BSTDB on March 3 when the BSTDB chose the DEMIRBANK SA bank as an intermediary for the management of a US$4 million loan.

    Among the actions approved recently by the bank is the granting of a loan for the construction of a new natural gas compressor station in Tarutino, Ukraine which will be part of the existing Ananyev-Izmail trans-Balkan natural gas pipeline. The materialization of the project with a total budget of US$77 million will allow for the supply with an additional maximum quantity of 3.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

    Furthermore, the Bank approved a loan of US$10 million for the construction of a Greek tanker at the Nikolaev shipyards in Ukraine. The tanker will be part of the AVIN INTERNATIONAL fleet of the Vardinoyiannis Group, while the sum allocated will give an economic boost to the Ukrainian shipyards.

    Finally, on December 17, 1999 the bank's Board of Directors chose the Turkish bank TURK EXIMBANK and the Russian VNESHTORBANK as intermediaries for short-term business funding in Turkey and Russia. Specifically, the bank approved the opening of credit lines of US$16 million and US$10 million respectively for the two countries.

    [10] OECD ON THE GREEK ECONOMY

    According to a report by the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Greece will approach a growth rate of 4% in the current and the next year, while the low interest rates will boost investments, pointing out however, that the inflation risk continues to be visible.

    The OECD believes that the Greek GDP will be 3.8% in 2000 and will be increased by 0.1% in 2001. In the report it is also mentioned that the low interest rates will boost investment initiatives and will help in the recovery of the construction sector.

    According to the international organization, Greece will join the Euro-zone but the easing of monetary conditions ahead of this will have to be offset by a stepped up pace of fiscal consolidation through restraining government spending.

    The international organization points out that keeping inflation at low levels is still the main priority of the country's economic policy.

    [11] PAPANTONIOU: THE OTE MANAGEMENT WILL REMAIN IN THE HANDS OF THE STATE

    Minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou stated that the efforts aimed at finding a strategic partner for the Greek Tele-communications Organization, OTE, will be launched by the end of 2000.

    Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that the control and management of OTE will remain in the hands of the state, while the composition of the share capital is not a taboo and will be put up for discussion.

    [12] SIMITIS AND PAPANDREOU DISCUSSED THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS AND CYPRUS

    The confidence-building-measures in the Aegean, the Greek- Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue, the Balkan policy and the 2004 Olympic Games were at the center of the meeting held this morning by prime minister Kostas Simitis and foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    After the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated that he briefed the prime minister on the outcome of the contacts he had in Florence, Italy with his counterparts from the United States and Turkey Ms. Madeleine Albright and Ismail Cem.

    [13] VARDINOYIANNIS LEFT THE ATHENS FOOTBALL TEAM OF PANATHINAIKOS

    Giorgos Vardinoyiannis left the Athens football team of Panathinaikos after 21 years of active presence in its management.

    In a press conference he gave yesterday he announced that he will no longer be the team's president after 7.608 days at the post.

    During his term as the team's president, Panathinaikos won 6 championships and 9 Greek Cups. In the period 1984-85, the team was among the "4" of the European Championship Cup while in 1995- 96 it was among the "4" top teams in the Champions League and was defeated by Ajax in the finals.

    The team will not be sold and at its wheel will be a young member of the Vardinoyiannis family possibly, Pavlos Vardinoyiannis with his cousin Yiannis.

    [14] LOSSES OF 0.52% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The Athens Stock Exchange recorded losses of 0.52% and the general index was at 4.570,19 points, while the volume of transactions was at 138 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today 176 recorded gains and 159 had losses.

    [15] SIMITIS: WE ARE BOTH GREEKS AND EUROPEANS

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis stated that we are both Greeks and Europeans and there is no dilemma on whether we are Greeks first and then Europeans, responding indirectly to a question raised by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece on the issue that arose after the government decision not to list the bearer's religion on the identity cards.

    The prime minister stated after the meeting he had in Athens today with his Belgian counterpart that Europe is the result of what we offer and therefore, Greece is European because Europe is Greek.

    Responding to a question by a reporter, the Belgian prime minister pointed out that Greece is the cradle of civilization and Europeans and Greeks are the same thing.

    [16] MEETING OF THE PRIME MINISTERS OF GREECE AND BELGIUM

    Flexibility issues within the framework of the European Union were discussed this morning in the meeting of Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis with his visiting Belgian counterpart Guy Verhofstat.

    Mr. Simitis said that they discussed issues concerning the two countries as well as institutional issues that arise from the role of Greece and Belgium in the European Union. Specifically, it was stressed that there is a need for closer cooperation between the countries within the framework of the European Union given the fact that when the EU will be enlarged further there must be new forms of flexible cooperation.

    They also discussed the positions that will be adopted by the two countries in the next Summit meeting, ways for the EU adjustment to the new situation that will be the result of the enlargement and the efforts made to back economic cooperation in the Euro-zone. Mr. Simitis stated that the Euro-zone must secure progress and development.

    The situation in the Balkans was discussed by the two prime ministers in the lunch given in honor of the Belgian leader.

