|Friday, 19 July 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2004-08-03
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, August 3, 2004
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
According to a telephone opinion poll, 52% responded that the Olympic Games in Athens will be the best and the most impressive compared to past Olympiads, while 32% believe that it will be equally good with the Olympic Games held in the past.
A large number of athletes have already arrived at the Olympic Village and new arrivals take place on a daily basis.
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis will inspect the Athens Olympic Stadium this evening.
Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Michalis Liapis stated that there is a notable change on behalf of the commuters regarding the use of mass transportation and expressed the wish that the increase in the use of mass transportation will re ach 50% compared to the previous period of time.
Few violations of the Olympic traffic code were recorded in Athens, while over 2,800 members of the Olympic family have arrived in Athens since July 12.
Over 1,000 police officers will participate in the security plan, which is in effect in Thessaloniki on the occasion of the Olympic football games that will be held at Kaftantzoglion Stadium.
Tight security measures will also be in effect in the rest stadiums in the city that will be used as training grounds for the Olympic football teams, as well as in Hyatt Hotel where the foreign missions will stay and around city buildings that were chara cterized as potential targets by police such as, consulates, offices of foreign firms etc.
Meanwhile, an international security plan is in effect in the Port of Thessaloniki. The international plan for the management of port facilities and ships (ISPS) undergoes its first test in the Port of Thessaloniki since this morning with the arrival of British cruiser "AIDA CARA".
Thessaloniki's "Macedonia" International Airport is also ready for the Olympic Games. Within the framework of the measures taken no unidentified airplane can fly inside a 10-mile range around Thessaloniki. In case something like this happens the airport will be put in a state of alert and all necessary measures will be taken to face the situation.
He said that Mr. Papandreou's health condition improves steadily and predicted that in 2-3 days he will be allowed to leave the hospital and return home. Mr. Kaklamanis also stated that he conveyed to Mr. Papandreou the government's and the Prime Ministe r's wishes for quick recovery.
Two days later, he will attend an event by Latsis Foundation and on August 13 he will watch the Athens Olympic Games opening ceremony.
The road from Kymi to Chalkida had become a beautiful carpet of many colors. People living in the area had strewn the roadway with flowers, myrtles and olive tree branches to welcome the Torchbearers, who, wearing laurel wreaths on their heads or carryi ng the Greek flag in one hand, bore the Olympic flame through the towns and villages of the long island of Evvoia.
Chalkida, last night's stopover, started its celebrations for the arrival of the Flame last week, and they will last until next Sunday.
Not content with its unique tidal phenomenon of the Euripus, which changes five times a day and earned Chalkida the nickname of 'the World's Scale Pans' in antiquity, the city is now emitting a message of culture, with art exhibitions themed on the Olymp ic Games, concerts, and plays.
Chalkida that has been the birthplace of the orator Isaeus, the composer Skalkotas, the poet Skaribas, the actor Makris and the painter Mytaras greeted the Flame with due solemnity. The municipal band played the Olympic Hymn and the Greek national anthem . The Lykeion Ellinidon and the Alonaki Vouliagmenis Club danced folk dances before the Olympic altar had been placed, in front of the 'House with the Statues'. Balloons were released into the sky, and carried aloft by the summer breeze. A firework displa y made it a magical evening for the city.
Greeting the Flame, the mayor of Chalkida, Dimitris Anagnostakis, observed: "It is a special honor to welcome the Olympic ideal. It is a unique, historic event for a city with a long tradition and history in culture, arts and literature. The light will f orever remain in our hearts, to show the way to creation and hope for a better world".
Gymnast Irini Aindinli, a group all-around Olympic champion, kindled the Olympic altar. She said: "I would like to express my thanks to the municipality of Chalkida and ATHENS 2004 for this honor. I wish the athletes who will participate in the Athens Ol ympiad every success".
Among the Torchbearers was Galinos Laoutaris, aged 91, who has run a marathon of a life, and Yannis Spanos, ex-MP and mayor of Chalkida for fifteen years.
Mr. Laoutaris, businessman and grandfather of six, knew what a hard life is from the age of 13, when the Nazis shot his father. He has sailed for the Chalkida Naval Club for many years and has played his part as a citizen, not without recognition. He fee ls very lucky to have borne the Olympic Flame.
"My country has confirmed that it is part of the global scene", said Mr. Spanos, aged 64. "I am glad that a small fellow like myself has been able to serve the big ideals of the Olympic flame".
After the Flame has kindled the Olympic altar in the capital of Evvoia, there was a concert by Vasilis Papakonstantinou.
"Athens 2004" Communication Director Michalis Zacharatos pointed out during the first Olympic press briefing, which is going to be held on a daily basis at the Press Center and will be interpreted into five languages, that already 87% of the tickets for the semifinals and the finals of Olympic sports events have been sold, while of the 5.2 million tickets available 2.2 million have already been sold.
Referring to the Olympic security he said that for the fist time in the history of the Olympic Games a host country has done so much for security, adding that there is a high level of cooperation among the countries.
Of the stocks trading today, 155 had gains and 139 had losses, while the value of 109 stocks remained unchanged.
With the respect deserving the sacred site of Delphi, the Municipality will welcome the Olympic Flame with a "Kotinos" -a wild olive wreath- as a prize at the site where the idea of holding Sports Competitions was born.
The 'Kotinos' is the symbol of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games. The Olympic Flame will be received at the temple of Pronoia Athena at 21:00 by a wind instrument group. A song and dance event will greet it at the Kastalia Spring and a short while later the poetry of Angelos Sikelianos will accompany it as the Torchbearers pass outside the great poet's onetime home. The Orphic Hymn will echo in the Stadium of Apollo. The Olympic Flame will stay overnight at the Ancient Theatre of Delphi, kept company with po etry and music throughout the night.
The Flame left the island of Evia this morning and began its journey across mainland Greece. Its first stop will be at Aliartos. Residents there will welcome it with traditional songs and dances. After that it will visit Livadia, Arachova and then make i ts way to Delphi.
Today, the Olympic Flame will cover a distance of 146.4 km, borne aloft by 200 Torchbearers.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS