|Wednesday, 29 November 2023|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-02-14
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK PM URGES BALKAN COOPERATION WITH EUAthens, 14 February 2000 (10:23 UTC+2)
The six leaders of the Southeast European countries, namely the Premiers of Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Turkey and FYROM, signed the Pact of Stability, Security and Good Neighborliness in S.E. Europe and renewed regional cooperation in a Bucharest-held Summit conference last weekend.
Addressing the conference, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said great effort must be expended in promoting development, cooperation policies and relations with the European Union. He called on Balkan leaders to relax the isolation of Yugoslavia and promised to continue helping countries in the region - including Turkey - forge closer ties with the European Union.
"We want (Balkan) countries to take part in the process of European Union... progress for the region will benefit us all," the Greek Premier stated.
Mr. Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with their Turkish counterparts, Bulent Ecevit and Ismael Cem, respectively, on the sidelines of the Bucharest-held summit. In addition to his Turkish counterpart, Mr. Simitis also met privately with Bulgaria's Premier Ivan Kostov, and his counterpart from FYROM Liupcko Georgievski. This was the third inter-Balkan conference of heads of state or government, with the two previous ones held in Greece's Crete and Turkey's Antalya.
 GREECE ΤΟ ASK EU TO LIFT YUGOSLAVIA FLIGHT BANAthens, 14 February 2000 (10:38 UTC+2)
Greece is to ask for a lifting of a European Union ban on air links with Yugoslavia, during today's EU's General Affairs Council.
"What we would like to see is to make sure that the sanctions do not affect the actual average citizen of Serbia, Mr. Papandreou stated, adding that "there are some proposals we will be bringing to the General Affairs Council, hopefully, such as lifting the flight ban."
The Greek FM said that Greece wants to send a signal to ordinary people in Serbia that the international community was not seeking to hurt them, but to encourage democratic reform.
"We very much support the process in Yugoslavia for democratization, he said, adding "Greece will be taking a number of initiatives in trying to see how it can bring in Serbia into this process in a more constructive way."
Britain has won the backing of the United States for a suspension of the flight ban, but, although EU airlines would resume flights to Belgrade, the Yugoslav airline JAT would still be banned from the EU.
 LOSSES OF 0.75% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 14 February 2000 (16:40 UTC+2)
The week started for the Athens Stock Exchange with losses of 0.75% dropping below the 5.500 points mark to 5.490,96, while the volume of transactions remained low at 188 billion drachmas.
However, in spite of the downward course followed investors remain optimistic expecting positive news from the bank interest rate front. The Greek stock market is expected to be upgraded to mature in the near future and this will give a new boost to the Athens Stock Exchange.
 CYPRUS: THE ACCESSION INTO THE EU IS A PRE-CONDITION FOR A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMThessaloniki, 14 February 2000 (16:40 UTC+2)
Cyprus' accession into the European Union will create the pre-conditions for a viable solution to the problem, stated Nicosia based Intercollege Research Center director professor Andreas Theophanous.
Mr. Theophanous, who was in Thessaloniki to attend the Defense Analyses Institute conference, stated to MPA that only after Cyprus' accession into the EU Turkey will realize that it is to its benefit to have serious and meaningful talks on Cyprus.
He also pointed out that Cyprus is situated at the heart of Eastern Mediterranean which always had a big geo-strategic importance.
 EXHIBITION OF COPIES OF FRESCOS FROM KOSOVO MONASTERIES IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 14 February 2000 (16:38 UTC+2)
Forty one exact copies of wall-paintings from Kosovo monasteries and churches dated back to the 13th and the 14th centuries will be exhibited in Thessaloniki until March 1.
The frescos as well as the 197 banners included among the exhibits come from Belgrade's National Museum which together with the Paris Museum are the only ones that have a wall-painting wing. The wall-paintings presented come from Granitsanica, Liebiska and Detsanoi.
The exhibition is organized by Belgrade's National Museum and Serbia's International Scientific, Cultural and Technological Cooperation Center.
 VOCATIONAL TRAINING ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE IN ATHENSAthens, 14 February 2000 (16:36 UTC+2)
The role of vocational training in the south-eastern Europe reconstruction process is the topic of a conference organized by the Vocational Training Organization to be held in Athens on February 17 and 18 with the participation of the European Vocational Institute.
