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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-09
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 Ο ΤΥΠΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΠΓΔΜ ΓΙΑ ΤΗ ΔΟΛΟΦΟΝΙΑ ΣΟΝΤΕΡΣΣκόπια, 9 June 2000 (13:25 UTC+2)
Χωρίς σχόλια και με απλές αναφορές μετέδωσαν την είδηση της χθεσινής δολοφονίας του στρατιωτικού ακολούθου της βρετανικής πρεσβείας στην Αθήνα, τα μέσα ενημέρωσης της ΠΓΔΜ.
Οι εφημερίδες δημοσιεύουν ανταποκρίσεις από την Αθήνα για τη δολοφονία του Βρετανού διπλωμάτη, Στίβεν Σόντερς, τονίζοντας ότι η τρομοκρατική ενέργεια καταδικάστηκε από το σύνολο του πολιτικού κόσμου της Ελλάδας.
Την είδηση της δολοφονίας του Στίβεν Σόντερς μετέδωσαν επίσης χωρίς σχόλια και τα ηλεκτρονικά μέσα ενημέρωσης της ΠΓΔΜ.
 COINCIDENCES AND QUESTIONS OVER THE TERRORIST ATTACK AGAINST THE BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHEAthens, 9 June 2000 (16:06 UTC+2)
The coincidences and the huge questions raised over yesterday's terrorist attack against British military attache Stephen Saunders in Athens were underlined by the entirety of the Greek press as the "17 November" hit came just a few days after the US Congress report that warned of an increase in terrorist activity in Greece.
Most newspapers emphasize that the real target of the assassination was Greece itself and its weakening within a framework of pressures and doubts over its ability to deal with terrorism. They also point out that the terrorists struck at a moment when the doubts over Greece's ability to secure the safety of the people during the 2004 Olympic Games intensify.
"Provocation", "ordered service on behalf of foreign centers of power", "dirty attack against Greece", "only the enemies of Greece had an interest", "the target are the Olympic Games", "tragic attack with CIA and MOSSAD specifications", "multi-faceted struck against Greece", are some of the characteristic front-page headlines in the major newspapers of Athens and Thessaloniki. The Athens daily "Kathimerini" stresses that the new terrorist attack coincides with Greece's accession into the EMU, the hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games and the US pressures, while "TO VIMA" emphasizes that the terrorists killed the British officer but they shot the government.
The newspaper "Avgi" points out that the specific period of time in which the ghost of terrorism has reappeared is characterized by the US blackmailing demand to draw up a cooperation protocol against terrorism with terms that will satisfy the US side and the increasing pressures to surrender to US agents the overall security measures for the 2004 Olympic Games.
 GOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE MEETINGAthens, 9 June 2000 (18:22 UTC+2)
The determination of the government to take all necessary measures in order to combat terrorism was expressed by prime minister Kostas Simitis in the governmental committee meeting held in Athens today.
Mr. Simitis said that the phenomenon of terrorism distorts the picture of the country and called for the creation of a united front by the government, political parties, institutions and the people in order to fight terrorism.
On the likelihood to change the legislation on terrorism, he said that no change in its core is being discussed but an exchange of views is underway on the legal procedure problems that may come up. Mr. Simitis also characterized as unjustified the effort to link yesterday's terrorist attack with security issues during the 2004 Olympic Games that will be held in Athens.
Minister of public order Mr. Chrisohoidis referred to the signing of a police cooperation memorandum between Greece and the United States clarifying that it is similar to those Greece has already signed with other 34 countries. The memorandum will be signed by the Greek minister of public order and the US Attorney General.
 THE EXTRAORDINARY PARTY CONGRESS OF NEW DEMOCRACY OPENS THIS AFTERNOONAthens, 9 June 2000 (18:21 UTC+2)
The extraordinary congress of right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy that will last until Sunday opens in Athens this afternoon with the speech of party leader Kostas Karamanlis.
In response to the statements made by ND parliament deputy Dora Bakoyianni regarding a lack of democracy within the party, Mr. Karamanlis will characterize the party congress as a democratic event and will underline that its targets will be to reconfirm the party ideology and promote its profile.
