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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-26
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 HOLY SYNOD CONVENES TODAY OVER IDsAthens, 26 June 2000 (10:00 UTC+2)
Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece Christodoulos is to chair a Holy Synod meeting today where the Church leaders will draw up new protest plans over the removal of religious affiliation from state-issued identity cards.
The Holy Synod will study plans to create a mass petition against government intentions to stop recording Greeks' religion on their state identity cards. The signature drive would involve all of Greece's Orthodox Church and is aimed at increasing pressure on the government, in the wake of Wednesday's Church rally in Athens.
Meanwhile the government is adamant over its decision, with Premier Costas Simitis having proclaimed that "it is not in the nature of Greeks to fear things that are new."
The Secretary of the governing PASOK party Costas Skandalides stated that the government is not opposed to meetings with the Church leadership.
 PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC REPUBLIC VISITS RUSSIAMoscow, 26 June 2000 (10:03 UTC+2)
The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is presently on a five-day visit to Russia, at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Stephanopoulos' visit is expected to further strengthen bilateral ties at all levels, namely political, economic, cultural and scientific.
Upon his arrival, the Greek President was received by the Russian vice president and minister of agriculture.
President Stephanopoulos, who is accompanied by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and national economy deputy minister Yannis Zafiropoulos, will hold talks with Mr. Putin on bilateral relations and international issues, including the situation in the Balkans and Greek foreign policy issues.
Messrs. Putin and Stephanopoulos will sign an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation between the two countries.
Mr. Papandreou will also hold consultations with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, while Mr. Zafiropoulos will meet with the financial ministers of the Russian government.
The Greek President will also visit St. Petersburg and will be received by Patriarch Alexios II, while he will also meet with the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The President will also meet with leading members of the Greek diaspora in Russia and will be declared honorary professor of Moscow's state university of Lomonosov.
He will return to Athens on June 29.
 DUNFORD TO TESTIFY BEFORE POLICE TODAYAthens, 26 June 2000 (10:32 UTC+2)
The British embassy security employee who attempted suicide on Friday, despondent over the killing of Brigadier Stephen Saunders on June 8, is expected to testify before Greek police and Scotland yard officials today.
Anthony Dunford, 61, left a suicide note to his Greek wife, Sophia, where he wrote that he felt unable to continue living "knowing that I could have saved Stephen." Mr. Dunford and his family were abroad when Brig. Saunders was assassinated by the November 17 terrorist group in Athens while stuck in a traffic jam on his way to work.
Mrs. Dunford told the press that her husband had confided that he had seen two men on a motorbike stationed outside the embassy building on at least two occasions prior to the killing.
According to the Greek daily "To Vima", Mr. Dunford testified before the Greek police a few days prior to his suicide attempt, although the information he provided was not conclusive. Anti-terrorist squad officers told the paper that Mr. Dunford could not describe the two men's features clearly, and that he had been unable to identify the make of the motorbike or the number on its license plate. The officers could also not be certain that the people Mr. Dunford saw were in fact linked to Brig. Saunders' murder.
 MONEY SHOW: THE COURSE OF THE GREEK-TURKISH BUSINESS RELATIONS IS SATISFACTORYAthens, 26 June 2000 (18:48 UTC+2)
The Greek-Turkish relations were the topic of a discussion that was organized within the framework of the Money Show event held in Athens.
According to businessmen, the Greek-Turkish relations at businesses' level move with a satisfactory pace and businessmen Panagiotis Koutsikos stated that if the good climate between Greece and Turkey is preserved the trade transactions between the two countries will develop further.
It should be noted that the trade balance of the two countries was at US$ 720 million in 1997, while in 1998 dropped to US$ 710 million and in 1999 it was US$ 690 million. In the current year the trade balance is expected to be over US$ 1.2 billion, while in the following years it is expected to reach US$ 3.5 billion.
According to speculations made by the speakers in the event, Greece will be the fourth or fifth exporter for Turkey in the future, while Turkey will become the third or fourth exporter for Greece.
 LOSSES OF 2.52% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 26 June 2000 (17:05 UTC+2)
The week opened with significant losses of 2.52% for the Athens Stock Exchange as the general index was at 4.041,37 points, while the volume of transactions was very low at 92 billion drachmas.
The negative picture of today's session was clearly displayed by the fact that only 9 stocks recorded gains and 330 had losses 45 of which were close to limit down.
