|Saturday, 18 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-28
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS MET WITH RUSSIAN OPPOSITION PARTY LEADERSSt. Petersburg, 28 June 2000 (17:33 UTC+2)
President Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived in St. Petersburg from Moscow at noon today for a 24hour visit within the framework of his formal visit to the Russian Federation.
Before departing from Moscow, he met with opposition party leaders namely, Moscow mayor Luzkov, who is also the head of the Motherland Party, Mr. Zuganov head of the Communist Party and Mr. Zirinovski head of the far right.
During the meeting it was established that they share the same views on the principles of international law, human rights, the end of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and economic issues.
The leaders of the Russian opposition parties stressed that it appears that the new government will safeguard stability in the country. They also stated that it is a very good time for the Greeks to invest in new technologies in Russia.
The Russian party leaders kept their distance from Yugoslav president Milosevic, while Mr. Zirinovski stated that Milosevic in spite of what he has done, he blocks the spread of the Muslims in the Balkans. They all regard the spread of the Muslims as a threat for the Balkans and deal with it as a priority issue.
On Turkey, they stated that it wants to appear as a big regional power and hailed the rapprochement efforts made between Athens and Ankara.
 PATRINOS: THE MAPPING OF THE DNA IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE SPLIT OF THE ATOMAthens, 28 June 2000 (18:55 UTC+2)
Greek scientist Aristidis Patrinos became famous in the past few days as he was one of the coordinators of the program for the mapping of the human genetic code.
In this project participated hundreds of scientists from many different countries and the responsibility for the coordination of their efforts belonged to three people among them, Aristidis Patrinos.
He is the director of the human genome program since 1993 on behalf of the US government and heads the energy department environmental and biological research office. His close associate is Francis Colins, director in the research institute for the human genome in the national institutes of health. The third coordinator is Greg Venter, president of the private company Celera Genomics that entered the race for the DNA mapping two years ago breaking the government monopoly.
In an interview with the Athens newspaper "TA NEA" on the mapping of the genetic code that was announced on Monday, he said that it was the happiest day of his life and that he is very honored and proud to have taken part in this scientific effort. He said that what was presented on Monday was the first draft plan on the Book of Life and stressed that now there is an opportunity to peek in that book in a way that only God has seen it. He said that this experience brought him closer to God and stressed that working in this project one can feel only humility.
Mr. Patrinos characterized the mapping of the DNA as more important than the split of the atom or the landing on the moon by saying that it hides the secrets of the human existence and will revolutionize biology and medicine. He said characteristically that we hope to offer a future to our children and grandchildren where cancer will only be a constellation in the sky and not an incurable disease.
 MOSCOW WILL RETURN THESSALONIKI'S JEWISH COMMUNITY ARCHIVESThessaloniki, 28 June 2000 (18:40 UTC+2)
A lost part of the history of the Jews in Thessaloniki that was located a few years ago in Moscow will soon be returned to its lawful beneficiaries.
After lengthy efforts made by the Greek foreign ministry, the Russian authorities promised to president Kostis Stephanopoulos to return the valuable material made up of 300 boxes with the archives of the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki. The archives were snatched by the Germans just before the end of WWII and finally ended up in the hands of the Red Army while for many years they were forgotten in Moscow. Among the valuable archive materials are the municipal roll of the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki as well as, official documents and correspondence dated back to the 19th and 20th centuries until the WWII period.
Thessaloniki's Jewish Community president Andreas Sefiha stated to MPA that a few years ago Tel Aviv University history professor Ms. Mina Rozen had made copies of the archives and she will deliver the material to the Jewish Community in an electronic form. Mr. Sefiha regards the municipal roll as very important because many community members had been asking for information on family members and lost relatives and now this information will be available.
 THE POLICE OFFICER, WHO KILLED A 17YEAROLD SERB, RECEIVED A TWO-YEAR SUSPENDED SENTENCEThessaloniki, 28 June 2000 (17:04 UTC+2)
Police officer Kiriakos Vandoulis was sentenced to two years and three months in prison with a three years suspension by a Thessaloniki court for the death of 17yearold Serb Marko Bulatovic in the center of Thessaloniki in October 1998.
The court ruled that the police officer was guilty of manslaughter. The parents of the young Serb, who came to Thessaloniki for the trial, stated that the police officer had intent in his action and that he should be tried for a felony and not for a misdemeanour.
