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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-06-06

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, June 6, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREECE IN EUROZONE 6 MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
  • [02] HOLY SYNOD CONVENES TODAY OVER ID CARDS
  • [03] THESSALONIKI HOSTS TRANSPORTATION SYMPOSIUM
  • [04] SPANISH PM EMBARKS ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO GREECE
  • [05] GREEK FM COGENTLY ARGUES FOR MARBLES' RETURN
  • [06] PRESIDENT AWARDS EXPATRIATED YOUNG SCIENTISTS
  • [07] GORBACHEV TO OPEN THESSALONIKI MEDICAL CENTER
  • [08] RECORD NUMBER OF EXHBITORS AT POSIDONIA 2000
  • [09] GREECE PRESENT AT "WOMEN 2000" UN ASSEMBLY
  • [10] GREEK FM MEETS WITH BRITISH COUNTERPART
  • [11] GREEK FM EXPRESSES REGRET OVER US REPORT
  • [12] VOLUME OF TRADE RISING AT THESSALONIKI PORT
  • [13] THE LONDON-SYDNEY RALLY IN GREECE
  • [14] GREECE IN THE ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION IN VENICE
  • [15] THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN SUGAR INDUSTRIES
  • [16] THE STABILITY PACT PROCEEDINGS ARE UNDERWAY IN THESSALONIKI
  • [17] LOSSES OF 0.65% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [18] THE GREEK NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER ON THE PRIVATIZATIONS AND EMU
  • [19] INFLATION WAS AT 2.9% IN MAY
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [20] STRONG TREMOR SHAKES ANKARA, 2 KILLED, 7 INJURED
  • [21] UNEMPLOYMENT IS AT 9.2% IN EUROPE

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREECE IN EUROZONE 6 MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

    As it was widely expected, the European Union's Economy and Finance Ministerial Council (ECOFIN) unanimously approved Greece's entry into the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), during its session in Luxembourg yesterday.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who attended the Luxembourg meeting, welcomed the approval, calling it "historic" for Greece.

    Mr. Papantoniou also said that the 11-member euro zone had decided to invite Greece to euro council meetings from July, well before its expected entry in January 2001.

    ECOFIN adopted an earlier recommendation by the European Commission, which means the final step for Greek entry is anticipated endorsement by EU leaders at a summit in Feira, Portugal, on June 19-20.

    [02] HOLY SYNOD CONVENES TODAY OVER ID CARDS

    The Orthodox Church of Greece's Holy Synod is to convene today in order to decide on the Church's strategy regarding the government's recent decision to exclude one's religion, along with other data, from being listed on the bearer's identification card.

    Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos, referred to Church-State relations from Veria, central Greece, over the weekend as well as to Orthodoxy's role within an European context, stressing that "European civilization is based on Hellenic-Christian civilization."

    He also said an Orthodox Christian's identity and a Greek's identity were two basic characteristics that "compose our personality".

    Earlier last week, the Archbishop said that the government had taken an "amoral decision" that flies in the face of "the vast majority of Greek citizens represented by the Church".

    [03] THESSALONIKI HOSTS TRANSPORTATION SYMPOSIUM

    Over 350 delegates from 33 countries are expected to attend the 15th International Symposium on the Theory and Practice of the Economy of Transportation that will be held in Thessaloniki on June 7-9.

    The Symposium, held in Thessaloniki for the first time, is an initiative of the European Conference of Transportation Ministers which is a forum of transportation ministers from 39 European countries.

    The Greek delegation will be made up of 120 members, while other countries represented by large delegations will be France (31) and Belgium (19). There will also be delegations from Albania, Australia, Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia, Spain, Britain and Turkey.

    [04] SPANISH PM EMBARKS ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO GREECE

    Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is embarking on a two-day, official visit to Greece today, where he will have contacts with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis and the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Messrs. Aznar and Simitis are to meet tomorrow and will discuss issues related to the European Union and matters bilateral interest.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also announced that Mr. Simitis will have a telephone conversation today with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guteres, who currently presides over the EU.

