|Friday, 17 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-01-31
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER FACES CENSURE VOTEAthens, 31 January 2001 (13:31 UTC+2)
The main opposition party of New Democracy has tabled a censure motion against the Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou whom it holds responsible for the poor performance of the Athens Stock Exchange.
According to parliamentary regulations, 50 signatures are required for such a motion, and the debate must be carried out within 48 hours at the latest. A roll-call vote on the motion will take place tomorrow, while a minimum of 151 votes are required to pass the motion.
In a heated debate last night, Mr. Papantoniou accused ND of having a profoundly undermining policy against the government. He also stressed that the government's economic policy will carry on its course by backing firmly the stock exchange.
The conservative party has attributed ASE's ongoing downward trend mainly to the lack of a legislative framework, the non-independence of the Capital Market Committee, the government's failure to promote structural changes and its alleged intervention in the Stock Exchange.
 FM URGES EUS RETURN TO HUMANITARIAN VALUESStockholm, 31 January 2001 (11:17 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou, representing Greece at a Stockholm-held international forum against racism and intolerance, urged Europe to return to its humanitarian values and build its future on its multicultural nature.
In an address titled Legislative Tools and Policies against Xenophobia and Racism in Greece, Mr. Papandreou provided his audience with a first-hand account of his experiences with intolerance as a political refugee.
Mr. Papandreou stressed that all should become citizens respecting each other as people, peoples and complex persons, adding that they should unite round these values and the principles of democracy and human rights to protect the holy individuality of each.
A policy for refugees is necessary. We should coordinate our efforts towards developing countries where poverty and gaps, technological, ecological, racial or between men and women, continue to appear. We have a mandate to cultivate the critical conscience of citizens, not only on the issue of racism, intolerance and authoritarianism, to enable them to have a deeper understanding of the wealth of being different as well, he stated.
On the Forum's sidelines, the Greek Foreign Minister also met with Turkish deputy Premier Mesut Yilmaz who briefed the former on Ankara's National Plan, aimed at his country's convergence with the European Union.
Mr. Papandreou also met with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with whom he discussed the Cyprus issue. Mr. Annan reportedly reiterated his determination to press on with his efforts on the premise of the Security Council's relevant resolutions.
 POLICE DRAW N17 CHART BY STATE-OF-THE-ART GEARAthens, 31 January 2001 (13:17 UTC+2)
Greece's counter-terrorism force has reportedly drawn an organizational chart of the notorious November 17 terrorist group, the result of the computer surveillance system "I-2" provided by the Scotland Yard.
According to the Athens daily To Vima, the chart, which is said to contain profiles of individuals suspected of being N17's masterminds and hitmen, was compiled through systematic phone tapping, available criminal data, monitoring and electronic reenactments of the attacks.
As the article reported, the said system's main function in drawing the chart is to monitor phone calls made by a key suspect and to follow up the calls serially made by the suspect's callers. The ensuing information on the callers is then filed and compared to existing information within the agency.
The "I-2" is believed to be a state-of-the-art surveillance device, used by the Scotland Yard and the FBI, as well as the DEA.
 HITIRIS ON THE CENSURE MOTION TABLED BY THE OPPOSITIONAthens, 31 January 2001 (18:13 UTC+2)
A strong attack was launched by Greek acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris against main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis in response to the censure motion tabled by the opposition against national economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
Mr. Hitiris accused Mr. Karamanlis that in essence he hurts the economy, the stock market and the investors, while he accused the main opposition party of using economic issues for small-politics purposes underlining that this is irresponsible.
The acting government spokesman stated that New Democracy has turned against the government's economic policy and stressed that Mr. Papantoniou has linked his name with the success of the Greek economy, while he also mentioned that the course of the economy is good and the stock market will find its way, suggesting that everybody must show calm and a sense of responsibility.
 FAILURE IN AN ELECTRICITY COMPANY SUB-STATION CAUSED YESTERDAY'S "BLACK OUT"Thessaloniki, 31 January 2001 (17:19 UTC+2)
A failure in a high voltage State Electricity Company sub-station near Thessaloniki yesterday caused the repeated power cuts in the biggest part of northern Greece, according to the State Electricity Company management.
Based on a statement issued by the company, a lightening struck a high voltage center in the region of Oreokastro during a heavy thunderstorm. The "black out" lasted about three hours and power was restored gradually.
