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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-01-12

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 12, 2000

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS TROOPS IN KOSOVO TODAY
  • [02] JAPANESE PREMIER ON HISTORIC VISIT TO GREECE
  • [03] OTE LANDS BULGARIA'S SECOND CELL PHONE LICENSE
  • [04] ARMY, NAVY CHIEFS CHANGED, BUT NOT OVER DU ISSUE
  • [05] INTER-BALKAN TELEMARATHON ON "RIGA'S CHARTER"
  • [06] LOCALS STILL STRONG IN OBJECTIONS TO TVX'S PLANS
  • [07] PM ANNOUNCES NINE MEASURES TO LOOK INTO DU USE
  • [08] VARTHOLOMEOS SALUTES BALKAN CONFERENCE
  • [09] RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IS A REQUISITE FOR STABILITY
  • [10] GREEKS SUPPORT LOBBYING POWER, BUT CHICKEN OUT
  • [11] TWO MORE SUITORS EYE OLYMPIC AIRWAYS BUYOUT
  • [12] 875 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WERE ARRESTED IN THE DODECANESSE
  • [13] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS WILL VISIT KOSOVO
  • [14] EARTHQUAKE MEASURING 3.9 ON THE RICHTER SCALE IN ATHENS
  • [15] MARGINAL GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [16] VOULGARIS-SCORSESE COOPERATION IN "BRIDES"
  • [17] SIMITIS: THE PRESENCE OF GREEK SOLDIERS IN YUGOSLAVIA SERVES THE NATIONAL INTERESTS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [18] SAE SENT WINTER CLOTHING TO THE GREEKS IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
  • [19] 29 CHILDREN WERE ARRESTED IN A DEMONSTRATION SUPPORTING THE KURDISH PKK
  • [20] THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF THE ETHNIC GREEK ORGANIZATION "OMONIA" IN ALBANIA
  • [21] THE GREEK MINISTER OF DEFENSE IS ON A VISIT TO KOSOVO

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS TROOPS IN KOSOVO TODAY

    Heading by a delegation of deputies, Minister of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos is to travel to Kosovo today, where he will hold talks with KFOR staff and the military officials leading Greek forces stationed in the area concerning NATO's use of depleted uranium ammunition.

    Addressing the Parliament's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, the Minister reiterated that the Greek militaries who had served or are serving in Kosovo are to undergo medical tests to will examine radiation levels, while he also stressed that the Greek peacekeeping force will remain in Kosovo and, if any problems are ascertained, all necessary measures will be taken.

    [02] JAPANESE PREMIER ON HISTORIC VISIT TO GREECE

    Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori will embark on a two-day official visit to Greece tomorrow, January 13, the first-ever visit to Greece by a Japanese premier, for talks on bilateral relations and regional issues.

    Mr. Mori will hold talks with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis and other top government officials with whom he will discuss Greek-Japanese relations as well as regional issues of concern to the two countries.

    In 1999, Greece and Japan marked the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

    According to a Japanese Embassy announcement, Mr. Mori's visit is considered very important for the further development and improvement of the relations between the two countries.

    [03] OTE LANDS BULGARIA'S SECOND CELL PHONE LICENSE

    Culminating three years of negotiations, Greece's state-owned Telecommunications Organization (OTE), has officially won a Bulgarian state tender for sale of the neighboring country's second GSM-technology mobile phone license.

    Following a meeting yesterday, Bulgaria's state telecommunications committee endorsed the award of the country's second mobile phone licence to OTE

    The Bulgarian state telecommunications committee will officially notify OTE of its decision within the next three days, while OTE has 14 days to pay 135 million US dollars, the purchase price it had offered in the international tender for the licence.

    [04] ARMY, NAVY CHIEFS CHANGED, BUT NOT OVER DU ISSUE

    Greece's army and navy chiefs of staff will be replaced, as both incumbent military officials are up for retirement, according to the Government Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense (KYSEA), while Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos dismissed rumors that the replacements are somehow linked with the recent scare over the use of depleted uranium ammunition.

    The new army chief of staff is Lieutenant General George Antonakopoulos, who served as the commander of the Fourth Army Corps. Lt.-Gen. Antonakopoulos replaces Gen. Konstantinos Panagiotakis.

    The new navy chief of staff is Vice-Admiral George Theodoroulakis, the current fleet commander. He replaces Vice-Adm. Georgios Ioannidis.