    [05] GREEK FM COGENTLY ARGUES FOR MARBLES' RETURN

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, presently in London, testified before a House of Commons cultural committee yesterday, arguing for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    Heading a three-member Greek delegation, which comprises the culture ministry's secretary general Lina Mendoni and film director Jules Dassin of the Melina Merkouri Institute, Mr. Papandreou addressed a nine-member British parliamentary committee which is holding an inquiry into the illicit trade of antiquities.

    Mr. Papandreou argued that Greece is both legally and historically justified and pointed to reports by archaeologists that talked about the need to make the Parthenon temple whole again.

    The Foreign Minister invited the British government and the British Museum to cooperate with Greece in finding a solution that satisfies all parties, with the eventual prospect of the Marbles return to Greece.

    "I have the impression, that our proposal is realistic," Mr. Papandreou stated, adding that "the return of the Marbles to Greece would be a historic affair that would deeply move the Greek people, and which will gain a vast place in the hearts of Greeks."

    [06] PRESIDENT AWARDS EXPATRIATED YOUNG SCIENTISTS

    In a ceremony attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, young scientists of Greek descent were awarded the 1999 "Bodosaki" prizes at the University of Athens for their outstanding achievements in their respective sectors.

    Illinois University Chemistry professor Nancy Makris was awarded the Atomic and Molecular Physics prize for her work in the fields of theoretical chemistry and quantum engineering.

    Biologist Andreas Baxevanis received the Bioinformatics prize for his research in developing software that will facilitate biological research.

    [07] GORBACHEV TO OPEN THESSALONIKI MEDICAL CENTER

    Michael Gorbachev, the last leader of the former Soviet Union, will be in Thessaloniki on June 17 to inaugurate the city's "George Apostolopoulos" Inter-Balkan Medical Center.

    In addition to Mr. Gorbachev, the event will attended by dignitaries from around the world, including the Premier of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic, Cypriot Health Minister Frixos Savvides, Albanian Health Minister Leonard Solis, Armenia's Minister of Health and Social Security Artak Zeynalyan, the mayors of Athens and Thessaloniki, Dimitris Avramopoulos and Vasilis Papageorgopoulos, respectively, as well as and the deans from the following universities: Thessaloniki's Aristotle University Michalis Papadopoulos; Istanbul University Kemal Halendaroglu, Damascus U. Medical School Hani Mourtada and Sofia U. Medical School Vladimir Ovtscharoff.

    The Inter-Balkan Medical Center has a 450-bed capacity and has an intensive care unit, cardiology department and a pediatric clinic.

    [08] RECORD NUMBER OF EXHBITORS AT POSIDONIA 2000

    "Posidonia Congress 2000", the biannual trade fair promoting Greece's merchant marine sector, was inaugurated at the Piraeus Port yesterday by the Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis, European Commission vice president Loyola De Palacio and International Maritime Organization secretary general William O'Neil.

    The event, jointly organized by the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee of London, features a record number of exhibitors with over 1,600 firms from 63 countries expected to take part.

    Also, 21 countries are being represented through national stands, up from 18 in the previous fair.

    Running through June 9, "Posidonia Congress 2000" s being held under the auspices of Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry, the eus Municipality, the Greek Chamber of Shipping, the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee, the Mediterranean Cargo Vessel Shipowners Association, the Passenger Ships Shipowner Association, and the Coastal Shipowners Association.

    [09] GREECE PRESENT AT "WOMEN 2000" UN ASSEMBLY

    Greece is participating at the United Nations General Assembly on "Women 2000: Equality of genders, development and peace for the 21st century", which is presently underway in New York.

    According to the Greek government's equality secretary general Efi Bekou, "Greece has participated in preparatory discussions on the text of the finalized Proclamation (five years after the Beijing Assembly) and is harmonizing itself with the other EU countries."

    Greece has insisted on the inclusion of four issues: the strengthening of institutions on promoting equality, the adoption of equality in every policy, unemployment among women which amounts to 70 percent of the total percentage of unemployed and the handling of violence against women which has taken on dimensions of an epidemic, while the situation does not differ greatly from one continent to another.

    The European Commission is being represented by Greek commissioner on Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou.

