|Sunday, 26 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-18
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 FOUR OLYMPIC VILLAGES WILL BE CONSTRUCTED FOR THE JOURNALISTS IN 2004Athens, 18 December 2000 (18:48 UTC+2)
The ministerial committee on the 2004 Olympic Games met today under prime minister Kostas Simitis to make a review of the year regarding the preparations for the Athens Olympiad. Mr. Simitis characterized the review as positive but stressed that the intense work must continue. He also underlined that 2001 is an important year in the course toward 2004.
From her side, "Athens 2004" Organization president Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis briefed the members of the ministerial committee on the visit of an International Olympic Committee, IOC, delegation in Greece last November and on the "Athens 2004" presentation before the IOC Executive Committee in Lauzanne last week.
In the meeting today it was decided that the Olympic villages that will host journalists in the 2004 Olympic Games will be four and will be built near the Olympic Stadium, in Palini, the national defense ministry camp site in Agios Andreas and in the region of Pirgos Vasilisis in Menidi.
 PAPANTONIOU PRESENTED THE ECONOMIC STABILITY PROGRAMAthens, 18 December 2000 (18:20 UTC+2)
The work on the economy continues underlined Greek national economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou, adding that there are challenges which must be faced within the EMU framework.
The head of the government's economic staff presented the first stability program for the next four-year period inside the Euro-zone and responded to those who accused him of being overly optimistic, underlining that the prediction for a decline in the international oil price to US$ 26 a barrel has been confirmed. Mr. Papantoniou reminded the convergence achievements and predicted a growth rate for the next four-year period of 4.4% based to the worst case scenario.
The 2000-2004 economic stability program incorporates high development targets and optimistic predictions for the de-escalation of inflation and public debt. The minister pointed out that the average growth rate will be 5.3% by 2004. The stability program was drawn-up on the basis that oil prices will drop under US$ 25 a barrel and the exchange rate of the Euro to the US dollar will be one to one.
 COMMENTS BY REPPAS ON THE NEW TURKISH PROVOCATION IN CYPRUSAthens, 18 December 2000 (17:17 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas pointed to statements made by Cypriot officials, with which the Greek government agrees, when he was called to comment on the movements of the Turkish occupation forces in the region of Pila in Cyprus and underlined that the United Nations must show more effectiveness.
Mr. Reppas stated that Greece is waiting for the UN reaction and initiatives concerning the provocative actions by Turkey and concluded by saying that the Greek government does not want solutions to the Cyprus problem that will not be within the UN framework.
 LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 18 December 2000 (15:39 UTC+2)
Today's session in the Athens Stock Exchange was an unpleasant surprise for investors as in spite of the predictions by analysts that the index would rise again it finally had big losses of 1.52%.
The general index dropped to 3.529,69 points, while the volume of transactions was 94.06 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today 49 had gains, 295 recorded losses and 21 remained unchanged.
 THÅ ALBANIANS TOP THE LIST WITH THE IMMIGRANTS WHO WANT TO BECOME LEGALThessaloniki, 18 December 2000 (15:38 UTC+2)
The Albanians top the list with the 371.641 immigrants from 120 countries, who have applied for legal residence in Greece, followed by the Bulgarians, Romanians, Pakistanis, Ukrainians, Poles, Georgians, Hindus, Egyptians, Filipinos and Moldavians.
According to data provided by the National Labor Institute, most of the legal immigrants in north-western Greece and in Epirus are Albanians, while the Georgians prefer Thessaloniki and Athens is the choice of Pakistanis and Africans.
Of the 91% of the immigrants, who applied for legal residence in Greece, 65% come from Albania, 6.8% from Bulgaria, 4.6% from Romania, 2.9% from Pakistan, 2.6% from Ukraine, 2.3% from Poland, 2% from Georgia, 1.7% from India, 1.7% from Egypt, 1.4% from the Philippines and 1.2% from Moldavia.
 GREEK UN OBSERVER DESCRIBES ABDUCTION TO MPAThessaloniki, 18 December 2000 (15:21 UTC+2)
Greek infantry captain Efstathios Kokkinidis, who was one of the two UN military observers kidnapped last week by abductors in Georgia's remote Kodori gorge, maintained his calm throughout the four-day ordeal and is now determined to forge ahead with his assignment, defying the risks involved.
In an interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Kokkinidis described the kidnapping in full detail, starting with the point where he and Polish lieutenant-colonel Zbigniew Blechacz were seized by unidentified gunmen while they were on a UN mission. Another team of observers is a nearby UN jeep managed to escape the scene and notify authorities.
Blindfolded and forced to walk in the Abkhazia mountains for seven hours during the night, the two observers were led to a small, humidity-filled room where they were held for four days and subsisted on bread and water.
The abduction came to an end after negotiations were successfully held between the gunmen and Georgian authorities, among them a presidential envoy.
Following their release, the two observers were transported from the remote gorge by helicopter. It is not known if ransom was paid to the abductors.
The 33-year-old Greek captain and the Polish Lt. Col. are to be received by the President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze today.
 OVER 45 AND JOBLESS, WORST OF ALL COMBINATIONSThessaloniki, 18 December 2000 (14:21 UTC+2)
As if adding insult to injury, unemployed individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 are most likely to find themselves socially isolated as well, given the reluctance exhibited by potential employers to hire older members of the workforce.
