|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-04-18
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK AND TURKISH FMs «PERSONALITIES OF THE YEAR»Íew York, 18 April 2000 (12:47 UTC+2)
Greece's Foreign Minster George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismael Cem are to be declared "Personalities of the Year" by the East-West Institute, during their visit to New York on May 2.
Moreover, Greece's and Turkey's Emergency Task Forces, EMAK and AKUT respectively, are to be jointly awarded with the "Humanitarian Prize" in acknowledgment of their massive rescue efforts during the successive earthquakes that struck both countries last August and September.
Earlier the same day, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke - the next Secretary of State if Al Gore is elected president - will hold a reception in honor of the two ministers, with whom he has often worked in the past in his capacity as presidential envoy on the Cyprus issue and in the Balkans.
On May 3, Messrs. Papandreou and Cem will travel to Washington, where they will meet with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the State Department.
She is expected to congratulate Mr. Papandreou on his victory, but to encourage both to make the most of the "historic opportunity" and to take "courageous steps."
Mme. Albright is also expected to remind Mr. Cem of the usefulness of a positive gesture towards Greece in return for Greece's approval of Turkey's candidacy for EU membership in Helsinki.
 AUSTRALIANS OBJECT TO GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR OAMelbourne, 18 April 2000 (11:02 UTC+2)
Citizens of Australia's state of Victoria reportedly object to their government's offer to financially support the Greek airline Olympic Airways so that it may continue its direct flight from Athens to Melbourne.
According to local press reports, the Victoria government will spend 600,000 Australian dollars in the next two years to promote the route, which was recently on the brink of being axed by OA for economic reasons.
 NETWORK OF CINEMA ORGANIZATIONS IN SE EUROPEAthens, 18 April 2000 (18:42 UTC+2)
The establishment of a Network of Cinema Organizations in south-eastern Europe was decided in a meeting held in the Aegean island of Hydra at the initiative of the Greek Cinema Center with the participation of representatives from 10 national cinema organizations from south-eastern Europe.
The problems faced by the sector are many and different for each country. Some of them, like the Bulgarian, Romanian, Yugoslav, Slovenian, Bosnian, Albanian and the FYROM cinema must face the consequences from the political-economic changes of the past years or the war, while others like, the Turkish, Greek or Cypriot are at a different stage but the common element they share is that all of them are poor. They all agreed to the necessity of cooperation and mutual help, mainly at the level of co-productions and film distribution.
Also, it was decided that the five countries (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria) which are members of the European Co-production Fund will exert pressures for the participation of the other five.
Turkish undersecretary of culture Abdullah Dortlemez referred to the co-productions made by Greece and Turkey, saying that they created a very good climate of cooperation. Bosnian undersecretary of culture Asaf Dzanic also referred to the positive climate existing, while Antoneta Borisova, in charge of Bulgaria's National Center, characterized the meeting as a source of hope.
 ALLERGIES HIT 30% OF THE GREEKSAthens, 18 April 2000 (18:42 UTC+2)
It is estimated that 30% of the Greeks suffer from allergies. According to scientists, there is a 20-30% increase in frequency and severity of allergic reactions recorded in the developed countries in the past few years.
The Athens newspaper "TO ETHNOS" writes that a decisive role in the allergic episodes is played by the environmental pollution, infections and stress.
According to data available, 1 in 12 children under the age of 6 presents food poisoning symptoms, while 1 in 25 has a specific food allergy.
 THE AXES OF THE GOVERNMENT POLICYAthens, 18 April 2000 (18:37 UTC+2)
The Athens newspaper "TO ETHNOS" presents the three main axes of the government policy in the new four-year term as they were announced by prime minister Kostas Simitis to his close associates giving an emphasis to the increased growth rate, the negotiations for Greece's accession into the EMU and the social state.
