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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-06-09

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 9, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] NOVEMBER 17 CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY BY LETTER
  • [02] PM VOWS TO TRACK DOWN TERRORIST GROUP
  • [03] THESSALONIKI HOSTS BALKAN INFO-TECH FORUM
  • [04] PUBLIC ORDER MINISTER: THERE'S NO LIST OF SUSPECTS
  • [05] TRAGIG WIDOW DOESN'T FAULT GREEKS FOR ATTACK
  • [06] SAE AMERICA CONDEMNS LATEST TERRORIST ACT
  • [07] NOVEMBER 17 HAS KILLED 23, BUT REMAINS ELUSIVE
  • [08] COINCIDENCES AND QUESTIONS OVER THE TERRORIST ATTACK AGAINST THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE
  • [09] THE ORTHODOX CHURCH ADMITTED THAT THE ID CARDS FALL UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE
  • [10] "BLUE FLAGS" TO 300 GREEK COASTS
  • [11] COCAINE WITH AN ESTIMATED VALUE OF 10 BILLION DRACHMAS WAS CONFISCATED BY THE ECONOMIC CRIME POLICE
  • [12] BUSINESS MISSION TO IRELAND
  • [13] GAINS OF 1.12% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [14] THE US OFFERS 1.8 BILLION DRACHMAS FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST OF THE TERRORISTS
  • [15] STRONG EXPLOSION ROCKED THE ISLAND OF RHODES
  • [16] THE EXTRAORDINARY PARTY CONGRESS OF NEW DEMOCRACY OPENS THIS AFTERNOON
  • [17] GOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE MEETING
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [18] UK PRESS BLASTS GREECE OVER ATTACHE'S MURDER
  • [19] TURKISH PM CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH GREECE
  • [20] ARMENIA, GREECE IRAN TO STRENGTHEN TRADE TIES
  • [21] THE INVOLVEMENT OF SAUNDERS IN THE NATO BOMBINGS IS DENIED
  • [22] A 0.7% GROWTH WAS RECORDED IN THE EURO-ZONE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF 2000
  • [23] CIRCUMCISION CUTS THE RISK OF AIDS FOR MEN
  • [24] THE BRITISH TOURISTS ARE NOT BEING SCARED OFF BY THE BRITISH PRESS REPORTS
  • [25] OTE IS A CANDIDATE FOR THE BUYOUT OF FYROM'S TELEKOM

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] NOVEMBER 17 CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY BY LETTER

    Greece's notorious November 17 terrorist group claimed responsibility today for yesterday's ambush-style killing of a British diplomat in Athens, revealing that the attack was being planned since March.

    Consistent with its modus operandi after similar attacks in the past, the group sent a letter to the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" today in which it said the victim, Britain's defense attache to Greece Stephen Saunders, was targeted because he played a key role in NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia last year.

    The letter stated that "we decided to execute him (Stephen Saunders) because through his post he participated in the planning of the barbaric air raids against Yugoslavia and, therefore, is among those responsible for last year's nazi-like crime and the murder of thousands of civilians."

    Moreover, the group wrote that the British government's role was more provocative than that of the United States during the NATO raids against Yugoslavia.

    Aside from yesterday's attack, 17 November also claimed responsibility for the following attacks: Rocket fired at the ruling PASOK party's main offices on March 31, 1999; bomb explosion at PASOK branch office in an Athens district on April 4, 1999; three rocket attacks against Western banks in Piraeus on May 5, 1999; bomb explosion at the Dutch embassy in May 8, 1999 and a rocket fired at the residence of the German ambassador in Athens on May 16, 1999.

    In the same letter, the group denies police reports that the authorities have a suspected member's DNA in their hands. Also, written as a post script, the group claims that Greek businessman Socrates Kokkalis used to work for Stazi and is now an agent for the CIA.

    November 17 has killed three Greeks and an American since 1980 with the same gun used against Brigadier Saunders and has wounded a Greek parliamentary deputy. As it has been active since 1975, Brigadier Saunders is the group's 23rd victim overall.

    None of its members have been caught.

    [02] PM VOWS TO TRACK DOWN TERRORIST GROUP

    The Greek government has condemned yesterday's killing of Britain's defense attache in Athens, Brigadier Stephen Suanders, with Prime Minister Costas Simitis calling it a barbaric act and expressing his utter abhorrence.

