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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-08

Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


CONTENTS

  • [01] BRITISH DIPLOMAT SUCCUMBS TO WOUNDS
  • [02] EU TO COMBAT SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON THE JOB
  • [03] HOMBACH: BILL GATES IS PLANNING INVESTMENTS IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
  • [04] A MANHUNT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED FOR THE ARREST OF THE "17 NOVEMBER" HIT MEN
  • [05] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN COMMENTED ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE
  • [06] "17 NOVEMBER": 22 ASSASSINATIONS IN 25 YEARS
  • [07] THE "17 NOVEMBER" TERRORIST ORGANIZATION IS BEHIND THE ASSASSINATION OF
  • [08] GAINS OF 0.89% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [09] CONFERENCE ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BALKAN AGRICULTURE
  • [10] GREEKS FAMILIAR WITH INTERNET AND E-COMMERCE
  • [11] PM CONDEMNS KILLING OF BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE
  • [12] STATE AND OPPOSITION CONDEMN ATTACK IN UNISOM
  • [13] BLAIR ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE IN ATHENS
  • [14] MEETING OF THE GREEK AND BRITISH MINISTERS OF DEFENSE
  • [15] REACTIONS IN AUSTRALIA ON THE PROPAGANDA LEAFLET ISSUED BY A

  • [01] BRITISH DIPLOMAT SUCCUMBS TO WOUNDS

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (11:03 UTC+2)

    Britain's defense attache to Greece has succumbed to the wounds he suffered this morning after he was shot in the abdomen by two men on a motorcycle who fired at him as he was driving to work on a main avenue leading to the center of the city.

    The victim, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, underwent surgery at the Athens Red Cross hospital.

    Public Order Ministry General Secretary Dimitris Efstathiadis stated that it was apparently the work of terrorists.

    Similar attacks have been carried out by a terrorist organization called November 17. A Greek industrialist was killed through an identical attack 14 yeas ago.

    A.F.

    [02] EU TO COMBAT SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON THE JOB

    Brussels, 8 June 2000 (11:37 UTC+2)

    The European Commission has tabled a series of legislative measures for combating sexual harassment on the job which, if adopted, would compel all employers in the European Union's 15 member-states to enforce the relevant laws.

    The measures are part of a comprehensive revision of the ┼U's law on equal opportunity in employment, which dates back 24 years.

    Greek Commissioner on Social ┴ffairs ┴nna Diamantopoulou -who spearheaded these measures- stated that if approved, the legislative amendments should fill the gap in Greek law concerning sexual harassment, which is thought to affect a large proportion of the country's female employees, and could discourage such behavior.

    According to the draft amendments, sexual harassment is defined as "unwanted conduct related to sex takes place with the effect of affecting the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or disturbing environment."

    ┬ased on ┼uropean Commission figures, up to 50 percent of the ┼U's female employees were sexually harassed last year.

    With the exception of France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, most EU member-states completely lack legislation protecting workers from sexual harassment.

    A.F.

    [03] HOMBACH: BILL GATES IS PLANNING INVESTMENTS IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE

    Thessaloniki, 8 June 2000 (19:10 UTC+2)

    The south-eastern European market appears to be a strong temptation for US multi-millionaire Bill Gates as the MICROSOFT chairman examines the likelihood to invest in the region through the Stability Pact.

    The above were revealed by Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach in a press conference he gave in Thessaloniki. Mr. Hombach said that Mr. Gates has clarified recently that he might be interested in a number of investments in south-eastern Europe and within this framework Mr. Hombach said that he will seek to have contacts with him in the future.

    The coordinator of the Stability Pact also said that he does not feel any insecurity in Greece responding to a relevant question made by reporters on the occasion of today's terrorist attack in Athens

    Referring to the course of the implementation of the Stability Pact quick projects, Mr. Hombach stated that the basic goal toward this direction is to counter bureaucracy in the region's countries in order for the projects to proceed without delays.

    [04] A MANHUNT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED FOR THE ARREST OF THE "17 NOVEMBER" HIT MEN

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (19:08 UTC+2)

    A manhunt across the country has been launched by the Greek police and the anti-terrorist agency, while strong security measures are in effect at the airports and all the country exits, with extensive police searches and identity card checks aimed at locating the terrorists who gunned down this morning in Athens British military attache Stephen Saunders.

    The Greek ministry of public order places today's terrorist attack within the framework of an overall defamation attack against Greece and issued an order for increased security measures for the protection of the foreign diplomats who could be the targets of the terrorist organization "17 November".

    Minister of culture Theodoros Pangalos stated characteristically after his meeting with prime minister Kostas Simitis that he does not like the so-called conspiracy theories but there are big coincidences in this case, adding that the efforts which are aimed at facing a phenomenon that threatens society must intensify. Within this framework were and the statement made to Athens radio station "Alpha - News" by parliament deputy and former head of the National Information Agency Kostas Tzimas, who characterized the hit as 100% provocation.

    British brigadier Stephen Saunders died from his wounds at 11am this morning at the Red Cross hospital in spite of the 3hour struggle by the doctors to keep him alive. Two young men wearing helmets, who were riding a motorcycle, shot him at 7:40am at Kifisia avenue. He was shot four times with a 45calibre gun on his way to the British embassy.

