|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-01-28
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 POLL: MOST FIND PUBLIC SECTOR IS QUITE CORRUPTEDAthens, 28 January 2001 (18:33 UTC+2)
The overwhelming majority of Greeks find that there is a high rate of corruption in the public sector and support the state's decision to make all public servants fill out a "source of wealth" declaration.
According to the poll, conducted by Kapa Research and published in today's edition of the "Ethnos" newspaper, 92.5 percent of the respondents believe that heavy corruption exists, while 78.6 percent support the "source of wealth" declaration for public workers.
Also, 38.3 percent of those who support the mandatory declaration, believe that this could greatly help to restrict corruption, while 34.9 percent said it would have a fair impact.
Of those polled, 34.8 percent reported that they had witnessed instances of corruption by state sector officials; and 64.4 percent said they had not. As for the sectors where corruption is believed to be most prevalent, the respondents rated the following in descending order: tax offices, ministries, hospitals, education, the Public Power Corporation, the town planning division and local government.
 GREEK PM TOURS ISLAND OF CRETE, ADDRESSES RALLYRethymno, 28 January 2001 (18:32 UTC+2)
Addressing a party rally in the town of Rethymno, Crete, Prime Minister Costas Simitis referred extensively to the opportunities that arise from Greece's entry into the eurozone, especially for growth and employment.
Mr. Simitis, presently on a tour of Crete, stated that "we must exploit the opportunities afforded by our membership inthe eurozone, in order to achieve further growth, full employment, social prosperity and cohesion.
"We must not, however, allow inequalities among regions or within regions to stall the country's growth, which is why our regional policy in 2000-2006 is based on ironing out inequality," he added.
He further said that during the third 2000-2006 fiscal period infrastructure and transport projects will be promoted to serve the needs of developing tourism and also commented on projects included in the 3rd Community Support Framework.
Referring to the government's efforts to align the standard of living in Greece with that of other members of the European Union, the Premier outlined the framework for economic stability, a rise in living standards, and a drive towards growth in order to achieve real convergence with the EU.
The Premier also visited a hospital in Rethymno where he stated that the government's new health bill, presently debated in Parliament, aims at offering quality healthcare while cutting costs.
"The use of modern technology in the provision of medical data and applications is especially important," he stressed.
"We aim to offer quality medical treatment and care in Crete and throughout Greece. The new law on the National Health System that the government is advancing will increase services to the public and reduce spending," he added.
 US CONGRESSMEN «DISAPPOINTED» BY SPEAKERAthens, 28 January 2001 (18:31 UTC+2)
A six-member delegation of the U.S. Congress, led by Benjamin A. Gilman of New York, concluded its three-day working visit to Athens, where they held talks with government officials on bilateral relations, economic and trade issues and terrorism.
The delegation, comprising Wes Watkins (R-Oklahoma), Constance Morella (R-Maryland), Michael McNulty (D-New York), Bernard Sanders (Ind.-Vermont), and Steve Horn (R-California), met with met with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.
Following their meetings with Messrs. Papandreou and Karamanlis the delegation issued a statement noting that they "discussed their desire that Greece and Turkey will make progress toward more normal relations. This effort has the full support of the American people and government.
"The delegation was also impressed by the significant progress made in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The U.S. Government strongly supports Greece in hosting the Olympic Games, a historic moment for the Olympic movement.
"However, the Congressional delegation was surprised and disappointed by Speaker (i.e. Parliament President) Kaklamanis' statement following their meeting. The delegation had a frank and private exchange of views with the Speaker on the issue of terrorism, which is a concern of all countries ... the United States has long supported the efforts of the Greek government to fight terrorism", it added.
"Mr. Kaklamanis' statement does not reflect the spirit of cooperation between our governments. It is solely a Greek responsibility to make arrests and convictions. We support what the Greek people also desire - justice for those who have been killed in terrorism attacks. The United States had had five of its own Embassy employees assassinated, more than one hundred wounded in the last quarter century," the statement concluded.
Mr. Kaklamanis had said that "it is inconceivable that the U.S. should be in the prosecutor's position and Greece in the position of the accused, or that terrorism should be made use of to exert pressure of a diplomatic or financial nature, as is the case with the 2004 Olympics."
 DOCTORS PREPARE NEW ROUND OF ACTION THIS WEEKAthens, 28 January 2001 (18:30 UTC+2)
Greece's hospital doctors are to embark on a second round of industrial action this week, in protest to a health reform bill presently debated in Parliament.
