|Monday, 26 October 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-08-28
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 3.008.901 SIGNATURES ON THE ID ISSUEAthens, 28 August 2001 (14:26 UTC+2)
3.008.901 signatures have been concentrated by the church on the request for a referendum to take place, on whether religion should be recorded on ID cards, as announced by the Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, Christodoulos, who harshly attacked the government and called to either hold the referendum or submit a bill to parliament.
Apart from the 3.008.901 signatures there were also 16.344 forms which were not counted because they were found to be invalid after the triple computer check that took place.
Mr. Christodoulos appealed to the government for a discussion and reaching of a common understanding, and characteristically said :"With due respect we call the Greek state to come to a common understanding with us, without needless struggles. We also call all of the Nation's bodies to come to the same understanding. We ask the government to move to the holding of a free and peaceful referendum, so that the total will of the people may be expressed freely, without evasions and alibis, by implementing the highest constitutional order of the people's sovereignty which is the highest democratic obligation of everyone. I once more address the Greek government and from the bottom of my hearts say: Come and let us discuss the cultural future of this land. The Church is your helper not your enemy".
The Archbishop was highly critical towards the government on the matter of the identity cards and the Prime Minister's denial to meet with the Archbishop for a discussion on the issue. He insinuated that there are circles inside the government that want the de-christianization of the country and spoke of "obligatory modernization". "The ones that dared to change the image of Greece must feel awful, denying its most characteristic feature, which is the religion of the people.", he stressed, and added: "The respect of the people's religious sentiment and the pursuit of the gradual de-christianization of the country , is the heart of the problem. Anything else said is misleading. The Greece of trials and today's dangers does not have the luxury of distractions and fanaticism or rifts caused by an obligatory modernization. The time has come for the rulers of this land to listen. As we have listened to them many times. To hear the voice of those who signed the appeal of the Church , and belong to all political sectors without discrimination. All those people's voices, who are children of God, and children of this great homeland. The people of God have spoken soberly and determinably, with no inclination for confrontations with their government. And spoke in an unprecedented and impressive way which will not be forgotten. More than 3 million Greek men and women asked for a referendum and the Holy Synod repeats at this time its standing request for an honorable, honest and fruitful, for our national identity, discussion. It is in the hands of the government, according to the constitution, to appease the people's request with a referendum or to submit a new law to the parliament on identity cards".
Mr. Christodoulos spoke of a 14 month unpredictable course and bitter confrontations, during which a lot was said. Positions and arguments were submitted. "At times in good faith and at others with the intensity of a deceitful war strategy, which at times reached the limits of slander and insults to orthodox people. Even outside politics there were underhanded and scheming, small and great, insidious and calculating people, with various machinations unworthy of their part, who tried to undermine the holy unity of the Church and divide the people. They succeeded in neither. All they achieved was to reveal themselves".
 ND: NO TRANSPARENCY IN THE PROCEDURE CONCERNING "HELLAS SAT"Athens, 28 August 2001 (19:03 UTC+2)
The procedures followed in the signing of the contract concerning the first Greek telecommunications satellite "Hellas Sat" to be set in orbit were not transparent and were against the interests of the state, according to Athanasios Himaras of the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, who is responsible for issues of transportation and telecommunications.
He stated that the government has placed the contract with a joint venture which has not participated in previous bids, while the country almost lost the deadline for the right to set a satellite in orbit as a result of the government's irresponsibility.
He said that when the governing socialist party of PASOK came to power in 1981, Turkey was 50 years behind Greece in the sector of telecommunications but today Ankara has three telecommunications satellites in operation.
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IN SLOVAKIA IN NOVEMBERAthens, 28 August 2001 (18:24 UTC+2)
Prime minister Kostas Simitis will be on a formal visit to Slovakia on November 12-13, accompanied by undersecretary of national economy Yiannis Zafiropoulos, responsible for international economic relations.
The prime minister will also be accompanied by Greek businessmen, who will have meetings with government officials and local businessmen.
 THE CHEFS DES CHEFS IN "ATHENS 2004"Athens, 28 August 2001 (18:11 UTC+2)
The chefs of state leaders and kings visited the offices of the "Athens 2004" Organizing Committee today to be briefed on dietary issues concerning the athletes, the Olympic Family members, and the visitors of Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games.
Welcoming the members of this exclusive international Club, "Athens 2004" Organizing Committee adviser Spyros Kapralos underlined that the Olympic Games will give an opportunity to Greece to promote its modern, dynamic, and creative side to the world, while creating infrastructure and know-how that will contribute to its future development.
He said that the world trend to recognize the value of the Mediterranean diet has brought the traditional Greek cuisine to the front stage forming the necessary preconditions for its international promotion.
The Club's inspirer and currently its general secretary Mr. Gilles Bragard expressed the certainty that the 2004 Olympic Games will be successful and underlined that the chefs have a common problem they have to face, as they will have to satisfy the different dietary habits of thousands of athletes and their escorts.
The "Athens 2004" dietary program was presented to the Chefs des Chefs by "Athens 2004" Nutrition Services director Mr. Makis Fokas, who referred in detail to the demands in products, and quantities of food and beverages, as well as in chefs and equipment.
 THE IOC PRESIDENT WILL BE IN ATHENS IN SEPTEMBERAthens, 28 August 2001 (17:56 UTC+2)
The 2004 Olympic Games ministerial committee met today to discuss issues concerning all sectors of preparations for the Athens Olympic Games and prime minister Kostas Simitis called on the committee members to show effectiveness. Among the issues discussed were the progress in the construction of the journalist villages, the shortcomings in the sector of hospitality, and the Olympic village projects.
In statements he made afterwards, undersecretary of press Tilemachos Hitiris, pointed out that the projects under construction are on the final stage and assured that their timetable will be met.
Meanwhile, newly elected International Olympic Committee, IOC, president Jacques Rogge and new coordinating committee president Dennis Oswald will visit Greece on September 25-28 heading a 43-member delegation and according to their schedule they will visit at least 5 Olympic projects.
 THE ID CARDS ISSUE HAS CLOSED REITERATED MR. REPPASAthens, 28 August 2001 (17:18 UTC+2)
"The Archbishop has returned to the statements he has made from time to time and now we will reiterate our firm position. The identity cards issue has closed", stated government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.
The statement was made by Mr. Reppas immediately after the announcement by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece of the number of signatures collected by the Church calling for a referendum on the listing of the bearer's religion on the state-issued identity cards.
 NORTHERN GREECE LEADS IN EXPORTSThessaloniki, 28 August 2001 (16:52 UTC+2)
The exports of the northern Greek companies showed an increase of over four times higher than the average annual increase recorded in the companies operating in the country as a whole, reaching 4.5 billion Euro last year.
The average annual increase in northern Greece was 12.8% compared to 3% in the country as a whole. In 2000, the exports of the northern Greek companies corresponded to 49.3% of the overall exports in Greece, while in 1997 they were 47% (without counting the exports of oil products).
Furthermore, the sales of the export companies in northern Greece, inside and outside the borders, were over 14 billion Euro last year with an annual increase of 10.7% in the period 1995-2000, according to a research conducted by the Association of Exporters in Northern Greece.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 28 August 2001 (16:04 UTC+2)
Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.66% at 2.805,88 points, while the volume of transactions was at 158.9 million Euro or 54.154 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 207 recorded gains and 123 had losses, while the value of 46 stocks remained stable.
 ATHLETES REPRESENT GREECES SUCCESSAthens, 28 August 2001 (15:47 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis met at noon today with the athletes that were recently distinguished in track, sailing, water polo and rowing. The Ministerial Olympic Committee for 2004 was present. Addressing the Greek athletes, Mr. Simitis called them to intensify their efforts with the 2004 Olympic as their climax, and presented them each with a commemorative gift with his signature.
The Prime Minister stressed that today's meeting, like others before it were conducted for the same reason, the successes of Greek teams. "We all know that at the World Track Meet, Greece came in seventh in the number of medals won, and surpassed other countries with a much greater athletic tradition. These victories, our athletes' victories in sailing, rowing, water polo, and track, show that if we work with a plan and try hard we can achieve success. These athletes represent Greece's successes, Greece that creates, Greece with confidence, Greece that achieves and wins. They deserve warm congratulations", he underlined.
Mentioning the Inter-ministerial Committee for the 2004 Olympics, Mr. Simitis stressed that the presence of Greek athletes is a prompting for the committee to work quickly and efficiently with 2004 being the culmination of this effort as its target.
 N. KONSTANTOPOULOS MEETS WITH G. PAPANDREOUAthens, 28 August 2001 (12:37 UTC+2)
The Foreign Secretary, Giorgos Papandreou, will meet with the President of the Coalition of the left, Nikos Konstantopoulos. During the meeting, the President of the Coalition will be informed on foreign policy issues and will formulate the party's position on the way to deal with the FYROM crisis.