The new government will have the responsibility for the successful negotiation of the country's accession into the EMU, stated the prime minister. He said that the new government has to persuade the EU partners that the good performance of the Greek economy will continue, guaranteeing high growth rates and the implementation of the necessary structural interventions in the wider public sector. Mr. Simitis characterized the higher growth rate (over 4%) as the basis for all the rest.
The efforts of the government will also focus on the immediate materialization of the measures for a social state with main target the creation of new job positions and the improvement of the state health system through the necessary reforms.
Another target will be the creation of a new and modern government characterized by less bureaucracy and more effectiveness.
 WORLD CAMPAIGN FOR THE RESCUE OF THE SEFARAD LANGUAGEThessaloniki, 18 April 2000 (17:41 UTC+2)
A language is at risk of extinction namely, the Spanish-Jewish language that was spoken by the Jews of Thessaloniki. Now, the language is spoken only by 50.000 people in the world and a world campaign is in progress on behalf of the Jews for its rescue.
The Sefarad, which in reality is the Medieval Spanish language, was widely spoken in Europe after 1492 when 1 million Jews were driven out of Spain and until WWII it was spoken by most of the Jews. However, the overwhelming majority of the people speaking that language were killed in the Nazi concentration camps taking their language with them.
According to Thessaloniki's Jewish community president Andreas Sefiha, the Sefarad is spoken only by about 400 of the 1.200 Jews who are left in the city.
 PAPANDREOU-HOBACH MEETINGAthens, 18 April 2000 (17:41 UTC+2)
The regional meeting of the Stability Pact, that will be held with the participation of leading personalities from the Balkan region, government representatives and non governmental organizations, will take place in Thessaloniki on June 9-10 after a proposal made by Greece.
The decision was made today in the meeting of Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou and Stability Pact special coordinator Bodo Hobach. They later explained that June 10 was selected as a symbolic day because on that day last year the war in Kosovo had ended and now it can become a day of peace and stability in the region.
Mr. Papandreou characterized the cooperation he had with Mr. Hobach as very constructive and pointed out that they discussed the recent Donors Conference that was held in Brussels and was much more successful than expected as the funds raised were significant. According to Mr. Papandreou, this shows that there is political will on behalf of the parties involved for the promotion of the reconstruction of the Balkans.
Mr. Hobach referred to Greece's special role characterizing it as a significant partner in the Stability Pact that has influence and uses it in order to help, while he made a special reference to the effort made personally by Mr. Papandreou. Responding to a question on the participation of Yugoslavia in the regional conference in Thessaloniki, Mr. Hobach stated that if Milosevic is not in power the country will attend.
 THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE RECORDED LOSSES OF 2.78%Athens, 18 April 2000 (17:41 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange recorded losses of 2.78% at 3.951,85 points today, while the volume of transactions was at 198 billion drachmas and most of it corresponded to sales of stocks.
According to market circles, the fact that the sales of stocks usually intensify at the last half hour of the session, shows that there is an intention for a further decline of the Athens Stock Exchange general index.
 THE GREEK MINISTER OF DEFENSE MET WITH PERES AND HOBACHAthens, 18 April 2000 (17:41 UTC+2)
Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos had separate meetings with former prime minister of Israel Simon Peres, who is currently minister of regional cooperation and special coordinator of the Stability Pact in south-eastern Europe Bodo Hobach.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated to reporters that with Mr. Peres they discussed issues that have to do with the stability in the region, the Greek-Israeli relations and the relations between Israel and Turkey. They also had the chance to reaffirm the direction followed in order for the cooperation of Greece and Cyprus with Israel to contribute to the success of the stabilizing policy.
On the meeting with Mr. Hobach, the Greek minister of defense stated that it was an opportunity for them to exchange views on the promotion of the Stability Pact for the Balkan states, adding that the region needs support at an economic level as the economic recovery is the basic precondition for the strengthening of security and peace.
