|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-10-11
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 IVANOV STILL IN M. EAST, POSTPONES VISIT TO ATHENSThessaloniki, 11 October 2000 (12:21 UTC+2)
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was forced to postponed his scheduled visit to Athens today, due to prior engagements in the middle East.
Mr. Ivanov will instead arrive in Athens tomorrow, where he will have successive meetings with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou and main opposition of New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis. It remains unclear if Mr. Ivanov will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, since the latter is to depart tomorrow the afternoon for the European Union's Summit conference in France.
The Russian Foreign Minister's scheduled visit to Thessaloniki and the all-male monastic community of Mount Athos has also been canceled.
Messrs. Ivanov and Papandreou are to discus the developments in the Middle East, the Cyprus issue and the Balkan region, while they will sign an agreement of cooperation in the combat of economic crime.
 THEODORAKIS AMONG NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINEESAthens, 11 October 2000 (12:04 UTC+2)
Greece's world-renowned music composer Mikis Theodorakis is among the nominees for this year's Nobel peace prize, to be awarded on October 13 in Oslo, Norway.
The candidates list comprises 21 individuals, international organizations, as well as the unusual nomination of a town.
The list includes United States President Bill Clinton and former President Jimmy Carter for wide-ranging peace efforts, as well as former U.S. Senator George Mitchell for his efforts to resolve conflict in northern Ireland.
Other nominees are northern Albania's town of Kukes, for accepting 150,000 refugees during the Kosovo conflict; former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for their Balkan peace efforts; South Korean President Kim Dae-jung for promoting good relations in Asia; and such organizations as the Salvation Army, Human Rights Watch and various church groups.
In recent years, the committee has used the prize to encourage peace processes. In 1998, the prize went to Protestant David Trimble and Catholic David Hume to encourage the Northern Ireland peace talks. In 1994, the prize went to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres to help nurture the Middle East Peace process.
Last year, the award went to the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders.
This year's prize includes a $968,000 cash award, plus a medal and a diploma.
 AN ALBANIAN HELD HOSTAGES IN A GRILL-HOUSE IN ATHENSAthens, 11 October 2000 (18:15 UTC+2)
An Albanian immigrant entered a grill-house in the region of Nea Smirni in Athens this afternoon and with the threat of a pistol held three employees hostage. The abductor was himself a former employee at the specific grill-house. A strong police force arrived immediately in the region and cordoned-off the surrounding streets.
The hostages were released unharmed after the intervention of grill-house owner Michalis Papapantos and police mediators and Albanian Kusnik Elnezi was arrested.
 REPPAS: THE STATEMENTS MADE BY NANO ARE UNACCEPTABLEAthens, 11 October 2000 (17:32 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas characterized as unacceptable the statements made by Albanian Socialist Party president Fatos Nano, who called "criminals" the members of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania who are with the Human Rights Union Party.
Mr. Nano made his statement on the occasion of a violent incident in the village of Drimades in the region of Himara where, according to the Socialist leader, the village priest was beaten up by members of the Human Rights Union Party because he had coffee with him.
Mr. Reppas stated that such statements create problems in bilateral relations.
 LALIOTIS: THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT ACCEPT ULTIMATUMS ON THE OLYMPIC GAMESAthens, 11 October 2000 (16:55 UTC+2)
Minister of environment, land planning and public works Kostas Laliotis referred to the 2004 Olympic Games before the governmental committee meeting today and responded to the statements made by International Olympic Committee, IOC, vice-president Jacques Rogg by stating that the Greek government does not accept ultimatums, adding that "they should leave us do our job".
Mr. Rogg in an interview with the Associated Press News Agency had suggested the establishment of an Olympic Games ministry in Greece and called for the acceleration of the 2004 Olympic Games preparations, stressing that the Olympic Games projects must be ready by March 2003.
The IOC vice-president characterized the Sydney Olympic Games as "the perfect games" and stressed that everybody must be united in Greece for the common good.
 THE NEW TAX DRAFT BILL FOR 2001 WAS APPROVED BY THE PRIME MINISTERAthens, 11 October 2000 (16:48 UTC+2)
Tax reductions of 220 billion drachmas for the year 2001 are included in the tax draft bill that was approved today by prime minister Kostas Simitis in a meeting with minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou. The overall package, that will include all the pre-election declarations made by the government for the next two-year period, will cost a total of 400 billion drachmas.
