|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-19
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK EURO-DEPUTIES CALL FOR A DEMARCHE BY THE EU ON THE TURKISH HUNGER STRIKERSAthens, 19 December 2000 (18:53 UTC+2)
Three Greek Euro-deputies Alekos Alavanos with the Coalition of the Left party, Yiannis Theonas with the Communist Party and Mr. Bakopoulos with the Democratic Social Movement signed a letter addressed to the European Parliament president calling on her to make a demarche to the Turkish government on the hunger strike of the Turkish political prisoners.
In the letter it is reminded that the European Parliament last week withdrew its resolution on Turkey's so-called "white cells" in order to avoid disturbing the Euro-Turkish relations.
 SIMITIS-PAPADIMOS MEETINGAthens, 19 December 2000 (18:00 UTC+2)
The meeting of the Bank of Greece Monetary Policy Council that took place today ended without a decision concerning the basic interest rates cuts by one percentage point, which are aimed at the complete convergence of the Greek and the Euro interest rates.
Earlier, Bank of Greece governor Loukas Papadimos had clarified after the meeting he had with prime minister Kostas Simitis that the interest rate cut will take place either today or next Tuesday.
Mr. Papadimos assured Mr. Simitis that the transition from the drachma to the European currency will be smooth. The distance separating the drachma interest rate from the Euro interest rate will be covered with one move, stressed Mr. Papadimos and therefore the interest rate will be lowered to 4.75% from 5.75% it is today.
 HUMANITARIAN AID TO CONGO BY THE "FRIENDS OF AFRICA"Thessaloniki, 19 December 2000 (16:18 UTC+2)
A container with humanitarian aid of 20 tons will leave for Congo in the first two weeks of January at the initiative of the "Friends of Africa" organization which is based in Thessaloniki and was established with the goal to send humanitarian aid to countries that are in a difficult situation and contribute to their development.
The container destined for Congo will include school items, medicine, food, clothes footwear etc.
 LOSSES OF 1.90% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 19 December 2000 (16:11 UTC+2)
Losses of 1.90% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was at 3.524,45 points and the volume of transactions was very small at 71.92 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 319 recorded losses, 34 had gains, while 30 stocks remained unchanged.
 AIRPORT STAFF CONDUCT WORK STOPPAGE THURSDAYAthens, 19 December 2000 (14:57 UTC+2)
Airport staff and Olympic Airways employees are to conduct a two-hour work stoppage from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, in protest to government plans to redevelop the site of the Athens airport at Hellenikon, as park land after facilities are moved to a new location next year.
All airport and ground staff, including baggage handlers, will participate in the industrial action, the union (OSYPA) announced. Air traffic controllers will not take part in the action.
 TRANSPORT MINISTER IN BRUSSELS FOR AIR CARRIERBrussels, 19 December 2000 (13:02 UTC+2)
Transport Minister Christos Verelis is to travel to Brussels tomorrow where he is expected to receive the European Commission's "go ahead" for the privatization of the national air carrier Olympic Airways.
According to market analysts, the privatization process is mostly tailored to Greek investors, since the relevant tender allows for a mere 40 days for a financial audit, to precede bid offers.
 ABNA TO HOLD GAMES COVERAGE SEMINAR IN ATHENSThessaloniki, 19 December 2000 (12:06 UTC+2)
The Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) is to hold a seminar titled "Sports and the Olympic Games in the Digital Era" in Athens next month, to be organized by the association's term president the Athens News Agency (ANA).
The purpose of the seminar will be to develop conditions for joint coverage of the Athens Games by ABNA members as well as to provide constant, reliable and the adequate news gathering for subscribers in the region.
To be held on January 8-9, the seminar will feature the participation of the general directors and 25 other officials from the ABNA member-agencies, including the Macedonian Press Agency.
Greek Deputy Sports Minister George Floridis and Athens 2004 Olympics coordinating committee (ATHOC) President Yianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki have been invited to address the event.
 ONLY EMERGENCY CARE AT PUBLIC HOSPITALS TODAYAthens, 19 December 2000 (12:05 UTC+2)
Only emergency cases will be treated at the country's public hospitals today, due to the 24-hour strike declared by hospital doctors who are protesting the proposed reforms in the health sector.
Also, employees at the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) are also embarking on a 48-hour strike as of today, demanding better pay, improved working conditions and the hiring of more staff to fill some 3,500 positions.
The Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) is organizing a rally in Athens this evening.
 PARLIAMENT OPENS DEBATE ON 2001 STATE BUDGETAthens, 19 December 2000 (12:04 UTC+2)
Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou is to present the new state budget in Parliament today, the debate of which opened last night and will conclude on Friday at midnight with a roll call vote.
Meanwhile, the country's first Stability and Development Plan is to submitted today to the European Union today, in view of Greece's admission to the Euro zone as of January 1st 2001.
