|Friday, 3 December 2021|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-14
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 14, 2003
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
The tragic accident took place last night in Tembi, outside Larissa, causing the death of 21 students and the injury of another 32 individuals, (24 students, 3 teachers, and 3 drivers of oncoming traffic) six of whom are in serious condition, upon return ing to Makrochori from a school trip. The bus the students were riding in was, struck by a truck coming in the opposite direction, which was carrying large planks of wood that had come loose. The planks were hanging over the side of the truck and ripped t hrough the right side of the bus, tearing through the windows and the seats on the right hand side of the bus, striking the students.
President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis' announcement pointed out: "I would like to express my grief on this unspeakable tragedy, and offer my condolences to the students' families. At this painful hour, what is important is helping the injured and supporting the families mourning their loved ones or in anguish over their fate".
Its deepest grief and sorrow was expressed by the Coalition of the Left, sending its condolences to the students and other victims' families. The minimum obligation of the state is an immediate investigation and attribution of responsibility on the speci fic accident, and a radical restructuring of the accident prevention policy for the country's road networks, especially on the national highways.
The President of DIKKI issued a statement expressing his "sorrow and grief" for the loss of the students and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. "The time is not right for appreciations and pointing fingers".
"At this time, I feel the obligation to assure our people that I and all the holy clergy are praying that God gives strength to the families and teachers that felt the bitterness of this tragedy, as well as to the surviving children on the Cross they hav e to bear, and that He takes in His arms the souls of the victims, whose untimely and unfair death heightens my unspeakable sorrow", stressed Archbishop Christodoulos, in an announcement.
Meanwhile, the truck driver involved in the accident is being held and questioned by the Larissa police, and, according to information, has, allegedly, admitted passing into the opposite lain. The driver underwent an alcohol and blood test, while the aut horities took the truck's speed indicators, in the framework of the investigations to discover the specifics of the accident.
At the same time, 15 priests have been mobilized from the surrounding villages, in an effort for all the funerals to be carried out today, while dozens of psychologists, social workers and private practitioners hasted to the Makrochori town hall, to offe r their support to the families and schoolmates of the victims, along with hundreds of citizens offering to donate blood for the injured students.
Church bells having been sounding their mourning toll since early this morning in the six villages of Imathia, where the first hearses begun arriving shortly after 10:30, for the funerals of the 15-year-old students. Funerals will be held in Makrochori a nd the neighboring communities of Nikomdea, Kavassila, Diavata, Kouloura, and Stavros Imathias.
There was at least one drunk truck driver, of a public or private vehicle, on the road in Attica daily, in 2002, 1,357 did not have a driving permit, while 2,171 overloading violations were noted, as well as 9,017 speeding violations, according to inform ation of the Attica Traffic Police information, presented on Flash radio.
As was pointed out, if this information only concerns the Attica region, it is indicative of the situation in the rest of Greece, since police measures are stricter in Attica.
In total, truck related traffic violations surpassed 65,000 in 2002, while during the same period of time, there were 185 traffic violations concerning public transit busses, 2,181 violations concerning tourist busses, and 407 violations concerning schoo l busses.
The penalties for the cases above were the removal of 3,407 license plates and 501driving permits.
On all vehicles involved in traffic accidents, the first position is held by private cars, the second by motorcycles, and the third by trucks, with a percentage in accidents resulting in deaths of about 14%.
In speaking to Flash, the deputy Minister characterized every part of the national highway that does not have a cement divider problematic, and stressed that the traffic police and the Ministry of Public Order and another 6 relevant ministries are alread y making an effort to increase policing, in order to lower the number of accidents. "Over the past two years there has been a decrease of 23% in accidents in our country, with 400 less dead Greeks and 2,500 less injured", mentioned Mr. Malessios character istically.
Furthermore, he pointed out that measures have already been taken in order to limit the moving of heavy vehicles, however, he stated that it would be wrong to believe that the problem will be solved by freezing the vehicles under the weight of such drama tic moments
Meanwhile, the concern of the Ministry of Transportation was expressed by Deputy Minister Manolis Stratakis, who added that its leadership was not satisfied with the results of road checks.
