|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-01-02
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SON OF GREEK LABOR MINISTER KILLED IN MEXICOThessaloniki, 2 January 2001 (12:16 UTC+2)
The son of Greece's labor minister Tasos Yannitsis, Constantine, was murdered in Mexico, during a mugging.
According to early reports, the 27-year-old Constantine, a post-graduate student at an American university, had gone to Mexico with friends for the holiday break.
They said Constantine was mugged and killed, but no further details were immediately available.
The minister departed today for the US, immediately upon being informed of the tragedy.
 PM OUTLINES TARGETS WITHIN EUROZONE MEMBERSHIPThessaloniki, 2 January 2001 (12:36 UTC+2)
With Greece having acquired the coveted seat among the eurozone members as of yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed that the feat was accomplished through the sacrifices of the Greek people and outlined the new wave of changes that are to emerge.
In an interview with the Athens daily Eleftherotypia, Mr. Simitis stated that path towards the Economic and Monetary Union requires:
Acceleration of structural reforms and interventions on the public sector.
Encouragement and support to the private sector that promote innovative investments.
Finalization of social security reforms by the end of 2001, for the sector's viability.
The rational utilization of the Third Community support framework's funds, as a key instrument and means for the state's development.
Moreover, the Premier stated that Greece is presently at the threshold of a developmental boom that requires:
Stable macroeconomic environment.
Methodical liberation of the market and the so-called "closed professions".
Assistance to investment initiatives.
Improvements in the sector of competition.
Upgrades in the productive and social structures.
Emphasis on the information society.
Investment in human resources.
 POLICE SEIZE 513 KILOS OF HEROIN DESTINED FOR SPAINAthens, 2 January 2001 (10:59 UTC+2)
In the biggest heroin bust ever in Greece, and one of the largest in Europe, Greek police arrested four Turks carrying 513 kilos of pure heroin which was destined for Spain, during an inspection of two tourist buses on Sunday.
The four Turks who were arrested in Athens were the drivers and co-drivers of the two tourist buses, while another six Turks were arrested in Turkey.
The four arrested in Athens were identified as Erhan Ginik, 37, Muhsin Odogmus, 50, Atink Karadeniz, 26 and Nur Biser, 43.
The heroin was packed in one kilo parcels, while the two Mercedes Benz buses and 8,500 German marks were confiscated.
The suspects appeared before the public prosecutor on Sunday.
 KUDOS TO MPAS SITE, «ONE OF THE BEST IN GREECE»Thessaloniki, 2 January 2001 (11:02 UTC+2)
The Macedonian Press Agency's Internet site, http://www.mpa.gr , has been hailed as "one of the best in Greece", by the Greek-language periodical "Computers for All".
In a review published in its January 2001 issue, the periodical salutes the MPA's site as one "dedicated to journalism and public information."
Specifically, the periodical rates the site's navigation, rate and structure as "excellent", while it finds the site's entirety and immediacy as being "above average".
Granting particular attention to the MPA's overall presentation on the Internet, the review finds that "the site engages the reader with its flawless layout and rich content", not failing to mention that the contents are available in both the English and Russian languages.
Lastly, the magazine also notes that the MPA's site provides a wealth of information on various themes and topics concerning turning points in history, pertaining to both Greece and the Balkan peninsula.
 STATE LEADERS ATTEND NEW YEARS CHURCH SERVICEAthens, 2 January 2001 (11:00 UTC+2)
The President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, party leaders, deputies, representatives of the armed forces and security services and representatives of other faiths attended the traditional New Year's church service, which was held at the Athens Cathedral yesterday morning and officiated by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.
Upon his arrival at the cathedral, President Stephanopoulos was applauded by the crowds and was welcomed by Mr. Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and a senior clergyman.
On Sunday, the President received New Year's greetings the Premier and members of the government, as well as by representatives of the judicial and diplomatic representatives at the Presidential Mansion.
President Stephanopoulos wished Mr. Simitis "peace, prosperity and political calm" and Archbishop Christodoulos "health and strength" for his task.
Speaking to main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, he wished "all to go well, family happiness and the achievement of your targets."
The President also exchanged greetings with Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga and Democratic Social Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas.
Various children's choirs sang New Year's carols for President Stephanopoulos, Premier Simitis and party leaders. Among others, the Presidential Guard, Black Sea Greek groups and children from the Greek Women's Christian Union sang carols for President Stephanopoulos.
A Cretan group and children's choir sang for the Premier, while children's choirs also visited the home of Costas and Natasa Karamanlis at the seaside resort of Rafina to sing carols for them.
 RECORD TRAFFIC FATALITIES DURING HOLIDAY SEASONThessaloniki, 2 January 2001 (10:58 UTC+2)
Thirteen people were killed and 228 injured in 176 traffic accidents which occurred throughout the country from Friday, December 30, until today, despite the special measures taken by traffic police.
Meanwhile, traffic police decided to provide an extra lane from oncoming lanes and deviations at overpasses, where necessary on the two national motorways, to facilitate motorists driving back to the capital at the end of the New Year's holiday.
 GREECE ENTERS EUROZONE, PRICES POSTED IN EUROSThessaloniki, 2 January 2001 (10:14 UTC+2)
Product and service prices in Greece are posted in both euros and the national currency as of yesterday, January 1, 2001, when the country became the twelfth member of the 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, 2 January 2001 (10:15 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 commencd 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.