|Wednesday, 25 November 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-07-28
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SATISFACTION AND READINESSAthens, 28 July 2004 (12:55 UTC+2)
International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Jacques Rogge expressed absolute satisfaction commenting on the course of the Athens Olympic Games' preparations and underlined that according to specialists and inspectors, all projects will be completed on time.
The Greeks will amaze everybody with the Games they will host. The infrastructure projects constructed on the occasion of the Games took Greece 20 years ahead in time, maintained IOC Coordinating Committee President Dennis Oswald.
We did everything humanly possible to host successful and safe Olympic Games, stated Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
There is no specific information but this should not keep us from being vigilant, stated US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller when he was asked on the likelihood of a terrorist attack during the Olympics.
 THE BLACK OUT WAS NOT A SABOTAGEAthens, 28 July 2004 (13:39 UTC+2)
The ad hoc committee of specialists concluded that the July 12 black out that left without electricity almost half of the country was the result of inadequate infrastructure and was not sabotage or a deliberate action.
Minister of Development Dimitris Sioufas announced the committee findings today.
Mr. Sioufas assured that similar problems will not be repeated and all necessary measures have been taken to reinforce the existing infrastructure.
 SMALL GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 28 July 2004 (18:08 UTC+2)
Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.16% at 2356.92 points, while the volume of transactions was significant at 142.6 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 200 had gains and 112 had losses, while the value of 90 stocks remained unchanged.
 SECURITY MEASURES AT SEA ARE IN FULL OPERATIONAthens, 28 July 2004 (16:23 UTC+2)
Special security measures in the Greek seas are in full operation on the occasion of the Olympic Games. An unprecedented deployment of Greek and NATO warships is being recorded within this framework.
A total of 35 ships will patrol the Ionian Sea, the Aegean Sea and the sea region off the Athens coasts in the period of August 3-31.
According to the Athens newspaper TA NEA, 20 NATO warships are ready to sail into Greek ports among them, US aircraft carriers.
 THE OLYMPIC FLAME ARRIVES IN GREVENAGrevena, 28 July 2004 (16:05 UTC+2)
The Olympic Flame wraps up its journey in Western Macedonia, northern Greece today. It left the city of Kozani this morning for the prefecture of Grevena, the newest prefecture in Greece created in 1964. The Flame will visit the cities of Grevena, Siatista and Kastoria where it will stay overnight.
On a boat, in the place where three countries meet in the waters of Lake Megali Prespa, the Olympic Flame carried the message of friendship and cooperation yesterday. Albania and FYROM became part of the course traveled by the Flame on its worldwide journey. With a scant few spectators, who arrived by boat at the white buoy demarcating the borders, the only others watching were the icon paintings on the rocks of the lake and the birds that find a welcoming refuge in Prespa.
The Torch was held by Elias Fotakis, a young man from Psarades. It was a beautiful and unique moment. When the Flame reached the place where the three nations meet, the inhabitants of Psarades sent up a fireworks display from their boats. Shortly before the Altar was lit by young Spyros Tsepas, men and women in local costumes showered the last Torchbearer with rose petals.
The Mayor of Prespes, Lazaros Nalpantidis, reminded everyone that the Olympic Truce had indeed begun from Prespa, at an event attended by all the Greek Olympic victors. And he selected a phrase by Plato: We were as brothers of one mother born, and claim to be neither slaves, nor masters of one another.
The ATHENS 2004 representative, Penny Mikelopoulou said: We are happy here to meet our friends from our neighboring countries, who also came to welcome our Flame and take part in this celebration. They also realized the message we traced with a luminous line all over the world: Our Flame Unites the World.
In Psarades, representatives of politicians and municipal authorities of both neighboring countries gathered after being invited to a formal dinner hosted by the Minister of Macedonia and Thrace, Nikos Tsiartsionis. ATHENS 2004 was represented by Volunteers General Manager Dimitris Karamitsos-Tziras.
The Flame continued on its journey to western Macedonia in an unrelenting rainstorm. Nevertheless, this did not stop thousands of people from going out in the streets to cheer their Torchbearers.
