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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-10-02

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, October 2, 2000

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] "SAMINA" DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN TO 79
  • [02] INVESTIGATION UNDER WAY FOR "ZEUS III" SHIPWRECK
  • [03] TESTIMONIES BY THE "SAMINA" CREW CONTINUE TODAY
  • [04] STRIKES GO ON AS FUEL CRISIS DEEPENS
  • [05] US-GREEK RELATIONS CELEBRATED IN ATHENS THIS WEEK
  • [06] SIMPLE CEREMONY TO WELCOME ATHLETES BACK TOMORROW
  • [07] KARAMANLIS CONGRATULATES OLYMPIC ATHLETES
  • [08] MEETING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY ON CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [09] 39 OLYMPIC ATHLETES WILL RETURN TO GREECE
  • [10] EU DEMANDS "SAMINA" DETAILS
  • [11] 55 PASSENGER SHIPS HAVE BEEN CONFINED TO PORT
  • [12] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IS DETERMINED TO SHED LIGHT ON THE MERCHANT MARINE ISSUE
  • [13] THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE STATE-RUN ELECTRICITY COMPANY WILL TAKE PLACE IN 2001
  • [14] GAINS OF 0.05% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [15] JOINT TEXT ON YUGOSLAVIA BY PAPANDREOU, IVANOV AND VEDRINE
  • [16] REPPAS ON THE TANK-TRUCK OWNERS' STRIKE
  • [17] PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE GREEK SAILORS' ASSOCIATION
  • [18] THE GREEK FISHERMEN ARE ON A STRIKE
  • [19] REPPAS ON THE "SAMINA" TRAGEDY
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [20] CYPRUS CELEBRATED INDEPENDENCE YESTERDAY
  • [21] GREECE IS THE BIGGEST FOREIGN INVESTOR IN BULGARIA
  • [22] PAPOUTSIS ADDRESSED THE COUNCIL OF THE EU MERCHANT MARINE MINISTERS

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] "SAMINA" DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN TO 79

    Three more bodies, that of two women and a man, were discovered yesterday by divers still searching the site of the "Samina" shipwreck, taking the death toll to 79.

    Divers taking part in the search said that they have encountered difficulties in entering the ship's garage. Special vessels have begun pumping petrol from the reserves on board the ship to reduce potential sea pollution.

    Meanwhile, the captain, his deputy and the seaman on duty aboard the ship testified in front of a court on the island of Syros yesterday, against charges of homicide and of causing a shipwreck, as well as of abandoning a ship in danger. According to information, the accused have thrown responsibility for the tragedy on the officer who was on duty at the time of the accident, accusing him of negligence.

    [02] INVESTIGATION UNDER WAY FOR "ZEUS III" SHIPWRECK

    A preliminary investigation is under way to establish the reasons for which the "Zeus III" ship sank a mile and a half away from the port of Naxos. The ship crashed into a reef that is marked on sea maps, before sinking a few minutes later.

    The island's port authorities have also asked that the captain of the ship, Ioannis Viliotis, be tested for alcohol consumption and that the conditions of the ship be examined, together with its naval documents. A post-mortem will also be carried out on the body of the unfortunate victim Ide Richard.

    [03] TESTIMONIES BY THE "SAMINA" CREW CONTINUE TODAY

    The Public Prosecutor of Syros, Dimitris Dadinopoulos has proceeded with the criminal prosecution of the company who owned the shipwrecked "Samina", accusing it of placing the ship's passengers in danger.

    According to reports, the former Greek Shipping minister, Stavros Soumakis and the managing director of the shipping company in question, Mr Sfinias will be called to testify before prosecutors.

    The ship's captain Vasilis Yiannakis will testify later on today for a second time, as he did not have time to complete his plea during yesterday's hearing. It has become apparent that his testimony differs significantly from that made by his deputy.

    The main difference in the two testimonies is in the time the captain had to react, just before the collision; the deputy claims that he informed the captain fifteen minutes before tragedy struck, whereas the captain, the sailor and the trainee captain maintain that they were informed only 3-5 minutes before the collision.

    [04] STRIKES GO ON AS FUEL CRISIS DEEPENS

    The fuel crisis in Greece has deepened as private trucks and fuel tankers continue with their strikes, leading to significant shortages not only in fuel but also in products.

