|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-04-27
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 BUNDESBANK BANKER FIRM ON OFF-THE-CUFF VIEWThessaloniki, 27 April 2000 (10:56 UTC+2)
Yesterday's unsubstantiated comments by a senior German central banker that Greece will not be ready for EMU membership for another year have provoked a strong reaction from Athens, but the naysayer insisted on his view during an interview with the economic daily "Naftemporiki" today.
Hans Reckers, a Bundesbank council member, states that Greece has not secured the EMU's public deficit and inflation criteria in a sustainable manner.
However, Mr. Reckers views are apparently not espoused by the European Central Bank's board whcih is to issue a favorable opinion today in regards to Greece's accession to the Economic and Monetary Union.
Mr. Recker's comments pushed the drachma to an all-time low, while the Athens bourse also took a four-percent plunge, only to recover shortly afterwards and close with losses registering at 1.83%.
A high-ranking official from the Ministry of National Economy pointed out that isolated views expressed by one board member, of one financial institution out of the European Central Bank's 15 members are not to play a role in the assessment of Greece's candidacy for entry in the eurozone.
 PROTEST BY THE "OMONIA" GREEK MINORITY ORGANIZATION IN ALBANIATirana, 27 April 2000 (17:56 UTC+2)
The Democratic Union of the Ethnic Greek minority Organization "Omonia" protested strongly against the Albanian campaign aimed at giving pastures and grasslands that belong to the ethnic Greek minority to individuals who are not their rightful owners.
Members of the ethnic Greek minority sent a memorandum today to the local and state authorities in Albania and to international organizations signed by thousands of ethnic Greek minority members, pointing out that groups of people and state and judicial institutions try to appropriate thousands of hectares of land, grasslands and forest land, that belong to villages, monasteries or the state, by grossly violating moral rules and laws.
The members of "Omonia" want the files on the pastures and grasslands to be re-examined by a special committee and also wants the individuals involved to suffer the consequences of the law.
The memorandum and the file with the thousands of signatures were sent to Albanian president Redzep Meidan, prime minister Ilir Meta, the parliament president, the Supreme Judicial Council, the prosecutor general, the OSCE ambassador, the US ambassador, the Council of Europe delegation and the French ambassador.
 ANALYSTS EXPLAIN THE BEHAVIOR OF THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 27 April 2000 (18:49 UTC+2)
Analysts attempted to give an explanation to the behavior of the Athens Stock Exchange underlining however, that today the Greek stock market showed signs of maturity compared to its reaction to the statements made by German Bundesbank official Hans Reckers yesterday.
The small volume of transactions did not cause an alarm to the market circles who pointed out that it is partly justified by the fact that in effect the whole of the Greek market is affected by the Easter Holidays. Today's session was characterized as very good but with a small turnover which is a usual phenomenon observed every year during the Easter Holiday period.
The analysts expressed guarded optimism saying that soon the Athens Stock Exchange will turn a new page given the fact that the Greek economy indexes are improved and this will be reflected on the Greek money market. They also suggest calm to investors, adding that they should not invest in stocks of companies they know nothing about.
 ELTON JOHN WILL BE IN ATHENS IN SEPTEMBERAthens, 27 April 2000 (18:26 UTC+2)
World famous singer and music writer Elton John will be in Athens in September within the framework of this year's Athens Festival events. He will give a concert on September 1 or 10 at Irodion Theater and the decision to include an Elton John concert within the framework of the festival was taken by its board of directors last Thursday.
However, the artist has not given yet his written confirmation but he has already said "yes" verbally to the invitation. According to rumors, the preparations for the concert will cost 200 million drachmas.
 SIMITIS MET WITH THE IOC VICE-PRESIDENTAthens, 27 April 2000 (18:20 UTC+2)
Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis met with the International Olympic Committee vice-president in Athens in the presence of culture minister Theodoros Pangalos. Mr. Simitis briefed the IOC vice-president on the effort make by Greece regarding the preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games and the way in which the existing problems will be handled.
According to press information, Mr.Simitis will have a round of contacts with the responsible ministers and the members of the 2004 Olympic Games committees and he is expected to proceed with changes regarding the structure of those committees and their members.
 INCIDENT BETWEEN CROSSAIR AND ALITALIA PILOTSThessaloniki, 27 April 2000 (18:02 UTC+2)
The Swiss pilot of a CROSSAIR airline passenger plane was suspended when last Thursday ignored twice the directions given by Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport control tower.
According to airport officials, the Swiss pilot had received the order by the control tower to stop at the so-called holding position giving a priority to take off to the pilot of an ALITALIA airplane. However, the Swiss pilot continued to move his airplane irritating the Italian pilot.
