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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-05-24

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, May 24, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEKS IRED OVER "TIME" ARTICLE ON GREECE
  • [02] PREMIER BRIEFS PRESIDENT ON NATIONAL ISSUES
  • [03] FUEL PRICES UP, BUT IT'S A WORLD-WIDE PHENOMENON
  • [04] CZECH REPUBLIC'S PM ARRIVES IN ATHENS TOMORROW
  • [05] "DYNAMIC MIX" EXERCISE PROCEEDS SMOOTHLY
  • [06] PARTHENON MARBLES CONFERENCE HEARS BOTH SIDES
  • [07] 1ST INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM IN THESSALONIKI
  • [08] DEFENSE MINISTER ON DYNAMIC MIX: EVERYTHING'S OK
  • [09] NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE POTENTIAL BUYER OF UBB
  • [10] THE MAJORITY OF STOCKS IN CERTAIN STATE-RUN COMPANIES WILL BE SOLD TO INVESTORS
  • [11] THE EARTHQUAKE IN KALAMATA HAS NOT ALARMED THE SEISMOLOGISTS
  • [12] LOSSES OF 2.59% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [13] THE BLACK SEA BANK WILL APPROVE TWO US$5.5 MILLION PROJECTS
  • [14] ASIA FORUM: VIEWS ON THE COURSE OF THE EUROPEAN MARKETS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS HOLD SUMMIT IN ITALY
  • [16] EU COMMISSIONER DIAMANTOPOULOU IN CYPRUS
  • [17] C of E COMMITTEE VOWS TO ENFORCE LOIZIDOU RULING
  • [18] THE PEOPLE OF VLORE WILL BE THE FIRST TO RECEIVE A GREEK HOUSING LOAN
  • [19] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS VISITED IASIO IN ROMANIA
  • [20] THE AGRICULTURAL BANK OF GREECE WANTS TO BUYOUT THE ROMANIAN BANCA AGRICOLA
  • [21] THE NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE IS THE FAVORITE TO BUYOUT THE UNITED BULGARIAN BANK
  • [22] RECORD INCREASE IN THE TRADE TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN GREECE AND ALBANIA IN 1999

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREEKS IRED OVER "TIME" ARTICLE ON GREECE

    The Greek government has expressed its chagrin and ire over the article published in "Time" magazine's latest issue which accuses Greece of having "unlimited ineptitude" and a "lack of political will" to combat terrorism.

    Government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas slammed the article as "unacceptable" and "provocative".

    He stated that the article, in light of the upcoming tourist period, is directly harming the country's interests and characterized the US former officials quoted therein as "monomaniacs, to the point of ridicule".

    Mr. Reppas stressed that the Greek citizens are safe. "I wish that citizens in all the countries of the so-called West were equally safe," he added.

    To drive the point home, Mr. Reppas, who referred to the article's insinuations over security standards for the Athens-held Olympics of 2004, made a thinly veiled reference to the Atlanta- held Games of 1996 where two persons were killed and dozens injured from a bomb explosion.

    "Let's talk about real events, with victims, in previous Games conducted in other countries, not Greece. Let's not talk hypothetically, over what could happen at the Games of 2004. Such comparisons are unacceptable and (as a Greek saying goes) we don't talk about rope in a hanged man's home."

    The article, by-lined by "Time"'s correspondent to Athens Anthee Karassava, claims that Greece, "the cradle of democracy, and a key NATO ally, is the home of anti-American terrorism."

    It quotes former U.S. Embassy official Wayne Merry, now with Washington's Atlantic Council, as having stated that "it's not that

    Greece has the world's worst terrorist problem. It's that Greece has the world's worst counter-terrorism problem."

    [02] PREMIER BRIEFS PRESIDENT ON NATIONAL ISSUES

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stefanopoulos whom he briefed on current political developments and the economy.

    Following the meeting, the Premier expressed the hope that Turkey would undertake initiatives which would consolidate regional cooperation.

    Referring to the 2004 Olympic Games, Mr. Simitis expressed the certainty that any problems would be overcome and that the Athens-held will be optimally organized.

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced that the vice-president of the "Athens 2004" organizing committee, Niki Tzavela, has submitted her resignation for family reasons.

    [03] FUEL PRICES UP, BUT IT'S A WORLD-WIDE PHENOMENON

    Development Undersecretary Milena Apostolaki stated that the rising fuel prices is a world-wide phenomenon. Referring to yesterday's agreement for containing market prices, she said that it is expected to be in enforcement for about a week.

