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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-04-10

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, April 10, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [01] STRONG QUAKE JOLTS GREEK-ALBANIAN BORDER
  • [02] MASS EXODUS FOR EASTER GETS UNDERWAY TODAY
  • [03] STATE TO BRACE AGAINST DROUGHT BEFORE SUMMER
  • [04] GREECE TO HOST EUROPEAN YOUTH BIENNALE OF 2003
  • [05] MAIN OPPOSITION EDGING RULING PARTY BY 4 POINTS
  • [06] ALL PARTY LEADERS BESET BY POPULARITY DECLINES
  • [07] BULGARIAN FM ENTERS AS PER SCHENGEN ACCORD
  • [08] ATHENS ASKED TO RECHECK MILOSEVIC'S ACCOUNTS
  • [09] CPI FALLS TO 3% IN MARCH, SLIGHT DROP IN A MONTH
  • [10] THE HOLY COMMUNITY IN MOUNT ATHOS IS AGAINST THE POPE'S VISIT
  • [11] THE DOCTORS OF THE WORLD ON THE ABOLITION OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES
  • [12] INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF TRAVELERS USING THE AIRPORTS OF NORTHERN GREECE
  • [13] STELIOS KAZANTZIDIS IS HOSPITALIZED
  • [14] GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [15] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER WILL VISIT SKOPJE ON EASTER THURSDAY
  • [16] MICHAILOVA AND PASCHALIDIS ON THE INTER-BALKAN COOPERATION
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [17] US SECRETARY OF STATE TO MEET WITH BALKAN DMs
  • [18] FYROM SIGNS ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT WITH EU
  • [19] THE ECONOMIC GROWTH AT THE EURO-ZONE IS ESTIMATED AT 2.7% BY THE OECD
  • [20] COOPERATION MEMORANDUM SIGNED BY THE STOCK MARKETS OF ATHENS AND SOFIA
  • [21] OMONIA: PRESSURES EXERTED ON THE ETHNIC GREEK MINORITY IN ALBANIA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] STRONG QUAKE JOLTS GREEK-ALBANIAN BORDER

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale occurred at 8.39 pm yesterday in southern Albania, near the border with Greece.

    The quake, which caused no injuries or damages, was felt in Epirus, the island of Corfu, Thessaly and western Macedonia on the Greek side.

    According to seismology professor at Thessaloniki's Aristotle University Vasilis Papazahos, last night's trembler is not related to seismic activity in Greece's region of Aigio.

    [02] MASS EXODUS FOR EASTER GETS UNDERWAY TODAY

    Urban dwellers are embarking on their Easter holidays as of today, marking the beginning of a mass exodus that is expected to peak of Friday.

    Undaunted by forecasts for inclement weather, most of the itineraries to the islands are already booked to capacity. At the same time, the state's Railway Organization (OSE) is planning to use additional trains to cover increased demand.

    [03] STATE TO BRACE AGAINST DROUGHT BEFORE SUMMER

    The state is to take measures against the threat of drought that looms ahead this summer, according to a national water policy that was drawn yesterday in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis with the Ministers of Agriculture George Anomeritis and Aegean Nikos Sifounakis.

    The lack of rainfall, coupled with a dwindling water supply, has rendered 2001 as the century's driest year and forecasters warn of prospective water shortages as early as this summer.

    Although the measures are to be announced after Easter, the government has indicated that 10.3 billion drachmas have been earmarked for the construction of drought-related projects.

    Last summer brought Greece its worst fire season in decades. Successive heatwaves and strong winds contributed to blazes which razed up to 370,500 acres of forest - more than 10 times the amount of damage recorded in 1999. At the height of the destruction, the fires killed seven people and destroyed dozens of homes in one week. According to a United Nations world climate report released in January, the 1990s were the world's hottest decade in 1,000 years, with the Mediterranean countries being on the front line of global warming.

    Italy, Portugal, Spain and southern France are also losing farmland because of dry soil, while Turkey is at odds with neighbors Iraq and Syria over water rights from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Drought is a major cause of migration from north Africa, and one of the reasons European countries are assisting with environmental aid programs.

    [04] GREECE TO HOST EUROPEAN YOUTH BIENNALE OF 2003

    The European Youth Biennale of 2003, will be held in Greece, the second time in its history since it was held in Thessaloniki in 1986.

    The Rome-based International Organizing Committee, after examining Greece's relevant file, found that it was the best and most complete among all country files.