    Addressing a PASOK party executive bureau session last night, Mr. Simitis stated that the attack occurred at a time when things were going well for Greece internationally, and suggested that it might be aimed at harming the country's reputation.

    Mr. Simitis pledged to protect public safety and stressed that the state "will not spare any effort to bring before justice those responsible and we are determined to continue actively our difficult struggle against terrorism."

    Following a meeting with his British counterpart Geoff Hoon and Britain's Chief of Defense Staff Sir Charles Guthrie, Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos said terrorism was a common enemy and that the authorities are cooperating fully with their allied counterparts.

    Messrs. Hoon and Guthrie stated that their Greek counterparts expressed their determination to track down the perpetrators, while Mr. Hoon said he did not believe there was any link between the timing of the attack and the NATO defense ministers conference.

    [03] THESSALONIKI HOSTS BALKAN INFO-TECH FORUM

    A Balkan info-tech forum was inaugurated this morning in Thessaloniki by the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace George Paschalides.

    The forum's aim is to bring together interested parties in southeastern Europe in order to boost their capacities and coordinate activities.

    The conference is being held by the Association of Information Technology Companies of Northern Greece, under the aegis of the European Union's executive Commission. Expected to take part in the forum are 170 representatives of the private and public sectors, and academia.

    Topics to be studied by five working groups are information technology and human resources, electronic commerce, the web in the service of the public, information technology and health, and growth for small- and medium-sized infotech companies.

    The working groups are composed of representatives from 12 countries in the region, namely: Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, FYROM, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

    [04] PUBLIC ORDER MINISTER: THERE'S NO LIST OF SUSPECTS

    The government does not have a list of individuals who are suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group, stated the Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoides - thereby refuting relevant claims made recently by CIA's former director James Woolsey.

    Speaking to an Athens radio station, Mr. Chrysochoides said that the government is organizing its efforts to combat terrorism, without paying attention to the occasional defaming remarks.

    Moreover, the Public Order Minister said that the Greek Police authorities are working methodically in the matter, but cannot make their findings public.

    In an interview published yesterday in the weekly paper "Pontiki" Mr. Woolsey suggested the Greek government was "not serious in its pursuit of November 17."

    [05] TRAGIG WIDOW DOESN'T FAULT GREEKS FOR ATTACK

    Heather Saunders, the widow of the British military attache who was killed yesterday by the November 17 terrorist group, called on the Greek people to help track down her husband's killers, saying they had destroyed both her and her family.

    In an emotional statement given in front of her home in Ahtens, Mrs. Saunders told reporters that her husband was "a man committed to peace" who had never raised his gun to kill anyone.

    I stand before you half the person I was yesterday morning," she said.

    She further added that the Greek people are not at fault for her husband's murder and urged "anyone who saw anything, even a little thing, please tell the police."

    Mrs. Saunders also thanked the doctors at the Red Cross hospital where her husband was rushed to after being shot, for their efforts to save his life.

    [06] SAE AMERICA CONDEMNS LATEST TERRORIST ACT

    America's chapter of the Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE) has utterly condemned yesterday's terrorist act, where Britain's defense attache in Athens Brigadier Stephen Saunders was shot by members of the November 17 guerrilla group.

    "It is clear that such acts aim to uspet the climate of natonal tranquillity and social welfare which Greece presently enjoys,"i the chapter's president Christos Tomaras stated.

    "The motives that armed the hands of the murderers are criminal, anti-national and irresponsible, defaming our country throughout the world, especially in light of Greece's growing presence in the international political, economic and social scene," he added.

    However, Mr. Tomaras added that SAE does not espouse the report recently published by the U.S. National Commission on Terrorism which calls for severe sanctions against Greece for "not cooperating fully on counter-terrorism" and ranks alongside with Pakistan and Libya.

    "Greece is itself a victim of such acts," Mr. Tomaras stated.

    [07] NOVEMBER 17 HAS KILLED 23, BUT REMAINS ELUSIVE

    Twenty-three persons have been killed since December 1975, when the still-elusive November 17 terrorist group first appeared upon the collapse of eight years of military rule in Greece, a group defined by what it is against, rather than by what it believes in.

    In the ensuing 25 years, and despite intense attempts to unravel its secrets, little has become known about the organization as none of its members have been arrested. Its modus operandi, precise and unexpected hits, attests that it is made up of professional, well-trained hitmen, who are most likely trained abroad.

    In its effort to combat terrorism, the Greek state has passed two counter-terrorism bills and has issued a great number of declarations which to date have proven futile, in spite of the measures afforded by the Ministry of Public Order.

    However, those states whose governments and secret service departments have been most vocal in their criticism against Greece on this matter, have not provided the Greek authorities with any leads that would facilitate the joint efforts to combat the phenomenon.

    The grim list of the group's victims is, in terrorist terms, impressive:

    -23.12.1975: CIA station chief, Richard Welch was shot by a .45- calliber gun that became the groups' trademark.

    -13.12.1976: retired police officer Evangelos Malios was killed by the same .45-calliber gun that killed Welch.

    -16.1.1980: SWAT team assistant commissioner Pantelis Petrou were killed in an ambush-like attack; his driver, police officer Sotiris Stamoulis, succumbed to his injuries later.

    -15.11.1983: US navy captain George Tsantes ( a Greek-American) and his driver Nikos Veloutsos were killed on Kifisias Avenue in Athens. Again, same .45-calliber gun.

    -3.4.1984: US Sergeant Robert Chad, was shot by the same gun, later died from health complications.

    -21.2.1985: Apogevmatini publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panayiotis Rouseties were killed in Kolonaki.

    -26.11.1985: Bomb explodes at a riot police bus, killing officer Nikos Georgakopoulos.

    -8.4.1986: Industrialist Dimitris Agelopoulos was killed in Kolonaki.

    -1.3.1988: Industrialist Alexandros Athanasiades - Bodosakes was killed in Kifisias Avenue. Shot by the same .45-calliber gun.

    -28.6.1988: US Naval Attache William Nordeen was killed when a bomb exploded in his car.

    -10.1.1989: Public prosecutor Constantinos Androulidakis was seriously injured by gunfire and died about a month later.

    -26.9.1989: Journalist Pavlos Bakoyannis (who was married to current ND deputy Dora Bakoyianni) was killed by the same gun.

    -12.3.1991: US Sergeant Ronald Stewart killed by a remote- controlled explosive device.

    -2.11.1991: Police officer Nikos Varis was killed when a rocket exploded at a riot police bus.

    -7.10.1991: Turkish press attache Cetin Giorku was killed by the same .45.

    -14.7.1992: Innocent bystander Thanos Axarlian was killed during an attack against the then-Minister Yiannis Paleokrassas.

    -24.1.1994: Former governor of the National Bank of Greece Michalis Vranopoulos killed in Kolonaki.

    -4.7.1994: Turkish Embassy's deputy secretary Omer Sipachioglu killed outside his home. Same gun.

    -28.5.1997: Shipowner Costas Peratikos killed in Piraeus by same gun.

    -8.6.2000: British defense attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders killed on Kifisias Avenue. Same gun.

    [08] COINCIDENCES AND QUESTIONS OVER THE TERRORIST ATTACK AGAINST THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE

    The coincidences and the huge questions raised over yesterday's terrorist attack against British military attache Stephen Saunders in Athens were underlined by the entirety of the Greek press as the "17 November" hit came just a few days after the US Congress report that warned of an increase in terrorist activity in Greece.

    Most newspapers emphasize that the real target of the assassination was Greece itself and its weakening within a framework of pressures and doubts over its ability to deal with terrorism. They also point out that the terrorists struck at a moment when the doubts over Greece's ability to secure the safety of the people during the 2004 Olympic Games intensify.

    "Provocation", "ordered service on behalf of foreign centers of power", "dirty attack against Greece", "only the enemies of Greece had an interest", "the target are the Olympic Games", "tragic attack with CIA and MOSSAD specifications", "multi-faceted struck against Greece", are some of the characteristic front-page headlines in the major newspapers of Athens and Thessaloniki. The Athens daily "Kathimerini" stresses that the new terrorist attack coincides with Greece's accession into the EMU, the hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games and the US pressures, while "TO VIMA" emphasizes that the terrorists killed the British officer but they shot the government.

    The newspaper "Avgi" points out that the specific period of time in which the ghost of terrorism has reappeared is characterized by the US blackmailing demand to draw up a cooperation protocol against terrorism with terms that will satisfy the US side and the increasing pressures to surrender to US agents the overall security measures for the 2004 Olympic Games.

    [09] THE ORTHODOX CHURCH ADMITTED THAT THE ID CARDS FALL UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE

    The Christian Orthodox Church in Greece recognized that the issuing of identity cards falls under the authority of the state.

    This is mentioned in a circular issued by the Church Hierarchy that will be read on Sunday after the Holy Liturgy and is signed by all the Metropolites.

    However, it is stressed that the Church has a say on the issue as it represents the majority of the Greek people, while the stance of the prime minister toward the Church is characterized as insulting.

    [10] "BLUE FLAGS" TO 300 GREEK COASTS

    Three hundred "blue flags" were won by an equal number of Greek coasts and 8 marinas for the year 2000 within the framework of the Blue Flags for Europe program, compared to 318 in 1999 and 326 in 1998.

    At a European level, "blue flags" were given to a total of 1.936 coasts and 650 marinas, while in a total of 21 countries the first place was won by France with 410 "blue flags" for its coasts and 82 marinas, second is Spain with 364 "blue flags" for its coasts and 81 marinas and Greece is third.

    The "Blue Flags of Europe" is a program that was adopted for the first time in 1987 to reward the clean coasts and the well- organized marinas. The criteria based on which the coasts are being judged are the quality of the sea waters, the facilities offered, the information offered to the public, the safety of the swimmers and the environment safe activities. For the marinas, the criteria are the good organization and management, the offer of safety and information as well as the environment safe activities.

    [11] COCAINE WITH AN ESTIMATED VALUE OF 10 BILLION DRACHMAS WAS CONFISCATED BY THE ECONOMIC CRIME POLICE

    The biggest quantity of cocaine, located in the past few years by the Greek authorities with an estimated value of 10 billion drachmas, has been confiscated by the economic crime police.

    Special agents conducted a search on a ship and located a total of 126 kilos of excellent quality cocaine that was packaged in three containers and placed among fake plastic tiles.

    The cargo that came from Venezuela arrived at the port of Piraeus on board the ship "Carmen", under a Greek flag, and its destination was the city of Pristina in Kosovo.

    Four suspects have been arrested among them a Greek, 37yearold Petros Abelis from Athens.

    [12] BUSINESS MISSION TO IRELAND

    A business mission is organized by the ministry of national economy within the framework of the formal visit of president Kostis Stephanopoulos to Ireland on July 3-5.

    The business delegation that will accompany president Stephanopoulos has as a goal to examine the potential for a further economic and trade cooperation with the Irish businessmen with whom they will have the opportunity to meet. Also, a seminar will be held aimed at locating cooperation opportunities between Greek and Irish businessmen.

    The main sectors of interest for cooperation are food and beverages, fruits and vegetables, furniture, building materials and computers.

    [13] GAINS OF 1.12% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains of 1.12% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today, while the volume of transactions was at 146,4 billion drachmas.

    The general index was at 4.436,45 points and of the stocks trading today 219 recorded gains, 115 had losses and 33 remained at the same levels with yesterday.

    [14] THE US OFFERS 1.8 BILLION DRACHMAS FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST OF THE TERRORISTS

    The United States offer a reward of 1.8 billion drachmas and a new life in America to anyone who will give them the "17 November" terrorists. Just a few hours after the terrorist attack against British military attache in Athens brigadier Stephen Saunders a special Internet web page appeared on the first page of the US State Department site.

    Indicative of the US intentions is the fact that they have increased the reward they offer for any information leading to the arrest of the "17 November" members from 900 million drachmas ($3 million) to 1.8 billion drachmas ($5 million).

    The statement is signed by US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns and in the text is mentioned that the Greek and the US authorities are cooperating closely in the effort to combat terrorism, while it is noted that in the 25 years during which the terrorist organization is in action many US citizens have been its targets but no arrest has ever been made.

    [15] STRONG EXPLOSION ROCKED THE ISLAND OF RHODES

    A strong explosion occurred at noon today in the sea region about 20 miles east of the city of Rhodes in south-eastern Aegean. From the first moment, the likelihood of an earthquake, bomb attack or gas leak had been ruled out.

    According to information, a torpedo from a Turkish warship hit a Turkish frigate and 5 people have been injured as a military exercise is underway at the Turkish territorial waters.

