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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-05-31

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 31, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] ECONOMY MINISTER MEETS WITH GREEK EURODEPUTIES
  • [02] EUROPEAN COMMISSION SETS DRACHMA'S EURO PARITY
  • [03] FURTHER INCREASES ON FUEL PRICES EXPECTED
  • [04] MAJORITY DISGRUNTLED WITH PUBLIC SERVICES
  • [05] COMMISSION: GREECE HAS CLEANEST BEACHES IN EU
  • [06] STATE TO CREATE 75,000 NEW JOBS THIS YEAR
  • [07] STATE IN SEARCH OF STRATEGIC OFFERS FOR OTE, O.A.
  • [08] GREEKS AMONG WORLD'S MOST AVID SMOKERS
  • [09] OECD FORECASTS DROP IN GREECE'S UNEMPLOYMENT
  • [10] SAE'S ATHENS CHEERS ON GREEK-CANADIAN YOUTH
  • [11] DEVELOPMENT MINISTER ATTENDS EU ENERGY COUNCIL
  • [12] EXPLOSIVE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF CANCER CASES
  • [13] EGYPTIAN INTEREST IN ESTABLISHING COOPERATION WITH THE COMMERCE AND BUSINESS CENTER OF EVROS
  • [14] THE MARINES' LANDING AT KIPARISSIA WAS POSTPONED FOR A DAY
  • [15] GAINS OF 0.83% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [16] APOSTOLAKIS' STATEMENTS ON TURKEY AND ARMAMENTS
  • [17] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS' STATEMENTS ON THE IDENTITY CARDS ISSUE
  • [18] REPPAS ON THE ISSUE OF THE IDENTITY CARDS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [19] GREEK-AUSTRALIAN REACTIONS TO THE RECENT HIGH COURT DECISION
  • [20] PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS IS IN MONTREAL

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] ECONOMY MINISTER MEETS WITH GREEK EURODEPUTIES

    In a meeting with Greek deputies of the European Parliament, Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou stressed the importance of strengthening the institutional role of the finance ministers' council in shaping the European Union's economic policy.

    Referring to the EU's expansion, Mr. Papantoniou said that there must be forms of a more enhanced cooperation that will boost integration and assessed that the accession of the 12 candidate countries will have been completed by the year 2005.

    Following the meeting, the Minister told reporters that the Greek government's privatization program "forbids lay-offs" and that it ensured job positions.

    He further added that the government will further support lower and medium-sized incomes through tax and social spending measures.

    [02] EUROPEAN COMMISSION SETS DRACHMA'S EURO PARITY

    Twenty days ahead of the drachma's official entry in the euro currency, the European Commission yesterday adopted the necessary community legislative regulations and recommended that the Greek currency's switch parity should be set at 340.750 drachmas against the euro.

    The Commission's proposals are following a decision by a European Union summit in Portugal, aimed at completing the drachma's euro entry by June 20, 2000. The decision typically announces that the Greek currency's parity will be permanently fixed against the euro on January 1, 2001.

    Moreover, the European Commission has also adopted recommendations to amend community regulations on the euro currency aiming to legislatively establish the circulation of euro coins and bank notes by January 1, 2002 in Greece and the other 11 members of the euro zone.

    [03] FURTHER INCREASES ON FUEL PRICES EXPECTED

    Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis is reportedly searching for ways to partially alleviate consumers from the l burden of increasing fuel prices, such as convincing oil companies and refineries to absorb at least part of the price volatility.

    In accordance with the dollar's parity and international prices, diesel fuel is expected to rise by five drachmas as of today, thereby resulting in inflationary pressures.

    Mr. Christodoulakis has also announced the creation of an Energy Futures Contracts Market, aimed at supervising the operation of deregulation of the energy sector and develop support services and employment in the Balkans and the Southeast Mediterranean region.

