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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-11-29

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, November 29, 2002





  • [02] 4000 AIDS CASES IN GREECE



  • [01] WHITE SWALLOW AGAINST BLUE BACKGROUND FOR GREEK PRESIDENCY A white swallow against a blue background with stars, reading "Hellas 2003", was the logo of the Greek Presidency of the EU, presented yesterday in a special event held by the Foreign Ministry at the Athens "Megaron" Music Hall.

    The logo was inspired from the renowned mural of Spring, discovered in the archeological site of the Santorini cape. The swallow, the "usher of Spring", symbolizes rebirth, a new era, hope and our optimism for our common future.

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis stated that the Presidency logo has clear Greek colors, associated with the values we are fighting for in the EU. He added that they decided the logo should be simple, with historical reference to the Greek re gion and should remain in one's mind easily, even after the 6 months of the Presidency are over.

  • [02] 4000 AIDS CASES IN GREECE Approximately 4,000 cases of AIDS have been recorded in Greece, however the total number of cases is estimated at 20,000 according to statements made by Replacement Professor at AUTh and Director of the National AIDS Report Center of Northern Greece, Ioa nnis Doutsos, to the Macedonian Press Agency. On average 1 person is infected with AIDS per day in Greece.

    He furthermore underlined that the disease has not reached the dimensions it was initially expected to in Greece, however, in relation to the informing of public opinion, the rate of AIDS infections is considered high.

    The number of new cases may have stabilized, but the number of women infected by the virus is rising. According to Mr. Doutsos, when the virus first appeared in our country, for every 20 infected men, there was 1 infected woman, while today the ratio is estimated at 3 to 1.

    He also stated that the virus does not prefer the so-called high-risk groups, in which the number of infections is declining. On the contrary, the number is increasing in individuals belonging to the heterosexual population.

  • [03] THE END OF THE FORMER MONARCH'S CLAIMS With the payment of the amount the European Court of Human Rights ruled as damages to the former King, the Greek people will have left the last loose end of monarchy behind once and for all, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, after the ruling of the C ourt.

    The Prime Minister stressed that the 13.7 million euro to be paid as damages should be compared to the nearly 500 million euro the former king was asking for, and he underlined that although Greece does not agree with the decision, because it holds the f ormer king morally and legally responsible for the legalization of the coups, it will pay the amount because the decisions of European organizations must be respected.

    At the same time he was extremely critical of New Democracy, accusing it of trying to enforce a solution in 1992, which, for the first time since 1974, brought the former king close to taking control of the Tatoi Estate.

    "In the referendum of 1974, the Greek people said "no" to monarchy, loud and clear. The vast majority enforced its will of doing away with an anachronistic institution, to end overbearing shady plans and obvious pollution to democracy. In this light, the

    ruling in Strasbourg bears double importance. A long-standing judicial confrontation is being resolved. At the same time, any claims the former monarch may have from the Republic of Greece are irrevocably over and thus there is no way to restate issues t hat have long ago closed for the Greek people, through various underhanded means. Finally and irrevocably", said the Prime Minister.

    On the other hand, former king Konstantinos characterized the Strasbourg Court ruling as unfair, in statements he made to ANT-1 television, from Mexico.

    "I have been done a great injustice which the Greek people understands", he stressed. At the same time, he made insinuations against the Prime Minister, pointing out that he may have known the ruling beforehand.

    The former king mentioned that he has no intention of involving himself in politics in Greece, while added that he will be present for the 2004 Olympics.

    Regarding his obligation, according to a law passed in 1994, to state a first and last name in order to be recorded in Greek municipal rolls, the former king pointed out: "The greatest insult that can be addressed to a Greek, is to tell him he is not Gre ek". He also added that he served in the Greek army, he paid taxes, and won an Olympic gold medal for Greece.

    Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos characterized the Strasbourg ruling as a slap in the face of the former king. Mr. Venizelos, who had proposed the law on the royal estate in 1994, pointed out that that law was done justice with the ruli ng, and underlined that "essentially, no damages are being paid and the law is intact", while he added that "the so-called royal estate belongs to the Greek people, it is being utilized in its best interest and its historical memory".

    At the same time, however, New Democracy Spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, asked every Greek man and woman to think if 13.7 million euro is really that small an amount. "Our party, in 1974, reinstated democracy and solved the state issue once and for a ll, and will take lessons from no one".