    [10] GREEK FM MEETS WITH BRITISH COUNTERPART

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with his British counterpart Robin Cook in London, whom he briefed on Greece's arguments for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, as presented in his appearance before a House of Commons cultural committee.

    Mr. Cook reportedly stated that he will relay Mr. Papandreou's views and proposals to Heritage Secretary Chris Smith.

    Messrs. Papandreou and Cook also discussed the Cyprus issue, in light of the imminent new round of talks between the divided island's two communities.

    The Greek Foreign Ministers stated that both communities want the next steps to be substantive ones and assessed that the international environment, and especially the conditions created through Turkey's candidacy for accession to the European Union, form an improved premise for the next steps to follow towards the resolution of the Cyprus issue.

    [11] GREEK FM EXPRESSES REGRET OVER US REPORT

    Albeit satisfied over the Clinton Administration's impartial stance on the matter, Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou has expressed his regret over the recently-published report by the U.S. National Commission on Terrorism which calls for severe sanctions against Greece for "not cooperating fully on counter- terrorism."

    In an interview with BBC radio, Mr. Papandreou stressed that the report is unfair to Greece and its image and stated that Greece, in comparison to other countries, has a very good security record, as well as both the political and active will to combat terrorism.

    [12] VOLUME OF TRADE RISING AT THESSALONIKI PORT

    The volume of trade transported via the Thessaloniki port rose by 28.4 percent during the first quarter of 2000, compared with the same time period of 1999, although the number of ships that sailed into the port dropped by 4.5 percent.

    Specifically, 5,581,736 tons of goods were transported from the northern capital's port between January-April 2000, significantly more than the 4,348,822 tons of the same period last year.

    As for the number of ships, 1,049 harbored in Thessaloniki's port between January -April 2000, slightly fewer than the 1,098 of the same time period in 1999.

    The number of passengers who traveled via the port between January-April, 2000, was also reduced to 14,926 from last year's like time period which was 18,141.

    The volume of transit to and from Skopje catapulted to 815,998 tons between January-April, marking a 154-percent increase from last year.

    [13] THE LONDON-SYDNEY RALLY IN GREECE

    For the first time, the London-Sydney car race will pass through Greece. In the event which began on June 3 and will last until July 4 participate 95 cars that will cross Europe and Asia.

    The part of the rally that will be held in Greece will start on June 8 from Promahonas and it will pass through the northern cities of Serres and Dramas. The drivers will spend the night in the north-eastern city of Kavala and they will also compete in two special events before departing for Tsanakale in Turkey through Thrace.

    [14] GREECE IN THE ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION IN VENICE

    Greece participates formally in the 7th Exhibition of Architecture in Venice with 26 representatives. The exhibition will start on June 17 and will last until October 29.

    The Greek participation is regarded as very important by culture minister Theodoros Pangalos who stated in a press conference he gave yesterday, that the architects taking part in the Biennalle not only represent Greece but they promote the work of the new generation of Greek architects.

    [15] THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN SUGAR INDUSTRIES

    The annual conference of the European Sugar Industries, organized by the Greek Sugar Industry Ltd. will open in Thessaloniki tomorrow and will last until June 9.

    The goal of the conference is to promote common interest issues concerning the European Sugar Industry given the fact that sugar plays one of the most important roles in the economies of the European Union states.

    [16] THE STABILITY PACT PROCEEDINGS ARE UNDERWAY IN THESSALONIKI

    The three-day proceedings of the Stability Pact Regional Balkan Conference are underway in Thessaloniki at the initiative of Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou. The goal of the meeting is to submit proposals and programs of cooperation to the foreign ministers of the south-eastern European countries.

    The proceedings were opened by professor Panagiotis Roumeliotis, president of the Stability Pact sector responsible for democratization and human rights. The opening meeting was attended by over 100 representatives of non governmental organizations that come mostly from countries in south-eastern Europe, the United States, the European Union and international organizations. Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hobach will speak in the meeting this afternoon.

    The proposals and conclusions of today's meeting will be submitted to the foreign ministers of the south-eastern European countries, who will meet in Thessaloniki tomorrow and to the representatives of governments and organizations who participate in the Stability Pact and are scheduled to meet in Thessaloniki on June 8.

