|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-01-25
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PM OPTIMISTIC OVER COURSE TO EMUAthens, 25 January 2000 (13:49 UTC+2)
In a meeting held this morning at the presidential mansion, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos agreed that Greece's course to the Economic and Monetary Union is proceeding as planned.
Mr. Simitis stressed that the approval of Greece's reviewed convergence plan by the European Union's Monetary Council is an additional and positive step towards the country's accession.
Speaking to reports, the Premier stated that he and the president discussed Greece's relations with the EU and Turkey the country's economy and other domestic issues.
"Things are going well," Mr. Simitis stated, adding that "we will continue our course as planned, with firm steps and actions."
When pressed by the journalists to state when the country's accession to the EMU is expected to take place, in order to deduce an estimate time of elections, Mr. Simitis refused to answer and merely commented that "we need to do our work."
 PMs OF ALBANIA, FYROM AND GREECE TO MEETThessaloniki, 25 January 2000 (10:38 UTC+2)
The Prime Ministers of Greece, Albania and FYROM are to meet at the Prespes lakes on February 2, world Wetlands Day, a Greek initiative aimed at the creation of an international protected region in the Balkans.
The Undersecretary of Environment, City Planning and Public Works Theodoros Koliopanos is to provide more details on the meeting tomorrow.
The lakes of Mikri Prespa and Megali Prespa are situated in a mountainous, largely forested area which attracts a vast number of migratory birds, as well as having the richest biodiversity in Greece. They represent Greece"s largest national park.
 REFUGEES FIND SOLACE, FOOD IN GREEK CHURCHThessaloniki, 25 January 2000 (12:58 UTC+2)
Thirty-three African and Asian refugees, who along with 242 others arrived at the shore of Naxos last week, are presently being sheltered at Thessaloniki's Church of Agion Panton (All Saints) where the parish is providing them with food and board, that is until Saturday.
Greece's immigration officials transported the 33 men from Naxos to Thessaloniki where they filed petitions for political asylum. Following personal interviews, the local immigration agents granted the refugees temporary permits to stay in the country and also provided them with temporary housing.
Father Ioannis of Agion Panton told the Macedonian Press Agency that while the church immediately rushed to the beleaguered refugees' aid, the hosting conditions are not ideal, as the church hall has no beds and the guests are forced to sleep on the floor.
Moreover, as the hall is already booked for various events, the refugees can only stay Saturday.
The Church also has a food line that feeds 170 persons on a daily basis.
 ALBANIAN VP - LABOR MINISTER SPEAKS TO MPAThessaloniki, 25 January 2000 (10:37 UTC+2)
Φωτογραφία: H υπουργός Εργασίας της Αλβανίας Macbule Ceco συνομιλεί με τον γενικό διευθυντή του ΜΠΕ κ.Σ.Κουζινόπουλο
The Vice President of Albania and Minister of Labor and Civil Affairs Makbule Ceco is fully supportive of the task performed by the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA), as she stated following a meeting with the Macedonian Press Agency's general director Spyros Kouzinopoulos.
Ms. Ceko was in Thessaloniki recently where she participated in the two-day conference on democratization and the implementation of the Stability Pact organized by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Royaumont process at the initiative of the Economic and Social Committee of Greece.
As she underlined, the national news agencies of the Balkan region and their association, the ABNA, are making significant contributions to the developments and qualitative improvement of information and news reports emanating from Southeastern Europe.
Moreover, Ms. Ceko agreed that the opening of information channels to the Balkan peoples will eradicate hatred and passions of the past and, thus, enable them to enter the roads of development and creativity.
 THERE IS NO ISSUE OF ELECTIONS, STATED MR. REPPASAthens, 25 January 2000 (18:05 UTC+2)
There is no issue of elections, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas today, stressing that elections will be held when the government completes its work and its term.
Mr. Reppas pointed out however, that no one knows what will happen next week or next month and accused the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy of being responsible for creating a pre-election climate in the climate.