    The victim was specializing on issues concerning Yugoslavia and especially, FYROM and Montenegro. He had served in Hong Kong, Mozambique and northern Iraq within the framework of the humanitarian support of the Kurds. He was widely known in the military circles in Greece and he is believed to have contributed to the upgrading of the military relations between Greece and Britain.

    The Reuters news agency and the US television network CNN gave an extensive coverage to the terrorist hit. In their reports the two international mass media pointed out that the organization is active since 1975 and none of its members has ever been arrested by the Greek police.

    [05] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN COMMENTED ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (17:51 UTC+2)

    Such acts hurt the interests of the country, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas when asked to comment on the assassination of the British military attache in Athens and added that Greece is a country of peace and the government will continue its efforts to stop such phenomena.

    When asked to comment on the statements made by former CIA chief James Woolsey to the Athens newspaper "Pontiki" according to which, members of the Greek government know the "17 November" organization, the Greek government spokesman stressed that such statements are inconceivable and beyond any logic. He said that the Greek government will ask for the judicial assistance of the United States in order for Mr. Woolsey to come to Greece and testify on everything he knows, while he also added that terrorism can not be fought with such groundless accusations.

    Mr. Reppas admitted that there is a weakness and a problem as there are no arrests after so many assassinations and stated that based on the initial assessments it appears that the gun used in today's assassination had been used in the past leading the police investigators to the terrorist organization "17 November".

    When asked to comment on the fact that today's assassination happened a short time after the publication of US reports on terrorism in Greece, the government spokesman responded that the government has no proof at its disposal leading to such a conclusion and added that there is no evidence on whether foreign centers of power are being activated to cause a problem to the country.

    Commenting on the statements made today by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy honorary president Konstantinos Mitsotakis, he said that the efforts made to link the Olympic Games with today's event are unsuccessful, while on the signing of a Greek-US police cooperation memorandum he said that it must not be seen in the light of today's terrorist attack.

    [06] "17 NOVEMBER": 22 ASSASSINATIONS IN 25 YEARS

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (17:17 UTC+2)

    The 45calibre gun used today in the assassination of British high ranking diplomat Stephen Saunders in Athens has been used in 5 of the 22 assassinations that were committed in the past 25 years by the "17 November" terrorist organization, according to the ballistics examination of the four empty bullets found at the scene of the crime.

    The first one killed with such a gun was CIA station-master in Greece Richard Welsh and at least a dozen other officials.

    Based on assessments made by analysts, the crucial posts Saunders held in his carrier and his special knowledge on political issues in regions that are unrest hot-spots were the basic reasons for which he was picked as a target by the terrorists.

    The British diplomat, who was married and had two daughters, was in Greece for a year after serving in Hong Kong, Cyprus and northern Iraq, while he showed a special interest on issues concerning Yugoslavia, FYROM and Montenegro.

    Anti-terrorist agency officials maintain that the assassination is placed in a new round of "17 November" attacks that opened in April 1999 with the launching of an anti-tank rocket targeting the main offices of PASOK in Athens and continued in May of the same year with attacks against French, British and US banks, the bomb placed at the house of the Dutch ambassador and the rocket launched against the German ambassador's residence in Athens.

    The organization has not claimed responsibility for any of those attacks but it is expected to do so soon after today's assassination.

    Also, the specific targets are believed to be related with the war against Yugoslavia as Germany, Holland and Britain have played a decisive role in it as well as in Cyprus, the Middle East and the Balkans in general.

    [07] THE "17 NOVEMBER" TERRORIST ORGANIZATION IS BEHIND THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (16:20 UTC+2)

    Greek police ballistics experts in Athens completed the examination of the four bullets found on the scene of the assassination of the British military attache.

    According to the results of the examination, the four bullets come from the same 45calibre handgun used in the assassinations of many other people in Greece by the "17 November" terrorist organization. This fact confirms the initial indications according to which, "17 November" was behind the new assassination.

    [08] GAINS OF 0.89% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (16:14 UTC+2)

    Gains of 0.89% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.387,37 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 128 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today 308 recorded gains, 34 had losses and 23 remained stable.

    Economic analysts point out that the market showed a small sign of positive behavior as the news from the front of the economy in the country and the developments in the international environment are not negative factors for the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [09] CONFERENCE ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BALKAN AGRICULTURE

    Thessaloniki, 8 June 2000 (16:13 UTC+2)

    The reconstruction of agriculture in south-eastern Europe will be at the center of an international conference that will take place in Thessaloniki on June 9-10 organized by the Society of European Agro-economists under the auspices of the Greek ministries of agriculture and Macedonia-Thrace.

    The conference will cover a big void given the fact that according to its organizers agriculture has been overlooked by the European Union as a factor that can speed up reconstruction.

    In a statement issued by the conference organizing committee it is mentioned that in the past few years the European Union has focused its interest on the reconstruction of the Balkan economies without taking under consideration that agriculture is the "key" in the whole process. The statement mentions that agriculture is the most important sector in the Balkan economies and the biggest obstacle to the European Union integration.

    [10] GREEKS FAMILIAR WITH INTERNET AND E-COMMERCE

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (13:52 UTC+2)

    Greeks are growing familiar with the use of the Internet and, subsequently, electronic commerce, with almost half of the country's population having made use of such applications during 1999 according to a recent study conducted by the Athens University of Economics.

    Addressing a conference organized by the Trade and Industry Chamber of Athens, Undersecretary of Development Milena Apostolakis stated that the overall annual volume of electronic commerce in Greece is expected to reach 100 billion drachmas by the year 2003.

    The National Electronic Commerce Committee is to convene on June 12 in order to prepare its draft proposals to the legislative body that is to be formed over the sector of electronic commerce.

    A.F.

    [11] PM CONDEMNS KILLING OF BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (13:40 UTC+2)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis has condemned this morning's killing of the British Embassy's defense attache in Athens, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, expressing his "abhorrence over this barbaric act".

    In a statement released shortly after the news of the victim's death, Mr. Simitis said that "this terrorist act is contrary to the fundamental rule of social coexistence, respect for human life. It takes place at a time when Greece is on a successful course in all sectors.

    "The Greek government will perform its duty and defend - by every means - the country's smooth progress and the citizens' security.

    "We will not allow anyone to subvert the progress achieved or blacken the image of Greece, a modern, peaceful and democratic country."

    A.F.

    [12] STATE AND OPPOSITION CONDEMN ATTACK IN UNISOM

    Athens, 8 June 2000 (13:21 UTC+2)

    Both the ruling socialists (PASOK) and the main opposition parties have condemned this morning's killing of the British military attache in Athens Stephen Saunders, who was shot by two unknown assailants as he was driving to work on a major Athens freeway.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou promised a "most merciless" response against suspected terrorists.

    "We will not let the international image of our country be plagued," he said.

    Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoides stated that this attack is a direct blow to the country's interests, while the leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis stated that terrorism has to be dealt with immediately and decisions need to be taken in order to uproot the evil.

    Earlier today, Mr. Papandreou held a telephone conversation with Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, to whom he relayed the Greek government's condolences for the loss of Brigadier Saunders.

    Mr. Saunders who was accredited by the Greek Ministry of National Defense, had yesterday participated in a Pentagon meeting with the British and Greek defense undersecretaries concerning armament purchases.

    Although there was no claim of responsibility for the attack, police and public order ministry officials have said the method and weapons pointed to the November 17 terrorism group.

    "The way it was carried out and the weapons used point to that direction (November 17)," Public Order Ministry General Secretary Dimitris Efstathiadis stated.

    Moreover, the spent shells of an automatic pistol found on the scene indicated it was the same weapon (.45 caliber) as that used by the group in previous attacks.

    According to police, the victim's car had normal Greek license plates and no diplomatic insignia -- a safety precaution taken by most embassies in Athens.

    Police launched a manhunt, setting up roadblocks all over the capital and sending out scores of plainclothes officers to search for the attackers.

    A.F.

    [13] BLAIR ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE IN ATHENS

    London, 8 June 2000 (16:20 UTC+2)

    The assassination of British military attache brigadier Stephen Saunders in Athens was characterized as "a contemptible act of terrorism" by British prime minister Tony Blair.

    He stated that 53yearold Saunders was a "consummate professional" and his assassination was a contemptible and senseless terrorist act that must be condemned by all right-minded persons.

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis had a telephone communication with his British counterpart and reassured him that the Greek authorities are doing all they can to bring the killers to justice.

    [14] MEETING OF THE GREEK AND BRITISH MINISTERS OF DEFENSE

    Brussels, 8 June 2000 (16:15 UTC+2)

    British secretary of defense Jeffrey Hoon called on the Greek government to make every effort in order to bring to justice the killers of British military attache in Athens brigadier Stephen Saunders in a meeting he had today with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos on the sidelines of the meeting of the NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

    Commenting on the fact that the assassination of the British diplomat coincides with the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Mr. Hoon said that this is just a coincidence.

    [15] REACTIONS IN AUSTRALIA ON THE PROPAGANDA LEAFLET ISSUED BY A SLAV-MACEDONIAN ORGANIZATION

    Melbourne, 8 June 2000 (16:14 UTC+2)

    The publication of a propaganda leaflet by a Slav-Macedonian organization with absurd references to Macedonia, its history, culture and language that was funded by the state government of Victoria in Australia caused the outrage of the Greek community in the country.

    The leaflet under the title "Macedonians in Victoria" Community Profile was published by the Slav-Macedonian organization Macedonian Welfare Workers' Network of Victoria and was funded by the ministry of immigration and multi-cultural affairs.

    A representative of the ministry stated to the Greek-Australian newspaper "Neos Kosmos", which brought the case to light, that when the contents of the leaflet were made known the publishers were asked immediately to remove the name of the immigration ministry from the publication.

    Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies director Dr. Tasos Tamis characterized the publication as inflammatory and added that it is the obligation of every authority to carefully check the identity of organizations that submit applications for funding and that they should know where they will use the sums allocated to them.


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