|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-01-03
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ALBANIAN FM: GREECE IS OUR STRATEGIC ALLYTirana, 3 January 2001 (13:52 UTC+2)
Albania's Foreign Minister Pascal Milo has reiterated the significance of developing ties with Greece and Italy, which he characterized as his country's strategic allies.
In a review of his ministry's accomplishments during the past year, Mr. Milo admitted Greek-Albanian ties were occasionally shadowed by problems, however, he added, "we need to rid ourselves of certain prejudices".
In spite of the minor issues, he added, "we continue to view Greece as Albania's strategic ally. The common Euroatlantic future, the existence of a Greek minority in Albania and the hundreds of thousands of Albanian immigrants in Greece constitute a solid factor of cooperation between the two countries."
 AGRICULTURE MINISTRY BANS BEEF WITHOUT IDAthens, 3 January 2001 (13:51 UTC+2)
Greece's Agriculture Ministry has issued a circular prohibiting the sale of beef from cattle over 30 months of age that has not be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise known as mad cow disease.
This measure, effective as of today, stems from those taken by the EU's farm ministers last year, when a BSE crisis struck in France. Scientists speculate that BSE is responsible for a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) - a human encephalopathy - whose incidence has been on the increase throughout Europe, striking mainly the young.
Stock breeders who own untested livestock over 30 months of age will be eligible for compensation once the animals have been destroyed, the ministry's press release noted.
 BULGARIAN DIES FROM COLD EXPOSURE IN MT. BELLESThessaloniki, 3 January 2001 (13:50 UTC+2)
A 23-year-old Bulgarian woman, identified as Zlatka Zheleva, died of exposure on a rugged mountain pass on Monday while trying to cross the border into Greece illegally.
According to the police report, Zheleva was traveling with her husband and a party of about 20 other Bulgarians. Her husband was detained but the other members of the party evaded capture. In early January last year two women - a Romanian and a Ukrainian - also died attempting the same crossing on Mt. Belles.
 GRD 173 BILLION IN EU FUNDS FOR BORDER PROJECTSThessaloniki, 3 January 2001 (13:49 UTC+2)
The European Union has approved 173 billion drachmas of funding from its Interreg program for cross-border projects between Greece and Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM and Cyprus.
Deputy National Economy Minister Christos Pachtas said the funds will help develop infrastructure projects, including roads. Of that amount, about 21 billion drachmas will go toward cooperation projects with Cyprus.
 PENTAGON TO REVIEW BALKANS SYNDROME REPORTSAthens, 3 January 2001 (13:01 UTC+2)
Greece's Pentagon will provide medical examinations to the Greek members of the peacekeeping force assigned to Kosovo and Bosnia, in light of reported health risks posed by radiation from US depleted uranium shells fired in these areas.
According to reports, at least 13 peacekeepers from Italy, Belgium and Portugal have died from the so-called "Balkans Syndrome", even though no link has been proven yet.
The Greek Pentagon has refuted press reports that Greek soldiers are among those who are suffering from various forms of cancer, allegedly from radioactive contamination. High ranking military officials stress that the Greek force was assigned to Urosevac, an area not attacked by depleted uranium shells, while they added that the Greek troops in Bosnia arrived much later than their other European counterparts and were not active in areas believed to be contaminated.
According to the London Times, American A10 tankbusting Warthog aircraft fired 31,000 depleted uranium shells at Serbian tanks and armored vehicles in Kosovo during NATO's 78-day bombing campaign in 1999. Nearly 11,000 were also fired at Bosnian Serb armor in the limited NATO air attacks in Bosnia between 1994 and 1995.
Politicians and newspapers in Italy called for a European Union investigation into reports that the 30,000 Italian troops who served in the Balkans, along with those from Portugal, Belgium, Spain and Greece, had contracted cancer after being "contaminated" by radioactive dust from exploded Nato shells. The Italian Parliament has already set up a special commission of inquiry.
 B of G GOVERNOR URGES NEED TO SPEED UP OUTPUTAthens, 3 January 2001 (11:55 UTC+2)
Bank of Greece Governor Loukas Papademos has hailed Greece's full accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is a milestone for the course of the Greek economy and the country's participation in the process of European unification in general, although he stresses the need to intensify efforts that will boost productivity.
In an interview with the Athens daily Imerisia, Mr. Papademos said that the Greek economy's performance within the eurozone will largely depend on its ability to further adjust and operate in an intensely competitive environment.
Stressing the need to further restructure the state's economy, Mr. Papademos said that the euro's adoption signals the start of a speedier and sustainable economic development.
 OLIVE OIL PRODUCING NETWORK FORMED IN GREECEThessaloniki, 3 January 2001 (11:53 UTC+2)
In an effort to coordinate the promotion of world-renowned Greek olive oil, Greece's olive oil producing cities are to form an Olive Oil Producing Network (DEPE) which will represent the country in the international market.
Specifically, DEPE will represent Greece in a Euro-Mediterranean Olive Oil Producing Cities' Federation (FEMO), which includes representatives from local authorities and chambers from Italy, Spain, France and Tunisia.
DEPE will comprise 161 members, representing 21 prefects, 86 municipalities and 31 chambers and independent experts from the country's olive oil producing cities.
 MEXICAN THUGS KILLED GREEK MINISTERS SON FOR $8Taxco, 3 January 2001 (11:23 UTC+2)
Authorities in Mexico are reportedly closing in on the three suspects who killed the son of Greece's labor minister Tasos Yannitsis, Constantine, during an attempt to rob him of eight dollars in Mexico late on New Year's Day.
According to the Greek Embassy in Mexico, the 27-year-old Constantine, a post-graduate student at an American university, had gone to Taxco, 180 kilometers southeast of Mexico City, with friends for the holiday break. They said Constantine, who was shopping alone, was mugged and killed when he resisted the attack.
Mr. Yiannitsis is presently in Taxco, to receive his son's body.
 GREEKS WILLING TO PAY PRO-ENVIRONMENT TAXThessaloniki, 3 January 2001 (11:06 UTC+2)
Even though a tax-beleaguered people, the majority of Greeks would be willing to pay a tax for the protection and preservation of the environment, most of them agreeing that the climate has changed considerably in the past years.
According to a nationwide poll published in the Athens daily Ta Nea yesterday, 62.7 percent of Greeks are in favor of a green tax while an overwhelming 83 percent are concerned over changes in the climate.
The V-PRC poll showed that people between the ages of 18 and 24 are the strongest supporters of an environmental tax -with 70.4 percent in favor of it- while just over half of the respondents older than 65 said they would welcome the tax.
According to the poll, the destruction of forests was the most worrying environmental issue, with 21.7 percent saying it was the top concern. A potential nuclear disaster was second with just under 21 percent. Greece does not have any nuclear reactors but plants in neighbors Turkey and Bulgaria have long been considered as a potential threat.
 CHINAS CHIEF OF STAFF CONDUCTS VISIT TO ATHENSAthens, 3 January 2001 (10:52 UTC+2)
China's Chief of Staff General Fu Quanyou is presently conducting a five-day visit to Athens, at the invitation of his Greek counterpart, Manoussos Paragioudakis.
During his stay, the Chinese military chief will pay a courtesy call on President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and hold talks with the civilian and military leadership at the national defense industry on matters of mutual interest.
He will also visit the Fleet Command, the Special Forces Training Center, and archaeological sites and museums in Athens, Epidavros and Nafplio, before departing on January 6.
 MINISTER: OUR NEXT TASK IS SOCIAL CONVERGENCEAthens, 3 January 2001 (10:51 UTC+2)
Greece's entry into the eurozone - attained on January 1, 2001, is a milestone in the country's history, marking the beginning of a new era, according to National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
"Greece is from today a full and equal member of EMU, the euro is the country's official currency with the drachma developing into an accounting division of the single European currency," Mr. Papantoniou stated yesterday in a press conference, adding that the economy and finance ministries, the Bank of Greece and the Athens Stock Exchange have been fully prepared to meet this historic change.
Achieving social convergence with the other eurozone member-states and the European Union in general is the government's next task, according to Mr. Papantoniou, who added that with the economy growing at an annual rate of 5.0 percent the government will have significant funds to spend on health, welfare and education.
"This is an historic day for the country because we leave behind foreign exchange risks, we enjoying economic stability and we enter a period of rapid economic growth resulting to higher incomes, more jobs and improved business climate."
 IRISH PREMIER AHERN TO VISIT CYPRUS NEXT WEEKNicosia, 3 January 2001 (11:54 UTC+2)
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern is to conduct a two-day official visit to Cyprus from January 9 to 10, where he will be received by President Glafcos Clerides and government officials.
Premier Ahern is to arrive on Tuesday, January 9, and will travel to the Presidential Palace for official talks with the president, who will welcome him.
Present at the talks will be Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Finance Minister Takis Clerides and Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis.
Mr. Ahern will lay a wreath at the statue of the late Archbishop Makarios III, the Republic's first president, and will inspect a guard of honor. After the talks, there will be a press conference.
In the afternoon the Irish premier will meet with the President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vassilis Rologis and address Cypriot businessmen. Before leaving on Wednesday, Ahern will meet House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou and Cyprus' chief negotiator with the European Union George Vassiliou.