|Monday, 27 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-05-05
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 CHECHEN GUNMEN ABDUCTED 2 CHILDREN FOR RANSOMThessaloniki, 5 May 2000 (12:03 UTC+2)
It seemed like a nightmare reminiscent of WWII savagery, but an eight-year-old boy's chopped ear attested to the reality of the ordeal suffered by a Greek family living in Chechnya when its two children were abducted by Chechen gunmen for ransom.
Spartacus Askalov, a high-school math professor of Greek origin in the village of Galjugaevski in the Russian district of Stavropol, which is bordering with Chechnya, gave a graphic testimony of the ordeal lived by his family when Chechen gunmen abducted for ransom his two children.
In an exclusive interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, Askalov said that he still does not want to leave his home and repatriate to Greece because he loves his work as a teacher and he knows that he will not have the opportunity to work as a teacher in Greece. He gave the interview in Thessaloniki where he came to be at the wedding of his daughter.
The tragedy for the Askalov family started on August 18, 1997 when a group of gunmen abducted the daughter, Marina, who was kept as hostage for about 5 months locked up in an apartment in an undetermined city, while her captors were demanding US$200.000 as ransom. The family managed to raise US$60.000 after selling almost everything they owned and with the economic assistance of their relatives who had repatriated to Greece. The rebels agreed to release the then 19yearold girl on December 27, 1997.
However, this was not the end of the nightmare. One night, in August 1998, 8 masked men entered their house by force and abducted Spartacus with his 8yearold son Giorgos. At one point the father was released by the abductors, who gave him two weeks to raise the sum of US$ 200.000 as ransom for the release of his son. The boy was held by his captors for about 7 months and during that time he was tied up and beaten savagely.
When the deadline passed and the abductors received no money they became furious and sent a video-tape to the father showing the boy while they were cutting off one of his ears.
In order to save his son, Spartacus sold his house and again with the help of his relatives from Greece managed to raise US$25.000. The boy was finally released in February 1999.
In spite of all these Spartacus is not considering to leave Russia. He said that he has now moved to the city of Gelentzik, home to many Greeks, which will make things easier for him and his family.
 GREEK FM ADDRESSES EAST-WEST INSTITUTEWashington, 5 May 2000 (11:07 UTC+2)
Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou addressed the East-West Institute's third session of a conference on "The New Geopolitics of Southeastern Europe: Building a Secure Investment Climate for the 21st Century", where he underlined Greece's significant contribution to stability, security and peace in the Balkans, as well as the importance of economic development and cooperation.
Mr. Papandreou said that for the first time for centuries, political leaders from all over southeastern Europe appeared united, showing they had realized the need to overcome the negative past and move speedily ahead to a prosperous and peaceful future.
"It's my belief we are on the verge of a radical change and I believe this because there are many fundamental steps that have taken place in recent years.
"First and foremost, democracy is being established in the region and seems sustainable.
"Secondly, we are seeing regional cooperation. Irredentism is fading out and a new desire for close cooperation is becoming more and more apparent.
"Thirdly, the international community stands united in a total strategy for the region, the Stability Pact. Hard work in long-term investments and infrastructure will produce large and sustainable results," he said.
Mr Papandreou, who along with his Turkish counterpart Ismael Cem were honored by the Institute as "Personalities of the Year", also stated that rapprochement between Greece and Turkey is the cornerstone of security in the Balkans and a guarantee for investments.
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised the two ministers for the rapid warming of relations between their two countries.
"In less than a year, my friends George Papandreou and Ismael "em have done more to bring about reconciliation between Greece and Turkey than any comparable duo in living memory," she said.
"And today, both Greece and Turkey are central to winning the peace - aiding development, promoting investment, and helping to turn the Balkans problem into the southeast European opportunity."
The forum was chaired by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari. Other speakers were Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk and the director of the U.S. National Security Council's department for southeastern Europe, Christopher Hill.
 TONY BEN: BLAIR WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF LIVINGSTON'S VICTORY IN LONDONAthens, 5 May 2000 (18:51 UTC+2)
The view that British prime minister Tony Blair will suffer the consequences after the victory in London's municipal elections of independent candidate Ken Livingston who was not backed by the Labor Party, was expressed by historical leader of the British Labor Party left wing, Tony Ben, in an interview with the Athens radio station "Flash".
Mr. Ben stated characteristically that Blair's chances for a victory in the next general elections have been limited.
He said that Ken Livingston was backed by the majority of the Labor Party parliament deputies in London but the system selected by Blair excluded him from the list of candidates. Livingston's victory shows that more people back the real Labor Party and not Blair's new Labor Party as he described it in 1994 when he was elected to the party leadership, said Mr. Ben.
 158 KURDISH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS HAVE BEEN RESCUEDAthens, 5 May 2000 (18:50 UTC+2)
One hundred fifty eight Kurdish illegal immigrants, who had been cut off on the rocky island of Kavalii in Crete because of the bad weather in the area, have been rescued by the Greek Coast Guard.
Extensive search is underway for the location of more illegal immigrants as boat parts have been found near the islet.