    The Biennale will be inaugurated in Athens in September, 2003, and will cost two billion drachmas. It will comprise a major part of the Cultural Olympiad, with over 1,000 artists from 20 Mediterranean countries participating.

    [05] MAIN OPPOSITION EDGING RULING PARTY BY 4 POINTS

    Th main opposition party of New Democracy is reportedly ahead of the ruling PASOk party by approximately four percentage points, according to a recent opinion poll that was published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

    With New Democracy reportedly being preferred by 30.2 percent of respondents, PASOK polled 26.7 percent, whereas the newly created ""Movement of Free Citizens"- founded by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos - garnered 12.7 share of those responding.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was given 4.4 percent of the poll, while the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) polled 2.8 percent, which is two percentage points below the 3% parliamentary entry threshold.

    [06] ALL PARTY LEADERS BESET BY POPULARITY DECLINES

    In a year's time, all of Greece's political party leaders have suffered losses in their popularity ratings, according to another poll held on behalf by the Athens daily "Imerisia".

    Conducted by "V-PRC", the poll found that the internal differences suffered by the ruling PASOK party have reverberated onto embattled party leader and Premier Costas Simitis, who received 43.4% positive assessments, but also 45.8% negative ones.

    At the same time, the leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis doesn't stand to gain from his chief opponent's setback, as his popularity rating is also not going uphill, having received 47.7% positive assessments but also a high 40.1% negative.

    Nikos Constantopoulos, the leader of the minor opposiion party of the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), tops the list as most popular leader with 54.5% positive assessments and a mere 28.6 percent of negative ones.

    Surprising many, Athens Mayor Dimtirs Avramopoulos, who founded the newly created ""Movement of Free Citizens", also suffered a setback as of this year, with 52,9% positive assessments, second ranking second on the ratings list.

    [07] BULGARIAN FM ENTERS AS PER SCHENGEN ACCORD

    Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezda Kmihailova inaugurated the border crossing at Promahona, today, becoming the first citizen of her country to enter Greece without a visa, as per the Schengen Accord effective for Sofia as of today.

    The Bulgarian FM walked from the Bulgarian customs office to the bridge at the Greek border where she was welcomed by the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace George Paschalides.

    According to Mr. Paschalides, the abolishment of the visa requirement for Bulgarian nationals visiting Greece was among the initiatives recently discussed in talks held between Greek Premier Costas Simitis and his visiting Bulgarian counterpart Ivan Kostov.

    "This is a significant day for Bulgaria and for Greek- Bulgarian relations, as well as for Bulgaria's ties with the European Union, " Mr. Paschalides said.

    "We are supporting Bulgaria's steps towards the EU, we're building viable peace and development in the region," he added, stressing that "the Balkans are Europe and Europe's future runs through the Balkans."

    In turn, Ms. Mihailova saluted the event, stating that it signifies a new prospect for her country's accession to the European Union.

    Following the ceremony, the two ministers departed for Thessaloniki where they will hold talks at the Ministry. Also, a group comprising Greek and Bulgarian university students is to hold a discussion this afternoon.

    [08] ATHENS ASKED TO RECHECK MILOSEVIC'S ACCOUNTS

    The chief prosecutor of the War Crimes Tribunal has reportedly filed another request with the Greek authorities to investigate anew the bank accounts of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, even though earlier inquiries had failed to produce any incriminating data.

    According to the Athens daily "Imerisia", Ms. Del Ponte has complained over the Greek authorities' failure to freeze those accounts, even though such move would not have been justified given the absence of money-laundering evidence.

    According to Ms. Del Ponte, who has dispatched an envoy to Greece for this purpose, the accounts in question were used to transfer money abroad and, after a labyrinthine trail, were channeled to Milosevic and his associates.

    [09] CPI FALLS TO 3% IN MARCH, SLIGHT DROP IN A MONTH

    Greece's annual inflation rate, measured by the consumer price index, fell to 3.0 percent in March, from 3.5 percent in February, according to the National Statistics Service.

    Nevertheless, government officials warn that in spite of the positive indications in inflation the price index is still threatened by two factors, namely monetary relaxation and the meteoric rise of credit card use.

    The growth rate of consumer credit in December of 2000 reached an annual record of 42.8%, while consumer loans amounted to 1.8 trillion drachmas at the end of 2000, a slight decrease from the 1.25 trillion drachmas of December 1999.

