|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-26
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 OTE OUTBIDDED BY MATAV IN MAKTEL TENDERThessaloniki, 26 December 2000 (15:15 UTC+2)
Greece's Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) was outbidded by Hungarian telecoms firm MATAV in an international tender for a majority stake in FYROM's mobile phone network company.
The government of FYROM announced late last week that it had decided to sell a majority 51 percent holding in the country's Global System for Mobile (GSM) technology to MATAV, in which Germany's TELEKOM, Interamerican (owned by Greek conglomerate Dimitris Kontomenas) and the Soros Foundation are shareholders, for 618.2 million euros.
OTE, the second top bidder, had offered 608.3 million euros.
 ORTHODOX PRELATES ISSUE CHRISTMAS MESSAGESAthens, 26 December 2000 (15:18 UTC+2)
Orthodox Christian leaders, including Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos and the Archbishop of Tirana Anastasios, released several messages on the meaning and importance of Christmas.
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos said materialism and the exclusive secular life of man does not suit his true nature as an image of God.
He added that man usually attaches himself to mundane and perishable things, as if his entire existence depends on them and the world beyond materialism is nonexistent.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos said in his message the problems of life are multiplying, while a global moral decline and decay appear to be touching people.
He said that this Christmas people should pray hard for the unity of the world, the love of all people and human rights which are being crudely violated, as well as for poverty, unemployment, starvation, immorality, racism and discriminations which are struggling against human dignity.
Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos said that for 26 years the holiday of the love of God for man is being celebrated in conditions of stress and anxiety, which were created and are continuing to be maintained by the Turkish invasion and occupation of the homes of Cypriots.
He added that one should continue to struggle relentlessly for the prevalence of freedom and justice all over Cyprus and for all of the island's legal inhabitants before the invasion.
Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania Anastasios said in his message that the most important effort of those who care for the present and future of mankind is the combating of violence. He said violence is soaring in many forms such as wars, civil wars, social disturbances and organized crime.
He added that violence is not only found where the major powers are or where the mass media attract our attention. It is also found in smaller countries, cities, villages, communities and wherever people live, while its usual victims are defenseless members of society such as elderly people, women and children.
 PRESIDENTS X-MAS WISHES TO EXPATRIATE GREEKSAthens, 26 December 2000 (15:17 UTC+2)
The President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos addressed a message to expatriate Greeks on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
"I would like to express my warmest wishes and the deepest feelings of love of all the Greek people for our expatriate brethren, the President stated, adding that we watch with satisfaction your progress and prosperity in various sectors of your new homelands around the world with your ever lively national identity and love for Greece.
The Greek President, finally, wished Greeks abroad a merry Christmas, a happy New Year, good health, prosperity and happiness.
 GREECE SAYS NO TO ADDITIONAL EU FUNDS TO TURKEYAthens, 26 December 2000 (15:16 UTC+2)
The European Union's ministers of telecommunications have postponed the approval of a 135-million euro grant to Turkey after Greece's objections over the timing, given the recent massacres in Turkey's prisons.
The decision was to be taken without discussion, but, following Greece's objection the French presidency, it was proposed that the approval be postponed until the next meeting of the ministers.
 EURO EDGES DRACHMA OUT AS NATIONAL CURRENCYThessaloniki, 26 December 2000 (15:13 UTC+2)
Product and service prices in Greece will have be posted in both euros and the national currency, drachma, as of January 1, 2001, when the country will enter the 11-member eurozone.
With the new euro bank notes expected to circulate simultaneously across Europe at the start of the year, Greece's state mint has already begun printing euros which will be the country's sole currency as of March 1, 2002. The euro will be used alongside the drachma in January and February 2002 until the national currency is eliminated on March 1 of that year.
The head-side of the euro's eight different coins will be minted with different designs in each country. Local designs include an owl (ancient symbol of wisdom), Zeus, Greek ships and national heroes and statesmen Rigas Feraios, Ioannis Capodistrias and Eleftherios Venizelos.
According to the finance ministry, small companies with a staff of less than ten will not have to post their prices in euros as of next month, although they, too, will begin marking prices in euros as of March 1, 2001.
The central bank has released a leaflet on converting drachmas to euros, and rounding off euro figures.
A selection of conversion rates in the leaflet for use by commercial banks and enterprises is as follows:
100 drachmas = 0.29 euros
200 drachmas = 0.59 euros
300 drachmas = 0.88 euros
1,000 drachmas = 2.83 euros
10,000 drachmas = 29.35 euros
 SWEDEN TAKES REIGN AS EUROPEAN UNION PRESIDENTStockholm, 26 December 2000 (15:14 UTC+2)
Enlargement, employment and environmental concerns will be the three issues to top the agenda of Sweden's term as president of the European Union, which will commence on January 1, 2001.
Sweden, which is succeeding France in the EU's rotating, six-month presidency, has announced that the first EU special summit will be held on March 23-24 in Stockholm, while the EU summit at the closing of the Swedish presidency will be held in June 15-16 in Goteborg.
Regarding the EU's enlargement, Sweden believes that the opportunity exists for achieving significant progress after the Nice Summit agreements.
On joblessness, the Swedish presidency is to focus on strategies to increase employment through economic reforms, educational programs and social welfare.
As for environmental policies, Sweden is expected to promote EU cooperation regulated by environmental considerations.
Sweden is also to grant special attention to EU's relations with Russia and it will work toward the further development of its crisis management capability.