|Saturday, 18 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-10-02
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 "SAMINA" DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN TO 79Paros, 2 October 2000 (09:42 UTC+2)
Three more bodies, that of two women and a man, were discovered yesterday by divers still searching the site of the "Samina" shipwreck, taking the death toll to 79.
Divers taking part in the search said that they have encountered difficulties in entering the ship's garage. Special vessels have begun pumping petrol from the reserves on board the ship to reduce potential sea pollution.
Meanwhile, the captain, his deputy and the seaman on duty aboard the ship testified in front of a court on the island of Syros yesterday, against charges of homicide and of causing a shipwreck, as well as of abandoning a ship in danger. According to information, the accused have thrown responsibility for the tragedy on the officer who was on duty at the time of the accident, accusing him of negligence.
 REPPAS ON THE "SAMINA" TRAGEDYAthens, 2 October 2000 (18:12 UTC+2)
Some people underestimate the intelligence of the Greek people and speculate on a tragedy taking advantage of it beyond any political ideology, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas commenting on the "Samina" shipwreck and reiterated that the Greek government wants to shed light on the tragedy and bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible.
Responding to the question if merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis will resign he said that he had no involvement in the tragedy. Also, called to comment on the statement made by culture minister Theodoros Pangalos that the ministry of merchant marine must be abolished he said that the specific ministry is very important for Greece.
On the press publications on alleged corruption scandal in which former merchant marine minister Mr. Soumakis and the shipping company Minoan Flying Dolphins are involved, the Greek government spokesman characterized them as unacceptable and inconceivable speaking of ulterior motives.
 THE GREEK FISHERMEN ARE ON A STRIKEAthens, 2 October 2000 (17:52 UTC+2)
The Greek fishermen launched a strike today protesting against the oil price increases. According to a decision reached by their union, the fishing boats will be immobilized and the fishermen will block the country's fish-piers indefinitely.
The protesters demand fuel subsidies and tax reductions in order to cut the production cost.
 PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE GREEK SAILORS' ASSOCIATIONAthens, 2 October 2000 (16:37 UTC+2)
Greek Sailors' Association president Giorgos Dalakogiorgos in a press conference he gave in Athens today stated that all those directly or indirectly responsible for the "Samina" shipwreck must be brought to justice.
He accused merchant marine ministry officials of illegal transactions with the shipping company Minoan Flying Dolphins regarding the inspections made on the tragic ship to determine if it meets the necessary safety standards and stated that they should also be brought to justice apart from the ship's captain, the ship's mate and the sailors. He also spoke of a Minoan Flying Dolphins monopoly which in the past two years became a giant under the government's protection.
In the press conference were present low ranking "Samina" crew members who gave their own testimony of the tragic accident and stated that they have not been called yet to give a formal deposition.
 REPPAS ON THE TANK-TRUCK OWNERS' STRIKEAthens, 2 October 2000 (16:18 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas left open the likelihood to requisition the services of the tank-truck owners and drivers to put an end to their strike. Mr. Reppas stated that the government will take all the necessary initiatives for the smooth operation of the market.
The Greek government spokesman characterized as unjustified the strike decided by the tank-truck owners and stated that many of their demands have already been met by the government.
 JOINT TEXT ON YUGOSLAVIA BY PAPANDREOU, IVANOV AND VEDRINEAthens, 2 October 2000 (16:02 UTC+2)
Greece, Russia and France are expected to adopt a joint text on Yugoslavia which will mention that the three countries are ready to send observers to verify the results of the first round of voting in the Yugoslav presidential elections.
The three foreign ministers, Greece's Giorgos Papandreou, Russia's Igor Ivanov and France's Hybert Vedrine are in constant telephone communication in order to agree on a draft text after a request made by opposition presidential candidate Kostunica who calls for specialists to verify the evidence at the disposal of the two sides.
The three countries consider all possible ways for the adoption of the text and state willing to send observers under the precondition that the Belgrade government will give its approval. It should be noted that until now there has been no formal response by the Yugoslav government on the opposition demand.
 GAINS OF 0.05% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 2 October 2000 (15:57 UTC+2)
Gains of 0.05% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.180,91 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 68.1 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today 199 recorded loses, 136 had gains and just 37 remained unchanged.
 THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE STATE-RUN ELECTRICITY COMPANY WILL TAKE PLACE IN 2001Athens, 2 October 2000 (15:54 UTC+2)
The turbulence observed in the fuel prices and the negative situation in the domestic fuel market resulted to the shrinking of the state-run Electricity Company profits causing the postponement of its privatization until 2001.
The increased energy production cost for the company's oil dependent plants is expected to put a burden of 50-55 billion drachmas on the company's economic figures.
From their side, the company employees react strongly to the likelihood for the company to lose its state-run character in case the state participation is under 51%.
