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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-04-07

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 7, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] CLIFFHANGER ELECTIONS: MOMENT OF TRUTH APPROACHES
  • [02] EIGHT BURNED IN CAR ACCIDENT, 3 BABIES AMONG VICTIMS
  • [03] RULING PARTY HOLDS ITS LAST CAMPAIGN RALLY TODAY
  • [04] MAIN OPPOSITION CONLUDES ELECTION CAMPAIGN
  • [05] HIGHWAY PATROL TO TAKE EMERGENCY MEASURES
  • [06] PM: OUR POLICY ON BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION AND FYROM
  • [07] ND DEPUTY BAKOYANNI OUTLINES PARTY POLICY TO MPA
  • [08] EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT MEETS IN ATHENS
  • [09] THE MOST FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAMS FOR THE POLITICAL PARTY CANDIDATES
  • [10] "THESSALONIKI-SKOPJE, TWO HOURS TOGETHER" ON TELEVISION
  • [11] IMPRESSIVE RISE IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [12] INFLATION WAS AT 3.1% IN MARCH
  • [13] MPA WILL PRESENT THE ELECTION RESULTS ON THE INTERNET
  • [14] A SERIOUSLY INJURED 9YEAROLD BOY FROM ALBANIA WAS TRANSFERRED TO A THESSALONIKI HOSPITAL
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] SAE PRESIDENT ANDREW ATHENS VISITS KIEV
  • [16] HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MANY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
  • [17] INABILITY TO EFFECTIVELY GUARD THE BORDERS WAS ADMITTED BY THE ALBANIANS
  • [18] GREECE AND TURKEY WILL TAKE PART IN A NATO MILITARY EXERCISE

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] CLIFFHANGER ELECTIONS: MOMENT OF TRUTH APPROACHES

    Greece's 8.5 million registered voters go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new government, with the ruling Socialists (PASOK) running neck and neck with conservative New Democracy as both battle to sway the high number of undecided voters.

    Prime Minister and PASOK party leader Costas Simitis is confident of a socialist victory, while Costas Karamanlis, New Democracy leader is also certain that his party will emerge the winner.

    With political parties wrapping up their campaigns today, these national elections appear to have no clear favorite.

    Elections in Greece are held officially every four years, with Universal suffrage at age 18 and compulsory. Polls are to open at sunrise and close at sunset.

    Reinforced proportional representation gives the first party bonus seats, ensuring that it gets a solid parliamentary majority even if it wins by a slim margin. Parties must receive at least three percent of the vote to get into parliament.

    Parties slates in each district include candidates equal to the number of seats to be filled in the constituency. Voters choose candidates by placing a cross next to their names in black or blue ink. Ballots marked with more crosses than allowed are not invalid but are considered as a vote for the party.

    [02] EIGHT BURNED IN CAR ACCIDENT, 3 BABIES AMONG VICTIMS

    Eight persons lost their lives early this morning, among them three children, when a passenger vehicle collided with a lorry on the national highway Antirio-Ioannina.

    According to the highway patrol, the accident occurred at 3 a.m. when the car attempted to veer onto the highway and ran into the lorry's gas tank. Then victims, trapped in the car, burned to death from the ensuing fire.

    [03] RULING PARTY HOLDS ITS LAST CAMPAIGN RALLY TODAY

    Prime Minister and ruling PASOK party leader Costas Simitis stressed his commitment to the development of rural areas and the support of the income and pensions of farmers, during a campaign rally in the Peloponnesian city of Pyrgos yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis, whose roots hold from Pyrgos, lashed against the main opposition party of New Democracy, accusing it of handing out empty promises.

    "Unlike New Democracy, PASOK knows the problems of the people," the Premier stated, vowing to personally undertake the necessary restructuring of the public sector and health sectors, education and services.

    The PASOK leader will give his last campaign rally before Sunday's elections in Athens this evening.