Regarding the issue concerning party spokesman and parliament deputy Aris Spiliotopoulos, who is accused by many inside the party of making himself the number 2 in the party hierarchy, Mr. Karamanlis will say that certain people are using distorting eye-glasses in order to set aside the political word. He will underline that all those who have tried to weaken New Democracy by dictating decisions and imposing options through the mass media will not succeed.
Mr. Karamanlis will also attempt to put an end to the in-party problems and he will stress that the basic intention of New Democracy is its organizational and operational transformation into a new political party form that will respond better to the needs of the society.
 STRONG EXPLOSION ROCKED THE ISLAND OF RHODESRhodes, 9 June 2000 (17:30 UTC+2)
A strong explosion occurred at noon today in the sea region about 20 miles east of the city of Rhodes in south-eastern Aegean. From the first moment, the likelihood of an earthquake, bomb attack or gas leak had been ruled out.
According to information, a torpedo from a Turkish warship hit a Turkish frigate and 5 people have been injured as a military exercise is underway at the Turkish territorial waters.
However, Turkish Army general chief of staff general Kivrikoglu, who is watching the Turkish exercise, denied that a warship with a crew on board has been hit. He clarified that an old ship of the Turkish Navy without a crew was hit by a torpedo within the framework of the exercise that is being held in the sea region outside Marmaris.
 THE US OFFERS 1.8 BILLION DRACHMAS FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST OF THE TERRORISTSAthens, 9 June 2000 (17:09 UTC+2)
The United States offer a reward of 1.8 billion drachmas and a new life in America to anyone who will give them the "17 November" terrorists. Just a few hours after the terrorist attack against British military attache in Athens brigadier Stephen Saunders a special Internet web page appeared on the first page of the US State Department site.
Indicative of the US intentions is the fact that they have increased the reward they offer for any information leading to the arrest of the "17 November" members from 900 million drachmas ($3 million) to 1.8 billion drachmas ($5 million).
The statement is signed by US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns and in the text is mentioned that the Greek and the US authorities are cooperating closely in the effort to combat terrorism, while it is noted that in the 25 years during which the terrorist organization is in action many US citizens have been its targets but no arrest has ever been made.
 GAINS OF 1.12% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 9 June 2000 (17:09 UTC+2)
Gains of 1.12% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today, while the volume of transactions was at 146,4 billion drachmas.
The general index was at 4.436,45 points and of the stocks trading today 219 recorded gains, 115 had losses and 33 remained at the same levels with yesterday.
 BUSINESS MISSION TO IRELANDAthens, 9 June 2000 (17:09 UTC+2)
A business mission is organized by the ministry of national economy within the framework of the formal visit of president Kostis Stephanopoulos to Ireland on July 3-5.
The business delegation that will accompany president Stephanopoulos has as a goal to examine the potential for a further economic and trade cooperation with the Irish businessmen with whom they will have the opportunity to meet. Also, a seminar will be held aimed at locating cooperation opportunities between Greek and Irish businessmen.
The main sectors of interest for cooperation are food and beverages, fruits and vegetables, furniture, building materials and computers.
 COCAINE WITH AN ESTIMATED VALUE OF 10 BILLION DRACHMAS WAS CONFISCATED BY THE ECONOMIC CRIME POLICEAthens, 9 June 2000 (17:08 UTC+2)
The biggest quantity of cocaine, located in the past few years by the Greek authorities with an estimated value of 10 billion drachmas, has been confiscated by the economic crime police.
Special agents conducted a search on a ship and located a total of 126 kilos of excellent quality cocaine that was packaged in three containers and placed among fake plastic tiles.
The cargo that came from Venezuela arrived at the port of Piraeus on board the ship "Carmen", under a Greek flag, and its destination was the city of Pristina in Kosovo.
Four suspects have been arrested among them a Greek, 37yearold Petros Abelis from Athens.
 "BLUE FLAGS" IN 300 GREEK COASTSAthens, 9 June 2000 (17:08 UTC+2)
Three hundred "blue flags" were won by an equal number of Greek coasts and 8 marinas for the year 2000 within the framework of the Blue Flags for Europe program, compared to 318 in 1999 and 326 in 1998.
At a European level, "blue flags" were given to a total of 1.936 coasts and 650 marinas, while in a total of 21 countries the first place was won by France with 410 "blue flags" for its coasts and 82 marinas, second is Spain with 364 "blue flags" for its coasts and 81 marinas and Greece is third.
The "Blue Flags of Europe" is a program that was adopted for the first time in 1987 to reward the clean coasts and the well-organized marinas. The criteria based on which the coasts are being judged are the quality of the sea waters, the facilities offered, the information offered to the public, the safety of the swimmers and the environment safe activities. For the marinas, the criteria are the good organization and management, the offer of safety and information as well as the environment safe activities.
 THE ORTHODOX CHURCH ADMITTED THAT THE ID CARDS FALL UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATEAthens, 9 June 2000 (16:06 UTC+2)
The Christian Orthodox Church in Greece recognized that the issuing of identity cards falls under the authority of the state.
This is mentioned in a circular issued by the Church Hierarchy that will be read on Sunday after the Holy Liturgy and is signed by all the Metropolites.
However, it is stressed that the Church has a say on the issue as it represents the majority of the Greek people, while the stance of the prime minister toward the Church is characterized as insulting.
 OTE IS A CANDIDATE FOR THE BUYOUT OF FYROM'S TELEKOMSkopje, 9 June 2000 (16:07 UTC+2)
Six companies among them, the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, have displayed an interest in the purchase of FYROM's telephone service organization "TELEKOM".
The companies interested are the Hungarian "MATAF", the German "DEBITEL", the French VIVENTI", the Turkish "TURSEL", the Slovenian "TELEKOM" and the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE.
 TURKISH PM CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH GREECEAnkara, 9 June 2000 (14:31 UTC+2)
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has reportedly asked Greece to take advantage of improved relations with his country and talk about their disputes over the Aegean Sea.
"The warm support from our peoples for the limited dialogue between the countries makes a suitable atmosphere to take up these sensitive Aegean issues in friendly dialogue," according to the Anadolu news agency, which quoted Mr. Ecevit during a visit to the town of Marmaris.
"We have no claims on another state's land, but it is our right to want a just adjustment that protects our citizens' security and economy," he said, adding that Turkey is practically imprisoned in its own coast.
 THE BRITISH TOURISTS ARE NOT BEING SCARED OFF BY THE BRITISH PRESS REPORTSLondon, 9 June 2000 (18:46 UTC+2)
British tourist agents stated to the Press Association news agency that all the terrorist attacks in Greece have been against government targets and not against tourists. The statements were made in response to the British mass media reports published after the assassination yesterday of the British military attache in Athens which lead to the conclusion that there is a lack of security in Greece.
It should be noted that British Tourist Agents Association president Keith Betton has issued a statement that was on all the news agencies' bulletins, stressing that the terrorist attack does not affect tourism in Greece and that the number of British tourists visiting the country will be larger compared to previous years. He also stressed that this year's trend is a movement of British tourists from Turkey to Greece.
 A 0.7% GROWTH WAS RECORDED IN THE EURO-ZONE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF 2000Brussels, 9 June 2000 (18:15 UTC+2)
A 0.7% growth was recorded in the Euro-zone economies in the first trimester of 2000 compared to the last trimester of 1999, according to the initial estimates by the EU statistics agency, Eurostat.
According to the same estimates, the GDP of all 15 EU member-states showed an increase similar to that of the Euro-zone namely, 0.7%.
The economic growth in the first trimester of the current year both in all the 15 EU member-states and in the Euro-zone has showed an increase of 3.2% compared to the first trimester of 1999.
 THE INVOLVEMENT OF SAUNDERS IN THE NATO BOMBINGS IS DENIEDLondon, 9 June 2000 (17:10 UTC+2)
The British foreign office denied the speculation expressed in the "17 November" terrorist organization leaflet according to which, Stephen Saunders had an active participation in the coordination of the NATO air strikes against Serbia last year. According to the British foreign office, Saunders took over his post in Athens in May 1999, two months after the start of the NATO bombings.
