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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-06-23

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 23, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT IN ATHENS TODAY
  • [02] NATO EXERCISE UNDERWAY IN BLACK SEA REGION
  • [03] GREEK NAVY CHIEF CONDUCTS VISIT TO ROMANIA
  • [04] PREMIER, FM DISCUSS FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES
  • [05] OLYMPIC VOYAGER: WORLD'S FASTEST CRUISELINER
  • [06] JUSTICE MINISTER: WE HAVE TO ENFORCE THE LAW
  • [07] PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC REPUBLIC TO VISIT RUSSIA
  • [08] UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE TRAVELS TO KOREA
  • [09] ATHENS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF AUTHOR
  • [10] PREMIER: CONSERVATISM DOESN'T BECOME US
  • [11] UK EMBASSY STAFF MEMBER ATTEMPTS SUICIDE
  • [12] SURPRISE: ALPHA SLASHES LOAN INTEREST RATES
  • [13] G/T POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS HELD IN ANKARA
  • [14] "MEDIA & REPATRIATED GREEKS" MEETING TO BE HELD
  • [15] BACOURIS TO DISCUSS COMPENSATION WITH COMMITTEE
  • [16] SURVEY SHOWS GREEK RETAILERS AS BEING MOST OPTIMISTIC IN EUROPE
  • [17] YIOULEKAS DEMANDS REMAINS OF WW2 SOLDIERS BE BROUGHT HOME
  • [18] KARAMANLIS AND EU CHIEF MEET IN ATHENS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [19] G/T AGRICULTURE COOPERATION PROTOCOL SIGNED
  • [20] GREECE & TURKEY HOLD ENVIRONMENT MEETING
  • [21] DIAMANTOPOULOU IN ANKARA TO DISCUSS EQUAL RIGHTS

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT IN ATHENS TODAY

    European Commission President Romano Prodi will arrive in Greece today in order to address a conference held by the University of Athens.

    Mr. Prodi will also have talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is to attend the conference, and with main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] NATO EXERCISE UNDERWAY IN BLACK SEA REGION

    NATO's Cooperative Partner 2000 military exercise is presently underway in the western part of the Black Sea, as part of the program Partnership for Peace, featuring the participation of ten Alliance members and seven member-states of the Cooperation for Peace program.

    With a total of 40 ships, 30 aircraft and 900 marines participating, the exercise comprises forces from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Britain and the United States, as well as forces from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Sweden and the Ukraine.

    Greece is participating with a platoon of 30 marines, five paramedics, two staff officers and with ships belonging to NATO's naval forces.

    [03] GREEK NAVY CHIEF CONDUCTS VISIT TO ROMANIA

    Greece' Navy Chief George Ioannidis is presently on a four- day visit to Romania where he will meet with his Romanian counterpart to discuss issues of mutual interest and the strengthening of naval relations between the two countries.

    Officers and cadets of the Romanian defense ministry's foreign language center recently conducted an official visit to Greece at the invitation of National Defense General Staff Chief Manousos Paragioudakis.

    During their stay, the Romanian students will be acquainted with the Greek language, history and culture.

    Also, Armed Forces Chief Konstantinos Panayiotakis is on a three-day-visit to Italy where he ill have talks with his Italian counterpart and visit installations and units of the Italian army.

    [04] PREMIER, FM DISCUSS FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a meeting on foreign policy planning yesterday, attended by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and other officials.

    Following the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated that all foreign policy issues were discussed in light of a pertinent meeting to be held by the Cabinet next week.

    He further added that European issues were also discussed in light of France assuming the European Union's rotating presidency next month, which has put forward "interesting ideas" on Balkan problems and the European Union's institutional reform.

    [05] OLYMPIC VOYAGER: WORLD'S FASTEST CRUISELINER

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos christened the world's fastest cruise liner "Olympic Voyager", during inaugural ceremonies at the port of Piraeus yesterday.

    The official ceremony was attended by prominent social and political leaders from Greece, as well as international travel industry executives, and members of the media.

