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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-07-18

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 18, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] THE CHURCH OF GREECE REACTED STRONGLY TO THE ID CARDS DECISION
  • [02] INFLATION WILL BE AT 2.3% IN JULY
  • [03] PRE-HISTORIC ANIMALS DATED BACK TO 5-7 MILLION YEARS WERE FOUND IN SERRES, NORTHERN GREECE
  • [04] REVOLUTIONARY TEXTS BY RIGAS FEREOS WERE TRANSLATED INTO SERB
  • [05] A GREEK EURO-DEPUTY CONDEMNS THE UNACCEPTABLE STATE OF THE TURKISH PRISONS AND CALLS FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
  • [06] GREECE AND ITS ECONOMY ARE AT A CRUCIAL CROSSROADS
  • [07] GAINS OF 0.51% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [08] NEW ID CARDS STARTING ON MONDAY
  • [09] KARAMANLIS MAKES PROPOSALS AND CRITICISMS CONCERNING UNEMPLOYMENT
  • [10] PORT OF THESSALONIKI IS TO BECOME INTERNATIONAL
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [11] SIMITIS-KOSTOV MEETING IS UNDERWAY IN BULGARIA
  • [12] AN EXHIBITION OF TREASURES FROM ANCIENT OLYMPIA OPENS IN SYDNEY TODAY
  • [13] SIMITIS-KOSTOV JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE
  • [14] BELGIUM LOWERS THE TONES ON THE FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE
  • [15] INFLATION IN GREECE WAS AT 2.2% IN THE MONTH OF JUNE

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] THE CHURCH OF GREECE REACTED STRONGLY TO THE ID CARDS DECISION

    The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece reacted strongly to the signing of the controversial decision based on which, the religion of the bearer will not be listed on the new state-issued identity cards.

    In a statement, the Holy Synod points out that certain government circles insist in the implementation of an irrational anti-religion plan totally disregarding the opinion of the faithful which was vividly expressed recently with the massive rallies held in Thessaloniki and Athens.

    The Church stresses that it will remain firm to its proposal for a referendum on the optional listing of religion on the new identity cards. The statement concludes that the Church believes that in a democratic state the dialogue and the will of the people have supremacy over authoritarian decisions.

    [02] INFLATION WILL BE AT 2.3% IN JULY

    Inflation in Greece is expected to drop to 2.3% in July, while in August it will be closer to 2%, according to the responsible agencies. In the autumn months inflation is expected to increase following the usual trend in that specific period of the year.

    Meanwhile, the Bank of Greece Monetary Policy Council is expected to proceed with new interest rate cuts that will take place by the end of August or in early September at the latest.

    [03] PRE-HISTORIC ANIMALS DATED BACK TO 5-7 MILLION YEARS WERE FOUND IN SERRES, NORTHERN GREECE

    Giraffes, rhinos, elephants, antilopes and gazelles used to live in Serres, northern Greece when the region was a vast savanna, based on the fossilized parts of the skeletons of a giraffe and a rhinoceros aged 5-7 million years that were brought to light during the excavations in the region of Xilokastro conducted by an Aristotle University of Thessaloniki geology team headed by paleontology lecturer Dr. Evangelia Tsoukala.

    The excavations started last year when a railway employee found fossilized skeleton parts of a giraffe. Dr. Tsoukala stated to MPA that the region used to be a vast savanna with tropical climate inhabited by the ancestors of animals that today live in Africa.

    Excavations will also be held in the region of Kalamoto, in Zagliveri near Thessaloniki where a shepherd found a 2million year old fossilized hippopotamus bone.

    [04] REVOLUTIONARY TEXTS BY RIGAS FEREOS WERE TRANSLATED INTO SERB

    The texts "Revolutionary Leaflet", "The rights of men" and the "Constitution" written by Rigas Fereos were translated into Serb by philologist Miroslav Vukelic and were published in Belgrade this month in the form of a bilingual edition. The revolutionary texts of Rigas Fereos were published by the Feres- Velestino-Rigas Scientific Society of Studies in cooperation with the Serb Academy of Sciences and Arts Balkan Institute.

    The "Constitution" edition in the Serb language is the third in line after the Bulgarian and Romanian translation. Later in the fall, the book will be translated into Italian, Spanish and English as well as into German, French and Russian.

    [05] A GREEK EURO-DEPUTY CONDEMNS THE UNACCEPTABLE STATE OF THE TURKISH PRISONS AND CALLS FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

    Greek Communist Party Euro-deputy Stratis Korakas addressed a letter to European Parliament president Ms. Nicole Fontaine condemning the unacceptable state of the Turkish prisons and calling for her intervention to the Turkish authorities for the release of political prisoners. The letter was sent on the occasion of the police attack on political prisoners in Burdur Prison in which 16 inmates suffered serious wounds and were taken to other prisons instead of being hospitalized, while the rest of them ended up in isolation cells where they were tortured, while there were rape attempts on women prisoners.

    Specifically, Mr. Korakas mentions in his letter that the situation in the Turkish prisons instead of improving becomes more and more inhuman. He writes that the existing situation is unacceptable, especially after the "white cells" policy promoted by the Turkish government. In those isolation prison cells that serve as torture chambers as well, the inmates suffer psychological pressures in order to be forced to reject their ideas. Mr. Korakas mentions that pictures show political prisoners in a tragic state, maimed, burned and with terrible wounds all over their bodies.

    In conclusion, Mr. Korakas writes that an end must be put to this situation that wrecks human dignity, grossly violates human rights and is a shame to humanity.

    The unacceptable and constantly deteriorating situation in the Turkish prisons was also presented by Mr. Korakas to the European Union Council calling for the adoption of direct initiatives aimed at the improvement of the inmates' living conditions and the respect of human rights.

    [06] GREECE AND ITS ECONOMY ARE AT A CRUCIAL CROSSROADS

    Greece is at a crucial crossroads as its economy has to face the challenges of a stable and lasting growth, while at the same time new job positions must be created stated Greek minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou in a press conference he gave today, stressing that the government strengthens the measures aimed at solving the problem of unemployment.

    According to Mr. Papantoniou, the response to the challenges ahead is the implementation of bold structural reforms through the liberalization of markets, the privatization and the restructuring of the job market toward the direction of flexibility.

    He said that the future of the economy lays with the new economy which blooms in an environment of free markets with flexible forms of employment.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that the growth goals from 3.8% and 4.1% have changed to 4% and 5% during the current year and 2001 respectively.

    In conclusion, he referred to the taxation system announcing that the taxation factor will drop from 45% to 40% for the companies that are not trading in the stock market and that the special tax on bank transactions will be abolished starting on January 1, 2001.

    [07] GAINS OF 0.51% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains of 0.51% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was at 4.102,51 points, while the volume of transactions was 103 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today 109 recorded gains, 213 had losses and 43 remained stable. Market circles underline that if the phenomenon of limited liquidation continues in the next few sessions the Athens Stock Exchange will get a new momentum that will lead it to stabilizing levels with main characteristic the smooth course.

    [08] NEW ID CARDS STARTING ON MONDAY

    The decision on the state-issued new identity cards has been reached and therefore, any dialogue with the Church is pointless, stated justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos.

    Speaking to the Athens radio station "Flash", Mr. Stathopoulos commented on the stance of the Church hierarchy and said that a climate of fanaticism is being created without a reason as there is nothing anti-religion in the government decision.

    The problem is with anyone who does not recognize this decision as the Constitution does not provide for a veto power on the state laws, stated Mr. Stathopoulos.

    Police stations in Greece will start issuing the new identity cards on Monday, July 24. The new ID cards will not include the bearer's religion, nationality and other sensitive personal data.

    [09] KARAMANLIS MAKES PROPOSALS AND CRITICISMS CONCERNING UNEMPLOYMENT

    After holding several meetings with the heads of the Greek General Confederation of Workers and the Greek Industries Union, the President of the New Democracy party, Mr Karamanlis, voiced his party's opinion far as the question of labour and unemployment is concerned.

    More specifically, the New Democracy leader maintained a positive stance in the question of opening the labour market on a beginners basis, as can be seen in his party's manifesto. Despite this, he remarked that these issues should form the basis of broader, more open and more honest talks, in order to achieve wider and stronger social approval. During the meetings, Mr Karamanlis accused the government of confining itself to simply handling the problem of unemployment without actually proposing a braver policy for the strengthening of employment. At the same time, he underlined that piecemeal measures can not effectively fight the problem of unemployment. Only a development rate, one that is significantly higher than today's, can help to deal with this issue.

    Furthermore, Mr Karamanlis proposed solutions to the issue of unemployment, mainly based on linking the employment market to new technology and general education, emphasizing training, the abolition of monopolies, the promotion of big structural changes as well as investment in small to middling enterprises. The correct development of the 3rd Communal Support Framework, in conjunction with a confrontation of the illegal immigrants issue and illegal employment, will, according to Mr Karamanlis, contribute towards solving the problem of unemployment. Towards the end of his proposal speech, he asked for an estimate and an appreciation of the measures which, for some time now, have been taken towards the battle against unemployment.

    Finally, he accused the government of failing to state its position on the issue of unemployment, leaving it without a specific and formed policy program, something that confirms assertions made by the New Democracy party.

    [10] PORT OF THESSALONIKI IS TO BECOME INTERNATIONAL

    A customs house is due to be built at the port of Thessaloniki, as a result of discussions being held between the minister of Macedonia and Thrace, George Paschalides, during which he is attempting to find a solution to the problem of accommodating employers.

    More specifically, Mr Paschalides stressed however that "the building in question will cost around 2 billion drachmas and will be built as part of the 3rd Communal Support Framework, something that is currently being reviewed by the region of central Macedonia.

