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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-15
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 CHURCH-STATE IN TUG-OF-WAR, THOUSANDS AT RALLYThessaloniki, 15 June 2000 (10:58 UTC+2)
Downtown Thessaloniki was clogged last night by a sea of Church followers who responded to the Archbishop's salvo to unite against the government in an identity card dispute.
Addressing a mass demonstration of more than 100,000 people who flocked from all regions of the country, Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos delivered an 80-minute speech where he sharply criticized the government for its decision not to list religious affiliation on the state-issued identification cards.
Referring to the government, Mr. Christodoulos said "your efforts are futile", adding that "the people do not follow you. You think you will accomplish you plans with the sword of power. You are mistaken."
The church-state dispute erupted last month when Premier Costas Simitis said religion will be removed from ID cards to conform with privacy protection laws, which also call for the deletion of fingerprints, profession and spouse's name.
However, the Church sees the religious entry as an important symbol of its role in preserving Greek identity during years of domination and occupation, further arguing that the government's decision is opposed by 97 percent of the native-born population who are baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church.
Government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas stated that the church is adopting a political character "not in line with its role" and stressed that the government will not treat the Church as "a political interlocutor."
Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, calling the rally "a mob, not the people", stated that "I fear the situation in the church could spawn great dangers for the future of this country."
Meanwhile, the Church is planning another rally for Athens on June 21.
 PM TO HAVE ROUND OF TALKS WITH PARTY LEADERSΑthens, 15 June 2000 (11:27 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will have consecutive meetings with party leaders tomorrow, in light of the European Union's summit in Feira, Portugal on June 19-20 that is expected to approve Greece's entry into the euro zone in January, 2001.
As part of the summit in Feira, the EU's finance ministers will also meet on June 19, with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou representing Greece.
During his consecutive meetings, the Premier is expected to also bring up the issue of security and will undertake initiatives for achieving consensus with other political parties with regard both to security measures themselves and their means of implementation.
Especially in light of the Olympic Games that will be held in Athens in 2004, the government is expected to make security the central axis of its policy.
 REPPAS ON THE EX-KING OF GREECE AND THE ISSUE OF THE FYROM NAMEAthens, 15 June 2000 (19:00 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responding to a question by a reporter ruled out the likelihood of a dialogue between the government and the ex-King of Greece on the alleged royal property issue.
Also, he said that there is no development whatsoever on the issue of the name that will be used by FYROM. He said that it is a process in progress in the United Nations and takes place with the participation of special negotiator Matthew Nimitz.
 THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON YESTERDAY'S CHURCH PROTEST RALLYAthens, 15 June 2000 (18:38 UTC+2)
The events organized by the Church aim at claiming for it a role that is not related with its tradition and mission, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas commenting on yesterday's massive protest rally organized by the Church at the center of Thessaloniki.
Mr. Reppas stated that there is no conflict between the state and the Church, pointing out that the state is open to a dialogue with the Church and that the road of dialogue must be followed by the Church as well. Mr. Reppas said that the issue of the state-issued identity cards will not be included in this dialogue because it is an exclusively state matter. However, the two sides can discuss issues concerning Church justice and education as well as, the projects for the development of the Church.
Responding to a question by a reporter, Mr. Reppas stated that the government has no intention to remove the cross from the Greek flag, adding that there is no such issue as to impose the mandatory civil marriage, while he reminded that articles 3 and 13 that concern the state-Church relations are not included in the under revision parts of the constitution.
 "CYPRUS IN MY LIFE": A BOOK ON THE RAPPROCHEMENT OF THE GREEK CYPRIOTS AND TURKISH CYPRIOTSAthens, 15 June 2000 (18:13 UTC+2)
The need for the rapprochement of the two communities in Cyprus in view of the new round of the proximity talks that opens in New York on July 5, was expressed by foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, who presented the book of Turkish Cypriot author and former ambassador Ozdemir Ozkiur under the title "Cyprus in my life" in an event held in Athens. Mr. Papandreou added that he is a voice that will contribute to the efforts made to remove the last wall dividing a European capital, stressing that Mr. Papandreou is a personality with open horizons and had a successful course as a diplomat.
Especially on the remarks of the Turkish Cypriot author on Cyprus, Mr. Papandreou reiterated the statements made by the author himself after borrowing the words of a former UN secretary-general, who had said that "the Cyprus issue is like a labyrinth. Every promising path leads backwards".
Very praising comments both on the book and the author himself were made by former Cypriot foreign minister Giorgos Iakovou, who said that it is the autobiography and a personal testimony by a brave man, who has a special place in the Cyprus affairs because he ignored the discipline of the herd. He also used praising comments regarding the Greek foreign minister for his efforts on the issue of the rapprochement.
From his side, Mr. Ozkiur stated that he wrote the book mostly because he wanted the new generations to know how things were in the past when the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots were living together in harmony, adding that this can be done again. He also said that most of all he wrote the book "for those who are calling us traitors" and that he wanted to send the message that people must learn from their mistakes. Mr. Ozkiur stated that he is against every side that does not keep its word, like the Turkish Cypriot side does now.
 THE ALLATINI-KATSELI BAKERY PLANT WILL BE IN OPERATION IN NIGERIA BY THE END OF 2000Thessaloniki, 15 June 2000 (17:14 UTC+2)
The bakery plant that is being created by the Carnac Ltd company in Nigeria and it is the fruit of cooperation between Allatini SA and Katseli Bros is expected to be in operation before the end of the year.
The two companies participate with a 50% share each in the Carnac Ltd that has already launched the materialization of the 800 million drachmas investment in Nigeria in cooperation with the Leventi Group this way getting access to a market of 110 million people.
As it was made known in the Allatini SA annual general assembly meeting, Carnac Ltd which is based in Cyprus, is considering to undertake further business initiatives in west African states.
 GAINS OF 0.61% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 15 June 2000 (17:13 UTC+2)
Small gains of 0.61% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.393,08 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory compared to the previous sessions this week as it was over 159.9 billion drachmas.
Market circles characterized today's session as "good", stressing that it will contribute greatly to the restoration of the investors' confidence. Of the stocks trading today 237 recorded gains and 96 had losses.
 INFLATION IS EXPECTED TO DROP IN THE MONTH OF JUNEAthens, 15 June 2000 (16:47 UTC+2)
Inflation in Greece is expected to move at lower levels this month compared to May, partly because of the strengthening of the Euro to the US dollar. According to political analysts, the drop in inflation this month will be just under May's 2.9%.
It must be noted that an anti-inflation climate is being favored by the drop in the value of the US dollar and the course of the liquid fuel prices.
At the same time, the de-escalation of the inflationary pressures intensifies as a result of the ministry of development effort to control the fuel prices, while within the framework of this effort undersecretary of development Milena Apostolaki has managed to achieve the freezing of prices in the dairy and olive oil sectors until the end of the year.
 PAPANDREOU-BURNS ON TERRORISMAthens, 15 June 2000 (16:43 UTC+2)
Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou had a one-hour meeting in Athens with US ambassador Nicholas Burns to discuss terrorism.
The meeting is in continuation of the telephone communication Mr. Papandreou had with US secretary of state Madeleine Albright. According to information, Mr. Burns reiterated that no travel advise or other sanctions will be issued and stated that the US side will continue the cooperation it had with Athens.
Mr. Burns stated according to the same information that the United States government does not adopt the views expressed in the US Congress report.
 GREEK FM: DESIGNATE CHURCH-STATE ROLESAthens, 15 June 2000 (14:12 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated today that one's religious affiliation cannot be a criterion for servicing the citizen, while he criticized the Church of operating as a party, rather than focusing on its social task.
Mr. Papandreou also stated that relations between church and state should be designated.
Meanwhile, Metropolite Theoklitos, who is the representative of the Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos, said that yesterday's massive rally in Thessaloniki surpassed the church's expectations. He called on the government to participate in a "fertile dialogue" and declared that the protests are to intensify.
 PREMIER TO OPEN ATHENS CONFERENCE ON EMUAthens, 15 June 2000 (13:51 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be the keynote speaker during today's conference titled "EMU: Greece in Europe, the Beginning of a New Challenge".
The Athens-held conference is organized by the National Bank and is one of numerous events held in honor of Greece's historic accession to the Economic and Monetary Union.
The conference will be opened with an address by the Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou, while the National Bank governor Theodoros Karatzas and Labor Minister Tasos Yiannitsis are among the speakers.
The European Union's summit in Feira, Portugal on June 19-20 that is expected to approve Greece's entry into the euro zone in January, 2001.
As part of the summit in Feira, the EU's finance ministers will also meet on June 19.
 ΙΝΤΡΑΚΟΜ-ΜΥΤΙΛΗΝΑΙΟΣ ΠΡΟΣΕΦΕΡΑΝ 4,14 ΔΙΣ. ΔΡΧ. ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΕΛΒΟΘεσσαλονίκη, 15 June 2000 (13:35 UTC+2)
Την υψηλότερη προσφορά για την Ελληνική Βιομηχανία Οχημάτων (ΕΛΒΟ), έκανε η κοινοπραξία Ίντρακομ - Μυτιληναίου, δίνοντας 4,15 δισ. δρχ. για την απόκτηση μειοψηφικού πακέτου της τάξης του 43% και της διοίκησης της επιχείρησης, αλλά με μελλοντικό δικαίωμα εξαγοράς, ποσοστού 17%.
