|Tuesday, 28 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-11
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ANTI-TERRORISM SQUA LOOKING FOR SCARRED MANÁthens, 11 June 2000 (16:20 UTC+2)
Following numerous witness and evidence examinations, Greece's anti-terrorism squad is reportedly looking for a 30-year-old scarred man believe to be connected with Thursday's killing of the British defense attached in Athens Brigadier Stephen Saunders.
According to the Athens daily "Ethnos", which quotes a well-informed Greek Police source, police have testimony from an eyewitness who reported what he saw to the police station nearest the crime scene of Kifisias Avenue.
According to the source, the eyewitness was reportedly driving his car next to the victim's when the gunshots occurred, and noting that one of the two perpetrators who were riding a motorcycle had a distinctive scar on his neck, below the helmet.
A few hours later, the witness said that he had gone to another area of Athens for business where he saw the same man having coffee and eating a cheese pie. Again, he noticed the same scar and clothing.
Extremely shaken, the witness went to the police station nearest the crime scene and provided his testimony to the officers.
Anti-terrorism investigators from Britain's Scotland Yard are presently in Athens to help with the investigation.
 DIPLOMATS BODY MAY BE FLOWN TO UK MONDAYAthens, 11 June 2000 (14:24 UTC+2)
According to unconfirmed reports, the body of British defense attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders, who was killed by the November 17 terrorist group on Thursday, will be flown to Britain tomorrow, although details on the funeral arrangements have as of yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, condolences have poured in over the diplomat's loss. The President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday has expressed his abhorrence over the assassination of the British diplomat, with his condolences having been conveyed to the British Ambassador in Athens David Madden.
Foreign Minister George Papandreou has visited Heather Saunders and expressed his deepest sympathies to her and her two daughters.
Friends and colleagues of the slain diplomat have also sent wreaths to the British embassy in Kolonaki, central Athens, where a book of condolences has been opened. Visitors can express their condolences until Wednesday noon.
 BREMER, WOOLSEY INSIST ON VIEWS IN INTERVIEWSAthens, 11 June 2000 (17:47 UTC+2)
The Chairman of the U.S. National Anti-Terrorism Committee Paul Bremer and the CIA"s former director James Woolsey appear to adamantly defend their view that Greece is lax on terrorism, during an interview with the Athens daily "Kathimerini".
Mr. Bremer openly accused the Greek government of not having done enough to combat terrorism, stating that "it has the worst record in all of Western Europe in regards to combating terrorism, and this has been going on for 25 years.
"There is a lack of ability or willingness to tap into these terrorist organizations", he added, stating that the United States should impose an arms embargo on Greece.
In turn, Mr. Woolsey, who ran the CIA from 1993 to 1995, said he believed there are members of the PASOK government who could identify members of the November 17 group but had done nothing to arrest them.
He stated that "the Greek government's utter ineffectiveness in regards to terrorism has blackened Greek-American ties and, now, I think, Greek-British as well.
"They refuse to act. They are protecting the terrorists. We have strong reasons to believe that high-ranking members of the Greek government know how to go after this organization, if they wanted to, but they refuse to act. I won't say anything more, but they know who they are."
 US AMBASSADOR: THERE WILL BE NO TRAVEL ADVISORYAthens, 11 June 2000 (16:20 UTC+2)
The United States Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns has categorically stated that the State Department will not issue a travel advisory for Greece, according to the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini".
In an interview with the Athens paper, Mr. Burns stated that no travel advisory is being planned, this does not mean that those US citizens who wish to visit Greece should not be informed and take the necessary precautions.
In other sections of the interview, the Ambassador expresses his enthusiasm over the Greek government's determination to combat terrorism and stressed that "the time has come for these perpetrators to be arrested and brought before justice."
Moreover, he expressed his esteem towards Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoides and underlined that the United States are willing to provide every assistance if he requests it.
 GREECE, US TO SIGN ANTI-TERRORISM PROTOCOLÁthens, 11 June 2000 (16:20 UTC+2)
Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoides stated that a protocol of cooperation against terrorism is to be imminently signed between Greece and the United States, in an interview published with the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia".
Adding that that the said agreement is similar to protocols which Greece has signed with another 34 countries up till now, Mr. Chrysochoides also stated that the noted delays are due to the status of the protocol itself insofar as it will not be cleared through the two countries' parliamentary bodies, which calls for special legal maneuvering.
He also said that the state's anti-terrorist resources are much better organized now that in the immediate post-junta period, when most terrorist attacks occurred. Their morale is higher, and Greek society itself is no longer taking a neutral stance towards the phenomenon, he added.
 STATE OFFERS AIR CONDITIONERS TO QUAKE VICTIMSAthens, 11 June 2000 (14:59 UTC+2)
As temperatures are beginning to rise, expected to reach soaring levels this summer, the state is offering air conditioners to the thousands of homeless earthquake victims who are now living in pre-fabricated homes in Athens.
According to the Ministries of Interior and Environment- Town Planning, about ,000 air-conditioners will be donated to the earthquake victims who are complaining over the unbearably hot living conditions in their aluminum homes.
 US PROPOSE CHANGES IN GREEK ANTI-TERRORISM LAWSAthens, 11 June 2000 (14:44 UTC+2)
Washington is proposing a list of changes in Greece's anti-terrorism legislation, according to a report published Friday in the Athens daily "Ta Nea".
According to the article, Washington is suggesting the following changes to the existing legislation:
- Exoneration for members of terrorist groups who "repent" and agree to provide information on fellow group members.
- Immunity from prosecution for anti-terrorist squad members who infiltrate terrorist groups and take part in attacks as part of a plan to crack the group open from within.
- The creation of a "special" court, without a jury, to try terrorist cases. The magistrates selected for this court would be exclusively engaged to preside over such cases.
- Rewards for witnesses who turn in terrorists.
- The creation of a witness protection program.
- Permission for foreign police and security agencies (such as the FBI) to operate in the country independently of local authorities.
-An extension on the pre-trial custody period and on the time a suspect can be held for questioning without charge (which currently stands at 18 months).
-The creation of a special team, which would include legal experts, to carry out the questioning.
 EUS PRODI CONDEMNS KILLING, STANDS BY GREECEBrussels, 11 June 2000 (14:27 UTC+2)
European Commission President Romano Prodi has condemned the fatal shooting of Britain's defense attache in Greece Brigadier Stephen Saunders, calling it "an attack against democracy."
In a statement, Mr. Prodi said: "I would like to express my utter abhorrence at the murder of Brigadier Stephen Saunders in Athens... An attack against a diplomat in such circumstances is an attack against democracy, the founding principle of the European Union," he said.
"The European Commission expresses its deepest sympathy for the family of Brigadier Saunders, and its full solidarity with the Greek government," he added.
 STATE INTENSIFIES BATTLE AGAINST TERRORISMAthens, 11 June 2000 (14:19 UTC+2)
The governemnt plans to intensify its battle against terrorism through the introduction of legal changes, such as allowing terrorist crimes to be judged initially by a three-member appeals court and then, in the second instance, by a five-member court of appeals, in order to rule out the use of jurors, who are believed to be more vulnerable to fears of retribution.
Also, the changes call for a re-organization of the police force, while additional measures are to be taken that will facilitate the task of the anti-terrorism squad.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a Cabinet meeting on Friday of his Cabinet, where the main focus of discussion was the problem of terrorism and making security the central axis of government policy, especially in light of the Olympic Games that will be held in Athens in 2004.
The Premier is expected to undertake initiatives that will achieve consensus with other political parties with regard both to the measures themselves and their means of implementation.
"We have to create a united front against terrorism," governemnt sources stated.
The first contacts between Mr. Simitis and opposition party leaders are expected on Friday, when he meets with them to discuss Greece's entry into the EU's Economic and Monetary Union next year.
 PLANS TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY GO INTO EFFECTThessaloniki, 11 June 2000 (14:19 UTC+2)
Trucks will be banned from travelling on sections of the national highways every Friday between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Sundays between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., as of this this weekend until September 30.
Outgoing trucks will be not be allowed on the Thessaloniki-Kavala highway from the 11th kilometer to the Strymonas bridge, and the Thessaloniki-Neon Moudanion road from the Rysio bridge to the 34th kilometer .
On both the new and the old Athens-Corinth highways between the Kifissos Avenue intersection and the new Tripoli turnoff or on the new Athens-Lamia highway from the Tatoi to the Bralos intersections.
The restrictions apply to incoming traffic every Sunday afternoon, when trucks are also banned from the new and old Patras-Corinth- Athens highways from the Rio to the Kifissos Avenue intersections.
Also, surveillance radar will be set into effect at four sites along motorways as of June 15, while more extensive monitoring equipment will be installed, while regional police headquarters will be given greater autonomy to conduct their own operations.
The government has vowed to tackle Greece's high rate of fatal road accidents, through a campaign to improve road quality and emergency health services, bolster the traffic police and monitor dangerous stretches of the national road network.
 UKRAINES GREEKS REPORT VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTSKiev, 11 June 2000 (14:58 UTC+2)
The President of the Confederation of Greek Associations in the Ukraine Alexandra Ptotsenko-Pitsatzi has called on the Greek government to implement legislation that would assist the repatriation of Greeks from countries of the former Soviet Union.
In a written statement, Ms. Ptotsenko-Pitsatzi said that hundreds of Greeks in Ukraine come to her office on a daily basis with questions, concerns and serious problems.
Many Greek families have been separated after repatriated Greeks returned to visit Ukraine but are now not allowed to go back to Greece. The Confederation's president said they had then lost their jobs in Greece and cannot withdraw the money they deposited in Greek banks.
 UK REVIEWS SECURITY AT ITS EMBASSIES WORLDWIDELondon, 11 June 2000 (14:19 UTC+2)
Britain is reviewing security measures at its embassies worldwide, after the killing of its defense attache in Greece (where November 17 claimed responsibility), according to a Foreign Office spokesman said.
Although he refrained from discussing measures that might be taken, the spokeperson stated that "whenever anything like this happens, we do have another close look at our security measures, not just in Athens but worldwide. But we don't go into details. We're not giving the game away to people who want to kill our people."
The victim, Brigadier Stephen Suanders, was shot in his car on the way to work on Thursday by two assailants on a motorbike.
Brig. Saunders, who drove an unmarked white rover with no diplomatic insignia, had no bodyguard but British officials said this was no surprise.
"It's not normal procedure to have bodyguards with diplomats overseas unless there is known to be a significant threat," a Foreign Office official stated.
 SYRIAS PRESIDENT ASSAD DIES, HIS COUNTRY MOURNSDamascus, 11 June 2000 (16:49 UTC+2)
Hafez Assad, the Syrian president who dreamt of a united Arab front, died yesterday at the age of 69 after a long illness.
In breaking the news to the Syrian public, state-run television announced that "death has taken away from Syria a leader." The announcer's voice choked as he began to cry.
"This is a day of sadness and sorrow in every home, school, university, farm, factory and quarry," the announcer said. "Sadness is in the heart of every man, woman and child because... the legacy of his accomplishments and ideas is a planet that will shine not just on this generation, but also on coming generations."
"The Lion of Damascus" - his family name means lion in Arabic - was one of the Middle East's longest-serving leaders. He was credited with bringing political stability to a country of 9 million that saw repeated coups after independence from France in 1946.
Characterized as a skillful and ruthless politician, Assad often succeeded by keeping both foes and friends guessing, reversing course suddenly when he saw an advantage
According to press reports, President Assad had suffered from heart problems, lymphoma and kidney failure, according to a Lebanese heart surgeon close to the Assad family. The surgeon, who insisted on anonymity, did not give a cause of death.
Syria's constitution provides for a vice president to take over if the presidency is vacated. The vice president can serve for 90 days. The constitution does not specify which vice president; Syria has two at the moment.