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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-02-08
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 INCUMBENT PRESIDENT TO BE RE-ELECTED TODAYAthens, 8 February 2000 (10:26 UTC+2)
Incumbent president of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos is expected to be re-elected by the country's 300-seat Parliament today, as both the ruling PASOK party and the main opposition of New Democracy have pledged their vote.
The voting process will be an open nominal ballot, while deputies of minor opposition party Coalition of the Left and Progress are to vote for sole contender Leonidas Kyrkos.
President Stephanopoulos will be sworn in office on March 11.
 ASIA FORUM: COOPERATION IS KEY FOR DEVELOPMENTThessaloniki, 8 February 2000 (11:08 UTC+2)
The essential role of international cooperation in economic development was the focus of the discussion held at yesterday"s evening session of Asia Forum 2000, which is to conclude in Thessaloniki today.
Indonesia"s presidential envoy Iman Taufik pointed out that if the region"s countries are unable to improve a portion of their industrial capital goods for the basic needs emerging through their developing economies, then it will be extremely difficult for them to curb their deficit and extend their economic growth.
In the one-year span of 1995-96, trade volume increased by 16 percent, while 62% of the goods were electronic products. According to Mr. Taufik, meeting the demands pertaining to the improvement of the Asian countries" infrastructure will require one trillion dollars for the following ten years. Moreover, he stated that strategic alliances and joint ventures formed among the Asian countries are in themselves encouraging factors.
Nevertheless, he stressed, strengthened cooperation between Europe and Asia will fortify the latter"s capital goods market, while also granting Europe the opportunity to increase its exports of technology, and thus strengthen Asian economies, which will in turn boost world trade.
The coordinator of the Trade and Investment Committee of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Michael Wei referred to the need for economic cooperation in eastern and southeastern Asia, while also pointing out that the said regions" economic development has reached satisfactory levels.
According to Mr. Wei, APEC"s members are aware that market expansion will depend on trade and investment facilitation.
Albanian"s Undersecretary of Economic Cooperation and Trade Engjeli Skreli, outlined the basic axes of his government"s economic policy, while he also stated that Asia Forum will give the participating countries the "go-ahead" for future economic collaboration.
While acknowledging that investment in his country is at present limited, Mr. Skreli stated that Albania has drawn specific plans of action, i.e. legislative changes, that will improve the existing climate and boost foreign investment.
The second Asia Forum conference, to be held on May23-28, will feature six workshops as well as an exhibition of industrial products, tourism-related activities and financial services.
 PARTIES ENTER PRE-ELECTION RACE AT FULL SPEEDAthens, 8 February 2000 (13:52 UTC+2)
With parliamentary elections having been declared for April 9, the parties are hard at work selecting candidates and preparing campaigns, with the Parliament to be dissolved on March 14.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to meet with the Secretary General of the ruling PASOK party"s Central Committee Costas Skandalides today, while he will meet with the minister of the interior tomorrow.
Also today, the leader of the main opposition, New Democracy"s Costas Karamanlis, will chair a meeting with leading party members.
Minor opposition parties are also preparing their candidate lists.
 OLYMPIC AIRWAYS AXES FLIGHT TO MELBOURNEMelbourne, 8 February 2000 (14:45 UTC+2)
Olympic Airways' decision to cancel its direct Athens-Melbourne flight on March 26 has prompted a strong reaction from the Greek-Australian community.
OA will provide three weekly flights to Sydney via Bangkok while passengers
wanting to go to Melbourne will board a connecting flight with Australian airlines Ansett or Qantas.
Leading members of Australia's Greek community have gathered in an emergency seession in order to discover ways to prevent the decision, while front-page articles in Australia's Greek press have extensive coverage of the barrage of protests prompted by the change.
OA has stressed that the axing of the flight was required in order to restore the company's profitability.
 STEPHANOPOULOS WILL BE RE-ELECTED TO THE GREEK PRESIDENCY TODAYAthens, 8 February 2000 (17:47 UTC+2)
Current president of the republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will be re-elected to the post for another five-year term in a vote that will be held in parliament this afternoon as he has the expressed support of the governing socialist party of PASOK and the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy.
He was born in Patras in 1926 and studied Law in the University of Athens. He practiced law for some time and in 1961 he entered politics. He was elected to parliament in 1964 with the National Radical Union party.
