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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-15

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 15, 2003








  • [01] PUNISHMENT AFTER THE CRIMES Criminal charges have been set by the Larissa DA against the driver of the truck involved in the Tembi accident, Dimtiris Dolas, who is expected to testify on Wednesday, while Supreme Court DA Ev. Kroustallakis directed the Larisa DA of First Instance to

    investigate all parties, public, private or in the local government, that may be responsible for the Tembi accident in some way. Criminal charges have also been set against the truck driver involved in the Aliakmonas bridge accident, which cost the life of 16 people. Six individuals that were injured in Sunday's accident are in the ICU.

  • [02] HISTORIC TREATY IN ATHENS Athens will be definitively connected to the great enlargement for the accession ten new member - states, one of the greatest landmarks in the history of Europe, as of tomorrow, when the Accession Treaty is signed. A security umbrella has been set up ove r Attica, with emergency measures on the streets. Protest will not be carried out near the site of the historic ceremony. More than 10,000 police officers have been mobilized to ensure order.
  • [03] EUROPEAN ESC IN THESSALONIKI The Presidency of the European Economic and Social Committee will be meeting in Thessaloniki today, following an invitation from the city's Mayor, V. Papageorgopoulos, in which members of the society of citizens of Thessaloniki have been invited to parti cipate. The meeting is part of the EESC's activities in the framework of the Greek Presidency.
  • [04] CONSECUTIVE IDENTIFICATIONS The cases of the attacks against ND MP L. Papadimitriou and Mega TV channel are being looked into by the court trying the crimes of 17N's suspect members. Yesterday, a witness recognized K. Karatsolis as a perpetrator in the attack against Minister of Na tional Economy at the time, G. Paleokrassas, in 1992, during which attack 20-year-old Thanos Axarlian was killed. Another witness recognized S. Xeros and D. Koufontinas as the perpetrators in the P. Bakoyannis killing.
  • [05] CONDOLENCES FROM VARTHOLOMEOS, POWELL, PRODI, STEFANOPOULOS His grief for the tragic death of the students from Imathia in the Tembi accident on Sunday, was expressed by Patriarch Vartholomeos, in a letter to the Minister of Education Petros Efthymiou.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell conveyed the condolences of the US government to Greece, during a telephone communication he had with Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, while his condolences to the Greek government were also expressed by Commission President Romano Prodi to Prime Minister and President of the European Union Costas Simitis.

    President of the Republic of Greece Costis Stefanopoulos stated that there is nothing more he can do than "join his own sorrow" with that of the people of Thesprotia, in a message he sent to the Mayor of Machrochori.

    Meanwhile, criminal charges have been pressed against the truck driver involved in the accident at Tembi, Dimitris Dolas, who will testify on Wednesday.

    The 44-year-old, who was released from the Larissa Regional Hospital, was taken to the DA by Traffic Policemen, where he was charged with mass manslaughter with intent and possible guile.

    The truck driver was then led to the Examiner whom he asked for a two-day extension in order to testify, which he received. During this time, Mr. Dolas will be held at the Larissa Police Direction.

    Dimitris Dolas' attorney, Mr. Karpetas, stated that his client has been emotionally crushed by the incident and the loss of so many human lives. He also stated that in the prosecution of his client, every transgression possible was made, as in the "Samin a" shipwreck case, as public opinion must be appeased.

    At the same time there is concern at three hospitals in Larissa, Katerini and Thessaloniki, where the injured students are being treated.

    There are 15 students in the Larissa hospital, 2 of which are in serious, but stable, condition, while another 7 were released yesterday.

    Two more students with more serious injuries are in the "Papageorgiou" hospital in Thessaloniki, one of whom is in the ICU.

    Three teachers have also been hospitalized, 2 in Katerini and 1 in Thessaloniki, although they are out of any immediate danger.

    However the death of 21 students of Macrochori's 10th grade has put the whole Prefecture of Imathia in mourning. Macrochori and the neighboring communities are numb after the 21 funerals that were carried out yesterday.

    A group of approximately 60 psychologists, doctors and social workers was set up in the Apostolos Pavlos town hall yesterday, and the specialists are there to support the parents and families of the deceased.

    Throughout Imathia, schools are closed for the second day running, while in the capital of the Prefecture of Veria, Macrochori, and other urban centers in the, almost all the busses and taxis have raised black ribbons in a testimony of mourning for the g reatest tragedy to strike the prefecture since the Civil War.

    According to the decision of the Ministry of Education, today is a day of mourning for education, and flags in schools and at the Ministry's services will fly at half-staff for a week.

    Also, a moment of silence will be observed today in classrooms throughout the country, and two hours worth of classes will be dedicated to the memory of the unjustly lost students.

  • [06] INCREASED TRAFFIC MEASURES-PUBLIC SERVICES CLOSED TOMORROW IN ATHENS During the signing of the Accession Treaty for the ten new members of the EU, in the presence of 42 European leaders, public services and schools in the Attica region will remain closed, while additional traffic measures have been taken for the security of the meeting.

    Public services that are of crucial importance (hospitals, emergency response units, the Civil Aviation Authority, courts, etc.) will remain open. Traffic measures will be taken, and vehicles will be forbidden access to many major roads in Athens.

  • [07] POWELL - PAPANDROU COMMUNICATION Developments in Iraq and the Middle East were discussed by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou and US Secretary of State Colin Powell, during a telephone communication.

    Mr. Papandreou asked the US forces in Iraq allow the distribution of humanitarian aid by NGOs, and that they take measures to protect the country's cultural heritage after the looting of the Baghdad museum.

    On occasion of the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Washington, Mr. Papandreou stressed the positions of the EU on peace in the Middle East to his US counterpart.

  • [08] 17N TRIAL INTERRUPTED - FURTHER IDENTIFICATIONS Witnesses in the Deniz Bulukbasi murder attempt of July 16, 1991, in Paleo Psychiko, testified in today's proceedings on the crimes committed by 17N.

    The first witness to testify before the court was Evgenoula Gennimata, who supported that 15 days before the attempt against the Turkish diplomat, she had seen Alexandros Giotopoulos, Savvas Xeros, and Vassilis Jorjatos surveying Deniz Bulukbasi's house.

    The witness testified that the three men were pretending to be topographers. "I could not imagine that they were members of "17 November", stressed Mrs. Gennimata. She also mentioned a woman whom she had seen with them twice, who was tall with short hair .

    The witness mentioned that seven years after the Bulukbasi attempt she ran into Savvas Xeros again in a taxi. She said that the defendant threatened the taxi driver with a gun when they argued about the route he had chosen.

    Meanwhile, the President of the Court Michalis Margaritis, asked Dimitris Koufontinas to make his position clear concerning the attack on the former Minister of Finance, Giannis Paleokrassas, in 1992, which cost the life of Thanos Axarlian.

    Defendant Dimitris Koufontinas spoke of a bad choice and bad planning of the attack, while concerning his apology to Thanos Axarlian's mother, he supported: "What can you say to a mother who has lost her son apart from apologizing. It was bad planning an d a bad choice", he stated.

    "17 November expressed its grief concerning the death of Thanos Axarlian. But the police did not take him to the hospital in time", stressed Dimitris Koufontinas.

    Today's proceedings ended early, due to the sudden sickness of one of the standing judges trying the case. The proceedings will continue tomorrow.

    According to information, the judge was examined by a cardiologist and does not face any serious health problems.

  • [09] DEP. MINISTER OF PUBLIC ORDER RESIGNS The resignation turned in to the Prime Minister by deputy Minister of Public Order Ev. Malesios was accepted. Mr. Malesios calling on reasons of indignation after an "Avriani" newspaper publication, according to which he was staying in a villa belonging to Mr. Athanassoulis, a Greek businessman, and because of rumors that he was implicated in the choice of the firm in charge of security at the 2004 Olympics. Mr. Malesios, who was in charge of security at the Olympics, promised lawsuits.
  • [10] A GREAT MOMENT IN HISTORY The ceremony for the signing of the Enlargement Treaty of the EU, with the accession of 10 new member-states, which will take place tomorrow afternoon in the Stoa of Attalus, below the Acropolis, which has been specially prepared for the occasion.

    It was 24 years ago, when Greece signed the same Act for accession to the EU, in a ceremony at the Zappeion Megaro.