Meanwhile, according to the Reuters news agency a British foreign office spokesman stated that on the occasion of the assassination of Stephen Saunders in Athens Britain will reconsider the security measures for the protection of its diplomats serving all over the world.
British ambassador to Athens David Manten stated in an interview with the Greek service of the BBC radio that the British diplomatic mission did not feel as being under a threat in Greece and added that he is satisfied with the way the Greek government handled the issue. He also expressed the hope that the investigation for the discovery and the arrest of the terrorists will give fruit.
 ARMENIA, GREECE IRAN TO STRENGTHEN TRADE TIESYerevan, 9 June 2000 (14:48 UTC+2)
The strengthening of trilateral ties was the focus of the second session on industrial, technical and economic cooperation between Armenia, Iran and Greece held in Yerevan.
Bilateral cooperation between these countries has been developing quite successfully in the last few years, which is not true of trilateral ties, the respective countries' delegations stated.
Armenian Industry Minister Karen Hsmaritian stressed the importance of providing a solid legal basis for cooperation and stated that trilateral cooperation in the fields of science, food and chemical industries, jewelry business and banking can be enhanced.
 UK PRESS BLASTS GREECE OVER ATTACHES MURDERLondon, 9 June 2000 (12:58 UTC+2)
Following yesterday's attack on the British military attache to Athens Stephen Saunders, who was killed by the November 17 terrorist group, Athens now stands accused of years of complacency, bordering on collusion, from the British press over Greece's inability to capture the elusive guerrillas.
Starting from the post-junta governments and beyond, the British press accuse Greece of being incompetent to combat terrorism, while there are frequent innuendoes of collusion between Greek political figures and November 17.
According to the Guardian, which quotes counter-terrorism officials, Greek authorities are overly defensive about the issue, viewing outside help and criticism as an encroachment on the country's affairs.
"The resulting international wrangling has allowed November 17 to slip through the net. Last year the group taunted the authorities by inviting them to 'come and get us'. They did not, and Brigadier Saunders paid the price", the Guardian wrote.
While stressing that yesterday's attack raises concerns over the 2004 Olympic Games' security, most dailies disassociate the terrorist attack with the Britons' high tourism interest in Greece, pointing out that no tourist has ever been targeted.
Also, British Ambassador in Athens Sir David Madden told the BBC radio that "we have never felt threatened in Greece" and added that he is satisfied with the manner in which the Greek government is handling the issue and hopes that the efforts will bear results for the capture of Brigadier Saunders's murderers.
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph wrote that Greece is now condemned by the world over for its inability to capture any of the November 17 members to date. It also quotes extensively an interview given by CIA's former director James Woolsey to the Athens weekly "Ponitki" where he suggested the Greek government was "not serious in its pursuit of November 17."
In that interview, which ran hours prior to yesterday's attack, Mr. Woolsey issued a damning indictment of the Greek authorities.
"I believe there are some people in the Greek Government who know certain members of the 17 November [group]," he said, adding "nothing has been done, this is an extremely important affair for the US and it constitutes a continuous irritation and affects our relationship with Greece."
Mr. Woolsey also proposed that both the United Kingdom and the US refrain from sending their athletes to the Games in 2004 if the Greek government does not tap the terrorist organization first.
London's "Telegraph" also refers to Greece's "dark side", where terrorists have been allowed to reign undisturbed since the 1970s, when it is believed that future members of 17 November and leading figures in PASOK, were united in opposition to the then-rule of the military junta.
As for the "Times", the front-page article advises that if Greece wishes to have access to a continental Europe, sans passports, that it should exhibit great zeal and tangible results in terrorism combat.
 CIRCUMCISION CUTS THE RISK OF AIDS FOR MENMelbourne, 9 June 2000 (18:21 UTC+2)
Researchers in Australia announced that men who have been circumcised face a smaller risk to be infected by the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
They also suggest that males must be circumcised in an early age as circumcision is regarded as one of the most effective ways to face the plague of the century.
Another research underlines that AIDS appeared for the first time much earlier than previously thought namely, in the 1930s.