Σημειώνεται ότι η κοινοπραξία προσέφερε επίσης 8,4 δισ. δρχ, εφόσον όμως ίσχυαν οι προϋποθέσεις.
Στο μεταξύ, η γερμανική Krauss Maffei προσέφερε 3,8 δισ. δρχ. θέτοντας ορισμένες προϋποθέσεις, η κοινοπραξία Συγγελίδη- Zilka- Μπήτρου προσέφερε 3,2 δισ. δρχ. επίσης υπό προϋποθέσεις και η κοινοπραξία Vickers- Alco- Πετρόπουλος προσέφερε 3,15 δισ. δρχ., χωρίς προϋποθέσεις.
Υπενθυμίζεται ότι στην ΕΛΒΟ μέχρι σήμερα συμμετείχαν η ΔΕΚΑ, με ποσοστό της τάξης του 40% περίπου, η ΕΤΒΑ με 35% περίπου, η Γενική Τράπεζα με 13%, το Μετοχικό Ταμείο Αεροπορίας με 6% και ο όμιλος Λαϊνόπουλου με 6%.
Το πρόβλημα ποσοστών που είχε προκύψει, οφειλόταν στην επιθυμία του Δημοσίου, το οποίο ήθελε αρχικά να πωλήσει το 60% της εταιρίας, αλλά αργότερα υποχώρησε στο 43% με δικαίωμα στον ιδιώτη να αγοράσει το υπόλοιπο 17% αργότερα.
Σημειώνεται ότι η εταιρία απαλλάχθηκε πρόσφατα από τις μεγάλες οφειλές της προς το Δημόσιο, ενώ παράλληλα απαλλάσσεται από οφειλές που πιθανόν απορρέουν από τη σύμβαση του 1972, με τη Stayer- Daimler.
Επισημαίνεται ότι οι όμιλοι Μυτιληναίου και Ίντρακομ, εν όψει της ιδιωτικοποίησης της ΕΛΒΟ δημοσιοποίησαν πρόσκληση για την πρόσληψη εξειδικευμένου χρηματοοικονομικού συμβούλου, ο οποίος θα πραγματοποιήσει για λογαριασμό τους την αποτίμηση και τη μελέτη βιωσιμότητας της ΕΛΒΟ και θα αναλάβει τις διαπραγματεύσεις με την ελληνική κυβέρνηση.
Σημειώνεται ότι η Ιντρακόμ και ο όμιλος Μυτιληναίου, ο δεύτερος μέσω της ΜΕΤΚΑ, είναι σήμερα βασικοί προμηθευτές εξοπλισμού του Ελληνικού Στρατού.
Υπενθυμίζεται ότι κατά το 1999 η ΕΛΒΟ είχε περίπου 60 δισ. τζίρο και πραγματικές ζημίες της τάξης του 1 δισ. δρχ., ενώ το ανεκτέλεστο υπόλοιπο συμβάσεων υπολογίζεται από 85 ως 100 δισ. δρχ.
Πάντως, στελέχη των υποψήφιων αγοραστών εκτιμούν ότι με το σωστό management και την συμπίεση του κόστους παραγωγής είναι βέβαιο ότι η εταιρία θα επιστρέψει στην κερδοφορία.
 NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE OPENING IN ROMANIABucharest, 15 June 2000 (16:45 UTC+2)
The National Bank of Greece is prepared to make an opening in the Romanian market, according to Bucharest's financial newspaper Ziarul Finaciar which pointed out that the Greek bank is trying to get the control of a Romanian bank which most likely is the Banca Comerciala Romana.
The newspaper refers to statements made by Katerina Karageorgiou president of the National Bank of Greece branch in Bucharest, who admitted that there are plans for the expansion of the bank's activities in Romania but clarified that no decision has been taken on the likelihood to purchase a Romanian bank. Ms. Karageorgiou also left open the likelihood for the bank to open more branches in Romania pointing out, however, that for the moment there is no specific development strategy.
 A COLLECTION OF ANCIENT GREEK OBJECTS WAS SOLD AT A RECORD PRICE IN AN AUCTION BY CHRISTIE'SNew York, 15 June 2000 (17:04 UTC+2)
A collection of 157 ancient Greek objects was sold at the record price of 5.5 billion drachmas in an auction by Christie's, according to the international press agency Associated Press.
Among the objects were a 30centimeter tall vessel dated back to 480BC which was sold at the record price of 653.5 million drachmas, while a world record was broken by a statue of the Greek muse Erato dated back to the Hellenistic period that was sold for 740 million drachmas.
The collection of the ancient Greek objects belonged to Dr. Eli Borovski and is regarded as the largest and the best of its kind.