According to the plan, real incomes in Greece will rise by 2.5-3.0 percent, while the average growth rate for the Greek economy is estimated at 5.3 percent for the next few years
The stability program will be forwarded for approval by ECOFIN at the beginning of 2001.
 THE CYPRIOT PRESIDENT MET WITH THE WIFE OF THE ABDUCTED GREEK CYPRIOTNicosia, 19 December 2000 (18:33 UTC+2)
Cypriot president Glafkos Clerides received Niki Tziakourmas at the presidential office in Nicosia today, the wife of Panikos Tziakourmas, who is being held illegally at the Turkish occupied territories after his abduction by Turks in the region of the British bases.
After the meeting with the Cypriot president the wife of the abducted man stated that Mr. Clerides confirmed that the British High Commissioner in Cyprus will meet on the issue with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou stated that there is "relative optimism" concerning the release of the man, who is held by the Turkish occupation forces, avoiding at the same time, to mention the specific moves the Cypriot government is making.
Cypriot foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, speaking before the Foreign and European Affairs Parliamentary Committee, stated that the Cypriot government will not turn a blind eye to any actions aimed at the arrival of settlers in Famagusta, while any effort to change the status quo in the region is regarded as very serious affair that needs careful and serious handling.
Meanwhile, a draft resolution tabled by British parliament deputies in the House of Representatives calls on the British government to do everything possible, as a guarantor power of Cyprus, and work with the Cypriot government for the return of Famagusta to its people.
 OTE IS TARGETING 40% OF THE MOBILE PHONE MARKET IN BULGARIASofia, 19 December 2000 (17:27 UTC+2)
The Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, will target 35-40% of the mobile phone market in Bulgaria in the next 5 years. Already, OTE has won the bid for the second mobile phone license in the country for the sum of US$ 135 million.
In a press conference in Sofia, Giorgos Skarpelis deputy managing director of OTE, presented the organization's strategic plans in Bulgaria, stressing that OTE intends to invest US$ 200-300 million in the country in the first two years.
Mr. Skarpelis confirmed that the development of the mobile phone network in Bulgaria by OTE will take place within the set deadline and pledged that it will be supplied with the necessary technical equipment for this purpose, adding that already OTE is in negotiations with Motorola and Nokia.
 UNITED NATIONS NOTIFIED OF TENSION AT PYLALarnaca, 19 December 2000 (14:58 UTC+2)
The atmÔsphere was tense yesterday in Pyla, one of Cyprus' few villages were Greeks and Turks continue to live together, when Turkish forces mounted their presence at their observation post.
According to the UNFICYP spokeswoman Sara Russel, the matter has already been brought before the Turkish army officials by the United Nations.
As the UNFICYP official stated, the Turks maintain that they proceeded to this act in response to works conducted by the Cypriot National Guard south of the demarcation line, i.e. projects conducted in the free areas.
The Cypriot government views these acts, including the abduction of a Greek-Cypriot by the Turkish occupation forces from the British military bases two days ago aim to provoke tension and stall potential progress on the Cyprus issue.
 BRITISH COMMENTS ON THE GREEK CIVILIZATION EXHIBITIONSLondon, 19 December 2000 (16:55 UTC+2)
The British newspaper "The Financial Times" published an article by former British ambassador to Athens Michael Llewellyn-Smith under the title "The country which is a museum by itself" and subtitle "Three exhibitions on the Greek history and civilization are currently taking place in Athens".
The article which is very praising of the Greek civilization refers to the exhibition with the findings unearthed during the Athens metro construction works. He said that the most moving finding is a mass grave dated back to the era of the Peloponnesian War, while the gem on the crown of the Greek museums according to the article, is the Benakis Museum which reopened recently and now hosts an exhibition of Virgin Mary icons coming from museums and private collections from Greece and abroad.
Also it mentions that the National Gallery hosts the exhibition "Gods and Heroes in the era of Rubens and Rembrant" including works with mythical figures painted by artists like Rembrant, Rubens, Van Dyke and others.
 THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ON THE TURKISH PROVOCATION IN CYPRUSKatmandu, 19 December 2000 (16:31 UTC+2)
Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, who is on a visit to Nepal, speaking to reporters referred to the Cyprus issue and to the incident that took place near Pila at the UN buffer zone.
Mr. Papandreou characterized the moves of the Turkish army as spasmodic and added that in Turkey there are different decision making centers such as the government, the army, the MIT secret service etc.
He also referred to the reactions inside Turkey concerning its European course and added that other forces want this course while others don't, stressing that even MIT was involved.
Mr. Papandreou stated that Greece has two goals for Cyprus, the first one is the solution of the Cyprus problem and the second one is Cyprus' accession into the European Union. He said that events such as that in Pila and Strovilia, as well as Turkey's stance in NATO and the fact that Turkey is not moving ahead in the EU show that the problem is no longer between Greece and Turkey but between Europe and Turkey.