|Saturday, 2 December 2023|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-02-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 KFOR TO BE FORTIFIED VIA THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 24 February 2000 (10:39 UTC+2)
An additional 700 French troops are to be dispatched to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR), in light of the new wave of violence that has erupted in Mitrovica between the Serbs and the city's ethnic-Albanian residents.
United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen stated that Washington is still reviewing the position it plans to take over the eruption of violence.
Meanwhile, NATO officials in Brussels have stated that they are reviewing the transport of approximately 2,000 KFOR troops (British, Belgian, German, Danish and Greek) from other region in Kosovo to Mitrovica.
 PAPANTONIOU: GREECE HAS A STRONG ECONOMYAthens, 24 February 2000 (18:23 UTC+2)
Greece has a strong economy and will have very good development performance as its growth rate today is at 4% and its inflation rate at 2%, stated minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou in a press conference he gave in Athens today.
He said that the next few months namely, the May-June period will be crucial for the Greek economy as the final decisions for Greece's accession into the EMU have not been made yet in spite of the positive climate that has been created in the European Union institutions regarding the progress in the economic indexes.
Greece will submit its application to join the EMU on March 9. The European Parliament decision on Greece's accession into the Euro-zone is expected to be ready in May. The report that will be drawn-up will be discussed by the ECOFIN on June 6 and then by the European Council in the June 20th Summit when the final decision will be reached.
Mr. Papantoniou also stated that based on the talks he had recently in London with international investors the inflow of foreign capital in the country will be accelerated in the following months. He also said that it has been made obvious to the international economic circles that Greece has a strong economy and soon will be the 12th member of the EMU.
 SIMITIS-ROBERTSON MEETING IN ATHENSAthens, 24 February 2000 (18:19 UTC+2)
The situation in Kosovo, the new structure of NATO, the course of the Greek-Turkish relations and the issue of the activation of the NATO headquarters in Larissa, central Greece were at the center of the meeting prime minister Kostas Simitis had with NATO secretary general George Robertson in Athens in the presence of foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou and defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
Referring to the presence of NATO in Kosovo, Mr. Simitis stressed that the alliance has to secure a multi-national Kosovo and lead to the implementation of UN resolution 1244 which provides for the autonomy of Kosovo within the framework of Yugoslavia.
On the issue of the NATO headquarters in Larissa, the prime minister characterized its activation as positive achievement stating that the Larissa headquarters is the only NATO headquarters in the Balkans and can play a role in the developments in the region.
NATO secretary general underlined Greece's stabilizing role in south-eastern Mediterranean, while he expressed satisfaction for Greece's stance in the Greek-Turkish relations.
Mr. Robertson visited Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos and met with right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis.
 BIG GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 24 February 2000 (18:19 UTC+2)
The general index recorded big gains in the Athens Stock Exchange today and closed at 5234.62 points with a rise of 2.68% while the volume of transactions was at 184.5 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks that were traded today 277 had gains, 61 recorded losses and 34 remained stable.
 EX-FM PESSIMISTIC OVER G/T RELATIONSAthens, 24 February 2000 (14:19 UTC+2)
In a London-held address, Greece's former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos expressed his pessimism over the course of the recently-achieved Greek-Turkish rapprochement, calling the two countries' efforts to embark on dialogue as "mere mingling, lacking substance."
According to Mr. Pangalos, these efforts can lead to nowhere as long as Turkey is unwilling to shift its positions in the least.
Nevertheless, the former minister hailed the Helsinki summit which granted Turkey the candidacy for accession to the EU as "an outstanding success", since it elevates G/T differences in the Aegean and Cyprus to European-problem status.
 OLYMPIC AIRWAYS MANAGER TO VISIT MELBOURNEAthens, 24 February 2000 (14:05 UTC+2)
The British manager of Greece's air carrier Olympic Airways, Robert Lynch, is to visit Melbourne on Saturday where he will hold talks with the local Greek community, travel agents and the Victorian state government, over the OA's plans to ax the Athens-Melbourne direct flight.
The President of Melbourne's Greek community, George Fountas, who was recently on a visit to Athens, has expressed his "contained optimism" that the protests will prove successful and that OA will maintain its Melbourne link.
 POLL: PREMIER AHEAD OF MAIN OPPOSITION LEADERAthens, 24 February 2000 (13:47 UTC+2)
The ruling PASOK party is expected to emerge victorious in April 9's parliamentary elections, according to 57.8% of the respondents in a nationwide poll.