Ôhe Federation of Hospital Doctors of Greece (OENGE) has decided to hold a 48-hour strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as with march to parliament on Tuesday.
Hospital staff will joint the action on Tuesday, with a 24-hour work stoppage, also in protest to the reforms. As such, only emergency cases will be treated at the hospitals throughout the country on Tuesday and Wednesday.
 FOREIGN MINISTER AT DAVOS FOR ECONOMIC FORUMDavos, 28 January 2001 (18:28 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou is presently in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual International Economic Forum, where a meeting focusing on Balkan reconstruction is set on the sidelines of the forum.
On the forum's sidelines, Mr. Papandreou met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and former prime minister and current regional development minister of Israel Shimon Peres.
Yesterday, the Foreign Minister attended a round table discussion on Balkan reconstruction, together with the Presidents of Yugoslavia, FYROM, Bulgaria and Croatia, Messrs. Kostunica, Trajkovski, Stoyanov and Mesic, respectively, as well as Slovenian Prime Minister Drnovsek.
Mr. Papandreou departed for Stockholm this afternoon to attend the international forum against racism. The Foreign Minister will meet with his Swedish counterpart and EU Council of Ministers' President Anna Lindt.
 "GREECE AND NEW MONEY MARKET" IN NEW YORKNew York, 28 January 2001 (18:27 UTC+2)
A conference on "Greece and the New Money Market" was jointly organized by the Hellenic German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York yesterday, featuring many parallel events.
The participants included major banking organizations from the United States and Europe, the Greek Tourist Organization, Olympic Airways and Cyprus Airways.
 GREECES RECONSTRUCTION PLAN TO COST 180 BILLIONAthens, 28 January 2001 (18:26 UTC+2)
Greece's five-year Balkan reconstruction plan envisages spending a total of 180 billion drachmas, with the money to be spent on social infrastructure, financial infrastructure and services and production.
According to National Economy Deputy Minister Yiannis Zaphiropoulos, the Greek plan envisages spending 17 billion drachmas on aid in Albania, 18.5 billion drs in Bulgaria, 25.5 billion in FYROM, 24 billion drachmas in Romania, 70 billion in Yugoslavia (excluding Kosovo) and 25 billion drachmas in Kosovo.
Mr. Zaphiropoulos also announced a plan to raise Greece's economic and trade affairs offices abroad from 59 to 81. The plan calls for new offices in Havana, St Petersburg, Ankara, Alma-Ata, Amman, Bombay, Wellington, Jerusalem, Islamabad, Caracas, Lagos, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Mexico City, Bangkok, Bratislava, Nairobi, Oslo, Ottawa, Rabat, Riga, Sanghai, Santiago, Sarajevo, Singapore, Izmir, Taskend, Jakarta and Hong-Kong.
 CAB, PHONE RATES TO INCREASE AS OF NEXT MONTHAthens, 28 January 2001 (18:25 UTC+2)
Taxi rates will increase as of February 1, with the rate per kilometer rising to 80 drachmas from the current 76, while the surcharge for transport to and from airports will rise to 400 dr. from the present 300 dr.
In addition, the surcharge for transport to and from ports, railroad stations and KTEL inter-city bus terminals will increase to 200 dr. from the current 150 dr. The surcharge for each piece of luggage will also rise from the present 50 dr. to 100 dr. The last rate hike was introduced on January 1 this year, when overnight taxi fares and inter-city bus ticket prices were increased to enable taxi and KTEL bus owners to meet rising fuel costs, in fulfillment of an earlier promise by the Finance Ministry. On January 1, the taxi overnight rate, in effect from midnight to 5:00 a.m., rose by 20 dr. per kilometer from 130 to 150 dr. per kilometer, the cost of the flag was raised to 250 dr. the rate per kilometer to 76 dr., and the non-driving services (when taxis are stopped in traffic or waiting for a customer) rose to 2,400 dr. per hour, while the prices of KTEL tickets rose by five percent.
The ministry at the time had also announced that a further increase in daytime taxi rates from 76 to 80 dr. per kilometer would enter into effect on February 1.
Telephone calls will also be more expensive as of February 1st, with local calls increasing from nine drachmas to 10.5 and the fixed charges from 2.400 drachmas to 2,800.
Long distance calls will be cheaper by about 30 percent with charges down to 28 drachmas per minute around the clock. International calls will be reduced by an average of 10 percent. Call charges to Internet providers will remain unchanged.