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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-07-29
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS ON THE MUSLIM MOSQUE IN ATHENSAthens, 29 July 2004 (14:00 UTC+2)
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece kept his distance from the statements made by certain hierarchs who have expressed opposition to the construction of a Muslim mosque in Peania, Athens.
The head of the Greek Church stated characteristically that the Greek Church is democratic and every hierarch can freely state his position but the Church is bound only by the Holy Synod decisions.
The Archbishop stated that the position of the Greek Church is known and that the Church is in favor of the mosque in Athens for the Muslims to be able to perform their religious duties. He clarified, however, that the Greek Church is against the operation of an Islamic Studies Center in the prefecture of Attiki.
He said that the position of the Greek Church has been misunderstood and distorted by foreign mass media, which have maintained that the Greek Church wants to limit the religious freedom of the Muslims living in Greece, stressing that this is an effort to defame the Greek Church.
Regarding the place selected for the construction of the mosque, he said that local residents and authorities in Peania have reacted and the Greek state should take under serious consideration these objections.
 SOLUTIONS AND NOT MANAGEMENTAthens, 29 July 2004 (13:26 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stated in his opening speech in the New Democracy Central Committee meeting, during which Mr. Vangelis Meimarakis is expected to be reelected to the post of the Secretary, that the goal is for Greece to be a winner in the organizing of the Olympic Games, and to change Greece and the Greek people's lives for the better. The new governance offers solutions and is not management oriented, stressed Mr. Karamanlis.
The 6th party congress will be recorded as a landmark in the party's history, stated Mr. Karamanlis.
The number of candidates equals the available positions in the party Central Committee. They are, Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis, Minister of Education Marietta Giannakou, Minister of Health Nikitas Kaklamanis, Minister of Interior Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Minister of Development Dimitris Sioufas, Deputy Culture Minister Fani Petralia and Parliamentary spokesman Viron Polidoras.
Mrs. Dora Bakoyianni and Fevronia Patrianakou, who are not Parliament deputies, will also be elected based on the quota principle.
 RENA VLACHOPOULOU DIED TODAYAthens, 29 July 2004 (19:38 UTC+2)
Popular actress Rena Vlachopoulou died today at the age of 81. She was in a coma for the past few days and was in life support at Athens' Medical Center.
For many years she was suffering from diabetes and last week she was rushed to the hospital where she underwent stomach surgery. She presented respiratory and heart problems and her condition showed rapid deterioration.
 INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS OPEN FOR THE PUBLIC IN VIEW OF THE OLYMPIC GAMESAthens, 29 July 2004 (14:22 UTC+2)
The last remaining infrastructure projects that were constructed in view of the Olympic Games are being opened for the public. The first part of the Athens-Corinth national motorway at Kakia Skala was given to traffic today.
The new motorway includes three 3,750 meters long tunnels and will offer safe and quick transportation to those leaving the prefecture of Attiki.
The Olympic infrastructure projects, constructed to contribute to the efforts to host successful Games, will be completed with the inauguration tomorrow of the railway linking the Athens suburbs and the expansion of the Metro service to Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport.
The suburb railway will serve an estimated 50,000 passengers on a daily basis covering the distance from the center of Athens to the airport in 41 minutes, while the Metro will cover the distance from the center of Athens, the Constitution Square to the airport in 36 minutes.
 US DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION TELECONFERENCE IN THE US CONSULATE GENERALThessaloniki, 29 July 2004 (19:23 UTC+2)
The foreign policy of the Democratic Party was the issue that dominated in the digital video conference organized by the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki on the occasion of the US Democratic Convention and the Presidential elections in the United States.
To the questions made by journalists and university professors responded from Boston, where the Democratic Convention takes place, former Senator and US Ambassador to New Zealand Carol Moseley Braun and Kitty Kurth and Kevin Lampe of Kurth-Lampe Political Consulting, who had also worked in the election campaigns of Greek-Americans Paul Tsogas and Michael Dukakis.
Mrs. Moseley Braun underlined that in case Democratic candidate John Kerry is elected the US forces will not be withdrawn from Iraq immediately, stating that the Americans have a responsibility to make Iraq a safe country. She added that the US will seek international support for Iraq to have an effective police, judiciary, and legal system and be able to be self-governed.
She also stated that the war against terrorism will continue, while the war against al-Qaeda and the rest terrorist networks around the world will intensify.
Mr. Lampe pointed out that Kerry and Edwards will seek cooperation with other nations while Mrs. Kurth underlined that there will be more respect toward the United Nations.
On the Balkans, Mrs. Moseley Braun underlined that an emphasis will be given to joint action with other states and diplomacy. She pointed out that the Democratic Party administration, as opposed to the Republicans, will deal with the problems and seek their solution.
Responding to a question on Cyprus, Mrs. Kurth stated that efforts will be made for a dialogue between the two sides.
Mr. Lampe also stated that John Kerry's foreign policy will be clarified in the following weeks. The interlocutors also pointed out that foreign policy issues do not play a decisive role for American voters, stressing that the Americans vote based on the state of the economy, the issue of unemployment and healthcare.
 VANGELIS MEIMARAKIS WAS REELECTED ND CENTRAL COMMITTEE SECRETARYAthens, 29 July 2004 (17:34 UTC+2)
The New Democracy Central Committee reelected Vangelis Meimarakis to the post of its Secretary with an overwhelming majority.
Mr. Meimarakis stated after his reelection that the party will become even more open to society. He also pledged that he will meet the obligations coming with the post of the party Central Committee Secretary.
Mrs. Dora Bakoyianni was elected to the new political council receiving most of the votes followed by Mr. Tsigounis. The political council members are Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis, Minister of Education Marietta Giannakou, Minister of Health Nikitas Kaklamanis, Minister of Interior Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Minister of Development Dimitris Sioufas, Deputy Culture Minister Fani Petralia, Parliamentary spokesman Viron Polidoras and party member Fevronia Patrianakou.
 SMALL LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 29 July 2004 (17:11 UTC+2)
Small losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.22% at 2351.67 points, while the volume of transactions was at 78 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 145 had gains and 128 had losses, while the value of 129 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE OLYMPIC FLAME ON THE RIDGE OF PINDOSKastoria, 29 July 2004 (14:37 UTC+2)
The Olympic Flame travels today on the ridge of Pindos, in a course on which history has strewn battlefields and raised war memorials. On the map, the road from Kastoria to Ioannina is a continuous green line. The beauty of the landscapes softens the jagged edges left in memory by the history of an area where place-names have been linked with bloody conflict and sacrifice.
Today, the motorcade runs across roads turning in the shadow of the rocks and the trees of Pindos. If the drivers killed their engines for a while they would hear the water of the rivers running. Aoos, Voidomatis, and Sarantaporos run across the ravines. Still, it is a 254-kilometre-long Torch Relay leg, a not inconsiderable course, with Ioannina as its destination and with Eptachori, Konitsa, Kalpaki and Dodoni as way stations. And the weather is cool today, with temperatures reminiscent of autumn.
Eptachori of Kastoria will be at noon the last stop of the Flame in Macedonia. Ten priestesses will declaim the Hymn to Apollo there, and boys dressed as Hellanodikes -the competition judges of antiquity- will arrange themselves in a circle around the altar. Folk dancing by local ensembles will follow.
The procession will then climb up to Konitsa. The children of the town will welcome the Flame in local costume, yet they will not be alone. Another 120 children from Palestine, guests at Konitsa, will take part in the celebrations.
The Flame will arrive at Kalpaki in the afternoon, greeted by celebrations in local colour. The procession will then move on to the ancient theatre of Dodoni, where the ceremonial part of the welcome will involve music and poetry. Priestesses will crown the Last Torchbearer and hoist the Olympic and Greek flags.
The Flame will remain at Ioannina for the night. The First Torchbearer is to break through a human chain formed by children. The Torch Relay will end up at Mavili Square where celebrations prepared by the city will take place. A concert by Nikos Portokaloglou will follow.