The conference will be attended by state representatives and representatives of vocational training institutes from Balkan countries as well as by experts in the field and representatives of the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and UNESCO.
 THE ANNUAL THESSALONIKI FORUM ON MAY 8 AND 9Thessaloniki, 14 February 2000 (16:35 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki will be at the center of international attention on May 8 and 9 when the 7th annual Thessaloniki Forum will be held in the presence of prime ministers and government ministers from south-eastern Europe.
The forum will be attended by Reconstruction Organization for south-eastern Europe president Mr. Migareli, Stability Pact coordinator Mr. Hobach and SECI head Mr. Busek. The forum organizers are the Northern Greece Industries Association and the US-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Organization for the Balkan Reconstruction and SECI.
The Thessaloniki Forum is a unique chance for a formal meeting of senior government officials and leading businessmen from Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, FYROM, Romania, Turkey, Greece, the United States and European Union.
 TECHNICAL BIDS FOR ELVO SUBMITTED TODAYThessaloniki, 14 February 2000 (14:40 UTC+2)
Eight Greek and foreign investors are to "cross their swords" today, by submitting sealed technical bids for the 43% buyout of the state-run Hellenic Vehicle Industry SA, (ELVO).
The 43 percent stake is the result of the state's conservative policy regarding ELVO's privatization process, which is to be completed in two phases. The strategic investor will maintain the right to seek an additional 17 percent once the investment has come through.
The list of interested foreign investors in ELVO includes Britain's Vickers, U.S. General Dynamics, Germany's Craus Maffei and Steyer, as well as Greece's Michaniki construction company, the Kokkalis- Mytilinaios consortium, Petropoulos (Scania vehicle importers) and the Syggelidis - Bitros - Zilkha group.
Following the technical offers, which have to include a business plan, the company's advisers will proceed to constructing a short list, probably comprised of three or four candidates.
 GREECE ADAPTS TO EUS DECENTRALIZATION PROGRAMAthens, 14 February 2000 (11:10 UTC+2)
As a result of the European Commission's drive to promote decentralization of Community Support Framework (CSF) management, Greece's National Economy Ministry is preparing a draft bill reforming implementation and monitoring regulations of the CSF III subsidized investment program, according to press reports.
The bill calls for the establishment of 26 new departments as management authorities, each of which will be responsible for creating reliable mechanisms for collecting financial and statistical data on the progress of the projects, and the submission of annual reports.
These mechanisms will be supervised by the relevant ministries and staffed by personnel from the private and public sector.
 ECONOMY SUB-MINISTRY IN THESSALONIKI PROPOSEDThessaloniki, 14 February 2000 (10:59 UTC+2)
Ruling PASOK party deputy and former transportation minister Haris Kastanides has proposed that a sub-ministry related to the Ministries of National Economy and Development be established in Thessaloniki.
In his address before the ISTAME-Andreas Papandreou international conference, Mr. Kastanides stated that the said sub-ministry would develop an infrastructure network that would support a full gamut financial services, thus rendering Thessaloniki the economy-finance hub of Southeastern Europe.
 OTE GETS READY TO FLOAT SUBSIDIARIES ON ASEAthens, 14 February 2000 (10:50 UTC+2)
The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), is reportedly ready to float a number of its subsidiaries on the Athens Stock Exchange, namely, OTE Leasing, Hellas Com, OTE Net and Cosmote.
According to the Athens daily "To Vima", OTE's immediate strategic plans are to ensure the entry of its subsidiaries to the Greek bourse, strengthen the company's operations abroad and broaden its current range of activities.
A meeting held last week between George Simeonidis, OTE's managing director, George Papaioannou, the National Economy Ministry's secretary-general and Vassilis Rapanos, OTE's president, focused on when the firms will be introduced to the Athens bourse.
The Greek telecommunications giant is also looking into adding two new subsidiaries to its group. One will oversee OTE property management while the other will be responsible for the development and marketing of its phone catalog.
 QUAKE OF FIVE RICHTER JOLTS TURKEYAnkara, 14 February 2000 (10:39 UTC+2)
An earthquake measuring five points on the logarithmic Richter scale shook northwestern Turkey this morning, with victim and damage reports as-of-yet unavailable.