    The delegations of the member-states and under accession countries will arrive in Athens today, while the government has taken unprecedented measures for their security for the duration of the events and works. The Program

    The European delegations will arrive in Athens tonight, 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 ta ke place tomorrow 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. Preparations and Measures

    The largest Press Center to date has been set up to cover the events and works of the European Council, where approximately 2,500 journalists and technicians will work. There are 1,300 fully equipped seats (computers, telephones, etc.) in the Press Cente r, in which 1,300 journalists will be able to work at the same time.

    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 Protests

    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. The Athens Workers' Center and the Civil Servants Union have declared a four hour

    walkout and with the "Alliance Stop the War" and other organizations, have called for a rally at Syntagma Square at 11am and a march to the US and British Embassy.

    "Thessaloniki - Resistance 2003" has organized a meeting at 11am at the Propylea, while "Action - Thessaloniki 2003" has organized a high school and university student rally at the same time, in front of the monument of the Unknown Soldier. Another rally

    has been scheduled for 5pm at the same place, to be followed by a march to the two embassies. The Approval of the European Parliament

    The plenary session of the European Parliament approved, in great majority, the 10 reports for the accession of the 10 new members to the European Union, on April 9.

    The positive votes concentrated by the countries, in order of the vote, were: Czech Republic 489, Esthonia 520, Cyprus 507, Latvia 522, Lithuania 521, Hungary 522, Malta 521, Poland 509, Slovenia 522, Slovakia 521. The total number of votes was between 5 62 and 568. Specifically, concerning Cyprus, there were 562 votes, 507 in favor, 29 against and 26 abstentions. Review of the EU's 52 Years of Life

    The idea and post war hope of a closer cooperation was materialized for the first time in 1951, with the renowned Paris Treaty. It was then that 6 European countries, France, Western Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, cosigned a do cument foreseeing the strengthening of their political and financial ties, which were finally sealed in Rome, in 1957, with the founding of the EEC. Greece in the EU

    There was a lot going on behind the scenes at the second enlargement of 1981, as it concerned only Greece, which had already submitted its request in November 1974, immediately after the fall of the junta. What is impressive and indicative of the interna tional recognition of Constantinos Karamanlis, that never before had the Union moved to an enlargement for just one country.

    It is also noteworthy that the technocratic recommendation of the Commission on Greece was essentially negative, tracing all the political problems between Athens and Ankara, as well as the unresolved Cyprus issue. Its recommendation, however, was overco me by Constantinos Karamanlis' abilities of political persuasion, while he also had to deal with the general disapproval of the Opposition. The Third Enlargement

    In 1986 a third enlargement was made possible with the accession of the countries of the Iberian Peninsula. The request of Spain and Portugal had been submitted in 1977, 3 years after the fall of Kateano in Lisbon and the death of Franco in Madrid The present

    With the signing of the Accession Act, the procedure is now coming to an end, that the Greek Presidency played a decisive role to that result in the Union. Of course, the ten countries do not automatically become members with the signing of the Act. The Act must first be ratified by the present 15 member - states and candidate countries, and, if all goes as planned, the ten countries will become full members on May 1, 2004.

  • [11] GREEK AIRCRAFT HARASSED BY TURKISH JETS A Greek aircraft was harassed by Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean this morning.

    According to the Greek Defense Ministry, two armed Turkish F-16 fighter jets flew southwest over the island of Lesvos violating the Greek airspace and harassed a Greek aircraft flying 150 meters above it.

    For the record, a total of 18 Greek airspace violations were recorded since this morning.

  • [12] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.31% at 1.629,04 points, while the volume of transactions was at 150 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 149 recorded gains and 173 had losses, while the value of 53 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [13] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE "FINANCIAL TIMES" REPORT Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas characterized as inaccurate the Financial Times report according to which, Greece, namely Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, did not cooperate with Mrs. Carla del Ponte when asked to give information on t he assets of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

    Responding to a relevant question, Mr. Protopapas stated that the news report has no relation to reality and Greece, through the responsible authorities was and is in constant cooperation with Mrs. Carla del Ponte, clarifying that the report refers to a request for a meeting with Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou. He said that Mr. Papandreou had a heavy schedule due to the crisis in Iraq and as a result he was only a few days in Greece and therefore, the meeting with Mrs. Carla del Ponte was not possib le.

    The meeting will take place, Greece is at the disposal of the International Court and has nothing to hide, stated Mr. Protopapas.

  • [14] THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL IN ATHENS The state leaders and delegations of the 15 EU member states and the 10 acceding countries began arriving in Athens this afternoon for the historic European Summit meeting in which the Accession Act of the ten new EU member states will be signed, while a

    debate will be held on the future of Europe.

