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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-04-23

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 23, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [01] MEMORY OF CONSTANTINE KARAMANLIS CELEBRATED
  • [02] NAVAL EXERCISE "LAILAPS 2001" BEGINS TOMORROW
  • [03] PRESIDENT HONORS 1821 HERO GEORGE KARAISKAKIS
  • [04] STATE CONDEMNS ATTACK AGAINST PATRIARCHATE
  • [05] KID SHOT BY DAD AIMING AT DOG MAULING A HORSE
  • [06] LABOR MINISTRY SCRAMBLES TO CLARIFY REFORMS
  • [07] FERRY ISSUES SOS, NINE ON BOARD ABANDON SHIP
  • [08] GREECE, TURKEY TO HOLD NEW ROUND OF CBM TALKS
  • [09] TWENTY SPANISH BUSINESSMEN WANT PARTNERS IN GREECE
  • [10] CRUCIAL HOURS FOR ACTORS DINOS ILIOPOULOS AND KOSTAS HATZICHRISTOS
  • [11] LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [12] PAPANDREOU'S VISIT TO MOROCCO
  • [13] BEGLITIS: GREECE IS AGAINST THE CHANGE OF THE BORDERS
  • [14] TRADE MISSION TO ROMANIA
  • [15] THE UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER WILL BE IN THESSALONIKI ON WEDNESDAY
  • [16] HEART SURGEON CHRISTIAN BARNARD WILL RECEIVE THESSALONIKI'S GOLD MEDAL
  • [17] EUROPEAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS FORUM IN ATHENS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [18] GUNMEN HOLD HOSTAGES AT ISTANBUL HOTEL
  • [19] GUNMEN FREE 9 MORE HOSTAGES IN ISTANBUL HOTEL
  • [20] HOSTAGES FREED UNHARMED, GUNMEN SURRENDER
  • [21] CAMPAIGN IN THE US FOR THE RECOGNITION OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
  • [22] THE LEBANESE PRESIDENT ASKED FOR GREECE'S MEDIATION IN THE EU

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] MEMORY OF CONSTANTINE KARAMANLIS CELEBRATED

    A two-day conference on the life and work of former president Constantine Karamanlis is to get underway in Thessaloniki today, organized by the "Constantine Karamanlis Foundation".

    An exhibition of photographs and audiovisual material on his life and work will also take place as part of the event.

    The conference is being held on the occasion of the third anniversary of the death (April 23, 1998) of the late president, former prime minister and founder of the main opposition New Democracy party.

    The conference will open with addresses by the foundation's President Petros Molyviatis, New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.

    [02] NAVAL EXERCISE "LAILAPS 2001" BEGINS TOMORROW

    A medium-scale Greek Navy exercise code-named "Lailaps 2001" will get underway tomorrow in various parts of the Aegean Sea.

    The exercise, to be held until April 27, will also feature a memorial service held on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the sinking of Greek ships by the German air force.

    Honors will be bestowed on crewmembers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

    [03] PRESIDENT HONORS 1821 HERO GEORGE KARAISKAKIS

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos honored the 174th anniversary of the death of George Karaiskakis, a hero of Greece's 1821 revolution against Ottoman rule.

    During his official visit to Karaiskakis's birthplace of Mavromati, Karditsa, central Greece, President Kostis Stephanopoulos was proclaimed an honorary citizen of the municipality, and also attended a church service at the Agios Nikolaos Cathedral.

    In his address, President Stephanopoulos stated that Greeks are at last united and all share the same love for the motherland.

    [04] STATE CONDEMNS ATTACK AGAINST PATRIARCHATE

    The government condemned yesterday's firebomb attack at the Ecumenical Patriarchate's offices in Athens, where a makeshift explosive device went off and caused material damages.

    "We condemn the terrorist attack at the Ecumenical Patriarchate's representation offices in Athens with abhorrence," government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas stated.

    "This hideous act is directed against Hellenism in its entirety and for which the Istanbul Patriarchate constitutes a spiritual peak," he said, adding that "Greek citizens are a unanimous and determined in confronting these forces which are attempting to promote such undemocratic and anti-Greek designs."

    According to press reports, an anonymous caller later called the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" to claim responsibility for the attack, saying it was the work of the anarchist group "Anti-state struggle".

    [05] KID SHOT BY DAD AIMING AT DOG MAULING A HORSE

    An eight-year-old girl was inadvertently shot in the face by her father yesterday, as he was aiming for a dog that was mauling his horse.