    [04] MAJORITY DISGRUNTLED WITH PUBLIC SERVICES

    The majority of Greeks are dissatisfied with the existing status quo of public services, citing long queues and red tape, but they report to be especially disgruntled with the behavior of civil servants.

    According to a recent survey conducted by the Information Center, 57 percent of those polled are vexed by the conduct of public service employees in their transactions, while half are convinced that the state's city planning, internal revenue, police and health departments are routinely involved in corruption.

    Interior Minister Vaso Papandreou has announced a string of measures to reform the public administration system, including a new hiring system based on meritocracy, less red tape in transactions with citizens, and a more structured hiring system.

    [05] COMMISSION: GREECE HAS CLEANEST BEACHES IN EU

    Greece has the cleanest beaches among all of the European Union's 15-member-states, according to an annual report released by the European Commission.

    Citing samples taken in 1,816 Greek beaches, the report writes that 95.8 percent of the tested sites meet even the most stringent cleanliness standards.

    The Netherlands are second on the list, with 93.6%, followed by Italy with 92.4%.

    According to the European Commissioner for Environmental Issues, Greece also has one of the longest swimming seasons, lasting from five to six months, with the period between May15 - October 31 being the most suitable.

    [06] STATE TO CREATE 75,000 NEW JOBS THIS YEAR

    The Greek government plans to create 75,000 new jobs this year through a pilot program that ultimately aims at boosting employment by 300,000 jobs in the period 2000-2004, according to Labor and Social Security Minister Anastasios Yiannitsis.

    Presenting the government's national action plan for employment to the parliament's social affairs committee, the Minister said that Greece is among the top European Union states in employment growth rates, based on 1994-1999 figures, with 150,000 new jobs created in the previous four years.

    [07] STATE IN SEARCH OF STRATEGIC OFFERS FOR OTE, O.A.

    Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou believes that a tender for the state-owned Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE) will have been submitted by the end of the year, while the fate of the national air carrier Olympic Airways is dependant upon the offer to be made by British Airways.

    As a matter of fact, British Airways top managers are expected in Athens today to submit their proposal for purchasing a 20-percent stake in O.A.

    In case the deal falls through, the state is reportedly considering an international tender for a minority stake in Olympic plus the management of the airline.

    [08] GREEKS AMONG WORLD'S MOST AVID SMOKERS

    Today is International Day Against Smoking and a number of anti-smoking organizations have released grim statistics on the deadly effects of the habit, one maintained by 43 percent of Greeks.

    In Greece, the country with the highest proportion of smokers in Europe, resistance to smoking bans is strong, despite warnings that the habit is responsible for 30 percent of cancer deaths and 20 percent of deaths from heart disease.

    According to Eurostat, 15,000 thousand die each year from smoking-related illnesses, 4,000 of whom from lung cancer.

    Moreover, one out of every three Greek children light up at the tender age of 13, while one out of every two adolescents smokes half a pack a day.

    As a whole, Greeks spend one trillion drachmas annually, with each smoker consuming an average of 3,000 cigarettes a year.

    [09] OECD FORECASTS DROP IN GREECE'S UNEMPLOYMENT

    Greece will experience a growing development rate and reduced joblessness during 2000-01, according to an annual economic outlook report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    According to the report, Greece's development rate will approximate the four percent mark during the next two year period, while unemployment is expected to slowly abate from last year's 10.7% mark to 9.8 percent in 2001.

    Moreover, OECD reports that Greece is poised to enter the euro zone as, even though inflation did rise during the first quarter of 2000, the country's median inflation rate has not surpassed the two-percent mark since February.

    [10] SAE'S ATHENS CHEERS ON GREEK-CANADIAN YOUTH

    The president of the Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE) Andrew Athens urged the Greek-Canadian youth to undertake a leadership role in those programs supporting less fortunate Greeks.

    "The future of Hellenism and Orthodoxy is based on your strong dedication to our long-established values," Mr. Athens stated during his address before the 16th Annual Conference of the Hellenic-Canadian Congress in Montreal, where he was a keynote speaker at the congress' youth chapter.

