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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-12-16

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, December 16, 1999

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] FIERCE DEBATE IN PARLIAMENT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION
  • [02] CHEAPER LOANS RESULT FROM INTEREST RATE REDUCTION
  • [03] STUDENTS RALLY IN PROTEST TO EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM REFORM
  • [04] DECEMBER 31 A HOLIDAY THROUGHOUT ENTIRE FINANCIAL SECTOR
  • [05] CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON KIRTZALI- ALEXANDROUPOLIS ROAD AXIS
  • [06] WEAK AFTERSHOCK FELT IN ATHENS, MEASURES BELOW 3.5 RICHTER
  • [07] GREEK CONSTRUCTION FIRM EYES THREE NEW PROJECTS IN ROMANIA
  • [08] S.E. EUROPEAN INSTITUTES TO MEET IN THESSALONIKI TOMORROW
  • [09] BLACK THURSDAY FOR THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE - LOSSES OF 4.41%
  • [10] INCIDENTS IN THE STUDENT MARCH IN ATHENS
  • [11] MEETING ON THE SCHENGEN ACCORD
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [12] GREECE'S CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF CONDUCTS VISIT TO BUCHAREST
  • [13] BULGARIA PERTURBED OVER GREEK CLAIMS FOR RETURN OF RELICS
  • [14] CONFLICTING INFORMATION ON CHECHNYA
  • [15] THE OLIVE-TREE OF PEACE WAS PLANTED IN THE PRUSA PARK
  • [16] A BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGIST SUGGESTED TO THE BRITISH MUSEUM TO KEEP REPLICAS OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES
  • [17] THE NATIONAL DEFENSE GENERAL CHIEF OF STAFF VISITS BUCHAREST - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] FIERCE DEBATE IN PARLIAMENT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION

    A fierce debate erupted in last night's parliamentary session between the governing PASOK party and the state's opposition who crossed their swords on foreign policy issues.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed that Greece achieved all its targets at the European Union Summit conference in Helsinki and thus ensured its steady national interests.

    Main opposition party leader, New Democracy's Costas Karamanlis stated that the government has laid out a masterful set up in order to gloat over its success.

    Communist Party of Greece secretary general Aleka Paparega spoke of a "new world order", while the leader of the Coalition of the Left and Progress Nikos Constantopoulos stated that there is no time to waste. Also, the leader of the Democratic and Social Movement Dimitris Tsovolas said that "without a doubt, we gave Turkey what it had been coveting for decades."

    [02] CHEAPER LOANS RESULT FROM INTEREST RATE REDUCTION

    Following the decision drawn by the Bank of Greece to reduce interest rates by .75%, other banks have followed suit (National, Alpha Credit and Piraeus Group).

    While the rate reduction encourages those in need of a bank loan, as drops range between .25%-2%, others see their savings dwindle as interest has been reduced by .50%.

    According to the Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou, further reductions are to expected in the coming months.

    [03] STUDENTS RALLY IN PROTEST TO EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM REFORM

    Students in Thessaloniki, Athens and most of Greece's large cities, are to conduct rallies today in protest to the state's educational reform program.

    The Teachers Federation (OLME) and other associations have also declared a three-hour work stoppage in the morning session, to be followed by another stoppage in evening classes.

    [04] DECEMBER 31 A HOLIDAY THROUGHOUT ENTIRE FINANCIAL SECTOR

    December 31, 1999, will be a bank holiday for the Bank of Greece, the Athens Stock Exchange, the Central Values Repository, the Derivatives Bourse, the transactions Settlement Co., as well as the credit institutions and branch offices of foreign banks, businesses providing investment services, financing S.A. companies and mutual funds S.A. companies.

    The above decision will be regulated through a relevant amendment which has been tabled in Parliament to handle possible problems which could be created in Greece and abroad in electronic systems due to the so-called "millennium bug."

    [05] CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON KIRTZALI- ALEXANDROUPOLIS ROAD AXIS

    Construction has gotten underway on a new road axis connecting Bulgaria's Kirtzali with Greece's Alexandroupolis, a project expected to breath new air in Balkan transports,

    Bulgaria is reportedly ready to embark on the project's primary phase which is to be partially funded by the coming year's state budget.

    The project, budgeted at 26 millions euros, will be partially (6.5 million euros) subsidized by the Bulgarian state, according to Bulgaria's Foreign Investment Agency (BFIA).