    [10] THE HOLY COMMUNITY IN MOUNT ATHOS IS AGAINST THE POPE'S VISIT

    The Holy Community in Mount Athos is against the Pope's visit to Greece and in a statement it has issued it has called on the faithful to fight for its cancellation, while at the same time it criticized the Lasting Holy Synod of the Church of Greece for accepting the Pope's visit without holding a meeting of the hierarchy of the Church of Greece.

    In the statement it is mentioned that the visit of the Pope will create only problems, while it has nothing to offer to the Greek Orthodox Church. It is mentioned that the Pope comes under the pretext of a pilgrimage but his real goal is to show that he is the spiritual leader of the world and the overall acceptable religious leader.

    It is also stated that the Pope will enjoy honors reserved for state leaders, while the message that the Orthodox Greece has accepted the Pope's visit will travel across the world. In the statement it is also stressed that in case the Church takes part in the scheduled events, the triumph of the Vatican will be complete and it will receive what it seeks without the necessary repentance on behalf of the Pope.

    [11] THE DOCTORS OF THE WORLD ON THE ABOLITION OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES

    The Doctors of the World welcome the recent agreement between Greece and Turkey aimed at the abolition of anti-personnel mines, while at the same time the organization calls on the Greek parliament to proceed with the immediate ratification of the Ottawa Treaty on the destruction of landmines which was signed by Greece in 1997.

    The Doctors of the World is the only non governmental organization in Greece that plays a leading role in the effort for the destruction of the anti-personnel mines. The Doctors of the World launched its fight against the anti-personnel mines in September 1997 when three Kurdish illegal immigrants were killed and other 11 were injured while trying to cross a minefield in the northeastern region of Evros.

    [12] INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF TRAVELERS USING THE AIRPORTS OF NORTHERN GREECE

    More passengers used the airports of northern Greece in January compared to the same period last year, while in the month of February their number was reduced with the exception of the airport of Thessaloniki where the increase in the number of passengers was marginal (0.3%) and the airport of Kozani where there was a notable increase of 10.9%.

    In total, in the two-month period of January-February 2001, the five airports in northern Greece served 466.144 passengers compared to 456.874 passengers in the same period last year.

    [13] STELIOS KAZANTZIDIS IS HOSPITALIZED

    Popular singer Stelios Kazantzidis is hospitalized at the Athens Medical Center and his condition is characterized as serious. According to the Oncology Society president, growths were traced in vital organs such as the brain, lungs and the suprarenal glands, while a concrete tumor was found at the groin area.

    The doctors stressed that they will use every available means to deal with the disease.

    The laboratory test results will be out on Easter Thursday.

    [14] GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.44% at 3.073,88 points, while the volume of transactions was disappointing at 113.26 million Euro or 38.59 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 251 recorded gains and 70 had losses, while the value of 53 stocks remained stable.

    [15] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER WILL VISIT SKOPJE ON EASTER THURSDAY

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou will be in Skopje, FYROM on Eastern Thursday to attend the enlarged Inter-Balkan Cooperation meeting that will deal with the recent crisis in the region.

    According to Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, the Inter-Balkan Cooperation will be attended by all the Balkan foreign ministers as well as the foreign ministers of Hungary and Slovenia and US secretary of state Colin Powell.

    [16] MICHAILOVA AND PASCHALIDIS ON THE INTER-BALKAN COOPERATION

    Bulgarian foreign minister Nadezda Michailova and minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis referred to the importance of the abolition of the visa requirement for the Bulgarian citizens who want to visit Greece starting today.

    After their meeting in Thessaloniki, Ms. Michailova stated that this is a very important day as a big dream became a reality. She said that it was proven that the road chosen by Bulgaria was the right one, stressing characteristically that Bulgaria has chosen Europe and Europe has chosen Bulgaria.

    Before crossing the borders at Promachonas, Ms. Michailova planted an olive tree in a symbolic gesture and stated that an initiative needs care and systematic and daily work as well as personal sacrifices in order to develop.

    Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis stated that friendship, cooperation and solidarity between the two sides will be further strengthened, adding that the Greek government backs Bulgaria's steps toward the European Union and NATO. He also stressed that the Balkans are Europe and Europe's future passes through the Balkans.

    Both ministers responding to questions made by Greek and Bulgarian university students condemned the extremist actions in FYROM and backed the inviolability of the borders and the territorial integrity of the Balkan states.

    Mr. Paschalidis stated that Balkan Reconstruction is based on five principles namely, the inviolability of the borders, the strengthening of democracy, the economic development, the inter- regional cooperation and the accession of the Balkan states into the European Union.