    Moreover, the SAE leader urged the attending youth to financially contribute to SAE's Medical-Pharmaceutical Program that has been drawn for the support of the suffering Greek communities in the republics of the former Soviet Union.

    [11] DEVELOPMENT MINISTER ATTENDS EU ENERGY COUNCIL

    Developing the natural gas sector and freeing Greece's energy market will facilitate the construction of the Greek-Italian underwater gas pipe, stated Greece's Development Minster Nikos Christodoulakis during his address before the European Union's Energy Ministers Council.

    Mr. Christodoulakis also warned of the European Union's ever- rising energy dependence on third countries, while he added that the apathy with which the EU observes the developments is noteworthy.

    The Greek Development Minister also said that the time has come to examine the option of disconnecting the prices of natural gas and oil, by stating that "natural gas is the strategic fuel, both for freeing the energy market and for reaching Kyoto's environmental targets."

    In closing, Mr. Christodoulakis briefed his counterparts on Greece's moves to fee the energy market through the establishment of the independent regulatory body (Energy Regulatory Authority), as well as on the significance Greece grants to renewable resources.

    Mr. Christodoulakis will address tomorrow's conference on "The Effects of Energy Programs in the Mediterranean and Black Sea", to be held in Athens, while he will join the European Commission's vice president and energy commissioner Loyola de Palacio in a press conference later the same day.

    [12] EXPLOSIVE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF CANCER CASES

    An explosive increase in the number of cancer cases is expected by the scientists in the first decade of the century and this prediction is very important for the strategy that must be followed by the states in order to protect the public health.

    According to scientific data that will be presented in the 16th Conference of the European Cancer Research Society that opened in Kalithea, Chalkidiki today, lung cancer is the most common type of cancer among men and has increased by 44% in just one decade. Other forms of cancer that appear to be on the rise among men are the colon cancer, prostate, leukemia, melanoma and lymphoma.

    The breast cancer cases among women have increased by 33% in the past decade while a similar increase was recorded in the mouth cancer, colon and lymphoma. The biggest increase, about 73%, concerns the lung cancer and it is attributed to the large number of women smokers.

    [13] EGYPTIAN INTEREST IN ESTABLISHING COOPERATION WITH THE COMMERCE AND BUSINESS CENTER OF EVROS

    An intense interest in the development of cooperation between the under creation Commerce and Business Center of Evros in north- eastern Greece and the relevant institutions in Port Said and Suez in Egypt was expressed by the Egyptian transportation ministry on the sidelines of the ASIA FORUM 2000 that was held in Thessaloniki.

    Specifically, Egyptian transportation minister adviser Abd El Khalil expressed the intention to be briefed on the nature and progress of the specific center expressing the view that there could be a future cooperation.

    The goal of the center is to back the wholesale of duty free goods and attract Greek and foreign businessmen for the permanent and periodical participation in the exhibition, the promotion of their products, the development and backing of business initiatives, the exchange of experience and know-how and the development of economic cooperation.

    [14] THE MARINES' LANDING AT KIPARISSIA WAS POSTPONED FOR A DAY

    The landing of the marine forces in Kiparissia, southern Greece within the framework of the NATO exercise "Dynamic Mix" was postponed for a day. The postponement was caused by a mechanical failure on a US helicopter carrier sailing off the coasts of Sicily. As a result of the mechanical failure it moves slower and will arrive in Kiparissia a day late.

    The marine landing will take place on Friday at dawn and for the first time 150 Turkish marines will participate in such an exercise taking place on a Greek territory.

    [15] GAINS OF 0.83% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains of 0.83% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.608,24 points, while the volume of transactions has showed an impressive increase at 192 billion drachmas.