They also discussed the situation in Kosovo and Mr. Tsochatzopoulos pointed out that they agreed that it can be improved, adding that time and the consistent implementation of the policy followed are necessary.
 US SENATOR CAMPELL MET WITH PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOSAthens, 18 April 2000 (17:40 UTC+2)
US Senator Tom Campell, who is on a two-day visit to Greece, was received today by Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos.
In the meeting that took place in the presence of US ambassador Nicholas Burns Mr. Stephanopoulos presented the Greek positions on issues of national importance.
 OLIVE TREE OFFERED BY GREEK TO TURKISH STUDENTSThessaloniki, 18 April 2000 (17:12 UTC+2)
A young olive tree was offered by Christian and Muslim students of the inter-cultural elementary school in Sapes, northern Greece, to their Turkish fellow students during their three-day visit to the municipality of Sisli in Istanbul, Turkey.
The visit was held within the framework of the initiatives undertaken by the municipality of Sapes aimed at the strengthening of relations and the materialization of cooperation between Greek and Turkish local administration organizations in different sectors.
The Greek students, who were accompanied by representatives of the municipality of Sapes, conveyed to Sisli mayor Mustafa Sarigul the message of friendship and cooperation sent by his Greek colleague in Sapes Dinos Haritopoulos. The young students attended special events organized by the Turkish municipality, while they also visited a photo exhibition on the earthquakes and the visit of the "Train of Friendship" to Thrace.
 GREEK, TURKISH FASHION DESINGERS TO SHARE RUNWAYThessaloniki, 18 April 2000 (13:32 UTC+2)
Turkish fashion designer Cemil Epikci will present his "Harem 2000" collection in a April 20 and 23 fashion show he will hold together with Greece's couturier Michalis Aslanis, within the framework of the "Turkish-Greek friendship and Cooperation Fair" in Athens.
According to Turkey's news Agency Anadolu, Mr. Ipekci stated "I feel the honor of being the first Turkish fashion designer holding fashion show in Greece. It will be the most important fashion show in my life. I undertook a mission."
Moreover, the Turkish designer referred to his roots, stating that " I was born in Istanbul, but my parents are from Salonica."
Mr. Aslanis was born in Athens, but his parents are from Smyrne (Izmir).
 DESTABILIZATION RISK AT THE BORDERS OF KOSOVO WITH SOUTHERN SERBIAPristina, 18 April 2000 (18:36 UTC+2)
The outgoing KFOR commander German general Claus Reinhart stated during his last press conference, 48 hours before his replacement by Spanish general Juan Ortuno, that the situation at the administrative borders of Kosovo with southern Serbia is tense bearing a destabilization risk for the whole region.
The German general maintained that the situation remains volatile in spite of the efforts made for the de-escalation of the tension at the Serb valley of Presevo and the recent "assurances" given by the groups of the new UCK. The so-called "UCPMB" is based near the city of Dobrosin and fights for the liberation of the Serb valley of Presevo.
 THOUSANDS OF ROMANIANS ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE GREEK BORDERSBucharest, 18 April 2000 (17:40 UTC+2)
Romanians occupy the first place among the foreigners, who attempt to illegally cross the Greek borders via Bulgaria.
According to Romanian press publications citing statistical data, the Bulgarian authorities have arrested 33.000 Romanians, who intended to enter Greece illegally.
Based on newspaper reports, the Bulgarian authorities also arrested 100 Romanians in the past few days, who attempted to enter Greece illegally.
 GREEK ARMY GENERAL CHIEF OF STAFF PANAGIOTAKIS IS VISITING ROMANIABucharest, 18 April 2000 (17:40 UTC+2)
Greek army general chief of staff lieutenant-general Konstantinos Panagiotakis is on a visit to Romania at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart lieutenant-general Michail Popescu.
The two military delegations will discuss issues of common interest on the materialization of the procedure for the reform and modernization of land forces, the Romanian-Greek cooperation within the framework of international military exercises and Romania's NATO accession process.
