|Wednesday, 29 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-21
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 CHURCH RALLY IN ATHENS TO BE UNRIVALED IN SIZEAthens, 21 June 2000 (11:00 UTC+2)
Over 1,500 buses are to arrive from all parts of the country in Athens today, flocking thousands of faithful to the mass protest against the state's decision to remove the listing of religion from personal identification cards.
The Church of Greece has urged its followers to attend this evening's rally, set to begin at 7 p.m. in Athens' central Constitution Square, which is expected to surpass in size the same protest held in Thessaloniki last week, one that proved to be massive as it drew over 100,000 protesters.
While the usually verbose Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos has refrained from making public appearances as the rally nears, other metropolites continue to lambaste the state for its decision.
 ALBANIA: ALPHA CREDIT UPS CLIENT CREDIT VOLUMETirana, 21 June 2000 (12:38 UTC+2)
Tirana's Alpha Credit Bank has tripled the average volume of the credits for every client, according to the Albanian news agency ATA, which quotes bank sources.
The increase was facilitated after the Bank of Albania removed the limit of bank credit and thus allowed the Greece-based
led Alpha Credit Bank to grant credits in accordance to its capital.
According to the report, the said bank's capital increased during the first half of this year and credits up to 1 million dollars have been delivered.
 ARCHIBISHOP DEMANDS MEETING WITH GOVERNMENT AND THREATENS TO GATHER SIGNATURES AGAINST ITAthens, 21 June 2000 (21:07 UTC+2)
The Archibishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos has once again called upon the Greek government to reconsider its decision to remove religious affiliation from personal identity cards, urging the State to make it optional. The Archibishop, speaking at a huge gathering organized by the Church of Greece at which tens of thousands of supporters were present, gave a speech during which he avoided making extreme statements, in contrast to the speech he made at last week's rally in Thessaloniki.
"Hellas, Europe, Orthodoxy" was the slogan covering the three-level stage from which the Archibishop spoke to the people. He made it clear that the Church of Greece, would issue petitions at every parish in order to gather "thousands of signatures" from all those in favour of making the removal of religious affiliation on personal identity cards optional, before handing them over to the President of the Democracy and to Parliament. Although admitting that the issue of identity cards has given rise to social rupture, Archibishop Christodoulos maintained that this rupture was not provoked by the Church, "which is a place of love and the basic element of social cohesion".
Archibishop Christodoulos described the rally as being unrivaled in size, however this time he made no comparisons to the size of political rallies held in the past, stating that "we are all here, a peaceful, affable, gentle yet decided nation" and asking for the walls of prejudice to be broken down "so that peace may come". The Archibishop firmly denied accusations that he has made the issue of identity cards political and that he is attempting to replace the work being done by the government.
During the rally, which was echoed by chants of "the youth does not want the new identity cards" and "we want dialogue here and now" amongst others, the Archibishop assured his followers that the Church of Greece will demand a meeting with the government. Speaking of the Greek Prime Minister, Archibishop Christodoulos complained that "he should not hold the Church in contempt or refuse to meet its members personally."
Shortly before bringing his speech to a close, the Archibishop described the rally as "impressive" and mentioned that distance had been no object for the masses of people, who arrived in over 2000 coaches from all over Greece, "from Corfu to Chios, Thrace to Crete and from Rhodes to Karpenisi."
 GREECE IN UNESCO CULTURAL DIVERSITY COMMITTEEAthens, 21 June 2000 (13:50 UTC+2)
Greece has been appointed a member of the 18-member experts committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the group responsible for forging next decade's cultural diversity policy.
Greece will be represented by author Vasilis Vasilikos who will join representatives from France and Spain, also newly appointed.
 G/T FRIENDSHIP CONCERT GIVEN IN ANKARAKomotene, 21 June 2000 (13:31 UTC+2)
Komotene's folk orchestra was joined by the student choir of Gazi University in a concert given in Ankara last night for the sake of Greek-Turkish friendship and fraternity.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, the concert was attended by a host of dignitaries, among them Greece's Ambassador to Ankara Ioannis Korantis and Komotene officials.
Addressing the concert's opening, Mr. Korantis said that the reciprocal visits between Greek and Turkish officials are the result of diplomatic rapprochement between the two countries.