At the same time, the President of the Federation of International Transportation Trucks, Panos Nikolaras, proposed there be stricter penalties for truck drivers, while traffic experts pointed out that 2 people on average are killed every weekend in Gree ce, in traffic accidents involving trucks.
"We are called to support the Union, so that it can play its role better in a multi-centered system, in order for it to support peace, cooperation, solidarity, a global community of justice. So that superpowers do not define our fate, today or tomorrow",
stated Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the Sunday "Vima" newspaper, regarding the enlargement of the EU.
The Prime Minister stressed among other things that the European Community must continue its "procedure of unification", in order for the EU to become "more powerful", so that it can "deal with the challenges, uncertainties and problems of the modern age ".
"The enlargement", stressed Mr. Simitis, "must lead to a procedure of rejuvenation, strengthening and new momentum of the unification effort, for the promotion of our goals".
The preparations for the reception of and security measures for the 40 country leaders and the members of their delegations, are being completed at a rapid pace.
More than 11,000 police officers will partake in the guarding, and the special measures have started being put into gradual effect from today. Traffic on the route from the "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport to the hotels where the European leaders will be accommodated will be interrupted, while access will be forbidden to certain areas of Athens both for vehicles and pedestrians. The application of the security measures is a rehearsal for the Chalkidiki EU Summit Meeting in June and the 2004 Athens Olympic s.
The arrivals of the British, Spanish and Italian Prime Ministers have sparked the reaction of antiwar organizations and unions, which are organizing protests and walkouts for Saturday at 11:00.
The European delegations will arrive in Athens tomorrow night, and the welcoming of the EU and new member-state leaders and Foreign Ministers by the President of the European Council and the Greek Foreign Minister at the entrance of the Zappeion Megaro, will take place on Wednesday at 08:30.
The President of the Assembly and the President of the European Council will arrive at the Zappeion at 09:20, and will be welcomed by Prime Minister and President of the European Council Costas Simitis.
The meeting of the European Council with the President of the European Parliament will be held at 09:30, and the meeting of the European Council regarding the Assembly will be held at 10:00.
A press conference for the Presidency will be held at 12:00 at the Aigli Cinema Zappeion Press Center, while at the same time a press conference for participating countries will be held at the Karaiskakis Square Zappeion Press Center.
A luncheon for State and Government leaders and Foreign Ministers will then be held.
The Heads of State and Governments and Foreign Ministers and deputy Ministers will arrive at the Attalus Stoa according to protocol, where they will be received by the President of the European Council and the Greek Foreign Minister. The Ceremony for the
signing of the Accession Treaty will be carried out at 15.15 and will be followed by speeches and the signing of pacts.
The "family" photograph will be taken and will be followed by a Presidency press conference at 18:00, with the participation of the Heads of State and Government of the 10 new members. A press conference for Heads of State and Government of member-states
will be held at 18:15. Two separate formal dinners will be held at 22:00 for the Heads of State and for the delegations.
The European Convention will begin on April 17 at 10:00, while the "family" photograph will be taken at 12:15, to be followed by the ceremonial olive tree planting will take place at 12:20, dedicated to peace and the Olympic Truce.
Press conferences will follow.
Specifically, Mrs. Tsambarlaki testified that she saw the two men from her apartment window on the 3rd floor of her building, and recognized them by certain marks on their necks. The witness' testimony caused the reaction of the defense, who supported th at it is not possible for the witness to recognize them from such information.
Meanwhile, in his testimony on the Paleokrassas murder attempt, witness Georgios Katsos supported that just one day prior to the murder attempt he had seen a man who had asked him for a cigarette at the scene of the crime. Mr. Katsos stated that the man had a scar on his right arm. The President of the court asked Dimitris Koufontinas and Vassilis Jeorjatos to pull up their sleeves, so the witness could see if it was the same scar, but Mr. Katsos stated that the scar was different.
Finally, the witness did not recognize Aggeliki Sotiropoulou as the woman he had seen at the attack site a day earlier.
After Mr. Katsos' testimony, the alternate DA pointed out that it is an amazing coincidence that the witness spoke of a scar that had caught his attention in 1994, and that the one man, out 11 million Greeks, who was on the stand today has such a scar, w ithout however the witness being certain if it is the same one.