He served as undersecretary of commerce in the national unity government under Konstantinos Karamanlis in 1974. He joined the party of New Democracy and he was elected to parliament under its banner from 1974 to 1985. In the governments of prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis he served as interior minister, social security minister and minister to the prime minister.
He was a candidate for the New Democracy leadership in 1981 and 1984. After the unsuccessful for New Democracy 1985 parliamentary elections he came to a disagreement with Konstantinos Mitsotakis and left followed by 15 New Democracy parliament deputies to found the Democratic Renewal Party. As president of that party he was elected to parliament in the 1989 elections but he failed to be elected again in the next elections. After his party's failure in the 1990 elections he dissolved the party and left politics.
Kostis Stephanopoulos was elected by the parliament to the post of the president of the republic on March 8, 1995 with 181 votes as 109 votes from the party of New Democracy went to its own candidate Athanasios Tsaldaris, while the Communist Party deputies and independent parliament deputy Michalis Papakonstantinou voted "present". He was sworn-in to the presidency on March 10, 1995.
 GAINS OF 1.11% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 8 February 2000 (17:42 UTC+2)
Gains of 1.11% were recorded today in the Athens Stock Exchange and the general index closed at 5550,40 points continuing the upward trend of the past few days.
The volume of transactions reached 372.4 billion drachmas and according to analysts, the positive climate in the market appears to be secured.
 INSTITUTIONS OF EURO-ASIAN COOPERATION IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 8 February 2000 (17:39 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki is expected to become a key-city for the development of the Euro-Asian cooperation in the following years through the establishment of four non governmental organizations aimed at promoting cooperation in the sectors of trade, tourism, banking and transportation.
The establishment of the four non governmental organizations and specifically, the creation of a trade center, an inter-banking and brokerage center, a center of tourist cooperation and a transport center is expected to be finalized in the next few months, possibly in May.
The foundations for the establishment of the non governmental organizations in which will take part representatives of private businesses from Asian and European countries were laid in the first ASIA FORUM held in Thessaloniki.
More details on the development of Euro-Asian cooperation in the sectors of economy and business will be made public on May 23-28 when a business forum will be held in Thessaloniki.
 ATHENS CONDEMNS THE ASSASSINATION OF BULATOVICAthens, 8 February 2000 (17:37 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas expressed the regret of the Greek government for the assassination of Yugoslav minister of defense Pavle Bulatovic.
Mr. Reppas stated that the assassination shows that democracy in Yugoslavia has problems and a great effort is needed for normalization, adding that the international community must contribute toward this direction.
 THE GREEKS SPEND MORE ON HOUSEHOLD AND FOODAthens, 8 February 2000 (17:37 UTC+2)
Greece occupies the first place in the European Union regarding the spending on household items and food, according to data provided by the European Statistics Agency EUROSTAT for the year 1998.
Specifically, regarding the domestic and state spending there are considerable differences among the EU member-states. In 1998, the country with the most household expenses to the GDP was Greece (72%), while the lowest expenses were recorded in Luxembourg (47%).
Most money was spend on food 19.2%, followed by housing 18.4% and transportation 16.2%. Regarding the food spending, Greece comes first (36.1%), followed by Portugal (29.7%) and Ireland (29.2%), while in the last place is Holland (14.5%). The spending on housing is bigger in Sweden (27.1%) and smaller in Portugal (9.4%), while regarding the spending on clothing the first place is occupied by Italy (9.4%) and the last by Finland (4.6%).
 GREEK FURS TO BEAR AUTHENTICITY CERTIFICATEKastoria, 8 February 2000 (14:00 UTC+2)
Fur garments made in Greece are to bear a certificate of authenticity, attesting to their origin and superior quality, thanks to an agreement signed between the Greek Fur Center and the Greek Standardization Organization.
According to the Greek Fur Center's market and programming director Christos Karadinos, the certificate is the result of an effort that got underway in 1996 and constitutes a worldwide innovation.
He added that the Center hopes to grant a similar certificate to Greek fur retailers.
 EXTENSIVE PROGRESS MADE ON EGNATIA MOTORWAYThessaloniki, 8 February 2000 (12:26 UTC+2)
Minister of the Environment, Public Works and Urban Planning Costas Laliotis has announced that about 120 kilometers of the Egnatia motorway have been completed, with another 200 kilometers of the highway expected to be finished by the end of the year.