    However, Turkish Army general chief of staff general Kivrikoglu, who is watching the Turkish exercise, denied that a warship with a crew on board has been hit. He clarified that an old ship of the Turkish Navy without a crew was hit by a torpedo within the framework of the exercise that is being held in the sea region outside Marmaris.

    [16] THE EXTRAORDINARY PARTY CONGRESS OF NEW DEMOCRACY OPENS THIS AFTERNOON

    The extraordinary congress of right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy that will last until Sunday opens in Athens this afternoon with the speech of party leader Kostas Karamanlis.

    In response to the statements made by ND parliament deputy Dora Bakoyianni regarding a lack of democracy within the party, Mr. Karamanlis will characterize the party congress as a democratic event and will underline that its targets will be to reconfirm the party ideology and promote its profile.

    Regarding the issue concerning party spokesman and parliament deputy Aris Spiliotopoulos, who is accused by many inside the party of making himself the number 2 in the party hierarchy, Mr. Karamanlis will say that certain people are using distorting eye- glasses in order to set aside the political word. He will underline that all those who have tried to weaken New Democracy by dictating decisions and imposing options through the mass media will not succeed.

    Mr. Karamanlis will also attempt to put an end to the in- party problems and he will stress that the basic intention of New Democracy is its organizational and operational transformation into a new political party form that will respond better to the needs of the society.

    [17] GOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE MEETING

    The determination of the government to take all necessary measures in order to combat terrorism was expressed by prime minister Kostas Simitis in the governmental committee meeting held in Athens today.

    Mr. Simitis said that the phenomenon of terrorism distorts the picture of the country and called for the creation of a united front by the government, political parties, institutions and the people in order to fight terrorism.

    On the likelihood to change the legislation on terrorism, he said that no change in its core is being discussed but an exchange of views is underway on the legal procedure problems that may come up. Mr. Simitis also characterized as unjustified the effort to link yesterday's terrorist attack with security issues during the 2004 Olympic Games that will be held in Athens.

    Minister of public order Mr. Chrisohoidis referred to the signing of a police cooperation memorandum between Greece and the United States clarifying that it is similar to those Greece has already signed with other 34 countries. The memorandum will be signed by the Greek minister of public order and the US Attorney General.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [18] UK PRESS BLASTS GREECE OVER ATTACHE'S MURDER

    Following yesterday's attack on the British military attache to Athens Stephen Saunders, who was killed by the November 17 terrorist group, Athens now stands accused of years of complacency, bordering on collusion, from the British press over Greece's inability to capture the elusive guerrillas.

    Starting from the post-junta governments and beyond, the British press accuse Greece of being incompetent to combat terrorism, while there are frequent innuendoes of collusion between Greek political figures and November 17.

    According to the Guardian, which quotes counter-terrorism officials, Greek authorities are overly defensive about the issue, viewing outside help and criticism as an encroachment on the country's affairs.

    "The resulting international wrangling has allowed November 17 to slip through the net. Last year the group taunted the authorities by inviting them to ‘come and get us'. They did not, and Brigadier Saunders paid the price", the Guardian wrote.

    While stressing that yesterday's attack raises concerns over the 2004 Olympic Games' security, most dailies disassociate the terrorist attack with the Britons' high tourism interest in Greece, pointing out that no tourist has ever been targeted.

    Also, British Ambassador in Athens Sir David Madden told the BBC radio that "we have never felt threatened in Greece" and added that he is satisfied with the manner in which the Greek government is handling the issue and hopes that the efforts will bear results for the capture of Brigadier Saunders's murderers.

    Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph wrote that Greece is now condemned by the world over for its inability to capture any of the November 17 members to date. It also quotes extensively an interview given by CIA's former director James Woolsey to the Athens weekly "Ponitki" where he suggested the Greek government was "not serious in its pursuit of November 17."

    In that interview, which ran hours prior to yesterday's attack, Mr. Woolsey issued a damning indictment of the Greek authorities.

    "I believe there are some people in the Greek Government who know certain members of the 17 November [group]," he said, adding "nothing has been done, this is an extremely important affair for the US and it constitutes a continuous irritation and affects our relationship with Greece."

    Mr. Woolsey also proposed that both the United Kingdom and the US refrain from sending their athletes to the Games in 2004 if the Greek government does not tap the terrorist organization first.

    London's "Telegraph" also refers to Greece's "dark side", where terrorists have been allowed to reign undisturbed since the 1970s, when it is believed that future members of 17 November and leading figures in PASOK, were united in opposition to the then- rule of the military junta.