On the issue of the election of the president of the Greek republic, Mr. Reppas stated that it will be held according to the constitution.
 THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSED WITH LOSSES OF 1.17%Athens, 25 January 2000 (18:04 UTC+2)
The general price index in the Athens Stock Exchange closed with losses of 1.17% today affected by a computer problem that paralyzed transactions until 12:40pm.
The session was delayed by an hour and a half and was extended until 2:30pm to the discontent of foreign institutional investors. The general index closed at 5.022,41 points, while the volume of transactions was at 148.9 billion drachmas.
 APOSTOLAKIS ON THE GREEK-TURKISH MILITARY EXERCISESThessaloniki, 25 January 2000 (18:04 UTC+2)
The proposal on the Greek-Turkish military exercises is an issue that concerns the government policy and will be examined by the responsible governmental bodies, stated Greek undersecretary of defense Dimitris Apostolakis in his visit to the 3rd Army Corps headquarters in Thessaloniki.
Responding to the accusations against the government launched by former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos who maintains that concessions have been made to Turkey, he responded that everyone is entitled to his own opinion but the final responsibility belongs to the government.
 THE SHIPPING STUDIES CENTER WAS INAUGURATED BY PRIME MINISTER SIMITISPiraeus, 25 January 2000 (18:04 UTC+2)
Prime minister Kostas Simitis emphasized the quality and services offered in the shipping sector referring to its development in the opening of the National Bank of Greece Shipping Studies Center in Piraeus. He said that more efforts should be made in order to have better quality in the services offered.
Prime minister Kostas Simitis stated that the Greek merchant fleet is almost the largest in the world and certainly the largest in the European Union adding that quality is necessary in order to maintain the first place.
On the competitiveness of the Greek shipping sector, Mr. Simitis said that many mergers have been made lately, while many companies have been restructured mainly in the sector of coastal shipping and those moves have offered the leading role to Greece in the sea transportation to Italy.
 THESSALONIKI TO HOST ASIA FORUM 2000Thessaloniki, 25 January 2000 (14:22 UTC+2)
Political and business leaders from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are to meet in Thessaloniki in February, in a conference organized by the newly-founded Asia Forum 2000.
The conference, to be held on February 7-8, constitutes the first public event held by a Greek organization aiming to create business links between 90 countries from the European Union, eastern Europe, the Balkan and Black Sea regions and the Middle East.
Held under the auspices of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Economy, Development, Merchant Marine, Macedonia-Thrace and Transportation-Communication. The event is expected to feature the participation of more than 30 countries.
The participants will review the opportunities, forms and conditions of economic cooperation among their countries.
The conference is expected to result in the establishment of permanent Eurasian institutions in Thessaloniki, such a tourism chamber and a Eurasian banking center, according to professor Marios Nikolinakos, president of Asia Forum 2000.
 MEDIUM-TERM FORECAST OF QUAKES FEASIBLEThessaloniki, 25 January 2000 (13:38 UTC+2)
With the "leaps and bounds" marking scientific progress, medium-term forecasts of earthquake could be feasible as soon as five months from now, according to the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki seismology professor Vasilis Papazachos.
Mr. Papazachos was honored yesterday for his 40-year contribution to the field of seismology in a ceremony attended by the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yianos Magriotis and other officials.
 BITTER COLD WORSENS TOMORROWThessaloniki, 25 January 2000 (12:35 UTC+2)
Unaccustomed to such low temperatures, Greeks are bracing for another bout of cold weather expected to hit the country tomorrow.
Anti-skid chains are required on all automobiles travelling on provincial roads and the country's mountainous areas where dozens of villages remain isolated due to heavy snowfall.
 ONE IN FIVE GREEK WOMEN BATTERED BY SPOUSEAthens, 25 January 2000 (11:58 UTC+2)
One out of every five Greek women has fallen victim to spousal abuse at least once, according to a recent European study on battered women.