The new draft bill will be presented in parliament by the end of October and in statements made on the 2001 state budget, Mr. Papantoniou stated that it will support economic development. Responding to the question how can the state revenues increase in spite of the fact that there will be no new taxes the minister of national economy stated that the revenues come from limiting tax evasion.
 LOSSES OF 1.02% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 11 October 2000 (16:38 UTC+2)
Losses of 1.02% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index dropped to 3.883,20 points. The volume of transactions was small at 70.6 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, just 64 recorded gains, 286 had losses and 25 remained unchanged.
 FIFA RANKS GREECE 32ND IN THE WORLDAthens, 11 October 2000 (16:25 UTC+2)
FIFA ranked Greece 32nd in the world for the month of October. The Greek national football team is one place higher compared to last month with a total of 583 points after its victory on Finland with a 1-0 score in the 2002 World Cup preliminaries.
The top place in the world is occupied by Brazil with 822 points, followed by France with 801 points and Argentina ranks third with 764 points. Greece's opponents in the Mundial preliminaries namely, Germany and England, rank 8th and 15th respectively.
 GREEK PRIEST PUTS UP BAIL FOR THE RELEASE OF PRISONERS ALL OVER THE WORLDThessaloniki, 11 October 2000 (16:17 UTC+2)
A Greek priest, archimandrite Gevrasios Raptopoulos is on the side of prisoners all over the world for the past 22 years, as he managed to release from prison 5.652 people by putting up bail with money he collected through fund raisers.
According to the Thessaloniki newspaper "Makedonia", during that time he managed to collect the sum of 239 million drachmas.
Father Gevrasios together with 800 people from the city of Serres launched the love walkathon to the Kassandra Prisons in 1978 bringing with them a sum of money that was used to put up bail for the release of a number of poor inmates.
Since that day, he never stopped gathering information on jailed Greeks and foreigners who are unable to make bail and he tries to raise the necessary sum of money for their release. Recently, he was able to raise money for the release of a Greek who was held in the New Mexico Prisons, while a Greek sailor was also released from the Thailand prisons. According to Father Gevrasios, there is optimism on the course of the efforts for the release of three Greek sailors, who are held in the El Kanater Prisons in Egypt for the past three years accused of drug-trafficking.
 PROJECTS PLANNED FOR HEPATITIS, AIDS PREVENTIONThessaloniki, 11 October 2000 (14:34 UTC+2)
A proposal for the creation of a medical center in Edirne, Turkey, for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis B and C and AIDS, has been submitted by the chief of the Greek Social Security unit of preventive medicine in Alexandroupolis to the regional authorities.
In a memo submitted to the Region of Eastern Macedonia-Thrace, Constantine Papoutselis proposes that the said center be found through the Interreg III program, while he also suggests that a Balkan Observatory be established for the selection of data on infectious diseases, which information would in turn be disseminated to the Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish Health ministries, in an effort to control disease outbreaks.
Moreover, Mr. Papoutselis proposes the creation of a molecular biology laboratory in Bulgaira and Edrine, in an effort to import technological know-how to these countries, as well as the establishment of a mobile medical unit which could be dispatched to any Balkan region in need of first aid.
The Greek Social Security's Alexandroupolis unit of preventive medicine has already founded centers for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases to five medical schools in Bulgaria, funded through Interreg I and II.
In an interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Papoutselis stated that the Turkish side has already accepted these proposals, starting with a blood drive between the two countries to be held this month at the customs office of Kipi.
In regards to hepatitis B and C, Mr. Papoutselis said that while outbreaks of the said viruses in Thrace have been reduced to 2.8 percent, from 5.3% in 1995, there are certain areas in the region that continue to present a high rate, while outbreaks in both Turkey and Bulgaria continue to be on the rise.
 IOC OFFICIAL CALLS FOR TRUCE IN GREEK SQUABBLESAthens, 11 October 2000 (14:04 UTC+2)
In the midst of persistent bickering among Greek government officials and Athens 2004 organizers, International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive Jacques Rogge has called for a "four-year truce" for the sake of the Olympic Games.
"They cannot afford to quarrel," Mr. Rogue stated yesterday, "they have to unite. Now is the time to pull all the ranks together and work in a united way.