    When the significant works being carried out at the port of Thessaloniki are completed, it will become an international point, services the surrounding South European and Balkan countries.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [11] SIMITIS-KOSTOV MEETING IS UNDERWAY IN BULGARIA

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis is on a one-day working visit to Plovdiv, Bulgaria at the invitation of his Bulgarian counterpart Ivan Kostov.

    The two leaders will discuss the joint infrastructure plans in the sectors of transportation, energy industry and telecommunications.

    They are also expected to sign a complementary protocol aimed at avoiding double taxation. Among the issues under discussion will be the construction of three new border crossings at the Greek-Bulgarian borders. They will also discuss the construction of the Sofia-Thessaloniki motorway that will facilitate the development of bilateral economic and trade relations.

    A special emphasis will be given to the development of bilateral cooperation between Sofia and Athens within the framework of the Stability Pact and Greece's support to Bulgaria's candidature for accession into the Euro-Atlantic structures.

    According to the Bulgarian press, Mr. Simitis will raise the issue of the buyout of 51% of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Organization (BTK) by the Greek-Dutch joint venture OTE-KPN. Yesterday, Bulgarian prime minister Ivan Kostov laid the foundations for the construction of the "Iliden" border crossing that will link the cities of Gotse Deltsev in Bulgaria and Dramas in Greece. Present in the ceremony was Greek ambassador to Sofia Michalis Christidis.

    The Greek company "Proodeftiki" has undertaken the construction of the road network that will cost 9 million Euro and is scheduled to be completed in 18 months, while the construction of the customs office that will take 15 months to complete and will cost 4.5 million Euro was undertaken by the Bulgarian "Sikonko" company.

    The materialization of the project was delayed by 1,5 year due to the intervention of ecological organizations for the protection of the brown bear population living in the region. The mutually acceptable solution was the construction of a 590meter long tunnel, 150 meters of which will be on Bulgarian territory.

    [12] AN EXHIBITION OF TREASURES FROM ANCIENT OLYMPIA OPENS IN SYDNEY TODAY

    The exhibition "One thousand years of Olympic Games: The treasures of ancient Greece" opens for the public at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia today.

    The exhibition is made up of a unique collection of 50 Greek treasures related with the Olympic Games and it is Greece's "formal present" on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Sydney.

    The local press offered an extensive coverage to the exhibition, pointing out that it is the most important collection of ancient Greek treasures ever hosted in Australia and it is estimated that the value of the exhibits is about US$ 730 million.

    [13] SIMITIS-KOSTOV JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE

    The talks of prime minister Kostas Simitis with his Bulgarian counterpart Ivan Kostov had a positive development with the signing of the complementary protocol aimed at avoiding double taxation.

    In a joint press conference the two leaders gave they referred to the content of their talks and the future of bilateral relations.

    Responding to a MPA question on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and the recent fires that destroyed large areas in both countries, Bulgarian prime minister Kostov stated that there is no progress on the oil pipeline but a solution is close, while there was no discussion on the fires.

    Prime minister Simitis stated on the oil pipeline that certain issues must be clarified by Moscow, adding that there have been changes in the Russian government as well as in the Gazprom management. He said that the plans for the drilling and transportation of oil from the Caspian Sea to the Caucasus are not safe yet, adding that the oil pipeline must be viable and competitive.

    Bulgarian prime minister Kostov stated that the meetings with his Greek counterpart are regular and today's talks covered a wide spectrum of issues from the EU and NATO enlargement to bilateral relations. He said that his country has the full support of Greece in its effort to join the EU and win its removal from the EU black list of countries the citizens of which need a visa to enter the EU. Mr. Kostov also welcomed the increase in the trade transactions between Greece and Bulgaria and spoke of a joint framework of treaties that will never allow the creation of tensions between the two countries.

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis stressed that there is a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding between the two countries and that the future of Europe depends on the efforts made by all. He said that the Greek stance is that all the European countries must participate in the EU and the European structures in order to secure peace, security and growth in the region.

    Mr. Simitis also stated that Greece believes in a Europe with federation characteristics and not in just a loose cooperation on economic issues because this way the big countries will determine the course of Europe.

    [14] BELGIUM LOWERS THE TONES ON THE FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE

    The Belgian agriculture ministry lowers the tones after its recent statement that warned the Belgian nationals of the foot-and- mouth disease cases traced in farms in the region of Evros, in northeastern Greece.

    In statements to the Greek service of the BBC radio, a representative of the Belgian ministry of agriculture recognized that the foot-and-mouth disease does not affect people.

    [15] INFLATION IN GREECE WAS AT 2.2% IN THE MONTH OF JUNE

    Inflation in Greece dropped from 2.6% in May to 2.2% in June, according to the monthly report of the European Statistics Agency Eurostat and continues to meet the EMU criteria for a fifth month in a row.

    Only in Greece inflation dropped in June compared to the rest 14 EU member-states.

    The biggest inflation rates were recorded in Ireland (5.4%), Luxembourg (4.4%) and Spain (3.5%), while the lowest inflation rates were recorded in Britain (0.8%), Sweden (1.4%) and France (1.9%).


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