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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-12-19

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 Thessaloniki, December 19, 2001

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEK SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN
  • [02] PAPANDREOU RESPONSE TO KARAMANLIS CRITICISMS
  • [03] 500 VILLAGES STILL CUT OFF
  • [04] FEARS OF COUNTERFEIT EURO
  • [05] UNPRECEDENTED TEMPERATURES IN N. GREECE
  • [06] ALEXANDRIA PATRIARCH IN INTERRELIGIOUS DISCUSSION
  • [07] CHRISTODOULAKIS: 7 IMPORTANT REFORMS
  • [08] INFLATION IN THE EURO-ZONE DROPPED TO 2.1%
  • [09] PREPARATIONS FOR PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS' VISIT TO THE US
  • [10] TRAIN DERAILED OUTSIDE THESSALONIKI
  • [11] CLASHES BETWEEN ATHENS MUNICIPALITY GARBAGE COLLECTORS AND POLICE
  • [12] TENSION IN THE KORIDALOS PRISON IN ATHENS
  • [13] PROTOPAPAS: THE STATE-CHURCH COMMUNICATION CHANNEL IS OPEN
  • [14] A SECOND OFFER FOR OLYMPIC AIRWAYS IS UNDER PREPARATION
  • [15] SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN THE ASE
  • [16] THE NATIONAL ACTION PLAN AGAINST DRUGS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [17] INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S BALKAN INTEREST MUST BE RETAINED
  • [18] THE EU WANTS THE CYPRUS ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED BEFORE CYPRUS' EU ACCESSION NEWS IN DETAILS

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEK SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN A military force of about 180 individuals, in which female docotrs and nurses will also participate, is ready to be sent to Afghanistan by our country, during the holidays. The issue was discussed in the margin of the Meeting of the Defense Ministers of NATO member-countries, in which Greek Defense Minister Giannos Papantoniou also participated.

    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.

  • [02] PAPANDREOU RESPONSE TO KARAMANLIS CRITICISMS President of New Democracy Kostas Karamanlis and staff members of his party are trying to "cancel an important negotiation effort being made by the government throughout the previous period, and which ended with positive results in the European Council a t Laaken, both for our national interests, and for the broader interests of the EU," stated Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Papandreou, responding to the criticisms of the leader of the Opposition.

    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.

  • [03] 500 VILLAGES STILL CUT OFF More than 500 villages all over Greece are still cut off due to the snow, while travel on the greater part of Greece's national and provincial road network can only take place with anti-skid car chains.

    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.

  • [04] FEARS OF COUNTERFEIT EURO An alarm has sounded for Greek authorities concerning counterfeit Euro that may be put into circulation by gangs of counterfeiters in Skopje and Kossove.

    The government is greatly concerned, and Mr. Simitis recommended that civilians be careful.

  • [05] UNPRECEDENTED TEMPERATURES IN N. GREECE Northern Greece is frozen, while there are unprecedented temperatures in many cities of Macedonia and Thrace.

    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.

  • [06] ALEXANDRIA PATRIARCH IN INTERRELIGIOUS DISCUSSION The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all of Africa Peter VII left for Brussels today, in order to participate in the Interreligious Meeting "The Peace of God in the World".

    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.

  • [07] CHRISTODOULAKIS: 7 IMPORTANT REFORMS The second day of the discussion on the sate budget continued yesterday, characterized mainly by the speech of Minister of Economy and finance Nikolaos Christodoulakis and the reactions of the Opposition.

    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.

  • [08] INFLATION IN THE EURO-ZONE DROPPED TO 2.1% Inflation continued its downward course in Greece and in most of the Euro-zone countries during the month of November.

    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%.

  • [09] PREPARATIONS FOR PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS' VISIT TO THE US The governments of the United States and Greece began preparations for the visit of Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis to Washington on January 10, where he will meet with US President George Bush.

    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.

  • [10] TRAIN DERAILED OUTSIDE THESSALONIKI Three cars of a train with 300 passengers on board derailed at Nea Philadelphia, outside Thessaloniki this morning. Among the passengers were some of the 118 passengers of another train that was immobilized yesterday for 18 hours at the village of Petrad es in Evros, northeastern Greece due to the bad weather.

    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.

  • [11] CLASHES BETWEEN ATHENS MUNICIPALITY GARBAGE COLLECTORS AND POLICE Clashes were recorded in Athens today when about 500 garbage collectors on a temporary work contract with the municipality of Athens attempted to march to parliament with 40 garbage trucks.

    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.

  • [12] TENSION IN THE KORIDALOS PRISON IN ATHENS Tension was recorded in a Koridalos Prison wing in Athens today, when scuffles broke out between foreign inmates and gypsies.

    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.

  • [13] PROTOPAPAS: THE STATE-CHURCH COMMUNICATION CHANNEL IS OPEN The communication channel between the State and the Church is always open, stated government spokesman Christos Protopapas, adding that all the necessary potential is present for a fertile dialogue.

    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.

  • [14] A SECOND OFFER FOR OLYMPIC AIRWAYS IS UNDER PREPARATION The responsible ministers of Transportation and Finance, Christos Verelis and Nikos Christodoulakis respectively, are examining a second offer tabled for the purchase of Olympic Airways, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas.

    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.

  • [15] SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN THE ASE Significant gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.29% at 2.611,30 points, while the volume of transactions was at 166 million Euro or 57 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 263 recorded gains and 31had losses, while the value of 71 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [16] THE NATIONAL ACTION PLAN AGAINST DRUGS The national action plan against drugs was discussed in the Ministerial Committee meeting today held under the presidency of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis with the participation of 10 government ministers.

    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

  • [17] INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S BALKAN INTEREST MUST BE RETAINED The need to retain the International Community's interest in the Balkans was underlined by Defense Minister Papantoniou during his intervention in the Ministerial Meeting of NATO in Brussels, pointing out that Greece intends to play a decisive role in th e Balkans, in the framework of stability, peace and security of the broader region.

    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.

  • [18] THE EU WANTS THE CYPRUS ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED BEFORE CYPRUS' EU ACCESSION The European Union called on Turkey to encourage the Turkish Cypriot leadership to proceed with the solution of the Cyprus problem before Cyprus' EU accession negotiations are completed.

    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.


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