    Air force chief Lt.-Gen. Dimitrios Litzerakos continues to serve in his post.

    [05] INTER-BALKAN TELEMARATHON ON "RIGA'S CHARTER"

    The Inter-Balkan Cultural Agency is to hold a telemarathon on January 15, to be broadcast by Greece's ERT channel, aiming at the promotion of regional cooperation on matters of culture.

    Riga's Charter" has drawn a series of initiatives for 2001, among them meetings in Athens and Brussels, seminars, theatrical plays, book presentations, etc.

    Costas Georgousopoulos is the president of the Inter-Balkan Cultural Agency.

    [06] LOCALS STILL STRONG IN OBJECTIONS TO TVX'S PLANS

    The Council of State, Greece's top administrative body, is to hear a petition today filed by a group of Halkidiki residents who are opposed to plans by Canadian-based TVX Hellas to expand its facilities in their area.

    In a press conference held in this peninsula of northern Greece yesterday, local government representatives outlined the objections of their constituents who fear pollution of an area rich in archaeological remains.

    TVX, a Toronto-based mining company, wants to expand its gold mining operations in the area and to build a processing metal plant at the Olympiada site.

    Its polymetallic gold project, (budgeted at $248 million) aims to develop 254,000 ounces of gold on an annual basis, along with 2.3 million ounces of silver, 21,500 tons of zinc and 22,500 tons of lead over the first five years of production.

    Prior to gaining the state's approval of its environmental impact report last year, TVX was subject to a series of protests and obstructive action from local groups.

    [07] PM ANNOUNCES NINE MEASURES TO LOOK INTO DU USE

    Following a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced a series of nine measures aimed at investigating the problems arising from NATO's use of depleted uranium (DU) bombs in Yugoslavia and Bosnia.

    The Premier, who did not hesitate to openly criticize the Alliance for failing to fully inform Greece on the use of DU ammunition, called for a thorough investigation into the consequences and for measures of protection.

    Specifically, Mr. Simitis expressed the Greek government's disagreement with NATO over the use of weapons that create permanent dangers to human life.

    The Greek government's nine measures are as follows: The Greek Atomic Energy Committee will monitor radioactivity levels at military facilities and missile ranges on land and at sea. 2. The use of DU ammunition during military exercises should be suspended until the investigation is concluded. 3. NATO should release all DU-related data and cooperate with other international organizations. 4. DU research conducted by the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organisation should continue. 5. A fact-finding and evaluation committee should be created within a NATO framework. 6. The investigation should be extended to the local population and to the overall environment. 7. The DU issue should be discussed within the European Union, both in the context of the Joint Security and Defence Policy and as a health and environmental concern. 8. A scientific working team should be formed to evaluate and present before the next Balkans Summit in February the consequences of using DU ammunition in Yugoslavia. 9. The Greek government will form a committee to monitor the handling of this issue.

    [08] VARTHOLOMEOS SALUTES BALKAN CONFERENCE

    In a message sent to a Thessaloniki-held Balkan conference on religion, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos stressed the need for cooperation in establishing peace, mutual tolerance and coexistence in a world where chauvinism leads to conflict and bloodshed.

    His Eminence added that religion is a societal element of unity and peace and, as such, it should not be used to create hate and division, much more so wars and fratricide.

    Mr. Vartholomeos also stressed that the war in former Yugoslavia did not have religious motives, adding that "religious communities are in a position and are obliged to play a leading role in reconstructing peace and promoting stability among Balkan peoples".

    The conference, which is taking place under the auspices of the Balkan Stability Pact, features the attendance of representatives of Christian, Islamic and Judaic communities of Southeastern Europe and also includes journalists from many European countries.

    The event, which is to conclude tomorrow, aims at cultivating a dialogue among the various religious communities and the media in an effort to promote peace, justice and stability in S.E. Europe.

    [09] RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IS A REQUISITE FOR STABILITY

    Addressing a Thessaloniki-held Balkan conference on religion, Balkan Stability Pact Chairman Bodo Hombach said that during the wars in former Yugoslavia "people lost their religious faith and the church its material infrastructure."

    Mr. Hombach added that the image of the Balkans, created by the media in the west, very often does not represent reality, and he called on the media to also cover the good news about the region.

    Similarly, Minister of Macedonia-Thrace George Paschalides stressed that the religious conference constitutes a significant contribution to the efforts taken for establishing a climate of understanding and rapprochement among the S.E. European peoples, since it aims to combat the intolerance for which the Balkan peoples have paid dearly.