Amindeo welcomed the Olympic Flame yesterday afternoon with children that formed the Olympic circles, while a traditional group sang the Pontiac song of Peace. Doves flew in the city sky and the soprano Oxana Tsankopoulos with pianist Tatiana Tamboulidi conveyed the Olympic hymn. A musical program followed performed by a children's choir and the music high school of Amindeo.
In the passage of decades and centuries, very few events reside in the memory of a city. This day will forever remain in our memory - the day when the Flame lit our city, said Mayor of Amindeo, Ioannis Liasis. The Altar was lit by Judo champion Moisis Iliadis who has every reason to be distressed with his luck: I feel extremely happy and proud because great athletes like Pele, held the same Flame. I wanted to compete in the Games but due to my injury I wasn't able to. It does not matter. Of the seven athletes comprising the Judo team, six are from Amindeo. Of these six, one is my brother and two others are cousins of mine.
In Ptolemaida, the festivities for the Flame's arrival lasted three days. The celebrations there included concerts, dance performances and a play about Alexis Zorbas, as well as an art exhibition with Olympic themes. The reception ceremony was followed by a Scrabble contest set up by the local Scrabble Club. At the ceremony, children in traditional costumes encircled the Altar as the town's band played the Olympic anthem. The Altar was lit by the hand of Wrestler Iordanis Konstantinidis, who pronounced this a great honour and wished for this Flame to light up the hearts of Greek athletes, so they might bring us victories.
His Coach, Anastasios Papadopoulos, had run with the Flame earlier: I coached Iordanis for the 1996 Games and I will always remember my participation with deep emotion. This emotion I felt again today, by participating in the Torch Relay.
An other Torchbearer from Ptolemaida, 48-year old Petros Litos, had two moving stories to tell: he carried the Flame near the spot where his grandfather had been injured at the Balkan Wars; and he is a member of the local cancer victims' association. He said that he wished to put across two messages with his participation: First, to send out a message of peace, which is why I asked to run near the point where my grandfather had been injured. The second is a message for people who suffer from health problems, to tell them that one can overcome anything as long as there is faith, effort and perseverance.
Ptolemaida Mayor, Grigoris Tsioumaris spoke of peace and the Olympic ideals, concepts and symbols that the Flame is carrying worldwide.
The day's last stop was Kozani. Church bells started ringing at the Flame's arrival into town, while hundreds of doves from the local aviaries were released. The main welcome event included traditional dance groups and was followed by a concert by Dimitris Basis, who was also one of the Torchbearers. What a moment! he exclaimed. I became a link in the great chain that started unfolding in March and traveled the world.
Former athlete -and champion - Irene Theodoridou appeared surprised, as well as honored: I thought that I was completely forgotten since I quit being a professional athlete ten years ago. This is a beautiful surprise and a great honor.
In his address, the Mayor Paris Koukoulopoulos declared this town welcomes the Flame with a unanimous wish for peace.
During the Olympic Flame reception ceremony, municipal authorities honored 87-year-old Dimitris Gortsoulis, who was a Torchbearer in 1936.
 THE ELA COURT TRIAL WILL RESUME ON SEPTEMBER 1Athens, 28 July 2004 (15:22 UTC+2)
The Athens court trying the ELA terrorist group case will issue its ruling after the Olympic Games.
The head judge stated today that the court will adjourn on Friday, August 6 and resume again on September 1.
 THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC ORDER ON THE SAFETY OF THE OLYMPIC GAMESAthens, 28 July 2004 (14:30 UTC+2)
Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis was optimistic in view of the Olympic Games in an interview with the NET television network today. Mr. Voulgarakis stressed that everything humanly possible is being done for security and everything will go well, stressing that everybody work daily on a 24hour basis.
Responding to a question on what will be done with the cameras installed in different parts of Athens after the Olympic Games are over, Mr. Voulgarakis stated that talks will be held with the responsible authorities on what could be the use of the system after the Games.