|Saturday, 16 January 2021|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-11-15
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 STEFANOPOULOS: WAR IN AFGHANISTAN NEAR ITS ENDAthens, 15 November 2001 (11:09 UTC+2)
His appreciation that the war in Afghanistan is near its end, was expressed by the Greek President of the Republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, during a meeting he had at the presidential mansion with Greek reporters living abroad.
Mr. Stefanopoulos pointed out that the Taliban are facing more difficulties than it seemed when the operations in Afghanistan commenced.
At the same time, Mr. Stefanopoulos expressed the hope that the end of the war will be a fatal blow to international terrorism.
Furthermore, Mr. Stefanopoulos mentioned Turkey's European perspective in relation to Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue. It does not seem that Turkey is fulfilling its obligations with the speed and honesty which we would like, obligations taken up after Helsinki, and the impression given to Europe is not the best, he underlined. He also stressed that Turkey is making no effort whatsoever to resolve the Cyprus issue.
Mr. Stefanopoulos expressed his optimism on the progress of the preparations for the Olympics. There are problems and delays, but, in the end, and that is where I am very optimistic, we will hold good Olympics.
 SEISMOLOGISTS REASSURINGAthens, 15 November 2001 (12:11 UTC+2)
Seismologists are reassuring about last night's earthquake, the epicenter of which was in Parnitha, and was of 4,5 R.
Seismologists made mention of a delayed aftershock of the 1999 quake. The Director of the Geodynamics Institute of Athens, Giorgos Stavrakakis, supported that there is no cause for alarm.
 ANAN-PAPANDREOU MEETINGNew York, 15 November 2001 (11:09 UTC+2)
The Cyprus issue, Afghanistan, terrorism and the Balkans were the topics of the discussion Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Papandreou, and Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Anan, had in New York, yesterday.
The Secretary General of the UN stressed that he will continue trying to resolve the Cyprus issue, while he pointed out that the accession of Cyprus to the EU is an opportunity for its resolving. Furthermore, he assured Mr. Papandreou that Cyprus will become a member of the EU regardless of whether or not the issue is resolved.
The Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed out that the issue of main priority to the UN is that of negotiations for the formation of a government in Afghanistan which will include all nationalities.
He also stressed that Greece will play a primary role in the Balkan stabilization procedure, while he also referred to the crisis peacekeeping procedures in FYROM are undergoing.
Finally, he noted that the enforcement of the Olympic cease-fire during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, is a powerful diplomatic tool, which will help the UN with keeping the peace in many parts of the world.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 15 November 2001 (18:02 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.66% at 2.707,82 points, while the volume of transactions was at 250.1 million Euro or 85.2 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 150 recorded gains and 183 had losses, while the value of 49 stocks remained unchanged.
Problem was created with the ASE's computer system half an hour before the end of today's session. Transactions were interrupted and the ASE reopened for half an hour after the problem was fixed.
 NATIONAL ECONOMY AND FINANCE MINISTER STATEMENTSAthens, 15 November 2001 (17:40 UTC+2)
The state budget will have a surplus of 0.1% this year compared to the initial prediction of 0.5%, as the growth rate of the Greek economy will be at 4.1%.
The above were stated by Minister of National Economy and Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, who also announced that the repos will be taxed with a co-efficient of 7%. The so far untaxed bank deposits in repos will also be taxed with a 7% co-efficient. The special consumer tax imposed on crude oil will be cut by 50% per meter and as a result the industry profits will be at 15 billion drachmas. The overall cost of the tax exemptions is estimated at 230 billion drachmas.
Mr. Christodoulakis stated that taking under consideration the international developments the growth rate for the Greek economy in 2002 will be at 3.8%. The fiscal surplus this year will be at 0.1% of the GDP (compared to 0.5% that was initially predicted) and in 2002 it will be at 0.8% of the GDP compared to 1.3% predicted in the state budget's draft plan.
On the public debt, it is predicted that it will be limited this year to 99.6% of the GDP and to 97.3% in 2002.
The 2002 state budget will be submitted to parliament next Wednesday.
 STRONG EXPLOSION IN AN ATHENS SHOPPING CENTERAthens, 15 November 2001 (17:06 UTC+2)
A strong explosion rocked a shopping center in Athens this afternoon. The explosive device had been placed on a motorcycle parked near the branch of the US bank "American Express".
There were no injuries and no warning was issued before the attack.
No one has claimed responsibility and strong police forces have arrived at the scene.
 THE PRIME MINISTER ANNOUNCED TAX REFORMSAthens, 15 November 2001 (16:26 UTC+2)
Company taxation will be cut by 2.5%, while the non taxable income limit will be raised by 20% for all tax payers, according to announcements made by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis after the governmental committee meeting held today.
Among others, he announced that the tax cut percentage for businesses will depend on their contribution to the efforts to limit unemployment, while the non taxable annual income limit will be at 2.900.000 drachmas for wage earners and pensioners.
Wage increases will at 2.5% starting on January 1, 2002, while the pension increases will be at 3.4%.
Mr. Simitis stated that Greece will be one of the faster developing countries in the EU in 2002. He stressed that Greece is not affected by the international circumstances as much as other economies and therefore, its growth rate is more than double than the EU average.
 GENERAL ANTONAKOPOULOS IS THE NEW NATIONAL DEFENSE GENERAL STAFF CHIEFAthens, 15 November 2001 (16:24 UTC+2)
General Giorgos Antonakopoulos, who was until now the Army General Staff Chief, is the new National Defense General Staff Chief after a decision today by the Governmental Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense. General Antonakopoulos replaces general Manousos Paragioudakis, who becomes honorary chief of the National Defense General Staff.
Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou referred to the strengthening of the Greek military presence in the Balkans within the framework of the international peacekeeping mission. The Council decided the deployment of an addition of 400 Greek soldiers in Kosovo if it will be deemed necessary in order to replace the US troops who are likely to be moved to Afghanistan.
It was also decided that a Greek Navy warship will be sent to the Persian Gulf if it is requested, while two transport planes will carry humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
 BEGLITIS: ELECTIONS IN KOSOVO IS AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTAthens, 15 November 2001 (16:22 UTC+2)
The Kosovo elections is an important development in the course of the region's economic reconstruction and contributes to national reconciliation, stressed Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis calling on the political forces to show calm and self-restraint.
He also characterized the Serb participation in the elections as very positive, pointing out that the conditions for a safe representation of the Serb minority must be safeguarded.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry officials have visited Pristina and headed by Greek ambassador Alexandros Mallias had contacts with the Albanian and the Serb minorities.
They discussed the imminent elections and Greece's ability to contribute to Kosovo's peaceful course as well as issues concerning economic cooperation through Greek investments.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that Greece conveyed the message that elections in Kosovo do not create the preconditions for independence.
 KAKLAMANIS WILL VISIT STOCKHOLMAthens, 15 November 2001 (16:20 UTC+2)
Greek parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis leaves for Stockholm today to attend the European Union Parliament Presidents Conference that will take place tomorrow and on Saturday.
The main topic will be The Role of State Parliaments in the European Structure, and The Parliaments' Contribution to the Process that Started with the Nice Summit Meeting.
A meeting will be held on Saturday with the Parliament Presidents of the EU candidate-states on The Role of the Parliaments during the EU Accession Negotiations Period.
Mr. Kaklamanis will return to Athens on Sunday afternoon.
 THE CYPRIOT STUDENTS ENDED THEIR HUNGER STRIKEThessaloniki, 15 November 2001 (16:18 UTC+2)
The 48-hour hunger strike held by about 25 Cypriot students, outside the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki in protest to the declaration of the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state by Rauf Denktash 18 years ago, has ended.
The students participating in the hunger strike stressed that Turkey's intransigence must end for a solution to be found to the problem of Cyprus.
Last night, a human chain was formed in the White Tower monument in a show of protest to the continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkey. The events on the occasion of the black anniversary will be completed today with a rally at the Aristotle University campus and a march to the Turkish consulate.
 POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL EVENTS HAVE BEGUNAthens, 15 November 2001 (14:39 UTC+2)
The events of the three-day celebration of Polytechnic School's uprising 28th anniversary started today in Athens and Thessaloniki. From 9am to 9pm the gates to the institution will be open to the public, while on Saturday they will close at 1pm so the customary ceremony, which includes a speech and inviting the dead, can take place.
In Athens, a march to the US Embassy will take place, while in Thessaloniki there will be a gathering and protest towards the US Consulate.
At the Polytechnic School there will be groups of students standing guard so that there are no incidents. As far as police measures are concerned, they are high, with 5000 men stationed in the areas surrounding the Polytechnic School.
 ANCIENT GREEK TREASURES ARE BEING SOLD OUTStrasbourg, 15 November 2001 (19:17 UTC+2)
Greek Euro-deputy Stavros Xarhakos, elected with the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, referred to the illegal trade of priceless ancient Greek and Byzantine treasures from Asia Minor and Cyprus, while presenting the case to the European Commission.
Mr. Xarhakos stated that recent news reports on the Turkish newspapers Milliyet and Hurriyet mentioned that archaeological treasures from Asia Minor dated back to the ancient Greek, Hellenistic and Byzantine times are on sale on the Internet by the Turkish "Kusav" institute. Already, interest for the purchase of the treasures has been expressed by countries such as, the United States, Switzerland, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Also, according to the Hurriyet news report, archaeological findings and Byzantine icons from churches in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus are already in the United States where they were sold illegally.
The Euro-deputy asks the European Commission if it has raised the issue to the Turkish authorities, stressing that the archaeological treasures are being auctioned by institutes that were supposed to protect them. Mr. Xarhakos asks for specific sanctions to be imposed on Turkey which is a candidate for EU accession.