|Wednesday, 16 October 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-02-26
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 MAIN OPPOSITION CHIEF VOWS TO FIGHT CORRUPTIONAthens, 26 February 2001 (18:14 UTC+2)
In an article published in the newspaper "Kathimerini Tis Kyriakis" yesterday, New Democracy party President Costas Karamanlis declared a battle against big interests and corruption, presenting at the same time his party's proposals.
In the meantime, in an interview with the newspaper "O Typos Tis Kyriakis", Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos launched an attack against the New Democracy party leader saying that any talk on big interests was merely an alibi for failures.
 2001 OLIVE OIL QUALITY EXCELLENT, DUE TO WEATHERAthens, 26 February 2001 (17:51 UTC+2)
Olive oil production in Greece for 2001 is expected to drop significantly (about 320,000 tons) due to alternate year flowering cycles and a hot, dry summer last year, but the quality is excellent thanks to the high temperatures that drove parasites away.
According to the Hellenic Association of Olive Oil Packers, an extended dry spell between April and October reduced volumes, - last year's production was 420,000 tons- but enhanced the quality of the oil.
The general director of the Hellenic Association of Olive Oil Packers Panagiotis Karantonis stated that this year the quality of the oil is outstanding because high temperatures did not allow parasites to develop and because of a lack of rain.
 SAE TO SOON BECOME FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENTThessaloniki, 26 February 2001 (17:50 UTC+2)
The Ministry of National Economy and Finance is presently reviewing a draft bill that will render the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) economically independent, according to deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiades.
Following talks held in Thessaloniki between Mr. Fotiades and SAE's presidium, in the presence of Foreign Affairs undersecretary Grigoris Niotis, a committee comprising ministry actuaries and SAE officials will soon be formed for the aforementioned purpose.
Moreover, Mr. Fotiades stated that the ministry is also reviewing a series of tax exemptions tailored for repatriates.
 NORTHWESTERN GREECE AMONG EU's POOREST AREASThessaloniki, 26 February 2001 (17:26 UTC+2)
Greece has five of the 10 poorest regions in the European Union, with the northwestern region of Epirus continuing to rank as the poorest in all the 15 member states, according to figures for 1998 released by the Eurostat service.
The residents of 11 out of the 13 Greek regions have buying power less than 75 percent of the EU average; specifically, the people of Epirus are six times poorer than those of the richest region -Ęthat of London- whose buying power amounts to 245 percent of the EU average.
Overall, Greeks' buying power is 66 percent of the EU's average, whereas Portugal, the second poorest country, raised its buying power by two percent in 1998 and achieved 75 percent of the average.
The richest parts of Greece are the Dodecanese and the islands of the southern Aegean, with 77 percent of the EU average, followed by Attica (74 percent), Central Macedonia (68 percent), Crete (67 percent), the northern Aegean (61 percent), Central Greece (59 percent), the Ionian islands (56 percent), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (55 percent), the Peloponnese and Western Greece (53 percent) and Epirus (42 percent).
 LENT MONDAY CELEBRATED WITH KITE FLYINGThessaloniki, 26 February 2001 (17:13 UTC+2)
City dwellers fled to the countryside in order to celebrate today's traditional Clean Monday, which marks the start of the 40-day fast leading up to Orthodox Easter.
According to tradition, Greeks today are to feast on seafood, bean soup, lagana bread, taramosalata and other traditional dishes, as well as imbibe plenty of wine. Other meats are not eaten.
The last Sunday of this year's carnival was also celebrated throughout Greece yesterday; the city of Patras was the traditional epicenter of festivities featuring a parade of 40 thousand masqueraders and 250 thousand spectators, while similar events and festivities also took place in many other cities and villages throughout the country.
 MASS EXODUS CLAIMS 28 LIVES, LEAVES 216 INJUREDAthens, 26 February 2001 (17:11 UTC+2)
Even though the highway patrol had taken extraordinary measures in light of the mass exodus expected during the three-day Lent Monday weekend, the death toll was high again with 28 people having lost their lives and 216 more injured, as of press time.
The expected mass exodus was marred at its onset when six occupants of a car died in a horrific triple collision on Friday night on the Nea Moudania-Kassandra provincial road on the Halkidiki peninsula, south of Thessaloniki. The crash apparently occurred when the car's 20-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle and swerved into the opposite lane directly in the path of three other cars, colliding with one after the other. All six occupants of Saridis' vehicle, aged between 17 and 20, were fatally injured.
Highway patrols have added extra lanes to ease traffic flow for the incoming city dwellers.
 GREEK BUSINESS DELEGATION TO VISIT BELGRADEBelgrade, 26 February 2001 (17:10 UTC+2)
The Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) is organizing a business delegation to Belgrade on February 27-28, headed by the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace George Paschalides.
The event, held in cooperation with the Interbalkan and Black Sea Business Center and production and scientific agencies located in Thessaloniki, will feature the representation of over 100 firms from all sectors.
According to the TCCI, the purpose of the delegation will be to probe possibilities of developing cooperation between businessmen from the two countries. It is the first delegation to be organized by agencies in Thessaloniki to the region after the end of the war in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
 THESSALONIKI TO HOST WINE COMPETITION IN DETROPThessaloniki, 26 February 2001 (17:09 UTC+2)
The second International Wine Competition will be held in Thessaloniki between February 28-March 3, aiming to present the world's quality wines and to further promote and expand the wine culture in the Mediterranean region.
Coinciding with the international food and beverages trade fair "DETROP", the event is organized by the Ambelonas Vinters Union and held under the auspices of Office International de la Vigne et du Vin and several Greek wine agencies.
The judges committee will comprise Greek and foreign wine experts, producers and journalists.
 HOUSE TO VOTE ON OLYMPIC AIRWAYS PRIVATIZATIONAthens, 26 February 2001 (17:08 UTC+2)
A parliamentary discussion and vote on the privatization of Olympic Airways is to be held this week, after having been postponed on Thursday due to a lack of quorum.
Presenting the privatization bill, Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiades stressed that the government's foremost concern is to secure the jobs of the ailing national carrier's employees.
While supporting the move to sell the national air carrier, the main opposition party of New Democracy stressed that it was done way too late, as the company has now amassed sizeable debts.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) both argued against the privatization and requested a roll call vote.
 GREEK FM TO MEET WITH US SECRETARY OF STATEBrussels, 26 February 2001 (16:55 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou is expected to hold talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell tomorrow in Brussels, during a meeting held on the sidelines of a NATO summit.
According to a foreign ministry announcement, Messrs. Papandreou and Powell are expected to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments.
Mr. Papandreou is presently in Brussels for a general affairs meeting of European Union foreign ministers, which is expected to focus on developments in the Middle East following the change of government in Israel, and on the course of the EU's accession negotiations with candidate countries.
 SERBIAN TELECOM SALE MAY BE SUBJECT TO REVISIONBelgrade, 26 February 2001 (18:13 UTC+2)
Yugoslav Telecommunications Minister Boris Tadic intends to propose a revision of a 1997 contract to sell a stake in Serbia's telecommunications firm to Italian and Greek companies.
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Tadic stated that if at all possible a reconstruction of the agreement should be made, adding that the sale of 49 percent of Telekom Srbija to Telecom Italia and Greece's OTE had been detrimental to the state.
Mr. Tadic added that his ministry is presently analyzing the sales contract. According to press reports, Serb prosecutors are studying media reports about Telecom Italia's purchase of the stake to determine whether to launch an investigation into the deal.