During their three-day visit to Romania, the members of the Greek delegation will visit military units in Bucharest and Brasov as well as, sites of historical and tourist interest.
 THE EUROPEAN SOCIALISTS' CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD IN TIRANA IN JUNETirana, 18 April 2000 (17:18 UTC+2)
The conference of the European Social-democrats organized by the European Socialist Party will be held in Tirana in June, according to Albanian Socialist Party public relations secretary Luan Rama.
The issues that will be discussed in the conference concern the modernization steps made by the socialist parties in the Balkans.
 BTK SALE TO OTE-KPN INCHING AHEADSofia, 18 April 2000 (13:59 UTC+2)
In less than two months, Bulgaria's parliament is expected to ratify the amendments pertaining to telecommunications, privatizations and social orders laws as required for the sale of the country's telecommunications organization (BTK) to the Greek-Dutch consortium OTE-KPN, according to the Sofia daily "24 Hours".
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, the country's Competition Bureau is an independent authority which, through the positions it has adopted, can create significant obstacles for BTK"s sale to OTE-KPN.
Premier Kostov was alluding to a recent Bulgarian press report that refers to a veiled decision drawn by the Bureau four months ago, calling the prospective buyer's terms as "unacceptable".
According to Bureau officials, the consortium's terms are contrary to Bulgaria's commitments to the European Union.
OTE-KPN last month raised its offer for the 51-percent stake in the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company to $600 million from $510 million, saying it was its final offer, demanding in return guarantees and legal changes.
Under the latest version of the deal, Bulgaria will get $460 million as an up-front payment, with a further $20 million set aside to cover a possible account deficit in BTC for 1999.
The consortium will pay another $120 million if Parliament amends the privatization and telecommunications laws to enable the government by July 1 to license OTE-KPN to run BTC and a second cell phone operator.
 ROMANIAN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARRESTED AT BORDERBucharest, 18 April 2000 (11:01 UTC+2)
One hundred Romanians were arrested by Bulgarian authorities a the Greek-Bulgarian border on Saturday as they tried to smuggle into Greece, according to Bucharest's news agency Mediafax.
According to the wire report, the would-be illegal immigrants lived as transients by sleeping in parks in the city of Petric and encouraging their children to beg for money.
Bulgarian police have reported that ten of them have already been returned to Romania.
According to Bulgarian reports, Romanians rank first among all foreigners who try to smuggle into Greece from Bulgaria.
 GERMANY FEARS MORE DEMANDS FOR WAR REPARATIONSHamburg, 18 April 2000 (17:18 UTC+2)
The German government fears that there will be new demands for compensation by victims of the Nazi atrocities on the occasion of the recent Greek Supreme Court decision that ratified an earlier decision reached by a lower Greek court for the immediate payment of DM 55 million as reparation to the relatives of the 218 people, who were massacred in 1944 by the Nazis at the village of Distomo in central Greece.
Mr. Lambsdorff, envoy of the German government in the negotiations for the compensation that will be given to the victims of forced labor during WWII, is afraid that this decision will bring again to light the events of that period, something Germany does not want. The German-speaking issue of the "Financial Times" newspaper wrote that Mr. Lambsdorff stated that the decision of the Greek Supreme Court plenary session is negative for the German government.
In the newspaper report it is mentioned that according to the German view, the massacre in Distomo does not constitute a war crime because it was not racially motivated.
 TENTH CRIME CONGRESS ENDS WITH DECLARATIONUnited Nations, 18 April 2000 (11:01 UTC+2)
The Tenth Crime Congress ended yesterday in Vienna after the adoption of its final declaration which, among other things, establishes the target of the year 2005 for achieving a significant decrease in trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and the smuggling of migrants.
The Congress will be followed a three-day session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention stated that the desire to act globally is absolutely clear.
Just as criminals have harnessed technology for their own use, so must we. Just as criminals have globalized their action, so must we.