    As per the agreement reached between the refineries and oil trade companies yesterday, the refineries will absorb 3.3 drachmas and the companies 1 drachma.

    Therefore, the retail price for gasoline will rise 9 to 10 drachmas per liter and 3 to 3.5 drachmas for diesel.

    [04] CZECH REPUBLIC'S PM ARRIVES IN ATHENS TOMORROW

    The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, will arrive in Athens tomorrow, embarking on a three-day, official visit.

    Mr. Zeman will hold talks with the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and political party leaders.

    Messrs. Zeman and Simitis are expected to sign a series of bilateral agreements.

    The Czech Premier will also tour archaeological sites in Athens and Crete, where he will arrive on Friday.

    [05] "DYNAMIC MIX" EXERCISE PROCEEDS SMOOTHLY

    The major NATO exercise "Dynamic Mix" is presently underway in various regions of Greece, without major problems, albeit an incident occurred yesterday when two Turkish fighter jets flew near Leros and were intercepted by the Greek air force.

    During "Dynamic Mix", NATO's land, air and naval forces will come together under the Alliance's new structure for the first time.

    In addition to Greece and Turkey, the exercise features the participation of Belgium, Germany, France, Denmark, the United States, Britain, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Portugal.

    [06] PARTHENON MARBLES CONFERENCE HEARS BOTH SIDES

    Legal experts and archaeologists from the world over have gathered in Athens to attend a conference titled "The claiming of the Parthenon Marbles and the EU - an historical, cultural and legal approach".

    While the majority of the participants favor the return of the ancient sculptures to the Parthenon, a Dutch academic upset the Greek audience when he stated that gratitude should be given to the British for having removed the works.

    "Instead of depicting the British as robbers, they should be thanked," Professor Anton van Hoof said, adding that "in London, the Marbles had a lot more impact on European culture than had they been in Athens."

    The honorary president of the conference committee, film director Jules Dassin, who was also the husband of the late Melina Mercouri, took exception to Professor Van Hoof's argument and also criticized other speakers for not being critical enough of Lord Elgin - and the British Museum.

    Among the most fervent supporters of the Sculptures' return to the Parthenon are British historian William St. Clair and Madrid University Professors, A. Martinez Dias and Jese Luis Navarro, all of whom addressed the event.

    "The Parthenon is Greece, Europe, western civilization," Professor Martinez-Diaz stated, while his colleague, professor Navaro paraphrased the words of Greece's renowned poet Yannis Ritsos when he poignantly said "These Marbles are yours and mine, and no one can take them away."

    The two-day conference is organized by the Center of European Research and Studies Ioannis Kapodistrias and is held under the auspices of the ministries of culture and press.

    [07] 1ST INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM IN THESSALONIKI

    Proposals for the Southeastern European countries' smooth transition into a market economy are to be tabled during the First International Economic Conference which gets underway in Thessaloniki today at the University of Macedonia.

    The four-day conference, organized by the Association of Economic Universities (ASECU) of the countries of Southeast Europe, will feature the participation of economists and academics who discuss the recent economic developments and the problems faced by economies in transition, particularly those of the former East Bloc.

    The event will also offer discussions on the economic development of the region's countries, trade relations and economic development, economic relations and the EU, the labor market, economic stabilization policies, and institutional changes and privatizations.

    According to ASECU president and chairman of the conference's organizing committee Professor Yannis Tsekouras, a former dean of Macedonia University, representatives from 40 universities in SE Europe and eminent economists from major international organizations throughout the world are to participate.

    Guest speakers include Harvard University professor Jeffrey Sachs, considered the financial guru of many SE European countries, deputy director of the Moscow-based Institute of Economies in Transition's international affairs department Leonid Todorov, and Chinese economist Qing Gong Yang.

    Professor Sachs' address will be broadcast live to the conference by satellite from his office at Harvard.

    The conference is held under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and will feature the participation of distinguished academics from forty Southeast European universities, as well as representatives from the central banks of Turkey and Hungary.

    [08] DEFENSE MINISTER ON DYNAMIC MIX: EVERYTHING'S OK

    NATO's massive land and sea exercise, code-named "Dynamic Mix" is proceeding as planned at all levels, according to Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who added that the country's sovereign rights are ensured.

    Following a meeting with the Prime Minister Costas Simitis today, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated that there is excellent cooperation between the Greek and Turkish armed forces.

