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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-01-09

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, January 9, 2000

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] ATHOC CHIEF: GREATEST GAMES OF ALL TIMES IN 2004
  • [02] STUDENT BLOOD TESTS COME UP O.K., BUT NOT ENOUGH
  • [03] GREECE LOOKS TO CHINA FOR ENERGY INVESTMENTS
  • [04] THESSALONIKI SENDS 23 TONS OF X-MAS AID TO SERBIA
  • [05] GREEK OFFICE OF UNHCR PRESENTS BOOK ON REFUGEES
  • [06] GREEK DEPUTIES TO BE "QUIZED" ON SEX PRACTICES
  • [07] NATO POLITICAL COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS DU USE
  • [08] TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON
  • [09] CHINESE OFFICIALS WILL VISIT THE ROYAL TOMBS IN VERGINA
  • [10] PANAFON SUBSCRIBERS INCREASED BY 34% COMPARED TO 1999
  • [11] BIG LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [12] DENKTASH'S STANCE IS CHARACTERIZED AS NEGATIVE BY THE GREEK GOVERNMENT
  • [13] INFLATION WAS 3.9% IN DECEMBER
  • [14] STATEMENTS BY MR. REPPAS ON THE "BALKANS SYNDROME"
  • [15] SFINIAS HAD CONSUMED A LARGE QUANTITY OF ALCOHOL BEFORE COMMITTING SUICIDE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [16] UN URGES MONITORING OF DU RISKS IN KOSOVO
  • [17] THREE FIRMS VIE FOR SECOND TELECOM IN ALBANIA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] ATHOC CHIEF: GREATEST GAMES OF ALL TIMES IN 2004

    Addressing a seminar titled "Sports and the Olympic Games in the Digital Era", organized by the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA), the president of the Athens 2004 Olympics organizing committee (ATHOC) Yianna Aggelopoulos-Daskalaki expressed her confidence that Greece will carry out "the greatest Olympics of all times".

    Ms. Aggelopoulos-Daskalaki, ABNA's guest of honor, briefed an international audience of news agency executives attending the Athens seminar, and referred to the all-important "regional dimension" of the upcoming Games.

    "We know the goal is the greatest Olympic Games of all times, set in the historic place of their birth," she stated.

    "I envision a team that crosses the borders of Greece to encompass citizens in neighboring states who want the attention of the Olympics to shine more broadly on a region that is at peace and prosperity. No region deserves the fruits of peace as the Balkans do in this time of our history," she added.

    The ATHOC President provided tangible data on what lies ahead, stating characteristically that 120,000 new job positions will be created in affiliation to the Games, while she added that the Gross National Product is expected to increase by 2.5 percent by the end of 2004.

    The chief of the Sports Department at the French news agency AFP Jean-Pierre Gallois, among the keynote speakers, stated that his agency plans to engage 150 staff members for Games coverage, adding that AFP's budget for the 2004 Olympics amounts to $1.7 million.

    The Australian news agency AAP's organizer of the 2000 Sydney Olympics coverage John Coomber, provided valuable input regarding the Games organization, stressing that the most difficult task was the selection of qualified staff.

    Organized and hosted by the Athens News Agency (ANA) in its capacity as term president of ABNA, the seminar aims to develop conditions for the joint coverage of the Athens Games by ABNA members as well as to provide constant, reliable and the adequate news gathering for subscribers in the region.

    Held at the Divani-Caravel Hotel in downtown Athens, the two- day event features the participation of the general directors and 25 other officials from the ABNA member agencies - including the Macedonian Press Agency - from Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Moldova, FYROM, Romania and Turkey, as well as from Australia. Yesterday's session was also attended by alternate Press Minister Telemachus Hytiris and Press Secretary General Nikos Athanasakis.

    Speakers at the two-day seminar include the deputy head of the sports desk at German news agency DPA Hans-Mermann Madler, the sports editor at Britain's Press Association (PA) Andy Elliott, the assignment manager and chief photographer at EPA (European Photographic Agency) Anja Niedringhaus, and ATHOC press office director Serapheim Kotrotsos.

    ABNA, established in June 1995, during a meeting of Balkan news agency directors in Thessaloniki, will hold its annual General Assembly this afternoon.

    [02] STUDENT BLOOD TESTS COME UP O.K., BUT NOT ENOUGH

    Blood tests conducted on Greek students studying at universities in Yugoslavia have failed to show any cause of concern, although doctors are advising the students - who fear they were exposed to the area's depleted uranium - that it is too soon to detect possible health problems.

    In all, twenty students and soldiers have visited Thessaloniki's "AHEPA" hospital to undergo blood tests. However, the hospital's president Marios Pyrpasopoulos stressed that these tests are not detailed enough and merely serve to put the public's mind at ease.

