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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-01-18

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, January 18, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] PM OPENS HOUSE DEBATE ON CONSTITUTION'S REFORM
  • [02] ALTERNATE FM PROVIDES HEALTH PROPOSALS TO EU
  • [03] PLUTONIUM TRACES REPORTEDLY FOUND IN DU SHELLS
  • [04] GREECE NOW A MEMBER OF EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
  • [05] U.K. DIPLOMAT IN ATHENS FOR ANTI-TERRORISM TALKS
  • [06] GERIATRICS CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKI NEXT WEEK
  • [07] LOSSES WERE RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [08] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS WILL BE IN KOSOVO ON SATURDAY
  • [09] REPPAS: NO NEGOTIATION FOR THE RETURN OF PROPERTY ASSETS TO THE DEPOSED KING
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [10] U.S. IS STILL SEEKING SOLUTION TO CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [11] DOCUMENTARY ON THE ISLAND OF CHIOS HOLOCAUST
  • [12] THE FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RECOGNIZED THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE COMMITTED BY THE TURKS
  • [13] GREEK COMPANIES CLAIM FYROM BAKERY INDUSTRY STOCKS
  • [14] THE GREEK-RUSSIAN COOPERATION WAS AT A VERY GOOD LEVEL IN 2000

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PM OPENS HOUSE DEBATE ON CONSTITUTION'S REFORM

    During his opening address on the constitutional reforms debate in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis characterized the planned amendments as the pinnacle of efforts to provide freedoms and democratic rights for citizens.

    The Premier characterized the proposed reforms as one of the most important initiatives of the ruling PASOK government since its rise to power in 1993 and stated that the amendments aim at two targets: firstly, the strengthening of individual rights and, secondly, the consolidation of a state of justice and credibility of democracy.

    Underlining that the reforms are to serve as a weapon against those who continue to think that rights and democracy can be subject to negotiation, Mr. Simitis stated that the new constitution will safeguard the independence and development of every citizen and person who lives in Greece, "serving as a springboard for the liberation of the creative forces faced by our society on the course towards to radical modernization."

    Mr. Simitis added that the new constitution will safeguard the new rights for the participation in the information era, protect of private personal information and consider the developments in the sector of bio-medicine.

    The Premier also stated that the reforms are to provide the much-needed transparency in the public's affairs with the state, through the establishment of independent authorities charged with the protection of citizens' rights. According to the Premier, "efforts to date aimed at consolidating the belief that our political system does not operate with the use of personal relationships, favoritism towards party members and non- transparent processes."

    The House will devote two weekly sessions to discussions on constitutional reforms, with talks expected to wrap up in April.

    [02] ALTERNATE FM PROVIDES HEALTH PROPOSALS TO EU

    In a letter addressed to the European Union's Commissioner for the Environment, Greece's alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi outlined the Greek government's proposals on health and environmental protection in the Balkans.

    In her letter, also communicated to the EU's Foreign Policy Commissioner Chris Patten and to Greek Euro-deputies, Ms. Papazoi underlines the commitments undertaken by the EU during prior meetings held in Cologne, Feira and Zagreb on Balkan reconstruction and stresses that they can be fulfilled only if effective measures are taken for the restoration of the environment in the area.

    Furthermore, Ms. Papazoi stresses the Greek government's sensitivity on the issue, which also takes on bigger dimensions due to risks from the use of depleted uranium weapons.

    Greece's proposals, already forwarded to the EU's Swedish presidency, call for the creation of an integrated scientific study reviewing the consequences of hostilities for the environment and humans in Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as for environmental studies in those Balkan countries where war operations were not carried out, to diagnose possible repercussions for the environment.

    [03] PLUTONIUM TRACES REPORTEDLY FOUND IN DU SHELLS

    As if depleted uranium wasn't enough, the ammunition used by NATO during its raids against Kosovo may also have contained traces of plutonium, a most hazardous substance, according to German press reports.

    A broadcast aired on Germany's ARD public television station, specifically by the current affairs show Monitor, reported that DU ammunition such as those used by NATO in the Balkans could contain deadly traces of plutonium. Germany's Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping stated yesterday that Berlin intends to look into the matter, adding that these claims are "very serious".

