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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-07-09
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SIMITIS ANNOUNCED CHANGES IN THE POLITICAL SYSTEMAthens, 9 July 2003 (16:44 UTC+2)
In statements he made after a long cabinet meeting today, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis announced stricter checks regarding the origin of assets as well as measures concerning Athens Stock Exchange investments by all governing Socialist Party of PASOK Parliament deputies and government ministers in the period 1998-2000.
Also, he announced the extension of the banning concerning stock market transactions to more categories of individuals as well as, changes in the way Parliament deputies are elected and the opening of a dialogue on the electoral system reform.
Mr. Simitis pointed out that there are problems and disfunctions that leave a bitter taste to the people but made it clear that the political world cannot leave suspicions unanswered, while it cannot become prey to vilification and slander.
 THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF A STRIKEThessaloniki, 9 July 2003 (13:54 UTC+2)
The Macedonian Press Agency was offline for more than 10 hours, due to a malfunction in the DEI shunt transformer, which resulted in a whole block in downtown Thessaloniki to have no power. The DEI workers' strike delayed the repairs, thus the MPA's servers came offline.
 DROP IN USE AND AGE OF USERSAthens, 9 July 2003 (14:05 UTC+2)
Deaths due to drugs have decreased by 19% for the first time in Greece in the last decade. This encouraging fact was made known, among others, in the annual presentation of the report on drug use in Greece by the Research Center for Information and Advice on Drugs.
However, an unsettling factor included in the report is that experimenting with drugs begins at a constantly decreasing age. One out of ten 15-year-old students have tried drugs at an average age of experimentation of 12.
According to the report, the state's mobilization has increased as far as prevention is concerned, in fact in primary education, as well as in preschool ages. It is indicative that programmes are being introduced into kindergartens, as it seems that children are experimenting with substances at a younger and younger age.
The major drop in deaths due to drugs is connected to the meeting of a long-standing demand, the increase in methadone programmes.
In the therapeutic sector, the positions in the OKANA programmes were doubled, while expulsions due to relapses dropped by 50%. A great boost to the therapy will also be given by the programmed application of alternative treatment programmes, depending of the needs of each user.
The number of programmes addressed to teenage users has also increased.
According to the report, a considerable improvement was recorded in prisons, with the functioning of the first Detoxification Center for addicted inmates in September 2002, at the prison in Eleonas, Thebes.
In Greece there are 18,000 steady users, while last year there were 259 deaths due to drugs.
 HEAT AND NOISE CAUSE ACCIDENTSThessaloniki, 9 July 2003 (13:55 UTC+2)
Heat, noise and traffic increase the number of traffic accidents in urban centers, according to research carried out by the Supreme Technological Foundation of Thessaloniki (ATEITh). The research revealed that the so-called discomfort factor (the combination of heat, humidity, radiation, speed and wind), is directly related to the number of accidents that occur, while tall buildings in densely constructed areas with narrow roads is also an additional factor.
 THE METROPOLITE OF THESSALONIKI DEPARTED THIS LIFEThessaloniki, 9 July 2003 (20:56 UTC+2)
Metropolite Panteleimon B' of Thessaloniki departed this life at the age of 78.
He suffered a heart failure earlier in the afternoon during his visit to the monastic community of Mount Athos in Chalkidiki, northern Greece.
 ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS VISITED KURDISH REFUGEESAthens, 9 July 2003 (20:32 UTC+2)
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece visited the Cultural Center of Kurdish Refugees yesterday to offer humanitarian aid to the Kurds living in Greece. The aid was collected by the Church of Greece non-governmental organization Solidarity.
The Archbishop stated that he feels the pain and the big problems of the refugees, who were forced to leave their homes and come to Greece looking for a better life.
 KARAMANLIS' STATEMENTS ON SIMITIS' ANNOUNCEMENTSAthens, 9 July 2003 (19:42 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis stated that he is against any changes in the electoral system and in favor of the investigation on the origin of the assets of politicians. He also said that the investigation should start from the post-dictatorship years and should not cover just the 1998-2000 period.
The statements were made in response to the announcements made by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis concerning the changes in the political system.
Mr. Karamanlis also suggested that the Athens Stock Exchange code numbers that belong to Parliament deputies and state officials should be opened.
 PRICELESS BOOK WAS STOLEN FROM THESSALONIKI'S ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITYThessaloniki, 9 July 2003 (19:12 UTC+2)
The theft of a priceless book from the library of Thessaloniki's Aristotle University, AUT, School of Philosophy was reported to police by the institute's authorities, who believe that the thieves are among the anarchists who had taken over the university campus during the protests against the EU Summit meeting in Thessaloniki a month ago.
According to Thessaloniki's newspaper Angelioforos, the stolen book was written by the great Russian archaeologist Kontakov. It is a goldbinded book written in German and published in 1892 by a Frankfurt publishing house. It includes tens of rare colored lithographies and according to specialists, it is valued over 15.000 euros.
The Interpol has been notified as well as all libraries in the world, auction houses and antique traders in all major European cities and the United States.
In statements made to MPA, AUT School of Philosophy dean Mrs. Douka-Kambitoglou stressed that someone had to know that the book was so valuable to become a target but she did not rule out the likelihood to be a chance theft.
Responding to the question why the university authorities had not predicted the likelihood of the removal of valuable objects during the presence of anarchists in the AUT campus, she pointed out that such a take over could not be predicted.
For the record, the School of Philosophy was taken over by self-proclaimed groups of anarchists that belonged to the so-called black block and during their presence in the building they caused extensive damage inside the building, while they also stole computers, DVDs and other scientific equipment and instruments.
 PAPANTONIOU-MAVRONIKOLAS MEETINGAthens, 9 July 2003 (18:16 UTC+2)
Greece takes and will continue to take all necessary measures for the safety of the Cypriot Republic, stressed Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou after the meeting he had with his Cypriot counterpart Kiriakos Mavronikolas in Athens today.
After praising the defense ties between Greece and Cyprus, characterizing them as very strong, Mr. Papantoniou reiterated that Greece backs and cements the security of the Cypriot Republic within the framework of the Joint Defense Doctrine.
On the developments in the Cyprus problem, Mr. Papantoniou referred to the intransigence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Turkish side that led the negotiatoons to a dead end. He added that the rejection of the Annan Plan by the Turkish government and by Mr. Denktash recently, in spite of the strong pressures exerted by the International Community, is not a good sign for the future.
Mr. Papantoniou appeared pessimistic regarding the prospects for the immediate solution of the Cyprus problem due to the fluidity of the situation and the lack of balance between the policy followed by the government and certain other elements of the Turkish political system.
However, he expressed the wish that the pressure exerted on behalf of the international community and the incentive concerning Turkey's EU accession will have a positive effect on the negotiations and a solution will be reached in the end.
Mr. Papantoniou and Mr. Mavronikolas also discussed issues concerning the cooperation between Greece and Cyprus within the framework of the European Policy on Security and Defense and agreed to contribute to the strengtheing of this European defense undertaking.
On his part, the Cypriot Defense Minister stressed that the two sides share the same views on major issues and assured that the National Guard will continue to be strengthened with the assistance of Greece for as long as the Turkish side does not understand the message and needs of the times.
 HOSPITALITY PROGRAM FOR THE CHILDREN OF FORMER YUGOSLAVIAThessaloniki, 9 July 2003 (17:07 UTC+2)
Orphan children from former Yugoslavia are expected to arrive in Thessaloniki tomorrow. The children will stay with Greek families during the summer until August 10.
According to the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the hospitality program is being held with the cooperation of the Greek and the Yugoslav Red Cross.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 9 July 2003 (16:58 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.49% at 1.996,93 points, while the volume of transactions was at 155.3 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 195 recorded gains and 133 had losses, while the value of 49 stocks remained unchanged.
The main characteristic in today's session was the intense fluctuations as a result of a similar climate dominating in the European markets.