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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-12-21\

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 21, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PARLIAMENT'S DEBATE ON 2000 BUDGET WRAPS UP AT MIDNIGHT
  • [02] GREEK FM SEES PROSPECTS FOR A VIABLE SOLUTION TO CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [03] PILOT PROGRAM TO MEASURE NOISE LEVELS IN THESSALONIKI
  • [04] THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSED UNDER THE 5.000 POINTS MARK
  • [05] THE STATE BUDGET DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT WILL BE COMPLETED AT MIDNIGHT
  • [06] THE CHRISTMAS TABLE WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE THIS YEAR
  • [07] REPPAS: THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY IS THE CONTINENTAL SHELF
  • [08] REPPAS: THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO SERVE ITS FULL FOUR-YEAR TERM
  • [09] CHILDREN FROM SERBIA AND KOSSOVO WILL SPEND THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS IN THESSALONIKI
  • [10] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS WILL INAUGURATE THESSALONIKI'S CONCERT HALL
  • [11] BSTDB FINANCED ITS FIRST PROJECT
  • [12] THE PROCEDURE FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF IMMIGRANTS WILL BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF MARCH
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [13] GREEK FM COMMENDS EXCELLENT LEVEL OF TIES WITH ALBANIA
  • [14] RUSSIA: COMMUNISTS EARN FIRST PLACE IN STATE DUMA ELECTIONS
  • [15] ALBANIAN PREMIER ILIR META ARRIVES IN ATHENS TOMORROW
  • [16] GREENPEACE PROTEST AGAINST THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE AKKUYIU NUCLEAR PLANT - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PARLIAMENT'S DEBATE ON 2000 BUDGET WRAPS UP AT MIDNIGHT

    The parliamentary debate on next year's budget is to wrap up at midnight tonight with an open vote.

    Addressing the Parliament yesterday, Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou stated that following the country's accession to the Economic and Monetary Union there is a long way to go in order to complete the transition to the modern era.

    Moreover, Mr. Papantoniou referred to income restructures and additional benefits to be allocated for farmers.

    [02] GREEK FM SEES PROSPECTS FOR A VIABLE SOLUTION TO CYPRUS ISSUE

    The developments in the issue of Cyprus' EU accession course and the talks between the two communities in the island, dominated in the meeting of the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus Giorgos Papandreou and Yiannakis Kasoulides held in Athens today.

    In statements he made, Mr. Kasoulides characterized as positive the Helsinki EU Summit decision and added that a solution in the Cyprus problem can be reached only based on the UN Security Council resolutions. As it was made known, Mr. Papandreou is expected to go to Nicosia in January.

    [03] PILOT PROGRAM TO MEASURE NOISE LEVELS IN THESSALONIKI

    A program measuring noise levels in the urban environment is to begin in Thessaloniki next month, funded jointly by the Ministry of Environment, City Planning and Public Works ministry and the European Union.

    The program, whose duration is two years, will measure noise pollution and suggest means of curbing the problem. Measurements will be taken on a 24-hour basis at six points around the city.

    [04] THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSED UNDER THE 5.000 POINTS MARK

    The Athens Stock Exchange closed under the psychological limit of 5.000 points. The general index closed at 4.967,23 recording losses of 1.34%, while the volume of transactions reached 248,5 billion drachmas.

    The losses were significant in the first minutes of the session reaching -2.75%. An intervention followed and brought the index to - 2.34% but this was not enough. The parallel market and the construction stocks had notable losses but the bank shares displayed a notable resistance.

    Only 25 shares had gains, 279 dropped and 26 remained stable. In the secondary indexes all shares recorded losses namely, the bank shares 0.54%, leasing 6.68%, insurance companies 1.83%, investment 3.92%, industries 3.92%, constructions 6.72%, holdings 2.33%, others 2.27% and parallel market 7.63%.

    [05] THE STATE BUDGET DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT WILL BE COMPLETED AT MIDNIGHT

    The 2000 state budget discussion will be completed in parliament at midnight. Speaking in parliament yesterday, minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou stated that there is still a long way for Greece after joining the EMU in order to complete the transition to the modern age.

    The issue of prosperity inside the EMU should make us think and not scare us, stressed Mr. Papantoniou who referred to a redistribution of income, while he also spoke of more benefits for the farmers.

    Meanwhile a political memorial service was held in parliament at noon today for parliament deputy Dimitris Tsetines. The funeral of the deputy, who was elected in the region of Rodopi and died yesterday while speaking in parliament, will be held in Komotini, north-eastern Greece.

