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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-01-30

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 30, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] CAB, PHONE RATES TO INCREASE AS OF FEBRUARY 1
  • [02] HOSPITAL DOCTORS EMBARK ON 24-HOUR STRIKE
  • [03] FM AT FORUM AGAINST RACISM AND INTOLERANCE
  • [04] GREEK FM MEETS WITH SWEDISH COUNTERPART
  • [05] GREECE PROPOSES SME FUNDS PROTECTION IN TIRANA
  • [06] GREECE TO EXPEDITE AID PAYMENT TO ALBANIA
  • [07] PM ISN'T MOST POPULAR, BUT IS BEST SUITED FOR POST
  • [08] MDF FERRY RAMS INTO ROCK, ALL PASSENGERS SAFE
  • [09] SIMITIS: THE 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES ARE A NATIONAL BET
  • [10] NEW MEDICINE WILL MAKE THE BY-PASS OPERATION UNNECESSARY
  • [11] "BLACK OUT" IN NORTHERN GREECE
  • [12] EUPHORIA IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [13] THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT COMMENT ON STATEMENTS MADE BY THE PARLIAMENT SPEAKER
  • [14] PLUTONIUM TABLETS IN THESSALONIKI
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [15] UN "DISAPPOINTED" BY DENKTASH'S STANCE

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] CAB, PHONE RATES TO INCREASE AS OF FEBRUARY 1

    Taxi rates will increase as of February 1, with the rate per kilometer rising to 80 drachmas from the current 76, while the surcharge for transport to and from airports will rise to 400 dr. from the present 300 dr.

    In addition, the surcharge for transport to and from ports, railroad stations and KTEL inter-city bus terminals will increase to 200 dr. from the current 150 dr. The surcharge for each piece of luggage will also rise from the present 50 dr. to 100 dr. The last rate hike was introduced on January 1 this year, when overnight taxi fares and inter-city bus ticket prices were increased to enable taxi and KTEL bus owners to meet rising fuel costs, in fulfillment of an earlier promise by the Finance Ministry. On January 1, the taxi overnight rate, in effect from midnight to 5:00 a.m., rose by 20 dr. per kilometer from 130 to 150 dr. per kilometer, the cost of the flag was raised to 250 dr. the rate per kilometer to 76 dr., and the non-driving services (when taxis are stopped in traffic or waiting for a customer) rose to 2,400 dr. per hour, while the prices of KTEL tickets rose by five percent.

    The ministry at the time had also announced that a further increase in daytime taxi rates from 76 to 80 dr. per kilometer would enter into effect on February 1.

    Telephone calls will also be more expensive as of February 1st, with local calls increasing from nine drachmas to 10.5 and the fixed charges from 2.400 drachmas to 2,800.

    Long distance calls will be cheaper by about 30 percent with charges down to 28 drachmas per minute around the clock. International calls will be reduced by an average of 10 percent. Call charges to Internet providers will remain unchanged.

    [02] HOSPITAL DOCTORS EMBARK ON 24-HOUR STRIKE

    Greece's hospital doctors are to embark on a second round of industrial action today, in protest to a health reform bill presently debated in Parliament.

    The Federation of Hospital Doctors of Greece (OENGE) has decided to hold a 48-hour strike today and tomorrow, as well as a march to parliament today.

    Hospital staff will joint the action today, with a 24-hour work stoppage, also in protest to the reforms. As such, only emergency cases will be treated at the hospitals throughout the country the next two days.

    [03] FM AT FORUM AGAINST RACISM AND INTOLERANCE

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou is presently in Stockholm representing Greece at a two-day international forum against racism and intolerance, where he will give an address on "Legislative Tools and Policies against Xenophobia and Racism in Greece."

    Attended by 450 politicians and experts from 50 countries, the forum is being organized by Sweden in an effort to call attention to a rising tide of hostility toward religious and ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees and homosexuals.

    In addition to Mr. Papandreou, Greece is being represented by a legal expert, the education ministry's special secretary for intercultural education and the president of the Greek section of the European Immigration Forum.

    According to a forum announcement, ultra-nationalist parties and xenophobic attitudes are gaining ground in many countries, while racist propaganda is being propagated with increasing effectiveness through media such as the Internet and "white power" music.

    Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson, who opened the forum yesterday, noted the rising numbers of racist crimes and increasing anti-semitism, with attacks on synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. He also said that the denial of the Holocaust was the central point of Nazi and racist propaganda.

    Mr. Persson attributed the growing anti-democratic trends to disillusionment caused by the governments' failure to combat large- scale unemployment and extend prosperity and growth to lower- income classes.

    "A life of poverty, a sense of weakness and isolation cause people to seek scapegoats," he said, stressing that the democratic powers had to find a way to combat this sense of despair.