    [04] MAIN OPPOSITION CONLUDES ELECTION CAMPAIGN

    The leader of the conservative main opposition of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis concluded his campaign for Sunday's general election yesterday, with an address at the Athens Olympic Stadium.

    Mr. Karamanlis asked his party's supporters to "lower the party flags and hoist high the flag of Greece."

    He also stated that this is not the time for rejoicing, it is a time for recollection and responsibility.

    "New Democracy does not distinguish between Greeks, its sole criterion is competence and honesty," he added.

    [05] HIGHWAY PATROL TO TAKE EMERGENCY MEASURES

    The highway patrol is to take emergency measures this weekend in an effort to lessen traffic jams, as more than a million voters are expected to travel to their hometowns, where they are registered, in order to vote on Sunday.

    One of the measures is the allocation of an extra lane on Friday afternoon for traffic heading out of the capital on the Athens-Corinth highway, which will also be in effect on Saturday.

    The said measures will be implemented in reverse for traffic returning to the capital on Sunday afternoon.

    Police will assist traffic at various main junctions of the highways while toll booths will be closed throughout the weekend.

    [06] PM: OUR POLICY ON BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION AND FYROM

    Greece's role in the Balkan region and the country's ability to guarantee FYROM's European orientation, were the key topics Prime Minister Costas Simitis expounded upon during an interview with the Athens daily "Ta Nea".

    According to Mr. Simitis, Greece constitutes an "oasis of peace" in the region, and, referring to the bombing of Yugoslavia, the country was the precursor of reason, both within the European Union and NATO.

    "We had supported that the bombing and war in Yugoslavia could not resolve problems; on the contrary, they would deepen the crisis and deadlock. We opted to seek a resolution through political and diplomatic means which would ensure all the principles pertaining to the respect of human minority rights, the inviolability of borders and the territorial sovereignty of the region's states.

    "Within that framework, we undertook initiatives, participated on all the sessions that led to the adoption of the UN Security Council's Resolution 1244; we established Greece as a force of peace, security and stability in the Balkans, we pioneered in the humanitarian effort to address the refugee problem."

    According to the Premier, "the Balkans will emerge from the prolonged crisis only through the establishment of International Law principles -this is a clear message that should be forward to all the protagonists - and, concurrently, with the international community's input to the reconstruction and economic development."

    As for Greece's role in the reconstruction of the Balkans, Mr. Simitis outlined that the country has a national, five-year action plan for the reconstruction and cooperation of the Balkan countries, amounting to $600 million, which will contribute to the funding of significant infrastructure projects.

    " During the recently-held informal European Council in Lisbon, I pointed out to my European counterparts the need for a complete EU strategy for the Balkans. This initiative paved the way for discussion within the Council, in regards to the policy the EU should follow, in a coordinated and productive manner," he stated.

    Regarding Greece's relations with FYROM and the name issue, the Greek Premier stated that the said matter "is the only pending issue in our relations with FYROM." Nevertheless, he added, "this has not stopped us from developing bilateral relations in all sectors."

    The Prime Minister pointed to the sizeable increase of Greek investments in the neighboring country, which attests to the fact that "the period of tension has been left behind and we have entered a new era of cooperation and development in our bilateral relations."

    Mr. Simitis stressed that the name issue continues to be negotiated under the United Nations auspices, aiming at the discovery of a mutually-acceptable solution.

    "I would like to remind that it was the PASOK government which put an end to the strained relations with FYROM, through the signing of the interim accord in September of 1995.

    "We proved that Greece can be a factor of peace, and not a part of the problem, in the Balkans. We continue to follow this policy today, a policy of peace and cooperation. We believe that the government of FYROM has the same political will, so that the negotiations for the name issue can move forward.

    "FYROM envisages a European prospect and Greece can guarantee this prospect," the Greek Premier underlined.

    [07] ND DEPUTY BAKOYANNI OUTLINES PARTY POLICY TO MPA

    The main opposition party of New Democracy supports Greek- Turkish rapprochement, while its relations with other Balkan countries, in the event it wins Sunday's elections, will be based on the application of International Law, and the sovereignty and integrity of the states, according to ND deputy Dora Bakoyanni.

    In an interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, Ms. Bakoyanni expressed her confidence that her party will emerge victorious on Sunday and outlined ND's priorities, especially in the sectors of education and public administration.

    Moreover, Ms. Bakoyanni stressed that New Democracy will focus on freeing the market -thereby boosting the economy and creating new jobs - and will focus on reshaping the sectors of health, services, education and public administration.

    Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, the main opposition deputy stated that New Democracy has a firm proposal on foreign policy and supports G/T rapprochement based on the principles of International Law rules, independence and integrity of the states and bilateral relations.

    "This policy is the only one that can ensure peace, stability and development in the region."

    [08] EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT MEETS IN ATHENS

    The 33rd Session of the European Youth Parliament got underway in Athens yesterday, held under the auspices of the Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos and organized by the National Committee.

    The Youth Parliament's main aim is to promote a European dimension in education and servicing the needs of the future citizens of Europe who should be aware of the traditions and needs of other peoples and create the basis for more substantive communication among the peoples.

    Founded in 1987 in Fotainbleau, France, the European Youth Parliament meets twice a year, every time in a different country, and comprises ten-member, student delegations from each state.

    In addition to delegations from European Union member states, the sessions feature the participation of groups from central and eastern Europe, the Baltic region, Switzerland, Turkey and Cyprus.

    [09] THE MOST FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAMS FOR THE POLITICAL PARTY CANDIDATES

    "Olympiakos", the football team of Piraeus, is that with the most supporters among the candidate parliament deputies of the socialist party of PASOK and the right-wing party of New Democracy. This was the conclusion reached by an opinion poll conducted by the Youth Club of Skepticism on Science, Culture and Society that was presented in Thessaloniki.

    In the opinion poll that lasted 15 days took part 378 PASOK and 377 New Democracy candidates and "Olympiakos" is by far the most favorite football club as it got 34.6% followed by Panathinaikos 19.2%, the national football team 19.2% and AEK 9%.

    Thessaloniki's PAOK is fifth with 5.1% followed by Aris and Iraklis with 4.3% each. The less favorite teams are Panionios with 0.4%, Xanthi 0.7%, Apollon 0.9% and Panserraikos 0.3%.

    [10] "THESSALONIKI-SKOPJE, TWO HOURS TOGETHER" ON TELEVISION

    The first Greek-FYROM television show will be broadcast simultaneously by the Greek state television channel ET-3 and FYROM's state television on April 16 at 9pm.

    The television show under the title "Thessaloniki-Skopje, Two hours together" will include statements by Greek music composer Mikis Theodorakis, FYROM culture minister Ljuben Paunovski, former culture minister and current minister of development Evangelos Venizelos, Skopje mayor Ritso Penev and Thessaloniki city council member responsible for culture issues Nikos Markantonakis.

    In the show will be presented cultural events held in Thessaloniki and Skopje, as well as parts of concerts given recently in Skopje by orchestras from Thessaloniki at the initiative of ET-3.

    [11] IMPRESSIVE RISE IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    An impressive rise was recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today, the last session before the April 9 elections, with the general index at 2.56%, closing at 4.934,81 points, while the volume of transactions was at 227,76 billion drachmas.

    The secondary indexes also recorded impressive gains and the leading role in today's session was played by the parallel market.

    [12] INFLATION WAS AT 3.1% IN MARCH

    Inflation increased to 3.1% in the month of March compared to February when it closed at 2.9%, according to the Greek National Statistics Agency.

    The increase is attributed to the oil price hikes observed internationally, while the average harmonized index in Greece remains at 2%.

    [13] MPA WILL PRESENT THE ELECTION RESULTS ON THE INTERNET

    Macedonian Press Agency will broadcast Sunday's election results live on the Internet. In the MPA site, on the address www.mpa.gr, the Internet users will be on direct link with the ministry of interior and data processing company "Delta Pliroforiki" to watch minute by minute how the election race develops, while at 7pm all the television stations' exit polls will be presented with comparative charts and comments by communication specialists.

    Also, the Internet users can be on line with the state television and will be able to watch live the statements made by the political party leaders on the election results and the comments made by leading political party members, journalists and political analysts.

    It should be noted that the Macedonian Press Agency site includes an interesting presentation on the elections with figures from past election races, resumes and pictures of candidate parliament deputies as well as, the taped television debate of Kostas Simitis and Kostas Karamanlis and the speeches of all political party leaders in their parties' main pre-election campaign rallies.

    [14] A SERIOUSLY INJURED 9YEAROLD BOY FROM ALBANIA WAS TRANSFERRED TO A THESSALONIKI HOSPITAL

    A 9yearold boy from Albania, who was seriously injured in a traffic accident in which both his parents were killed, was urgently transferred to a Thessaloniki hospital from Tirana on board a Greek C-130 transport plane. Little Konstantin Jaferi is in a comma and is cared for in the intensive care unit of Thessaloniki's Hippocration Hospital.

    The request for the transfer of the 9yearold was conveyed to Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos by Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and all of Albania.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] SAE PRESIDENT ANDREW ATHENS VISITS KIEV

    The President of the World Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE), Andrew Athens, is on a visit to Kiev, Ukraine, in the framework of the Council's humanitarian mission to the ethnic Greek communities of the new republics of the former soviet Union.

    Mr. Athens will meet with officials of Ukraine, including the Minister of Health, to prepare the further elaboration of the program of the basic medical care for the ethnic Greeks in the region of Marioupoli and Donetsk.

    SAE plans to establish two medical centers in Marioupoli and Donetsk, in addition to the already-existing three in Georgia.

    [16] HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MANY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

    A shocking report by Amnesty International includes stunning figures on the continuing violations of human rights in many European countries revealing evidence concerning torture, deaths of people while in custody and other human rights violations in many of the so-called "civilized" countries in Europe.

    The research conducted from July to December 1999 in 34 countries showed that in at least 27 countries were observed phenomena of torture and maltreatment, while in 14 countries there are people imprisoned for their political beliefs or because they are conscientious objectors.

    The most characteristic case of human rights violation is police brutality which can be observed "from Britain to Azerbaidjan". The victims of such human rights violations are mainly immigrants, people who ask for political asylum and those who are minority members.

    Greece together with Finland are mentioned in the Amnesty International report as typical examples of countries which do not respect the conscientious objectors as anyone who refuses to serve in the army is faced with prison sentences.

    In conclusion, Amnesty International calls on all the European countries to work harder to keep human rights at a high level and limit the phenomena of violence on behalf of police and the security forces in general.

    [17] INABILITY TO EFFECTIVELY GUARD THE BORDERS WAS ADMITTED BY THE ALBANIANS

    Inability to guard the sea borders with Greece was admitted by Sarante police department director Ilia Nasi who expressed fears for a rise in illegal immigration.

    In an interview with the Albanian newspaper "Sekuli", Mr. Nasi stressed that in contrast with the land borders where, according to him, the situation is under control, the sea corridors are impossible to be guarded as there are no means to do that, stressing that it is impossible to have 75 kilometers of sea corridors under control with just two patrol boats.

    Mr. Nasi also called on the ministry of public order to change the existing speedboat inspection regulations because based on them, inspections can be made on speedboats only after the set sail. He said that the security forces must have the right to conducted searches on speedboats before they set sail if there are indications that they are carrying illegal immigrants.

    [18] GREECE AND TURKEY WILL TAKE PART IN A NATO MILITARY EXERCISE

    The Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet" maintains that Greece and Turkey will take part in joint military exercises next May.

    The newspaper writes that the exercises will be held within the framework of NATO and according to one scenario, there will be a landing operation of the allied forces at the Peloponese, southern Greece, with the participation of Turkish soldiers.

    The Greek forces participating in the NATO exercise will take part in another landing operation at the coasts of Ismir.


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