|Saturday, 18 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 02-02-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 FEBRUARY INFLATION AT 3.6%-3.8%Athens, 24 February 2002 (20:13 UTC+2)
Inflation in February is expected to be between 3.6%-3.8%, in contrast to January's 4.4%, a fact mainly due to the lowering of prices in vegetables and fruit, which had remained high due to the bad weather.
The financial staff of the government seems to be worried about March, since the exclusive use of the euro may lead to increased prices in many products, since there will be no means of comparison to previous prices.
However the government is on anti-inflation alert, in order to confront any profiteering, causing undesirable distortion in the mapping out of Greece's financial policy.
 "IF WE DON'T SUCCEED, O.A. SHUTS DOWN"Athens, 24 February 2002 (20:09 UTC+2)
This last effort must succeed, if Olympic Airways is to continue to fly, underlined Minister of Transports Christos Verelis, in an interview to the Sunday Typos. Mr. Verelis pointed out that the conclusions of all discussions on the issue, pointed out that the company needs to be free of all activities producing losses, in order for it to survive.
The Minister also made a differentiation between the tender that took place and the movements being made now. The difference is that prospective shareholders are given a specific restructured schedule, and are asked to join a company which will only have flying duties, free from all loss producing elements.
Regarding the employees, Mr.Verelis stated that it was made clear through the tender that personnel will have to be decreased by 2000 individuals. As far as the personnel to remain in the present Olympic Airways is concerned, Mr. Verelis made it known that there will be motivation for all those reaching their age of retirement, in order for them to leave of their own free will.
 4.5 RICHTER EARTHQUAKE IN THE PATRAICAthens, 24 February 2002 (19:32 UTC+2)
An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, took place at 02:31 Sunday, its epicenter in the Patraic Gulf, 180 km west of Athens. So far no reports of damages have been made.
 GETAWAY CAR IN SAUNDERS' ASSASSINATIONAthens, 24 February 2002 (19:32 UTC+2)
A second getaway car from the Saunders' assassination in June 2001, is in the possession of the authorities, as reported by the Eleftherotypia newspaper, quoting police sources.
Investigations are constantly producing new evidence, such as the exchange of shots fired between N17 members and the police in November 1983, just a week prior to the assassination of US Navy Captain George Chantes and his driver Nik. Veloutsou, in the Psyhiko area.
The lab discovery was made 14 years later, after the assassination of ship owner K. Peratikos in Piraeus.
1. It was recently confirmed that the same gun that was used in the shooting of Nikos Peratikos, was also used in the 1983 exchange of fire. This of course does not mean that the same individuals were involved in both shootings.
In a N17 manifesto in December 2000, the organization mentioned that Brig. General Saunders was its most important target in the 25 years it has been active. It is therefore natural that they prepared and carried out the attack with great care.
It was in fact, the first time that the authorities had such a difficult time finding the getaway vehicles, and now, 20 months later, there is very blurred evidence. Officers investigating to the case estimate that 8-10 members of the organization must have participated in the Saunders shooting.
2. A few days after the killing, a motorcycle (vespa type) was found in the area of Philothei. The authorities are still not sure, however, that this was the motorcycle used by the killers, since it was not recognized by the witnesses of the case.
Approximately a month later, a van was found abandoned by the Ygia hospital. The makeshift drapes, made with cardboard and wire, confirmed the authorities' suspicions that the van was used by N17.
Later, a stolen vehicle was found in the area of Chalandri, which, without lab evidence, based on cross checked testimonies, is suspected of being used by N17 members as a lookout vehicle in the Saunders case.
It is characteristic that in N17's manifesto (12/2000), while referring the circumstances of the operation, they mentioned: 100 yards behind, a CIA agent was caught at a traffic light, and at the light immediately following the attack point, businessman Vardinoyannis and his bodyguards were also hemmed in.
In a way the terrorist organization itself is giving an account as to how many of its members participated in the attack, and police officials also observed that special precautionary measures were taken in this operation.
The other unknown side of the story about the shots fired between N17 members and police officers in the Psyhiko area, according to information, is as follows:
In 1983, a patrol car spotted two suspicious youths on a motorcycle. It was ascertained that the motorcycle had been stolen from the Egaleo area. When the police officers asked what the individuals were doing so far from Egaleo and started approaching they were fired upon.
In the ensuing confusion the suspects managed to escape, despite the pursuit. A few days later, at a small distance from where the incident took place, Chantes and Veloutsos were murdered.
 "NOVEMBER 17" EYE WITNESSAthens, 24 February 2002 (19:30 UTC+2)
An unknown side to the November 17 investigation has come to light after the publication of the Karfi newspaper. It is based on the testimony of an eyewitness, which has been corroborated, but has never according to the newspaper been followed-up by the authorities.
According to the newspaper, the testimony in question was given to the deceased District Attorney Tsevas, who was conducting the most methodical and thorough investigation ever to have been carried out on the phantom organization.
The testimony concerns an old assassination of 17N: the execution of officers Petrou and Stamoulis in 1980, in Pagrati. The difference of this testimony to all others, is that the eyewitness in this case claimed to have seen, heard, named, and finally recognized all the members of the group that killed the Assistant Commissioner of the MAT Force of the Greek Police and his driver.
An important piece of evidence is that following a stake-out, set up after the testimony, there were notifications of future 17N targets, which were confirmed a few weeks later.
According to the newspaper, the eyewitness kept quiet until 1991 and then decided to go forth. As is characteristically mentioned: 11 years later he decided to speak, either because of the reward, or because he trusted the government at the time (New Democracy). He first spoke to a reliable acquaintance at ND's Central Offices. He was motivated, as he said, by the murder of Pavlos Bakoyannis, and his frustration in finding that members of the organization are partying with money that cannot easily be accounted for.
 CYPRIOT PARLIAMENT DELEGATION IN ATHENSNicosia, 24 February 2002 (20:38 UTC+2)
A meeting with Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou and the members of the Foreign and Defense Committee of the Greek Parliament has been scheduled for tomorrow by the Delegation of the Cypriot Parliamentary Defense Committee, travelling to Athens tonight, after an invitation of the Ministry of National Defense.
During their stay in Athens, the members of the delegation will meet with staff members of the General Staff of National Defense and will visit the Army Cadet School, while separate meetings with the President of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, and Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou are also expected.
 URGENT SOLUTION FOR FYROM NAMESkopje, 24 February 2002 (19:32 UTC+2)
Skopje is looking for a solution on the name issue of FYROM urgently, since during the past few days, uncertainty has increased in the neighboring country, after US General Kate Huber questioned the Agreement between FYROM and Yugoslavia. Athens stated that it has been ready for some time now to move to an agreement on a commonly acceptable name.
The bad atmosphere grew worse after the public questioning of an international agreement, when US Ambassador in Skopje L. Buckler supported that US diplomacy is not qualified to judge if an agreement on borders is legal or illegal. At the same time, Mrs. B. Pierson, researcher at the United States Institute of Peace, mentioned possible interference of the United States in the name issue of FYROM.
We must be careful and not consider it the main issue for the security and stability of the country. Greece is a discussant that will not accept concessions and compromises. The important issue now, is what the US can do on the issue, stated Mrs. Pierson on Skopje television. Mrs. Pierson was head analyst of the International Crises Group for FYROM, from 1997 up until 6 months ago.
However, President Trajkovski spoke of improvements in relations between Greece in FYROM, in the economic as well as the political field: Regardless of how well the situation may be going at present, there is still no agreement regarding the name, said the President of FYROM, expressing his belief that in the end, Athens will show understanding.