    [17] INTER-BALKAN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION CENTER IN THESSALONIKI

    The establishment and operation of an Inter-Balkan Public Administration Center that will be based in Thessaloniki was promoted by the Associations of Public Employees Unions from 4 countries in the region that met in Thessaloniki at the initiative of Thessaloniki's Public Employees Unions.

    The meeting was attended by the Bulgarian Confederation of Independent Unions (KNSB/CITUB), FYROM's Public Administration Employees Union (UPOZ) and the Albanian Independent Union Employees in the sector of health (ITUHEA) and it is placed within the framework of the "contemporary public management" program that is financed by the INTERREG II EU program.

    The contemporary public management program aims at promoting the development of networks of cooperation along the borders and their placement within a wider EU network, the creation of a permanent structure of cooperation in the sector of public administration and the cooperation of the existing networks with international organizations.

    [18] THESSALONIKI COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY CHAMBER DELEGATION WILL VISIT BURSA AND ISTANBUL

    A delegation of Thessaloniki's Commerce and Industry Chamber will leave for Turkey tomorrow to visit the Chamber of Bursa and have contacts with Turkish businessmen.

    The Thessaloniki Commerce and Industry Chamber delegation will be made up of 23 businessmen who are scheduled to visit the OYAK-RENAULT car industry plant and the frozen and canned food industry plant of Penguen in Bursa as well as the Sonmez Holding textile plant and the Ozdilek Trade Center of towels and textiles.

    The Greek delegation will leave for Istanbul on Saturday and it will visit the city's Chamber of Commerce. Their visit will be completed on Sunday with a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    [19] GREEKS DO NOT TAKE THE RISKS OF SUN EXPOSURE SERIOUSLY

    The Greeks go on summer vacations without taking seriously the risk of sun exposure as only two out of five state that they use a sun-tanning lotion when they are exposed to the sun, while the rest of them state that they do not use anything for their protection from the sun rays.

    This alarming conclusion was reached based on the results of an opinion poll conducted by the "Focus" polling company on a sample of 10.316 men and women aged between 13 and 70, who live in Athens, Thessaloniki and other towns. The results of the opinion poll were published by the Athens newspaper "Ethnos".

    [20] GREEKS AND TURKS HAVE NOTHING TO DIVIDE BETWEEN THEM

    Mayor of the Turkish town of Urgup Mr. Bekir Odenis called on the leaderships of Greece and Turkey to follow the example of the people of the two countries who have proven that they can live in harmony and have nothing to divide between them. Mr. Odenis is on a visit to the central Greek city of Larisa accompanied by his adviser Alex Kurakhian.

    Mr. Odenis met with his Greek counterpart in Larisa, Mr. Tzanakoulis, who stressed that the Greek-Turkish relations are at a very good course and the two peoples only want to live in peace.

    [21] THE CHINESE ARE EXCITED WITH THE OLIVE OIL FROM MESSINIA

    If the olive oil from Kalamata is the best in Greece then it is the best in the world, stated the Chinese embassy trade adviser Ms. Sui Hui, who until now knew nothing about the quality of the Kalamata olive oil, but now she is ready to examine ways for the promotion of olive oil trade transactions between China and Greece.

    The statements were made during her visit to the southern Greek city at the invitation of Chamber of Commerce president Giorgos Karabatos and director of the municipal music school Nikos Xanthoulis. Ms. Hui stated that there should be two types of olive oil, one just for cooking and another that could be used for cosmetic purposes, while she also suggested that the packaging should be made in China and the names that will be used should be ancient Greek.

    [22] WATER MELONS ARE USED TO HIDE CONTRABAND CIGARETTES

    Water melons and other fruit and vegetables are being used as a front by the cigarette smuggling rings in order to make their profitable illegal exports from northern Greece to Britain where a pack of cigarettes cost three times more and therefore their profits are bigger.

    According to a news report published on the Athens newspaper "Kathimerini", it is estimated that each time the profits from this illegal trade are about US$600.000 while just a few days ago police confiscated 180.000 contraband packs of cigarettes.

    Based on information, British Intelligence Service agents are in Thessaloniki to cooperate with the Greek police in order to break up the smuggling ring.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [23] CANADIAN PM, GREEK PRESIDENT DISCUSS CYPRUS

    Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and visiting President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos discussed the continuing problems of Cyprus and hopes of re-uniting the island's Greek and Turkish communities.

    When asked by reporters if Canada might have a role to play in the re-unification process, Mr. Chretien responded "if we are asked, we will be pleased to help."

    As for suggestions that Canada's constitution might be used as a basis for drafting a new federal constitution for Cyprus, the Canadian Premier said that "this has to be resolved by the two communities there."

    [24] EU IS SIMPLIFYING DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS

    Splitting up will be legally simpler for couples living in the European Union as a result of a new regulation adopted by EU justice and foreign ministers yesterday.

    Effective as of March 1, 2001, the regulation makes clear that a divorce settlement in one EU country will be recognized automatically in the other 14 member states, with no need for additional civil formalities.

    The regulation is based on the concept of the "usual residence" of a divorcing couple, officials said. For instance, in the case of a British couple living in Italy, an Italian court will deal with their breakup.

    Child custody and visiting rights are also covered by the regulation.


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