|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-11-18
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 FORECASTING DEVELOPMENTAthens, 18 November 2003 (09:11 UTC+2)
Developmental, stabilizing and social were the characterizations given to the 2004 budget by Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, who pointed out that the final proposal, being submitted to Parliament today, does not have any changes from the draft. The goals of the budget are almost identical to those set in the draft, with no deviation as far as the need for stability and the emphasis given on development in 2004 is concerned, as it was in 2003, said Mr. Christodoulakis, while the European Commission accepted the fact that there may have been mistaken estimates in the data on the Greek economy.
 WARNING TO TIRANAAthens, 18 November 2003 (09:19 UTC+2)
The behavior of the Nano government and the Albanian authorities has created concern regarding his real goals and proved that there is a significant shortage in democratic standards, in a country that wishes to become a member of the EU, stated Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, regarding the serious incidents that took place in the repeat municipal elections in Chimarra. The Human Rights' Party made accusations of tampering with the ballots, while it accused the Socialist Party of violent actions.
 STEPHANOPOULOS-MESIC MEETINGAthens, 18 November 2003 (20:53 UTC+2)
Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos reiterated Greece's support to Croatia's prospect for EU and NATO membership in the meeting he had with his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic, who is on a three-day visit to Greece.
Mr. Stephanopoulos received Mr. Mesic at the Presidential Building and discussed issues concerning bilateral relations, the situation in the Balkans and the European prospect of Croatia. Mr. Stephanopoulos referred to the efforts for the improvement of relations between Croatia and Serbia.
Mr. Mesic thanked Greece for its support to the EU enlargement and pledged that his country will continue the effort for its harmonization with the EU legislation. The Croatian President, referring to the war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, stated that his country in cooperation with the International Tribunal in The Hague on former Yugoslavia seeks the arrest and punishment of those responsible.
Mr. Mesic will meet tomorrow with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and later he will visit the Foreign Ministry to sign the Declaration of Personalities supporting the Olympic Truce idea.
 THE CABINET APPROVED THE 2004 STATE BUDGETAthens, 18 November 2003 (18:48 UTC+2)
The cabinet approved the 2004 state budget to be presented in Parliament later today.
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis stressed that the opposition in view of the parliamentary elections will attempt to create a climate of insecurity regarding the economy and the state budget to back its position according to which, the economy is not going well. Mr. Simitis stated that as an answer to the opposition an emphasis is going to be given to the real picture promoting the positive climate and the trust in the economy.
Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis addressing the cabinet pointed out that the 2004 state budget is a step made after a long effort to overturn the latest trend according to which, development in Greece has an expiration date marked by the Olympic Games.
According to the new state budget, the growth rate will be at 4.2% instead of 4% in 2003, unemployment will drop to 8% from 9% it is today, and the workers' real income will be increased by 3.4%. Also, inflation is estimated to be at 2.5% in 2004 from 3% it was predicted for 2003.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 18 November 2003 (17:25 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index had marginal losses and dropped to -0.05% at 2.131,47 points, while the volume of transactions was high at 257 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 169 had gains and 125 recorded losses, while the value of 95 stocks remained unchanged.
 NEW ROUND OF GREEK-TURKISH EXPLORATORY CONTACTSAthens, 18 November 2003 (17:23 UTC+2)
The 19th round of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey takes place in Athens today.
Greece and Turkey will be represented in the contacts by Foreign Ministry General Secretaries, ambassadors Anastasios Skopelitis and Ugur Ziyal, respectively.
 THE FIRST ORTHODOX CHURCH OPENS IN CUBA ON JANUARY 25, 2004Thessaloniki, 18 November 2003 (17:21 UTC+2)
The first Orthodox Christian church dedicated to Saint Nikolaos, will open in Havana, Cuba on January 25, 2004, 44 years after the Cuban revolution in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
The construction of the church, which was founded on January 10, 2002 at a UNESCO property, was entirely funded by the Cuban government.
Archimandrite Timotheos from the Metropolis of Panama, who is of Cuban origin, stated that the Mayor of Havana citing Fidel Castro's views had said that Havana in order to be a historic city should have an Orthodox church because Orthodoxy is the womb of Christianity.
Father Timotheos also stated that the Orthodox Christian community in Cuba is very small and specifically, in Havana it numbers about a thousand members, but the eagerness of the Cuban people to learn more about the Greek civilization is great. He added that the love of the Cuban people for Greece and its civilization is being revealed by the museum with copies of ancient Greek findings in Havana.
 OCTOBER INFLATION AT 2% IN THE EURO-ZONEAthens, 18 November 2003 (17:19 UTC+2)
Inflation in the Euro-zone dropped to 2% in October reaching the lowest level compared to the previous three months, according to the revised preliminary figures provided by the European Statistics Agency, Eurostat.
For the record, the Eurostat preliminary figures had predicted inflation to be at 2.1% in October, while in September it was at 2.2%.
According to analysts, the downward course followed by the cost-of-living index last month makes more remote the likelihood for the European Central Bank to decide an increase of the European interest rates.
 PRESIDENT OF CROATIA IN ATHENSAthens, 18 November 2003 (13:35 UTC+2)
President of Croatia Stipe Mesic is beginning his three day visit to Athens today, accompanied by his wife.
Mr. Mesic arrived at the Eleftherios Venizelos airport at 11:00, at 12.10 he met with the President of the Greek Republic Costis Stefanopoulos, while at 17:30 he will visit the Benaki museum. One hour later he will meet with the President of the Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis, while Mr. Stefanopoulos will hold a dinner in his honor tonight.
Tomorrow at 10:00, Mr. Mesic will visit the archeological museum of the acropolis, while at 11:40 he will attend a meeting at the Foreign Ministry, in order to sign the Olympic Truce. At 12 noon, he will have discussions with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. At 16:00, the President of Croatia will visit the Museum of Cycladic Art, while he will then have successive meetings with the President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis, the Secretary General of the Greek Communist Party, Aleka Papariga, and the President of the Coalition, Nikos Constantopoulos.
On Thursday at 13:00, Mr. Mesic and his wife will visit the archeological site at Delphi, while at 16:50 they will depart on a special flight to Zagreb.
 MINOR INCIDENTS OF THE QUIETEST MARCHAthens, 18 November 2003 (13:35 UTC+2)
One person was arrested and another five were taken in by the police for questioning, after yesterday's march in Thessaloniki, while the Head of Greek Police Fotis Nasiakos made mention of the quietest march of the last few years. Prior to the beginning of the march and during the incidents, more than 20 people were taken to the General Athens Police Direction after stones and sticks were found in their possession.
 THE REPEAT ELECTION RESULTS IN CHEIMARRA WERE THE PRODUCT OF VIOLENCE AND VOTE RIGGINGTirana, 18 November 2003 (19:58 UTC+2)
The Human Rights Union Party of the Greek minority in south Albania does not recognize the result of the repeat municipal elections held in four polling stations at the municipality of Cheimarra, Albania. The party declared that the election results announced by the local returning board were the product of violence and extensive vote rigging.
A party representative stated characteristically that in the polling station of Drymades, where the counting of the votes was completed with a one day delay, a total of 600 ballot papers were found in the ballot box, while the voters who cast their vote there were just 112.
 THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE WILL GIVE ITS RESPONSE LATER IN THE WEEKIstanbul, 18 November 2003 (19:16 UTC+2)
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is expected to give its response to the decision of the Church of Greece Hierarchy on the so-called new states by the end of the week.
According to press information, the Patriarchate assigned a committee of Archpriests of the Throne the task to study the Hierarchy decision and present its proposals to the Synod of the Patriarchate.