    Several prefectures in the country have closed 90% of their petrol stations and Greek Finance minister Mr Papantoniou is expected to discuss the issue in a press interview today. In a meeting he had with Greek Development minister Nikos Christodoulakis, and private truck owners, he promised that the government would examine the possibility of reducing circulation taxes, however he ruled out the possibility of reducing fuel taxes. He suggested that the price of petrol would be reduced by ten drachmas a litre from this week on, due to the drop in prices on an international scale.

    [05] US-GREEK RELATIONS CELEBRATED IN ATHENS THIS WEEK

    A celebration of US- Greek relations will be held by the US Embassy in Athens, from Wednesday, October 11th to Friday October 13th.

    The events will begin with a rededication ceremony of the American Philhellenes Obelisk, followed by a reception at Athens City Hall hosted by the capital's mayor, Mr Avramopoulos. This little known monument, given to the city of Athens by the American Legion and erected in 1930, honors the Americans who fought for Greek independence in the 1820's. The monument and its grounds fell into disrepair and were recently renovated and re-landscaped by the Municipality of Athens.

    The George C. Marshall statue, created by renowned Greek sculptor Theodoros Papayiannis and donated by the American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA), will be unveiled on Thursday October 12th, on the chancery's front lawn, in honour of the strength and endurance of US-Greek relations. The exhibit of the history of US-Greek relations, portraying a chronicle of the history of the United States relationship with Greece, will be inaugurated on the same day.

    A conference will be held by the Center for Democracy and the Western Policy Center, on the Future of the US-Greece Relationship, at the Divani Caravel Hotel. Representatives of both the United States and Greek governments will participate in the conference, as will a number of prominent experts on the bilateral relationship. The week's activities will end with a reception at the close of the conference.

    [06] SIMPLE CEREMONY TO WELCOME ATHLETES BACK TOMORROW

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, together with members of his government, will welcome the country's athletes back from Sydney tomorrow morning, in a simple and private ceremony due to be held at Athens airport.

    Citizens and fans of the athletes will not be able to welcome them back, out of respect for the victims of the Paros shipwreck. The athletes will also bring the Olympic flag back to Athens, after 104 years, since the last Olympic Games that were held in the Greek capital, in 1896. The Prime Minister will address the athletes and a response on behalf of the athletes will be made by gold weightlifting champion Pyrros Dimas.

    [07] KARAMANLIS CONGRATULATES OLYMPIC ATHLETES

    The leader of the Greek New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis, warmly congratulated the Olympic champions for their performance in the Sydney Olympic Games.

    "All Greek athletes who took part in the Games deserve to be congratulated", Mr Karamanlis said. He also expressed the hope that the country will celebrate even more successes during the 2004 Olympics and underlined the need for combined national efforts in the organisation of the Games.

    "I am sure that Greece will rise to this challenge and will fulfill the national vision: The return of the Olympic Games to their birthplace".

    [08] MEETING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY ON CYPRUS ISSUE

    The "Political Association for Democracy and Homeland" will hold a meeting at the Wartime Museum in Athens on Wednesday, in honour of the anniversary celebrating the independence of Cyprus.

    Pasok minister Stelios Papathemelis will open the meeting with a speech. Also due to speak at the event are Vlasis Agtsides, Neoklis Sarris, Themos Stoforopoulos, Christodoulos Yiallourides and Liana Kanelli amongst others.

    [09] 39 OLYMPIC ATHLETES WILL RETURN TO GREECE

    Greece won 13 medals in the 27th Olympic Games, this year held in Sydney and several more athletes achieved significant performances, managing to carve out a place in the top eight rankings of their race. The country will welcome back 39 Olympic athletes tomorrow.

    Amongst the high achievers this year were sprint cyclists, Lambros Vasilopoulos, Dimitris Georgalis and Kleanthis Barkas, who came fourth in their race, as did Kostas Thanou in the 97 kilo wrestling category.

    In fifth place were Stella Tsikouna in discus-throwing, Areti Athanasopoulou in the Tae Kwon-Do 57k category, Aftandil Ksanthopoulos in the 97k free wrestling category and Tigran Ouzlian in the 60k boxing race.

    Nikos Kaklamanakis came sixth in windsurfing, in the same ranking were Valerios Leonides in weightlifting, Heidi Andikatzides in horse riding, Dimitris Georgalis in cycling and Kostas Gatsioudes in javelin throwing.