    According to the police report, the freak accident occurred at a farm in a village near Katerini, central Greece.

    The child, who was rushed to a local clinic by her dad, has been transferred to a Thessaloniki hospital where she will undergo facial surgery.

    The father has been charged with illegally possessing a firearm and is due to appear before the district attorney today.

    [06] LABOR MINISTRY SCRAMBLES TO CLARIFY REFORMS

    Amidst the furor that has erupted among the country's unions over the state's proposed socials security reforms, the Labor Ministry scrambled to clarify its measures through a circular issued to the media Sunday night.

    The circular stresses that the proposed measures are not to affect the present-day pensioners, neither those who are to claim retirement by the end of the year 2006, as they will be pensioned off according to legislation existing at present.

    The new measures, according to the Ministry, concern all the insured with all insurance funds without exception, without distinguishing between those insured before and after 1993, and without distinction between men and women having the right to a pension as of January 1, 2007.

    Also, according to the Labor Ministry's circular, the proposed new retirement age of 65 - or following 40 years of social security contributions - will not apply to groups of working people such as "special professional categories, people employed in hazardous and unhealthy jobs and mothers of minor children."

    [07] FERRY ISSUES SOS, NINE ON BOARD ABANDON SHIP

    A car ferry with a nine-member crew on board issued an SOS this morning as it was sailing southeast of the island of Rhodes. The crew has safely abandoned the ship.

    According to the Merchant Marine Ministry, the "Macedonia I" had developed a dangerous list as it was sailing 102 nautical miles off Rhodes in 8-beaufort velocity winds, forcing the all- Greek crew to abandon the vessel in a life-raft. All nine are reported to be well.

    A major rescue operation was underway by Coast Guard vessels, assisted by a Super Puma all-weather helicopter, an Air Force helicopter and nearby vessels.

    The ferry had set sail from northern Greece's Porto Lagos, Xanthi, and was bound for Lemessos.

    [08] GREECE, TURKEY TO HOLD NEW ROUND OF CBM TALKS

    A new round of confidence-building measures (CBMs) is to be held between Greece and Turkey in Brussels tomorrow, under the auspices of NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson.

    The talks will are headed by the Greek and Turkish permanent representatives to the Alliance, Ambassadors Vassilis Kaskarelis and Onur Oymen respectively.

    It is recalled that Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem recently reaffirmed the two countries' determination to forge ahead with the CBM talks.

    Previous rounds of CBM talks have already resulted in agreement on mutual briefing by the two sides on matters concerning the time and place of strategic military exercises so as to avert problems arising.

    [09] TWENTY SPANISH BUSINESSMEN WANT PARTNERS IN GREECE

    Twenty Spanish businessmen are looking for partners in Greece aimed at further developing the Greek-Spanish cooperation in a number of sectors. The Spanish business mission, which is organized by the Barcelona Commerce and Industry Chamber, will visit the Athens Commerce and Industry Chamber on May 23-24.

    Bilateral commerce has doubled in the last six years in spite of the fact that many products of the two countries are antagonistic in third countries.

    [10] CRUCIAL HOURS FOR ACTORS DINOS ILIOPOULOS AND KOSTAS HATZICHRISTOS

    Actor Dinos Iliopoulos is still hospitalized in the Athens Central Clinic, while another popular actor Kostas Hatzichristos is in the Medical Center with strong pains in the abdomen.

    According to the doctors, Dinos Iliopoulos' state of health, who is hospitalized suffering an infection in his respiratory system, is stable.

    Kostas Hatzichristos will undergo new medical tests to determine the state of his health.

    [11] LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.25% at 3.263,20 points and the volume of transactions was very small at 44.056 billion drachmas or 222.4 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 140 recorded gains and 174 had losses, while the value of 60 stocks remained stable.

    [12] PAPANDREOU'S VISIT TO MOROCCO

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou will be on a two- day visit to Morocco tomorrow. He is scheduled to meet with the country's prime minister and foreign minister, while a meeting with King Mohammed VI is likely.

    During his visit, the whole spectrum of bilateral relations (political, economic, education etc) will be discussed as well as the EU-Morocco relations. Also, views will be exchanged on the developments in the Middle East, the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.