    As the BFIA reported, the project aims at curbing traffic congestion to and from Bosporus and to propel both Bulgaria and Northern Greece' economic development.

    Three customs stations will be situated along the axis.

    [06] WEAK AFTERSHOCK FELT IN ATHENS, MEASURES BELOW 3.5 RICHTER

    A weak tremor was felt in Athens this morning, measuring less than 3.5 points on the Richter scale.

    According to the National Observatory of Athens, the quake's epicenter was located at Parnetha and falls within the natural aftershocks in the area.

    [07] GREEK CONSTRUCTION FIRM EYES THREE NEW PROJECTS IN ROMANIA

    One of northern Greece's largest construction firms, Themeliodomi, is closely eyeing its participation in three new Romanian projects through its subsidiary TEROM, set for the beginning of the year 2000.

    According to the Macedonian Press Agency's reports, the plans concern the construction of a road section and the undertaking of two other projects in the sectors of energy and biological purification. TEROM has already been chosen as the executor of two similar projects in Romania.

    Themeliodomi, whose affiliate is expected to operate in Albania within the following months, has already established and staffed a number of offices in Tirana.

    The company's chairwoman Theodora Tabakouli stated that Themeliodomi believes there are investment opportunities in Albania, especially in the real estate sector.

    [08] S.E. EUROPEAN INSTITUTES TO MEET IN THESSALONIKI TOMORROW

    The first meeting among the Institutes of Southeastern Europe is to be hosted by Thessaloniki tomorrow and Saturday, December 17- 18, aiming at the establishment of a permanent cooperation forum among the academic and research centers.

    The event will feature the participation of representatives from 30 S.E. European research centers and is taking place under the initiative of the Center of International and European Finance Law, the Institute of International Public Policy Law, the Institute of Balkan Peninsula Studies and the Center for the Study and Development of Greek Culture of the Black Sea.

    Among the keynote speakers on Saturday's session will be the Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou, Minister of Development Evangelos Venizelos, Minister of Macedonia- Thrace Yiannis Magriotis, the representative of the Republic of Cyprus, Ambassador S. Epaminondas, European Parliament Deputy Petros Efthimiou (PASOK) and the secretary-general of the Foreign Ministry's European Affairs Department Stellios Perrakis.

    [09] BLACK THURSDAY FOR THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE - LOSSES OF 4.41%

    The Athens Stock Exchange general price index had losses of 4.41% today. It closed at 5.192,7 and the volume of transactions once again was low at 202 billion drachmas.

    The general index drop has affected the secondary indexes as well in spite of the effort made by the Bank of Greece to stabilize it through the interest rates cuts announcement.

    Bank of Greece governor Loukas Papadimos in an interview with the newspaper Exousia mentions that a biggest interest rate cut would have been inconsistent with the government's anti- inflationary policy.

    He also points out that the losses recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange are not due to the disappointment of investors but they have to do with the liquidation of stocks by institutional investors and the lack of cash flow which is the result of the repeated increases in the capital share.

    [10] INCIDENTS IN THE STUDENT MARCH IN ATHENS

    Clashes were reported in Athens at noon today during the student march that was held in the Greek capital. The violent incidents erupted when individuals outside the student community tried to infiltrate their march held to demonstrate against the education reforms imposed by the government.

    Similar student mobilizations without incidents were held in Thessaloniki, Volos and other cities. The students, however, are determined to continue the occupation of school buildings and their mobilizations after the Christmas Holidays.

    [11] MEETING ON THE SCHENGEN ACCORD

    Issues concerning the implementation of the Schengen accord by Greece were discussed in a meeting held in Athens this morning under deputy foreign minister Christos Rokofillos with the participation of the general secretaries of the responsible ministries.

    In statements he made, Mr. Rokofillos pointed out that Greece is incorporated into Europe in a very sensitive sector on issues concerning the freedoms and the security of the people, adding that it is a significant progress which is in step with the positive developments that have to do with Greece's joining the EMU and the Helsinki EU decisions.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [12] GREECE'S CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF CONDUCTS VISIT TO BUCHAREST

    Greece's chief of the general staff Manousos Parayiouthakis, presently on an official visit to Bucharest, and Romania's Lt. General Constantin Degeratu confirmed the two countries' contribution to stability in Southeastern Europe.

    In a joint press conference, the Lt. General stated that both Greece and Romania are two key countries in the region and can contribute significantly to the region's security.