    "The PASOK government, when voting for the law (on the royal estate), undertook a double responsibility: Firstly, not to ridicule the country abroad. Secondly, that Greece not pay a penny to the former royal family", adding that "neither of which is happ ening, after today's ruling of the court".

    "Mr. Simitis virtually claimed that the amount to be paid is, more or less, not much. 13.7 million that could increase the Fund for Social Solidarity towards Pensioners by 3.5% in one year" and "fight unemployment down by 47% in one year". "Let every Gre ek citizen think whether 13.7 million euro is not that much money, regarding the needs of the regions, municipalities, communities where they live", he noted.

    The response from PASOK came from government spokesperson Christos Proropapas, who reminded New Democracy that in some cases silence is gold. "The memories of ND's scandalous handling in favor of the former king in 1992 are still fresh", stressed Mr. Pro topapas and added:

    "Need we remind them of the shame of the containers leaving the Tatoi estate, filled with valuable items?"

    Finally, President of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Konstantopoulos, stated that "the Greek people do no owe Glixbourg anything. On the contrary, Glixbourg owes the Greek people a lot".

  • [04] A 7-8 MILLION YEARS OLD ELEPHANT DISCOVERED IN CRETE Scientists from the Natural History Museum in Sitia, Crete in southern Greece discovered bones of an elephant that lived 7-8 million years ago and belonged to one of the oldest and rarest elephant species, which was thought that it had never lived in the


    According to the state-run Greek Radio, ERA, the discovery was made when parts of an elephant tusk was found by local people.

  • [05] EUROPEAN FORUM OF LEFTIST LABOR UNIONS A two-day European forum of Leftist labor unions will be launched in Athens tomorrow. The forum on "Social Europe and Labor Unions" is organized by the Coalition of the Left delegation in the European Parliament GUE/NGL political group.

    Among the issues under discussion will be the social security systems in Europe and labor relations' problems.

  • [06] KARAMANLIS' CONTACTS IN CORFU ON EUROPEAN ISSUES Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis will have a meeting in Corfu tomorrow on the current European issues from the point of view of the Mediterranean states in view of the Copenhagen Summit meeting. Mr. Karamanlis wi ll meet with Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Portugal's Jose Manuel Durao Baroso and European Commission Vice-President Loyola de Palacio.

    They will discuss the course of the EU enlargement in view of the imminent European Council meeting in Copenhagen and the cooperation of the Mediterranean countries in the effort to deal with the effects the EU enlargement will have on their economies.

    Mr. Karamanlis will point out that Cyprus' EU accession should be decided in Copenhagen without last minute terms and preconditions. At the same time, he will stress that he supports Turkey's European orientation, underlining that Turkey's pace toward Eu rope depends on itself.

  • [07] READJUSTMENTS AND REFORMS SUGGESTED BY THE BANK OF GREECE GOVERNOR Readjustments to the national economic policy and speedy promotion of structural and institutional reforms are suggested by Bank of Greece Governor Nikolaos Garganas for the country's competitiveness to increase and inflation to gradually reach a level c ompatible with the price stability.

    He also stressed that the road for the acceleration of the Greek economy's real convergence with the rest EU depends on two basic points: the implementation of the economic policy and the necessary cooperation between the social partners.

    Mr. Garganas stated that Greece and Ireland are expected to have the highest GDP increase in the Euro-zone in 2002 and therefore, there will be further progress toward real convergence.

    The Bank of Greece Governor pointed out in the monetary policy interim report he delivered today to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, that an immediate priority is the gradual return to the price stability conditions achieved in 1999 and early 2 000.

  • [08] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.40% at 1.872,83 points, while the volume of transactions was impressive at 452.5 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 126 recorded gains and 178 had losses, while the value of 71 stocks remained unchanged.


  • [09] STATEMENT BY FORMER KING KONSTANTINOS ON THE EUROPEAN COURT DECISION Former King Konstantinos commented on the European Court of Human Rights decision based on which, the Greek state must pay compensation of 4.6 billion drachmas for the so-called royal family estate.

    In a statement issued by his office, it is mentioned characteristically that two years ago he was morally vindicated by the European Court of Human Rights and he never asked for money. He said that he only wanted to keep the right every Greek has, namely

    to keep his house and the graves of his parents. After yesterday's decision, that puts an end to a dispute that lasted eight years, he said that he lost both his house and every personal object that belonged to his family. He concluded by saying that not hing can take away his right to be a Greek and remain a Greek.

    Former King Konstantinos also stated that he will study the court decision and the statements of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and then he will respond to all the issues that came up in a press conference he will give in London on December 5.

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