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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-06-09
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PAPANTONIOU: GREECE WILL NOT PLAY ANKARA'S GAMEAthens, 9 June 2003 (16:02 UTC+2)
Greece will not play the game of tension with Turkey, said Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou commenting on today's harassment of an Olympic Airways passenger plane by Turkish F-16 fighter jets.
He stated characteristically that today's incident highlights the risks of the increased aggressiveness and provocation by Turkey, referring to the repeated Turkish violations of the Greek airspace.
Mr. Papantoniou also stressed that Turkey should be careful to avoid incidents that could cause serious problems to bilateral relations.
He said that the Greek Air Force pilots are extremely stable and calm and added that he has confidence in the Greek Air Force but on the other hand, he stressed that the Greek side is in a state of vigilance and a high level of readiness.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE CHALKIDIKI MINESAthens, 9 June 2003 (18:41 UTC+2)
The government will exhaust every effort to find a solution to the problem of the Chalkidiki mines, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas. He pointed out that the government treats the miners, who make their living in the worst possible conditions, with sensitivity and a sense of responsibility.
The government spokesman reminded that the government for a number of years is trying to secure the future and viability of the mines and above all the jobs of hundreds of people but it has been met with reactions. He stressed that the investment in question was cancelled after court appeals made by local residents.
 THE PRESIDENT OF THE BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY VISITS GREECEThessaloniki, 9 June 2003 (14:05 UTC+2)
The leader of the Bulgarian main opposition party arrived in Thessaloniki this morning.
Bulgarian Socialist Party President Sergei Stanisev is accompanied by 5 Bulgarian Mayors and at noon today he will be in Athens to meet at 4:30pm with Greek governing Socialist Party of PASOK Secretary Kostas Laliotis, while at 6pm in the afternoon he will meet with Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
The President of the Bulgarian Socialist Party will return to Thessaloniki and he will meet with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis. He will give a press conference at the Helexpo-Thessaloniki International Trade Fair Administration Hall on Tuesday at 12pm. Later at 9pm in the evening, he will address a formal dinner given at Macedonia Palace Hotel by the Hellenic-US Chamber of Commerce, the Inter-Balkan and Black Sea Business Center (DIPEK) and Macedonian Press Agency. Greek Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrisochoidis will also address the event on the Greek-Bulgarian cooperation within the framework of the Balkan European prospects.
Also, present in the event will be Bulgarian Socialist Party Vice-President Rumen Petkov, expected to arrive in Thessaloniki tomorrow.
 THE PREPARATIONS IN VIEW OF THE THESSALONIKI EU SUMMIT MEETINGAthens, 9 June 2003 (20:35 UTC+2)
Greek government officials on Monday said preparations to host the hordes of protesters expected to converge on the northern Greek port-city of Thessaloniki (June 19-21) for the European Union summit were nearing completion.
EU leaders will meet in a resort further to the east, Chalkidiki prefecture, to discuss the situation in Iraq, the Middle East and, of course, the future of Europe.
Speaking at a press conference, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis told reporters that a hospitality project, dubbed Hospitality-Respect, was set up to host some 30,000 people, although he clarified that this doesn't mean the number of demonstrators cannot be higher.
We are not going to intervene in the political context of the demonstrations that will be staged, but we are asking for the self-evident, namely, that visitors also respect the city,
Mr. Paschalidis said.
He said construction work at two camps located at the Thessaloniki municipalities of Aghios Pavlos and Polichni had already started and that preliminary contracts valued at 320,000 euro had been signed for the installation of necessary infrastructure.
Some of the demonstrators will be hosted on the grounds of the Thessaloniki University in tents provided by the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, as well as at organised camping facilities at the nearby village of Epanome.
Mr. Paschalidis said that multiple-route cards would be issued to facilitate city travel for demonstrators and that all medical units in Thessaloniki would be on alert between June 19 and 21.
The minister urged for everyone's contribution so that demonstrations and other events are carried out in a peaceful manner, adding that he had been given assurances on this point by the leaders of the activists' movements.