    ARD also reported that it had obtained documents from the United States Department of Defense noting the possibility of plutonium traces being found in its weapons.

    The German Defense Minister yesterday summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires in Berlin, Terry Snell, to express his concern over the report.

    Nuclear experts quoted on the German broadcast, stated that if the DU shells do contain traces of plutonium, then this would substantially increase the radiation risk from used weapons. Because plutonium is created during nuclear power production, it likely came from faulty reprocessing of the spent nuclear fuel from which the depleted uranium was recovered, Monitor said. The program also reported that the U.S. Pentagon had carried out a study from which it concluded that the depleted uranium supplied for its munitions could contain plutonium.

    [04] GREECE NOW A MEMBER OF EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY

    Greece has become an official member of the European Space Agency (ESA), following a relevant cooperation agreement signed by Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis.

    According to the Minister, Greece's membership will not be limited to academic issues, but, rather, its participation will be focusing on scientific and research matters, as well as on effectively utilizing space technology.

    In turn, ESA's general director stated that Greece is home to a noteworthy scientific community, with great capabilities of taking part in the Agency.

    [05] U.K. DIPLOMAT IN ATHENS FOR ANTI-TERRORISM TALKS

    British Foreign Office Undersecretary John Battle is in Athens today, where he will have a series of contacts concerning the Greek government's counter-terrorism measures and the UK's relevant recommendations.

    Mr. Battle will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou, Public Administration and Decentralization Vaso Papandreou and Public order Michalis Chrysochoides.

    Talks will also concern the investigation into the assassination of the British military attache in Athens Brigadier Stephen Saunders, who was gunned down by the notorious terrorist group November 17 last June.

    [06] GERIATRICS CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKI NEXT WEEK

    Confirming the adage that scientific progress is most often achieved in direct correlation to societal needs, the aging population - coupled with a declining birthrate- has prompted Northern Greece's Geriatric and Gerontology Association to hold its fifth conference in Thessaloniki on January 25-27.

    According to pathology professor Achilles Tourkantonis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, geriatrics specialists are now called upon to tackle the challenges of aging and longevity, both physiological and psychological.

    Through a series of discussions and seminars, the conference will examine a variety of issues such as geriatric health care, personal and social responsibility, pain control, etc.

    [07] LOSSES WERE RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to 0.66% at 3.183,73 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 38.26 billion drachmas or 112.29 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 271 had losses and 62 recorded gains, while the value of 33 stocks remained unchanged.

    [08] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS WILL BE IN KOSOVO ON SATURDAY

    Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece will be in Kosovo on Saturday, after a Holy Synod decision, to express the Church's interest in the Greek soldiers and the other officials in the region. The visit was decided after the latest revelations on the environmental pollution in the specific region, as a result of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia with depleted uranium shells, and the concern expressed over the health of the people living in the bombarded regions.

    The Archbishop and his entourage will arrive in Pristina on Saturday and will visit the commander of the Greek brigade based in Kosovo, brigadier Vafiadis. A doxology will be held in the camp's church and afterwards Mr, Vafiadis will brief the Greek Church delegation on the conditions prevailing in the region. Archbishop Christodoulos will also meet with Greek soldiers and other officials serving in the region.

    He will also visit the "Rigas Fereos" Army Camp in Urosevac, where he will have talks with the commanders, the soldiers and the rest personnel members, as well as the historical monastery of Gratsanica where he will meet with Patriarch Pavle of Serbia. Archbishop Christodoulos is also scheduled to meet with leader of Kosovo Albanians Ibrahim Rugova.

    The Greek Church delegation will return to Athens later in the evening of the same day.

    [09] REPPAS: NO NEGOTIATION FOR THE RETURN OF PROPERTY ASSETS TO THE DEPOSED KING

    There is not an issue of negotiations between the Greek state and the family of the former king on the so-called royal property and in addition there is no issue concerning the return of property assets to him. The Greek government stated, through its spokesman Dimitris Reppas, that the deposed king owes to the Greek state and not the Greek state to him.

