|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-16
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PM TO HAVE ROUND OF TALKS WITH PARTY LEADERSAthens, 16 June 2000 (09:22 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will have consecutive meetings with party leaders today, 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.
Mr. Simitis will be meeting main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, Communist Party of Greece Secretary General Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
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.
 BRITISH MD TO SWIM THE DISTANCE FOR SCULPTURESAthens, 16 June 2000 (11:28 UTC+2)
British pathologist Christopher Stockdale will attempt a long-distance swim between two Aegean islands, as part of a campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.
Dr. Stockdale, who has swum marathon distances for various causes in the past, will attempt to swim 26 nautical miles (35 kilometers) between the islands of Delos and Paros on July 1.
"What I hope to achieve is to point out on the part of art the situation concerning the Marbles," Dr. Stockdale stated in a press conference, adding "I think that the Acropolis and the Parthenon are the symbols of the start to western civilization.
" It is a wonderful historical monument and I think that the return of the Marbles gives our country the opportunity to shake the hands of cultural friendship with the friendly Greeks and give a fair end to the Marbles issue," he said.
According to the Melina Mercouri Foundation, which is organizing the swim, one of the event's objectives is to gather sponsorship funds for the construction of a new Acropolis Museum in Athens to house the Marbles.
 PASCHALIDIS: GREECE'S ACCESSION INTO THE EMU IS Α GREAT SUCCESSThessaloniki, 16 June 2000 (18:47 UTC+2)
Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis characterized as great and measurable success the fact that Greece will formally join the EMU on Monday, stressing that social convergence and regional development constitute the basic goals of the government for the next four years.
Mr. Paschalidis stated that it is one of the few times in the country's history that government and people set goals and meet them, stressing that he regards as great and measurable success the fact that Greece will join the EMU formally and at an equal basis with the rest Euro-zone members.
The statements were made today during the minister's visit to the Macedonian Press Agency offices in Thessaloniki. Mr. Paschalidis said that MPA plays and can continue to play an important role in the sector of information in northern Greece and in south-eastern Europe in general.
 PRICELESS TREASURE OF THESSALONIKI'S JEWS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA IN THE REGION OF MESSINIAAthens, 16 June 2000 (18:10 UTC+2)
A team of special deep sea divers will search for a priceless treasure hidden in a small fishing boat that sunk during WWII in the sea region of Messinia, in southern Greece. According to information, the biggest part of the valuable cargo is made up of diamonds, other gems, bars of gold and jewelry with an estimated value of 850 billion drachmas.
According to an exclusive report published by the Athens newspaper "Ethnos", the search will start by the end of the month, while a Custeau team will arrive next week to undertake the filming of the operation.
The treasure belonged to Thessaloniki's Jews who gave all their valuables to the German commanders just before leaving for the Nazi concentration camps.
There is conflicting information on how the valuable cargo reached the region of Messinia but the people who are looking for it in the past 2 years state that they are convinced that a German top officer in Thessaloniki, named Max Merten, in the effort to steal the treasure loaded it on a submarine that brought it to Katakolo and there he had it loaded on a fishing boat he deliberately sunk in order to return in the future and retrieve the treasure.
Athens Central Jewish Council president Moses Konstantini stated that he is aware of the case but it is too early to talk about it.
 PAPANTONIOU: THE FOUR GOALS OF THE GOVERNMENT POLICYAthens, 16 June 2000 (17:34 UTC+2)
Greek minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou speaking in the one-day conference on Greece's accession into the EMU that was held in Athens today organized by the National Bank of Greece, outlined the four goals of the government policy on the Greek economy. Mr. Papantoniou also underlined that in the June 19 EU summit meeting a new page will turn for Greece and the Greeks.
According to Mr. Papantoniou the four goals are to limit the public debt, achieve a growth rate of 5%, the re-organization of the economy on the basis of competitiveness and the privatization of businesses currently under the control of the state.
When the third target is met the public sector will offer services exclusively in education, health, welfare, culture, environment, defense and public security. The fourth goal concerns the establishment of a society characterized by cohesion and solidarity.
 DISTINGUISHED PERSONALITIES IN THE INTER-BALKAN MEDICAL CENTER CONFERENCEThessaloniki, 16 June 2000 (17:11 UTC+2)
An abrupt increase in the aged population worldwide is expected to take place by 2010 and if today's birth and death rates are not reversed in the next 40 years the world Gross Product will be half of what it is today. Also, by 2030 the number of people over 65 will be more than doubled compared to today.
The conclusions mentioned above were reached in the international conference on globalization, peace and health that is taking place in Thessaloniki today and tomorrow within the framework of the inauguration of the Inter-Balkan Medical Center.