 A KEY-INSTITUTION FOR THE ECONOMIC RELATIONS BETWEEN GREECE AND SWITZERLANDThessaloniki, 5 May 2000 (18:17 UTC+2)
The Switzerland-Greece Economic Chamber opened a contact office in Thessaloniki aimed at strengthening cooperation between northern Greek and Swiss businesses.
Head of the office was appointed Rubicon Group president Panagiotis Baltatzis who pointed out that the goal of the new institution is to widen the field of bilateral trade transactions adding that there is room for further development, especially for the Greek exports.
Most of the imports from Switzerland concern pharmaceutical and chemical products, equipment, tools, instruments and watches, while the main Greek exports to Switzerland concern textiles, farm and chemical products metals and metal devices.
About 50 large Swiss multi-national companies are active in Greece and the invested Swiss capital in the country is over 290 million Euros, while in Switzerland, about 25 Greek businesses are active in the sectors of commerce and services. Finally, in the tourist sector about 60.000 Greeks visit Switzerland each year, while about 250.000 Swiss visit Greece.
 ARTHRITIS IS THE MOST COMMON DISEASEThessaloniki, 5 May 2000 (18:17 UTC+2)
The deterioration or the total damage of joints is the most common disease and is involved in other health problems that correspond to 25% of the overall health problems, while it appears in 76% of the people over the age of 65. It causes pain in the joints, limits the ability to function and is the main cause of slow movement and handicap.
The first recommendations given by the doctors to the patients in order to relief the painful symptoms are to lose weight, heat the damaged joint and limit activities.
The new technology and the new methods used make possible the early diagnosis that allows for better treatment planning and therefore, better results.
 GAINS OF 1.34% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 5 May 2000 (18:17 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange had gains of 1.34% and the general index was at 4.416,60 points in today's session, while the volume of transactions were over 120 billion drachmas.
All secondary indexes recorded gains. The parallel market recorded the biggest gains followed by commercial enterprises, leasing and constructions.
 CIGARETTE SMOKING KILLS 15.000 GREEKS EACH YEARThessaloniki, 5 May 2000 (18:16 UTC+2)
Cigarette smoking kills 15.000 Greeks each year, while the number of people killed around the world every year by this fatal habit is 3 million.
The psychological and behavioral addiction is associated with repeated moves that are made by smokers 5.000-15.000 times a year and at one point they are made automatically, while many times are associated subconsciously with certain special situations, such as the first cigarette in the morning, smoking and drinking coffee, smoking with friends, or smoking while watching TV.
The pharmacological addiction concerns the nicotine levels in the blood which create the deprivation syndrome and the uncontrollable urge to light a cigarette in order to maintain specific nicotine levels in the blood.
 THE BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER WILL ATTEND THE THESSALONIKI FORUMThessaloniki, 5 May 2000 (18:16 UTC+2)
Bulgarian finance minister Muravei Rantev will attend the 7th annual forum that will be held in Thessaloniki on May 8-9.
It was announced that Mr. Rantev will deliver a speech under the title "The Balkans-Prospects of Development".
The forum will also be attended by Bulgarian regional development and land planning minister Evgeni Tsatsev.
 GREEK-TURKISH COOPERATION IN THE ENERGY SECTORAthens, 5 May 2000 (18:15 UTC+2)
A cooperation agreement for the development of common plans in the sector of energy was signed yesterday by the Greek company Rokas and the Turkish Gucbirligi Holding Corp.
Christos Rokas, chairman of the Greek company and Turgul Yemistzi of the Turkish company signed yesterday an agreement providing for joint investments in the energy sector.
The president of the Ismir Chamber of Commerce, who was present in the signing ceremony, stated that the Turkish and the Greek people have common points in all sectors and this has a positive effect on the economic relations between Greece and Turkey.
The agreement covers plans on the construction of energy production plants using the power of the wind, technical cooperation and future joint investments in the energy sector.
 KAKLAMANIS WILL ATTEND THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENT PRESIDENTS' CONFERENCEAthens, 5 May 2000 (18:15 UTC+2)
Greek parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis will be in Strasbourg today to attend the Council of Europe parliament presidents' conference.
The main topic under discussion will be the role of parliaments and European parliamentary assemblies in the creation of a wider Europe as well as the tackling of corruption and organized crime. Mr. Kaklamanis will have contacts with his counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting.
 LANDMARK RULING ON REPARATIONS ISSUEDThessaloniki, 5 May 2000 (14:58 UTC+2)
In a landmark ruling, Greece's Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) has paved the way for war reparations to be paid by the German state to descendants of 214 Greeks brutally executed in the Viotia town of Distomo by German occupation troops in WWII.
In its ruling, passed by 16 votes to four, the Court ratified the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice N. Georgiles and ruled that the First Instance Court of Livadia rightfully granted compensation amounting to 9.5 billion drachmas to the relatives of the Distomo massacre's victims.
In its 18-page ruling, the court's majority found that in the case of Distomo there was no armed clash but an act of vengeance, in other words, the murder of non-combatants and crimes against their persons and property, which are not related to the occupying forces.
