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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-04-04

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, April 4, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER RALLIES IN THESSALONIKI
  • [02] PASOK LEADER TO RALLY IN THESSALONIKI TODAY
  • [03] GERMAN PRESIDENT TO VISIT THESSALONIKI TOMORROW
  • [04] BALKAN AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE DEEMED A SUCCESS
  • [05] SERIES OF BLASTS ROCKS ATHENS, NO VICTIMS, NO SUSPECTS
  • [06] GERMAN PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN GREECE TODAY
  • [07] FOREIGN UNDERSECRETARY REFUTES PASSPORT REPORT
  • [08] UKRAINIAN WOMAN DIES FROM COLD WEATHER
  • [09] THE REGISTERED VOTERS IN GREECE ARE 8.976.135
  • [10] GREECE WILL BENEFIT FROM THE EU ENLARGEMENT
  • [11] THE MAIN POLITICAL PARTY RALLIES WILL BE BROADCAST ON MPA
  • [12] THE BIGGEST JACKPOT IN GREECE WAS WON IN THESSALONIKI'S REGENCY CASINO
  • [13] JOINT VENTURE BY THE GREEK MARINOPOULOS GROUP AND THE TURKISH FIBA
  • [14] THE GREEK BANKS WERE UPGRADED BY S&P
  • [15] MARGINAL GAINS OF 0.12% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [16] THE GERMAN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZED INDIRECTLY FOR THE NAZI ATROCITIES
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [17] U.S. AMBASSADOR: DIASPORA IS A BRIDGE OF FRIENDSHIP
  • [18] UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE EURO-ZONE WAS AT 9.5% IN FEBRUARY
  • [19] INTRACOM UNDERTOOK TO INSTALL THE CARD-PHONES IN SERBIA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER RALLIES IN THESSALONIKI

    Addressing a sea of supporters in Thessaloniki yesterday, the leader of the main opposition party, New Democracy's Costas Karamanlis, gave a rousing speech in the northern port city which has long been his party's bedrock.

    Mr. Karamanlis lashed against the ruling PASOK party, accusing the government of having resorted to artificial tension, fanaticism and polarization.

    Stressing that his party represents the "middle ground" of the political spectrum, Mr. Karamanlis stated that New Democracy expresses social solidarity and liberalism and is equipped with both will and power.

    Outlining New Democracy's priorities, the main opposition leader said that reforms in public administration are at the top of his party's list, along with freeing the market from the state's control.

    Mr. Karamanlis pledged that if his party wins Sunday's parliamentary elections, it will confront the problem of unemployment, stressing that the widening of inequalities and the growth of joblessness are Greek society's most serious problems.

    He also referred to his party's program for the health sector, which includes the fortification of the existing facilities, and to public safety, where he pledged hefty increases in policemen's salaries.

    [02] PASOK LEADER TO RALLY IN THESSALONIKI TODAY

    Five days before the country goes to the ballots, Prime Minister and ruling PASOK party leader Costas Simitis is to hold his election campaign rally in Thessaloniki's boardwalk near Aristotelous Square this evening.

    Expected to arrive at the "Macedonia Airport" this afternoon, Mr. Simitis will travel from his hotel to the rally's premises by boat, accompanied by a large delegation of party officials.

    In an address given in Athens yesterday, Mr. Simitis announced that the state will cover the social security withholdings for about 270,000 minimum-wage workers, prompting the leader of the General Confederation of Greek Laborers to state that this move "contributes to social cohesion and solidarity."

    [03] GERMAN PRESIDENT TO VISIT THESSALONIKI TOMORROW

    German President Johannes Rau is to visit Thessaloniki tomorrow, the last stop of his official, three-day visit to Greece, prior to departing for Turkey.

    Visiting at the invitation of the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Mr. Rau will meet with the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis and will also view the city's Archaeological Museum and the Protestant Community Center.

    President Rau will also visit Thessaloniki's German School.

    [04] BALKAN AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE DEEMED A SUCCESS

    A Balkan conference on agricultural research and development held in Thessaloniki over the weekend was deemed a success, developing the city into an inter-Balkan center of informatics and research on agricultural development issues.

    The conference, held on the initiative of the National Institute of Agricultural Research (ETHIAGE) and under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, featured the participation of representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, FYROM, Romania, Turkey and Greece.

    Among the decisions drawn during the Conference is the establishment of a Center of Informatics and Agricultural Research which will be headquartered in Thessaloniki, as well as a permanent committee containing representatives of the aforementioned countries.

    [05] SERIES OF BLASTS ROCKS ATHENS, NO VICTIMS, NO SUSPECTS

    Makeshift bombs exploded outside an electrical supplies store in Athens at 3.15 a.m. today, causing extensive material damages to cars parked near by, followed half an hour later by another blast when gas canisters exploded at the campaign headquarters of New Demopcracy deputy Marietta Yiannakou in the capital's suburb of Abelokipi.

    Earlier in the wee morning hours, another explosion took place in Perama, Athens, damaging parked vehicles.

    [06] GERMAN PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN GREECE TODAY

    Following his talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, visiting German President Johannes Rau stated today that "Turkey has to understand that the European Union is not only a market, it is also a community of principles."

    President Rau referred to Greek-German relations and stated that Bonn is Greece's largest investor, especially in the sector of tourism.

    In turn, Mr. Simitis stated that cooperation between the two countries has to be strengthened, while the unique characteristics of each EU member-state has to be respected.

    Presently on an official, three-day visit to Greece at the invitation of the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, will visit the town of Kalavryta in southern Greece and will lay a wreath at the monument of those who died during the German occupation of Greece. The German President will visit Thessaloniki tomorrow, the last day of his stay.

    [07] FOREIGN UNDERSECRETARY REFUTES PASSPORT REPORT

    Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Grigoris Niotis refuted a press report that claimed the state is granting passports to Russians in exchange of a vote for the ruling PASOK party.

    In a statement released by his office, Mr. Niotis stated that "during the course of 1996-98 the state proceeded to the nationalization of approximately 2,500 Greeks from Pontus (not Russians) from countries of the former Soviet Republic who live in Cyprus, following a strict adherence to the procedure.

    "The majority of them chose to register with municipalities in the prefectures of Macedonia-Thrace," he stated, adding that there are no more than 200 individuals who have the right to vote in Pireaus' B constituency."

    [08] UKRAINIAN WOMAN DIES FROM COLD WEATHER

    The body of a Ukrainian woman was found yesterday in the Belles mountain region of Serres, northern Greece, the victim apparently having succumbed to the region's low temperatures.

    According to the police report, 27-seven-year-old Mariza Stoukas is thought to have entered the country with other Ukrainian women last month.

    [09] THE REGISTERED VOTERS IN GREECE ARE 8.976.135

    Five days are left before the April 9 parliamentary elections in Greece. The polling stations will be open from 7am to 7pm on the election day.

    The registered voters are 8.976.135, of whom 4.593.955 are women and 4.382.180 are men. The first-time voters in those elections are 454.900, while the number of registered voters will be 63.234 more compared to the Euro-Parliament elections.

    The polling stations will be 18.959 and the voters will have to choose among 26 political parties.

    [10] GREECE WILL BENEFIT FROM THE EU ENLARGEMENT

    The EU enlargement will bring benefits to the Greek economy. According to a Greek national economy ministry report, the benefits beyond those which are purely political, concern the increase of trade transactions.

    Also, an expansion of the Greek investment activity is expected in the modernization of the banking sector, the taxation harmonization and the business activities in almost all the EU candidate states.

    [11] THE MAIN POLITICAL PARTY RALLIES WILL BE BROADCAST ON MPA

    Macedonian Press Agency broadcasts on the Internet, live and taped, the main political rallies of the five largest political parties at the address www.mpa.gr.

    The broadcast of the political rallies on the cyberspace started on Monday, April 3 with the main political rally of the Democratic and Social Movement in Athens and of New Democracy's in Thessaloniki and it will continue today with the political rallies of the Coalition of the Left in Athens and PASOK's in Thessaloniki.

    The broadcast will continue with the main political rallies of the Communist Party in Athens on April 5, of New Democracy in Athens on April 6 and of PASOK also in Athens on April 7.

    [12] THE BIGGEST JACKPOT IN GREECE WAS WON IN THESSALONIKI'S REGENCY CASINO

    A woman won the sum of 27.318.000 drachmas with just one move at the slot machines of Thessaloniki's Regency Casino.

    Menexia Karafotis won the biggest jackpot ever in Greece by betting on the casino's MEGAMANIA slot machines.

    [13] JOINT VENTURE BY THE GREEK MARINOPOULOS GROUP AND THE TURKISH FIBA

    An agreement, for the establishment of a joint venture that will be active in the sector of the retail trade in Romania, was signed by the Greek Marinopoulos Group and the Turkish company FIBA.

