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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-06-08

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 8, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] BRITISH DIPLOMAT SUCCUMBS TO WOUNDS
  • [02] PM CONDEMNS KILLING OF BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE
  • [03] AMBUSH-STYLE KILLING POINTS TO 17 NOVEMBER
  • [04] ROBIN COOK CONDEMNS ATTACK ON DEFENSE ATTACHE
  • [05] BRITISH DIPLOMAT SHOT AT, 17 NOVEMBER SUSPECTED
  • [06] THESSALONIKI TO HOST BALKAN INFO-TECH FORUM
  • [07] SEMINAR ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR REPATRIATES
  • [08] GREEK PIANIST SGOUROS PERFORMS IN ANKARA TODAY
  • [09] PHILHELLENIC FOUNDATION OPENS BRANCH IN GREECE
  • [10] EU TO COMBAT SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON THE JOB
  • [11] US SENATOR DEFENDS GREECE OVER TERRORISM
  • [12] SPANISH PM CONGRATULATES GREECE ON EMU COURSE
  • [13] STATE AND OPPOSITION CONDEMN ATTACK IN UNISOM
  • [14] GREEKS FAMILIAR WITH INTERNET AND E-COMMERCE
  • [15] CONFERENCE FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BALKAN AGRICULTURE
  • [16] GAINS OF 0.89% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [17] THE "17 NOVEMBER" TERRORIST ORGANIZATION IS BEHIND THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE
  • [18] "17 NOVEMBER": 22 ASSASSINATIONS IN 25 YEARS
  • [19] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN COMMENTED ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE
  • [20] A MANHUNT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED FOR THE ARREST OF THE "17 NOVEMBER" HIT MEN
  • [21] HOMBACH: BILL GATES IS PLANNING INVESTMENTS IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [22] REACTIONS IN AUSTRALIA ON THE PROPAGANDA LEAFLET ISSUED BY A SLAV-MACEDONIAN ORGANIZATION
  • [23] MEETING OF THE GREEK AND BRITISH MINISTERS OF DEFENSE
  • [24] BLAIR ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE IN ATHENS

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] BRITISH DIPLOMAT SUCCUMBS TO WOUNDS

    Britain's defense attache to Greece has succumbed to the wounds he suffered this morning after he was shot in the abdomen by two men on a motorcycle who fired at him as he was driving to work on a main avenue leading to the center of the city.

    The victim, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, underwent surgery at the Athens Red Cross hospital.

    Public Order Ministry General Secretary Dimitris Efstathiadis stated that it was apparently the work of terrorists.

    Similar attacks have been carried out by a terrorist organization called November 17. A Greek industrialist was killed through an identical attack 14 yeas ago.

    [02] PM CONDEMNS KILLING OF BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis has condemned this morning's killing of the British Embassy's defense attache in Athens, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, expressing his "abhorrence over this barbaric act".

    In a statement released shortly after the news of the victim's death, Mr. Simitis said that "this terrorist act is contrary to the fundamental rule of social coexistence, respect for human life. It takes place at a time when Greece is on a successful course in all sectors.

    "The Greek government will perform its duty and defend - by every means - the country's smooth progress and the citizens' security.

    "We will not allow anyone to subvert the progress achieved or blacken the image of Greece, a modern, peaceful and democratic country."

    [03] AMBUSH-STYLE KILLING POINTS TO 17 NOVEMBER

    The ambush-style killing of a British diplomat in Athens this morning, as well as the bullets discovered nearby, bore the hallmarks of the November 17 terrorist group's modus operandi, according to the Public Order Ministry's General Secretary Dimitris Efstathiadis.

    Britain's defense attache to Greece, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, was shot at 7.45 a.m. today as he was driving to work on a major motorway in Athens. He was shot in the abdomen and hands by two unknown assailants on motorcycles who fired at him through the passenger-side window of his white Rover automobile.

    Brig. Sanders, who underwent surgery at the Athens Red Cross hospital, succumbed to his injuries later. He is survived by his wife and two children.

    The Ministers of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou and Health Alekos Papadopoulos, along with main opposition New Democracy deputy Dora Bakoyanni rushed to the hospital after learning of the attack.

    [04] ROBIN COOK CONDEMNS ATTACK ON DEFENSE ATTACHE

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has condemned as "pointless" the attack of the British defense attache in Greece this morning.

    Speaking from Sierra Leone where he is visiting British troops, Mr. Cook stated that "I am in touch with the Greek authorities and am offering them our full cooperation in making sure that whoever perpetrated this brutal attack is brought to justice."