    The cruise line's 25,000-ton, 836-passenger flagship vessel is Royal Olympic Cruises' first new-build, and the first new cruise vessel in the past decade to fly the Greek flag. The vessel was built by Blohm + Voss GmbH Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and delivered to Royal Olympic Cruises on June 15.

    With the ability to travel at speeds as high as 27 knots, Olympic Voyager becomes the fastest cruise ship of its class in the world.

    The ship's high speed, attributed to its proprietary Fast Monohull design, enables the sleek ship to feature itineraries with an increased number of port calls, offering more time at each port's sites of interest. During its inaugural season, which begins tomorrow, Olympic Voyager will offer unprecedented seven- day itineraries to Europe, Africa and Asia.

    [06] JUSTICE MINISTER: WE HAVE TO ENFORCE THE LAW

    Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos reiterated yesterday that the state's decision to remove the listing of religion from public identification cards is in line with a 1997 law, while he added that his reports published in law reviews have no relation whatsoever with political practices.

    Furthermore, Mr. Stathopoulos stressed that when it comes to church-state matters, then any desired by the church should be conducted with the ministry of Education-Religion.

    [07] PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC REPUBLIC TO VISIT RUSSIA

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to embark on an official visit to Moscow on Sunday, where he will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and will sign a series of protocols.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will also visit St. Petersburg and will be received by Patriarch Alexios II, while he will also meet with the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

    The President will also meet with leading members of the Greek diaspora iin Russia and will be declared honorary professor of Moscow's state university of Lomonosov.

    He will return to Athens on June 29.

    [08] UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE TRAVELS TO KOREA

    Undersecretary of National Defense Dimitris departed for the Republic of Korea today where he will attend events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Korean War.

    During his stay in Seoul, Mr. Apostolakis will be received by his Korean counterpart Park Yong Ok, while he will also visit military installations.

    The commemorative ceremonies will also be attended by ministers and undersecretaries from Australia, France, Denmark, United States, Italy, Canada, Columbia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and the Philippines.

    [09] ATHENS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF AUTHOR

    Opining that a work of art, such as a book, is protected by the constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression, an Athens court turned down demands to ban the book "M to the Power of N" written by former deputy Mimis Androulakis.

    As the book alludes to a sexual relationship between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, circles of religious fanatics had filed three separate suits demanding that the "blasphemous" publication be withdrawn from circulation.

    In its opinion, the court ruled that that the book was not an ill-intentioned act that meant to directly insult the Orthodox Church. Instead, the court found that the author's intention was "to show and condemn the misogyny that has pervaded all branches of culture and science for millennia.

    "Art is free and its development and promotion is an obligation of the state," the court opined.

    [10] PREMIER: CONSERVATISM DOESN'T BECOME US

    In an effort to allay fears maintained by many Greeks that the country is about to lose its national identity, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated today that conservatism and fear for that which is new does not become the Greeks.

    "The view according to which we are in danger of losing our national identity tends to forget that the nation existed even without the state-nation, which in itself has been in existence for a century," he said.

    Welcoming the European Commission President Romano Prodi in a conference held by the University of Athens today, Mr. Simitis characterized his guest as an old friend who promoted cooperation between Greece and Italy, as well as a leader in the development of the European Union.

    "Our ability to create ideals, forge directions, form ideas is a means to realize our dreams," Mr. Simitis stated, adding that "our country is heard, it has a voice, it participates with success when it is ahead."

    Referring to Greece's recent accession to the Economic and Monetary Union, the Premier also stated that "that which seemed like an intangible dream in 1994 became reality in spite of the naysayers," he added.

    "We achieved this because that vast majority of the Greek people want to put an end to commiseration and underdevelopment. They wanted and want Greece to be in the frontier of global development."

    In turn, Mr. Prodi stated that the past belongs to a time best forgotten and stressed that all of Europe has to come to terms with the new reality of globalization.

    He further saluted the Greek government's efforts and stated that the leaps and bounds in Greece's economic sizes enabled the country to become a member of EMU.