The motorway, which will eventually cover 680 kilometers, will span the breadth of northern Greece and connect the northwestern Ionian Sea port of Igoumenitsa with the Greek-Turkish border.
Mr. Laliotis stated that 65 contractors are involved in the one-trillion drachma project.
 EUROSTAT: GREEKS SPEND MOST IN HOUSEHOLDThessaloniki, 8 February 2000 (12:10 UTC+2)
Greeks spend more than all of their European counterparts on household expenses, according to a European Commission report, with household consumption during 1998 in Greece representing 72 present of the gross domestic product.
According to Eurostat, Greeks also spend more than all of their European counterparts on food, a whooping 36.1% in 1997, followed by the Portuguese with 29.7% and the Irish with 29.2%.
On a European scale, monies allocated for food in 1997 amounted to 19.2% of the household expenses, which in themselves represented an overall 18.4 percent.
 RETURN OF MARBLES, A MORAL AND LEGAL ISSUEAthens, 8 February 2000 (11:46 UTC+2)
The return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece is both a moral and legal issue which will be the single most significant cultural topic of discussion in the third millennium, according to the former Premier of the Australian state of Victoria Jeff Kennett.
Mr. Kennett, who was recently in Athens prior to visiting London, has also expressed his disappointment over the stand of British Premier Tony Blair, regarding the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece from the British Museum where the ancient monuments are presently housed.
Both Mr. Blair and British Culture minister Chris Smith have refused to see Mr. Kennett, who requested an interview for a documentary Australia"s Channel 9 is preparing on the subject of the return of the Parthenon marbles.
Undaunted by the British officials" refusal to see him, Mr. Kennett has vowed that the struggle for the return of the marbles will continue, so that they may be back to Athens in 2004 when the Olympic Games will be held.
 TIRANA: NEW GREEK INVESTMENTSTirana, 8 February 2000 (17:37 UTC+2)
Greece's investment role in Albania was underlined by Greek ambassador Alexandros Mallias in an interview with the Albanian news agency, ATA, in which he predicted an increase of Greek investments.
The Greek ambassador predicted that there will be an unprecedented increase in the Greek investments during the current year. According to Mr. Mallias, the basic sectors of Greek investments will be infrastructure, energy, tele-communications, the banking sector and farming.
Also, the Greek ambassador gave a special importance to the construction of the motor-way that links the coasts of the Ionian Sea with the coasts of the Adriatic.
Mr. Mallias pointed out that Greece's goal is the economic stability of Albania, while he referred to the five-year program for the reconstruction of the Balkans which is expected to improve further the Greek-Albanian relations. He also stated that Greece will offer the sum of US$58 million for investments in the Albanian public services sector.
 BIOGRAPHY OF PAVLE BULATOVICBelgrade, 8 February 2000 (13:18 UTC+2)
Pavle Bulatovic was born in 1948 in the northern Montenegrin town of Kolasin.
He graduated from the School of Economics at Podgorica University and worked there as an assistant professor until 1989 when he became politically active. At that time he was a fierce critic of the then-communist authorities, although he was a delegate to the Montenegrin parliament from the Communist Party.
He entered high-level politics in 1989 as internal affairs minister in the first Montenegrin post-communist government which was headed by Radoje Kontic. He remained in that post until 1992 when he became federal police minister in the government of FRY, headed by Prime Minister Milan Panic.
When Panic's government fell in late 1992, Bulatovic stayed on in the new cabinet which was headed by Radoje Kontic but this time served in the post of federal defense minister. He remained in that post during Kontic's second term as prime minister until 1996. He was appointed to the same post in May b1998 when the federal government was taken over by current Prime Minster and Socialist People's Party (SNP) leader Momir Bulatovic.
 CYPRUS PROXIMITY TALKS END IN GENEVA TODAYNicosia, 8 February 2000 (11:27 UTC+2)
The second round of proximity talks between the President of the Cyprus Republic Glafcos Clerides and the Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is to end in Geneva today, while the third round is to take place in New York in May.
Although a news black-out has been enforced over the Clerides-Denktash talks in Geneva, Cypriot political leaders in Nicosia have made comments on process.