    Ms. Michailova adopted a proposal made by Mr. Paschalidis to form working groups in order to deal with the issue of the school books used in Greece and Bulgaria.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [17] US SECRETARY OF STATE TO MEET WITH BALKAN DMs

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell will meet with his Balkan counterparts this week in FYROM, in order to discuss the developments in the country and review the prospects of close cooperation among the region's countries for resolving the situation effectively.

    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announced that the meeting will take place on April 12 at FYROM's initiative. According to Mr. Boucher, the meeting will provide the participants with the opportunity to express their support for the FYROM government's policy of easing tension and embarking on a dialogue with the country's Albanian minority.

    Tomorrow, Mr. Powell will be participating in a Paris-held meeting of Contact Group foreign ministers (US, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and Italy) in Paris for an examination of developments in the Balkans and the situation in Kosovo. The Secretary of State will also be visiting Bosnia, while he might also be going to Kosovo.

    Discussions during both meetings will also include the issue of the arrest of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and the potential referral thereof to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    [18] FYROM SIGNS ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT WITH EU

    A stabilization and association agreement was signed between the European Union and FYROM yesterday, a move characterized by Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh as "a major step toward the country's integration into the European Union."

    The stabilization and association agreement grants FYROM "asymmetric free trade", i.e. there will be no trade barriers to FYROM goods entering the EU, but FYROM can still impose duties on goods imported from the EU. The agreement also provides for political and economic support.

    FYROM's Foreign Minister Srdjan Kerim stated that "today's the day of the ceremony of signing the agreement, but tomorrow, real life starts," adding that his country will eventually seek EU membership.

    Javier Solana, the EU's chief of foreign and security policy, saluted the signing ceremony as "an important opportunity to achieve real progress in moving the process of enhanced dialogue forward."

    [19] THE ECONOMIC GROWTH AT THE EURO-ZONE IS ESTIMATED AT 2.7% BY THE OECD

    The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, reviewed its earlier predictions on the economic growth in the Euro-zone. Specifically, the OECD reduced its initial prediction from 3.1% to 2.7%.

    However, the OECD prediction on the economic growth in all the EMU states in 2002 remained unchanged at 2.8%.

    It is also mentioned that unemployment in the Euro-zone will be about 8.4% in 2001 and will drop to 7.9% in 2002, while inflation will remain above 2% both this year and in 2002.

    [20] COOPERATION MEMORANDUM SIGNED BY THE STOCK MARKETS OF ATHENS AND SOFIA

    A new broader cooperation memorandum was signed in Sofia yesterday by representatives of the Athens and Sofia stock markets.

    The new memorandum widens the existing cooperation between them on issues of technological infrastructure and trading supervision.

    Among others, the memorandum provides for the double trading of Greek and Bulgarian stocks in the two stock markets, the creation of a common index and its promotion in the international investment community, the creation of joint programs and projects for the exploitation of new technologies such as the Internet and the expansion of cooperation to include other southeastern European stock markets.

    [21] OMONIA: PRESSURES EXERTED ON THE ETHNIC GREEK MINORITY IN ALBANIA

    The ethnic Greek minority organization "Omonia" in Albania in a statement it has issued condemned the pressures exerted on the Greek minority members and the efforts made which are aimed at creating a climate of intimidation mainly in south Albania forcing the ethnic Greeks to participate in the population census that will be completed in Albania at the end of the month.

    In the statement it is stressed that the Greek minority has responded positively to the appeal issued by the "Omonia" general council and abstains from the population census process in a show of protest to its questionnaire that does not give the opportunity to the Albanian citizens to state their ethnic origin or religion in the case they wish to do so.

    The organization condemned the intimidation incidents on behalf of the state authorities and the unusual presence of secret service men in the regions of the ethnic Greek minority. Such pressures were recorded mainly in the cities of Kato Dropolis and Chimara. In the statement it has issued, "Omonia" calls on the Albanian government and international organizations to use their influence to end the intimidation climate and interventions, while it also calls for the adoption of measures to correct the injustice made to the ethnic Greek minority.

    "Omonia" representative Michalis Latsos stated to MPA that the adoption of a open procedure in the registering of the ethnic Greek minority members, allowing them to state their ethnic origin and religion if they wished to do so, was always the firm demand of the organization.

    The issue is expected to be discussed today in a meeting of Albanian prime minister Ilir Meta with "Omonia" representatives.


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