    As for the "Times", the front-page article advises that if Greece wishes to have access to a continental Europe, sans passports, that it should exhibit great zeal and tangible results in terrorism combat.

    [19] TURKISH PM CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH GREECE

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has reportedly asked Greece to take advantage of improved relations with his country and talk about their disputes over the Aegean Sea.

    "The warm support from our peoples for the limited dialogue between the countries makes a suitable atmosphere to take up these sensitive Aegean issues in friendly dialogue," according to the Anadolu news agency, which quoted Mr. Ecevit during a visit to the town of Marmaris.

    "We have no claims on another state's land, but it is our right to want a just adjustment that protects our citizens' security and economy," he said, adding that Turkey is practically imprisoned in its own coast.

    [20] ARMENIA, GREECE IRAN TO STRENGTHEN TRADE TIES

    The strengthening of trilateral ties was the focus of the second session on industrial, technical and economic cooperation between Armenia, Iran and Greece held in Yerevan.

    Bilateral cooperation between these countries has been developing quite successfully in the last few years, which is not true of trilateral ties, the respective countries' delegations stated.

    Armenian Industry Minister Karen Hsmaritian stressed the importance of providing a solid legal basis for cooperation and stated that trilateral cooperation in the fields of science, food and chemical industries, jewelry business and banking can be enhanced.

    [21] THE INVOLVEMENT OF SAUNDERS IN THE NATO BOMBINGS IS DENIED

    The British foreign office denied the speculation expressed in the "17 November" terrorist organization leaflet according to which, Stephen Saunders had an active participation in the coordination of the NATO air strikes against Serbia last year. According to the British foreign office, Saunders took over his post in Athens in May 1999, two months after the start of the NATO bombings.

    Meanwhile, according to the Reuters news agency a British foreign office spokesman stated that on the occasion of the assassination of Stephen Saunders in Athens Britain will reconsider the security measures for the protection of its diplomats serving all over the world.

    British ambassador to Athens David Manten stated in an interview with the Greek service of the BBC radio that the British diplomatic mission did not feel as being under a threat in Greece and added that he is satisfied with the way the Greek government handled the issue. He also expressed the hope that the investigation for the discovery and the arrest of the terrorists will give fruit.

    [22] A 0.7% GROWTH WAS RECORDED IN THE EURO-ZONE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF 2000

    A 0.7% growth was recorded in the Euro-zone economies in the first trimester of 2000 compared to the last trimester of 1999, according to the initial estimates by the EU statistics agency, Eurostat.

    According to the same estimates, the GDP of all 15 EU member- states showed an increase similar to that of the Euro-zone namely, 0.7%.

    The economic growth in the first trimester of the current year both in all the 15 EU member-states and in the Euro-zone has showed an increase of 3.2% compared to the first trimester of 1999.

    [23] CIRCUMCISION CUTS THE RISK OF AIDS FOR MEN

    Researchers in Australia announced that men who have been circumcised face a smaller risk to be infected by the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

    They also suggest that males must be circumcised in an early age as circumcision is regarded as one of the most effective ways to face the plague of the century.

    Another research underlines that AIDS appeared for the first time much earlier than previously thought namely, in the 1930s.

    [24] THE BRITISH TOURISTS ARE NOT BEING SCARED OFF BY THE BRITISH PRESS REPORTS

    British tourist agents stated to the Press Association news agency that all the terrorist attacks in Greece have been against government targets and not against tourists. The statements were made in response to the British mass media reports published after the assassination yesterday of the British military attache in Athens which lead to the conclusion that there is a lack of security in Greece.

    It should be noted that British Tourist Agents Association president Keith Betton has issued a statement that was on all the news agencies' bulletins, stressing that the terrorist attack does not affect tourism in Greece and that the number of British tourists visiting the country will be larger compared to previous years. He also stressed that this year's trend is a movement of British tourists from Turkey to Greece.

    [25] OTE IS A CANDIDATE FOR THE BUYOUT OF FYROM'S TELEKOM

    Six companies among them, the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, have displayed an interest in the purchase of FYROM's telephone service organization "TELEKOM".

    The companies interested are the Hungarian "MATAF", the German "DEBITEL", the French VIVENTI", the Turkish "TURSEL", the Slovenian "TELEKOM" and the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE.


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