    Britain's defense attache to Greece, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, was shot at 7.45 a.m. today as he was driving to work on a major motorway in Athens. He was shot in the abdomen and hands by two unknown assailants on motorcycles who fired at him through the passenger-side window of his white Rover automobile. Brig. Sanders, who underwent surgery at the Athens Red Cross hospital, succumbed to his injuries three hours later.

    Mr,. Cook added that what makes the attack doubly tragic is that "there was no conceivable motivation or point" to it.

    "It makes me very angry and very sad that someone should carry out such a violent attack with no possible gain from it, only suffering for the individual concerned and his family," the British foreign secretary stated.

    Meanwhile, Greece's Public Order Ministry General Secretary Dimitris Efstathiadis said police are investigating the attack as the work of terrorists. Suspicion immediately fell on the terrorist group November 17, as the attackers used a .45 caliber weapon - a trademark of November 17.

    Moreover, the site and method of today's attack was almost identical to other November 17 killings: a 1983 ambush that killed U.S. Navy Capt. George Tsantes and his driver and the 1988 slaying of Greek industrialist Alexandros Athanassiadis.

    The group has never targeted a British national before, but has claimed responsibility for bomb attacks against British banks and other sites.

    [05] BRITISH DIPLOMAT SHOT AT, 17 NOVEMBER SUSPECTED

    Britain's military attache to Greece was shot and seriously injured in Athens at 7:45 am today when two men on a motorcycle fired at him as he was driving to work on a main avenue leading to the center of the city.

    According to the police, the victim, Stephan Sperchen (sp?), was shot in the abdomen and is presently undergoing surgery at the Red Cross hospital. His condition was listed as critical.

    Public Order Ministry General Secretary Dimitris Efstathiadis stated that it was apparently the work of terrorists.

    Similar attacks have been carried out by a terrorist organization called November 17. A Greek industrialist was killed through an identical attack 14 yeas ago.

    [06] THESSALONIKI TO HOST BALKAN INFO-TECH FORUM

    A Balkan info-tech forum is to be held in Thessaloniki tomorrow and Saturday, June 9-10, organized by the Association of Northern Greek Information Technology Enterprises.

    The forum's aim is to bring together interested parties in southeastern Europe in order to boost their capacities and coordinate activities. The working groups are composed of representatives from 12 countries in the region.

    [07] SEMINAR ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR REPATRIATES

    A seminar themed after "Entrepreneurship of Repatriated Greeks and their Contribution to the Greek Economy" is to be held in Thessaloniki tomorrow, under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad.

    Secretary General Dimitris Dollis stated that "the creation of a business by repatriated Greeks is a difficult task to accomplish, as, through the social and economic environment, they undertake the business initiatives of persons who are more familiar with the country's realities."

    [08] GREEK PIANIST SGOUROS PERFORMS IN ANKARA TODAY

    World famous Greek pianist Dimitris Sgouros will give a concert in Ankara this evening, accompanied by the Turkish Bilkent University Symphonic Orchestra directed by Gurel Aykal.

    The proceeds of the event, which is organized by the Greek Embassy in Turkey, will be provided to support UNICEF's activities in Turkey and the rehabilitation of last year's earthquake victims.

    [09] PHILHELLENIC FOUNDATION OPENS BRANCH IN GREECE

    The American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture (AFGLC), whose mission is the preservation and enhancement of Greek culture and language in the United States through institutions of higher learning, is to open a branch in Athens.

    Addressing a conference at the Hellenic American Union (HAU) in Athens, noted Greek-American mathematics professor Chris Tsokos - who is the AFGLC's president and a board member of the University of South Florida's (USF) interdisciplinary center of Hellenic studies, stressed that "it's very important to educate the American people on Hellenism's paramount influence at creating the world most powerful country (the United States)."

    The USF center consists of five permanently endowed chairs in the following core areas of Greek studies: Greek language and literature; history; philosophy; culture, and, Byzantine history and Orthodox religion.

    AFGLC's leadership hopes to transplant the USF model of an interdisciplinary center with multiple endowed chairs or departments to other US universities, with New England, Georgia, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Texas and Chicago-area schools targeted as the next potential candidates for such centers.

    The foundation (www.afglc.org) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Florida.

    [10] EU TO COMBAT SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON THE JOB

    The European Commission has tabled a series of legislative measures for combating sexual harassment on the job which, if adopted, would compel all employers in the European Union's 15 member-states to enforce the relevant laws.