Upon the study's release, representatives from Greece's Center for Equality, called on the Greek women to break their silence and seek help.
The study also noted that the majority of boys who witness violence at home grow up to become battering husbands.
 THE VOLUME OF TRADE TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN ALBANIA AND GREECE HAS INCREASEDTirana, 25 January 2000 (18:03 UTC+2)
The volume of trade transactions between Albania and Greece was increased notably in 1999 based on data provided by the National Bank of Albania and published by the newspaper "Koha Yone".
The newspaper stressed that the trade transactions of Albania with Greece exceeded even those with Italy in the last months of 1999, underlining that the Greeks import from Albania tobacco, timber and metals and export food, while the Albanian businessmen have increased the imports of high technology equipment for their country's food industry.
"Koha Yone" gave a special emphasis to the Greek plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans within the framework of the Stability Pact, stressing that the Greek side has offered economic assistance of US$ 55 million to Albania for the next 5 years.
 THE SIT-IN AT THE GREEK CONSULATE IN MUNICH HAS ENDEDMunich, 25 January 2000 (18:42 UTC+2)
The sit-in at the Greek consulate in Munich organized by parents and sponsors of the students of the 2nd Greek Elementary School in that German city has ended. The demonstrators decided to leave the building after occupying it for 12 days when they received assurances that their demands will be met as soon as possible. Their main demand was for their children to stay away from their old school building because a scientific inspection had traced cancer-causing substances.
The parents accepted a proposal according to which, the 408 students of the school will be temporarily housed in three different places until their new school building is ready in about 6 weeks.
The settlement was reached after the mediation of Greek parliamentary committee on the Greeks living abroad chairman, professor Dimitris Pantermalis.
 INTRACOM'S DYNAMIC PRESENCE IN HUNGARYBudapest, 25 January 2000 (18:05 UTC+2)
A new contract of over 12 million Euro in the two-year period of 2000-2001 was signed by Intracom and the Telecommunications Organization of Hungary, MATAV.
The contract provides for the construction by Intracom of ISDN lines and the supply of their management system. Since 1994, the Greek company has supplied MATAV with network access material worth over US$ 10 million.
Meanwhile, the process continues for the buyout of the Budapest based Hungarian FORNAX company which in addition to its other activities also represents Intracom's products in Hungary.
 ATHENS ENTERS THE MODERN POLITICAL ERA, ACCORDING TO "THE GUARDIAN"London, 25 January 2000 (18:00 UTC+2)
The British newspaper "The Guardian" refers to Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou's successful visit to Ankara, as it characterizes it, underlining that Athens is entering the modern political era.
In an article signed by Peter Preston, Mr. Papandreou is described as quiet, gentle and very smart politician who managed to achieve an impressive change in the relations of the two countries. The article also referred to Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem with whom it appears that Mr. Papandreou speaks the same language underlining that they shared a kind of cautious mutual trust on which they knew that they could count on.
The article mentions that Greece's economy develops rapidly and the stability in its relations with Turkey will help the country to enter the Euro-zone, pointing out that furthermore, eastern Mediterranean needs a stronger voice within the framework of the European Union.
 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE HOLOCAUSTStockholm, 25 January 2000 (18:00 UTC+2)
An international conference on the Holocaust and the persecution of the Jews in WWII will open in Stockholm tomorrow at the initiative of Swedish prime minister Goran Persson.
The decision to organize the conference that will last until January 28 was made after a research conducted in the Swedish schools. Based on its results, students know very little about the issue and many of them even dispute the facts. Also, the research has shown phenomena of neo-fascism in schools.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VISITS POLANDWarsaw, 25 January 2000 (13:20 UTC+2)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos wrapped up his visit to Poland today with an address before the Polish parliament.
Addressing the deputies, Mr. Vartholomeos defined the role of the Orthodox Church in the modern world, aware that his audience is Roman Catholic.
