|Monday, 27 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-05-25
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 FAITH NOT LISTED ON NEW IDs, NOT EVEN OPTIONALLYAthens, 25 May 2000 (10:54 UTC+2)
The state identification cards will no longer include the bearer's religious affiliation, as well as other personal data such as profession, thumbprint and spouse's name, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated last night in response to a pertinent question tabled in Parliament.
Specifically, Mr. Simitis stated that any data that surpass the aim of a state identification card, which is none other than the facilitation of the communication of citizens with the state, will not be included.
"The philosophical stand, the religious beliefs, and the sensitive data reflect parts of the personality of citizens, which regard their internal world and are not necessary in fulfilling the aim of the identification card," the Premier stated and added that "we should, at last, accept that it is a conquest of our civilization the fact that the state is not interested today for such data, as did happen in other times, which we know of."
While this development is in accordance with the recent decision by the state Committee for the Protection of Personal Data, the Church's response was immediate as members of the Holy Synod have declared their intent to seek recourse through the courts.
The Church's sole concession on the matter is to agree to the mentioning of faith being optional.
 PM ADDRESSES SEV ANNUAL MEETINGAthens, 25 May 2000 (12:49 UTC+2)
Addressing the annual meeting of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) last night, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, appealed to the industry's sector that it "creatively contribute to building an economically sound and socially just Greece."
Mr. Simitis emphasized that the main economic goal was to achieve "real convergence" with Greece's European Union partners and outlined the main axes of his policy, namely the continuation of fiscal adjustment, the reform of social security, market deregulation and a better environment for businesses.
Furthermore, the Premier stated that the labor market needs to adapt to the new high technology environment and pledged government assistance toward this goal.
 FAMILY TIES ARE STILL STRONG IN GREECEAthens, 25 May 2000 (18:25 UTC+2)
Family ties remain strong in Greece, according to a report by the National Center for Social Research that was presented in a conference that opened in Athens today.
The most impressive fact is that the divorce rate in Greece is the smallest compared to the rest European countries, while the children out of wedlock correspond to just 3% compared to 45% in the Scandinavian countries.
Also, it is mentioned that the increase in the average longevity rate in Greece from 65 to 73 years has a strong impact on the cost of the welfare state and it is accompanied by a trend according to which, the elderly tend to return or remain in the family.
 COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN GREECE AND THE CZECH REPUBLICAthens, 25 May 2000 (18:25 UTC+2)
A cooperation agreement in the sectors of industry, technology and economy was signed in Athens today by prime ministers of Greece and the Czech Republic, Kostas Simitis and Milo Zeman. On the sidelines of their meeting, the two prime ministers discussed issues concerning the European Union enlargement and the situation in the Balkans.
Mr. Simitis stated after the meeting that issues concerning the EU enlargement must be settled given the fact that a European Union of 15 states can not be the same with a European Union of 20, 25 or even 30 member states. Mr. Simitis stated that for this reason a series of issues must be clarified concerning the operation of the EU, the principles of cooperation within it and the role and participation of different countries in its institutions.
Referring to the role of the Czech Republic, he pointed out that the country belongs to the first accession wave meaning that it will become an EU member in the next few years.
 MARGINAL GAINS OF 0.21% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 25 May 2000 (17:26 UTC+2)
Marginal gains of 0.21% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.560,84 points, while the volume of transactions was at 191.4 billion drachmas.
The majority of stocks recorded gains, while the purchasing interest focused on stocks of medium and small capitalization, mainly in constructions and the parallel market.
 WORLD FAMOUS GREEK PIANIST DIMITRIS ZGOUROS WILL PERFORM IN ANKARA ON JUNE 8Athens, 25 May 2000 (17:22 UTC+2)
Dimitris Zgouros will perform in Ankara on June 8 at the inauguration of the 4.000 seat Bilkent University amphitheater.
The concert will be given with the participation of the Bilkent University symphonic orchestra within the framework of the Greek-Turkish rapprochement in culture at the initiative of Greek ambassador to Turkey Ioannis Korantis.
The proceeds of the event will be given to the earthquake stricken population in Turkey.
 BALKAN TRACK AND FIELD GAMES FOR THE BLINDThessaloniki, 25 May 2000 (17:18 UTC+2)
Balkan track and field games for the blind will be held in Thessaloniki on May 27-28. The games will be held within the framework of the Greek spring track and field championship and will take place with the participation of athletes from Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Romania and Greece.
In the games will compete 120 athletes and 50 of them will come from foreign countries.
Meanwhile, the presidents of the Balkan Organizations for the blind will hold their meeting in Thessaloniki tomorrow to discuss the problems of the blind in the Balkans. They will discuss the participation of the members of the organizations to educational, sports and entertainment events.
 NEW BUSINESS MOVES BY SEKAP IN ROMANIA, RUSSIA, CHINA AND THE UNITED STATESThessaloniki, 25 May 2000 (17:16 UTC+2)
The negotiations for the buyout of a tobacco plant in Iasio, Romania by the Greek tobacco industry SEKAP Ltd. will enter the final stages in June, according to statements made to MPA by company chairman Ilias Seitanidis on the sidelines of the ASIA FORUM 2000. However, he stressed that in case the negotiations are not successful the company will proceed to make other investments in Romania.
Meanwhile, SEKAP's new tobacco plant in Russia will be put in operation by early September. The investment initially is estimated to be US$10 million, while the company's goal is to achieve a 250 tons production on a monthly basis.
The company has signed a draft deal with Chinese businessmen for the introduction of the BF biological cigarette filter in the Chinese market and laboratory tests have already started to establish its effectiveness in order to sign the final deal.
Also, SEKAP attempts to expand its activities to the United States by introducing the BF filter to the American market and already lab tests are underway in the University of Harvard.
 98.84% OF THE GREEK COASTS ARE CLEANAthens, 25 May 2000 (17:12 UTC+2)
Minister of environment, land planning and public works Kostas Laliotis announced that 98.84% of the Greek coasts are clean.
Of the 1.820 coasts inspected by the ministry agencies, 1.799 were found to be right for swimming and received the "blue flag" certifying that they are clean for the public.
 ASECU HOLDS FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCEThessaloniki, 25 May 2000 (12:57 UTC+2)
Stressing the private sector's significant role in those countries whose economies are under transition, P.G. Hare presented his proposals for the establishment of a framework that will assist private ventures.
Addressing the First International Economic Conference which is presently underway in Thessaloniki at the University of Macedonia, the Heriot - Watt University professor stated that the private sector is the force that will lead these countries' economies to the desired level.
However, he stressed, when privatization is a priority for those economies in transition, then the necessary prerequisites also need to have been met in order to avoid turbulence both in the social sector and the job market.
The four-day conference, organized by the Association of Economic Universities (ASECU) of the countries of Southeast Europe, features the participation of economists and academics who discuss the recent economic developments and the problems faced by economies in transition, particularly those of the former East Bloc.
The event is also offering discussions on the economic development of the region's countries, trade relations and economic development, economic relations and the EU, the labor market, economic stabilization policies, and institutional changes and privatizations.
The conference is held under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and features the participation of distinguished academics from forty Southeast European universities, as well as representatives from the central banks of Turkey and Hungary.
 THIRD EURO-MED CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN ATHENSAthens, 25 May 2000 (12:10 UTC+2)
Parliament speakers from Euro-Mediterranean countries have agreed to the proposal tabled by Greece's Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis that their third conference be held in Athens next year.
Mr. Kaklamanis was recently in Egypt where he attended the Second Conference of parliament speakers from Euro-Mediterranean countries, where the delegates discussed peace and security in the wider region, promotion of a "dialogue among civilizations", a liberalization of trade and technology as well as issues dealing with emigration and its effects on employment.
In his address yesterday, Mr. Kaklamanis referred to the dangers of globalization, while he also pledged that Greece will exert every effort to establish a world truce during the course of the Olympic Games of 2004, which will be held in Athens.
 THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER MET WITH HIS US COUNTERPARTFlorence, 25 May 2000 (18:25 UTC+2)
Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou met in Florence, Italy today with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the sidelines of the spring NATO summit that was completed today.
Mr. Papandreou presented the Greek positions on the situation in Kosovo, the sanctions on Yugoslavia and the stability in the Balkans.
In today's meeting Croatia's accession into the Partnership for Peace agreement was also signed.
 INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION IN THE EURO-ZONE INCREASED BY 0.6%Brussels, 25 May 2000 (17:24 UTC+2)
The industrial production in the 11 Euro-zone countries recorded an increase of 0.6% in March compared to February, according to the European Statistics Agency, Eurostat.
At the same time, the volume of industrial production increased by 0.1% in December on a monthly basis and by 0.8% in January.
Furthermore, the industrial production in all 15 EU member-states increased by 0.5% in March compared to February when it had increased by 1.1%, while the increase in January was 0.3%.
 NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS HOLD SUMMIT IN ITALYFlorence, 25 May 2000 (11:30 UTC+2)
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is to hold successive meetings with Greece's and Turkey's Foreign Ministers, George Papandreou and Ismael Cem respectively, today, on the sidelines of the NATO Foreign Ministers Summit in Florence.
Messrs. Papandreou and Cem met yesterday and held talks which were reportedly marked by a coincidence of views on the issue of Greek-Turkish dialogue.
Following the talks, Mr. Papandreou stated that both countries are ready to promote a series of good neighborliness measures for the reduction of tension.
 THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH CONDEMNS TURKEY OVER THE NEW TYPE PRISONSNew York, 25 May 2000 (17:28 UTC+2)
The Human Rights Watch expressed concern over the new type prisons built in Turkey. The organization for the protection of human rights expressed fears that the isolation of inmates characterizing the special Kartal Prisons in Istanbul can be used as a model for the new prisons prepared by the Turkish government in violation of the international regulations.
It is pointed out that the total isolation conditions in prisons or the isolation of inmates in small groups has proven to be especially harmful to the physical and mental health of the individuals.
The 11 under construction F-Type prisons will be made up of cells for small groups of inmates jailed for their participation in organized crime and for violations of the anti-terrorist law based on which many Kurdish fighters have been jailed. The international human rights organization maintains that if the new system does not provide for time outside the cells for the inmates in order to be free to take part in social, educational and entertainment activities inside the prison facilities it will constitute a human rights violation.
 THE GREEK COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA REACHED 435.000 MEMBERSMelbourne, 25 May 2000 (17:15 UTC+2)
The Greek community in Australia has reached 435.000 members, according to a study by La Trobe University in Melbourne that was conducted on behalf of the Australian government and was based on the 1996 population census.
Head of the National Center of Greek Studies and Research Anastasios Tamis stated that the Australian residents born in Greece are 126.621, while the number of Greeks born in Cyprus and in other countries of Europe and the Middle East are 28.000.
The members of the Greek community in Australia that were born in Greece are 285.000 and therefore, the total number of the people of Greek origin has reached 435.000. According to the research, 49% of the Greek-Australians live in Melbourne, while 60% of those born in Greece are between 45-64 years old and 18% are over 65.
The Greek community members using the Greek language to communicate are estimated at 300.000 and 69% speak the Greek language fairly well. The mixed marriages are 32%, while 93% of the Australian residents that were born in Greece belong to the Christian Orthodox Church. A 75% of the Greek-Australians own private property, compared to 42% which is the average for the Australian population.
 GREEK PHOTOJOURNALIST WOUNDED IN SIERRA LEONELondon, 25 May 2000 (10:08 UTC+2)
A Greek photojournalist is among those wounded yesterday in Sierra Leone, according to the British Foreign Office.
Yannis Behrakis, who works for the Reuters wire service, was among a group of journalists who were reportedly attacked by members of the Revolutionary United Front yesterday evening in the Rogberi region.
Two reporters, an American and a Spaniard, were killed in the ambush, while two of the wounded are from Greece and south Africa.