    The measures are part of a comprehensive revision of the ┼U's law on equal opportunity in employment, which dates back 24 years.

    Greek Commissioner on Social ┴ffairs ┴nna Diamantopoulou -who spearheaded these measures- stated that if approved, the legislative amendments should fill the gap in Greek law concerning sexual harassment, which is thought to affect a large proportion of the country's female employees, and could discourage such behavior.

    According to the draft amendments, sexual harassment is defined as "unwanted conduct related to sex takes place with the effect of affecting the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or disturbing environment."

    ┬ased on ┼uropean Commission figures, up to 50 percent of the ┼U's female employees were sexually harassed last year.

    With the exception of France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, most EU member-states completely lack legislation protecting workers from sexual harassment.

    [11] US SENATOR DEFENDS GREECE OVER TERRORISM

    Greek-American US Senator Đaul S. Sarbanes (D-╠aryland) defended Greece's efforts in combating terrorism, following the release of a recent report that said Greece is indifferent to the phenomenon.

    "ďhe Greek government is very much aware and very sensitive to this issue and is trying to address this issue in cooperation with the United States," Mr. Sarbanes told the Baltimore Sun yesterday, adding that "my understanding is that the US and Greece have been working together on a counter-terrorism effort."

    [12] SPANISH PM CONGRATULATES GREECE ON EMU COURSE

    Spanish Đrime Minister Jose ╠aria ┴znar, who yesterday concluded a two-day visit to Greece, congratulated his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis on the country's successful course toward convergence with the ┼uropean Union's euro zone.

    ┴t a joint press conference with Mr. Simitis, the Spanish PM stated that he was "especially satisfied" with the talks he had had in ┴thens and commended the Greek prime minister and the government for successfully leading Greece toward membership of the ┼╠U.

    "Greece's participation in the euro zone is an achievement for Greece and a success for ┼urope," he said, adding that "the representation of the drachma in the euro zone is indisputably very positive for Greece's presence and for its future in ┼urope."

    In turn, Mr. Simitis described his meeting with Mr. ┴znar as "very friendly and cordial", adding that their talks had dealt with bilateral matters as well as with developments within the ┼U.

    [13] STATE AND OPPOSITION CONDEMN ATTACK IN UNISOM

    Both the ruling socialists (PASOK) and the main opposition parties have condemned this morning's killing of the British military attache in Athens Stephen Saunders, who was shot by two unknown assailants as he was driving to work on a major Athens freeway.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou promised a "most merciless" response against suspected terrorists.

    "We will not let the international image of our country be plagued," he said.

    Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoides stated that this attack is a direct blow to the country's interests, while the leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis stated that terrorism has to be dealt with immediately and decisions need to be taken in order to uproot the evil.

    Earlier today, Mr. Papandreou held a telephone conversation with Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, to whom he relayed the Greek government's condolences for the loss of Brigadier Saunders.

    Mr. Saunders who was accredited by the Greek Ministry of National Defense, had yesterday participated in a Pentagon meeting with the British and Greek defense undersecretaries concerning armament purchases.

    Although there was no claim of responsibility for the attack, police and public order ministry officials have said the method and weapons pointed to the November 17 terrorism group.

    "The way it was carried out and the weapons used point to that direction (November 17)," Public Order Ministry General Secretary Dimitris Efstathiadis stated.

    Moreover, the spent shells of an automatic pistol found on the scene indicated it was the same weapon (.45 caliber) as that used by the group in previous attacks.

    According to police, the victim's car had normal Greek license plates and no diplomatic insignia -- a safety precaution taken by most embassies in Athens.

    Police launched a manhunt, setting up roadblocks all over the capital and sending out scores of plainclothes officers to search for the attackers.

    [14] GREEKS FAMILIAR WITH INTERNET AND E-COMMERCE

    Greeks are growing familiar with the use of the Internet and, subsequently, electronic commerce, with almost half of the country's population having made use of such applications during 1999 according to a recent study conducted by the Athens University of Economics.

    Addressing a conference organized by the Trade and Industry Chamber of Athens, Undersecretary of Development Milena Apostolakis stated that the overall annual volume of electronic commerce in Greece is expected to reach 100 billion drachmas by the year 2003.

    The National Electronic Commerce Committee is to convene on June 12 in order to prepare its draft proposals to the legislative body that is to be formed over the sector of electronic commerce.