    Messrs. Simitis and Tsochatzopoulos reportedly discussed the state's priorities for the country's security and defense.

    When asked to comment on the statements made by Turkey's former chief of staff Adm. Erga, who spoke of demilitarizing the Aegean islands, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos responded that "Greece's position is clear. Accession to the European Union constitutes a singular opportunity which, I think, Turkey will want to take advantage of."

    [09] NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE POTENTIAL BUYER OF UBB

    The National Bank of Greece has been selected as a potential buyer of the United Bulgarian Bank, according to Reuters.

    As the wire service reported, the National Bank made the best offer by far for the purchase of a majority stake in Bulgaria's United Bank, and, according to banking circles, the deal could be finalized by the end of the month.

    While UBB has yet to confirm these reports, it does have 99 percent of its shares up for sale, a purchase also coveted by Italy's Unicredito and Greece's Piraeus Bank.

    United Bulgarian Bank is the country's first privatized banking institution and the third largest.

    [10] THE MAJORITY OF STOCKS IN CERTAIN STATE-RUN COMPANIES WILL BE SOLD TO INVESTORS

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis left open the likelihood to sell to investors the majority of stocks of certain state-run companies, while the state will maintain its control over them.

    Mr. Simitis excluded the state-run electricity company where the state will keep its control over the absolute majority of the stocks. The prime minister stressed that there will be no new taxes and all commitments regarding tax exemptions will be respected. He also issued a strong recommendation to all government ministries to keep all expenses within the limits of their budget.

    He pointed out that there is no problem in meeting the criteria for the EMU accession and gave the assurance that the good course of the economy, characterized by low inflation, deficit and debt, will continue.

    [11] THE EARTHQUAKE IN KALAMATA HAS NOT ALARMED THE SEISMOLOGISTS

    Seismologists in Thessaloniki's Aristotle University expressed the view that even with an earthquake bigger than 6 on the Richter scale in the sea region south of Lakonia in the Peloponese there will be no disaster in populated areas.

    Geophysics Laboratory seismologist Vasilis Karakostas commenting on the earthquake measuring 6 on the Richter scale that was recorded at 8:40am today, 120 kilometers south of the city of Kalamata, stated to Macedonian Press Agency that the earthquake's epicenter is at the so-called "Greek Arc" and characterized it as a usual phenomenon for an area with so high seismic activity.

    The earthquake's epicenter is a long distance away from populated areas, said Mr. Karakostas, adding that in October 1997 another earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale had occurred in the same region without causing any damages in populated areas.

    [12] LOSSES OF 2.59% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Losses of 2.59% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.551,12 points.

    The volume of transactions was at 191.2 billion drachmas. Of the stocks trading today 314 recorded losses and 20 had gains.

    [13] THE BLACK SEA BANK WILL APPROVE TWO US$5.5 MILLION PROJECTS

    The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) board of directors will approve two new US$5.5 million projects in the next few weeks, stated to MPA its vice-president Daniela Bobeva on the sidelines of the second day of the ASIA FORUM 2000 taking place in Thessaloniki.

    The first project with a budget of US$1.5 million is expected to be signed with the Bank of Georgia and concerns pre-export funding, while the second project with a budget of US$4 million concerns the economic backing of medium sized businesses in three Balkan states namely, Bulgaria, Romania and Albania.

    The two new projects will be added to the 7 investment projects that have already been approved by the BSTDB.

    Furthermore, Ms. Bobeva reminded that the bank gives a special emphasis to the funding of trade programs as with the exception of Russia and up to a degree Azerbaidjan, most of the Black Sea member-states have presented big deficits in the trade transaction balance.

    [14] ASIA FORUM: VIEWS ON THE COURSE OF THE EUROPEAN MARKETS

    The view that the European markets will know a new blooming period in the years to come, was expressed within the framework of the ASIA FORUM 2000 by DE NEDERLANDSCHE BANK markets' department deputy director Mr. Eloy W.Lindeijer. However, he stressed that during this new period significant changes will be needed in the structure of the stock markets which will enter a intensively competitive environment as a result of the creation of the Euro- zone.

    Referring to the prospect of the unification of the European stock markets that gradually becomes a reality with the establishment of the EURONEXT and the preparations for the creation of the INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE, Mr. Lindeijer stressed that it is not clear yet which markets will dominate in Europe in the future while at the same time, he clarified that probably they will be the ones that offer the biggest liquidation and the lowest transactions' cost.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS HOLD SUMMIT IN ITALY

    NATO's relations with the European Union and Russia, as well as issues concerning the Balkans, Kosovo and Yugoslavia in general, will be included in the daily agenda of the two-day summit of the NATO foreign ministers which opens in Florence, Italy today.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will have a separate meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, within the framework of the meeting.

    [16] EU COMMISSIONER DIAMANTOPOULOU IN CYPRUS

    The European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou, met with the President of the Parliament of Cyprus Spyros Kyprianou, during her visit to Cyprus yesterday.

    Following their meeting, Ms. Diamantopoulou expressed her conviction that all necessary changes will have been made by 2002, to bring Cyprus in line with European standards, in the social sector, to ensure there were no obstacles for the island's European Union accession.

    In turn, Mr. Kyprianou expressed his optimism over the island's accession course to the European Union.

    [17] C of E COMMITTEE VOWS TO ENFORCE LOIZIDOU RULING

    The execution of Court orders is very important and the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has a responsibility to implement Court rulings as well, Committee president Janson Gunnar has said.

    According to the Cyprus News Agency, the Finnish deputy, in Cyprus attending a Committee meeting, said the Committee maintains consistent pressure on the Committee of Ministers of the C o E to ensure execution of judgments, and warned against any waiving such executions, a move that would jeopardize the credibility of the Council's legal system.

    [18] THE PEOPLE OF VLORE WILL BE THE FIRST TO RECEIVE A GREEK HOUSING LOAN

    The people of Vlore in Albania will be the first to take advantage of the Greek 5 billion drachmas loan allocated for the housing of families that lost their houses when they invested in the so-called "pyramid" banking schemes, stated regional governor of Vlore Tare Hamo.

    According to Mr. Hamo, at least 750 houses will be built in the city of Vlore while the Greek loan will be used soon.

    [19] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS VISITED IASIO IN ROMANIA

    Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece visited Iasio within the framework of his visit to Romania. The mayor of Iasio offered him the key of the city and the local university declared him a honorary professor.

    He also met with Metropolite Daniel of Moldavia and visited the monasteries in the region where 90% of the population are Orthodox Christians.

    [20] THE AGRICULTURAL BANK OF GREECE WANTS TO BUYOUT THE ROMANIAN BANCA AGRICOLA

    The Agricultural Bank of Greece wants to take part in the privatization of the Romanian Banca Agricola either by itself or in cooperation with the American National Group and the Dutch Rabobank, according to the Romanian newspaper "Adevarul".

    The newspaper, citing reliable sources, mentions that the Agricultural Bank of Greece has expressed its intention to buyout 30% of the share package of the Banca Agricola.

    According to "Aderavul", a 56% of the package will be sold in case in the privatization of Banca Agricola participate jointly the Agricultural Bank of Greece Group and the US-Dutch banking group.

    [21] THE NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE IS THE FAVORITE TO BUYOUT THE UNITED BULGARIAN BANK

    The National Bank of Greece was chosen to be a prospective buyer of the majority package of shares of the United Bulgarian Bank, according to the news agency Reuters.

    Based on the sources cited by the news agency, the National Bank of Greece made the best offer and banking circles estimate that the final agreement can be reached by the end of May. However, the information was not formally confirmed by the United Bulgarian Bank.

    The bank offers for sale 99% of its shares and other prospective buyers are the Italian Unicredito Bank and the Greek Bank of Piraeus.

    Recently, Unicredito Bank director Vittorio Boreli had stated that his bank was going to withdraw its bid for the buyout of the United Bulgarian Bank in case it won a bid for the buyout of the biggest state Bulgarian bank, the "Bulbank". On May 10, the joint venture of the Italian Unicredito and the German "Alianz" was selected as a prospective buyer of the big Bulgarian bank.

    [22] RECORD INCREASE IN THE TRADE TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN GREECE AND ALBANIA IN 1999

    The trade activity between Greece and Albania shows an upward trend based on the latest figures provided by the Bank of Albania according to which, the trade transactions between the two countries are on the rise and Greece gets closer to Italy in becoming Albania's main trade partner.

    Based on the same figures, the total value of the trade transactions between the two countries was over US$305 million in 1999, compared to 1998 when the Greek exports to Albania were US$265 million and the imports were US$40 million.

    Meanwhile, Athens and Tirana have signed a 3-year protocol of cooperation in the sector of small and medium sized businesses aimed at developing further the economic cooperation and the trade ties between Greece and Albania.


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