    In turn, Mr. Parayiouthakis referred to his Romanian counterpart's achievements regarding the re-organization of Romania's armed forces and the country's accession to NATO.

    According to local press reports, the two armed forces leaders confirmed the existence of a program calling for a multi-national corps whose mission will be the safeguarding of peace and the intervention in cases of conflict or natural-industrial disasters.

    [13] BULGARIA PERTURBED OVER GREEK CLAIMS FOR RETURN OF RELICS

    Greece's claims for the return of relics stolen by Bulgarians from Greek monasteries in Macedonia during the course of World War - and which are now being kept at Sofia's National History Museum -, have apparently caused an uproar in Bulgaria which staunchly maintains that the said goods have now become Bulgarian.

    Numerous press reports referred to the matter, with the Sofia daily "Standard" running an article titled "The Greeks want Bulgarian Church Relics".

    While the paper quotes Greek professor George Papazoglou, who has spearheaded the efforts for the location and return of the relics and has revealed that they are being presented as Bulgarian in various exhibitions abroad, it also adds the view of Sofia's National History Museum director Bozidar Dimitrov.

    "Greece has no legal right to claim the relics from Bulgaria," Mr. Dimitrov stated, adding that "this is well known among Greek politicians, which is why they have never asked for their return through diplomatic means."

    Moreover, Mr. Dimitrov stated that according to International Law, the relics have been Bulgarian property since 1925 and added that clause No. 126 of the Neilly Accord called for a time frame within which Bulgaria was to return some of these relics. The Museum's director stated that in 1925 Bulgaria returned to Greece about 200 relics "taken from the region of Thrace, which, prior to WWI, belonged to Bulgaria."

    [14] CONFLICTING INFORMATION ON CHECHNYA

    There is conflicting information on the situation in Chechnya. Russian defense minister, general Sergeyev denied that the Russian forces have entered the capital Grozny, as it was reported by the international news agencies. The Russian general allegedly had stated that Grozny will never be bombed or hit by heavy artillery.

    However, based on the western mass media reports the Russians have launched a strong attack on the Chechen capital this morning using armored tanks and artillery.

    [15] THE OLIVE-TREE OF PEACE WAS PLANTED IN THE PRUSA PARK

    The olive-tree of peace that was offered by Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis to his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit after the Helsinki EU Summit has already been planted in a park in the city of Prusa, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, which also mentions that Mr. Ecevit picked this city to thank its mayor Erdogan Bilginer who was the first to congratulate him upon his return from Helsinki.

    The newspaper also points out that the Prusa municipal symphony orchestra and the orchestra of Uluntag University together with the Greek State Orchestra had given a concert last October and had performed Bulent Ecevit's poem "Blue Magic" which was set to music and one of its verses goes like this: "when someone lives in foreign lands realizes that he and the Greek are brothers". The concert according to the newspaper, will be repeated in Ankara and Thessaloniki in the following days.

    [16] A BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGIST SUGGESTED TO THE BRITISH MUSEUM TO KEEP REPLICAS OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES

    Well-known archaeologist John Larson suggested to the British Museum to make replicas of the Parthenon Marbles and then return half of the originals to Greece. He also suggested that an agreement must be reached between the two countries based on which they will borrow from each other the Parthenon Marbles every 30 years.

    Mr. Larson, who is a representative of the British Archaeological Society, made this proposal in a conference on the Parthenon Marbles held recently in London in an effort to contribute to putting an end to the fruitless discussions on the issue. The British archaeologist maintains that it is not a crime to make replicas of the Parthenon Marbles with the help of high technology in order to replace the originals and protect them this way from possible damage.

    [17] THE NATIONAL DEFENSE GENERAL CHIEF OF STAFF VISITS BUCHAREST

    Romania and Greece are two key-countries for stability in south-eastern Europe and both have contributed and can continue to contribute considerably to the efforts for the security in the region, stated lieutenant-general Konstantin Detzeratu in a press conference he gave on the occasion of the visit to Romania by Greek national defense general chief of staff Manousos Paragioudakis.

    Mr. Paragioudakis from his side underlined the efforts and the successes of lieutenant- general Detzeratu concerning the reorganization of the Romanian army and the achievement of strategic goals such as the country's accession into NATO.

    According to the newspaper Curierul National, the two generals confirmed the existence of a programme for the creation of a multi-national unit with a mission to preserve peace and offer assistance in cases of natural disasters. It was also announced that they also drew up a programme with 150 activities that will be held jointly by the armed forces of the two countries in the year 2000.

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