 PROTOPAPAS ON THE HARASSMENT OF AN OA PLANE BY TURKISH JETSAthens, 9 June 2003 (19:21 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas condemned the provocative stance of the Turkish establishment in response to the harassment of an Olympic Airways passenger plane, en route from Athens to Istanbul, by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets.
He said that Greece does not intend to play the game of the Turkish military establishment, which is trying to create a fabricated tension aimed at bringing Turkey out of international isolation. He said that Greece remains firm to the main problems namely, the Cyprus problem and the solution of differences based on International Law. He added that the Greek policy has been successful and will be continued until the desired outcome is achieved, stressing that the EU and NATO have been informed on today's incident over the Aegean and the ICAO will also be briefed during the day.
Responding to relevant questions, Mr. Protopapas pointed out that the Turkish generals continue the provocation on purpose, adding that the Turkish military establishment does not want their country's European course and creates secondary fronts. Greece defends its national interests and naturally, it will not follow Turkey on this path, said Mr. Protopapas.
In conclusion, the Greek government spokesman stated that the Turkish leadership should make its choices and decide whether it wants the European course or not and whether it wants to be identified with the military or not.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 9 June 2003 (17:37 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.44% at 1.868,46 points, while the volume of transactions was at 185 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 202 recorded gains and 131 had losses, while the value of 45 stocks remained unchanged.
 INFLATION ROSE TO 3.8% IN MAYAthens, 9 June 2003 (17:35 UTC+2)
Inflation in Greece rose to 3.8% in May, recording an increase compared to April when it was at 3.4%. This increase is mainly due to the big increases in the prices of fruits and vegetables, based on the Greek National Statistics Agency.
Specifically, the big increases in the prices of fruits and vegetables more than covered the positive effect the drop of fuel prices could have on inflation.
An increase was recorded in the harmonized consumer price index in May, at 3.5% on an annual basis, compared to 3.3% in April.
 DEMARCHES TO ANKARA AND ICAO BY ATHENSAthens, 9 June 2003 (16:25 UTC+2)
Athens will make a demarche to Ankara and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in protest for the harassment of an Olympic Airways passenger plane by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets this morning, according to a statement by Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis.
Mr. Beglitis expressed the concern of the Greek government over today's incident, which violates the main principles of international law and the internationally acceptable practices of international organizations, such as ICAO. He assured that all the necessary actions and demarches will be made to the Turkish side and the ICAO within the following hours.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that NATO, the EU and ICAO are being informed over the repeated violations of the Greek national airspace, adding that the ICAO general director has expressed concern over the situation.
Mr. Beglitis also underlined that the attitude and practice adopted by the Turkish military establishment is in direct opposition with the expressed will of the Turkish government to strengthen its European prospect and adjust its policy to the obligations of an EU candidate state.
 THE MINERS CONTINUE THEIR HUNGER STRIKE FOR AN EIGHT DAYThessaloniki, 9 June 2003 (15:24 UTC+2)
About 100 miners continue their hunger strike locked inside the galleries of their mine at Stratoni, Chalkidiki northern Greece for an eight day. They threaten that they will not stop their mobilization unless the multinational Kinross Gold Corporation recalls its decision to proceed with layoffs.
Tens of their colleagues and relatives remain outside the mine in a show of solidarity since the first day of the mobilization.
Two more strikers fainted because of exhaustion and were taken to a hospital, while an ambulance is outside the mine on a 24hour basis to assist the miners with health problems.
 GREEK WOMAN BRUTALLY KILLED IN MADRIDMadrid, 9 June 2003 (19:44 UTC+2)
A Greek woman, Chrisanthi Papadopoulou, a mother of four, lost her life in Madrid last night when two young thieves tried to snatch her handbag. Her husband, Thomas Papaioannou, an eye doctor, was with her when the tragic incident occurred. The woman was in Madrid accompanying her husband on the occasion of a scientific conference.
The woman resisted when the two thieves tried to steal her bag and one of them attacked her with a knife causing the deadly injury.
Police arrested the two assailants, identified as Moroccans under the age of 18. One of them was on leave from the Madrid juvenile prison where he was held.
Madrid faces a serious crime problem given the fact that based on Spanish Sociology Studies Institute figures, a total of 55 people have been murdered on its streets since the beginning of the year.