    [11] UK EMBASSY STAFF MEMBER ATTEMPTS SUICIDE

    A staff member of the British embassy in Athens attempted suicide today, after reportedly being despondent over the loss of his friend Stephen Saunders who was murdered June 8 by the November 17 terrorist group.

    According to early reports, 60-year-old Anthony Danford, an English national who is married to a Greek, swallowed a large amount of barbiturates in an attempt to put an end to his life. He is presently hospitalized at Athens' Evangelismos hospital.

    [12] SURPRISE: ALPHA SLASHES LOAN INTEREST RATES

    In a surprise move four days after Greece's official entry to the eurozone, Alpha Bank today announced major cuts in its interest rates for consumer and personal loans, lowering them by over seven percentage points as of Monday.

    According to bank officials, consumer and personal loan rates will fall from 17 to 9.75 percent, a 7.25 percent cut, a move amounting to an adjustment of drachma rates to the level of euro rates, six months in advance of Greece's participation in EMU.

    Greek consumers and borrowers stand to benefit from this move as other banks are expected to follow suit, in order to maintain their standing in an increasingly competitive market.

    According to sources, the National Bank of Greece is already preparing a counter-attack, and will soon announce lower consumer loan rates.

    [13] G/T POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS HELD IN ANKARA

    Political consultation between Athens and Ankara are presently underway at Turkey's Foreign Ministry, chaired by the Greek Foreign Ministry's political director Anastasios Skopelites and Turkey's deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yigit Alpogan.

    The two delegations are to discuss a wide range of regional and international issues, such as the situation in the Balkans and the Middle East, as well as European Security and Defense Initiative (ESDI).

    The first round of such consultations was held last November at the level of foreign ministry deputy undersecretaries from the respective countries.

    [14] "MEDIA & REPATRIATED GREEKS" MEETING TO BE HELD

    A meeting is being held next Tuesday with the theme "The media and repatriated Greeks from countries of the former Soviet Union" at the Divani Caravel hotel in Athens.

    The meeting is being sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Secretariat of Hellenic Emigration and is the first in a series of events geared at informing the general public of the aims which repatriated Greeks from countries of the former Soviet Union are working towards achieving. Moreover, it marks the beginning of extensive research into crucial homogenous issues through the press, radio, television and electronic media.

    The event's official opening will take place at 9 am and will be followed by a speech on the theme "Shaping public opinion and its contribution to welcoming repatriated Greeks from countries of the former Soviet Union", due to be made by Telemachus Chitiris, deputy Press and Media Minister.

    Liana Kanelli, MP and editor of the magazine "Nemesis", Konstantinos Tsarouchis, journalist at the radio station "Sky", Lazaros Chatzinakos, journalist and editor assistant at the newspaper "Makedonias" and Romolo Gandolfo, journalist and ex- manager of the newspaper "Athens News" are amongst the numerous journalists expected to attend the event.

    [15] BACOURIS TO DISCUSS COMPENSATION WITH COMMITTEE

    Kostas Bacouris, ex-General Manager of the Athens Olympic Games 2004, is set to discuss the compensation package that he will receive from the Olympic Committee, which is expected to be based on his initial contract.

    Mr Reppas, Press and Media Minister, insisted that the removal of Mr Bacouris, who earned 5 million Greek drachmas a month whilst General Manager of the Olympic Committee, came following a joint agreement based on the condition that the latter would be moved to another position.

    [16] SURVEY SHOWS GREEK RETAILERS AS BEING MOST OPTIMISTIC IN EUROPE

    Greek employers have proved to be more optimistic than their European counterparts as far as an increase in retail business employment is concerned, according to a survey carried out by the European Commission's Finance and Currency General Management, published yesterday in Brussels.

    92% of Greek employers in the retail business have foreseen an increase in employment in their field, during 2000 and 2001, the main reasons being the increase in demand, the introduction of new technology and the reduction in employment costs. Belgium and Great Britain follow close behind with 69% and 54% respectively, whilst the remaining 12 EEC members remain decidedly pessimistic.

    According to the survey's averages, only 28% of all European employers foresee an increase in employment in the retail sector.