According to a recent study conducted in the Thessaloniki Prefecture by Anatoliki S.A., 71.3 percent of the polled employers are ill-disposed to hiring an older worker, while 52.6% believe that these workers have a reduced production capacity and 40.4% characterize workers in these age groups as lacking dynamism.
However, the study shows that 60% of potential employers would not hesitate to hire an older worker, provided that he or she was trained, with another 47.5% favoring state-subsidized employment.
As for the unemployed themselves, 79.8 percent of those polled believe that the main reason they remain jobless is their age, while 42.6% believe that they are not fully trained.
 GREEK FM PAVES WAY FOR PREMIERS VISIT TO INDIAKathmandu, 18 December 2000 (13:33 UTC+2)
Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou is presently on an official visit to the Himalayan kingdom, where he is reportedly preparing the ground for Prime Minister Costas Simitis who will visit India in February.
Presently in Nepal, Mr. Papandreou's three-day official visit to South Asia includes stops in Calcutta, Dhaka, Bangladesh and New Delhi.
Among the initiatives under Mr. Papandreou's consideration is a potential collaboration for peace, to be formed by international figures, similar to an older initiative that included his late father and former Premier Andreas Papandreou, and the late premiers of Sweden Olof Palme and India Rajiv Ghandi. The Greek FM is to discuss this initiative during his meetings in Dhaka and New Delhi.
According to Mr. Papandreou, Athens is to support India's candidacy for accession as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, stressing that Greece is an advocate of nuclear arms reduction.
India, a country whose population exceeds the one-billion mark, entered a trade agreement with the European Union in 1977.
 BULGARIAN PM PLEASED WITH OTES WIN OF GSM BIDSofia, 18 December 2000 (12:39 UTC+2)
Greece's state-owned Telecommunications Organization (OTE), won a Bulgarian state tender for sale of the neighboring country's second GSM- technology mobile phone license.
OTE emerged ahead yesterday with a bid of 135 million US dollars, after three years of negotiations with the Bulgarian government.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov welcomed the outcome of the competitive bid tender in an interview to the BTV television channel. Greece's Transport Minister Christos Verelis described this move as very important for OTE. Under the terms of the tender, OTE will set up and run the GSM network.
Earlier this year, OTE's attempted purchase of Bulgaria's BTC state telecom in a consortium with KPN of the Netherlands broke down after major disagreements between the bidders and the government, although Bulgaria intends to make another attempt to privatize BTC.
 ECONOMY MINISTER UNVEILS 2000-04 STABILITY PACTAthens, 18 December 2000 (12:13 UTC+2)
Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou will today present Greece's five-year Stability Pact for the 2000-2004 period, which forecasts an average growth rate of five percent and a decline in the inflation rate to two percent after 2001.
The pact, whose positive forecast reflects optimism over the country's imminent entry into the eurozone on January 1, 2001, also foresees a reduction in unemployment.
A central element of the pact are the resources expected from the European Union-subsidized Community Support Framework III investment program, estimated at more than 16 trillion drachmas, which is seen as the raw material for high growth rates. The program was approved recently and the government is hoping that disbursements will commence soon through the Cohesion Fund.
 THE TZIAKOURMAS ABDUCTION TURNS INTO A POLITICAL ISSUENicosia, 18 December 2000 (17:58 UTC+2)
The abduction of Greek Cypriot Panikos Tziakourmas by the Turkish occupation forces in northern Cyprus is possible to turn into a political issue in case it is proved that the Greek Cypriot was forcibly removed from his car while he was inside the British bases, admitted today Britain's High Commissioner in Cyprus.
The British official stated after his meeting with Cypriot president Glafkos Clerides that the Tziakourmas abduction creates a legal and a humanitarian situation.
 MATAV HAS A LEAD OVER OTE IN THE BID FOR THE FYROM TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATIONSkopje, 18 December 2000 (17:42 UTC+2)
The evaluation of the bids placed by the Hungarian MATAV and the Greek telecommunications organization, OTE, for the buyout of 51% of FYROM's telecommunications organization shows that MATAV has a lead over OTE but the final result of the tender is not out yet.
OTE offers 608.3 million Euro compared to MATAV's 618.2 million Euro. However, OTE also offers DM 733 million in cash compared to DM 709 million offered by MATAV, which means that OTE has an advantage as the committee responsible for privatization in FYROM will assess the economic offers taking under serious consideration the sum that will be paid in cash.
 GREEK SOLDIERS IN LEPOSAVIC, KOSOVOKosovo, 18 December 2000 (15:27 UTC+2)
Greek soldiers are deployed since yesterday at the KFOR peace-keeping force check point at the exit of the city of Leposavic in northern Kosovo.
According to the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug, the Belgian troops of the peace-keeping force left the city after the bloody incident of last Saturday because Belgian KFOR soldiers were blamed for it and the Greek soldiers have been deployed in their place.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Belgian KFOR troops stated yesterday that only one of the two Serbs, who died in the Leposavic incident two days ago, was killed from the bullets of a Belgian soldier as the second Serb died from a heart attack.