    Following these athletes in seventh place wre Morfoula Dona in synchronised gymnastics, Christos Spyrou in weightlifting, Popi Ouzouni in shot put, Olga Vasdeki in athletics and Ioannis Melisanides in gymnastics.

    Finally, Olympic champions are those who go through to the finals of their categories and managed to reach eighth place, thus including Kosmatopoulos and Trigoni in windsurfing and Polimerou and Milioti in rowing.

    [10] EU DEMANDS "SAMINA" DETAILS

    The European Union has asked that certain details concerning the Samina tragedy be clarified. Furthermore, it has demanded that the Greek government provide the naval documents that the ship should have had, the results of its most recent control check and the exact list of passengers.

    [11] 55 PASSENGER SHIPS HAVE BEEN CONFINED TO PORT

    Fifty five passenger ships have been confined to port after a decision by the Greek ministry of merchant marine as they did not observe the necessary safety standards.

    According to the announcement by the ministry of merchant marine, the ships that have complied with the fire safety standards are "Dionisios Solomos", "Ionis", "Kefalonia", "Protephs" and "Express Skopelitis".

    As it was made known in the island of Crete, the Minoan Lines and ANEK Lines each will put on a ship that will make two runs daily in order to replace the ships that have been withdrawn after the merchant marine ministry decision.

    [12] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IS DETERMINED TO SHED LIGHT ON THE MERCHANT MARINE ISSUE

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis is determined to clear up the situation in the merchant marine issue by reaching a number of decisions in Thursday's cabinet meeting.

    Mr. Simitis' associates stated that he will clear up the situation during the week and he will contradict all those who believe that the governing socialist party of PASOK had a preferential status relation with the shipping company to which the doomed "Samina" belonged.

    According to Mr. Simitis' statements to his associates, light must be shed on the issue and those responsible must pay regardless of who they are.

    [13] THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE STATE-RUN ELECTRICITY COMPANY WILL TAKE PLACE IN 2001

    The turbulence observed in the fuel prices and the negative situation in the domestic fuel market resulted to the shrinking of the state-run Electricity Company profits causing the postponement of its privatization until 2001.

    The increased energy production cost for the company's oil dependent plants is expected to put a burden of 50-55 billion drachmas on the company's economic figures.

    From their side, the company employees react strongly to the likelihood for the company to lose its state-run character in case the state participation is under 51%.

    [14] GAINS OF 0.05% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains of 0.05% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.180,91 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 68.1 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today 199 recorded loses, 136 had gains and just 37 remained unchanged.

    [15] JOINT TEXT ON YUGOSLAVIA BY PAPANDREOU, IVANOV AND VEDRINE

    Greece, Russia and France are expected to adopt a joint text on Yugoslavia which will mention that the three countries are ready to send observers to verify the results of the first round of voting in the Yugoslav presidential elections.

    The three foreign ministers, Greece's Giorgos Papandreou, Russia's Igor Ivanov and France's Hybert Vedrine are in constant telephone communication in order to agree on a draft text after a request made by opposition presidential candidate Kostunica who calls for specialists to verify the evidence at the disposal of the two sides.

    The three countries consider all possible ways for the adoption of the text and state willing to send observers under the precondition that the Belgrade government will give its approval. It should be noted that until now there has been no formal response by the Yugoslav government on the opposition demand.

    [16] REPPAS ON THE TANK-TRUCK OWNERS' STRIKE

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas left open the likelihood to requisition the services of the tank-truck owners and drivers to put an end to their strike. Mr. Reppas stated that the government will take all the necessary initiatives for the smooth operation of the market.

    The Greek government spokesman characterized as unjustified the strike decided by the tank-truck owners and stated that many of their demands have already been met by the government.

    [17] PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE GREEK SAILORS' ASSOCIATION

    Greek Sailors' Association president Giorgos Dalakogiorgos in a press conference he gave in Athens today stated that all those directly or indirectly responsible for the "Samina" shipwreck must be brought to justice.

    He accused merchant marine ministry officials of illegal transactions with the shipping company Minoan Flying Dolphins regarding the inspections made on the tragic ship to determine if it meets the necessary safety standards and stated that they should also be brought to justice apart from the ship's captain, the ship's mate and the sailors. He also spoke of a Minoan Flying Dolphins monopoly which in the past two years became a giant under the government's protection.

