|Thursday, 14 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-12
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SIDE EFFECTS OF HELICOPTER CRASHAthens, 12 February 2003 (12:50 UTC+2)
Nighttime patient helicopter transfers have been temporarily stopped, as was announced by the Minister of Health in an emergency press conference.
A the same time he stressed that the Ministries of Health, National Defense, Transportations and the Merchant Marine, will ask for the help of a specialized international organization to plan a safe program for the transportation of patients from the islands.
According to Mr. Stefanis, the contract between EKAV (National Center for Immediate Assistance) and Helitalia ends in October and will not be renewed. The administration of aviation means will be assigned to another body. The Minister repeated his sorrow for the helicopter crash and committed himself to the full investigation of the case.
Finally, Mr. Stefanis explained that the means of air transportation of patients from remote areas will be reinforced with the assistance of the Ministry of National Defense and the Merchant Marine, as well as Olympic Airways.
Accidents had been foreseen
The immediate interruption of EKAV air transportation had been requested by the Head of the accident prevention sector of Center, Professor Giannis Papadopoulos, in a confidential document to the EKAV administration, dated June 23,2002.
In the document discovered by NET television, Mr. Papadopoulos pointed out that the air transportation system suffers from an inappropriate attitude, there is no instituted and specific personnel check, while the degree to which air transportation is required is not looked into.
There are still no results in the searches being carried out for the hull of the Augusta Bell type helicopter, or of the four crew members. EKAV personnel are carrying out a strike from 9am to 2pm today, and stated that they will no longer escort patients during nighttime transfers, aiming at creating a state body for air transportation means. A general assembly has also been planned, in honor of their colleagues.
 REVEWING BUDGETSAthens, 12 February 2003 (11:21 UTC+2)
New revisions on the functioning of Athens during the Olympic Games were announced by the Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos, who made it clear that if there is a deficit due to additional necessary changes for the games, it will be covered either by the Public sector or from other sources of income of ATHENS 2004, while he made it known that both budgets for the Games are being reviewed and he underlined that criticism on the expenses of the Olympic works are unfair, harsh and humiliating for Greece. So far, the budget has been overstepped by 100 million euro, and efforts are being made so that the state budget does not exceed 4.6 billion euro.
 INCOMPATIBLE CONFRONTATIONAthens, 12 February 2003 (11:19 UTC+2)
The Parliament is expected to vote on revisions for the bill concerning the incompatibility of working in another profession while holding the position of MP, which will be voted against by the Opposition. ND is categorically against this bill and the Left made mention of a Parliament depending on personal interests. You are not facing the government, you are facing article 57, stated Minister of the Interior, K. Scandalidis.
 DECLARATION BY THE PRESIDENCY ON BEHALF OF THE EU ON TOGOAthens, 12 February 2003 (19:25 UTC+2)
The EU notes the decision of the Togolese National Assembly on 30 December 2002, to approve amendments to article 59 of the Togolese Constitution and the relevance of this decision to the forthcoming presidential elections in June.
Recalling its declarations on previous electoral processes in this country, the EU calls on all parties to resume the political dialogue with the objective to agree an electoral framework acceptable to all.
The EU furthermore urges the Togolese Authorities to ensure that the forthcoming presidential elections are held in a free, fair and transparent manner, which promotes the democratic process in Togo, in accordance with the spirit of the Lomé Framework Agreement.
The EU is willing to support the electoral preparations in Togo, provided that a broad based agreement between the political forces has been reached on the conditions for democratic elections.
The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.
 GREEK EU PRESIDENCY APPEAL FOR UNITY TO THE "15" ON THE ISSUE OF IRAQAthens, 12 February 2003 (19:12 UTC+2)
The Greek EU Presidency issued an appeal for unity to the EU member states on the issue of Iraq. The appeal was made through Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis in view of the extraordinary Summit meeting of the 15 to take place in Brussels next Monday.
Mr. Beglitis stressed that the goal for Monday's meeting is the EU to send a message of unity and common will in this crucial time for the Iraqi problem. He also warned that in case the 15 are unable to adopt a common stance, the EU will enter a deep crisis in a period when the debate on its institutional development is underway.
The Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman categorically ruled out the likelihood to send Greek forces to Turkey in case of a military attack on Iraq, stressing that the Greek EU Presidency is firm in its effort to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Mr. Beglitis clarified that Greece is politically in favor of the activation of the collective solidarity mechanism within the framework of NATO but it will not send troops or weapons systems to Turkey for the defense of the neighboring country in the case of a war in Iraq.
Greece will not participate in the deployment of troops and weapons systems in Turkey, neither in the case of a unanimous NATO decision nor in the case of a bilateral initiative by NATO member states, stressed the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman.
 THE EU TROIKA MEETING WITH CHINA IS POSTPONEDAthens, 12 February 2003 (18:17 UTC+2)
The Ministerial Troika Meeting between the EU and P.R. China scheduled to take place in Beijing on February 14th 2003, will be postponed due to the fact that the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Mr. Tang Jianxuan will attend the United Nations Security Council to be convened on that date in New York, in order to discuss the Iraqi issue.
Greek Foreign Minister and EU Council of Ministers President Giorgos Papandreou will also attend the UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Iraq.
 YIANNITSIS-PRODI MEETINGAthens, 12 February 2003 (17:47 UTC+2)
The preparations for the EU Spring Summit meeting and the Greek EU Presidency initiative for the EU leaders' meeting on the issue of Iraq, were discussed in the meeting of Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis with European Commission President Romano Prodi in Strasbourg today.
Regarding the EU Spring Summit meeting, they discussed the preparation steps that need to be made for a successful outcome. They also pointed out that in this difficult economic conjunction it is important that the European leaders will send to all European citizens the right messages of optimism and progress on hard issues like, employment, viable development and competitiveness.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 12 February 2003 (16:48 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange general index followed a downward course today. The general index dropped to -0.68% at 1.677,32 points, while the volume of transactions was at 40.7 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, only 52 recorded gains, while the overwhelming majority of 255 had losses and the value of 64 stocks remained unchanged.
 SIMITIS-PAPANDREOU MEETINGAthens, 12 February 2003 (16:39 UTC+2)
The hope that a common strategy and tactic will be formed in the European Council meeting in Brussels on Monday, concerning the next European Union moves in the issue of Iraq, was expressed by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou after the meeting he had with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.
Except from the Informal Summit Meeting preparations, they also discussed the developments in Cyprus and the imminent visit of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Athens.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Papandreou stated that on Sunday, February 16 he will have the opportunity to meet in Cairo with the Foreign Ministers of the Arab countries. In the meeting, the EU will confirm its cooperation with the Arab states in an effort to defuse the crisis through peaceful means, strengthen the joint message to Iraq and discuss the Middle East problem.
 PAPANDREOU LETTER TO HIS TURKISH COUNTERPARTAthens, 12 February 2003 (16:01 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart Yasar Yakis calling him to negotiations on the security aspect in Cyprus in accordance with the Annan Plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
According to Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, Mr. Papandreou points out in his letter that the negotiations should get underway as soon as possible, probably next week, and suggests the talks to take place in Athens and Ankara at Foreign Ministry General Secretaries' level.
In the talks will participate military specialists and a UN Secretary General representative.
 EU PRESIDENCY DECLARATION ON THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN COLOMBIAAthens, 12 February 2003 (15:30 UTC+2)
The EU strongly condemns the bloody terrorist attack that took place on Friday, February 7 at the club El Nogal in Bogota, Colombia killing 34 people and injuring over 160.
The EU expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and its full solidarity to the people and government of Colombia in these difficult moments.
The EU applauds the rally for life and liberty held by the citizens of Bogota on Saturday, February 8. It calls on all Colombians to unite their voices against terrorism and drug trafficking and in defense of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.
The EU expresses its full support to democracy in Colombia and the active engagement of the government of President Uribe to establish the rule of law throughout the country, including the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. This common fight requires as well a regional effort and the concerted and continued assistance of Colombia's neighboring countries.
Colombia is not alone in its fight against terrorism. It is a common fight of all free and democratic nations against violence and intolerance. The international community will continue to demonstrate its solidarity to the victims of such criminal acts, as in the case of the people of Colombia, together with its endeavors to completely eradicate the scourge of terrorism.
The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.
 FIRE CAUSED SERIOUS DAMAGE TO A PRINCE'S ISLANDS CHURCHIstanbul, 12 February 2003 (17:10 UTC+2)
A fire that broke out at midnight caused serious damage to the historical Church of Panagia in Istanbul's Prince's Islands. According to information, the fire was caused by a stove that overturned in the third floor guest house.
The Prince's Islands Fire Department was unable to put out the fire that spread to the archive room and the ground floor of the building and asked for help from the Umranije Fire Department. The fire was put out after two hours. According to information, the fire damaged historical documents and pictures kept in the archives, while the building itself suffered serious material damage.