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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-06-29
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE GREEK FORCE WILL WITHDRAW FROM ALBANIAAthens, 29 June 2000 (18:48 UTC+2)
Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos announced yesterday the withdrawal of the Greek force from Albania after a 3year stay in the country.
The decision was taken after consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs and defense and the Albanian authorities and no agreement was reached on a formula to extend the Greek presence in the region.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated that the construction of political and infrastructure projects will continue in Ghirokastra, Durres and Tirana based on the agreement that has been signed, while 30 Greek army officers will remain in Albania at Greece's persistence to train the Albanian armed forces. Another 60men force will also remain in Albania within the framework of the KFOR.
The Greek force in Albania was deployed in the country within the framework of the international operation after the 1997 uprising.
 THE AMERICAN COLLEGE WILL HONOR THE "SMILE OF A CHILD" ORGANIZATION PRESIDENTThessaloniki, 29 June 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki's American College will honor "Smile of a Child" organization president Konstantinos Yiannopoulos with the Humanitarian Prize within the framework of the graduation ceremony of its students that will take place today.
For the past three years, Konstantinos Yiannopoulos is fighting for the protection and the promotion of the interests and rights of children who live in Greece regardless of their origin and nationality. The "Smile of a Child" organization was founded to fulfill the wish of Mr. Yiannopoulos' 10yearold son Andreas who had a long battle with cancer.
 THE BLOWING UP OF AN OLD BRIDGE ENDED IN FAILUREThessaloniki, 29 June 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
The attempt to blow up part of an old bridge in the Thessaloniki-Nea Moudania motorway, near the village of Agios Pavlos, ended up in a big failure.
The technicians of the construction company that has undertaken to widen the Thessaloniki-Nea Moudania motorway placed 40 kilos of explosives at the bridge's foundations at 11am this morning and police stopped the traffic, while the local residents were led away from the scene of the blast for precautionary reasons. Many television crews had arrived to cover the event but the blast that followed was not strong enough to destroy the old bridge.
The technicians of the construction company are trying to establish why the attempt failed, while it should be noted that the blowing up of the bridge had been announced several days earlier by the company representatives who had invited the mass media to cover the event.
 GREEK MEDALS IN THE WORLD TAE KWON DO CHAMPIONSHIPAthens, 29 June 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
Three Greek athletes had a great performance in the World Tae Kwon Do Championship that is being held in the city of Tsun Tso in Korea. Michalis Mouroutsos won the gold medal, Areti Athanasopoulou the silver and Elli Mistakidou the bronze.
In the championship participated about 1.200 athletes from 49 countries many of whom will compete in the Sydney Olympic Games. The Greek athletes that will compete in Sydney will be Michalis Mouroutsos, Alexandros Nikolaidis and Areti Athanasopoulou.
 120 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WERE ARRESTED IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 29 June 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
One hundred and 20 illegal immigrants, among them 8 minors, were arrested during a police operation in Thessaloniki last night.
According to the police, the foreigners were in Greece illegally and they will be deported.
 TRACK AND FIELD: GOOD PERFORMANCE BY THE GREEK ATHLETES IN THE TSIKLITIRIA 2000 GRANT PRIXAthens, 29 June 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
No world record was broken in the "Tsiklitiria 2000 Grant Prix" that was held in Athens but the performance of the Greek athletes was good.
Katerina Thanou was once again the leading athlete in the women's 100 meters as she won the first place with 11 seconds leaving behind strong competitors.
On the contrary, there was no great performance in the men's 100 meters. The first place was won by American Gregory Santler with 10.08 seconds. Greece's Angelos Pavlakakis came seventh with 10.29 seconds.
Kostas Gatsioudis won the first place in javelin throwing with 88.46 meters, while Mirela Maniani-Tzelili came second in the women's javelin competition with 64.51 meters.