    [15] CONFERENCE FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BALKAN AGRICULTURE

    The reconstruction of agriculture in south-eastern Europe will be at the center of an international conference that will take place in Thessaloniki on June 9-10 organized by the Society of European Agro-economists under the auspices of the Greek ministries of agriculture and Macedonia-Thrace.

    The conference will cover a big void given the fact that according to its organizers agriculture has been overlooked by the European Union as a factor that can speed up reconstruction.

    In a statement issued by the conference organizing committee it is mentioned that in the past few years the European Union has focused its interest on the reconstruction of the Balkan economies without taking under consideration that agriculture is the "key" in the whole process. The statement mentions that agriculture is the most important sector in the Balkan economies and the biggest obstacle to the European Union integration.

    [16] GAINS OF 0.89% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains of 0.89% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.387,37 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 128 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today 308 recorded gains, 34 had losses and 23 remained stable.

    Economic analysts point out that the market showed a small sign of positive behavior as the news from the front of the economy in the country and the developments in the international environment are not negative factors for the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [17] THE "17 NOVEMBER" TERRORIST ORGANIZATION IS BEHIND THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE

    Greek police ballistics experts in Athens completed the examination of the four bullets found on the scene of the assassination of the British military attache.

    According to the results of the examination, the four bullets come from the same 45calibre handgun used in the assassinations of many other people in Greece by the "17 November" terrorist organization. This fact confirms the initial indications according to which, "17 November" was behind the new assassination.

    [18] "17 NOVEMBER": 22 ASSASSINATIONS IN 25 YEARS

    The 45calibre gun used today in the assassination of British high ranking diplomat Stephen Saunders in Athens has been used in 5 of the 22 assassinations that were committed in the past 25 years by the "17 November" terrorist organization, according to the ballistics examination of the four empty bullets found at the scene of the crime.

    The first one killed with such a gun was CIA station-master in Greece Richard Welsh and at least a dozen other officials.

    Based on assessments made by analysts, the crucial posts Saunders held in his carrier and his special knowledge on political issues in regions that are unrest hot-spots were the basic reasons for which he was picked as a target by the terrorists.

    The British diplomat, who was married and had two daughters, was in Greece for a year after serving in Hong Kong, Cyprus and northern Iraq, while he showed a special interest on issues concerning Yugoslavia, FYROM and Montenegro.

    Anti-terrorist agency officials maintain that the assassination is placed in a new round of "17 November" attacks that opened in April 1999 with the launching of an anti-tank rocket targeting the main offices of PASOK in Athens and continued in May of the same year with attacks against French, British and US banks, the bomb placed at the house of the Dutch ambassador and the rocket launched against the German ambassador's residence in Athens.

    The organization has not claimed responsibility for any of those attacks but it is expected to do so soon after today's assassination.

    Also, the specific targets are believed to be related with the war against Yugoslavia as Germany, Holland and Britain have played a decisive role in it as well as in Cyprus, the Middle East and the Balkans in general.

    [19] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN COMMENTED ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE

    Such acts hurt the interests of the country, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas when asked to comment on the assassination of the British military attache in Athens and added that Greece is a country of peace and the government will continue its efforts to stop such phenomena.

    When asked to comment on the statements made by former CIA chief James Woolsey to the Athens newspaper "Pontiki" according to which, members of the Greek government know the "17 November" organization, the Greek government spokesman stressed that such statements are inconceivable and beyond any logic. He said that the Greek government will ask for the judicial assistance of the United States in order for Mr. Woolsey to come to Greece and testify on everything he knows, while he also added that terrorism can not be fought with such groundless accusations.

    Mr. Reppas admitted that there is a weakness and a problem as there are no arrests after so many assassinations and stated that based on the initial assessments it appears that the gun used in today's assassination had been used in the past leading the police investigators to the terrorist organization "17 November".

    When asked to comment on the fact that today's assassination happened a short time after the publication of US reports on terrorism in Greece, the government spokesman responded that the government has no proof at its disposal leading to such a conclusion and added that there is no evidence on whether foreign centers of power are being activated to cause a problem to the country.

    Commenting on the statements made today by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy honorary president Konstantinos Mitsotakis, he said that the efforts made to link the Olympic Games with today's event are unsuccessful, while on the signing of a Greek-US police cooperation memorandum he said that it must not be seen in the light of today's terrorist attack.