 GOVERNMENT ASSURANCES ON THE PLUTONIUM CASEAthens, 31 January 2001 (16:56 UTC+2)
All necessary measures have been taken so that the region will not be at any risk, stated Greek acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris when asked to comment on the issue that was created after the discovery of plutonium tablets in the region of Asvestochori in Thessaloniki yesterday.
The radioactive material has been moved to a safe place and the region has been cordoned off, said Mr. Hitiris, adding that an investigation is underway and all facts will be made public.
 FBI COOPERATION WITH THE GREEK AUTHORITIES IN MISSING AMERICAN GIRL'S CASEThessaloniki, 31 January 2001 (16:39 UTC+2)
The case of the missing 14yearold girl from Florida, US, who is in Greece according to information by the local authorities, is still covered with mystery.
Polk County sheriff John Martin stated to the Greek-American newspaper "Proini" in New York that the girl was lured to Greece by a 35yearold man whom she had met on the Internet.
The police director in the town of Weallow Oak from where the girl disappeared last August, stated that there is a close cooperation with the FBI and the Greek police aimed at locating the couple.
The girl's parents were informed by her friends that she is well and in the e-mail messages she sent them a month ago she stressed that she has a wonderful time and does not wish to come back.
In the case is involved a 41yearold man who is accused with 308 counts of sexual harassment of minors, prostitution of minors and pedophilia. He is Robert Arder, who is already in the hands of the FBI. According to information, he has revealed that he intervened for the girl to come to Greece and he has received money from the 35yearold man.
 MESSAGE OF HOPE IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 31 January 2001 (16:17 UTC+2)
Impressive gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index increased to 3.98% at 3.264,76 points, while the volume of transactions was very satisfactory at 64.23 billion drachmas or 188.51 million Euro.
Of the stocks trading today, 287 recorded gains and 52 had losses, while the value of 36 stocks remained unchanged.
 RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL WAS FOUND NEAR THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 31 January 2001 (16:15 UTC+2)
The Economic Police Department continues the search aimed at tracing the members of a radioactive material trafficking ring, while the head of the agency briefed Macedonia-Thrace ministry representatives on the case concerning quantities of plutonium and americium that were found at a forest near Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki's police authorities avoid to make any statements on the case, saying that further information can be given only by the Greek Atomic Energy Committee. However, according to information, the investigation has focused on Bulgarians who are systematically involved in the illegal trade of radioactive material.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Asvestochori, where the radioactive material was found, has stated that he had no formal briefing on the case, while he does not even know which is the exact spot where the 500 plutonium and americium tables, which are characterized by scientists as extremely dangerous for humans and the environment, were found.
According to the economic police, the investigation continues toward every direction and it was made known that the region, where the radioactive material was found, is guarded on a 24hour hour basis and the people are not allowed to approach.
 US PRESIDENT-ELECT EXPRESSES INTEREST FOR CYPRUSWashington, 31 January 2001 (14:17 UTC+2)
United States President-elect George W. Bush is confident that ties between Greece and the US will grow stronger, while he also expresses his interest in resolving the Cyprus issue.
In a thank you letter forwarded to the honorary president of Greece's main opposition party of New Democracy Constantine Mitsotakis, who had offered his congratulatory wishes, President Bush responded that he shares the latter's interest over the developments in Cyprus and the Middle East.
The newly-elected president also stated that "the future provides us with immense opportunities...we shall utilize these opportunities to promote peace, liberty and prosperity in southeastern Europe and the world over."
 CAB, PHONE RATES TO INCREASE AS OF TOMORROWThessaloniki, 31 January 2001 (13:59 UTC+2)
Taxi rates will increase as of tomorrow, 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 tomorrow, 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.
 GREEK POLICE SEARCH FOR YOUNG AMERICAN GIRLThessaloniki, 31 January 2001 (13:55 UTC+2)
The Greek police are presently investigating the case of a missing American girl, focusing their search in major Greek cities, according to reports.
Fifteen-year-old Lindsey Shamrock, who went missing from her home in Florida five months ago, is believed to have been lured to Greece by a German man (resident of Thessaloniki) whom she met on the Internet.
The man, 35-year-old Frantz Konstantin Baehring, reportedly served time in Thessaloniki's prison for fraud and afterwards took up permanent residence in Greece.
 GREEK COMPANIES IN AN EXHIBITION IN SKOPJESkopje, 31 January 2001 (17:45 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki's Small Industries Chamber will participate for the fourth year in a row in the 4th Exhibition of Greek Companies in Skopje on February 22-25.
It must be noted that the trade fair will take place in Skopje's Exhibition Center and all the Greek companies that want to present their products or services to the FYROM public can participate.