The Cypriot Democratic Rally party leader Nikos Anastasiadis has said he was definitely satisfied by President Clerides' stance concerning the intransigent statements made by the Turkish-Cypriot leader, while the Secretary General of AKEL party Dimitris Christofias said it was understood from the briefing that Mr. Denktash was bringing forth additional issues at the Geneva proximity talks. The leader of EDEK Vasos Lysaridis was more pessimistic, as he stated that he does not see substantial developments.
Archbishop Chrysostomos sounded a note of warning, stating that the proposed solution of the Cyprus issue for a bizonal federation or confederation, would become the beginning of the end for Greek-Cypriots.
 F.R.Y. DEFENSE MINISTER ASSASSINATED IN BELGRADEBelgrade, 8 February 2000 (10:22 UTC+2)
Yugoslav Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic was murdered in a Belgrade restaurant yesterday night, when two unknown assailants opened fire with an automatic weapon.
According to Yugoslav police reports, Mr. Bulatovic was in the restaurant of the soccer club Rad when he was shot by gunmen who fired with automatic weapons through a window, fatally wounding the Defense Minister and injuring the restaurant's owner, Mirko Knezevic and banker Vuk Obradovic.
The Yugoslav government, which met for an urgent session, said in a statement that Mr. Bulatovic "was the victim of a classic terrorist act" and pledged to fight against terrorism.
President Slobodan Milosevic has expressed his profound condolences to the victim's family.
Pavle Bulatovic, 52, had been defense minister of Yugoslavia since 1994. From 1992 to 1994, Bulatovic served as Yugoslav interior minister in the government of Milan Panic, a Serb-born businessman who was ousted by President Milosevic.
 THE SECOND ROUND OF THE CYPRUS TALKS CONCLUDED IN GENEVAGeneva, 8 February 2000 (17:48 UTC+2)
The second round of the proximity talks on Cyprus concluded in Geneva today and the next round of contacts will resume in New York on May 23.
UN secretary-general representative to Cyprus Alvaro De Soto responding to a MPA question stated that the United Nations do not give up hope regarding the improvement of prospects for the solution of the Cyprus problem in spite of the fact that neither a solution nor an opening of direct negotiations are expected in the third round of talks of the two communities on the island.
 STRATEGY ON EMPLOYMENT BY GREEK EU COMMISSIONER DIAMANTOPOULOUBrussels, 8 February 2000 (17:42 UTC+2)
The European Commission adopted an ambitious new strategy at the initiative of Greek EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou aimed at promoting employment through the Internet.
According to the statement issued by the European Commission, at the initiative of Ms. Diamantopoulou different professions are being promoted in the sector of computers aimed at bridging the gap between the European Union and the United States regarding the access to the Internet and the use of communications' information and technology.
Internet access is much more limited in the European Union than in the United States and it is concentrated to the financially powerful groups namely, men while geographically it is greater in northern Europe.
 INFORMAL MEETING OF THE EU DEFENSE MINISTERSLisbon, 8 February 2000 (17:38 UTC+2)
Portugal will host an informal meeting of the European Union defense ministers on February 28, according to a statement made by the Portuguese EU presidency spokesman.
Among the issues for discussion in the meeting that will be held in the city of Sidra, near Lisbon, will be the defense obligations of the European Union and security issues as they have been formed after the Helsinki EU summit meeting.
In the meeting is expected to participate Austria's new minister of defense Herbert Saibler, member of the far-right Freedom Party, as Portugal decided yesterday to invite all the members of the Vienna coalition government in the informal EU meetings.
 A US NEWSPAPER ON THE MUSEUM OF EUROPEBoston, 8 February 2000 (17:47 UTC+2)
The US newspaper "Boston Sunday Globe" maintains that Europe undergoes an identity crisis commenting on the discussions concerning the construction of the Museum of Europe.
The newspaper writes that it is unacceptable to leave Greece out and finds absolutely justified the reactions of the Greek government and the Greek literary world.
The newspaper also mentions that you do not have to be a Greek to find strange the selection of Charlemagne as the forerunner of modern Europe. It adds that the 800 AD Europe does not bring to mind the ideals of democracy which first appeared in Athens at least 12 centuries earlier. The newspaper goes on by writing that the European philosophy, the esthetics and political theory can be separated from ancient Greece only through an arbitrary falsification of history.