    [13] BEGLITIS: GREECE IS AGAINST THE CHANGE OF THE BORDERS

    Greece's policy is known and it is expressed in the European Council conclusions according to which, the existing borders must be respected and accomplished facts must be avoided based on international law.

    The above were stated by Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, who was called to comment on the election results in Montenegro.

    Mr. Beglitis called on the two sides to talk and negotiate in a democratic and realistic way to agree on constitutional regulations within the framework of the Yugoslav Federation.

    Responding to a question by a reporter on whether there has been a request for the contribution of Greece and the EU in the dialogue, the Greek foreign ministry spokesman stated that no such request has been made yet on behalf of Yugoslavia, adding however, that the EU is ready to contribute to the dialogue if such a request is made.

    [14] TRADE MISSION TO ROMANIA

    The Athens Commerce and Industry Chamber in cooperation with the Greek embassy in Bucharest commercial attache office organizes a trade mission to Romania to take place on May 28-31.

    The sectors with most interest within the framework of the mission are foodstuffs-fruit, vegetables, building material, electric appliances and farm equipment.

    The sectors with greater investment prospects offering more opportunities to form joint ventures are among others telecommunications, banking, high technology and electronics as well, as food, furniture, plastics, irrigation, agriculture, wines- drinks, spare parts for cars and services in general.

    [15] THE UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER WILL BE IN THESSALONIKI ON WEDNESDAY

    The potential for the further development of the economic and trade relations between Greece and Ukraine will be examined by businessmen from northern Greece and their Ukrainian counterparts in an event organized by the Thessaloniki Commerce and Industry Chamber to take place in Thessaloniki on Wednesday.

    The event will be attended by Ukrainian prime minister Victor Yusenko, who will be on a formal visit to Greece accompanied by members of his government.

    The Ukrainian prime minister, heading a large business delegation, expressed the wish to meet with businessmen from Thessaloniki to brief them on his country's economic situation and the investment opportunities it offers.

    [16] HEART SURGEON CHRISTIAN BARNARD WILL RECEIVE THESSALONIKI'S GOLD MEDAL

    The municipality of Thessaloniki will honor heart surgery professor Christian Barnard with the city's Gold Medal .

    The event will take place in the City Hall on Saturday and the Gold Medal will be awarded to the distinguished scientist by mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos.

    [17] EUROPEAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS FORUM IN ATHENS

    A European Telecommunications Forum will be held in Athens on April 25-26 with the participation of representatives from all Mediterranean states.

    The forum is organized by the European Network of Communication and Information (ENCIP) with the support of the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, and it is aimed at contributing to the exchange of views and experiences on telecommunication policy issues faced by European institutions and state institutions in the wider Mediterranean region.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [18] GUNMEN HOLD HOSTAGES AT ISTANBUL HOTEL

    Pro-Chechen gunmen seized a hotel in Istanbul late last night, taking dozens of guests and personnel hostage. According to the French news agency AFP, three women and a child were released this morning.

    As the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported, the four individuals who have been freed are all of Turkish descent, although the nationalities of the remaining hostages has yet to be clarified.

    The attack took place late last night when 20-25 gunmen stormed Istanbul's Swissotel, one of the city's most luxurious hotels, and took hostage an unconfirmed number of individuals.

    According to one of the hostages who communicated by cell phone with the Turkish television channel NTV, the gunmen have taken hostage between 50 and 70 persons, among them hotel personnel, all of whom are being kept in fifth-floor conference room.

    While the gunmen have asked to see the Turkish Interior Minister Saadettin Tantan, as Anadolu reported, negotiations are presently being carried out only by police.

    According to a hotel guest, the gunmen burst into the crowded hotel lobby last night, firing their automatic rifles several times in the air.

    The hotel is presently surrounded by hundreds of police snipers, and the area is sealed off, with access allowed only to two cars, both bearing diplomatic license plates and one of which belongs to the US consulate.

    In a fax sent to NTV, the gunmen stress that their act is in protest to the Russian attacks in the Caucasus and especially in Chechnya. They also add that they plan to release all the Turkish hostages, as an indication of good will.

    As the AFP reported, it is believed that the gunmen are being led by Muhammed Tokcan, a Turk of Chechen origin who hijacked a Turkish ferry on the Black Sea in 1996, seizing more than 200 hostages. They were all freed unharmed after four days. Then, too, the gunmen had stated that their aim was to mobilize public opinion in regards to Chechnya.