    A little after 6pm, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived at Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport.

    Mr. Annan will have separate meetings in Athens with French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar, Greek Prime Minister and host of the EU Summit Kostas S imitis and the Prime Ministers of Belgium and Ireland, Guy Verhofstadt and Bertie Ahern.

    He will also meet with the Foreign Ministers, who will be in the Greek capital for the historic signing of the Accession Act by the ten new EU member states.

  • [15] THE GREEK PUBLIC ORDER MINISTER ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION The pressing need to adopt repatriation programs and take tougher measures against illegal immigration, was pointed out by Greek Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis while briefing on the issue the responsible Parliamentary Committee.

    Mr. Chrisochoidis launched a verbal attack on Turkey, stressing that most of illegal immigrants enter Greece from Turkey. He said that of the 2.500 applications filed by Greece for the repatriation of illegal immigrants, Turkey has approved only 14 argui ng that it cannot be proved that they crossed the Greek borders from Turkey.

    Based on figures provided by Mr. Chrisochoidis, repatriations reached 250.000 on an annual basis in the past decade until last year and concerned mainly Albanians.

    He warned that if the problem of illegal immigration is not faced immediately, systematically and strictly Greece will experience huge social explosions immediately after the end of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Mr. Chrisochoidis explained that if the wave of immigrants entering Greece continues in the same pace, the problem of unemployment will grow bigger, stressing that it is already big compared to other European countries.

    He stressed that a Greek EU Presidency priority is to settle the procedures concerning the issue of asylum and also underlined its efforts for an agreement on the common protection of the EU borders. He said that the Greek EU Presidency negotiates the fa irer redistribution of funds and added that the goal of the Greek government is to find a formula that will be signed in the Council of Thessaloniki.


  • [16] 2.5 TONS OF COCAINE ON THEIR WAY TO EUROPE Two and a half tons of cocaine on their way into Europe, were being transported by the 33.25 meter long fishing boat named "Irene", which was flying a Togo flag, located by the Spanish authorities, in close cooperation with the Greek Ministry of the Merc hant Marine, 600 nautical miles south-southwest of the Canary Islands. The ship sailed from Holland with a crew of 5 (2 Greeks, 2 Russians, 1 Italian), while according to Dutch authorities, the alleged owners are Minodoros Vezyrjis and Sophocles Triantafy llidis.
  • [17] WORLD NEWS AGENCY SUMMIT IN ISTANBUL STARTS The works of the World News Agency Summit, organized by the Anadolu News Agency have been underway since this morning at the "Jiraan Palace", Istanbul, with the participation of the supreme political leadership, news agencies from all over the world, and

    the four most important Journalist Unions (the Alliance of European News Agencies, the Association of Asian News Agencies, The Association of Mediterranean News Agencies, and the Association of Balkan News Agencies).

    Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said on Tuesday, ''I believe that representatives of important new agencies in the world will take a significant step at the World News Agencies Summit, which was hosted by the Anadolu Agency in Istanbul, to meet with each

    other and cooperate in order to serve humanity'', according to the Anadolu News Agency. Arinc sent a congratulatory message to A.A Director General and Executive Board President Hilmi Bengi. In his message, Arinc emphasized that communication was one of the most important requirements of people. ''Communication technologies have been developing rapidly in our globalizing world. As a result, we reach information about peoples and incidents in other parts of the world. News agencies have been playing important roles in war and peace,'' he said. Arinc added, ''I believe that representatives of important new agencies in the world will take a significant step at the World News Agencies Summit, which was hosted by the Anadolu Agency in Istanbul, to meet with each other and cooperate in order to serv e humanity.'' State Minister Besir Atalay said on Tuesday that need for accurate, impartial and honest journalism, considering human beings, increased gradually. Atalay addressed the opening of ''World News Agencies Summit'' hosted by Anadolu Agency in Ciragan Palace. Atalay said they were pleased to host agency administrators who came from all over the world here. Atalay said the government attributed great importance to the meeting, and recalled that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan participated in the opening coc ktail of the meeting yesterday evening. He said, ''Anadolu Agency is an important institution for us, an autonomous institution.''