    Fearing exposure to the depleted uranium in the area, the students are to meet with Education Minister Petros Efthymiou in order to present to him their demand that they be transferred to Greek universities.

    [03] GREECE LOOKS TO CHINA FOR ENERGY INVESTMENTS

    A delegation of Greek officials in to travel to China this year, in order to scope out opportunities for energy investment, according the Ministry of Development.

    Specifically, the delegation will examine the opportunities for investments in renewable energy, i.e. wind power, geothermal energy and solar power. A symposium will also be held on energy, research and technology cooperation between the two countries.

    The agreement was drawn during a meeting held recently in Athens between Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and China's minister of research and technology, Zhu Lilan.

    [04] THESSALONIKI SENDS 23 TONS OF X-MAS AID TO SERBIA

    More than 23 tons of foodstuffs were collected by various communities in Thessaloniki and delivered to the municipal authorities of Belgrade on December 30, under an initiative by the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SVVE).

    Business, professional and academic leaders of Thessaloniki participated in the mission and supervised the distribution of 23.5 tons foodstuffs at refugee camps in the wider area of Belgrade.

    The aid was distributed to Pim Standard (a refugee camp), Draguvi Filipovic (a foundation for orphaned children), Drica Pavlovic (a foundation for orphaned children), Detinje Rakovic (a refugee camp), Kresca (a foundation for children with special needs), Graci Escovic (a foundation for orphaned children) and Mosa Piante (a refugee camp).

    [05] GREEK OFFICE OF UNHCR PRESENTS BOOK ON REFUGEES

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will make opening remarks today at a presentation on the release of the Greek version of a new book titled "The State of the World's Refugees: 50 Years of Humanitarian Action."

    The event will be held at the Greek office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in cooperation with the publisher "Hellenika Grammata,".

    UNHCR Representative to Greece, Florinda Rojas Rodriguez, will also be a keynote speaker.

    [06] GREEK DEPUTIES TO BE "QUIZED" ON SEX PRACTICES

    From the Premier to the newest member of the House, the 300 deputies of the Hellenic Parliament will be called on to fill out a questionnaire on sex and relationships, to be provided by Dr. Thanos Askitis, a parliamentarian for the ruling PASOK party and a clinical psychiatrist who founded Greece's first independent sex therapy center.

    The questionnaire will comprise 30 questions concerning views on marriage, fidelity and how the demands of political life erode or enhance romance and sex.

    The responses to the questionnaire, which will be forwarded on January 15, will be anonymous and, in an effort to ensure secrecy, it will be accompanied by an envelope pre-addressed to a special postal box. The results will be released to the public.

    [07] NATO POLITICAL COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS DU USE

    NATO's political council is to meet in Brussels today in order to discuss the effects of the Alliance's use of depleted uranium ammunition in Yugoslavia in 1999.

    Concurrently, the European Union is undertaking initiatives to further investigate the matter and safeguard the health of the region's population.

    Greece's Defense Ministry General Army Staff is reviewing recommendations for the provision of medical examinations to all the non-commissioned officers and other personnel (about 1,000) who are presently stationed in Kosovo and Bosnia or served there sometime between 1990 to date.

    Meanwhile, following the orders of Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, five thousand ammunition shells containing depleted uranium will be transported to specially-constructed military depots by tomorrow.

    [08] TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON

    People in Greece will have the opportunity to watch the first total eclipse of the moon in the new millennium at 10pm this evening if the weather allows for it and the skies are clear.

    The color of the moon will be red as a result of the reflection of the solar light on the Earth. The next eclipse of the moon, according to scientists, will be in May 2003.

    [09] CHINESE OFFICIALS WILL VISIT THE ROYAL TOMBS IN VERGINA

    A Chinese delegation, made up of government officials headed by Xumpei province governor Wang Shengtie, arrived in Thessaloniki coming from Athens within the framework of their visit to Greece.

    The Chinese delegation visited the royal tombs of the ancient Macedon kings and the archaeological site in Vergina this morning. The municipality of Thessaloniki gave a formal luncheon in their honor and later in the evening the Chinese officials will depart for Austria.

    [10] PANAFON SUBSCRIBERS INCREASED BY 34% COMPARED TO 1999

    The subscribers of the mobile phone company Panafon reached the 2.226.000 mark at the end of December recording an increase of 34% compared to the same month in 1999.

    In a statement issued by the company, the rapid increase in the mobile card phone users corresponds to 67% of the total Panafon subscribers and is attributed mainly to the extremely successful CU mobile card phone program. It should be noted that the CU users made up almost 50% of the new mobile card phone users in less than 3 months after the CU program was launched.

    Panafon is currently reorganizing its sales network and is proceeding with the merger of its sales partners with the creation of a large private chain of Panafon-Vodafone shops.