The president of the Komotene municipality's cultural affairs department Vasilis Tsipriyannides also expressed his satisfaction over visiting the Turkish capital.
 SVVE CHAIRMAN: EMU TO BOOST FOREIGN INVESTMENTThessaloniki, 21 June 2000 (13:14 UTC+2)
Greece's accession to the Economic and Monetary Union will boost the country's position in terms of foreign investments, according to the chairman of Industries Association of Northern Greece (SVVE) Vasilis Takas.
In an interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Takas stated that the low cost of money, coupled with the long-term planning capability, will facilitate investments in the region. However, he added, a critical parameter will be the modernization steps to be taken by the state throughout its operational levels, including the sectors of public administration, education, health and justice.
"The single biggest shortcoming of Northern Greece's enterprises in terms of taking advantage of the European unification is the continued lack of transportation infrastructure and the - resultant- high cost of accessing the European markets," Mr. Takas said.
 GREEK POSTAL WORKERS CALL OFF STRIKE‘hessaloniki, 21 June 2000 (13:12 UTC+2)
Greece's postal workers' union has called off a "warning strike" planned for today.
Calling for the reorganization of ELTA (Hellenic Postal Services), the workers' union was to strike in demand of the urgent hiring of more staff to cover shortfalls.
 EU LEADERS APPLAUD GREECES ACCESSION TO EMUFeira, 21 June 2000 (11:41 UTC+2)
Welcoming Greece into the European Union's "elite", EU leaders applauded the country's entry to the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), commending the Greek people's persistence and willingness to sacrifice.
European Commission President Romano Prodi congratulated Prime Minister Costas Simitis, saying that the accession to the EMU was attained through the Greeks' persistence and consistent effort and their belief in Mr. Simitis' European vision.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, who presently presides over the European Council, noted the Greek economy's impressive turnaround, adding that, much like Spain and Portugal, Greece has had to overcome the problems of under-development and the consequences of civil war and dictatorships.
Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok applauded Greece's efforts, which he said demonstrated that a small country that did not have the same rate of growth as developed countries could make great strides through persistence and consistent effort.
French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin described Monday's developments as historic for Greece and, referring to a proposal by his country's finance minister that Greece informally attend the EU's ECOFIN council as of July 1, stated that this was a measure of France's trust in Greece, the Greek economy and "personally to my friend Costas Simitis."
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder described Greece as a friendly nation that had in recent years begun to adapt to European standards, with "admirable economic results". The Chancellor saluted the Greek Premier's effectiveness and realistic policy.
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson also personally praised Mr. Simitis who, he said, had "defied political cost" in implementing his policies.
Britain's premier Tony Blair congratulated Mr. Simitis and said Greece had won its bet to enter the eurozone.
Italian Premier Juliano Amato hailed the "sacrifices, work and labor of Greek citizens" in the hard and systematic effort that led the country to successfully enter EMU.
Spanish premier Jose Maria Aznar, praised the Greek government for having achieved a truly difficult goal set just a few years ago.
European Commissioner Pedro Solbes, responsible for economic and monetary affairs, stated that Greece will now benefit from a climate of economic and monetary stability.
"For the EU it was a positive event because it shows other countries that the door to joining the euro-zone was open to those that want and can pass through it," he added.
 ARCHBISHOP ON GREECE-EU: MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DOAthens, 21 June 2000 (11:26 UTC+2)
Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos saluted Greece's entry to the Economic and Monetary Union last night as a "significant event that brings Greece to the threshold of development", adding that the "poor cousin" mentality appears to be a thing of the past.
Referring to Greece's relations with the West, Mr. Christodoulos also stated that "we tear our eyes out by ourselves, thinking that this is how we'll be accepted by the Europeans.
"A monkey-see and monkey-do mentality will always have its followers and supporters", he added.
 PARLIAMENT APPROVES CONSTRUCTION OF MOSQUEAthens, 21 June 2000 (11:07 UTC+2)
In a parliamentary summer session last night, the Assembly approved the establishment of the first Islamic cultural center and mosque in the Athens area.