    The Greek government spokesman stated that in today's governmental committee meeting there was a discussion on what the Greek government should do after the European Court for Human Rights decision on November 23 according to which, the two sides must submit their proposals or an agreement reached after negotiations by May 23.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [10] U.S. IS STILL SEEKING SOLUTION TO CYPRUS ISSUE

    The United States intend to be involved in the search for a solution to the Cyprus issue, newly-appointed US Secretary of State Collin Powell stated in response to relevant questions tabled by Greek-American Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes before the US Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee.

    According to Secretary Powell, the Bush Administration supports the unconditional resumption of proximity talks based on the positions of the United Nations. He further added that the Cyprus issue is "a very serious problem which is continuing and functioning as a sore in this region, while constituting a point of friction between the two countries concerned with it, Greece and Turkey.

    "For this reason we shall continue to preoccupy ourselves with the issue. We shall support the actions of the UN secretary general and we shall encourage both sides to attend the proximity talks."

    Moreover, Mr. Powell added that the US hope to be able to carry out a useful role in maintaining friendly relations between Greece and Turkey, "and we shall encourage them to support the process and to encourage (Turkish-Cypriot leader ) Mr. Denktash to get involved as soon as possible."

    [11] DOCUMENTARY ON THE ISLAND OF CHIOS HOLOCAUST

    A documentary dedicated to the island of Chios holocaust, in northeastern Greece, is prepared by Columbia University history professor Peter Ilits. Most of the production (70%) will be financed by the Chios Federation in America and it is expected to be completed in early summer.

    According to an article published by the New York based Greek- American newspaper "Proini", professor Ilits presented the first part of the documentary during an event at the Chios Federation Cultural Center in New York. The documentary will be aired on US television networks this summer at the latest.

    [12] THE FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RECOGNIZED THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE COMMITTED BY THE TURKS

    The French National Assembly recognized the draft bill on the Armenian genocide committed by the Turks in spite of the repeated warnings by Ankara that there will be problems in the French- Turkish relations in case the Armenian genocide is officially recognized.

    The draft bill text mentions that France recognizes the 1915 Armenian genocide and this fact is expected to cause strong reactions on behalf of Turkey where there were arrests made by the police during a protest against the French draft bill.

    Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit warned the French ambassador to Ankara yesterday that the adoption of the draft bill in question will hurt bilateral relations possibly in an irreparable way.

    The Turkish newspaper "Turkiye" report published today is indicative of the situation as it mentions among others that Ankara considers the likelihood to exclude France from the armaments programs bids in response to the draft bill on the Armenian genocide.

    Already, Turkey has recalled its ambassador to France for consultations on the issue that has arisen

    [13] GREEK COMPANIES CLAIM FYROM BAKERY INDUSTRY STOCKS

    Two Greek companies, the identity of which has not been made public, negotiate the purchase of a package of "Zito Luks" stocks, the largest bakery industry in FYROM based in Skopje.

    According to the Skopje newspaper "Dnevnik", "Zito Luks" director Aleksander Simeski insists that no foreign capital will be invested in the specific bakery industry but press information mentions that the purchase of stocks is examined by the European Development and Reconstruction Bank as well.

    [14] THE GREEK-RUSSIAN COOPERATION WAS AT A VERY GOOD LEVEL IN 2000

    The Greek-Russian relations are on a constant growth, pointed out Russian ambassador to Athens Michail Botsarnikov in an interview with the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.

    Mr. Botsarnikov expressed satisfaction about the results of the Greek-Russian cooperation in the year 2000, while he characterized the political cooperation level as very good, stating that there was progress compared to 1999 as there was an increased exchange of political-economic visits from Russia to Greece and the opposite.

    Regarding the level of transactions between the two countries, the Russian diplomat stressed that they have already exceeded the US$900 million mark. He made a special reference to the natural gas supply from Russia to Greece and the need to materialize the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

    He also referred to the development of cultural cooperation, stressing that never before so many performances of Russian dance, theater, film, fine arts and music were held in Greece.

    The Russian ambassador also pointed out that a lot should be done by the two countries in the sector of tourism, adding that there must be a greater ad campaign in both countries concerning tourism.

    In conclusion, he characterized the future visit of the Russian president to Greece as very important for the Greek- Russian relations.


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