    The Minister stressed that intolerance should be combatted at three levels, namely at schools, the church and the media.

    "I think it's time we reconsidered the view that ‘good news is no news", Mr. Paschalides told the attending journalists.

    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 conference, which is taking place under the auspices of the Balkan Stability Pact, features the attendance of representatives of Christian, Islamic and Judaic communities of Southeastern Europe and also includes journalists from many European countries.

    The event, which is to conclude tomorrow, aims at cultivating a dialogue among the various religious communities and the media in an effort to promote peace, justice and stability in S.E. Europe.

    [10] GREEKS SUPPORT LOBBYING POWER, BUT CHICKEN OUT

    Even though only a third of Greek workers actually become union members, the overwhelming majority of believe that unions are necessary for resolving labor disputes and safeguarding workers' rights.

    A recent survey performed on a sample of 2,300 employees found that 33.6 percent of those polled are union members, even though 85 percent believe that unions are necessary.

    Conducted by V.PRC on behalf of the General Confederation of Greek Laborers (GSEE), the survey also found that 30% of respondents are against unionization, while three percent expressed fear of involvement with unions. However, unemployed and migrant workers consider trade union membership as essential to securing labor rights. Regarding the labor market, about 55 percent of those polled stated that they feel little to no job security.

    Respondents to the poll work an average of 42 hours from Monday to Friday, with 43.6 hours for workers in the private sector and 36.6 hours for public servants. Moreover, half of those polled are called to work on the weekends or holidays, while one out of ten respondents is employed on a part-time basis.

    [11] TWO MORE SUITORS EYE OLYMPIC AIRWAYS BUYOUT

    Two of Greece's largest privately-owned airlines, Aegean and Cronus, have emerged as suitors for the purchase of a 65 percent stake of the national air carrier Olympic Airways.

    Bringing the number of prospective buyers to six, Aegean and Cronus are now joining U.S. firm Chrysler Aviation (a specialist in executive jets), Cyprus Airways, the Japanese Sanwa Bank, shipowner Stamatis Restis and an unnamed investment firm based in Australia.

    While the deadline for binding expressions of interest -which will have to accompanied by business plans- is after January 31, financial bids are to be requested in early March.

    [12] 875 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WERE ARRESTED IN THE DODECANESSE

    Interesting figures on the illegal immigrants that were arrested in the region of the Dedecanesse last year were given to publicity by the southeastern Aegean police authorities. Specifically, a total of 875 illegal immigrants were arrested and were sent back to their countries.

    Also, according to information provided by the police concerning on the same period of time, authorities have solved two manslaughter cases and 128 of the 172 reported robberies.

    [13] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS WILL VISIT KOSOVO

    Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece intends to visit Kosovo on January 19 and 20 to meet with the Greek students and soldiers in the region after the issue that arose concerning the use of depleted uranium shells in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

    Meanwhile, the hierarchy of the Church of Greece met today under the Archbishop for the election of the new Metropolites of Hydra, Spetses and Kassandria.

    [14] EARTHQUAKE MEASURING 3.9 ON THE RICHTER SCALE IN ATHENS

    Earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale rocked the region of Athens at 2.12pm today. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in Parnitha and it was the same epicenter that gave the September 7, 1999 devastating earthquake.

    The scientists characterized as normal the seismic activity in the region.

    [15] MARGINAL GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Marginal gains of 0.07% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was at 3.314,11 points, while the volume of transactions was 278.35 million Euro or 94.852 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 52 recorded gains and 293 had losses, while the value of 21 stocks remained unchanged.

    [16] VOULGARIS-SCORSESE COOPERATION IN "BRIDES"

    The movie production of "Brides" that will be filmed in Greece starting in April will bring close famous American director Martin Scorsese and Greek film director Pantelis Voulgaris. The film refers to the history of 700 girls from Greece, Turkey and Armenia who left Ismir, Turkey in 1922 for the United States in order to get married.

    Pantelis Voulgaris will direct the film, while Martin Scorsese will undertake its production. The stage-design will be made by Dionisis Fotopoulos, while the screenplay will be written by author Ioanna Karistiannis.

    The filming will take place in Chania, Crete, in the northern Aegean island of Samothrace, Athens and a village near Kastoria, northwestern Greece.