Published today in the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", the poll conducted by "Opinion" also found that 24.3 percent of the respondents forecast that the main opposition party of New Democracy will win the upcoming elections.
Moreover, 45.2% of those polled view PASOK as a party more suitable for government, with 30.6% opting for N.D, while 49.2% believe that Premier Costas Simitis is more suitable for the prime minister's post and 29.9% opt for ND leader Costas Karamanlis.
 RED CROSS SETS UP HOT LINE FOR REFUGEESAthens, 24 February 2000 (12:14 UTC+2)
The Red Cross's Center for the Social Support and Assimilation of Refugees has set up a hot line for refugees seeking information in their own language about status recognition procedures, social welfare benefits and the names of organizations offering assistance.
The Athens hot line (01- 514-0440) is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It offers support in case of emergencies, as well as information about Greek language lessons and vocational training.
 PM, ND LEADER BATTLE IT OUT OVER UNEMPLOYMENTAthens, 24 February 2000 (11:58 UTC+2)
The government aims to effectively reduce unemployment during the next four years, according to Prime Minister Costas Simitis , who stated that in a four-year span (end of 1996 to the end of 2000) , 210,000 new jobs will have been created.
Addressing a vocational training center in Athens yesterday, Mr. Simitis pledged that, after the elections, the ruling PASOK party will spend a trillion drachmas from the EU's Third Community Support Framework to increase job opportunities.
Mr. Simitis stated that the next four years will be a period of employment, stressing that the state will take advantage of the positive changes in the economy.
Meanwhile, main opposition leader, New Democracy's Costas Karamanlis, stated blasted the government for its unemployment policy during a visit to the Labor Ministry's Human Resources Organization (OAED) offices in Athens.
He stated that the government treats unemployed people as "second-class citizens" who are kept waiting for hours in queues.
"The unemployment benefits are the lowest in Europe," he stated.
 GREEK BUSINESS GROUP, LARGEST EVER, IN TURKEYThessaloniki, 24 February 2000 (11:15 UTC+2)
The largest Greek business delegation, to have ever visited Turkey is to depart for Istanbul tomorrow in order to pave the road for further collaboration in the sectors of construction, milling, the paper industry, tourism, as well as insurance, information, health and financial services.
Comprising 140 entrepreneurs, the delegation -which is primarily in search of joint venture opportunities in S.E. Europe and Black Sea countries-, is to discuss a variety of issues, including tax exemptions, additional subsidies for exports and the avoidance of double taxation.
The meetings are expected to culminate with the establishment of a Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce in Athens.
The visit of the Greek delegates, many of whom are from Macedonia and Thrace, is in reciprocation of an Athens visit conducted by a Turkish businessmen's delegation in October.
 JOINT STATEMENT BY THE SE EUROPEAN COUNTRIESSinaia, 24 February 2000 (18:22 UTC+2)
A joint statement on the reinforcement of the cooperation procedure in the region was signed in Sinaia, Romania by foreign policy and defense parliamentary committees' representatives from 9 south-eastern European countries.
The representatives of Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, FYROM and Moldavia agreed that this is an important step toward the accession of the region's countries into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
The goal of the meeting was the preparation of the donors conference that will take place within the framework of the Stability Pact in March. In the Sinaia meeting was also underlined the need for all the south-eastern European countries to respect the principles of democracy, human rights and the development of the market economy system.
 ITALY AND GREECE ARE ALBANIA'S BIGGEST PARTNERSTirana, 24 February 2000 (18:18 UTC+2)
Italy and Greece occupied the first place in December 1999 among Albania's trade partners. According to data provided by the Statistics Agency and published on the newspaper "Koha Yone", concerning the month of December, 37% of the Albanian imports were from Italy and 32% from Greece.
In the same month, 68% of the Albanian exports were destined for Italy and 14% for Greece.
 GREECE BUILDS A HOSPITAL IN KOSOVOGratsanica, 24 February 2000 (18:14 UTC+2)
The building housing the bee-keepers co-operative in Gratsanica in Kosovo is being transformed into a hospital.
The works in the interior of the building started in November and are being financed by the Greek government. The hospital will have orthopedics and surgery departments and it will be ready in early March according to the newspaper Glas Javosti.
