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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-01-11

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, January 11, 2000

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] DEFENSE MINISTER TRAVELS TO KOSOVO TOMORROW
  • [02] INNER CABINET MEETS TODAY OVER DU AMMUNITION
  • [03] STABILITY PACT IS ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS
  • [04] ASE ON THE REBOUND, IMPRESSIVE GAINS OF 2.59%
  • [05] CULTURE MINISTRY DECLARES 2001 "EMPIRIKOS YEAR"
  • [06] STATE LOOKS TO OFFER RELIEF TO INDIGENT PERSONS
  • [07] BOG URGES STATE TO COMBAT UNEMPLOYMENT
  • [08] IMPRESSIVE GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [09] THE 8TH THESSALONIKI FORUM WILL BE HELD IN THE PRESENCE OF PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS
  • [10] THE 3RD CONFERENCE OF MEDITERRANEAN JOURNALISTS WILL OPEN TOMORROW
  • [11] KOSTUNICA WILL BE IN ATHENS ON TUESDAY
  • [12] SIMITIS: THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS WILL BE SUSPENDED
  • [13] THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INSTITUTE IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE WILL BE FORMED TOMORROW
  • [14] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY INITIATIVES AIMED AT DEALING WITH THE EFFECTS OF THE WAR
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [15] EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO SET UP DU EXPERT TEAM
  • [16] 200% RISE OF INCURABLE ILLNESSES AT KOSOVO TOWN
  • [17] WWF REACTS TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CANOEING AND ROWING CENTER IN THE REGION OF SCHINIAS

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] DEFENSE MINISTER TRAVELS TO KOSOVO TOMORROW

    Minister of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos is to travel to Kosovo tomorrow, where he will hold talks with KFOR staff and the military officials leading Greek forces stationed in the area concerning the mounting concerns over the use of depleted uranium ammunition.

    Greek nuclear scientists who conducted radiation checks in the vicinity of the Kosovo Polie township have not detected higher- than normal levels. The scientific team, led by Prof. Kamarinopoulos, and doctors from the army health service tested air and earth samples and men serving in Greek units in the area, all of which had been negative. Levels of pollution in the areas where Greek troops were stationed were also within normal levels.

    According to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, results taken from air and ground samples as well as tests performed on military personnel were negative, as far as radioactivity was concerned.

    However, Mr. Reppas added that these tests are only preliminary, as final results will be unveiled when the samples are tested in a specialised laboratory in Athens.

    [02] INNER CABINET MEETS TODAY OVER DU AMMUNITION

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair an inner cabinet meeting today in order to discuss NATO's use of depleted uranium ammunition during the raids against Yugoslavia.

    According to government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas, the inner cabinet will also discuss other issues during today's meeting, such as the royal properties and the state's media policies.

    Meanwhile, Greece intends to seek the European Union's intervention in dealing with DU issue, while it plans to make specific proposals and ask for an independent fact-finding committee comprising experts from all 15 EU member-states to carry out on-the-spot research.

    In addition, Greece plans to ask that the EU's financial protocol for the Western Balkans (CARDS) provide for a special environmental mechanism and that EU 6th environmental program be used to fund actions to protect the health of the public in the area.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou has proposed that the issue be discussed at the next EU General Affairs Council on January 22.

    [03] STABILITY PACT IS ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS

    Inaugurating the Thessaloniki offices of the Stability Pact last night, Minister of Macedonia-Thrace George Paschalides called for a calm and systematic approach to the issue concerning NATO's use of depleted uranium ammunition, stressing that the state's foremost concern is the health of its citizens, soldiers and students.

    According to Mr. Paschalides, the reconstruction of the Balkans bears an environmental dimension which should become more apparent in light of the latest developments. Also, the Minister added that the cost of reconstruction should be determined with a greater degree of magnanimity.

    "Following the recent developments in Serbia, the Stability Pact features the participation of all the countries of Southeastern Europe, all of which form a Balkan landscape by promoting the strengthening of democratic institutions, economic development and the peaceful resolution of differences.

    "The conditions for long-term stability in the region, and the embodiment of S.E. European countries in the European Union, are gradually formed. The restoration of damages resulting from the recent military raids in the Balkans is a significant facet of the Stability Pact's environmental program," he stressed.

    The Minister also stated that the said program enjoys the expressed support of the Environment Ministers of Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM and Romania.

    [04] ASE ON THE REBOUND, IMPRESSIVE GAINS OF 2.59%

    A mere fifteen minutes after the opening of today's trading, the Athens Stock Exchange showed an impressive gain of 2.59%, with the general index springing to 3,157.54 points, a marked recovery from yesterday's 3,100 points.