    The newly established joint venture company, in which the Greek group participates with 75% and the Turkish company with 25%, has undertaken action immediately and has already opened the ready-made clothes stores chain "Marks & Spencers" in Bucharest.

    The bilateral cooperation will proceed with other joint business moves in the Balkans mainly in the sectors of trade and distribution of food and other wide consumption products.

    [14] THE GREEK BANKS WERE UPGRADED BY S&P

    The increased confidence of the international investment circles in the capabilities of the Greek banking system and the prospects of the Greek economy was confirmed by the Standard & Poor's decision to upgrade the credit ability of the three biggest Greek banks namely, the National Bank of Greece, Credit Bank and Eurobank.

    The upgrading, according to the financial newspaper "Chrimatistirio", contributes to the improvement of the investment climate and adds "points" to the banking sector stocks in general. Based on the US brokerage house, the banking sector appears to be more dynamic reflecting the overall course of the Greek economy after its restructuring.

    According to stock market circles, the S&P move can boost the interest of the institutional portfolios in the bank blue chips which play a significant role in the formation of the general index in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [15] MARGINAL GAINS OF 0.12% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The Athens Stock Exchange had marginal gains of 0.12% today at 4.813,37 points, while the volume of transactions was over 138 billion drachmas compared to yesterday's 100 billion drachmas.

    Most of the pressure was exerted on the parallel market and its secondary index recorded losses.

    [16] THE GERMAN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZED INDIRECTLY FOR THE NAZI ATROCITIES

    German president Johannes Rau, who visited Kalavrita in southern Greece together with Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos and laid a wreath at the monument of the Greeks massacred in 1943, apologized indirectly for the atrocities committed by the Nazi forces in WWII.

    Mr. Rau stated characteristically that he feels deep sorrow and shame and added that only those who are aware of their past and accept it can find their way to a better future, while he thanked president Stephanopoulos and the mayor of Kalavrita for accompanying him to the place where they have also lost friends and relatives.

    From his side, Mr. Stephanopoulos raised the issue of the German war reparations pointing out that Mr. Rau as the president of the German federation did what his conscience told him to do but the German state can do more. Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that this way Germany will be able to balance the consequences of that horrible massacre and lessen its effects and the feelings that were caused which can not be compensated.

    Later, the presidents of Greece and Germany visited the village of the Agia Lavra Monastery and the events commemorating the anniversary of the holocaust were completed with a speech by the mayor of Kalavrita.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [17] U.S. AMBASSADOR: DIASPORA IS A BRIDGE OF FRIENDSHIP

    The Greek-American Community is a bridge of friendship that unites the United States with Greece, the U.S. Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns told the Macedonian Press Agency's correspondent during his visit to Boston, his hometown, where he officiated the Greek Independence Day parade on Sunday.

    Mr. Burns stated that, as his country's ambassador to Athens, "I feel that the Greek community is a bridge that unties the United States and Greece and I am very proud of that."

    Referring to the celebrations of Greece's national holiday, commemorating the country's liberation from the Turks in 1821, Mr. Burns stated that March 25 "is a day we Americans should remember and honor those fellow Americans who fought at the side of the Greeks for their independence."

    When asked to comment on Greece's imminent elections, the US diplomat stated that "I as Ambassador, and all foreigners residing in Greece, should remain neutral on this matter."

    [18] UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE EURO-ZONE WAS AT 9.5% IN FEBRUARY

    The unemployment rate was steady at 9.5% in the Euro-zone countries in the month of February compared to the revised unemployment percentage in January, according to the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat.

    Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in all EU member-states was at 8.8% in February, while last year the unemployment rate in all 15 EU member-states was at 10.3% and in the 11 Euro-zone countries was at 9.5%.

    Luxembourg had the smallest unemployment rate at 2.2%, followed by Holland at 2.7%, Austria 3.5% and Denmark 4.9%, while the biggest unemployment rate was recorded in Spain at 15.2%.

    [19] INTRACOM UNDERTOOK TO INSTALL THE CARD-PHONES IN SERBIA

    The Greek telecommunications company INTRACOM undertook to install the new card-phones in Serbia, according to "Telecom Srbija" general director Milos Nesovic, who stated to the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug that the Greek company's bid was the best that was submitted in an international competition.

    He said that the phone-card that will be used in the Serb public phones will be the same with that used in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus and after the necessary agreements are signed it will be possible to be used in the card-phones of the countries mentioned above as well.


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