The big losses in the general index are linked with the strong pressures exerted on the bank shares and especially those of the Alpha Bank.
 THE HOLY SYNOD REITERATED ITS PROPOSAL FOR IMMEDIATE DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND THE STATEAthens, 26 June 2000 (17:05 UTC+2)
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece met today and reiterated its proposal for immediate dialogue between the Church and the state exclusively on the identity cards issue.
Metropolite Kallinikos stated that based on the European legislation it is not mandatory to remove religion from the state-issued identity cards. He reiterated the Church's position on the voluntary listing of religion, while he rejected the accusations made against the Church according to which, it creates Euro-skepticism, saying that the Church has backed the country's European orientation.
In today's meeting of the Holy Synod no decision was reached on the collection of signatures as a form of protest. However, the issue was brought up for discussion and Metropolite Kallinikos of Piraeus pointed out that it would be best not to start collecting signatures for the time being and wait until the summer is over.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the newspaper "TA NEA", Metropolite Chrisostomos of Zakinthos stressed that Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece has led the country to a dead end and characterized the stance adopted by the state as sensible and mild.
 CHINESE DELEGATION VISITS THE SEKAP LTD TOBACCO COMPANY PLANTSThessaloniki, 26 June 2000 (17:04 UTC+2)
The signing of an agreement between the Chinese Tobacco Monopoly and SEKAP Ltd aimed at launching in the Chinese market the biological cigarette filter, BIO-FILTER, is on the right track. At the same time, the Chinese Monopoly with which SEKAP Ltd. signed a draft agreement of cooperation last January is interested in importing specific Greek tobacco varieties.
A six-member Chinese Monopoly delegation is visiting the Greek tobacco company plants in Athens and Xanthi, according to the statements made to MPA by SEKAP's managing director Sofoklis Dodopoulos, who stated that the delegation arrived in Greece a week ago and a cooperation agreement will be signed very soon.
Meanwhile, the scientific presentation of the BIO-FILTER cigarette filter will take place in Rome today within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed recently between SEKAP Ltd and the Italian Tobacco Monopoly. Based on the agreement, the Italian Tobacco Monopoly will undertake the production of the BIO-FILTER on behalf of SEKAP Ltd. as well as, the introduction to the Italian market of the Greek tobacco company cigarettes.
 GREEK PRESIDENT IN RUSSIA TO BOOST TIESMoscow, 26 June 2000 (14:02 UTC+2)
The visit conducted to Russia by the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos aims at strengthening ties between the two countries, as well developing bilateral trade relations, according to local press reports.
In an interview with the Moscow daily "BEK", President Stephanopoulos made extensive references to the historical and emotional ties that bind the peoples of the two countries, while also pointing out that cultural ties should be further fostered.
Referring to the strengthening of trade ties between Greece and Russia, President Stephanopoulos stated that there is a lot of leeway to improve trade and increase Greek exports to Russia -especially within the realm of Russia's new economic situation- through market liberalization and goods exchange.
Mr. Stephanopoulos also referred to the presence of the Greek community in Russia, stating that they are descendants of those who sought refuge in Russia from the Ottoman Empire.
He will meet President Vladimir Putin this afternoon to sign an accord avoiding double taxation, while he is to address an economic forum of business representatives.
Apart from talks scheduled with the Russian leadership, the Greek President will meet with Patriarch Alexios II, members of the Greek community and the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
 US AMBASSADOR IN KASTORIA TODAYKastoria, 26 June 2000 (13:49 UTC+2)
US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns is to visit Kastoria today, following an invitation by Prefect George Kapaktsis, even though the American diplomat has been characterized as "persona non grata" by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) which is preparing a protest rally.
This is the first time Mr. Burns is visiting Kastoria, a city with a 3,000-strong expatriate community in the United States. At a dinner to be hosted by the Prefecture in Mr. Burns's honor this evening, the issues expected to be discussed are fur trading (this being the region's main industry), a free trade zone at the Greek-Albanian borders, etc.
KKE's prefectural committee has issued an announcement calling for the cancellation of Mr. Burns' visit, stating that it constitutes a provocation to the locals' pacifist sentiments.
Warning that it will protest the Ambassador's visit in a similar way it protested the US President Bill Clinton's visit to Athens in November, KKE also accused the Prefect of being "subservient" to the U.S.