    With turnover approaching the 13-billion-drachma mark, the recovery attempt is expected to be facilitated by rumors of margin accounts and the imminent enforcement of other substantive measures.

    [05] CULTURE MINISTRY DECLARES 2001 "EMPIRIKOS YEAR"

    Greece's Ministry of Culture has declared 2001 "Empirikos Year", in honor of the centennial anniversary since the birth of the late poet Andreas Empirikos, who introduced surrealism in Greek poetry in the 1930s. A series of events will be held during the year, starting with a showcase of the poet's work at the island of Andros from June 29- 31. The event will be entitled "Today as Tomorrow and as Yesterday".

    Works by Empirikos will be published in English and French and will be available in the United States and England.

    [06] STATE LOOKS TO OFFER RELIEF TO INDIGENT PERSONS

    The Ministry of National Economy and Finance is reportedly reviewing the prospect of providing economic relief to those citizens whose income falls below the poverty line, with the qualifications and standards for such assistance to be determined within the year.

    Other matters discussed during yesterday's session of the state's economic staff included the course of planned privatizations by summer's end - with the fate of national air carrier Olympic Airways topping the list -, expediting the absorption rate of Third Community Support Framework funds, reforms in the insurance sector and the overhaul of the country's taxation system.

    [07] BOG URGES STATE TO COMBAT UNEMPLOYMENT

    In view of Greece's high unemployment rate - 11.7% percent of the registered workforce, against 9.4 percent in Europe - the Bank of Greece (BoG) urges the state to reduce taxation and lower insurance withholdings, in an effort to boost enterprising initiatives that will facilitate job growth.

    In a recently-published report, BoG recommends that measures to combat unemployment include the radical reform of the education system, by associating academic studies with the job market, and the transformation of the state's Organization for the Development of Human Resources (OAED) into a job-finding agency. The report does note that conditions in the job market are not responsible for the high rate of joblessness, as a great degree of flexibility already exists.

    According to BoG, Greeks work more hours than all their counterparts in the 15-member European Union, with a weekly average of 43.3 hours (with the EU average being 37.9).

    Moreover, Greece's rate of part-time workers (6.1%) pales in comparison to the EU average of 17.7 percent, while the rate of unemployment is highest among the younger members of the workforce (25 and under). As BoG reports, another factor augmenting the country's joblessness rate is the high number of immigrants who entered Greece in recent years.

    Another BoG report also calls for macroeconomic measures for boosting employment and reducing unemployment, coupled with provided that a high pace of economic and social growth is achieved and maintained.

    [08] IMPRESSIVE GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The gains recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today were impressive. The general index had a 6.98% rise and reached 3.311,87 points, while the volume of transactions was increased at 270.5 million Euro or 92.176 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 347 recorded gains, while 11 had losses and the value of 15 stocks remained unchanged.

    [09] THE 8TH THESSALONIKI FORUM WILL BE HELD IN THE PRESENCE OF PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS

    The 8th Thessaloniki Forum will be held on April 2 and 3 in the presence of prime minister Kostas Simitis and probably Yugoslav president Voislav Kostunica.

    The forum will take place at Thessaloniki's Hyatt Regency Hotel organized by the Association of Industries in Northern Greece in cooperation with the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, the Stability Pact and the European Organization for the Reconstruction of Southeastern Europe.

    [10] THE 3RD CONFERENCE OF MEDITERRANEAN JOURNALISTS WILL OPEN TOMORROW

    The 3rd Conference of Mediterranean Journalists on "Solidarity among journalists in the era of globalization" will take place in Athens on January 12-13 organized by the Athens Daily Newspapers Journalists' Association.

    The conference will be attended by journalists from 16 countries as well as representatives of all the Greek journalists' associations. Among the issues that will be discussed in the conference will be the new technologies in the service of journalism and the freedom of press.

    [11] KOSTUNICA WILL BE IN ATHENS ON TUESDAY

    Yugoslav president Voislav Kostunica will be on his first formal visit to Athens on January 16 for talks with the Greek state and political leadership.

    Mr. Kostunica will meet with president Kostis Stephanopoulos and prime minister Kostas Simitis. He will lay a wreath at the Monument for the Unknown Soldier and later he will visit the Acropolis and have a meeting with Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    The Yugoslav president will also meet with parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis, main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, Coalition of the Left president Nikos Konstantopoulos and Communist Party general secretary Ms. Aleka Papariga.

    A formal dinner will be given in his honor at the Presidential Building on January 13 and later on that evening he will depart for Belgrade.

