|Thursday, 25 February 2021|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-12-19
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, December 19, 2001
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
The Greek military force will include a engineering company, with about 100 men, with special vehicles and equipment, one healthcare division, consisting of 50 men and women, with a mobile surgery, as well as a force of 20-30 Greek commandos for the guar ding of sensitive areas in Cabul.
He also added that "in Laaken we decisively contributed to the decision of operational readiness in the sector of political security and defense, which is an important station in the institutional developments of the EU, at the same time deflecting the attempts which would undermine its autonomous character".
It is noted that Mr. Papandreou will meet with US Ambassador Miller today.
There are great problems in N. Greece, and mainly Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The low temperatures that there are since early morning, have frozen the snow, transforming the roads into death traps. In Rodopi, more than 28 villages are cut off and the r esidents have neither telephone communications nor electricity.
The government is greatly concerned, and Mr. Simitis recommended that civilians be careful.
A record breaking -24 degrees Celsius was the temperature reached in Nevrokopi, Drama, while the temperature in the city of Larissa is unbelievable, where the thermometer read -20 this morning.
The lake of Kastoria is completely frozen over, transforming it into a gigantic ice skating ring. The roads are dangerous because the cold has made the snow freeze making traveling on the main and provincial networks of N. Greece extremely difficult and only with anti-skid car chains.
The meeting is being organized by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the President of the European Committee, Romano Prodi, under the auspices of the European Union, and has the tightening of relations between monotheistic religions for peace, coexiste nce and cooperation of people as its goal. Approximately 100 representatives of the three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, will be present at the meeting.
The Patriarch of Alexandria will have official meetings with the Ecumenical Patriarch, the President of the European Committee and other ecclesiastic, state and religious agents, during his stay in the Belgian capital.
The Head of the Alexandria Throne will be accompanied by the Metropolites of Kenya and Irinopoli, Makarios, and Pretoria, Serafim, on his trip to Brussels.
Today, the first day of the works, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Greek EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, among others, will speak, while the President of the European Committee, Romano Prodi, will also address the participants.
The Minister of Finance stressed four points-goals of the budget, which are, as he expressed them: The harmonizing of Greek economy with European economy, the powerful development of Greece, fiscal discipline and stability, taxation justice and regional and social cohesion.
"Greece has great opportunities but is not our ally" stressed Mr. Christodoulakis, while he referred to the 7 great - as he characterized them - reforms promoted by the government:
New Generation structural changes with DEKO strategic alliances, privatization, European cooperation in the new market, mergers (a related draft will be submitted before the end of the year).
A new Developmental law in the first six months of 2002.
A Tax Reform in the first six months of 2002 simplified, effective, reducing tax evasion, developing motivation and employment.
A Modern Framework of Market Supervision. In January 2002 a draft will be submitted concerning capital markets.
A Framework of Private Funding with regional and local projects, Communal Support Framework service market by materialization bodies, encouragement of exterior assigning.
Entreupreneurship and New Economy and Social Security reform with discussions beginning in January 2002, aiming at viability, effectiveness and social justice.
Based on the figures published yesterday by the European Union Statistics Agency, Eurostat, the inflation rate dropped to 2.1% in the Euro-zone in the month of November from 2.4% in October, while last November it was at 2.9%.
In Greece, the harmonized inflation in November was 2.9%.
In Greece, the average inflation rate at a 12month basis was at 3.7% in November, while the average percentage for the Euro-countries in November was at 2.7%.
US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller met in Athens today with Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou and discussed the framework of the Simitis-Bush meeting, while yesterday Mr. Miller had a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis. Responding
to the question if Mr. Bush will exert pressure on the Greek Prime Minister on the issue of the Euro-army, Mr. Miller stated that the two men will have a cooperation.
There were no injuries and the 300 passengers boarded a third train to Athens.
Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Christos Verelis ordered an inquiry on yesterday's incident to determine who is responsible for the ordeal of the 118 passengers, who managed to survive arctic weather conditions inside the immobilized train.
Strong police forces blocked their way not allowing the trucks to pass through. The protesters reacted violently and attacked the police forces with stones. Police responded by using tear gas. One protester was injured.
Later, the demonstrators were able to meet with mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos.
Corrections officers intervened and were able to put the situation under control. Two Romanian inmates were injured during the clashes and were taken to the prison hospital.
Commenting on the visit by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece to Education Minister Petros Efthimiou, Mr. Protopapas pointed out that the government always wants good relations with the Church but clarified that the state-issued identit y cards issue has closed. However, he said that there are still many other issues which are open for discussed such as, the Church property issue as well as, the issues of Church education and justice.
Mr. Protopapas pointed out that if the second offer is not found to be satisfactory alternative scenarios will be activated. He also reiterated that there is a need for a satisfactory solution to be found.
Of the stocks trading today, 263 recorded gains and 31had losses, while the value of 71 stocks remained unchanged.
Mr. Simitis referred to a number of measures that will be implemented in the next five-year period of 2002-2006. The measures will be based on two axes: the drop in the demand of drug substances through prevention, treatment and social rehabilitation and
the effective control of illegal drug-trafficking. The Prime Minister stated that the national action plan will be discussed in the responsible parliament committee for greater consensus and support by society.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Mr. Papantoniou stressed the need for the International Community not to withdraw from the Balkans, that organized crime and terrorism in the region needs to be dealt with, and that the role of NATO is very important because organized crime is harbored i n the Balkans, adding that Greece ascribes great importance to the region and is ready to dispose its forces for as long as necessary.
He mentioned that the force to remain in the Balkans must have a unified command and a clear policing role over the borders and orderly functioning of the region's countries, and expressed the appreciation that there will be a pullback in existing forces
in the Balkans, but that that does not mean that the remaining force will be inadequate to fulfill its stabilizing role in this sensitive region.
The above were stressed by the European Commission in response to a question by Greek Euro-deputy Christos Zacharakis, elected with the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, on the occasion of the provocative statements made by Turkish Prime
Minister Bulent Ecevit.