Carried with 55 votes in favor, 40 against and three abstentions, the proposal calls for the creation of an Islamic cultural center and mosque in Paiania, approximately 15 kilometers away from downtown Athens.
 THE THIRD ROUND OF TALKS ON CYPRUS WILL BE HELD ON JULY 5Nicosia, 20 June 2000 (18:05 UTC+2)
The United Nations announced that the third round of talks on Cyprus will start in Geneva on July 5 as scheduled.
Specifically, UN secretary-general press spokesman Manuel de Almida e Silva stated in his meeting with press representatives that UN secretary-general special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto arrived last Thursday evening to discuss the preparations for the next round of the proximity talks that will start in Geneva on July 5.
 DOVER TRAGEDY: AUTHORITIES SEARCH FOR SUSPECTDover, 21 June 2000 (10:23 UTC+2)
The 58 illegal immigrants found dead in a refrigerated truck off the port of Dover in the early hours of Monday, appear to have died from respiratory failure, following tests that were carried out yesterday.
According to the two survivors of the tragic incident, the helplessly trapped immigrants screamed for help and banged on the unventilated truck's walls, unfortunately to no avail.
Dennis McGookin, head of the ongoing investigation, stated that all of the victims were around twenty years of age and came from the Chinese province of Fujian.
While the truck's driver, who has been identified as Perry Wacker, is currently being held, Dutch authorities are trying to track down Arjan van der Spek, the man responsible for registering and leasing the truck last week, who disappeared from his home shortly after news of the incident broke out. Dutch police have so far arrested one person in connection to the deaths.
The two survivors are currently being nursed at the Kent and Canterbury hospital, where their condition is said to be stable. They are expected to be transferred to an unnamed police facility in order to protect them from criminal gangs who may wish to stop them from providing the authorities with information concerning the illegal transportation of immigrants into Great Britain.
 THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE IN PORTUGALFeira, 20 June 2000 (19:21 UTC+2)
Prime minister Kostas Simitis in a press conference he gave today stated that it is a historic day for Greece which became formally the 12th member of the Euro-zone.
Mr. Simitis pointed out that the accession into the EMU leads to a quality change as Greece now is part of the powerful nucleus of the European Union. He also stressed that the EMU accession will benefit the issues of Greek national interest as Greece will be economically stronger and therefore, it will be stronger in negotiations.
The prime minister stressed that the Greek people can look forward to the future with self-confidence, adding that from now on Greece will have greater stability, speedier growth rates and better preconditions for prosperity and social cohesion.
In the joint communique issued by the EU summit, a reference was made to terrorism at the initiative of the Greek government in consultation with the British side.
 AUSTRIA BLOCKED THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PAN-EUROPEAN TAXATION SYSTEMFeira, 20 June 2000 (17:15 UTC+2)
The European Union ministers of finance were unable to persuade Austria to withdraw its veto from the establishment of a pan-European taxation system.
After four failed sessions during the summit meeting, the EU ministers of finance were unable to reach an agreement on one of the hardest problems of economic nature that is faced by the EU in the past 2 years under four different EU presidencies.
Today's failed attempt to solve the specific problem means that France, which will succeed Portugal in the EU presidency, will have to look for new solutions for the establishment of a pan-European taxation system.
Austria said "no" late last night to the last minute compromise achieved by the Portuguese EU presidency between the countries that are in favor of taxing the income of people regardless of whether they are their citizens or not and those who are in favor of the exchange of information between EU governments on issues of taxation which, however, will lead to the lifting of the banking secrecy.
 US, RUSSIA REFUTE REPORTS OF OFFER TO MILOSEVICWashington, 21 June 2000 (12:10 UTC+2)
Both the U.S. State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry have officially refuted a "The New York Times" report which claimed that Washington and Moscow (along with other NATO allies, including Greece) are exploring the possibility that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic be permitted to leave office with guarantees for his safety and savings.
U.S. officials emphasized that the Clinton administration is not preparing any offer to Milosevic and will not make one. Another senior official was quoted as saying the United States would condemn any proposal that would allow Milosevic to go anywhere but to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said the report was the result of a "fertile imagination."
Greece's undersecretary of Press Telemachus Hitiris also categorically refuted the report's claims of Greek involvement.