    [06] THE CHRISTMAS TABLE WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE THIS YEAR

    The Christmas table will be more expensive this year as the prices of certain meats are increased by 10-20% compared to last year.

    The prices went up both in butcher shops and in the super markets, while many consumers in Thessaloniki appear to prefer the open air popular markets where the prices remain at last year's levels. The prices in Thessaloniki's main vegetable market are at 1998 levels or even lower while also tempting are the fruit prices. However, in spite of the "attractive" prices the consumer demand remains limited.

    [07] REPPAS: THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY IS THE CONTINENTAL SHELF

    Greece's firm position according to which, Athens recognizes only one difference with Turkey namely, that of the continental shelf in the Aegean was underlined by Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Mr. Reppas stated that if Turkey believes that it has other differences as well, then it should bring its case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

    Meanwhile, for the first time after the Helsinki EU Summit meeting, Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit has mentioned that there are more than one problems in the Aegean and in an interview with the Turkish newspaper "Sabah" he expressed optimism that the Greek-Turkish differences can be resolved before the year 2004 without the help of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou. speaking in parliament within the framework of the discussion on the 2000 state budget, stressed that the Helsinki EU Summit meeting decisions sent a optimistic message concerning stability in the region.

    [08] REPPAS: THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO SERVE ITS FULL FOUR-YEAR TERM

    The goal of the government is not to have elections on March 26, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterating that it wants to serve its full four-year term. Mr. Reppas also stressed that the government's goal is for the country to join the EMU and that there should be no developments that could block its course.

    Responding to the question if the government plans to change the 3% of the votes limit, necessary for a political party to be represented in parliament, he stated that the government is not considering to change the election law.

    [09] CHILDREN FROM SERBIA AND KOSSOVO WILL SPEND THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS IN THESSALONIKI

    Forty two children from Serbia will arrive in Thessaloniki tomorrow to spend the Christmas Holidays with the Greek families they had met during the civil war in former Yugoslavia. Together with the children from Serbia will also come 3 children from Kossovo.

    Their trip will start from Belgrade tonight and tomorrow morning they are expected to be at the Kalamaria City Hall where they will be welcomed by mayor Christodoulos Economidis.

    [10] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS WILL INAUGURATE THESSALONIKI'S CONCERT HALL

    Thessaloniki's Megaron Concert Hall will be formally inaugurated on January 2, 2000 by prime minister Kostas Simitis in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos. Also, present will be minister of culture Elisavet Papazoi and almost all her Balkan counterparts as well as representatives of the Greek political scene.

    The festive programme of the formal opening will continue on January 3 and Thessaloniki's Concert Hall will interrupt its operation until April or May in order to have the remaining construction works completed.

    [11] BSTDB FINANCED ITS FIRST PROJECT

    The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, BSTDB, undertook to finance the construction of a natural gas station in Ukraine with the sum of US$ 12 million inaugurating this way its credit and loan operations. The station that will be financed in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, is part of the Inter-Balkan natural gas pipeline.

    The project is expected to increase the capacity of the pipeline which links Russia with Turkey through Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania and Bulgaria.

    The construction of the natural gas compressor station has been undertaken by a joint venture made up of the Russian GAZPROM company, the Ukrainian NAFTOGAZ and the Turkish TRANSBALKAN and TURUSGAS.

    [12] THE PROCEDURE FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF IMMIGRANTS WILL BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF MARCH

    The issue of the legalization of immigrants, who live and work in Greece illegally, was brought up by minister of labor Miltiadis Papaioannou.

    Mr. Papaioannou pointed out that already 81.000 work and residence permits or "green cards" have been issued adding that other 140.000 will be issued soon.

    The labor minister also stressed that the procedure for the legalization of immigrants will be completed by the end of March, 2000.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [13] GREEK FM COMMENDS EXCELLENT LEVEL OF TIES WITH ALBANIA

    In an interview with the Albanian Telegraph Agency (ATA), Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou commended the excellent level of relations enjoyed by the two neighbors.

    Specifically, Mr. Papandreou referred to the fields where the bilateral cooperation is manifested, specifically referring to the aid granted by Greece for Albania's economic development and regional cooperation, especially during the Kosovo crisis.

    The Greek Foreign Minister relayed the Greek government's intent to continue to provide assistance to Tirana, by stating that Albanians "should be sure that Greece will help Albania become a part of the European family."