Marko Bulatovic visited Thessaloniki on a school trip with his fellow students and was killed during a police chase launched for the arrest of a pickpocket. According to the charges, the police officer's handgun went off accidentally and the young Serb was shot in the head while he was standing outside a store.
 LOSSES OF 1.80% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 28 June 2000 (17:04 UTC+2)
Losses of 1.80% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange in spite of the fact that the Bank of Greece decided to cut by 0.5% the intervention interest rates. The general index was at 4.098,09 points, while the volume of transactions was at 161.3 billion drachmas.
The overwhelming majority of the stocks namely, 305 recorded losses, while 19 had gains.
 THE HOLY SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF GREECE DECIDED TO HOLD AN INFORMAL REFERENDUMAthens, 28 June 2000 (16:47 UTC+2)
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece decided to hold an informal referendum for the optional listing of religion on the state-issued identity cards, according to a statement by Metropolite Kallinikos of Piraeus.
A committee has been set up for this purpose made up of the Metropolites of Nafpaktos, Kesariani and Dimitriada, who will consult with legal experts to make the referendum as reliable as possible.
Metropolite Kallinikos also referred to the DNA decoding, pointing out that the Holy Synod underlines that everyone must be careful so that the knowledge derived from this discovery will not be used against the people.
 PROTEST DEMARCHE TO THE ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT FOR THE KILLING OF THE GREEK BORDER GUARDAthens, 28 June 2000 (16:40 UTC+2)
Greece made a protest demarche to the Albanian government for the killing of a 30yearold Greek border guard by Albanian drug traffickers today at dawn near the town of Argos Orestikon, in north-western Greece. The announcement was made by minister of public order Michalis Chrisochoidis after a meeting today that was held under the prime minister.
Mr. Chrisochoidis expressed regret for the death of the 30yearold guard and sent his condolences to his family. He also said that an extensive search is underway for the arrest of the killers, underlining that the government will continue its effort to completely break up the crime gangs.
 MILITARY COURT JUSTIFIES CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORThessaloniki, 28 June 2000 (13:08 UTC+2)
In a landmark decision, the Permanent Military Court of Thessaloniki has ruled in favor of conscientious objector Nikos Karanikas who was facing prosecution on charges of desertion.
In its opinion, voted with four in favor and one against, the court found that the defendant's unwillingness to register for the draft was not deceitful and recognized that there is a void to be filled in Greece's legislation concerning nonregistrants.
In his plea, Mr. Karanikas argued that "I am not denying having failed to register, but I refuse to join the Armed Forces, I am not a soldier and, therefore, not a deserter."
 GREEK PRESIDENT AWARDED ORDER OF ST. VLADIMIRMoscow, 28 June 2000 (12:25 UTC+2)
The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, presently on a five-day visit to Russia, was awarded Russia's top religious honor, the Order of St. Vladimir yesterday, bestowed upon huim by Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexy II.
According to Patriarch Alexy II, President Stephanopoulos has helped "develop relations between the fraternal peoples sharing the same faith."
President Stephanopoulos has also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.
"The stand of our countries on the majority of international issues either coincide or are very close," Mr. Kasyanov said.
The President was also declared honorary professor of Moscow's state university of Lomonosov.
 GREEK FORCE TO SOON DEPART FROM ALBANIAÔhessaloniki, 28 June 2000 (12:23 UTC+2)
After a two-and-a-half year presence, the Greek military force will depart from Albania in the next few weeks, leaving behind 30 officers who will continue to take part in NATO exercises.
Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said yesterday that the mission of the Greek force in Albania had been accomplished and was successful in helping establish stability in Albania.
Also, the number of Greek troops helping keep the peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina will soon be reduced, in a cost-cutting measure.
 MACABRE NEW TOY CONFISCATED IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 28 June 2000 (12:22 UTC+2)
Custom authorities in Thessaloniki have confiscated an imported new toy called "Terrible Organ" that involves finding fake amputated body parts in a thick blood-like gel.
General Secretary for Trade and the Consumer Dimitris Mardas said the state's chemical service had decided to ban imports of the toy after stocks were found in Thessaloniki customs. According to the Consumers Institute, it is not certain if the toy is already on the market.
However, if it is found to have been imported from another European Union member state where it has been approved for sale, it will be very difficult to ban it in Greece.
 TURKEY WAS FOUND GUILTY OF TORTURE BY THE EUROPEAN COURT FOR HUMAN RIGHTSAnkara, 28 June 2000 (16:47 UTC+2)
The European Court for Human Rights found Turkey guilty of the torture of two men, one of whom died while in police custody.