 CYPRIOT INVESTORS ENTICED BY GREEK MARKETNicosia, 24 February 2000 (15:04 UTC+2)
Cyprus's Minister of Economy Takis Clerides has called on his country's investors to expand into the Greek market whose size and proximity to other markets, as he stated, is a clear advantage.
Addressing a business conference in Nicosia, Mr. Clerides stressed that the island's market is limited and, thus, cannot support the steadily developing business.
Mr. Clerides referred to the rapid advancement in Greek-Cypriot economic ties in the sectors of banking, securities, tourism and trade, which he largely attributed to Cyprus's European course.
Moreover, the Cypriot Minister spoke of the Greek economy's transformation and urged the Cypriot entrepreneurs not to miss the chance to invest in a country leading itself into the Economic and Monetary Union.
 UNICEF: 100 MILLION CHILDREN GROW UP UNPROTECTEDLondon, 24 February 2000 (18:13 UTC+2)
The price of poverty paid by hundreds of thousands of children is high as they are forced to live without their mothers and work on the streets in order to earn a living.
A UNICEF report in Britain revealed that about 100 million children live without their families and are left unprotected even by the state itself. The report mentions that for those children loneliness is the heart of their problem.
Based on the report, the wars in the 90s have separated about 1 million children from their families and while in the early 20th century the war victims were soldiers by the end of it the victims were women and children.
With 1.3 billion people on the planet to live on US$ 1 a day poverty plays the main role in the fact that hundreds of thousands of children are forced to face the world alone from a very early age.
 THE COCAINE AVAILABILITY HAS INCREASEDBrussels, 24 February 2000 (18:09 UTC+2)
The European Commission reached the conclusion that cocaine is largely available in the big European cities as 1-3% of the total adult population and 1-5% of the young adults have tried cocaine, according to the response given to a question posed by Greek governing socialist party of PASOK Euro-deputy Meni Maliori.
Based on newspaper reports in Spain, 6 out 10 paper money have been used as "paper tubes" by those who breath in cocaine through the nose, while in London traces of cocaine have been found on 99% of the paper money circulating in night clubs.
 UK WOMAN DRILLS HOLE IN HER ACHING HEADLondon, 24 February 2000 (15:03 UTC+2)
A British woman says she has cured her chronic fatigue by resorting to do-it-yourself brain surgery and drilling a hole in her own head.
According to Reuters, Heather Perry, 29, performed the ancient technique of trepanning -- cutting away a section of the scalp and drilling a two-centimeter hole into the skull to allow blood to flow more easily around the brain -- in her effort to overcome myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, which leaves sufferers feeling permanently exhausted.
She said the 20-minute operation, which she performed herself in front of a mirror and a camera crew, has improved her quality of life.
The operation almost went wrong when Ms. Perry drilled too far and penetrated a membrane protecting her brain tissue.
British doctors had refused to help Perry with the ancient procedure, so she flew to the United States where she was given medical advice and then did it herself.
Trepanning was widely used in the Middle Ages to treat severe headaches and madness in the belief it would release evil spirits from the possessed.
 THE LIGHT OF THE AEGEAN IN WASHINGTONWashington, 24 February 2000 (18:13 UTC+2)
"A trip to the Aegean through the eyes of a photographer" is the title of a special event in which there will be a presentation of slides taken by professional photographer John Cleave.
The presentation which is organized by the Society for the Protection of the Greek Heritage will take place at Cosmos Club in Washington on March 8.
 CAMPAIGN FOR GREEK AS LANGUAGE OF OLYMPICSNew York, 24 February 2000 (14:45 UTC+2)
An international campaign is underway to establish Greek as the official language of the Olympic Games, starting with the ones to be held in Athens in 2004.
With the slogan "Silence No Longer Suits Us", the New York-based Greek-American Hellenic Action organization, argues that since the Games were founded in ancient Greece, it is absurd to have French be the current official language.
Hellenic Action calls on the public to sign its petition demanding that Greek be established as the language spoken throughout the Games.
 QUEEN ELIZABETH TO VISIT GREEK MUSEUMMelbourne, 24 February 2000 (14:05 UTC+2)
Queen Elizabeth is expected to pay a visit to the Immigration Museum and the Museum of Greek Antiquities in Melbourne in late March, during an official tour of Australia.
The queen and her husband Prince Philip are due to arrive in Sydney on March 17 and will visit almost all of Australia's states before departing from Perth on April 2.
According to the official program, the royal couple will visit the two museums while in Victoria on March 23-24.