In the conference that marks the high scientific prestige and international acclaim of the Inter-Balkan Medical Center take part leading doctors and representatives of world organizations.
Vasilis Apostolopoulos, vice-president of the business group bearing his name, stated while opening the conference that the Inter-Balkan Medical Center embodies a very big vision namely, that of offering high level health services not only for northern Greece but for the wider region of south-eastern Europe as well.
Coordinator of the conference's first unity, dean of the Economic University of Athens Andreas Kintis characterized the Inter-Balkan Medical Center as a jewel for Greece and the wider region of south-eastern Europe and stressed that globalization, peace and health are three "key" words that will lead the people to the 21st century.
European Audit Council commissioner Popi Nikolaou underlined that in 30 years there will be 1.5 worker for every pensioner when in 1960 the ratio was 4 to 1. Ms. Nikolaou also added that the aging of world population will create chain reactions as for example, it will increase considerably the cost of medical care.
The establishment of a world protection regime for the 22 million estimated refugees is a basic UN target, according to UN High Commission on Refugees Ms. Florida Rojas Rodriguez. Referring to the effects of globalization she pointed out that globalization might have a number of negative consequences but at the same time it gives a new dimension to humanism namely, that of world solidarity.
John Bradimas, chairman of the US presidential committee of arts and humanitarian sciences and head of the National Institute on Democracy referred to the Center's activities for reconciliation and democracy in south-eastern Europe.
The assurance that the government of the Czech Republic makes big efforts so that the national health policy in the five-year period of 2000-2005 be harmonized with the EU directions and the World Health Organization, was given by Czech deputy health minister Michal Pohanka.
 REPPAS: GREECE IS A STRONG COUNTRYAthens, 16 June 2000 (16:58 UTC+2)
Greece is a strong country not only because it is not afraid but because it sets goals and meets them, said Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.
Mr. Reppas stated that the existing problems must not be dealt with through reactions of fear but with self-confidence, concluding that Greece has proved that it can meet every challenge successfully.
 GREEK-EGYPTIAN BUSINESS FORUM IN ATHENSAthens, 16 June 2000 (16:58 UTC+2)
A Greek-Egyptian business forum will be held in Athens at the Commerce and Industry Chamber on Thursday, June 22. The forum is held at the joint initiative of the Greek Industries Association, the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Athens and the Greek-Egyptian Friendship Society.
The forum will be attended by Greek and Egyptian businessmen who will try to open channels of cooperation.
 MOODYS UPGRADES GREECES CREDIT RATINGAthens, 16 June 2000 (14:10 UTC+2)
In a move whose timing couldn't have been more appropriate, Moody's upgraded Greece's credit rating, noting that the Greek economy meets the convergence terms in line with the other eurozone countries.
Moody's analyst Christine Lidow told the BBC's Greek service that Greece's accession to the EMU led to the adjustments.
"Greece's certain accession to the EMU prompted us to proceed to the adjustment of the indices that concern Greece".
According to the analyst, a series of adjustments, spanning three and a half years, have already been implemented in Greece, propelled by the rate of the country's economic development and the resulting improvement of its position in the international market.
"The economy is operating far more productively than in the past, the inflation rate is at a very low level and, most importantly, there is a significant and stable economic development rate," she said.
 CHURCH-STATE SKIRMISH OVER IDs STILL SIMMERINGAthens, 16 June 2000 (13:48 UTC+2)
As long as the government refuses to budge from its position on the state-issued identification cards, the church could up the ante on its mobilizations, which have proven to be of massive proportions.
Speaking to the Athens radio station "Flash", Metropolite Theoklitos stated that "we are not resting on our laurels. We didn't have war, we didn't want to beat someone. We are not arguing with anyone, that's not our intention. We simply wanted to send a message and I believe we did. I just hope they receive it."
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos reiterated that Wednesday night's rally in Thessaloniki did not have political undertones.
"That is why we did not seek the support of any political party, he said. "A voice as strong as that raised at the rally which will also reach Athens cannot be scorned." The second of the Church rallies will be held in Athens on June 21.
As for the state, Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated the need to conduct a calm dialogue regarding church-state relations, while Greece's European Union Commissioner for Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou said that the impression abroad is that the country is undergoing a conflict between democracy and theocracy.
 JUNE 19 A BENCHMARK IN THE HISTORY OF GREECEAthens, 16 June 2000 (12:23 UTC+2)
Monday, June 19, 2000, will be a benchmark in the history of Greece, Prime Minister Costas Simitis has stated in reference to the upcoming European Union Summit in Portugal that will officially grant the green-light for the country's entry into the European Monetary Union (EMU).
According to Mr. Simitis, the Summit will ratify Greece's entry into the EMU, which will lead to qualitative changes in Greece's economy, as well as its relations with the EU.