    [04] GREEK FM MEETS WITH SWEDISH COUNTERPART

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, presently in Stockholm for an international forum against racism and intolerance, met with his Swedish counterpart Anna Lint yesterday, with whom he discussed the Cyprus issue, relations between Turkey and the European Union, as well as the situation in the Balkans and the Middle East.

    According to Ms. Lint, decisions taken during the EU's summit in Nice on promoting the efforts of UN secretary general Kofi Annan for a solution to the Cyprus issue are a priority for the EU Swedish presidency.

    In reference to Turkey's National Plan, aimed at its convergence with the EU, Mr. Papandreou said that Turkey should not be given the impression that it is being excluded selectively from processes in which other countries which have also started the accession process are participating.

    Regarding southern Serbia and the action of Albanian autonomists, the two Foreign Ministers discussed ways with which the EU and its presidency can help in easing tension in the region.

    On the Middle East, Mr. Papandreou said that Europe should enter a more substantive and strategic discussion and processing of issues, particularly in light of the change of government in the US and the upcoming elections in Israel in February.

    The Greek Foreign Minister also met with Swedish Trade Minister Leif Pagrotsky and Development Minister May Inger Klingval and said Greece will provide 140,000 euro for its cooperation with Sweden on development issues.

    [05] GREECE PROPOSES SME FUNDS PROTECTION IN TIRANA

    In a meeting with Albania's Minister of Economic Cooperation and Trade Ermelinda Mexi, Greece's undersecretary of National Economy Yiannis Zafiropoulos proposed the establishment of a mechanism that would protect small-to-medium-enterprises capital in Albania, in an effort to safeguard the activities of both foreign and domestic investors.

    According to the Albanian Telegraph Agency, Mr. Zafiropoulos - who is presently on an official visit to Albania - announced the formation of a Center for Cooperation in the Adriatic, which will feature the participation of all Adriatic countries and whose aim will be to strengthen multilateral economic cooperation.

    [06] GREECE TO EXPEDITE AID PAYMENT TO ALBANIA

    Greece plans to expedite the funneling of 18 billion drachmas on aid in Albania, part of the former's five-year Balkan reconstruction plan which envisages spending a total of 180 billion drachmas for the region's countries, with the money to be spent on social infrastructure, financial infrastructure and services and production.

    According to National Economy Deputy Minister Yiannis Zafiropoulos, presently on an official visit to Albania, a sum of two billion drachmas was provided to Tirana in an effort to boost the country's 1998 budget, while another three billion drachmas have been provided for payment balances with the Bank of Albania.

    As the Albanian Telegraph Agency reported, Greece will soon provide Albania with GRD500 million for the construction of a building to house those who lost their homes during the "pyramid" money-making scheme. As Mr. Zafiropoulos stated, the project's total cost amounts to five billion drachmas.

    [07] PM ISN'T MOST POPULAR, BUT IS BEST SUITED FOR POST

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is the man best suited for the post according to a nationwide opinion poll, even though he lags behind Athens mayor and two opposition party leaders in terms of popularity.

    According to the V-PRC opinion poll published in the Athens daily "Ta Nea", 32.4 percent of the respondents voted for Mr. Simitis as "best suited for the premiership", followed by 26.6% who opted for the leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis. A mere three percent voted for the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Greece (CPG) Aleka Paparega.

    In terms of suitability for the premier's post, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos amassed a low 1.9 percent but ranked high in the popularity scale below, just like Dimitris Tsovolas, leader of the minor opposition of Democratic and Social Movement, who may have garnered 1.4% as a potential premier, but was voted fifth most popular politician with 37.3%.

    Specifically, Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who has announced that he will soon found a new political party of "self- made" individuals, is leading the poll's popularity sector with 56.5 percent, and is followed by Mr. Karamanlis with 54.1% and Mr. Constantopoulos 51.4%. Premier Simitis ranks fourth with 48.1 percent.

    Regarding voter loyalty, New Democracy fares better than the ruling PASOK, with 78.2% versus 67.3%, respectively.

    As for the degree of losses to the mayor's new party, the poll finds that the minor opposition of Democratic and Social Movement has the highest degree of "camp switches" (54.5%), followed by N.D. (17.9%), PASOK (16%), Coalition (12%) and CPG (3.6%).

    [08] MDF FERRY RAMS INTO ROCK, ALL PASSENGERS SAFE

    A ferry boat butted into a rock at the port entrance of Folegandros island today but, even though it underwent minor damage, all ten passengers on board are fine.

    The "Express Hermes", which belongs to Minoan Flying Dolphins (MDF), is presently anchored in Folegandros and will undergo inspection from the port authority.

