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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-12-19
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PARLIAMENT ON THE BUDGETAthens, 19 December 2003 (10:12 UTC+2)
Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis accused ND of a want of political arguments at the opening of yesterday's discussion of the budget. Greece does not need ND's unpopular experimentations, said Mr. Christodoulakis, who used Portugal as an example, supporting that when the right took over after the socialist government, the country's developmental course ended. ND's Head of the Finances sector, G. Alogoskoufis made mention of an unreliable budget, while at the same time he kept at a safe distance from the proposals of ND's honorary President Constantinos Mitsotakis on a tight financial policy. The parties of the Left, KKE and the Coalition, made mention of an unpopular and pre-election budget.
 ELA'S TURN IN THE TERRORISM TRIALSAthens, 19 December 2003 (10:31 UTC+2)
The trial date has been set for February 5 in the case of the actions of the Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA) organization. The Appeal Judges' Council has indicted the already incarcerated and awaiting trial Aggelos Kanas, Irini Athanassaki, Costas Agapiou, Christos Tsigaridas who has been released with restraining orders and Michalis Cassimis, brother of the deceased alleged founder of the organization, Christos Cassimis. According to another order, judicial investigations of Giannis Serifis Epaminondas Skyftoulis will continue.
 HEALTH MINISTER REASSURING ON FLUAthens, 19 December 2003 (11:06 UTC+2)
Minister of Health Costas Stefanis was reassuring on the flu epidemic in Greece. In statements he made this morning to Flash radio, he supported that there is no need for panic and that there is a plethora of vaccines.
With the free movement of populations it is easier for viruses to spread. Thus we must be more alert. Sanitary measures limiting infection risk should be in place, overcrowding should be avoided, environments favoring the growth of the virus should be avoided and bodily hygiene should be practiced, stressed Mr. Stefanis.
We must take stricter measures. The epidemic watch system is ready, while we have an adequate number of vaccines. All necessary measures have been taken and there is no reason to panic.
 THE SAMINA WRECK AS A FELONYAthens, 19 December 2003 (11:06 UTC+2)
The Council of Appeal Judges of the Aegean decided on taking five ship officers, two inspectors of Ministry of Mercantile Marine, and two supreme officials of the company that owned the Express Samina, to trial on felony charges. The Express Samina tragically sunk in September of 2000, claiming the lives of 80 crew members and passengers. The Council accepted the DA's proposal, according to which the 9 defendants have been indicted for mass manslaughter with possible deceit, endangering sea traffic, endangering passengers and causing a shipwreck.
 SIMITIS-STEPHANOPOULOS MEETINGAthens, 19 December 2003 (17:14 UTC+2)
Foreign and domestic policy issues were discussed in the meeting of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis with President Kostis Stephanopoulos. Mr. Simitis stated that the period that concerned the stabilization of the economy and the creation of the necessary preconditions for development has ended now.
The period that will follow concerns the strengthening of development in the sectors of social policy, stated Mr. Simitis, who made the comment while leaving the Presidential building after the meeting with the President.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 19 December 2003 (16:47 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.05% at 2.210,68 points, while the volume of transactions was at 298.2 million euro.
Of the stocks trading today, 254 had gains and 52 had losses, while the value of 76 stocks remained unchanged.
 PROTOPAPAS COMMENTED ON THE TURKISH STATEMENTS ON CYPRUSAthens, 19 December 2003 (16:43 UTC+2)
There is intense inconsistency concerning the Cyprus issue on behalf of the Turkish political leadership in the past two days, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas.
Mr. Protopapas added that the framework for the solution of the political problem in Cyprus is the Annan Plan and talks and negotiations should be held on that basis. This is what the European Union wants and also, this is what the international community wants, while this is the UN position and naturally, Greece's position, stated Mr. Protopapas.
 IMMIGRATION DOES NOT INCREASE UNEMPLOYMENTAthens, 19 December 2003 (10:18 UTC+2)
It is a myth that immigration increases unemployment in our country. On the contrary, it has been proven that immigration leads to an increase in employment, underlined Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Dimitris Reppas, speaking at the Conference of the Greek Center for European Research and Studies, on Employment unemployment immigrants. The Minister of Labor stressed that immigrants mainly occupy positions the domestic workforce is not willing to cover; thus immigrants help preserve or develop financial activities that employ them, and which would otherwise be doomed to wither away.