Also, a total of 630 hospital beds across the country are available for wounded Iraqis in case it is deemed necessary to be transferred to hospitals in Greece.
The non governmental organization is present in the country for the materialization of the humanitarian programs in Iraq, as well as for the reception, the transportation through Jordan and the distribution of the humanitarian aid collected in Greece for
the suffering Iraqi people.
He also announced that all scheduled visits and tours of the Greek Parliament will be suspended until May 5 in mourning for the victims of the accident.
Mr. Kaklamanis added that on the occasion of this tragic event measures should be taken not only by the State but by society as a whole.
He said that tougher measures against irresponsible drivers should be taken, pointing out that a penalty and a fine are not enough. Traffic police should take away the drivers' license as well as the license of the truck's owner when they are caught to b e in violation of safety regulations.
Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 294 recorded gains and 39 had losses, while the value of 42 stocks remained unchanged.
Mr. Protopapas stated that an investigation is underway to determine the causes of the accident that cost the lives of 21 high school students.
The EU stresses that major progress has been made in resolving the Congolese conflict, with the recent conclusion of the inter-Congolese dialogue in Sun City, as well as with the Luanda Agreement, and calls on all Congolese parties in the region to take the opportunity presented to join in the political process in their country, rather than resorting to violence.
The European Union calls on all parties to cooperate fully within the Ituri Pacification Commission, to comply with UN Security Council resolution 1468 (2003) and urges Uganda to complete, in accordance with its earlier commitment, the withdrawal of all its forces no later than 24 April 2003. In this respect, it welcomes President Mbeki's pertinent statement on April 9th 2003. The EU also calls upon all other states in the region to contribute equally to peace and stability in this area and to cease all support to the parties engaged in the conflict.
The European Union supports the efforts of MONUC to investigate the recent atrocities, to contribute in improving stability in the region and supports UNSC's request, in resolution 1468, that MONUC's presence in the Ituri area be increased.
The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.
involved in the conflicts in both Liberia and Cote d' Ivoire, to fight in these civil conflicts.
The United States and the European Union deplore the forced recruitment of refugees and other civilians to fuel these destructive, corrosive and senseless conflicts. The forced recruitment of civilians further complicates and exacerbates the unstable sit uation both in Liberia and in other conflicts in the region.
Forced recruitment of refugees and other civilians compromises the neutrality, non-combatant status and security of entire communities of refugees and civilians. While many of the recruits may be young men, girls and women also find themselves pressed in to servitude. We also note particularly and deplore both forced and voluntary recruitment of children into the conflict.
Forced recruitment also increases the danger to humanitarian workers in the region, a danger that was made all too obvious with the recent killing of three employees of the Adventist Deployment and Relief Agency (ADRA), and of four Ivorian Red Cross volu nteers. The United States and the European Union lament these deaths and repudiate the targeting of humanitarian workers.
Any governments and rebel factions, which use various types of coercion to recruit refugees and other civilians, including children, are acting in violation of international law.
The United States and the European Union: a) condemn those practices, b) call on those parties involved in force recruiting in Liberia and Cote d' Ivoire to immediately cease them, and c) underline the penal responsibilities that such actions entail for those responsible.
The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, membe rs of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.
Mr. Papageorgopoulos referred to the development course of Thessaloniki focusing on issues concerning the Balkans and southeastern Europe as well as, the twinning of the city of Thessaloniki with the city of Calcutta.
Even though the EU enlargement will offer significant opportunities it involves risks as well, he stressed characteristically addressing the 45th meeting of the Observatory held in Thessaloniki today.
The second challenge the EU is called to face is to meet the Lisbon goal namely, to make the EU economy more competitive and dynamic at a world level by the year 2010.
Structural reform is of vital importance not as an end in itself but as a means to create wealth for a society without exclusions. Mr. Vever stressed that this is very important for the EU to be able to deal with the problem of an aging population.
Based on figures provided by the European Economic and Social Committee, the EU GDP was 1.8% higher in 2002 (164 billion euros) thanks to the domestic market, while employment increased by 1.46% corresponding to about 2.5 million new job positions.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS