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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-07-11

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, July 11, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] THE FIRE ON THE ISLAND OF SAMOS IS UNDER CONTROL
  • [02] MILITARY COOPERATION BETWEEN GREECE AND FYROM
  • [03] THE THREE TEENAGE GERMAN GIRLS WERE FOUND SAFE ON THEIR CANOE
  • [04] TWO-DAY CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM
  • [05] 160 PEOPLE DROWNED IN GREECE SINCE THE START OF THE YEAR
  • [06] GREEK-AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER IN ATHENS
  • [07] THE CONFISCATION OF GERMAN PROPERTY HAS BEGUN
  • [08] A TWO-DAY CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM OPENED IN ATHENS
  • [09] EDUCATION COOPERATION MEMORANDUM BETWEEN GREECE AND THE AUSTRALIAN STATE OF VICTORIA
  • [10] THE DRAFT BILL ON THE EURO WAS GIVEN TO PUBLICITY
  • [11] TERRORISM-ONE MINUTE OF SILENCE
  • [12] INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S RIGHTS FORUM STARTS IN LEROS
  • [13] OTE CHARGE RATES STEP IN LINE WITH EU STANDARDS
  • [14] DRIVERS ADVISED TO AVOID GOING INTO ATHENS TOMORROW
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] PAPANDREOU DOES NOT RULE OUT THE "FREEZING" OF THE DIALOGUE WITH TURKEY

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] THE FIRE ON THE ISLAND OF SAMOS IS UNDER CONTROL

    The fire that destroyed most of the Aegean island of Samos have been put under control after a six-day battle with the flames. There is only one fire front still burning at the village of Manolates and the fire fighters are struggling to put it under control. The fire is destroying a forest land and is not threatening a populated area.

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis arrived on the island at noon today to visit the regions destroyed by the massive fires.

    Meanwhile, minister of interior Ms. Vaso Papandreou called on the people to actively participate in the prevention of fires as the weather conditions have surpassed the measures taken.

    Speaking to the Athens radio station "Sky", Ms. Papandreou appeared skeptical over the large number of fires which on Sunday alone were 153 and reiterated that a state of alertness is in effect in the army, the coast guard and the Air Force.

    She also said that all the fires in the country are under control and spoke of extreme weather conditions and situations that hampered the fire fighting efforts in Samos.

    [02] MILITARY COOPERATION BETWEEN GREECE AND FYROM

    A new military cooperation agreement between Athens and Skopje was signed in the Greek ministry of defense by defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and his FYROM counterpart Nikola Kljusev.

    The agreement provides, among others, for the strengthening of the border forces, mainly at the borders with Albania as well as, the cooperation in the defense industry sector.

    Regarding the issue of FYROM's name, Mr. Kljusev expressed the hope that it will be resolved before the end of the year.

    [03] THE THREE TEENAGE GERMAN GIRLS WERE FOUND SAFE ON THEIR CANOE

    The three teenage German girls, who were missing since yesterday when they drifted away from the coasts of Koroni in the Peloponese southern Greece with their rented canoe, were found safe and the coast guard brought to the island of Kithira.

    The girls, 15, 16 and 19 years old, were located off the coasts of the island of Kithira, south of the Peloponese, on their canoe where stayed all night. They were exhausted but in good condition.

    [04] TWO-DAY CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM

    A two-day conference on terrorism is being held in Athens today and tomorrow at an initiative by Britain and Greece.

    The conference proceedings will be opened by foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou and minister of public order Michalis Chrisochoidis.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that the British side is satisfied with the cooperation it has with the Greek authorities.

    [05] 160 PEOPLE DROWNED IN GREECE SINCE THE START OF THE YEAR

    Six people drowned yesterday while swimming in different parts of Greece among them, a 8yearold girl, Maniela Stavre, from Albania.

    It should be noted that a total of 160 people drowned in the country since the start of the year.

    [06] GREEK-AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER IN ATHENS

    The first Greek-Australian Chamber under the name Greek- Australian Association of Trade and Development was founded in Athens, while branches will open in other cities in Greece and Australia.

    The mission of the Greek-Australian Chamber is to promote the economic and trade relations between Greece and Australia for the development of trade and industry.

    The Chamber will offer information and advice on the economies of the two countries and will mediate for the establishment of business relations between individuals, companies and institutions.

    [07] THE CONFISCATION OF GERMAN PROPERTY HAS BEGUN

    The materialization of the Greek court ruling reached recently according to which, German state property can be confiscated in order to pay reparations to the relatives of the victims of the Distomo massacre that was committed by the Nazis during WWII, has begun with the confiscation of Goethe Institute property in Athens.

    Police arrived at the building at the request of the Goethe Institute director and the court officials started recording the institute's assets in the presence of police officers. No further details on the confiscation procedure are known.

    The attorney representing the relatives of the Distomo Holocaust victims gave the "green light" for the procedure to get underway as according to him, no previous approval by the minister of justice is necessary, contrary to statements made by the Greek government spokesman.

    It should be noted that during prime minister Kostas Simitis' four-day visit to Bonn the German government gave no formal assurance that it will pay the reparations awarded to the relatives of the Distomo victims by a Livadia court in Greece.

    The decision allows the relatives of the victims to start the procedures for the confiscation of German state property in Greece in order to receive reparations of 9.5 billion drachmas awarded to them. The Greek government maintains that the issue is political and the confiscation must not take place.

    [08] A TWO-DAY CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM OPENED IN ATHENS

    The determination of the Greek government to deal with terrorism in the most unrelenting and decisive way, was reiterated today by the Greek ministers of foreign affairs and public order in the Greek-British two-day conference that opened in Athens.

    Speaking in the opening of the conference foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou and minister of public order Michalis Chrisochoidis gave assurances that Greece will do everything it can to find the killers of British military attache Stephen Saunders, who was assassinated by members of the "17 November" terrorist group.

    Foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou addressing the conference stated that the international legal framework must be strengthened in order to deal with terrorism, adopt more effective measures and safeguard the democratic institutions.

    Minister of public order Michalis Chrisochoidis reiterated Greece's determination to deal with the problem of terrorism and expressed the belief that international police cooperation plays an important role in the battle against terrorism.

    In the two-day conference that is being held on the occasion of the assassination of the British brigadier, participate Greek and British foreign affairs and public order ministry officials, while the British ambassador to Athens also addressed the conference. He said that Britain is determined to find the killers and bring them to justice, adding that Scotland Yard officials are in Athens to help the Greek police and they will stay until their job is done.

    The goal of the conference is to establish police cooperation between the two countries and cooperation at a European level.

    [09] EDUCATION COOPERATION MEMORANDUM BETWEEN GREECE AND THE AUSTRALIAN STATE OF VICTORIA

    A five-year memorandum for the cooperation on issues of education was signed by the government of Greece and the state government of Victoria in Australia during the meeting in Athens of visiting Victoria state prime minister Steve Bracks with Greek minister of education Petros Efthimiou.

    The memorandum is placed within the framework of the 1979 Greek-Australian education agreement and recognizes the mutual cognitive and cultural understanding between the two countries.

    In a press conference he gave today together with general secretary for the Greeks living abroad Dimitris Dollis, the prime minister of the state of Victoria expressed satisfaction for the contacts he had in Athens.

    Responding to a question on the issue of the Parthenon marbles, he stated that he backs their return to their place of origin, adding that the Australian committee on the Parthenon marbles has worked hard toward this direction. He also announced that 7 state prime ministers together with federal prime minister Mr. Howard will raise the issue to the British government.

    On the meeting he had with culture minister Theodoros Pangalos, he said that they discussed the prospects for the creation of a Greek Art Museum in Melbourne, while they also referred to the issue of the Olympic Games preparations.

    From his side, general secretary for the Greeks living abroad Dimitris Dollis stated that the state of Victoria prime minister is a philhellene and his visit opens new prospects for the Greek language, and the place of the Greek culture and national identity in Australia, where the Greek community numbers 700.000.

    In the meetings the state prime minister of Victoria had with minister of transportation Christos Verelis and Olympic Airways managing director Dionisios Kalofonos he suggested that the OA seat should be moved from Sydney to Melbourne and pledged that he will give economic support to the OA marketing in the state of Victoria. The Greek side will examine the proposals and will respond after a decision is reached on the management of the airline.

    The OA flights to and from Melbourne will continue until March 2001.

    [10] THE DRAFT BILL ON THE EURO WAS GIVEN TO PUBLICITY

    The draft bill on the Euro which, among others, mentions that the consumer goods' prices should be written in drachmas as well as in Euros starting on January 1, 2001, while the drachma will be history on February 28, 2002 with an exchange rate of 340.75 drachmas per Euro, was given to publicity today.

    The single European currency will be a reality, at least in accounting, after January 1, 2001. According to statements made by minister national economy, Yiannos Papantoniou, the companies will have a favorable treatment regarding the cost of the conversion of their cash register systems into Euros, while a special emphasis will be given in the clarity of the market's operation aimed at avoiding profiteering.

    [11] TERRORISM-ONE MINUTE OF SILENCE

    A minute of silence will be held tomorrow at noon in all the public offices at an initiative undertaken by the government aimed at sensitizing the public opinion on the serious issue of terrorism. At the same time, a text under the title "One minute of silence" will be broadcast by all radio and television stations in which terrorism is characterized as a threat for modern Greece.

    In a statement issued by Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas this symbolic action has an obvious significance that is understood by all Greeks.

    The text has as follows: "Terrorism constitutes an insult for the Greeks because of the contempt it displays toward the sanctity of human life, and because it seeks to undermine the social cohesion and political stability. It is a threat for today's Greece. It is totally strange toward Greece's philosophy and logic. It is strange toward all of our traditions. The battle against terrorism is a priority. A priority not only for the state but for the Greek people, its political culture. It is a commitment undertaken by the government and the society's objective to continue the effort aimed at uprooting terrorism. In every possible way. We owe it to the victims of the terrorists. We owe it to Democracy and its human values. We owe it to Greece".