    In the press conference were present low ranking "Samina" crew members who gave their own testimony of the tragic accident and stated that they have not been called yet to give a formal deposition.

    [18] THE GREEK FISHERMEN ARE ON A STRIKE

    The Greek fishermen launched a strike today protesting against the oil price increases. According to a decision reached by their union, the fishing boats will be immobilized and the fishermen will block the country's fish-piers indefinitely.

    The protesters demand fuel subsidies and tax reductions in order to cut the production cost.

    [19] REPPAS ON THE "SAMINA" TRAGEDY

    Some people underestimate the intelligence of the Greek people and speculate on a tragedy taking advantage of it beyond any political ideology, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas commenting on the "Samina" shipwreck and reiterated that the Greek government wants to shed light on the tragedy and bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible.

    Responding to the question if merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis will resign he said that he had no involvement in the tragedy. Also, called to comment on the statement made by culture minister Theodoros Pangalos that the ministry of merchant marine must be abolished he said that the specific ministry is very important for Greece.

    On the press publications on alleged corruption scandal in which former merchant marine minister Mr. Soumakis and the shipping company Minoan Flying Dolphins are involved, the Greek government spokesman characterized them as unacceptable and inconceivable speaking of ulterior motives.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [20] CYPRUS CELEBRATED INDEPENDENCE YESTERDAY

    The Russian TOR M1 weapon given to Cyprus by Greece was presented yesterday as part of a military parade held in Nicosia to celebrate the 40th anniversary of independence in Cyprus. Greek Development minister Nikos Christodoulakis and the Defense undersecretary D. Apostolakis represented the Greek government at the ceremony.

    Also present were Greek opposition leader and head of the New Democracy party Costas Karamanlis, who also had meetings with Cypriot leader Glafkos Clerides, during which he said that Cyprus should not sacrifice itself for Greek-Turkish friendship. By making this statement, Mr Karamanlis supported concerns voiced over recent developments in the Cyprus issue, following the fourth round of negotiations.

    Mr Clerides avoided making comments on the statements made by the ND leader. In a message directed at the Cypriot nation, he expressed warm thanks to the Greek government for its help, stressing that Greece is his country's main strategic ally.

    [21] GREECE IS THE BIGGEST FOREIGN INVESTOR IN BULGARIA

    The direct investments in Bulgaria were US$ 348 million until July 31, 2000, according to data provided by the country's Central Bank.

    Compared to the same period last year there has been an increase of US$ 40.9 million or 13.3%.

    Greece topped the list of foreign investors in the first half of the year, as its investments correspond to 24% of the overall foreign investments in the country, especially after the buyout of 90% of the United Bulgarian Bank by the National Bank of Greece. The second place in the foreign investors' list is occupied by Italy with 9% of the foreign investments in Bulgaria.

    [22] PAPOUTSIS ADDRESSED THE COUNCIL OF THE EU MERCHANT MARINE MINISTERS

    Greek merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis, addressing the council of EU merchant marine ministers taking pace in Luxembourg, referred to the safety of the Greek passenger ships and the implementation of the EU directives in the merchant marine sector. Mr. Papoutsis gave a specific response to the letter addressed to the Greek government by European Commission general director on transportation, Mr. Lamouret who had pointed out significant problems in the observance of safety regulations by the Greek ships.

    The Greek minister referred to the tragic shipwreck of "Samina" expressing the government's will to shed light on the causes of the tragedy. In his reply letter Mr. Papoutsis underlined the safety of the Greek passenger ships and to what degree the community legislation is being implemented. He also pointed out that "Samina" had a safety certificate issued on July 20, 2000 in compliance with the 9818 EU directive, adding that this certificate was issued after inspections made by the responsible ministry agency.

    Addressing his counterparts he suggested that the age limit of all European ships must be under the 35year limit, like in Greece, and called for the enactment of stricter preconditions for the withdrawal of ships. He reiterated that the Greek shipping sector will quickly proceed with its liberalization namely, two years earlier than scheduled, while the age limit for the ships will remain at 35 years.

    In a letter sent to European Commissioner Loyola Del Palacio, responsible for energy and transportation characterized as unacceptable the tone, the context and the procedure used by the European Commission general director of transportation to inform the Greek government of his views regarding the safety standards on the Greek ships. Ms. Del Palacio apologized and responded that she will also express her position to the Greek government in writing.


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