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IS DETERMINED TO SHED LIGHT ON THE MERCHANT MARINE ISSUEAthens, 2 October 2000 (15:45 UTC+2)
Prime minister Kostas Simitis is determined to clear up the situation in the merchant marine issue by reaching a number of decisions in Thursday's cabinet meeting.
Mr. Simitis' associates stated that he will clear up the situation during the week and he will contradict all those who believe that the governing socialist party of PASOK had a preferential status relation with the shipping company to which the doomed "Samina" belonged.
According to Mr. Simitis' statements to his associates, light must be shed on the issue and those responsible must pay regardless of who they are.
 55 PASSENGER SHIPS HAVE BEEN CONFINED TO PORTAthens, 2 October 2000 (15:38 UTC+2)
Fifty five passenger ships have been confined to port after a decision by the Greek ministry of merchant marine as they did not observe the necessary safety standards.
According to the announcement by the ministry of merchant marine, the ships that have complied with the fire safety standards are "Dionisios Solomos", "Ionis", "Kefalonia", "Protephs" and "Express Skopelitis".
As it was made known in the island of Crete, the Minoan Lines and ANEK Lines each will put on a ship that will make two runs daily in order to replace the ships that have been withdrawn after the merchant marine ministry decision.
 EU DEMANDS "SAMINA" DETAILSAthens, 2 October 2000 (13:01 UTC+2)
The European Union has asked that certain details concerning the Samina tragedy be clarified. Furthermore, it has demanded that the Greek government provide the naval documents that the ship should have had, the results of its most recent control check and the exact list of passengers.
 GREECE IS THE BIGGEST FOREIGN INVESTOR IN BULGARIASofia, 2 October 2000 (16:06 UTC+2)
The direct investments in Bulgaria were US$ 348 million until July 31, 2000, according to data provided by the country's Central Bank.
Compared to the same period last year there has been an increase of US$ 40.9 million or 13.3%.
Greece topped the list of foreign investors in the first half of the year, as its investments correspond to 24% of the overall foreign investments in the country, especially after the buyout of 90% of the United Bulgarian Bank by the National Bank of Greece. The second place in the foreign investors' list is occupied by Italy with 9% of the foreign investments in Bulgaria.
 CYPRUS CELEBRATED INDEPENDENCE YESTERDAYNicosia, 2 October 2000 (13:23 UTC+2)
The Russian TOR M1 weapon given to Cyprus by Greece was presented yesterday as part of a military parade held in Nicosia to celebrate the 40th anniversary of independence in Cyprus.
Greek Development minister Nikos Christodoulakis and the Defense undersecretary D. Apostolakis represented the Greek government at the ceremony.
Also present were Greek opposition leader and head of the New Democracy party Costas Karamanlis, who also had meetings with Cypriot leader Glafkos Clerides, during which he said that Cyprus should not sacrifice itself for Greek-Turkish friendship. By making this statement, Mr Karamanlis supported concerns voiced over recent developments in the Cyprus issue, following the fourth round of negotiations.
Mr Clerides avoided making comments on the statements made by the ND leader. In a message directed at the Cypriot nation, he expressed warm thanks to the Greek government for its help, stressing that Greece is his country's main strategic ally.
 PAPOUTSIS ADDRESSED THE COUNCIL OF THE MERCHANT MARINE MINISTERSLuxembourg, 2 October 2000 (17:41 UTC+2)
Greek merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis, addressing the council of EU merchant marine ministers taking pace in Luxembourg, referred to the safety of the Greek passenger ships and the implementation of the EU directives in the merchant marine sector. Mr. Papoutsis gave a specific response to the letter addressed to the Greek government by European Commission general director on transportation, Mr. Lamouret who had pointed out significant problems in the observance of safety regulations by the Greek ships.
The Greek minister referred to the tragic shipwreck of "Samina" expressing the government's will to shed light on the causes of the tragedy. In his reply letter Mr. Papoutsis underlined the safety of the Greek passenger ships and to what degree the community legislation is being implemented. He also pointed out that "Samina" had a safety certificate issued on July 20, 2000 in compliance with the 9818 EU directive, adding that this certificate was issued after inspections made by the responsible ministry agency.
Addressing his counterparts he suggested that the age limit of all European ships must be under the 35year limit, like in Greece, and called for the enactment of stricter preconditions for the withdrawal of ships. He reiterated that the Greek shipping sector will quickly proceed with its liberalization namely, two years earlier than scheduled, while the age limit for the ships will remain at 35 years.
In a letter sent to European Commissioner Loyola Del Palacio, responsible for energy and transportation characterized as unacceptable the tone, the context and the procedure used by the European Commission general director of transportation to inform the Greek government of his views regarding the safety standards on the Greek ships. Ms. Del Palacio apologized and responded that she will also express her position to the Greek government in writing.