    [12] SIMITIS: THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS WILL BE SUSPENDED

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis announced that the use of depleted uranium weapons in military exercises will be suspended until the scientific investigation procedure is completed. The prime minister made the announcement after the governmental committee meeting today that dealt with the issue of the so-called "Balkans Syndrome".

    Mr. Simitis referred to the initiatives undertaken by the government, pointing out that radiation counts are being made in 25 stations across Greece on a 24hour basis. According to the prime minister, there is no negative data and the environment has not been affected. The government has authorized the Greek Atomic Energy Committee to observe all the land and sea military exercise areas, while Greece has called on NATO to give to publicity all available data in cooperation with international organizations concerning the possible side-effects as a result of the use of depleted uranium shells.

    However, the Greek government has decided that the Greek forces will remain in Kosovo as their presence there is necessary and protecting the Greek national interests and peace in the region. In addition, every soldier, non governmental organization personnel and Greek student in Yugoslavia and Kosovo will be examined to determine if they are in any risk.

    The prime minister added that Greece is the first country that called on NATO and the European Union to take measures and conduct radiation counts in the region of Kosovo.

    [13] THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INSTITUTE IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE WILL BE FORMED TOMORROW

    The board of directors of the Thessaloniki based Telecommunications Institute in southeastern Europe will be formed tomorrow and hold its first meeting. The institute will undertake specific activities within the framework of the SECI initiative.

    The first event organized by the institute will be held by the end of February and it will be aimed at harmonizing the telecommunications legislation in the countries of southeastern Europe. The goal of the institute is to create a scientific nucleus that will study the developments in southeastern Europe approaching them from a scientific point of view, while at the same time it will promote the work of those involved coming from the state and private sector.

    [14] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY INITIATIVES AIMED AT DEALING WITH THE EFFECTS OF THE WAR

    The issue of the "Balkans Syndrome" will be the main topic of the telephone communication Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou will have next week with his Balkan counterparts. This move is aimed at dealing with the depleted uranium ammunition issue and its effects on the environment as the environment is directly linked with the reconstruction of the Balkans.

    Deputy foreign minister Elisavet Papazoi, in cooperation with special scientists has already undertaken to prepare a series of proposals on the issue which will be presented for discussion in the General Affairs Council that will meet on January 22.

    The Greek foreign ministry reiterated that there was no information from the NATO military committee on the kind of the weapons systems that were used in the bombing of Yugoslavia, while the environmental pollution problem had been noted with the bombings of the petrochemical plants.

    Meanwhile, in the meeting of the NATO permanent representatives, Greece and Italy jointly called for a moratorium in the use of depleted uranium weapons until the scientific investigation in Yugoslavia is completed. The proposal was backed by Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Germany, while there was strong reaction by the United States and Britain, which pointed out that the relation between uranium and the soldiers' diseases has not been established scientifically.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO SET UP DU EXPERT TEAM

    The European Commission intends to set up a scientific committee which will investigate the dangers to public health and the environment from the use of depleted-uranium weapons in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    According to a European Commission spokesman, the committee will comprise independent experts from the European Union's 15 member-states Union and the results of their investigation will be announced at the beginning of February.

    The said experts are members of the special team "Group 31" that was created by the European service for atomic energy, Euratom.

    The spokesman said that "all available information" would be used during the course of the investigation, while he did not rule out a trip by committee members to the area in question, if necessary.

    [16] 200% RISE OF INCURABLE ILLNESSES AT KOSOVO TOWN

    The Kosovo city of Kosovska Mitrovica, a town often referred to as the "Belfast of the Balkans", has been witness to a 200 percent rise in the rate of incurable illnesses since 1998, with the vast majority of patients being residents of the northern part of this Yugoslav province.

    According to official data provided by the city's hospital, 160 individuals -aged between 30 and 50- were treated last year for various cancers, especially leukemia, prostate, lung and cervical.

    Moreover, according to a hospital spokesperson, the rate of miscarriages rose by 100 percent during the course of 2000, with a marked increase in the occurrence of premature labor and birth defects.

    [17] WWF REACTS TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CANOEING AND ROWING CENTER IN THE REGION OF SCHINIAS

    The WWF representatives expressed their opposition to the construction of the Canoeing and Rowing Olympic Center in Schinias, pointing out that if the specific plans proceed Greece is possible to be accused of violating the European Union environment protection legislation.

    In a press conference in Brussels it was stressed that the Schinias region hosts many kinds of flora and fauna as well as eco- systems protected by a European Commission directive.

    In a statement WWF calls on the European Commission to make sure that the European funds will be allocated only for the construction of Olympic projects that will not violate the EU environmental legislation and that the Greek government will proceed with the protection of the Schinias region implementing the eco-systems directive.


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