|Monday, 27 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-10-30
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS: MORE JOB POSITIONSAthens, 30 October 2003 (17:17 UTC+2)
A higher employment rate is a top priority policy for the government, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis after today's cabinet meeting that focused on issues concerning unemployment and the creation of more job positions.
He pointed out that since the year 2000 unemployment dropped by 2.2 percentage points and is currently at 8.9%, while employment reached 58% of the active population. The government implements active employment policies and since the year 2000, people were offered a total of 324,000 employment opportunities, 394,000 jobless people were offered special training and 467,000 people were able to upgrade their job training.
New programs concerning 154,000 people will be launched in November, while special measures will be implemented for specific population groups. A total of 25,000 part-time positions will be available in the public sector in the following months, while employers will be offered incentives to hire unemployed women with children.
The government's goals are to bring unemployment down to 6% by the year 2008, for women down to 8% while, at the same time, increase employment on an annual basis by 1.5% (2% for women).
The government has a strategy on employment, stated the Prime Minister and stressed that the increase in the employment rate is associated with the preservation of the high growth rates. Unemployment in Greece follows a steady downward course whereas in the rest European Union it has an upward tendency.
 ANOTHER 3.5 R EARTHQUAKE IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 30 October 2003 (15:08 UTC+2)
A small earthquake, recorded at 3.5 on the Richter scale, took place at 11:05 this morning, its epicenter in the area of Nea Mesimvria, Thessaloniki, and according to specialists, it was an aftershock of the main earthquake that was recorded last night, at 4.7 R in the same are.
The aftershock affected the entire city of Thessaloniki and caused some worries as many Thessaloniki residents spent the night afraid of aftershocks, since the main earthquake took place at 23:15.
According to the statements of seismologist Anastasia Kyratzi tou the Macedonian Press Agency, this morning's quake was the strongest of the aftershocks and she underlined that in these cases aftershocks are to be expected and should not cause concern.
 APPROACH BEFORE THE HIERARCHYAthens, 30 October 2003 (11:19 UTC+2)
Channels of communication are still open between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archbishopric of Greece, a few days before the meeting of the hierarchy, next Monday. Metropolites of Piraeus Kallinikos and of Dimitriada Ignatios, met with the director of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's office in Athens, Metropolite of Pergamos Ioannis, in the presence of former director of Mount Athos, Stavros Psycharis, and substitute director Ar. Kasmiroglou.
 HEALTHY AND BACKThessaloniki, 30 October 2003 (11:20 UTC+2)
The twin baby girls from Thessaloniki that had been born joined at the temple region and underwent a successful separation procedure in Rome, arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday afternoon. The two little girls, arrived with their parents at Macedonia airport at 17:40 on a flight from Athens. The twin sisters were released from the Jemeli hospital in Rome yesterday morning.
 NEW VIOLATIONS OVER THE AEGEAN BY TURKISH FIGHTER JETSAthens, 30 October 2003 (20:20 UTC+2)
Seven formations of Turkish fighter jets made eight violations of the air traffic regulations inside the Athens FIR, which developed into 20 violations of the Greek national airspace over the region of central and eastern Aegean, according to press information.
In all instances, the 18 Turkish fighter jets were identified and intercepted by Greek fighter planes. As it was made known, four of the Turkish jets, identified and intercepted by Greek fighter jets, were armed.
 CHRISTODOULAKIS ON THE EU REPORTAthens, 30 October 2003 (19:22 UTC+2)
Greek Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis referred to the European Commission report in the cabinet meeting today.
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas underlined the government's satisfaction for the fact that the report recognizes that in a difficult time for Europe, when low growth rates are being predicted even an increase in unemployment in some European states, Greece will continue to have high growth rates and create more job positions.
However, Mr. Christodoulakis added that there is disagreement between the speculations made by the government and those made by the European Commission in the calculation of deficit. According to the Finance Minister, the European Commission calculations are not based on correct and precise figures, as there is an underestimation of revenues and an overestimation of spending.
In conclusion, the government spokesman stated that the Greek government believes that the issue will be resolved before the budget is submitted. He also said that the European Commission recognizes the government's speculation that growth rate in 2004 will be at 4% and reminded the criticism the government had received earlier regarding that speculation.
 THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 30 October 2003 (18:47 UTC+2)
Patriarch Petros of Alexandria and All of Africa will be in Thessaloniki in the next few days to attend the scientific symposium on Christian Macedonia. Thessaloniki-Alexandria organized by the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki's Aristotle University and the Foundation on National and Religious Issues within the framework of the cultural events Dimitria 2003.
The goal of the conference is to promote the historical and cultural profile of the two cities, while presenting personalities who strengthened the ties between the cities of Alexandria and Thessaloniki through the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
During his seven-day visit to Greece, the Patriarch of Alexandria will also attend the celebrations held by the Association of Greeks from Egypt on the occasion of the anniversary of its establishment.
 SMALL GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 30 October 2003 (17:19 UTC+2)
Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.38% at 2.115,86 points, in spite of the fact that the volume of transactions was very small until the last minutes of today's session when it skyrocketed from 80 million euros to 541 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 145 recorded gains and 128 had losses, while the value of 108 stocks remained unchanged.
 PREPARING FOR THE STORMAthens, 30 October 2003 (11:20 UTC+2)
An appeal to Districts, Prefectures, and Municipalities to take up increased preparedness measures, in order to deal with possible problems due to the upcoming wave of bad weather, was made by the General Secretariat of Civic Safety. Weather forecasts made mention of major intensification of winds blowing from the south (strong to very strong) and locally in eastern and southern seas (stormy to very stormy). The weather is expected to gradually improve this evening from west to south. The winds will turn to the west and die down.
 BOUCHER: GREECE WILL HOST SECURE OLYMPIC GAMESWashington, 29 October 2003 (21:29 UTC+2)
Greece will host secure and successful Olympic Games, stated US State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher.
He pointed out that Greece works together with several countries, including the United States, to secure the safety of the games.
The US State Department spokesperson also referred to the Greek government's security planning which has progressed.
The statement was made one day after the publicizing of a confidential report by US State Department specialists concerning the risk for a terrorist attack during the 2004 Olympic Games. The report mentioned, among others, that Greece is not prepared to face a large-scale attack by biochemical weapons.