    Sentenced to an eight-year term in 1997, Mr. Tokcan escaped from a Turkish jail but was apprehended as he was trying to leave the country. He was recently released under a general prison amnesty.

    [19] GUNMEN FREE 9 MORE HOSTAGES IN ISTANBUL HOTEL

    Nine more hostages were freed today by the gunmen who seized an Istanbul hotel last night, a move in line with their pledge to release more Turkish citizens, children, women and the elderly, as a "sign of good will".

    According to the French news agency AFP, the pro-Chechen gunmen have so far released fourteen hostages out of a group of 50- 70 who are kept in one of the hotel's conference rooms.

    Communicating by facsimile with the Turkish television channel NTV, the gunmen have promised that there will be no bloodshed, albeit adding that they intend to hold on to a number of hostages for an indeterminable amount of time.

    "We are sorry, but we will have to provide our hospitality to a great number of people for some time," the fax read, adding that "there will be no bloodshed and, as a sign of good will, more Turks are to be freed, as well as women, children and elderly persons."

    At the same time, the Japanese government has announced that ten of its citizens are believed to be among those held, while officials from Hong Kong's Cathy airline have stated that members of its crew are among the hostages.

    Istanbul Governor Erol Cakir said negotiations were underway with the gunmen who were forwarding ``political demands.''

    [20] HOSTAGES FREED UNHARMED, GUNMEN SURRENDER

    A group of Pro-Chechen gunmen who seized a hotel in Istanbul late last night, taking dozens of guests and personnel captive, have surrendered to he authorities and freed all the hostages unharmed, according to the Turkish news agency Anadolu.

    The attack took place late last night when 20-25 gunmen stormed Istanbul's Swissotel, one of the city's most luxurious hotels, and took hostage 50-70 individuals.

    According to a hotel guest, the gunmen burst into the crowded hotel lobby last night, firing their automatic rifles several times in the air.

    In a fax sent to NTV during the standoff, the gunmen stressed that their act was in protest to the Russian attacks in the Caucasus and especially in Chechnya. They had also vowed that there would be no bloodshed.

    As the French news agency AFP reported, it is believed that the gunmen were led by Muhammed Tokcan, a Turk of Chechen origin who hijacked a Turkish ferry on the Black Sea in 1996, seizing more than 200 hostages. They were all freed unharmed after four days. Then, too, the gunmen had stated that their aim was to mobilize public opinion in regards to Chechnya. Sentenced to an eight-year term in 1997, Mr. Tokcan escaped from a Turkish jail but was apprehended as he was trying to leave the country. He was recently released under a general prison amnesty.

    In an announcement issued during the standoff, Chechen president Aslan Mashadov denounced the gunmen's action, while Russia's foreign ministry characterized the hostage situation as "barbaric".

    [21] CAMPAIGN IN THE US FOR THE RECOGNITION OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

    A campaign has been launched by the Armenian National Committee of America for US president George Bush to keep his pledge and recognize the Armenian genocide which is celebrated tomorrow.

    More than 100 members of the US Congress have co-signed a letter to President Bush asking him to honor the Armenian genocide, while Armenians from across the United States have mailed over 100.000 letters to the White House on that issue.

    The Armenian National Committee of America wants President Bush to clearly characterize as genocide the systematic effort by the Ottoman Turks to annihilate the Armenian population.

    [22] THE LEBANESE PRESIDENT ASKED FOR GREECE'S MEDIATION IN THE EU

    Lebanese president Emil Lahud called for Greece's mediation in the EU for a more active role by Europe in the Middle East. The request was made to Greek governing socialist party of PASOK Central Committee secretary Kostas Skandalidis, who is on a formal visit to the region aimed at upgrading the Greek-Arab relations.

    PASOK's delegation met with the Lebanese president today and according to Mr. Skandalidis' statement to MPA, any solution to the Middle East problem will be linked with the return of the refugees to their homes, stability and the development of all countries in the region on an equal basis.

    Mr. Skandalidis conveyed prime minister Simitis' greetings to the Lebanese president and gave the assurance that Greece will continue to undertake initiatives to achieve peace in the Middle East based on the UN resolutions and the Madrid agreement as well as, the respect of international law, human rights and territorial integrity.

    The Greek delegation also met with Lebanese Socialist Party president Walid Jumblat and Communist Party secretary Faruk Daruh with whom they discussed the Middle East issue and other regional problems.


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