According to the Turkish television network NTV, the quake occurred north of the Bolu region, between Ankara and Istanbul.
Eight hundred people were killed from November 12's earthquake in the same area.
 GRIGORIS NIOTIS VISITED MARIUPOLI IN UKRAINEMariupoli, 14 February 2000 (16:43 UTC+2)
The support of Greece to the 150.000 members of the Greek community in the Ukraine was expressed by Greek undersecretary of foreign affairs Grigoris Niotis, who is visiting the city of Mariupoli.
It should be noted that a model health center will soon open in the city for all the people in the region, regardless of being Greek or not.
 THE EU COMMISSION ON THE TEACHING OF ANCIENT GREEK AND LATIN IN SCHOOLSBrussels, 14 February 2000 (16:34 UTC+2)
The European Commission examines in detail the problem created due to the abolition of the teaching of ancient Greek and Latin in the EU secondary education schools as well as, the issue of the establishment of a Center for the Promotion of Classical Studies in the European Union.
The above were stated by responsible EU Commissioner Viviane Reding in response to a question by Greek Euro-deputy from the Coalition of the Left party Alekos Alavanos who raised the issue. Mr. Alavanos reminded the memorandum that has been submitted to the EU Education ministers council since 1995 for the establishment of a Classical Studies Promotion Center and presented the views of the representatives of Italy, France, Greece and Spain according to which, the classical studies are now more than ever an education means of great value for the new generation.
 SUPERSTITION COLORS ALL ASPECTS OF RUSSIAN LIFEMoscow, 14 February 2000 (14:09 UTC+2)
After spilling salt, do you throw a pinch over your left shoulder? Do you avoid walking under a ladder? Do you carry a lucky rabbit's foot?
Even though most of them know that these actions are the result of finding unreasonable causes and effects where none exist, superstition is deeply ingrained in Russian culture, where students don't wash their hair the day before the exams, just as musicians also stay clear of shampoo the day before a concert, as it's considered "bad luck" to do so.
More evident in agrarian regions, although apparent in city dwellers as well, these complex and paradoxical customs are as colorful as they are varied.
For example, passing the salt directly into the hand of another person may mean the start of a fight, while the same is true for soaps and knives. So, just to be sure, most Russians prefer to simply place these objects before the recipient.
Many Russian superstitions are variations on western themes, for example mirrors. Should Russians leave the house having forgotten to take something with them , they usually avoid returning to get it. But, if they must, then they will definitely take a look in the mirror before exiting again.
As far as animals, scarves or watches are concerned, they are considered no-no's for gift-giving to close friends or family members as they may be a prelude to separation. The same goes for kissing someone at the door.
What about that chance event of a knife falling at your doorstep? It means that a man is about to pay you a visit, or, if its a spoon or fork, then you should expect female company, Russian folklore foretells.
If you want to walk to the altar any time soon, then you should never take a corner seat at a table since this means seven years without a wedding in sight.
Most Russians will shiver when a black cat crosses their back, the same with seeing a woman carrying an empty bucket.
Death is also a frequent theme among the numerous Russian superstitions. On the nine-day or forty-day memorium for the dead, the relatives will place a bottle of vodka and a small piece of bread in order to ease the journey of the deceased person's soul.
It's been reported that when Russia's former Premier Yevgeni Primakov received cutlery as a gift during a recent visit to the province, he was quick to pull a few rubles out of his wallet so that "the friendship won't be cut in two".
It's like what Aristotle wore in Poetics: "Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities."
 THE WORK OF A GREEK PAINTER TO BECOME A US STAMPNew York, 14 February 2000 (16:34 UTC+2)
The work of a Greek painter was selected by the US Postal Service to become a stamp. Dimitris Nalbantis from Didimoticho, north-eastern Greece participated in an international painting competition under the title Our World in the year 2000 organized by the US Postal Service.
Mr. Nalbantis was informed by the US Postal Service that his painting was among the 225 that had been selected to be reproduced as stamps this year. The winners of the competition will exhibit their work in New York in July and August 2000.
The painting of Mr. Nalbantis was a synthesis of statue parts.