    [11] BIG LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Big losses of 1.50% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index dropped to 3.097,74 points, while the volume of transactions was very low at 162.2 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, only 43 recorded gains, 293 had losses and the value of 38 stocks remained unchanged.

    [12] DENKTASH'S STANCE IS CHARACTERIZED AS NEGATIVE BY THE GREEK GOVERNMENT

    The stance adopted by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who announced that he will not attend the new round of talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem, is characterized as negative by the Greek government.

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the international community must examine the likelihood of imposing sanctions on Rauf Denktash and added that it shouldn't be enough for the international community to simply record Mr. Denktash's stance. He said that there must be sanctions imposed on him who is responsible for the situation as it has developed adding that Mr. Denktash continues to refuse to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus issue.

    Mr. Reppas also stated that Cyprus cannot be held hostage by a small group or occupation regime and such a situation cannot be tolerated by the international community.

    [13] INFLATION WAS 3.9% IN DECEMBER

    Inflation was 3.9% in December 2000, according to figures provided by the Greek National Statistics Agency. This development brought optimism to the Greek government's economic staff for the further de-escalation of inflation, while the prospects are favorable as the international oil prices are being stabilized and the Euro's exchange rate to the US dollar is being strengthened.

    Inflation in the month of November last year was 4.2%, while it is estimated that in January 2001 inflation will be 3.5%.

    [14] STATEMENTS BY MR. REPPAS ON THE "BALKANS SYNDROME"

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the likelihood of a concealment or cover-up on behalf of NATO regarding the use of depleted uranium shells in Yugoslavia is an issue under consideration for the Greek government, adding that the alliance must give to publicity all the necessary facts to know exactly what happened and take the necessary decisions and initiatives.

    Mr. Reppas also reminded that the decision to send Greek forces to Kosovo and Bosnia was reached unanimously by the Greek cabinet and served the Greek national interest. He reiterated that Greece from the beginning was in favor of a peaceful solution, proposing the adoption of political and diplomatic means in the effort to find a solution to the crisis. Mr. Reppas stressed however, that the criticism made is not justified, it is excessive and in certain cases it is made in bad faith.

    Regarding the likelihood for the pollution to spread to Greece, he said that the government has given the answers that could be given, adding that the voices of the scientists should be heard.

    On the use of such shells by the Greek Navy, Mr. Reppas stated that the sea is a safe place to store them provided that they were not detonated and added that according to specialists, there is no danger.

    Mr. Reppas stated that Greece will not ask for Javier Solana, head of the EU joint foreign and defense policy, to be excluded from the investigation procedure concerning what took place during the Kosovo and Serbia bombings, a period during which Mr. Solana was NATO secretary-general. Mr. Reppas also reminded that Greece did not vote for him on the Cologne EU Summit meeting in which Solana was elected to his current post.

    [15] SFINIAS HAD CONSUMED A LARGE QUANTITY OF ALCOHOL BEFORE COMMITTING SUICIDE

    Minoan Flying Dolphins coastal shipping company vice- president and managing director Pantelis Sfinias, who committed suicide jumping from the sixth floor of the company building in Piraeus on November 29 last year, had consumed a large quantity of alcohol before putting an end to his life, based on the results of the toxicological tests made on his body.

    Also, the tests showed that he was on the prescription antidepressant drug Remeron and according to the forensic surgeons, who examined the body, he was probably on a treatment to deal with feelings of depression.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [16] UN URGES MONITORING OF DU RISKS IN KOSOVO

    The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said that the Nand the Kosovo Force (KFOR) have taken the issue of depleted uranium very seriously since their arrival in June 1999. The Secretary-Generals Special Representative Bernard Kouchner has urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to send public health experts to assist in monitoring any possible health consequences of the use of depleted uranium among the civilian population.

    According to initial findings by WHO and the Kosovo Department of Health, there has been no increase in the incidence of leukemia among adults over the past four years.

    Mr. Kouchner is also in touch with NATO Secretary-General George Robertson on how to coordinate efforts to approach the issue of depleted uranium.

    WHO, in a press conference held in Geneva yesterday, said it does not have enough information about the exposure situation in Kosovo, nor about the number of soldiers involved, to determine if the leukemia rate is higher than normal.

    The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), whose report on the use of depleted uranium in Kosovo is currently being finalized, will hold a news conference on depleted uranium tomorrow in Geneva.

    [17] THREE FIRMS VIE FOR SECOND TELECOM IN ALBANIA

    Three firms are vying for the second license of Albania's mobile telecommunication provider, namely Turkey's Fintur and Rumeli, Britain's Vodafon and Greece's Panafon.

    Bids submitted to Albania's telecommunication commission yesterday, while Austria's Mobilcom -among the contenders for the license- has reportedly withdrawn from the tender.

    The commission will review the bids on January 22 and results are expected to be made public at the end of the month.


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