The European Court reached the decision with 16 votes in favor and 1 against and ruled that Turkey violated the principles of the European Treaty for Human Rights in the case of Agit Salman, who was allegedly accused of assisting the actions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Agit Salman was arrested in Adana in April 1992. A day after his arrest and while in police custody he was taken to the city hospital where the doctors certified his death. The autopsy showed that the man was badly beaten but the Istanbul Institute of Medical Coroners had announced that his death was the result of cardiac arrest in combination with a chronic heart problem.
 GRECO-BULGARIAN BORDER COOPERATION DISCUSSEDSofia, 28 June 2000 (09:57 UTC+2)
The mutual cooperation of Bulgaria and Greece on the two countries' borders within the framework of the PHARE and INTERREG programs, was discussed during a meeting at which over 50 Greek and Bulgarian local government representatives were present.
According to Vladimir Moskov, mayor of the Bulgarian town Goce Delchev, where the meeting was held, steps taken so far towards improving the infrastructure on the Greco-Bulgarian frontier were discussed, as well as future initiatives for cooperation between the two countries.
 EU TO GIVE 61 MILLION EURO TO KOSOVO, SERBIA & MONTENEGROBrussels, 28 June 2000 (09:53 UTC+2)
Around 61 million euros (the equivalent of 59 million dollars) are to be given to Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).
The money will filter through ECHO to the Red Cross, UN agencies and other non-government organizations, with the aim of helping projects dealing with refugees and displaced persons, food, farming, shelter, water, sanitation, health and education amongst others.
An ECHO spokesman explained that "the objective is to continue covering the most urgent needs throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo."
 NATO COMMANDER TO VISIT BOSNIASarajevo, 28 June 2000 (09:50 UTC+2)
The NATO-led Stabilization Force has announced the arrival of US General Joseph Ralston, NATO's Supreme Commander in Europe, in Bosnia tomorrow, with the aim of visiting peacekeeping troops.
Ralston will visit Bosnia for the second time since taking over as NATO's Supreme Commander in Europe last May.
 PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS DENIED THE RUMORS ON HIS HEALTHMoscow, 28 June 2000 (17:04 UTC+2)
President Kostis Stephanopoulos denied the rumors regarding the state of his health and in statements he made in Moscow, where he is on a formal visit, he said that he does not know where these rumors come from.
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the spreading of such rumors is the work of mean-minded people. He also said that he does not accept that those rumors are part of a political plan and that are linked with the comments made a few days ago by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, who spoke of rapid political developments.
 EU SOCIAL AGENDA ANNOUNCED IN BRUSSELS TODAYBrussels, 28 June 2000 (11:58 UTC+2)
The European Union's Social Agenda for the next five-year span is to be announced in Brussels today, with issues such as unemployment, social exclusion and insurance systems reportedly being granted priority status.
Greece's European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, who is in charge of employment and social affairs, said that 60 trillion drachmas would be spent over the next five years to boost levels of employment, and, following September's ratification of the Social Agenda by the Commission, recommendations will be made to those member-states that delayed implementing the approved National Action Plans for Employment for each country.
Furthermore, Ms. Diamantopoulou warned that steps would be taken, within the framework of the Social Agenda, to streamline state insurance systems throughout Europe, while there would also be talks to decide on a joint immigration policy, particularly on establishing uniform criteria for entry into a member-state.
 CHIRAC PUSHES AHEAD FOR «PIONEER» INTEGRATION GROUPBerlin, 28 June 2000 (09:54 UTC+2)
French President Jacques Chirac promoted the idea of setting up a "pioneer group" of candidate countries who wish to integrate into the European Union at a faster rate than others.
Addressing the German government during a visit aimed at a rapprochement between the two countries, Mr Chirac said that "it is essential that countries who want to move quicker towards integration, on a voluntary basis and in precisely defined projects, can do so without being held back by those nations who, within their rights, do not want to advance so quickly".
In suggesting integration at two separate speeds, the French President was undoubtedly influenced by the potential advantages connected to the expansion of the EU, such as an increase in consumers, a bigger internal market and economically stable neighbours.
During his speech, Mr Chirac, whose country is now assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union, also insisted that neither France nor Germany want to see the creation of a "super European state", further stating that all candidates would keep their national identity upon entering the EU.