    [09] SIMITIS: THE 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES ARE A NATIONAL BET

    The 2004 Olympic Games are a big national bet that must be won by Greece and will attract the interest of 24 billion people worldwide, stressed prime minister Kostas Simitis in his speech on volunteerism in an event held in the Intercontinental Hotel in Athens at the initiative of "Athens 2004" Organization.

    Mr. Simitis stated that 60.000 volunteers will be needed for the 28th Olympic Games in order to cover the needs of the 11.000 athletes that will come to Greece from 200 countries to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games.

    The prime minister stated that the volunteerism program has a budget of 25 billion drachmas and is linked with the Olympic Education program, the Cultural Olympiad and the Olympic torch- race, adding that it will embrace the Greeks living abroad.

    [10] NEW MEDICINE WILL MAKE THE BY-PASS OPERATION UNNECESSARY

    The by-pass heart operations will be unnecessary by the year 2010 as new medicine will reduce cholesterol in the blood as well as triglyceride to a lesser degree.

    The main risk factors apart from artery blood high pressure, are smoking, stress and increased cholesterol in the blood. Those diseases are the main causes of death or long term handicap for people in the develop countries (60%), a fact that it is related with the way of life and the dietary habits that have dominated in those countries.

    The above were pointed out by Aristotle University pathology professor Georgios Ziakas on the occasion of a medical conference that will be held in Thessaloniki on February 1-3.

    [11] "BLACK OUT" IN NORTHERN GREECE

    Many power cuts were recorded in Thessaloniki since noon today as a result of a failure at a State Electricity Company sub- station in western Thessaloniki because of a thunder strike during a heavy rainfall. The power failure was restored later in the afternoon.

    Meanwhile, extensive power cuts were recorded in many northern Greek regions but it was not clarified if there was a failure in the State Electricity Company center at the region of Kozani, northwestern Greece.

    There was a "black out" in cities of the prefectures of Pella, Kilkis, Serres and Chalikidiki in northern Greece as well as in eastern Macedonia and in cities in the region of Thrace, northeastern Greece. The power failure was totally restored later in the afternoon.

    [12] EUPHORIA IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was increased by 3.12% at 3.139,70 points, while the volume of transactions was 133,89 million Euro or 45,6 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 323 recorded gains and 23 had losses, while the value of 29 stocks remained unchanged.

    [13] THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT COMMENT ON STATEMENTS MADE BY THE PARLIAMENT SPEAKER

    Acting Greek government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris confirmed that the United States have made a demarche to Greece in protest to the statements made by Greek parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, adding that Greek ambassador to Washington Mr. Philon has replied to it.

    Mr. Hitiris stated that the Greek government does on comment on statements made by the Greek parliament speaker and added that the Greek-US relations are very good and Greece is looking forward to the further development and improvement of those relations especially, as far as the cooperation between the two countries is concerned regarding the tackling of organized crime and terrorism.

    [14] PLUTONIUM TABLETS IN THESSALONIKI

    Economic Crime Enforcement Agents watching Bulgarians, who were suspects of illegal cigarettes trade, located radioactive tiles buried at the Kouri forest, 10 kilometers outside Thessaloniki.

    According to Thessaloniki's police authorities, the trafficking of plutonium and americium radioactive tiles was conducted by members of the Bulgarian Mafia, who brought them to the country in order to find buyers in Greece or another European country.

    No further details are available by the authorities while it was not made known if there were any arrests made. According to an announcement made by the Greek Atomic Energy Committee, the high toxicity radiation tiles were located on Friday, January 26 and members of the committee as well as scientists from the "Dimokritos" research center removed them from the area and they are currently kept at a safe place in a scientifically appropriate way.

    Greek Atomic Energy Committee president Leonidas Kamarinopoulos stated to MPA that the radioactive material is kept in a safe place, while the International Organization of Atomic Energy in Vienna has already been informed. Mr. Kamarinopoulos did not rule out the likelihood for the radioactive material to be sent abroad to be examined, while in case it is declared as "lost" by any country it will be returned to it.

    From his side, nuclear physics professor Kostas Papastefanou, in charge of Aristotle University Nuclear Physics Laboratory, stated to MPA that the quantity located (3 grams) is very small and does not cause concern.

    The trafficking of plutonium is illegal and it is sold at a very high price. It can be used as a nuclear fuel as well as in nuclear weapons, while americium is used mainly in lighting rods.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] UN "DISAPPOINTED" BY DENKTASH'S STANCE

    The United Nations do not share the views held by Turkish- Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and express their disappointment for his continual refusal to take part in the proximity talks over the Cyprus issue, according to the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.

    Mr. de Soto, who is to travel to Turkey today following his talks in Athens and Nicosia, stated that he plans to submit a detailed report to S.G. Kofi Annan.

    The Special Adviser also added that the deliberations have not been completed, referring to the imminent talks he will have with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismael Cem.


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