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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-10-03
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 AIMING AT GROWTHAthens, 3 October 2003 (11:21 UTC+2)
The new budget approved by the Cabinet will be submitted to Parliament on Monday. The Minister of Finances Nikos Christodoulakis, stressed that their goal is a growth of 4.2% and a decrease in unemployment to 8%. The plan also includes the government's social package, worth 1.7 billion euro, while increase in funding is foreseen for the Ministries of Health, Education, the Interior and the Aegean. Civil servant average wage increases is 5.4%. The Greek Workers' Union will ask for a 6% increase during the negotiation of the new collective contract. There are mobilizations for higher raises by the Civil Servants Union.
 STATE DEPT: GREEK MEDIA NOT OBJECTIVEWashington, 3 October 2003 (11:58 UTC+2)
The US State Department accused the Greek media of a lack of objectivity. It supported that the Greek media are a great means of influence, they are characterized by aggressiveness, irresponsibility and an effort to make an impression. Also, the Ministry of the Press is presented as the main guide and controller of radio and television media.
In their regular announcement on Greece, the State Department mentioned that the Greek media are not objective and are characterized by irresponsibility. On the page regarding the media it is mentioned that: The Greek media are an institution of influence, usually aggressively sensitized and often irresponsible. Their objectivity, as we know it in the United States, does not exist in Greece. Most are owned by businessmen with immense business interests in many sectors of the economy. They use their newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, for the promotion of their businesses, as well as exercising political influence.
It then deals with the Ministry of Press and Information, which it states was founded in 1994 and that governs the Athens News Agency, state television, and the Macedonian Press Agency, whose press release is distributed to the whole of the Balkans. Major television channels, private and public, it continued, use CNN as their main source regarding international news. Very few channels and newspapers have correspondents abroad, including in the US.
 VPRC FINDS GAP AT 7.7%Athens, 3 October 2003 (11:21 UTC+2)
The distance between New Democracy and PASOK was found to be 7.7% by the opinion poll of the VPRC company published in the Kathimerini. Third position is taken by the KKE, followed by the Coalition of the Left, LAOS and DIKKI. Mr. Simitis is ahead of Mr. Karamanlis as best for Prime Minister and ND is a head of PASOK as a probable winner. The poll was completed after the presentation of the government's social package.
 AGRICULTURALIST ORDERED BACK TO WORKPolygyros, 3 October 2003 (14:08 UTC+2)
Orders for all agriculturalists and veterinarians of the Chalkidiki Prefecture who are continuing their strike, to return to their duties, was issued by Prefect Argyris Lafazanis. If they do not return to their duties they will be brought up on disciplinary charges.
Speaking to Flash radio this morning, the Chalkidiki Prefect supported that the strike of the civil agriculturalists and veterinarians has created serious problems to the market, and that they must return to their duties.
This is not a normal strike. It is what they call a white strike or strike measures. They only declare a normal strike over the weekend, when it has no effect on finances. During the week however, when the slaughterhouses need them, they do not strike, they are at work, but are not working and want to be paid, mentioned Mr. Lafazanis.
This is a union patent applied in some cases, which I find unacceptable, said the Chalkidiki Prefect.
 GERMAN AIRCRAFT WAS PULLED UP FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA NEAR LEROSAthens, 3 October 2003 (18:25 UTC+2)
A Junkers 52 German transport plane shot down during WWII, was pulled up from the bottom of the sea near the Aegean island of Leros today.
The salvage operation was undertaken by the Greek Air Force and the aircraft was found to be in a relatively good condition given the fact that it remained at the bottom of the sea for a total of 60 years. It will be taken to Leros to be cleaned up and become one of the exhibits in the island's war museum.
A human skeleton was found inside the aircraft and the German Embassy in Athens was notified of the finding.
 PROTOPAPAS ON THE US STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTAthens, 3 October 2003 (18:03 UTC+2)
The US State Department report, in which the terrorist groups 17 November and Revolutionary Cells are on the list with the terrorist groups that are still active around the world, was obviously not updated, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas responding to a relevant question by a reporter, pointing out that the latest developments were not taken under consideration due to bureaucratic reasons.
Mr. Protopapas reminded the positive comments made by US officials on the good cooperation between the US and Greece on issues concerning the combating of terrorism.
The government spokesman stated that the text in question repeats last year's findings. He also cited relevant statements made by US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, which do not move on the same direction.
Regarding the bulletin concerning Greece, which is attached to the US State Department report and refers to the state-run mass media as being steered, the government spokesman stressed that obviously the authors of the text in question are ignorant of the European reality. He said that across Europe there is a strong state television and big steps have been made toward objective information and polyphony. In Europe and in Greece we have and will have a strong state television regardless of whether the Americans realize it or not, concluded Mr. Protopapas.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 3 October 2003 (17:22 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.80% at 2.089,90 points, while the volume of transactions was at 114.2 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 311 recorded gains and 27 had losses, while the value of 20 stocks remained unchanged. No transactions were recorded for 22 stocks.