    [20] A MANHUNT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED FOR THE ARREST OF THE "17 NOVEMBER" HIT MEN

    A manhunt across the country has been launched by the Greek police and the anti-terrorist agency, while strong security measures are in effect at the airports and all the country exits, with extensive police searches and identity card checks aimed at locating the terrorists who gunned down this morning in Athens British military attache Stephen Saunders.

    The Greek ministry of public order places today's terrorist attack within the framework of an overall defamation attack against Greece and issued an order for increased security measures for the protection of the foreign diplomats who could be the targets of the terrorist organization "17 November".

    Minister of culture Theodoros Pangalos stated characteristically after his meeting with prime minister Kostas Simitis that he does not like the so-called conspiracy theories but there are big coincidences in this case, adding that the efforts which are aimed at facing a phenomenon that threatens society must intensify. Within this framework were and the statement made to Athens radio station "Alpha - News" by parliament deputy and former head of the National Information Agency Kostas Tzimas, who characterized the hit as 100% provocation.

    British brigadier Stephen Saunders died from his wounds at 11am this morning at the Red Cross hospital in spite of the 3hour struggle by the doctors to keep him alive. Two young men wearing helmets, who were riding a motorcycle, shot him at 7:40am at Kifisia avenue. He was shot four times with a 45calibre gun on his way to the British embassy.

    The victim was specializing on issues concerning Yugoslavia and especially, FYROM and Montenegro. He had served in Hong Kong, Mozambique and northern Iraq within the framework of the humanitarian support of the Kurds. He was widely known in the military circles in Greece and he is believed to have contributed to the upgrading of the military relations between Greece and Britain.

    The Reuters news agency and the US television network CNN gave an extensive coverage to the terrorist hit. In their reports the two international mass media pointed out that the organization is active since 1975 and none of its members has ever been arrested by the Greek police.

    [21] HOMBACH: BILL GATES IS PLANNING INVESTMENTS IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE

    The south-eastern European market appears to be a strong temptation for US multi-millionaire Bill Gates as the MICROSOFT chairman examines the likelihood to invest in the region through the Stability Pact.

    The above were revealed by Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach in a press conference he gave in Thessaloniki. Mr. Hombach said that Mr. Gates has clarified recently that he might be interested in a number of investments in south-eastern Europe and within this framework Mr. Hombach said that he will seek to have contacts with him in the future.

    The coordinator of the Stability Pact also said that he does not feel any insecurity in Greece responding to a relevant question made by reporters on the occasion of today's terrorist attack in Athens

    Referring to the course of the implementation of the Stability Pact quick projects, Mr. Hombach stated that the basic goal toward this direction is to counter bureaucracy in the region's countries in order for the projects to proceed without delays.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [22] REACTIONS IN AUSTRALIA ON THE PROPAGANDA LEAFLET ISSUED BY A SLAV-MACEDONIAN ORGANIZATION

    The publication of a propaganda leaflet by a Slav-Macedonian organization with absurd references to Macedonia, its history, culture and language that was funded by the state government of Victoria in Australia caused the outrage of the Greek community in the country.

    The leaflet under the title "Macedonians in Victoria" Community Profile was published by the Slav-Macedonian organization Macedonian Welfare Workers' Network of Victoria and was funded by the ministry of immigration and multi-cultural affairs.

    A representative of the ministry stated to the Greek- Australian newspaper "Neos Kosmos", which brought the case to light, that when the contents of the leaflet were made known the publishers were asked immediately to remove the name of the immigration ministry from the publication.

    Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies director Dr. Tasos Tamis characterized the publication as inflammatory and added that it is the obligation of every authority to carefully check the identity of organizations that submit applications for funding and that they should know where they will use the sums allocated to them.

    [23] MEETING OF THE GREEK AND BRITISH MINISTERS OF DEFENSE

    British secretary of defense Jeffrey Hoon called on the Greek government to make every effort in order to bring to justice the killers of British military attache in Athens brigadier Stephen Saunders in a meeting he had today with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos on the sidelines of the meeting of the NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

    Commenting on the fact that the assassination of the British diplomat coincides with the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Mr. Hoon said that this is just a coincidence.

    [24] BLAIR ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE IN ATHENS

    The assassination of British military attache brigadier Stephen Saunders in Athens was characterized as "a contemptible act of terrorism" by British prime minister Tony Blair.

    He stated that 53yearold Saunders was a "consummate professional" and his assassination was a contemptible and senseless terrorist act that must be condemned by all right-minded persons.

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis had a telephone communication with his British counterpart and reassured him that the Greek authorities are doing all they can to bring the killers to justice.


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