    [17] YIOULEKAS DEMANDS REMAINS OF WW2 SOLDIERS BE BROUGHT HOME

    Konstantinos Yioulekas, New Democracy party MP, has raised the issue of locating and bringing back the remains of Greek soldiers killed in the Greek-Italian war in 1940-1941, currently found in Albania.

    The MP raised the issue during a discussion with George Papandreou, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Akis Tsochatsopoulos, Minister of National Defence.

    "Sixty years have gone by and Greece still hasn't located all the areas where battles were fought and where the heroic men who fought the Italians were buried. The tragic results of this are that there are still many empty graves in our country and relatives of those who were killed remain unaware of the point at which their loved ones perished. Italy on the other hand, located and transported the remains of their soldiers and buried them in their country a few years after the end of the war."

    In Mr Yioulekas' opinion, there is no excuse for Greece to overlook this issue since the warring situation in Albania came to an end in 1987, and he has asked that the two Ministers concerned communicate this wish to the Albanian government in order to locate the exact points of the mass graves before beginning the process of bringing them home.

    [18] KARAMANLIS AND EU CHIEF MEET IN ATHENS

    Romano Prodi, European Commission President today met with Kostas Karamanlis, leader of the opposition New Democracy party, to discuss the structure of Europe in the 21st century. Mr Karamanlis emphasized the need for an efficient Europe, that will maintain democratic representation, stressing that his party favors a federation structure allowing each country-member to maintain its national and cultural identity.

    The ND leader also spoke of the importance of ensuring the smooth functioning of the EU and to this end suggested that "the entry of Cyprus into the EU be the first priority. The country's political problem should not delay the process if Cyprus meets the entry requirements otherwise."

    Dealing with Europe's social problems is very important to the New Democracy party, who considers unemployment, increasing and strengthening job vacancies, social inequality, citizen protection and immigration, both legal and illegal, as being top of the agenda. In the party leader's opinion, Europe has to face the challenges presented by the 21st century, by directing environmental balance and the application of new technology.

    Prodi's proposal that there be a closer rapport between Mediterranean countries was also welcomed by Mr Karamanlis.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] G/T AGRICULTURE COOPERATION PROTOCOL SIGNED

    Greece's and Turkey's agriculture ministers, George Anomeritis and Husnu Yusuf Giokalp respectively, signed a general cooperation protocol on agricultural issues in Ankara yesterday.

    During the signing ceremony, Mr. Anomeritis stated that Turkey will gain from Greece's experience as a member of the European Union and added that Athens can guide Ankara in its accession course to the European Union.

    In turn, Mr. Giokalp stated that ties of cooperation between Greece and Turkey are gradually growing in nearly all sectors, stressing that this is a very positive development in the two neighbors' relations.

    The agricultural protocol calls for the exchange of practical and scientific information in the sector, as well as in regards to the EU's common agricultural policy.

    [20] GREECE & TURKEY HOLD ENVIRONMENT MEETING

    The Environment Working Group held its second meeting in Ankara, as part of a Greco-Turkish agreement calling for the protection of the environment.

    Figen Ok, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official present at the meeting said that since the two countries currently have similar problems in this area, there would be future scope for cooperation.

    Hayrettin Karaca, Chairman of the TEMA Association stated that Turkish soil was suffering from erosion and that more emphasis was being placed on dealing with this problem as a result.

    [21] DIAMANTOPOULOU IN ANKARA TO DISCUSS EQUAL RIGHTS

    Women in Turkey do not have equal rights in political, financial and educational matters, according to claims made by Anna Diamantopoulou, member of the European Commission responsible for employment and social politics, during a news conference held in Ankara.

    Ms Diamantopoulou upheld the view that Turkish women have a long way to go before gaining equal rights in all aspects of their lives, adding that the creation of new policies is needed for the implementation of laws.

    Social reforms, standards and developments regarding women were mainly discussed during the meeting, at which Yasar Okuyan, Minister of Labour and Social Security and Hasan Gemici, State Minister were present.

    The "improvement of social dialogue" between all those concerned was described by Ms Diamantopoulou as being of utmost importance, if progress in the area of equal rights is to be made.


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