 INDUSTRIALISTS WANT THE PRIVATIZATION PROCESS TO ACCELERATEAthens, 29 June 2000 (16:49 UTC+2)
The Association of Greek Industries expressed disagreement with the way the ministry of national economy deals with the privatization issue. The association's new president Mr. Antonakopoulos criticized the government for delaying to put in effect the privatization program that has been announced because it deals with privatization as a source of income that will cover the black holes of debt and deficits, adding that the government is not interested in the fate of the state companies after their privatization.
Mr. Antonakopoulos announced that the Association of Greek Industries in cooperation with the ministry of development will draw up a report on the competitiveness of the Greek businesses.
 DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER PAPAZOI MET WITH THE DANISH FOREIGN MINISTERAthens, 29 June 2000 (16:49 UTC+2)
Greek deputy foreign minister Elisavet Papazoi met in Copenhagen yesterday with Danish foreign minister Helveg Petersen. They discussed issues concerning the Inter-Governmental Conference, the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.
Mr. Petersen underlined the significance of the European Council decisions in Helsinki on the EU relations with Turkey. On the Cyprus issue, Ms. Papazoi said that its solution must be in agreement with the UN decisions and the European Union principles, while she reminded Cypriot president Glafkos Clerides' proposal for the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the EU accession negotiations.
 LOSSES OF 0.65% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 29 June 2000 (16:49 UTC+2)
Losses of 0.65% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.071,4 points while the volume of transactions was at 122.2 billion drachmas.
The session did not develop in a satisfactory way as the investors appeared to be affected by yesterday's big drop in the Athens Stock Exchange.
Of the stocks trading today 44 recorded gains and 293 had losses.
 DUTCH FESTIVAL IN ATHENSAthens, 29 June 2000 (16:48 UTC+2)
A Dutch Festival is organized by the Dutch Embassy in Athens that will last from September 15 to October 5 with painting, photography and flower exhibitions, lectures and a Gastronomy Week.
The painting exhibition under the title gods and heroes in the era of Rembrant and Roubens that will be hosted in the National Gallery on September 28-October 5 will be the main event in the Festival. The exhibition will include over 80 works made by leading Dutch painters.
 ROBIN COOK IS AGAINST THE "TWO-SPEED" EUROPELondon, 29 June 2000 (18:48 UTC+2)
The need to maintain the equality among the EU member-states was stressed by British foreign secretary Robin Cook rejecting the French plans to create a "two-speed" Europe through the establishment of a "pioneer group" within the European Union.
Mr. Cook warned that such a move will hurt the British interests, pointing out that the EU must be a group of equal states.
British prime minister Tony Blair is in Berlin for talks with German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that will focus on French president Jacques Chirac's proposal for the creation of a "pioneer group" within the European Union.
 STEPHANOPOULOS: THERE ARE NO POLITICAL PROBLEMS BETWEEN GREECE AND RUSSIASt. Petersburg, 29 June 2000 (16:49 UTC+2)
Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos met with the governor of St. Petersburg Mr. Yakovlev and had a long and interesting discussion. Later, he gave a press conference in the presence of Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, undersecretary of national economy Mr. Zafiropoulos, the Russian culture minister and the ambassadors of the two countries.
Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that there are no political problems between Greece and Russia and on the contrary in talks he had with prime minister Kasianov it was established that they share the same views while they also discussed issues of common interest.
President Stephanopoulos said that Greece recognizes the very big role Russia can play internationally, expressing the certainty that it will play this role and will become a power of stability. He also said that the talks focused on the issues of economic interest and the construction of big projects, while he expressed the certainty that future economic cooperation will be promoted based on the fact that he is accompanied in his visit to Russia by many Greek businessmen.
President Stephanopoulos and governor of St. Petersburg Mr. Yakovlev stressed that they discussed issues of common interest and that a working group will be established with the participation of the foreign ministry that will consider issues of regional cooperation. They also discussed issues of tourism and they agreed that tourism in both countries can develop to a great degree.