When the suit was initially filed in a Livadia lower court in 1995 on behalf of the descendants the German state refused to recognize the competence of the local court and thus the case was not considered legally represented.
The Supreme Court admitted the case and ruled to award the victims' families 8 billion drachmas, with interest accrued for the delay from the time the decision was announced to the German government.
Germany then proceeded to appeal the case directly to the Greek supreme court, whose competence it thus proceeded to recognize, arguing that German court had the right to adjudicate the case extraterritorially.
The scenes of unspeakable violence at the Distomo massacre were recounted in the Court's ruling.
"The Germans, realizing that the successes of the allied troops would only lead to the intensification of the Greek liberation forces, embarked on a systematic form of terrorism, with mass killings and executions of innocent men, in order to intimidate.
The massacre took place on June 10, 1944 when Gestapo and SS troops opened fire against every Greek they met on their way to Distomo. They were ambushed by Greek freedom fighters who killed 18 of the Germans.
With their ire provoked, the German troops then marched into Distomo and embarked on the systematic execution of the villagers.
If the German state does not to comply with the content of the ruling, the interested parties intend to hasten the necessary execution of a writ against it.
That means either seizure by the European Commission, which will proceed to withhold the amount from funds to which Germany is entitled.
The Treaty of Rome says that with the permission of the Court of the European Communities, seizure can be enforced, with the European Commission collecting the funds, in order to satisfy a claim based on a court ruling against a member-state.
 THE GREEK-FYROM CONSULTATIONS WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE END OF MAYSkopje, 5 May 2000 (18:16 UTC+2)
The new round of consultations between representatives of Greece and FYROM for the settlement of the name issue will be held by the end of the month or during the first week of June at the latest.
Citing a statement made by FYROM representative Ivan Tosewski, who attends the consultations, the Skopje newspaper "Dnevnik" mentions in a report that special UN mediator Matthew Nimits is expected to contact Greece's representative to set a date for the resumption of the talks.
The newspaper mentions that the consultations will resume after a one-year break because of the appointment of a new Greek representative to replace Christos Zacharakis and the recent parliamentary elections in Greece.
 MARGARITA PAPANDREOU AT ANKARAS FLYING BROOMAnkara, 5 May 2000 (13:38 UTC+2)
The President of the Greek Women's Association (EGE) Margarita Papandreou is presently in Ankara where she will attend the Third Film Festival organized by Ankara's women's group "Flying Broom".
Speaking to reporters upon her arrival, the mother of Foreign Minister George Papandreou and former wife of the late Andreas Papandreou referred to Greek-Turkish relations and stated that she is proud of her son's contribution to the improving ties between the two neighboring nations.
Heading a delegation of 13 Greek women, Ms. Papandreou will speak tomorrow on "Women and Peace".
 DEFENSE MINISTER AT SOCIALIST CONFERENCE IN SOFIASofia, 5 May 2000 (13:16 UTC+2)
Addressing an international conference on Balkan security, held in Sofia under the auspices of Bulgaria's Socialist Party, Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos referred to Turkey's candidacy for accession to the European Union and stated that Greece welcomes this prospect.
"We support the prospect of Turkey's candidacy to the European Union, and based on this prospect the talks conducted between the EU and Turkey are forming a very favorable framework of discussion and bilateral issues, as this country's European course will be also determined by Greek-Turkish relations and their outcome," he stated.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos, as the vice-president of the European Socialist Party, submitted proposals for the establishment of a regional system of cohesive security in the Balkans.
 NAPOLEON THE GREAT WAS POISONED WITH ARSENICMadrid, 5 May 2000 (18:50 UTC+2)
New toxicological tests showed that Napoleon the Great did not die from stomach cancer as it was believed until now but he was poisoned.
According to the Spanish newspaper "El Pais", a British scientist who analyzed hairs taken from Napoleon concluded that his death was the result of arsenic poisoning and not of stomach cancer.
The presence of arsenic in Napoleon's hair explains why the French emperor's remains were so well preserved.
 GREEK COMMISSIONER SPEAKS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCELisbon, 5 May 2000 (10:42 UTC+2)
GREEK COMMISSIONER SPEAKS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Addressing an international conference on "Violence Against Women: Zero Tolerance", the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou stated that "globally, men's violence against women causes more deaths and disability among females aged 15-44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war."
Moreover, she added that "the United Nations estimate that 200 million females are missing in the world; women who should have been born or grown up, but were killed by infanticide or selective abortion."
A Dutch study reports that domestic violence alone costs the state more than euro 150 million a year, measuring health costs and loss of working time on account of domestic violence. 22% of women in Finland have suffered violence by their partners.
In Portugal, 52,9% of women have been the victims of violence inflicted by their partners. In Ireland in 1998, over half of all women murdered were killed by their partners or husbands. In Austria 50% of divorces are filed on the grounds of violence against women. South Africa reports the highest incidence of rape in the world, a woman is raped every 20 seconds and only one in 35 reports it to the authorities.
The conference was organized by the European Union's Portuguese presidency in Lisbon.