"There have been a lot of controversies in the press about the alleged lack of cooperation between the organizing committee and the government," Mr. Rogge said, adding that "all of this is not positive. We need a very united collaboration between the organizers and the government."
Meanwhile, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch has called for Greece to follow the model of Sydney, which he called "the most successful ever".
 US AMBASSADOR : NBC SELECTIVELY USED MY WORDSAthens, 11 October 2000 (13:56 UTC+2)
Clarifying earlier statements made during a recent interview with an American television channel, United States Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns said yesterday that Athens will be able to handle the problem of terrorism during the 2004 Games, adding that the contents of his NBC interview were used selectively by the channel.
The US diplomat also made the self-effacing comment that "even we (the US) haven't had perfect Olympic Games."
Mr. Burns said that the phenomenon of terrorism should not be correlated with Greece's organization of the 2004 Games and stressed that the American government offer their full support to the Greek authorities.
 THE METROPOLITE OF KERINIA THANKED THE CHURCH OF GREECE FOR ITS SUPPORT TO THE CYPRIOT PEOPLENicosia, 11 October 2000 (17:49 UTC+2)
Metropolite Pavlos of Kerinia thanked the Church of Greece for the statement it issued yesterday in which it underlined its support to the struggling Cypriot people.
In a letter addressed to Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece, Christodoulos, the Metropolite of Kerinia pointed out that in the present crucial times, due to the serious and dangerous turn taken by the Cyprus issue as a result of the continuous compromise and the painful concessions made by the governments in Greece and Cyprus, the statement issued by the Church of Greece "brought relief to our hearts".
 JOINT CULTURAL ZONE BY GREECE AND CYPRUSNicosia, 11 October 2000 (16:29 UTC+2)
Greece and Cyprus formed a joint cultural zone based on the cooperation memorandum signed by the culture ministers of the two countries within the framework of the 28th Olympic Games. The memorandum will be in effect until the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
It provides among others for cooperation in the drawing-up of proposals that will be submitted to the responsible agencies concerning the route that will be followed by the Olympic Flame in Cyprus, the public's information on issues concerning the 2004 Olympic Games, the planning and implementation of Olympic Training programs, the joint planning of cultural events for the promotion of the Olympic Ideals and the Olympic Spirit and the presentation of proposals for the participation of Cypriots as volunteers in the 2004 Olympic Games.
 EU AMENDMENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE GREEK MINORITY IN ALBANIABrussels, 11 October 2000 (18:29 UTC+2)
The safety and protection of ethnic minorities in Albania must be among the priorities of the Albanian government in order to make possible essential improvements in the social and economic sector, as it is mentioned in an amendment tabled by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy Euro-deputy Christos Zacharakis that has been included in the relevant report issued by the Euro-parliament's foreign affairs committee on the EU action plan on Albania and the neighboring region.
The basic goal of the specific action plan is the economic development of Albania aimed at stopping the immigration wave from Albania.
According to the conclusions included in the report, if internal security in Albania is not improved there can be no essential improvements in the social and the economic sectors. At this point, Mr. Zacharakis suggested that the protection of the ethnic minorities must also be taken under consideration and his intervention was accepted by the responsible committee.
 TSOCHATZOPOULOS: GREECE PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE BALKANSBirmingham, 11 October 2000 (16:42 UTC+2)
Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos stated that Greece has undertaken an important role in the Balkan region speaking in the informal meeting of the NATO defense ministers that was held in Birmingham, Britain yesterday.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos pointed out that the Organization for the Reconstruction of the Balkans will be activated in Thessaloniki within the framework of the Stability Pact and underlined that Greece has to play a very important role in the reconstruction of Serbia.
The NATO defense ministers council also expressed its support to Yugoslavia's new president Voijslav Kostunica.
 ONLY ONE GREEK WOMAN CANDIDATE WAS ELECTED IN THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN BELGIUMBrussels, 11 October 2000 (16:36 UTC+2)
Fotini Droumboura was the only one of the 21 Greek candidates running in last Sunday's municipal elections in Belgium, who was able to be elected town councillor in the city of Anterleht with the Flemish Socialist Party after getting 383 votes.
The Greeks, with double or foreign nationality, who live in Belgium were able for the first time to exercise their right to run in local elections. Of the 7.3 million registered voters in Belgium 2.554 were Greeks, while municipal elections are being held in the country every 6 years.