|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-12-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 All Orthodox leaders call for unity of Christendom and mankind
ISTANBUL, 27/12/2000 (ANA A. Kourkoulas)The leaders of all Orthodox Churches held a liturgy service in the ruins of the Agia Sofia temple, officiated by the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Vartholomeos on Tuesday at Nice, Turkey, celebrating the closing of the second millennium since the birth of Christ.
In a joint declaration, signed during their third meeting in Istanbul and read at the end of the liturgy, the leaders called for unity of all Christian Churches as well as unity of all people quoting the New Testament verse there is no man or woman, no Jew or Gentile, no lord or slave.
In the same message, read from the temple - turned to museum - where the first and seventh Ecumenical Synods of Christianity took place, they condemned nationalist tendencies that have plagued the Orthodox Churches from time to time.
The local Autocephalus Churches should not be the executors of nationalist and racial tendencies, they stressed in their message, adding that the local churches can not be promoting national identities.
On Monday, Christmas Day of the year 2000 Vartholomeos officiated at a Christmas service in Istanbul which was attended by Orthodox Patriarchs, Archbishops and prelates of Autocephalus Churches and representatives of other Christian non-Orthodox Churches.
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis, representing Greece, attended the service at the Patriarchates seat in Istanbuls Fanar district.
The meeting of Orthodox Patriarchs and prelates of Autocephalus Churches begun in earnest on Sunday to celebrate the close of the Second Millennium since the birth of Christ and subsequently of the Church. Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos headed the celebrations and was presiding over the Patriarchs' meetings, focused on the spirit of love and unity prevailing in the Orthodox Christian Churches two thousand years after their establishment.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America Dimitrios along with another five religious leaders of the United States addressed the United Nations General Assembly calling for the protection of people from the civil wars around the world, that are based on religious intolerance.
 Bank of Greece announces final interest rate cut
Athens, 27/12/2000 (ANA)The Bank of Greece (BoG), the country's central bank, is to lower its key short-term intervention rates by 1.0 percentage point this week as the final step in a long-term monetary alignment plan before the country's entry into the euro zone on January 1, 2001.
The decline, expected to be announced Wednesday, will bring drachma rates to the same level as their euro-zone equivalents. The central bank's base rate currently stands at 5.75 percent, compared with 4.75 percent in the euro-zone.
The central bank's monetary council met last Tuesday but did not announce a rate decline, as anticipated.
The bank's key short-term intervention rates are currently as follows:
After the BoG announcement, commercial banks are expected to proceed with interest rate cuts.
 National economy minister calls for speedy structural changes
Athens, 27/12/2000 (ANA)National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that the structural changes of the Greek economy would take place within 2001, in an interview to the Athens Sunday edition of "To Vima".
Papantoniou called for "unity and solidarity" in the ruling PASOK party, saying that lack of such a base within the party "delayed the government's work to a small degree for the time being".
He added that the ruling party would win the next election if it united in purpose and pushed forward with changes demanded by society.
"PASOK can provide solutions for the great social problems...for education, health, employment, public administration," he said, adding that this should be the platform the ruling party should run its next pre-election campaign on.
 Cyprus Airlines studies possibility of majority stake purchase in Olympic Airways
Athens, 27/12/2000 (ANA)Cyprus Airlines officials on Saturday said that the island republic's air carrier was considering the purchase of a majority stake in Greece's national carrier Olympic Airways, which will soon be sold to private interests, following a relevant government decision.
Cyprus Airlines President Haris Loizides said that his airline would study the case closely before submitting a non-biding offer, which will be supported by the Cyprus government.
 Largest petrified tree trunk in the world unearthed on Mytilene
Athens, 27/12/2000 (ANA)The largest petrified tree trunk in the world has been unearthed on Mytilene near the island's famous Petrified Forest outside the town of Sigri, local officials announced Tuesday.
The trunk, measuring 13.7 meters in perimeter and 3.70 meters in diameter, was unearthed some 800 meters outside Sigri during excavations on a 70-stremma stretch of land recently turned over by the agriculture ministry to the town's Museum of Natural History, which houses numerous smaller finds from the Petrified Forest.
The gigantic petrified trunk was found on the Plaka peninsula, which is strewn with large petrified trunks, one of which stands 14 meters off the coast, in the sea.
The expanse of land was given to the Museum for the purpose of creating a Geo-Park where the petrified remains of trees unearthed there would be exhibited.
 Italian Mafia kingpin to appear before Thessaloniki court
Athens, 27/12/2000 (ANA)Italy's most wanted smuggling ring suspect was due to appear before a Thessaloniki court on Tuesday, on charges of criminal possession of forged state documents, following his arrest by Greek police on Friday.
Francesco Prudentino, 52, is allegedly an Italian mob kingpin accused of directing a cigarette smuggling ring across southeastern Europe, stretching from Italy to Bulgaria.
He is thought to be a member of the infamous Mafia organization Sacra Corona Unita and is wanted in many European states for murder and smuggling of guns and cigarettes, as well as other criminal activities.
Processes for his extradition to Italy have already been activated.
 Suspect parcel forces Alitalia airliner to land in Athens
CAIRO, 27/12/2000 (ANA)An Alitalia airliner on a flight from Milan to Cairo was forced late Saturday night to land at Athens airport after a suspect parcel was discovered on board, sources at Cairo and Athens airports announced on Sunday.
The aircraft was forced to land at Athens Airport in order for the necessary security check to be conducted after an Egyptian passenger admitted that she had accepted to carry a parcel given to her by an unknown man at Milan airport, without her knowing what it contained.
When the parcel was opened it was found to contain children's toys.
The plane arrived in Cairo after a four-hour delay where it was ascertained that the unknown man had traveled on another flight.
Alitalia's offices in Athens refused to make any comment.
 Christmas party for Balkan refugee children
Athens, 27/12/2000 (ANA)The "Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean" group hosted a party on Christmas Eve for about 100 children of economic refugees from the Balkans and former countries of the Soviet Union on the eastern Aegean island of Mytilene.
During the festivities, held under the aegis of the Municipality of Mytilene, the children presented Christmas customs and carols from Albania, Ukraine and Moldova, as well as individual talent displays ranging from flute-playing to magic tricks.
 Mediterranean Youth conference begins in Greece
Athens, 27/12/2000 (ANA)Sixty youths from Greece, Italy, Spain, Lebanon and Tunis are participating in the international meeting of Mediterranean youths, sponsored by the European Commission's "Youth Program" taking place in Elassona, north central Greece from Dec. 22 to 29.
The events for the international meeting were organized by the Greece based European Cultural Organization for Social Education, the Italian Specimen, the Spanish Arcadia, the Union of Lebanese Democratic Youth and the Tunisian El Taller.