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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-05-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
Last Update: 23:27 GMT+2
NEWS IN DETAIL
 COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE HOSTS INT/L CONFERENCE IN ATHENS
Web Posted: 20:57 GMT+2Athens, 24/05/1998 (Mđ┼) Marking the eightieth year since its founding and the 150 anniversary since the publication of the Communist Manifesto, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) wrapped up today its three-day international conference which featured the participation of 60 communist and workers' parties from 50 countries.
The meeting focused on the better coordination and development of common action, aimed at "processing a common strategy against imperialism."
The meeting's agenda included developments in the European Union, the role of the West European Union and NATO and the role played by various organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Communist parties from India to Israel to Australia gathered and called on workers of the 1990s to unite against the new forms of their suppression, be it multinational monopolies or the expansion of NATO.
The conference was held at the House of the People, the Perissos
headquarters of KKE.
Among the parties attending the international conference were the Communist Party of the United States, the Communist party of Japan, The Workers Party of Belgium and the South African Communist Party.
Specifically, 13 parties from western Europe attended, along with 12 from the Far and Near East, 12 from the former Soviet Republic, eight from eastern Europe and the Balkans, seven from Asia and Australia, four from Africa, three from north America and one from Latin America.
Greece's party is among the strongest in western Europe and has organised two international meetings, in 1996 and 1997. It is the third strongest party in Greece, gaining 5.6 percent of the vote and 11 seats in the September 1996 general elections, and has a large youth division.
The conference was entertained by the state TV and Radio (ERT) Orchestra and the program included music by Miki Theodorakis.
 DEFENSE MINISTER IN THESSALONIKI TO COMMEMORATE BATTLE OF CRETE
Web Posted: 20:12 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 24/05/1998 (MPA) Commemorating the 57th anniversary since the Battle of Crete, Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos gave an address in Thessaloniki this morning where he saluted the veterans who fought in one of the bloodiest fights of WWII.
Similar events were held in Athens, where wreaths were laid at the tomb of the unknown soldier and Prime Minister Kostas Simitis honored in his speech those who lost their lives at the battle.
The General Governor of New Zealand Michael Hart, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and British Prime Minister Tony Blair also forwarded written messages to be conveyed at the ceremony.
On 20 May 1941, Germany dropped parachutists over the island, which it wanted to use as an airbase in the Mediterranean. Cretans and allied forces from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Greece successfully fought back during the first two days until German troops overran the island's Maleme airfield, near Chania.
Today, buried at the island are 862 British, 446 New Zealanders, 197 Australians, nine South Africans, five Canadians and an Indian who died on Crete, while 4,465 young German paratroopers are buried at the Maleme war cemetery.
 GREEK, BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN THESSALONIKI
Web Posted: 19:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 24/05/1998 (MPA) ┬ulgaria's Foreign Minister Nadia Michailova, in Thessaloniki to inaugurate the Bulgarian consulate's new building, met with her Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos.
During their talks, Mr. Pangalos repeated Greece's policy of aiding entry for Bulgaria into the European Union and NATO, saying political and economic cooperation between the two countries was good.
In turn, Ms. Michailova said inauguration of the new consular premises symbolized healthy ties and cooperation between the two countries.
The two officials also discussed the project currently under construction, that is a new road between northern Greece and Bulgaria which will aid the movement of goods and passengers. According to Mr. Pangalos, the project may be completed in a year.
A total of three new highways are to be built to improve transport between the two countries, in turning opening access to
 BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN THESSALONIKI
Web Posted: 19:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 24/05/1998 (MPA) Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nadejda Michailova visited Thessaloniki today in order to inaugurate the new building of the Bulgarian consulate.
During her brief visit, she met with Greek foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos with whom she discussed matters of bilateral interest, as well as the recent developments in the Balkan region, specifically Kossovo. It should be noted that the ties between the two countries are excellent, and that Greece gives its steadfast support to Bulgaria's wish to enter NATO and the European Union.
 GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON COMMENTS ON POLICE RAID
Web Posted: 19:57 GMT+2Athens, 24/05/1998 (MPA) Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, speaking on this morning's police raid at Ionian Bank's computer center, said that the government would use any legal means at its disposal to normalize operations at Ionian Bank.
"The government feels a commitment towards the public and towards Ionian's customers, and will ensure smooth operations (at the bank) using all legal means, which is what it is already doing," Reppas said. Ionian's unions launched an indefinite strike 12 days ago in opposition to government plans to privatize the bank and demand the cancellation of the bank's sale. The Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions (¤ď¤┼) also launched a series of rolling strikes at other banks in support of Ionian's unions.
 SWAT TEAMS RAID IONIAN BANK'S COMPUTER CENTER
Web Posted: 19:57 GMT+2Athens, 24/05/1998 (MPA) Greek SWAT teams raided Ionian Bank's computer headquarters in Piraeus this morning, arresting two of Ionian Bank's striking employees and putting an end to the workers' occupation that had paralyzed operations at the bank by freezing on-line systems and halting rendering ATM transactions inoperable. The two workers were later released.
Ionian Bank staff have been on an indefinite strike for two weeks in protest at the government's decision to sell the bank.
In a reaction to the police raid, the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), the Federation of Bank Employee Unions and the Athens and Piraeus Labor Centers have called a snap 24-hour strike at all banks tomorrow.
Trade unionists called on the public order ministry to remove police from the site or "face a situation which might be uncontrollable."
Meanwhile, Ionian's management last week decided to initiate legal proceedings against the bank's unions in an attempt to put an end to the strike.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO US, CANADA
Web Posted: 20:12 GMT+2Ottawa, 24/05/1998 (MPA) The Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos is currently on an official visit to the United States where he assisted at a service at the Greek Orthodox church of the Holy Trinity in Bridgeport, Connecticut this morning. and Canada.
Tomorrow, the Patriarch will visit Yale University which will bestow upon him an honorary doctorate degree. He will then travel to Ottawa, Canada, where he will be received by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Mr. Vartholomeos will also visit the cities of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. This is the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch visits Canada.
 US PRESIDENT CLINTON CONDEMNS TURKEY OVER MISSING PERSONS
Web Posted: 19:57 GMT+2Washington, 24/05/1998 (MPA) In his report submitted to the relevant congressional committee, US President Bill Clinton has stated that the Turkish occupational forces in Cyprus are responsible for the death of five US citizens during the invasion of the island in 1974.
However, the relatives of the 1,619 missing persons since the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974 state that the US president's statement does not concern all of the missing individuals and demand that the investigation continue.
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