Mr. Kapaktsis countered that the visit of any ambassador, especially one from a large country and the single superpower, carries a significant role and is welcome.
 ASE SUFFERS LOSSES, TRANSACTION VOLUME LOWAthens, 26 June 2000 (13:28 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange general index closed today at 4,077.62 points, a loss of 1.64 percent, while the volume of transactions touched a paltry 33 million drachmas.
All sectoral indices showed losses, with the biggest being recorded in parallel market (4.65 percent) and the smallest in construction (3.25 percent).
A mere twelve shares presented an upward course, while thirty remained constant and 318 moved downwards.
 DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE OBSERVED IN GREECEAthens, 26 June 2000 (13:27 UTC+2)
In view of today's International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a group of about 400 teenagers all members of the rehabilitation center "Strofi", and their parents, marched through Athens today, while the Health Ministry, with the cooperatoin of the OKANA Drug Rehab Center, are to host a concert this evening at the capital's Constitution Square.
According to 1985-200 data provided by the Mental Health Research Institute, drug-related deaths in Greece are on the rise.
Moreover, according to a European Union annual report for 1999, Greece ranks second -after Ireland- in drug-related deaths among the EU' 15 member-states.
 TWO GREEKS DETAINED IN MARMARIS, TURKEYAthens, 26 June 2000 (13:25 UTC+2)
Two Greek nationals are presently being detained by Turkish authorities in the city of Marmaris, where they were taken into custody after sailing into Turkish territorial waters.
According to the Port Authority of Rhodes, Pantazis Houlis and Vasilis Yiannouris, who bore no traveling permits with them, were arrested by the Turkish coastguard off the coast of Symi.
 GREEK NO TO CHIRACS «NEW OIL TANKERS NOW»Athens, 26 June 2000 (12:29 UTC+2)
Greece has reportedly said no to Fance's proposal that old oil tankers be replaced at once with ships of modern technology, arguing that a sudden move would harm the Greek marine industry's interests.
According to the BBC, France's proposal was tabled by President Jacques Chirac during the recently-held European Union Summit in Feira. Mr. Chirac reportedly insisted that the oil tankers be replaced at once with better insulated ships for the prevention of massive spillage in the event of a sinking.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated that he is opposed to any hurried decision on this matter, as the costly replacement of the existing tankers would harm Greek interests.
France 's urgency for the change can be attributed to the environmental disaster along France's Atlantic coast when
a Maltese-registered tanker, contracted to transport 25,000 tons of thick fuel oil, broke up and sank last December.
According to reports, Messrs. Simitis and Chirac are expected to reach a compromise solution that would satisfy both sides without harming the international status of Greece's merchant marine industry.
 TURKEY: THE PARLIAMENT RATIFIED THE COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH GREECE AGAINST ORGANIZED CRIMEAnkara, 26 June 2000 (17:05 UTC+2)
The Turkish parliament ratified today the cooperation agreement between Greece and Turkey against organized crime, according to the Turkish news agency Anadolu.
Turkish police deputy chief Ramazan Er briefed the Internal Affairs Committee on the details of the agreement which provides for the cooperation of different security forces in both countries.
 US PRESIDENTIAL EMISSARY IN CYPRUS TODAYNicosia, 26 June 2000 (10:01 UTC+2)
United States Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Alfred Moses is to arrive in Cyprus today for a three-day visit during which he is to have contacts with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.
Mr. Moses is expected to make a statement to the press upon his arrival this evening at Larnaca international airport, on the southern coast.
Tomorrow morning, the President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides will receive Mr. Moses who will also have a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.
The visit comes only a week after UN Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto ended four days of meetings on the island in preparation of the July UN-sponsored peace talks and amid increasing speculation as to the duration and the content of these talks.
 PUTIN-STEPHANOPOULOS MEETINGMoscow, 26 June 2000 (19:24 UTC+2)
The warm speech of Russian president Vladimir Putin and the cordial response of Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos, delivered during the formal dinner in Moscow today sealed the talks in the Russian capital.
Mr. Putin spoke of total coincidence of views in the problems of the times and pointed out that he appreciates the role played by Greece in the settlement of disputes in the Balkans, especially underlining Greece's support to the political and diplomatic methods for the settlement of crises. He also referred to the natural gas issue, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline and spoke of the great prospects of cooperation in the Black Sea region.
