|Thursday, 12 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-09-04
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE CHURCH IS FIRM IN ITS POSITIONS ON THE ID CARDS ISSUEAthens, 4 September 2001 (18:22 UTC+2)
The Church of Greece is firm in its positions on the identity cards issue, as it is mentioned in a statement issued by the Holy Synod that met today. In the statement it is pointed out that the legal obstacle cited by some, who maintain that the state-issued identity cards issue has closed, does not exist. According to the Holy Synod, this fact alone displays the ignorance of those who argue that. The Holy Synod spokesman Metropolite Anthimos of Alexandroupolis stressed that the three million signatures of the people, who want a referendum on the optional listing of the identity card holder's religion, are always in the minds of the members of the Holy Synod. He also clarified that there can be no meeting of the prime minister with the Archbishop if the identity cards issue is not included in the agenda.
 INCREASE OF 40% IN SOCIAL SPENDING IN 2001-2004Athens, 4 September 2001 (17:36 UTC+2)
The social policy measures that will be implemented in the next three years until 2004 were presented by prime minister Kostas Simitis after the governmental meeting today.
Mr. Simitis stressed that in the period 2001-2004 social spending will be increased by 40%, from 10 trillion in 2000 to 14.3 trillion in 2004. He underlined that the sums that will be allocated for the government's social policy will come from the public debt drop and the postponement of the armaments program spending. He pointed out that the two basic axes of the government policy are development and social cohesion and stressed that the government's priority is quality of life through the creation of new job positions.
The prime minister announced tax incentives for businesses and the reform of the tax system aimed at the fairer distribution of taxes. He said that the government will proceed without a delay with the structural changes that concern, among others, the State Electricity Company, the Hellenic Petroleum, the Natural Gas State Company, the Greek Telecommunications Organization, Olympic Airways, the Industrial Development Bank and other state-run companies. Mr. Simitis also predicted a growth rate of 4.5-5% in the next three year period.
Specifically, the public employees pensions will be increased by 36% and from 5 trillion drachmas in 2000 they will be 6.8 trillion in 2004. Other spending on social protection (e.g. illness, unemployment, disability, housing, family and children) will be increased by 41% from 5.1 trillion to 7.3 trillion drachmas.
In addition, the sum of 480 billion drachmas will be allocated to combat unemployment, promote business activities, support sensitive groups, the longtime unemployed and the socially isolated. Also, the sum of 220 billion drachmas will be allocated to earthquake stricken citizens, social welfare, the repatriated Greeks and Gypsies.
 THE BLACK SEA BANK IS CLOSER TO THE EUThessaloniki, 4 September 2001 (16:43 UTC+2)
The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank is closer to the decision-making center of the European Union as it gradually gains access to Brussels and plans to claim part of the management of the EU sums allocated for the development of the Black Sea countries.
The first formal rapprochement of the EU, the Black Sea Bank, and the businessmen active in the wider region will take place on the occasion of Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair on September 10.
Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou will be present in the meeting in which the results of the latest EU study on the economic prospects of the Black Sea region will be presented.
It is the first time that the EU chooses Greece to present one of its studies on regional development. The study will be presented by Mr. Dreve of the European Commission REGIO general directorate.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 4 September 2001 (15:46 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded again today in the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index dropped to -0.56% at 2.717,88 points, while the volume of transactions was 107.83 million Euro or 36.473 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 93 recorded gains and 224 had losses, while the value of 60 stocks remained stable.
 KARAMANLIS CALLED ON THE PRIME MINISTER TO ENTER A PUBLIC DIALOGUEAthens, 4 September 2001 (15:44 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis called on prime minister Kostas Simitis to enter a comprehensive public dialogue.
Mr. Karamanlis accused the prime minister of insisting to maintain polarity and fanaticism, adding that he shows no respect to the people because he refuses dialogue. Mr. Karamanlis also said that the government has become a confederation of independent dukedoms, while on the occasion of the social measures that will be announced by the prime minister in Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair, he said that the government promises to do things that it has an obligation to do anyway.
 THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH WILL VISIT CHANIAChania, 4 September 2001 (15:41 UTC+2)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will visit the city of Chania in the southern Aegean island of Crete on September 17-23, according to the official program of his visit that was announced by the Metropolis of Chania.
During his stay in Chania he will visit the island of Gavdos and many villages of the prefecture, while on September 22 he will be declared honorary citizen of Chania in a special ceremony that will take place in the City Hall.
 RHODES WILL HONOR CHRISTIAN BARNARDRhodes, 4 September 2001 (15:39 UTC+2)
A street or a square in the southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes will be named after the late heart surgeon Christian Barnard, who became honorary citizen of Rhodes in 1978.
The decision was made unanimously by the Rhodes City Council.
 SIMITIS WILL ANNOUNCE 0.9 TRILLION PACKAGEAthens, 4 September 2001 (15:38 UTC+2)
A social package of 0.9 billion drs for the 2002-2004 period , was announced τοδαυ on the by the Prime Minister in the view of the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair. According to exclusive statements of the Minister of National Economy, Giannos Papantoniou, in the "Imerisia" newspaper, the social services will be financed exclusively by surplus funds which are created by the decrease in the percentage of the public debt in the GDP.
Of course, the deficit will continue to drop, as it is observed in the Stability Agreement. Mr. Papantoniou will remain at the helm of economic policy, something which he himself particularly wishes to keep doing.
Mr. Papantoniou is firstly optimistic on the faithful execution of this year's budget and as he said he believes that the government will achieve its goals, since it was able to secure the 200 billion drs surplus in the budget and drew the capital needed from privatization. Along with the 5th publication of OTE shares, the income from which was substantial, these facts will allow decrease of the debt to 98,9% of the GDP by the end of the year.
The Minister of National economy sees a bright 2002 and the public debt will be reduced to 96% of the GDP and at the same time there will be a surplus in the budget of 1,5% of the DGP (as foreseen by the Stability Agreement).
It is noteworthy that as the Deputy Minister of National Economy, Giorgos Drys, stated recently, Mr. Papantoniou admitted that there is a chance the surplus is not exactly 1,5%, as there is a small margin for error. The exact level will depend on the pace at which Greece develops but also on national economy.
However not everyone is as happy as Mr. Papantoniou. MPs Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Giorgos Salagoudis will be the only representatives of New Democracy at the opening of the 66th TIF and the speech of Mr. Simitis, as the rest of the party's Thessaloniki MPs and the President of their Executive Committee, Nikos Vakalis, will not be present, expressing their protest for the abandoning of Thessaloniki by the government. Party members explained that in this way the institution of the Fair is supported and at the same time there is a protest on government policy.
On Friday at 8 p.m outside the former Kodra Military Camp in Karabournaki, the Antiwar Committee of Thessaloniki, the Committee for International Abatement and Peace of Thessaloniki and the Youth Action for Peace will "welcome" the Prime Minister with an antiwar rally. The Prime Minister must pass outside the camp in order to reach the event organized by the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Giorgos Paschalidis, for the opening of the 66th TIF.
Also upon the arrival of Mr. Simitis there is a protest scheduled at "Macedonia" airport, on Friday afternoon, by 300 regular employees of Olympic Airways in Thessaloniki.
 TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS DROPPED BY 14.1% IN THE FIRST 8 MONTHS OF 2001Athens, 4 September 2001 (15:34 UTC+2)
Traffic accidents dropped by 14.1% in Greece in the first 8 months of the current year, compared to the same period in 2000. In the same period, the number of victims dropped by 13.9% compared to the year 2000, according to the public order ministry.
Specifically, the deadly accidents were 78 less, while the people who lost their lives were 112 less in January-August 2001 compared to the same period last year.
However, speeding violations increased by 101.7%, the violations concerning the use of safety belts and helmets increased by 64% and 103% respectively, while traffic police inspections to cut down drunken driving increased by 126.2%.
 GREEK CHIEF OF STAFF IN ROMANIABucharest, 4 September 2001 (15:39 UTC+2)
The Greek Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Georgios Antonakopoulos, met with his Romanian counterpart, Michail Popesku in Bucharest, in the framework of his programmed visit which took place after an invitation from the Romanian Chief of Staff of the Army, Lieutenant General Eujen Badalan.
The issues discussed were mainly on the stabilization and the development of the military relations of the two countries and how the Greek forces can support the entrance of Romania to NATO.
At the meeting, amongst other things, the political and military situation in the region of Yugoslavia was discussed.
 GREEK-AUSTRALIAN MONUMENT IN MELBOURNEMelbourne, 4 September 2001 (15:39 UTC+2)
On Sunday the inauguration of the Greek-Australian monument, in the presence of national, political, military and Greek living abroad spokespersons.
Unfortunately from the ceremony, as the Greek living abroad newspaper "Neos Kosmos" reports, the Church of Australia was not present, something commented on harshly by the Australians present.
In the absence of the Church, the Holy Water Rites were performed by the Anglican Bishop and veteran of WWII, Father Bayton, who was invited by the Association of Old Victoria Soldiers.
The unveiling of the Monument were performed by the Minister of Australian Veterans, Bruce Scott, and Lieutenant General Christos Tzaferos, members of the Presidential Guard and the Australian Armed Forces paid military tribute to fallen.