    Mr. Papandreou will meet with his counterparts from FYROM and Croatia, Mr. Dimitrov and Mr. Pikula, in Thessaloniki tomorrow on the sidelines of the Stability Pact Regional Balkan Conference.

    Also tomorrow, there will be an informal meeting of the south- eastern European foreign ministers under the chairmanship of Mr. Papandreou and with the participation of the European Union council general secretary and representative of the joint EU foreign and defense policy Mr. Javier Solana.

    [17] LOSSES OF 0.65% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Losses of 0.65% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index dropped to 4.465,70 points, while the volume of transactions was at 126 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today 55 recorded gains, 279 had losses and only 32 remained stable.

    [18] THE GREEK NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER ON THE PRIVATIZATIONS AND EMU

    Greek minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou in a press conference he gave in Athens on Greece's accession into the EMU expressed the belief that by the summer of 2001 the majority of the 17 privatizations that are included in the agenda of the Greek government will be completed.

    Mr. Papantoniou announced that Credit Suisse First Boston has been appointed as an adviser to the new international tender that will be launched aimed at finding a strategic investor for Olympic Airways.

    He also announced that the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, board of directors approved the trading of COSMOTE in the Athens Stock Exchange that will be launched by the end of the summer, most likely in September. In addition Mr. Papantoniou announced the privatization of the Agriculture Bank of Greece and the state-run Electricity Company, while the country's sea ports will be privatized by the end of the year with the exception of the port of Piraeus which is scheduled to be privatized in early 2001.

    Referring to the negotiations between the Bank of Commerce and the French Credit Agricole for the purchase of part of the Bank of Commerce, Mr. Papantoniou stated that the government does not intervene and it is up to the interested parties themselves to reach any agreements. He also said that no political dimensions should be given to a possible collapse of such agreements, stressing that all over the world there are alliances that are being created and dissolved before the negotiations are completed gaving as an example the cases of Dresdner Bank and Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telecom and Telecom Italia and Alitalia - KLA.

    Mr. Papantoniou clarified that the liberalization of the market is underway as well as the removal of bureaucratic obstacles, while the social security draft law will be ready by the summer of 2001. Mr. Papantoniou reminded that in the past two years the government successfully materialized a program of 15 privatizations which brought revenues of over 2.5 trillion drachmas.

    [19] INFLATION WAS AT 2.9% IN MAY

    Inflation in Greece was at 2.9% in the month of May showing an increase of 0.3% compared to the month of April when it was at 2.6%. However, according to estimates the harmonized index on which Greece's accession into the EMU will be based remains at 2%.

    The rise of inflation is attributed to the increases in the fuel prices. It should be noted that since last year the international price of oil increased by 29.3%.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [20] STRONG TREMOR SHAKES ANKARA, 2 KILLED, 7 INJURED

    Ankara relived the panic of last August's deadly earthquake when a strong earth tremor measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale shook the area early this morning, killing two persons, injuring seven and sending hundreds into the streets.

    The earthquake, which lasted 30 seconds, occurred at 5.40 a.m. and its epicenter was located 100 kilometers north of Ankara.

    Commenting on the tremor, Greek seismologist, professor at Thessaloniki's Aristotle University, Vasilis Papazachos ruled out the possibility of this morning's earthquake reverberating into Greece as the shift noted in the Anatolia plate measured 15 centimeters, a minuscule dimension in comparison to the previous tremors which caused shifts measuring between two and four meters.

    [21] UNEMPLOYMENT IS AT 9.2% IN EUROPE

    The European Statistics Agency, Eurostat, gave to publicity figures concerning the unemployment rate in the EU member-states in the month of April.

    According to the statement, the unemployment rate in April 2000 dropped to 9.2% in the Euro-zone from 9.3% in March 2000 and 10.1% in April 1999.

    The unemployment rate in all 15 EU member-states dropped to 8.5% in April 2000 from 8.6% in March 2000, while in April 1999 it was at 9.3%.

    Spain continues to have the highest unemployment rate (14.1%), while Luxembourg has the lowest (2.2%). The most impressive drop in unemployment rate in the past 12 months was recorded in Holland from 3.5% to 2.9%.


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