|Monday, 24 February 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-03-13
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 RAINFALL AND FLOODSEvros, 13 March 2006 (12:57 UTC+2)
A state of emergency is in effect in the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, northeast Greece, as the water flow from the Bulgarian side of the borders has increased considerably raising the Evros River water level.
A similar problem is faced by Turkey after a levee breached at the village of Tychero.
Serious problems have been caused by the intense rainfall of the past few hours in the province of Radevo in Bulgaria where the state mechanism has been mobilized to avert flooding.
Extensive damages have been caused in the provincial road network while the Civil Protection Agency employees try to fix the problems in the local drainage system.
The region will visit Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Kalantzis to coordinate the efforts aimed at dealing with the problems.
 PRESIDENT PAPOULIAS IN LIBYATripoli, 13 March 2006 (13:14 UTC+2)
Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias is on a visit to Libya today and tomorrow at the invitation of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi.
President Papoulias is accompanied by Minister of Culture Giorgos Voulgarakis, Deputy Foreign Ministers Yiannis Valinakis and Evripidis Stylianidis and Deputy Minister of Finance Petros Doukas.
The visit's itinerary includes meetings of the Greek delegation with Mr. Qaddafi and the Libyan Prime Minister.
 GIORGOS BIZOS' ODYSSEY TO FREEDOMThessaloniki, 13 March 2006 (16:28 UTC+2)
A leading figure of Hellenism in South Africa, lawyer Giorgos Bizos who became known around the world as Nelson Mandela's defense attorney in the Rivonia Trial (1963-1964), is honored by the Prefecture of Athens today and will be awarded the title Ambassador of Hellenism.
I have always felt deep inside that some day things will change, told ANA-MPA from Johannesburg the 78-yearold Giorgos Bizos, whom Mandela calls his brother.
This is one among the many distinctions received by Mr. Bizos, the Greek who stood up against apartheid. In 2001, he was awarded the International Trial Lawyer Prize of the year by the Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Mr. Bizos speaks with love about Mandela with whom he meets in every chance they get and stresses that he cannot imagine South Africa without him.
He said that he thinks himself as being very lucky for meeting Mandela, stressing that his influence over him was immense. Mandela used to tell us that it would have been easier to learn how to love and that nobody is born a racist. Even now that he can hardly walk he does not abandon his people. He only wants people, both natives and whites, to think of him as a servant of the people. What has impressed me most is that he knows how to forgive, said Mr. Bizos.
The discussions he has with Mr. Mandela always focus on today's situation in South Africa where progress is being made in many sectors but not in the desired pace. He stresses that it is not easy to change the status quo of four centuries in just a few years. An estimated 80% of the real estate still belongs to the whites. We still face the problems of unemployment, housing, medical care, inequality, and the government tries to improve the situation, he added.
Mr. Bizos notes with satisfaction that 20% of the state budget is invested in education, and personal income has increased 6%, while new job positions are being created. New houses are being built for the people living in the city slums while the universities are open for everybody, and crime rate has dropped 30%. He noted that the people of South Africa know that no other party than the African National Congress can solve the problems.
After the fall of Apartheid, Mr. Bizos became head of the Constitutional Committee drawing up the new Constitution of South Africa but he did not want to take over a government position in the Mandela government. Since 1991, he is the soul of the Legal Resource Center, a law office funded mainly by international institutions that represents pro bono cases of human rights violations.
In 1974, he helped establish the Saheti School, the first non-exclusionist school in South Africa even during the heart of apartheid.
His autobiography Odyssey to Freedom is soon to be completed. In it, he describes his personal odyssey beginning in 1941 when at the age of 13 he left Vasilitsi, Messinia in Peloponnesus, south Greece, on a boat together with his father, who was the local mayor, to help 7 New Zealand soldiers escape to Crete. Instead, they arrived in Alexandria, Egypt on board a British ship that picked them up from the sea during a heavy storm and from there he went on to South Africa where he linked his life with the fate of the people of this country.
According to Mr. Bizos, instead of an epilogue to his book he chose to use Cavafy's Ithaca saying characteristically that all the Greeks of the Diaspora carry inside them two homelands without being able to tell which one they love most.
 BABIES FOR 3,000 EUROS...Lamia, 13 March 2006 (13:53 UTC+2)
The Lamia city police are investigating a major baby trade network spreading across Greece.
During a police raid, four women, ages 20-28, in the last months of their pregnancy were discovered in a slum apartment located at the centre of the city of Lamia, central Greece.
They had been locked in the apartment by two Bulgarian brothers and a female friend of them and they were supposed to stay inside until they gave birth.
A 35-yearold man was arrested in the raid while his brother and a woman are wanted by the police.
According to police, the network members spotted young females in Bulgaria who were unable to pay back their debts. They offered credit cards or loans to them and after being unable to pay off their debts they were forced to become pregnant and were brought legally to Greece where the network had set up a baby trade mechanism selling babies to childless Greek couples.
According to the testimonies given so far to police, the women were going to give birth in the Lamia Hospital. After handing over their babies to the network members they were going to receive the sum of 3,000 euros each.
 STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED ALONG EVROS RIVERAlexandroupolis, 13 March 2006 (18:27 UTC+2)
A state of emergency was declared in the prefecture of Evros, northeast Greece, by the Civil Protection Agency to deal with the floods in the wider Evros River region.
Levees breached in many areas and floodwaters have covered more than 20,000 hectares of arable land.
The Soufli-Dikei railway service was interrupted when rail tracks were covered by waters and passengers boarded Hellenic Railways Organization, OSE, buses to reach their destinations.
The responsible agencies of the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and the prefecture of Evros are in a state of heightened alert because the Evros River water level is expected to rise even more in the next 48 hours as Ardas River is expected to receive more waters due to the overflow of dams in Bulgaria.
At Pithion water level monitoring station at 2 pm today, the Evros River water level was 6.33m with alarm level being at 5.70m while in Ardas River water level was 5.90m with alarm level at 5.20m.
Local Evros authorities are in constant contact and cooperation with the Bulgarian side to handle the situation.
Army and fire department rescue teams are in a state of alert in case local population will have to be evacuated.