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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-07-04
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 NEW GOVERNMENT WOTH FE CHANGESAthens, 4 July 2003 (13:20 UTC+2)
The upgrading of Giorgos Floridis who is taking charge of the Ministry of Public Order, a position held by Michalis Chrysochoidis, the newly elected Secretary of PASOK's Central Committee, the appointment of Ch. Kastanidis as Minister, after 5 years, at the Ministry of Madeconia-Thrace, the movement of Giorgos Paschalidis to the Ministry of the Merchant Marine, and the entrance of N. Bistis and V. Kondogiannopoulos to the government as deputy Ministers of the Interior and of Health correspondingly, as well as the appointment of PASOK MPs as deputy Ministers, are the changes in the new governmental structure. The new Ministers will be sworn in on Monday and then Prime Minister Simitis will give the directions of the new government.
 REACTIONS OF THE OPPOSITIONAthens, 4 July 2003 (09:03 UTC+2)
The only clean solution are elections, repeated ND Press Spokesperson Th. Roussopoulos. To overturn the image of the old we need a renewal in faces, faces with freshness, new ideas and directions said Mr. Simitis today. We would like to add: It needs an ND government, stated Mr. Roussopoulos. PASOK is facing a political and identity crisis. This crisis can be neither confronted with theatrical movements nor with old school leadership demonstrations, stressed the President of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Constantopoulos.
 THE GLOBAL MISSION OF MACEDONIAN HELLENISMBoston, 4 July 2003 (11:54 UTC+2)
The need, instead of defense on the Macedonian issue, for the organizations of Macedonian Hellenism to continue their global mission, as Greeks and as Macedonians, carrying on as beacons lighting the world, was underlined by Macedonian Archbishop of America Mr. Dimitrios, in a speech at the opening of the 57th National Conference of the Panmacedonian Association of America, being held in Boston. He called the participants not to defend and concentrate on FYROM, but instead to hold the battle is such a way that it keeps their great path open: Greek, Orthodox and Macedonian. The works of the Conference were opened with the Greek and American national anthems, while then, Archbishop of America Mr. Dimitrios and Metropolite of Boston Mr. Methodios blessed the conference and its works.
The honorary presidency of the 57th Conference consisted of the Archbishop of America, the Greek Ambassador to the US, Pan. Savvidis, the Metropolite of Boston, the Consul General in Boston, Costas Bikas, as well as other officials and local government figures from Macedonia and the US.
Transferring the warm greeting of the Greek government to Macedonians in the US, the Greek Ambassador praised the struggles of the Panmacedonian on informing the US political leadership of Greece's national issues, with the latest result being the resolution adopted by 11 states in favor of Greek positions on the Macedonian issue and he stressed that the situation created in the Balkans over the last 15 years, has brought Macedonia and Macedonians back to the forefront of works for cultural, financial and every kind of cooperation with their neighbors.
 CONSTITUTIONAL INCOMPATIBILITY CONFIRMEDAthens, 4 July 2003 (09:19 UTC+2)
ND MP and attorney Alexandros Lykourezos lost his parliamentary seat due to the incompatibility act. The electoral court ruled in favor of the objection of a constituent, with 8 votes in favor and 3 votes against, and Mr. Lykourezos lost his position. Maro Kontou will replace Mr. Lykourezos. The application of complete incompatibility also led PASOK MP Th. Askitis to resign.
 AN AHEPA DELEGATION VISITED KAKLAMANISAthens, 4 July 2003 (19:26 UTC+2)
The Greek people have friendly feelings toward the American people, as millions of Greek-Americans constitute part of the American society. The negative feelings are being caused often by the policy followed by the US governments, like in the case of the junta and the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus which continues with US weapons in spite of a US Congress ban. The above were stated by Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, who met with a six-member AHEPA delegation headed by the organization's Supreme President James Dimitriou.
Mr. Kaklamanis also stated that the cancellation of two AHEPA conferences scheduled to take place in Greece was a mistake, stressing that Greece was the victim of terrorism and of those who exploit it in the US to blackmail Greece and hurt its tourism.
Mr. Kaklamanis explained that Greece wants the US to do something at last for the solution of the Cyprus problem by pressuring the Turkish government, just like it did in the case of the Middle East where it pressures Sharon.
The Greek Parliament President stated that the AHEPANs are a good bridge of friendship and cooperation between the Greek and the American people, between the two countries and their governments.
On his part, Mr. Dimitriou stated that he shares the Greek Parliament President views and briefed him on the organization's reaction to the negative propaganda targeting Greece. He referred to the thousands of AHEPANs who will offer volunteer work in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and recognized the true value of an AHEPA Conference held in Greece, while he invited Mr. Kaklamanis to visit the United States.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 4 July 2003 (18:24 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.28% at 1.946,70 points, while the volume of transactions was at 115.9 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 163 recorded gains and 148 had losses, while the value of 65 stocks remained unchanged.
 PAPAGEORGOPOULOS: THE GOVERNMENT IS UNABLE TO DEFEND THE NAME OF MACEDONIAThessaloniki, 4 July 2003 (17:58 UTC+2)
An appeal to the government to exercise every diplomatic pressure possible on FYROM to straighten out the issue concerning the country's name, was issued by Thessaloniki Mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos. Mr. Papageorgopoulos expressed surprise over the recent signing of a bilateral agreement between the United States and FYROM using the name Macedonia instead of FYROM.
The Mayor of Thessaloniki called on the international community to realize that such agreements, which in essence recognize FYROM under the name Macedonia, are an insult to the Greek people and create major issues in Greece's relations with other countries.
Regarding the US-FYROM agreement, he stressed that it is a provocation for every Greek conscience and it is an insult to the Greek history and the efforts of the Greeks living abroad aimed at averting the forging of the name of Macedonia. It is also an insult to the UN itself given its known decisions on FYROM.
The issue of the FYROM name is very well-known in the United States as the negotiations within the UN continue silently. The agreement signed with FYROM proves the weakness of the Greek foreign policy not only in solving the dispute on the FYROM name but in affecting developments at an international level as well, said Mr. Papageorgopoulos. The Mayor of Thessaloniki reminded that a few days ago the Greek Prime Minister had met with the US President, under his authority as the European Council President, and the US-FYROM agreement was signed immediately afterwards.
 REACTIONS ON THE RESHUFFLE - LALIOTIS' RESPONSE TO MILLERAthens, 4 July 2003 (17:23 UTC+2)
The reactions to the government reshuffle that was announced today were numerous.
The most characteristic of all was that of former PASOK Central Committee Secretary Kostas Laliotis. Mr. Laliotis avoided to comment on the reshuffle but he commented on the statement made by US ambassador Thomas Miller. Mr. Miller had said that the references, made yesterday by Mr. Laliotis in his speech before PASOK's Central Committee regarding interventions made by him, were ridiculous. Mr. Laliotis commented by saying that what Mr. Miller said is characteristic of him.
In PASOK, several Parliament deputies, who were not given a place in the new government, avoided to make any comments, while most of them pointed out that everything will be judged based on the outcome.
However, many Parliament deputies of the governing party in private talks they had with reporters spoke of a conventional reshuffle that was incommensurate to the changes recorded within the party.
In the camp of the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, the demand for early elections was repeated, while the reshuffle was characterized as a recycling of failed individuals.
 FLAMING OBJECT CAUSES ALARMIoannina, 4 July 2003 (16:19 UTC+2)
A big flaming object was spotted in the sky by residents of the Zagorochoria villages in the prefecture of Ioannina, northwestern Greece, the island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, the city of Kavala in northeastern Greece and other regions in Greece, while the unidentified object was also visible in Albania.
People from Zagorochoria called the Fire Department and stated that the flaming object had landed between the villages of Doliani and Kastanonas.
However, the firemen from the Ioannina Fire Department were unable to trace the object in the region, while there were no reports of a fire. It is believed that it was either a meteorite or a part of a satellite station.
 THE GOVERNMENT'S STRUCTUREAthens, 4 July 2003 (16:15 UTC+2)
The new governmental structure was announced this afternoon with no great surprises by Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas. The same individuals will remain in the main political ministries, while new individuals were appointed as deputy Ministers.
In his introductory intervention, Mr. Protopapas stressed that the government was reshuffled so that it would be more efficient without wasting any time. After the Presidency, the government must deal with pending problems swiftly with no adjustment period, said Mr. Protopapas, while he made it known that the Prime Minister will refer to the procedures for a more effective promotion of the government's work at the Cabinet Meeting on Monday. The new ministers and deputy ministers will be sworn in at 11am on Monday.
The new government:
Minister of Economy and Finance: Nikos Christodoulakis
Deputy Ministers: Christos Pachtas, Apostoslos Fotiadis, Nikos Farmakis
Foreign Minister: Giorgos Papandreou
Alternate Minister: Anastasios Giannitsis
Deputy Ministers: Andreas Loverdos, Giannis Magriotis
Minister of National Defense: Giannos Papantoniou
Deputy Ministers: Thodoros Kotsonis, Lazaros Lotidis
Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization: Costas Skandalidis
Deputy Ministers: Lambros Papadimas, Nikos Bistis
Minister of Development: Akis Tsochatzopoulos
Deputy Ministers: Kimon Koulouris, Alexandros Kalafatis, Dimitrios Georgakopoulos
Minister of the Environment, Planning and Public Works: Vaso Papandreou
Deputy Ministers: Rodoula Zisi, Ioannis Tsaklidis
Minister of National Education and Religion: Petros Efthymiou
Deputy Minister: Nikos Gesoulis, Georgios Thomas
Minister of Labor and Social Welfare: Dimitris Reppas
Deputy Ministers: Rovertos Spyropoulos, Eleftherios Jiolas
Minister of Healthcare: Costas Stefanis
Deputy Ministers: Ector Nasiokas, Elpida Tsouri, Vassilis Kodogiannopoulos
Minister of Agriculture: Giorgos Drys
Deputy Ministers: Evaggelos Argyris, Fotis Chatzimichalis
Minister of Justice: Philipos Petsalnikos
Minister of Culture: Evaggelos Venizelos
Deputy Ministers: Giorgos Lianis, Athanasios Alevras
Minister of Transports and Communications: Christos Verelis
Deputy Minister: Manolis Stratakis
Minister of Public Order: Giorgos Floridis
Deputy Minister: Pantelis Tsertikidis
Minister of the Merchant Marine: Giorgos Paschalidis
Minister of the Press and the Media: Christos Protopapas
Deputy Minister: Tilemachos Chytiris
Minister of Macedonia-Thrace: Haris Kastanidis
Minister of the Aegean: Nikos Sifounakis
Minister of the State: Alexandros Akrivakis
 WAITING FOR THE RESHUFFLEAthens, 4 July 2003 (12:15 UTC+2)
After the completion of the procedures in the interior of PASOK and the election of a new Secretary of the Central Committee and the party's Executive Office, political interest is focused on the changes to be decided on by Prime Minister Simitis as far as the composition of the new governmental form is concerned.
The Prime Minister has already started studying the new governmental composition, while as was made evident from the last 24 hours, he is prepared to move to radical changes.
According to journalistic sources, a reshuffle is expected to be announced today.
In his speech yesterday, Mr. Simitis made his intentions clear regarding certain sectors and the changes at a governmental and social level. He also referred to MPs who have been in Parliament for 20 years, who have been PASOK Prefecture Council secretaries for the past 10 years and MPs who have not spoken once in their three years in Parliament, while he underlined that all those who do not believe in unity and victory could stay behind.
Michalis Chrysochoidis was elected Secretary of the Central Committee with 118 for, 50 blank and 9 null votes, in the position of Costas Laliotis, who resigned. The new Executive Office is expected to meet in the next few days in order to map out an action plan until the elections.
Meanwhile, former Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis, despite agreeing with the Prime Minister's decisions, he disagreed with it being an obstacle in the strategy for victory of and renewal for the party. He also expressed his wish not to run in the Piraeus II district in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, rather he would like to be on the honorary 12th position of the State ballot, pointing out, however, that he will remain an MP until the next elections and that he would work for a victorious PASOK.
 FLIGHTS TO RUN SMOOTHLYStrasbourg, 4 July 2003 (11:54 UTC+2)
The European Council is attempting to end discomfort to airline passengers due to overbooking, flight cancellations and delays, with the approval of the report of Italian EPP EuroMP J. Lizi.
The report was approved by the vast majority of the Plenary session and is essentially a second reading of the position of the European Parliament regarding the common position adopted by the Council of Ministers on the specific issue.
The specific regulation refers to the institution of new laws, common and strict rules for the reimbursement of commercial airline passengers and the provision of assistance to them in three cases: denial to board (due to overbooking), cancellations or long delays of flights. The existing regulation (EEC) 295/91 foresees only the possibility of choosing a different flight or having the value of the ticket returned to individuals who were denied boarding. Existing passenger protection was completely inadequate, as it did not foresee the possibility of further monetary reimbursement apart from the ticket price and did not cover cancellations and long flight delays.
Specifically, if a flight has been overbooked, passengers left without a seat will be entitled to: monetary damages, a choice between choosing a different flight and having the value of the ticket repaid to them, assistance while they waits (free meals, hotel lodgings, etc.). Similar options will be available in case a flight is cancelled unless the cancellation was due to conditions that could not be foreseen by the airline. Passengers are also entitled to reimbursement for long delays, depending on how far they were traveling.
Greek EuroMP for ND Costis Chatzidakis, parliamentary spokesperson for the EPP on transportation issues, stated at the Plenary session: We have a duty to protect airline passengers from phenomena which we are all unfortunately acquainted with all too well. The European Union must at last institute rules satisfying passengers who learn that they cannot travel at the very last moment, even though they have a ticket. It is obvious that only damages or their threat can end the malpractices of the past. This regulation is an important step in the right directions.
 57TH PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA CONFERENCEBoston, 4 July 2003 (19:54 UTC+2)
The proceedings of the 57th Pan-Macedonian Association of America Conference continued in Boston, Massachusetts today with speeches by the delegates, report readings and a presentation of the new Museum of the Acropolis by professor Dimitris Pantermalis.
The conference will be completed tomorrow with the election of a new Supreme Council.
The main issue, for most of the speeches delivered, was the effort concerning the active participation of the young Macedonians in organizations that are members of the Pan-Macedonian Association.
Regarding the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the delegates expressed the certainty that they will be very successful.
 PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA TO PRESIDENT BUSH: YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE INCREASE OF ANTI-AMERICANISMBoston, 3 July 2003 (21:25 UTC+2)
The Supreme Council of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America expressed deep disappointment over the US government move to sign an agreement with FYROM on the International Criminal Court using the name Macedonia instead of FYROM. The above are stressed, among others, in a letter sent to US President Bush by the Supreme Council of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America.
It is stressed that the signature placed by the United States on the agreement text is void and illegal as there is no country in the world under that name except from the UN recognized Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM. It is also emphasized that this US government move is in total conflict with the US interests and helps spread anti-Americanism.
The letter was also addressed to US Secretary of State Colin Powell and the permanent US delegation to the United Nations.