The Summit will begin in the morning of on June 19 at Santa Maria Da Feira. Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, who presently presides over the EU's rotating leadership, will host a dinner in honor of the European Council members in Porto.
The Summit will conclude on June 20, following a ratification of the decisions to be drawn.
Among the topics to be discussed are the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference; the plan for European defense; economic issues (such as drachma's accession to the eurozone, taxation, etc.); the situation in the Balkans, with a focus on Kosovo; matters related to justice and domestic affairs; the Chart of Human Rights; food safety.
 WEAK TREMOR OF 4.2 SHAKES KOZANI, NO DAMAGESThessaloniki, 16 June 2000 (11:55 UTC+2)
A weak tremor measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale occurred at 12:32 a.m. today south of Kozani, causing plenty of concern among the residents but no damages.
Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki seismologist Manolis Skordiles stated that the quake's epicenter stemmed from the same area that brought 1995's catastrophic earthquake of 6,6 Richter.
According to the expert, last night's tremor was "delayed seismic vibration" and should be no cause of concern as it took place in a region that has recently exhausted its seismic activity.
One minute prior to Kozani's quake, another tremor occurred this morning, 300 kilometers southwest of the Peloponnesian coast. It registered 5.3 on the Richter scale.
 FYROM: GREEK BUSINESSMEN LOOK FOR INVESTMENTSSkopje, 16 June 2000 (14:25 UTC+2)
A delegation of Greek businessmen active in Skopje, was received by the leader of FYROM's main opposition party Social-Democratic Union Branko Cervenkovski, with whom they discussed issues pertaining to expanded activity.
According to local press reports, the meeting was attended by the director of Greece's liaison bureau in Skopje, Ambassador George Kaklikes, and deputies from the Social-Democratic Union.
 ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT AGAINST VUK DRASCOVICPodgorica, 16 June 2000 (11:28 UTC+2)
The leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) Vuk Draskovic, a long-time opponent of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, was shot and injured during a visit to Montenegro in an apparent assassination attempt, AFP reported today.
According to the French news agency, which quotes police reports, Mr. Draskovic was hit in the ear and forehead last night when gunmen fired automatic weapons through the windows of the house he was staying in at the Montenegrin town of Budva.
As Mr. Drascovic's advisor Ognjen Pribicevic told AFP by phone, the 53-year-old opposition leader was "slightly injured, grazed by two bullets" while he added that "the house was riddled with bullets."
Mr. Draskovic was rushed to a hospital in the nearby Montenegrin town of Kotor and was released after receiving treatment.
In Belgrade, SPO described the attack as "another assassination bid" against its leader.
According to the AFP, Mr. Draskovic has been placed under police protection. There was no information on the assailants and no arrests had been made.
This was the second apparent assassination attempt on Mr. Draskovic; he was slightly wounded in a car crash last October. Four SPO officials were killed.
 ΠΡΟΣ ΣΥΓΧΩΝΕΥΣΗ ΔΥΟ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙΚΕΣ ΤΡΑΠΕΖΕΣΦρανκούρτη, 16 June 2000 (19:17 UTC+2)
Διαπραγματεύσεις για συγχώνευση ξεκίνησαν δύο από τις μεγαλύτερες γερμανικές τράπεζες. Πρόκειται για τη Dresner Bank, η οποία πριν από δύο μήνες είχε φτάσει στα πρόθυρα της συγχώνευσης με τη Deutsche Bank, και την Comerz Bank.
Aν ευοδωθούν οι διαπραγματεύσεις θα προκύψει η δέκατη μεγαλύτερη τράπεζα στον κόσμο με 37.000 εργαζομένους, περιουσιακά ύψους 700 δισ. δολαρίων και χρηματιστηριακή αξία 40 με 50 δισ. δολαρίων.
 A SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT DEPUTY TABLED A PETITION FOR THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLESLondon, 16 June 2000 (16:58 UTC+2)
A petition in favor of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece was submitted to the Scottish parliament by Michael Russel, member of the Scottish Nationalist Party and "shadow" culture minister. In the press release issued by Mr. Russel is mentioned among others that the allegations made by the British Museum that it can take care of the marbles better than the Greeks are insulting.
The Parthenon Marbles are among the biggest Greek cultural treasures and their removal from the Ottoman occupied Greece was never accepted by the Greeks. The British government owes to launch serious negotiations with the Greek government after the recent testimony by Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, stated the Scottish parliament deputy.
Mr. Russel compared the Parthenon Marbles with the "Stone of Destiny" which is a priceless relic of the Scottish cultural heritage and was returned recently to Scotland after being in Britain for 700 years.