    According to market circles, even though the general index performance was not impressive it creates positive expectations regarding next week's sessions, because the overall stabilizing course of the index in combination with the satisfactory turnover and the positive international developments are expected to have a beneficial effect on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [16] APOSTOLAKIS' STATEMENTS ON TURKEY AND ARMAMENTS

    The Turkish leadership must understand that there is a need to draw up a different policy toward Greece, that will be firm and lasting, in harmony with international law and the existing treaties binding all sides, stressed Greek undersecretary of national defense Dimitris Apostolakis declaring the opening of the proceedings of the 2nd Greek-British defense industries conference in Athens.

    He pointed out that Greece will continue to have a need for strong and reliable deterrent force and regarding armaments he stressed that it is not a goal in itself.

    Mr. Apostolakis stated that there is room for cooperation between Greece and Britain in the defense industry sector if the offers made will be to the interest of both parts through attractive proposals in all sectors.

    [17] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS' STATEMENTS ON THE IDENTITY CARDS ISSUE

    Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece referred to the role of the Orthodox faith in modern society in his speech delivered in the lunch given in his honor by the Foreign Press Correspondents Association in Athens today.

    Archbishop Christodoulos pointed out that the Orthodox Church respects the laws of the state and does not claim participation in decision-making stressing, however, that the government decision on the issue of the identity cards was authoritarian as the agreement for dialogue with the Church was not respected.

    The speech of the Archbishop was low-key and was characterized by indirect references to the issue of the identity cards. He said that people today live in an iron cage namely, the alienated societies of rationalism and bureaucracy, in which they are seen as numbers, underlining that the Greeks want to preserve their faith to use it as a basis for stability in dealing with any kind of danger. He also stressed that being a European should not lift the fact that we are Greeks.

    The Archbishop said that the Greeks are people with a rich history and tradition and have something to offer to their brothers the Europeans in their common home namely, their spiritual wealth. He said that the Greeks in Europe are useful no only for their participation in the development programs but because they have something spiritual to offer. He said that the Orthodox moral standards of the Greeks that were born in this country make imperative the adoption of a critical stance toward all that are happening today and threaten their dignity and substance.

    The Archbishop referred in detail to the alienation risks existing in modern times that humiliate the human face. He spoke of the threat of human cloning, the disrespectful intervention in the reproduction process, the atmospheric pollution and the effects of globalization and pointed out that the spiritual background offered by Orthodoxy help to deal with all these.

    [18] REPPAS ON THE ISSUE OF THE IDENTITY CARDS

    The implementation of the law on personal data does not concern religion and the identity cards but all the so-called sensitive personal data and public documents, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Mr. Reppas added that the government has made its decision which is to implement a law that has been approved by the Greek parliament.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] GREEK-AUSTRALIAN REACTIONS TO THE RECENT HIGH COURT DECISION

    The reactions of the Greek-Australian community continue against the recent decision of the Australian High Court to return to the Federal Court the appeal, made by the state government of Victoria regarding the name of the language spoken by the members of the FYROM community in Australia, characterizing it as unacceptable.

    The Pan-Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria that plays a leading role in the mobilizations invited the boards of directors of all the Greek-Australian organizations to attend a meeting on Tuesday to reach a decision on a common action plan on the occasion of the recent ruling.

    Already, the Pan-Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria presiding board has contacted both the Australian Hellenic Council and the Federation of Pan-Macedonian Associations in Australia for the best possible coordination of the Greek- Australian forces aimed at making all necessary legal steps to overturn the Federal Court decision which virtually ruled that there is a violation of the Racial Discrimination Act in the characterization of the FYROM language as "Macedonian Slavonic".

    [20] PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS IS IN MONTREAL

    Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos continues his visit to Canada and yesterday he was in the city of Montreal. Mr. Stephanopoulos visited the "Socrates" Greek elementary school and he was warmly received by the students and teachers.

    President Stephanopoulos had a meeting with the president of the international organization of civil aviation and with representatives of Canadian businesses, while he attended a formal dinner given in his honor by the general governor of Montreal.


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