The two crews exchanged heavy words through their radio transmitters based on the tapes with the conversations that took place between the pilots and the control tower.
The issue has taken up big dimensions in Switzerland and according to the Swiss newspaper "TAGES ANZEIGER", an airline spokesman characterized as "gross" the error made by the pilot.
It should be reminded that in the last four months CROSSAIR airplanes, a SWISSAIR subsidiary, had big problems such as, a crash that caused the deaths of 10 people in northern Switzerland and three mechanical failure incidents.
 DIAMANTOPOULOU'S STATEMENTS TO MPAThessaloniki, 27 April 2000 (17:42 UTC+2)
Specific initiatives against discrimination in the European Union job market are being undertaken by the "15" having as a "vehicle" among others the EQUAL program, according to statements made to MPA by EU Commissioner responsible for job issues, Ms. Anna Diamantopoulou.
The specific program is a continuation of the community initiatives EMPLOYMENT and ADAPT and covers the period 2000-2006, while part of the funds, estimated at 953,7 billion drachmas, will be directed to Greece.
A 3% of the EQUAL program budget corresponds to Greece and Ms. Diamantopoulou speaking to MPA clarified that its goal is to counter any form of discriminating treatment in the job market through the promotion of new solutions.
On the occasion of the discussions that followed the statements made by German chancellor Gerhard Schreder suggesting that the so-called "green card" be issued to foreigners who are computer scientists, she said that the "green card" in the specific sector reflects the lack of qualifications in the area of computer science and the need for specialized employees.
It should be reminded that according to recent statements made by the Greek EU Commissioner in a 2-year period the lack of specialized personnel in the specific sector will be increased by 1.600.000 job positions.
 GAINS OF 2.64% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 27 April 2000 (17:33 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange had gains of 2.46% today and the general index closed at 4.249,45 points. However, the volume of transactions was disappointing as it was under 75 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today 307 recorded gains, 30 had losses and 28 remained stable.
 THE TRANSPORT OF CRUDE OIL FROM THESSALONIKI TO SKOPJE CONTINUESThessaloniki, 27 April 2000 (17:33 UTC+2)
The transport of crude oil destined for the Skopje oil refinery resumed today through the railway border crossing of Idomeni-Gevgeli at the Greek-FYROM borders after a 10-day interruption.
The crude oil arrived in Thessaloniki two days ago with a new tanker that has a capacity of 48.000 tons. An average of 4.000 tons arrive at the oil refinery of Skopje every day, while another tanker is expected in Thessaloniki carrying 50.000 tons of crude oil for the needs of the Skopje oil refinery.
 TWO SLIGHT TREMORS, NO CAUSE FOR CONCERNAthens, 27 April 2000 (14:40 UTC+2)
Two slight tremors occurred early this morning in the Attica basin, measuring 3.6 and 3.4 degrees on the Richter scale, both stemming from the Parnitha region.
According to seismologists, there is no cause of concern over the tremors - which occurred seven minutes apart.
 REPORT ON RED TAPE CALLS FOR FRESH ATTITUDESThessaloniki, 27 April 2000 (14:13 UTC+2)
Greeks are overwhelmed by ever-reaching red tape in the public sector where, if the paper chase wasn't enough, their woes are compounded by rude employees, lack of answers and indifference, according to an annual report on bureaucracy.
The report was submitted to Premier Costas Simitis by Ombudsman Nikoforos Diamantouros who stated that the aim is to form an alternative administrative mentality based on the principles of resolution, not confrontation.
According to the report 8,223 complaints were filed with the Ombudsman's office during 1999, while it received 29,000 calls from the disgruntled public.
Subdivided into sections, 32.65% of the complaints concerned state-citizen relations; 27.48% were over social welfare issues; 25.15% were on quality of life and 15.74% regarded human rights.
 THIS EASTER HOLIDAY HAS LARGEST EXODUS EVERThessaloniki, 27 April 2000 (12:45 UTC+2)
Even though mass transportation schedules were boosted with added routes in order to facilitate the Easter holiday travelers, everything is booked to capacity as this year has the largest exodus ever.
Highway patrols have stepped up road checks while trucks have been banned from using the national roads today and tomorrow, and next Monday and Tuesday for the returning vacationers.
 ROMANIAN ECONOMY WEEK IN GREECEBucharest, 27 April 2000 (19:07 UTC+2)
The US East European Investment Institute in cooperation with Forum Invest Romania will organize a Romanian Economy Week in Greece to take place on June 5-9.
The representatives of the Forum Invest Romania maintain that the sum of US$78 million will be invested in the main sectors of the Romanian economy through the Greek program for the Reconstruction of the Balkans.