    Moreover, Mr. Papandreou stressed that Greece and Albania have common plans to develop, thereby implying that the Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta's visit to Athens today does not represent the first step in the good relations enjoyed by the two countries.

    The Foreign Minister referred to the legalization of Albanian immigrants in Greece and the granting of residence permits and citizenship, while he also outlined the assistance to be offered to them by the Greek state so that they may, in turn, assist their families back home with incomes earned in Greece.

    He further stated that Greece has granted $200 million worth of aid for Albania, adding that "now we are seeing how efficiently this aid has been used. The Greek investments will increase but this needs a climate of security," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Referring to Turkey's status as a European Union candidate country and Greece's welcoming of the European Council's relevant decision, Mr. Papandreou told the ATA that "we did this for the Turks, for ourselves and for the Balkans."

    "We should serve the stability in the Balkans which needs as many Balkan states in the European structures as possible".

    "Let us end conflicts and work together," Mr. Papandreou stated, adding "all in a Balkan family; and even with Yugoslavia, sooner or later."

    The Greek Foreign Minster stressed that the Balkan region is not divided in "pro and anti American", stating that this is merely an illusion.

    He referred to the recent visit conducted by US President Bill Clinton to Greece by stating that it was "very fruitful" for the country, especially for resolving the Cyprus issue.

    Regarding the Greek minority in Albania, Mr. Papandreou characterized its members a "force of relation between each other."

    Referring to Kosovo, the Foreign Minster said that "several projects are underway" concerning the region's economic recovery and the sector of education.

    The Greek government has earmarked over $70 million in aid of Kosovo. He hailed the initiative of Kosovo administrator Bernard Kouchner for the creation of the Executive Committee with Albanian leaders and said that "we have close relations with Albanian leaders".

    "We will be here forever, therefore we should live in peace and understanding with one another, with all ethnic groups," Mr. Papandreou said, speaking of the current situation in Kosovo.

    Referring to his meeting today with Premier Meta, Mr. Papandreou stated that he is happy to meet with the Albanian Prime Minister.

    The new generation of Albanian politicians to which the Premier also belongs, is welcomed by Greece, the Foreign Minister stated, adding that the young leadership of Albania symbolizes the "new generation of hope. We will help and cooperate closely."

    [14] RUSSIA: COMMUNISTS EARN FIRST PLACE IN STATE DUMA ELECTIONS

    With 84 percent of Sunday's State Duma ballot counted, the Communists earned first place with 24.2 percent, just ahead of the Unity bloc on 23.4 percent. The main anti-Kremlin Fatherland-All Russia (OVR) movement linking ex- premier Yevgeny Primakov and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov trailed in third place with 12.6 percent, in Russia's third general election since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    They were followed by the reformist Union of Rightist Forces (8.7 percent) and Yabloko (6.3 percent) groups. The ultra-nationalist but pro-Kremlin Zhirinovsky Bloc was the only other faction to clear the five-percent hurdle to make it into parliament's lower house, pulling 6.1 percent of the vote.

    [15] ALBANIAN PREMIER ILIR META ARRIVES IN ATHENS TOMORROW

    Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta will conduct an official visit to Athens tomorrow where he will hold talks with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis and the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The discussions will center on bilateral relations, regional political developments, Kosovo and the implementation of the SE Europe Stability Pact. Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with the head of the ethnic Greek organization of Albania 'Omonia' and the Albanian Human Rights Party leader, Vangelis Dulles and Vassili Melo, respectively, during talks in Athens.

    Their talks focusing mainly on human rights issues and on protection of the ethnic Greek community in the Albanian south.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that Athens supported the efforts of the Greek minority in Albania for economic growth and in the problems it faced.

    [16] GREENPEACE PROTEST AGAINST THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE AKKUYIU NUCLEAR PLANT

    About 15 activists members of the environmental organization GREENPEACE, who protested against the construction of the Akkuyiu nuclear plant, were arrested by the Turkish police according to the Turkish news agency ANADOLU.

    The protesters, members of the Turkish branch of the international ecological organization, chained themselves at the gate of the Turkish Atomic Energy Institute and a spokesman of them stressed that all nuclear reactors around the world are closing one after the other adding that the nuclear lobby has now set its eyes on Turkey.

    The Turkish government plans to build a nuclear plant next year in order to cover the increased energy needs in the country causing a wave of reactions in the neighboring countries and by environmentalists who maintain that the region has intense seismic activity and therefore, it would be dangerous to build a nuclear plant.

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