    [17] SIMITIS: THE PRESENCE OF GREEK SOLDIERS IN YUGOSLAVIA SERVES THE NATIONAL INTERESTS

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis stated in response to questions tabled in parliament by the opposition that the Greek military presence in Yugoslavia is necessary within the framework of the efforts aimed at reaching a peaceful solution to the problem, while at the same time it serves the national interests.

    The prime minister also underlined that the Greek government is concerned with the "Balkan Syndrome" effects and has exercised a precautionary policy, while it continues to conduct on the spot scientific research and radiation counts monitored by the Greek Atomic Energy Committee. Mr. Simitis stated that the government will decide on its future actions based on official scientific data and not on press reports.

    Mr. Simitis criticized the North Atlantic Alliance because it hasn't given any facts yet on the problem and pointed out that NATO has an obligation to give every information and figure available on the specific problem. He also said that the Greek government believes that NATO must suspend the use of depleted uranium weapons. Referring to the initiatives undertaken by the government, he pointed out that the issue will be raised in the Inter-Balkan Summit meeting that will be held at the end of February and a special program for the Balkans will be proposed.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [18] SAE SENT WINTER CLOTHING TO THE GREEKS IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION

    Winter clothing items worth US$217.000 or 78 million drachmas were sent by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, to the Greek community in the former soviet republic of Uzbekistan.

    SAE president Andrew Athens stated that a large container with new coats, trousers and blouses will arrive in the city of Tashkent on February 16, while more clothes will be sent to other Greek communities in the rest former soviet republics.

    [19] 29 CHILDREN WERE ARRESTED IN A DEMONSTRATION SUPPORTING THE KURDISH PKK

    The Turkish police arrested 29 children in a demonstration supporting the Kurdish Workers' Party, PKK, according to a statement issued by the Human Rights Union, IHD.

    According to a statement issued by the organization's Diyarbakir branch, 29 children, between the ages of 9 and 16, were arrested last Tuesday in the city of Viransehir in the Sanliufra province accused of participating in a demonstration supporting PKK.

    The IHD mentions in its statement that parents of the arrested children maintained that in certain cases police mistreated the children and called on the Turkish authorities to investigate the accusations concerning the torturing of children and proceed with their immediate release.

    [20] THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF THE ETHNIC GREEK ORGANIZATION "OMONIA" IN ALBANIA

    The 10th anniversary of the founding of the ethnic Greek organization "Omonia" in Albania was celebrated yesterday in the village of Dervitsani in the southern part of the country. The celebrations were attended by Greek ambassador to Tirana Dimitrios Eliopoulos, Greek consul general in Ghirokastra Yiannis Pediotis, the press adviser, the OSCE representative and many members of the Greek community.

    The Greek ambassador conveyed the message of the Greek government on the occasion of the anniversary and stressed that Athens backs the efforts made by "Omonia" for the protection of the rights of the Greek minority namely, its right to equality and the preservation of its cultural and ethnic identity within the borders of the Albanian state. He also stressed that Greece has offered significant assistance to Albania, adding that it is its second most important trade partner.

    He concluded by saying that for Albania to fulfill its strategic goal namely, to become a member of the Euro-Atlantic structure, it has to deal with the minorities on its territory in accordance with the international accords and therefore, it has to protect the rights of the ethnic Greek minority.

    [21] THE GREEK MINISTER OF DEFENSE IS ON A VISIT TO KOSOVO

    Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos visited the Greek military force in Kosovo today accompanied by the National Defense Chief of Staff Manousos Paragioudakis, Army Chief of Staff Konstantinos Panagiotakis and parliament deputies.

    Mr. Tsochatzopoulos referred to the measures taken by the Greek government for the protection of the health and safety of the Greek soldiers serving in Kosovo and stated that those who want to return to Greece fearing for their health as a result of the use of depleted uranium shells in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, will be free to do so.

    Greek Atomic Energy Committee chairman Leonidas Kamarinopoulos stated that his team has collected 75 samples from air, land and water in the regions bombed with depleted uranium shells and they will be brought to Athens this evening to be analyzed. The first results will be out by the end of next week.

    Referring to the issue that has arisen after the revelations on the effects of the depleted uranium bombs, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated that light must be shed on the case, stressing that the assurances given by NATO that there is no problem are not satisfactory as there are deaths of soldiers from leukemia in a number of European countries. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos also added that an investigation must be underway at a European Union level until the necessary responses are given.


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