|Tuesday, 18 February 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-03-02
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 COMMITMENTS STILL STANDAthens, 2 March 2006 (13:00 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with Minister of Education Marietta Giannakou at Maximos Mansion today.
Later on, the prime minister will meet with European Court of Justice President Vasilis Skouris.
Meanwhile, the legislation on the 2006 wage increases in the public sector is expected to be tabled in Parliament by Friday. The statement was made by Minister of Economy and Finance Giorgos Alogoskoufis who assured that all commitments on social security undertaken by the government still stand in their entirety.
He also reiterated that the government in spite of being in favor of collective negotiations between employers and employees cannot interfere where it is not institutionally allowed.
 FOREIGN MINISTER BAKOYIANNIS VISITS THE BALKANSAthens, 2 March 2006 (16:34 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis visits the Balkans today to hold meetings with the region's protagonists.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos stated that the goal of Mrs. Bakoyiannis' trip will be to confirm Greece's special interest in the events taking place in the region and be briefed comprehensively on developments by all those playing a part in them.
In Sarajevo, Mrs. Bakoyiannis will meet with her counterpart, the three-member presidency and the EU high representative.
Mrs. Bakoyiannis will meet in Belgrade in the afternoon with President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic.
Tomorrow, Mrs. Bakoyiannis will visit Pristina and lay a wreath at the grave of Ibrahim Rugova. She will also meet with the prime minister, the UNMIC head, opposition leader Hashim Thaci, the Serbian List leader and the ORA party leader.
Foreign Minister Bakoyiannis will also visit the Greek force stationed in Kosovo and then depart for Vienna to hold a meeting with UN representative Martti Ahtisaari.
 AMENDMENT ON CREMATION PASSED BY PARLIAMENTAthens, 2 March 2006 (13:38 UTC+2)
The amendment on cremation was voted by parliament today allowing for the first time in Greece the burning of the dead.
The sites for Cremation Centers will be determined by a presidential decree and with the consent of local municipal authorities.
Cremation concerns individuals with religious beliefs that allow this practice as well as individuals who consciously choose to deviate from the traditional form of burial in Greece and the traditional Church order.
 EARTHQUAKE IN CHALKIDIKIThessaloniki, 2 March 2006 (13:11 UTC+2)
An earthquake of magnitude 3.7 was recorded early this morning in the sea region of Sithonia in Chalkidiki alarming local residents.
According to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Geophysics Laboratory, the tremor was recorded at 6:59 am and its epicenter was located 15 km off the south coast of Sithonia.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Seismologist Manolis Skordilis told ANA-MPA that most likely it is an isolated incident in a region not characterized by high seismic activity.
The earthquake was felt in the southern and central part of the prefecture of Chalkidiki and the southeast regions of the prefecture of Thessaloniki.
 THE FOREIGN MINISTER'S CONTACTS IN SARAJEVO - NEXT STOP BELGRADESarajevo, 2 March 2006 (19:13 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis stated from Sarajevo, first stop on her Balkan tour, that the situation in the Balkans and the European orientation of the countries in the region are very important for Greece.
After her meeting with Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina Mladen Ivanic, Mrs. Bakoyiannis said that it is not accidental that she chose to hold her first formal bilateral contacts in the region, adding that bilateral economic cooperation can be further extended.
Mrs. Bakoyiannis also referred to the Greek program for the support of Bosnia-Herzegovina which will reach 35 million euros in the next two years.
On the visa issue, Mrs. Bakoyiannis stressed that the unhindered contacts between students, academics and businessmen in the region are important.
On his part, Mr. Ivanic expressed satisfaction for the support Greece offers to his country and used warm words referring to the Thessaloniki European Council decision on the European course of western Balkans.
The two Foreign Ministers also spoke about the prospects of development in bilateral cooperation and referring to the economic forum to take place in Sarajevo with the participation of Greek businessmen expressed the hope that it will be confirmed that there is potential for new investments.
The Greek Foreign Minister also met with Bosnia-Herzegovina cabinet president Adnan Terzic and the EU high representative.
The Balkan tour of the Greek Foreign Minister continues in Belgrade where she will meet with Serbia-Montenegro officials.
Responding to questions by reporters on the recent developments in the Cyprus issue, Mrs. Bakoyiannis said that she sees a positive prospect in them and taking the opportunity she wished quick recovery to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat who has health problems.