Meanwhile, the Romanian-Greek Economic Forum will be held on June 7 and among the issues that will be discussed are the strengthening of economic cooperation between Greece and Romania, the financing through banks, investment funds, capital markets and access to the funds allocated by the Greek state within the framework of the Romanian-Greek programs.
 NEW GREEK AMBASSADOR TO SOFIASofia, 27 April 2000 (17:45 UTC+2)
Greece's new ambassador to Sofia Michalis Christidis presented his credentials to Bulgarian president Petar Stoyanov.
The Greek diplomat is a graduate of Thessaloniki's Aristotle University Law School and has worked in the Greek embassy in Libya and in the Greek consulates in Napoli and Milano, in Italy.
It should be noted that Mr. Christidis' predecessor in the Greek embassy in Sofia Mr. Panagiotis Karakasis was honored with the highest distinction in Bulgaria, the Stara Planina medal.
 BIG WELCOME FOR GREEKS VISITING BUYUKADABuyukada, 27 April 2000 (14:15 UTC+2)
A group of 92 Greeks born and raised in Buyukada, but who later migrated to Greece, returned to their birthplace yesterday as guests where they were greeted by locals and officials with flowers and Turkish and Greek children performing folk dances.
"We believe that our friendship will contribute to the rapprochement between Turkey and Greece," city councilman Mustafa Farsakoglu stated.
The guests are to be hosted by relatives for a week in Buyukada.
 BSEC MEETING BEGINS IN BUCHAREST TODAYBucharest, 27 April 2000 (10:03 UTC+2)
The fourth meeting among the member-states of the Organization of Economic Cooperation in the Black Sea (BSEC) is to be held in Bucharest today and tomorrow.
The participants will review the results of the terrorism-combat agreement signed during the BSEC's previous meeting.
The meeting will feature the participation of Interior Ministers from Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Romania, which presently holds the organization's six-month rotating presidency.
 PAPADIMOS IS IN FRANKFURTFrankfurt, 27 April 2000 (17:37 UTC+2)
The European Union bankers are expected to adopt a positive stance toward Greece's application for EMU accession in their meeting today held under European Central Bank governor Vim Duisenberg.
However, it is expected that they will make certain recommendations for structural changes in all the "fronts" of the Greek economy which will be considered seriously by Bank of Greece governor Loukas Papadimos who is in Frankfurt for that purpose.
 CHIRAC BESTOWS HIGHEST AWARD TO MS. ARVELERParis, 27 April 2000 (12:00 UTC+2)
French President Jacques Chirac will award France's highest distinction of the "Commander of the Order of the Legion of Honor" to world-renowned Byzantinologist Ms. Eleni Arveler who is of Greek descent.
President Chirac is to award Ms. Arveler for her scientific work and her administrative activities in many French Universities and the George Pompidou Cultural Center in Paris.
 GREECE LOW ON FOREST PRESERVATION SCALENew York, 27 April 2000 (14:44 UTC+2)
Greece holds the fifteenth rank among 19 European states in forest preservation measures, according to the World Wildlife Fund report submitted to the eighth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, presently held in New York.
Specifically, Greece ranks 15th with an average forest protection rate of 47%, while Turkey is considerably higher, at eighth place and 53%.
According to the WWF report, no country safeguards its forests as it should. Even Switzerland, which ranks first among the nineteen, holds a protection rate of 62 percent, while the median is also a low 51%.
"Mediterranean countries safeguard their forests quite well and, at times, even better then their northern neighbors," WWF reports.
 BOUCHER REPLACES RUBIN AT STATE DEPARTMENTWashington, 27 April 2000 (13:24 UTC+2)
Richard Boucher will be replacing James Rubin as State Department spokesman as of today.
Mr. Boucher, who has served as US Ambassador to Cyprus, is a career foreign service officer who has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He was deputy spokesman under Republican Secretary of State James Baker; spokesman under Lawrence Eagleburger, Baker's successor during the Bush administration; and spokesman for Secretary of State Warren Christopher during the first five months of the Clinton Administration.
He is fluent in German, French and Chinese.
 ANDREAS BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT A SUCCESSHouston, 27 April 2000 (12:13 UTC+2)
A bone marrow transplant operation on six-year-old Cypriot leukemia sufferer Andreas Vassiliou in a hospital in Houston, was a success.
According to press reports from Cyprus, placenta cells were used in the operation, after 50,000 blood samples from Cyprus and Greece failed to identify a potential bone marrow donor.
Cypriot doctors have stated that it will take three or four weeks to see if the transplant was effective.
 GREEK, TURKISH FMs "PERSONALITIES OF THE YEAR"New York, 27 April 2000 (10:23 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.
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.
Greece's and Turkey's Emergency Task Forces, EMAK and AKUT respectively, are also 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.