Nevertheless, His Eminence stressed that Orthodoxy is not unknown to the Polish people as there are thousands of Orthodox who live in the country.
In an inspiring tone, Mr. Vartholomeos stated that Orthodoxy does not promote schisms among the people, and is neither interested in acquiring secular power nor in becoming involved in politics.
The Ecumenical Patriarch stated that the singular aim of orthodoxy is the victory of good over evil.
 MOODYS OPTIMISTIC ON GREEK ECONOMYLondon, 25 January 2000 (11:25 UTC+2)
Moody's Investors Service ranks Greece 34th on a scale of 109 countries in terms of future prospects, although, is spite of the noted improvement, the country still holds the last place among the European Union's 15 member-states.
In Moody's annual report on global credit rating trends titled "Global Outlook 2000," Greece has earned a first-ever place among the developed - as opposed to emerging - markets, propelled by the promising signs for further development of macro-economic sizes, and the increasingly certain belief that the country will receive the coveted go-ahead for accession to the Economic and Monetary Union.
Moody's analyst Christine Lidow stated that the present state of Greece's economy is the best in the recent decades, marked by immense improvement in its macroeconomic policy.
 GREEK FM: IM OPEN TO ANY CONSTRUCTIVE INPUTBrussels, 25 January 2000 (10:37 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou has stated that he is open to any constructive suggestions, thereby making an indirect reference to the scathing comments made by his predecessor Theodoros Pangalos in regards to the former's policy on G/T relations.
Speaking from Brussels where he attended the EU General Affairs Council, Mr. Papandreou stated that government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas has already responded to Mr. Pangalos' statements, while he also added that when constructive suggestions are voiced by various parties or former ministers, it is important that they are taken into consideration.
While in Brussels, Mr. Papandreou met with the Commissioner responsible for the EU's expansion with whom he discussed the enforcement of the Helsinki summit's accords, especially those pertaining to Cyprus.
Mr. Papandreou requested the utilization of the Community's framework concerning the rapprochement of Greece and Turkey, while he recommended the re-formulation of the "wisemen's committee" which will comprise officials from both countries.
The Greek FM stated that the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue require perseverance and added that "those who expect the issue to be magically resolved in 15-20 days or a month, have their heads in the clouds."
 "AEGEAN: PICTURES OF GREECE" PHOTO EXHIBITION IN WASHINGTONWashington, 25 January 2000 (18:05 UTC+2)
The "Aegean: Pictures of Greece" exhibition, which includes 160 photographs by 11 contemporary Greek photographers, brought the sunny beaches of Greece to Washington.
The exhibition which will be hosted at Atrium Gallery in the Ronald Reagan building until February 3 aims at presenting life in the Aegean beyond the usual pictures of the blue sea and sky used in tourist brochures.
Ann Gerasimos, in an article on the Washington Times mentions that the exhibition was like a balsam to the hearts of the people in Washington who are freezing in Arctic temperatures.
 PRAISES TO PAPANDREOU AND CEM BY ALBRIGHTNew York, 25 January 2000 (18:05 UTC+2)
US secretary of state Madeleine Albright expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the important visit, as she characterized it, of Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou to Turkey.
According to the BBC radio, the US secretary of state responding to questions by reporters in New York, did not hide her satisfaction over the signing of agreements between Athens and Ankara, while she stated that she is very encouraged by the results of the Greek foreign minister's visit to Turkey.
Ms. Albright stated that this important visit helped in making progress in the complicated relations between the two countries and referring to the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers, she said that they are excellent ministers and knows both of them well, stressing that they have realized that they have a historic chance before them.
 US SATISFIED OVER G/T RAPPROCHEMENTWashington, 25 January 2000 (12:27 UTC+2)
United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has expressed her satisfaction over the results of Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou"s recent visit to Turkey.
Ms. Albright stated that she is very encouraged over the signing of bilateral agreements between the two countries and added that "this significant visit facilitated progress in the complicated relations of these two countries."