    [12] INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S RIGHTS FORUM STARTS IN LEROS

    The first international forum for children's rights is being held on the island of Leros, under the auspices of the Universal Patriarch Bartholomeos. Hundreds of children are expected to attend the forum, from Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria amongst others, as well as leading figures of the children's rights field both from Greece and from abroad.

    It is the first time that children and adolescents will have the opportunity to participate in the forum on a equal basis with the adults, thus bringing a breath of fresh air to the talks. The children will have a chance to air their views for the first time, concerning a matter directly affecting them, ten years after the signing of the Children's Rights Agreement, the most widely accepted agreement worldwide, which was accepted by Greece in 1992.

    The Metropolitan Bishop of Leros, Kalymnos and Astypalaias, Mr Nektarios, will give a speech about the Children's Rights Agreement at the forum. He is expected to discuss the importance of childhood and the need to protect it. He will also pass on a personal message from the Universal Patriarch Bartholomeos to those present at the event.

    The Prefect of the Dodecanese islands, Savvas Karagiannis will mention the important role that local governments should play in applying the articles of the Children's Rights Agreement, whilst the Mayor of Leros, Yiannis Antartis will focus on the role offered by the island, an island which has gone from being in exile during the dictatorship, to offering an international breeding ground for the maintenance of children's rights.

    Eleni Argyriadou, president of the Greek UNICEF committee, is expected to focus on the role played by international organizations and on the importance of applying the Agreement for the protection of childhood.

    Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Aegean and of the General Secretariat of the New Generation will offer their greetings to the forum, as will Maria Kaila, vice dean of the Aegean University and Vasiliki Theotokatou, president of the State Infirmary of Leros.

    The event was organized by the Dodecanese Prefecture and the Municipality of Leros, in conjunction with UNICEF, the Children's Health Institute, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the General Secretariat of the New Generation, the Aegean University, the Adolescent Trustees of Rhodes, the Adolescent Court and the Medical Centre for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims.

    [13] OTE CHARGE RATES STEP IN LINE WITH EU STANDARDS

    The Greek Telecommunications Company (OTE), announced its decision to increase its charge rates until December 31st 2000, in order to step in line with common EU practice and in connection to the opening of the telecommunications market from January 1st 2000 onwards. The monthly connection charge will increase by 100 Greek drachmas, going from 2,300 to 2,400 drachmas, whilst the local rate will rise from 7 to 9 drachmas.

    In stark contrast to this, the rate of international calls will drop from 120 to 94 drachmas per minute for calls to neighbouring countries, whilst falling from 98 to 94 drachmas for calls to EU country-members, the USA, Canada and Australia.

    As far as the Internet is concerned, the standard charge of 420 drachmas per hour will drop to 120.

    In response to these changes in call rates, shadow Transport Minister of the New Democracy party Anastasis Papaligouras, accused the government of "trying to make up for the dramatic increase in local calls by lowering the price of long-distance calls."

    He further stated that a significant part of the Greek population will be more concerned with the changes being made to local and national calls, rather than that being made to trans- atlantic conversations.

    "The 30% increase in individual daily use of the telephone will gravely affect the average Greek citizen" he remarked.

    Finally, Mr Papaligouras pointed out that the figures speak for themselves, especially when those of 1996 are taken into account, whereby a local phone call cost 6 drachmas, regardless of its duration. Today, a three minute conversation will cost 27 drachmas.

    "This decision has not been made for the sake of modernisation and the upgrading of OTE, but as a result of bad management, partisanship and interwoven interests which have had negative effects on the government".

    [14] DRIVERS ADVISED TO AVOID GOING INTO ATHENS TOMORROW

    The Greek Ministry of Environment, Land Planning and State Projects (YPEXODE), is advising car drivers to avoid taking their vehicles into the center of Athens tomorrow due to an increase pollution rates in the capital, expected to be caused by atmospheric conditions. It has also advised that the transportation of state vehicles carrying gas fluids be limited.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] PAPANDREOU DOES NOT RULE OUT THE "FREEZING" OF THE DIALOGUE WITH TURKEY

    It is self-evident that actions like that of Turkey in the region of Strovilia, near Famagusta in Cyprus have a negative effect on the Greek-Turkish relations, stated Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou in an interview with the BBC.

    As it was reported from London, Mr. Papandreou, responding to the question if Greece intends to "toughen" its stance toward Turkey on the occasion of the incident in Strovilia, stressed that Greece sees the Cyprus problem not as a bilateral Greek-Turkish issue, adding that there is an issue for the United Nations as the international organization has the supervision especially, in the issue of Strovilia. Mr. Papandreou stated, however, that such issues and especially the developments in Cyprus can affect bilateral relations negatively or positively according to the developments.

    Mr. Papandreou did not rule out the "freezing" of the dialogue with Turkey, saying that the Greek-Turkish relations will be affected negatively if such actions continue, while he stressed that it will be a mistake to react at this moment based on sentiment and not make decisions based on pure logic.

    He said that talks are being held between the two communities under the UN auspices and Greece must support these procedures, while he added that the strategy decided in Helsinki must continue and this can have only positive results for Greece and Cyprus.

    Mr. Papandreou also linked Turkey's European course with the developments in Cyprus and with the developments in bilateral relations.


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