On the issue of Cyprus, he said that Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and uses its influence in the efforts to achieve a fair solution to the problem which continues to make the political situation in eastern Mediterranean difficult. Mr. Putin said that the settlement of the problem with the creation of a federation state, as it is provided by the relevant UN resolutions, would contribute greatly to the stabilization of the situation in the region.
Mr. Stephanopoulos said that Russia is a very important factor of stability and cooperation in south-eastern Europe as in the Caucasus and central Asia after stressing the excellent state of bilateral relations. He also underlined that Greece appreciates deeply the stance of the Russian Federation in the Cyprus issue and that the Russian stance strengthens the hope for a settlement in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. Referring to the bilateral relations he said that they are on a course of continuous development.
Mr. Stephanopoulos said that he is visiting Russia in the start of a new period for the country and stressed that under Mr. Putin's leadership it is expected to play a leading role in the world affairs.
He said that a great importance is given to the relations of the Russian Federation with the European Union, the course of which was discussed in the recent Moscow Summit meeting, and gave assurances that Greece will make every effort to build a strong strategic partnership relation between the EU and the Russian Federation based on the common European values.
On the issue of Chechnya, he said that Greece was from the beginning in favor of the preservation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and condemned the secessionist tendencies and terrorism.
He said that Greece follows a realistic policy regarding Turkey contributing to the improvement of bilateral relations through talks in sectors of low policy and expressed the hope that Turkey's candidature for EU membership will have further positive effects on the development of the Greek-Turkish relations.
 PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS ON THE GREEK STUDIES' DEPARTMENTS IN MOSCOWMoscow, 26 June 2000 (18:23 UTC+2)
Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos, who is on a formal visit to Russia, met this morning with deans of universities in the Russian capital where the Greek language is taught and expressed his admiration over the level of the Greek studies in the universities of Moscow.
The introduction of the Greek president was made by Ms. Ridova, who teaches Greek in Moscow for over 50 years and by Moscow's Lomonosov University Greek Studies Department head Mr. Yalamas.
The Greek language is being taught in 8 departments of five universities in the Russian capital.
Mr. Yalamas stressed that the Lomonosov University celebrates today its 245th anniversary and the Classical Literature Department was established as soon as the university was founded. The modern Greek language is a mandatory foreign language starting from the third up to the fifth year of studies and the graduates are destined to undertake scientific research or become teachers in the secondary and higher education.
 GREECE WILL DELIVER THREE RUSSIAN MILITARY BANNERS TO MOSCOWMoscow, 26 June 2000 (18:21 UTC+2)
According to a statement issued by the Greek foreign ministry, Greece, through president Kostis Stephanopoulos and foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, will deliver to Moscow three Russian military banners in a move that has a high moral value, while it is also of a symbolic nature given the historic ties existing between the Russian and the Greek peoples. In response, Russia will deliver to Greece Thessaloniki's Jewish archives.
The Greek foreign ministry mentions regarding the three banners that they were found in the Christian Orthodox Chapel of the Greek embassy in Algiers, they were of Russian origin and belonged to Russian army regiments. They ended up in Algiers when the Black Sea and Mediterranean Russian fleet flagship, the battleship "Agios Georgios", together with other units of the Belorusian fleet found shelter at the French naval bases of Dizerta.
 INFLATION IN THE EURO-ZONE IS ALARMINGParis, 26 June 2000 (17:04 UTC+2)
European Commissioner responsible for Monetary Affairs Pedro Solbes expressed concern regarding inflation in the Euro-zone countries after the publication of German economy figures that show alarming tendencies regarding the 2% target.
The European Commissioner stated that inflation is alarming and in any case it is not positive but still it is at reasonable levels compared to the average EU level and the objective level provided by the European Central Bank.
According to figures on the German economy, the consumer prices inflation in the biggest economy in the Euro-zone is alarmingly close to 2%, as for the moment it is at 1.9%, mainly due to the oil prices and the weakness shown by the Euro.
 HUMAN GENOME MAP TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAYLondon, 26 June 2000 (13:26 UTC+2)
In a development that is certain to transform medicine, two research teams are expected to announce a map of the human genome today.
Both the Human Genome Project, a publicly funded international effort, and Celera Genomics, are expected to announce that they have completed the first big step toward unraveling the human genetic code by sequencing and assembling the DNA that makes up the genes.