    Pointing out that 113 people form 58 news agencies participated in the summit, Atalay referred to the religious leaders who participated in the meeting, and said this was an indication of Istanbul's and Turkey's multi-cultural structure.

    Atalay said Turkey on the one way is a Balkan country, and on the other side is a country of the Middle East, Black Sea, Mediterranean, and Eurasia.

    Stressing that news agencies in universal sense fulfilled important issues in universal sense, Atalay said, ''we may say that news agencies are 'news wholesalers' of mass communication means. Today, confidence in news reports has direct relation with the

    name of the news agency. Name and logo of the news agency, who transmit the news report, is more important than the communication means with respect to confirmation of news report.''

    Atalay said communication means in general did not use the logo of the news agencies even if they do sometimes, yet noted that news reports recently, particularly which are about war, were given with logo.

    Stating that this confirmed that agency journalism gained importance gradually and even more approved that reliable journalism is agency journalism, Atalay said, ''principles and standards of journalism will improve with the efforts of serious news agenc ies.''

    Atalay said many journalists lost their lives or were injured in war in Iraq.

    Atalay said he found right that main theme of World News Agencies Summit is determined and stressed as peace. He said, ''I hope your efforts and the meetings will contribute to peace.''

  • [18] NEWS AGENCIES FOR IMPARTIAL AND ACCURATE INFORMATION The need for impartial and accurate journalism was pointed out by Turkey's State Minister Besir Atalay, addressing the World News Agencies Summit organized by Turkish news agency Anadolu in Istanbul. The summit is held with the participation of news agen cies from all over the world, as well as the four most important Journalist Unions (the Alliance of European News Agencies, the Association of Asian News Agencies, the Association of Mediterranean News Agencies, and the Association of Balkan News Agencies ). Mr. Atalay referred to the importance attributed by the Turkish government to the meeting by mentioning the fact that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was present in yesterday's proceedings.

    He greeted the 113 representatives from 58 news agencies and stated that the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, the Chief Rabbi of Istanbul and the city's Great Mufti is important in the strengthening of the conference's multi-cultural charac ter.

    Mr. Atalay stressed that the flow of information through the news agencies gains more and more ground and stated that the principles of democracy will be improved through the efforts of serious news agencies.

    He expressed regret for the high cost paid by the journalistic "family" with the deaths and injuries of its members in the war of Iraq and expressed the hope that the conference proceedings will contribute to the efforts for peace.

    Anadolu General Director Hilmi Bengi called on the conference participants to observe a moment of silence in memory of the journalists killed in the war-zone of Iraq. He underlined that the conference takes place in a difficult international situation as

    a result of the crisis in Iraq and the problems in the Middle East.

    Referring to the issues under discussion in the conference, he said that if a war is right or wrong is a matter to be discussed by politicians and examined by historians in the future. The journalists will examine the issue from a journalistic point of v iew and the conference on The role of the Mass Media in Perpetual Peace is placed within this framework

    Mr. Bengi also read a message to the conference participants by Turkish National Assembly President Bulent Arinc.

  • [19] THE ROLE OF NEWS AGENCIES IN THE PRESERVATION OF PEACE The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, General Director Ziad Abdel Fatah speaking in the World News Agencies Conference, organized in Istanbul by the Turkish news agency Anadolu, referred to the double standards in the international mass media when dealing w ith different issues.

    Mr. Abdel Fatah stressed the significance of the role of the mass media in defending peace, pointing out that the goal of every war is the division of the world. Referring to the war in Iraq, he underlined that "a door has opened which is very difficult to close" and used as an example of the climate created the threats against Syria and Iran.

    Kazakstan News Agency, KAZINFORM, General Director Gabilbek Shalakhmetov underlined that there are fears that ethnic conflicts and the threat of war will soon knock on the door of central Asia and the region of the Caspian Sea. He also warned that the in terests of Russia, China, the United States and the Arab World are likely to be in conflict.

    The General Director of KAZINFORM also announced that the government of Kazakstan suggested the creation of an International Information Center and called on his counterparts from the rest news agencies to send their representatives to the center.

    MPA General Director and ABNA General Secretary Spiros Kouzinopoulos referred to the important role played by news agencies and journalists in the new era in terms of news credibility, sources authenticity control and assistance to the readers to form th eir own opinion.

    Mr. Kouzinopoulos stated characteristically that freedom of expression was the main issue in the 20th century but today there is a need for quality information.

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