 MEETING ON THE LOCAL ADMINISTRATION ORGANIZATIONS IN GREECE AND THE CZECH REPUBLICThessaloniki, 3 October 2003 (17:19 UTC+2)
The problems faced by the Local Administration Organizations, OTA, in Greece and the Czech Republic and the prospects for their development are the main issues discussed in the International Conference taking place in Prague.
The participants will focus on the EU credit organizations, tourist promotion and cultural development, as well as inter-state agreements between the two countries.
A delegation of the Prefecture of Iraklion, Crete will participate in the International Conference organized by the European Organization for Strategic Planning.
 RUSSIAN-GREEK CONFERENCE ON THE 175 YEARS OF BILATERAL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONSThessaloniki, 3 October 2003 (17:15 UTC+2)
A Russian-Greek Conference will take place in Corfu, Spetses, Siros and Piraeus on October 16-25 aimed at strengthening the ties between Greece and Russia on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Russian politicians, businessmen, representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defense and representatives of Orthodox Christian monasteries will attend the conference.
The conference is organized by the Russian Duma, the magazine Russian Businessman and the Russian Embassy in Athens.
 TSOCHATZOPOULOS COMMENTS ON POLLSAthens, 3 October 2003 (15:39 UTC+2)
His appreciation that the gap between PASOK and ND was expressed by Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos in statements he made regarding the V-PRC poll. However, he pointed out that the polls show that there is still a long way ahead of the government.
In fact, we never hoped or said that the atmosphere would change radically because we made some decisions. The atmosphere will change because already, gradually, the basis of a steady course of application of PASOK's strategy, said the Minister, who stressed that PASOK must make citizens understand that this strategic proposal of social and financial development is being materialized.
Meanwhile, honorary President of New Democracy Konstantinos Mitsotakis stated that there are no more comments required. The issue is clear. ND's distance is irreversible. PASOK has lost the elections. What we have to discuss now, is why, despite all this, Mr. Simitis insists on damaging and hurting our country by dragging on an electoral period that will benefit him in any way? If elections are held in Spring, things will be even worse for PASOK.
 GREECE AIMING AT 20 MILLION TOURISTS BY 2010Athens, 3 October 2003 (15:08 UTC+2)
An increase in the number of visitors to Greece to 20 million by 2010, in contrast to 13.5 million last year, as well as the participation of tourism in the GDP at above 3 points within the same timeline, is the goal of the government, according to Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
Upon leaving the Maximos Mansion after the meeting he had on tourism with Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis and other government officials, presided over by Prime Minister Simitis, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos announced that a Ministerial Committee will convene next week, to which the Ministry of Development will submit a new policy for the course of development of Greek tourism.
The ambition of the government, as it was expressed by Mr. Tsochatzopoulos, is to promote tourism as the main financial contributor of Greece's financial and social development.
We foresee that based on the materialization of completed proposals, the processing of which will be carried out by a large number of Ministries, that we will form conditions of regional development for Greece, so that the goals of real convergence for the Greek periphery (financial, social, environmental) are clear and specific, pointed out the Minister of Development.
He also stressed that the government has set certain qualitative and quantitative goals to achieve in the near future. Both the public and the private sector are called to play an important role in this plan.
Fewer tourists from the EU More from the Balkans
The number of tourists that arrived in Greece last year noted a small increase of 1.6% according to today's announcement of the National Statistic Agency. Although Greece attracted more tourists from the whole of Europe and the Balkans, it seems that it lost a small portion of its tourist traffic from EU member states.
Tourists arriving from Europe in general increased by 1.1%(13,236,510), however tourists from the EU decreased by 1.8%, with 9,637, 540 people.
The UK and Germany are still the countries with the greatest participation in tourism in Greece. Specifically, 2,858,360 arrived from the UK (20.2% of the total), while German tourists reached 2,510,849 (17.7% of overall arrivals).
 20 EKO GAS STATIONS IN ALBANIATirana, 3 October 2003 (14:35 UTC+2)
EKO gas stations have increased to 20 in Albania, as the Greek fuel company inaugurated a new station in Premeti, in the southern region of Greece's neighboring country. The creation of a network of gas stations in Albania, which will continue, in the near future is part of the investment program of Hellenic Petroleum's (ELPE SA) specific branch, of a total cost of 38 million euro.
In fact, the construction of a fuel delivery terminal was completed recently in the framework of that program. At the same time, ELPE's operational program in Albania foresees investments in the research and utilization of carbohydrates, as well as in other energy sectors, such as that of natural gas and electricity.
 STATE DEPT. GREEK TERRORIST LISTWashington, 3 October 2003 (11:58 UTC+2)
17 November and the Revolutionary Cores are included in the State Department's list of 36 groups it considers terrorist organizations, based on US legislature.
The announcement mentioned that the US government retains the right to act against specific organizations and refuse visas to their members, it is illegal for individuals within the US to offer them material support, while it forces US banks and credit institutions to freeze the assets belonging to organizations on the list.
The last such announcement of the State Department ended on October 3.