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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-11-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE MAJORITY IS IN FAVOR OF CONSENSUSAthens, 24 November 2004 (13:06 UTC+2)
In favor of a consensus between the two major political parties for the election of the new Hellenic Republic President is the majority of the people, according to an opinion poll by the polling company Opinion conducted on behalf of the Athens television channel Mega.
Of the people who responded to the questionnaire, 66% believe that before suggesting a candidate for the Presidency the government should enter a consultation with the main opposition Socialist Party of PASOK, while 29.6% believe that the government should propose a candidate and PASOK can express its position afterwards.
Former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis is the most favorite for the post with 56.3%, followed by Coalition President Nikos Konstantopoulos with 46.2% and Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis with 41.7%.
 THE NATIONAL DEFENSE GENERAL STAFF DENIES THE TURKISH ALLEGATIONSAthens, 24 November 2004 (13:41 UTC+2)
The Greek National Defense General Staff categorically denied the Turkish National Defense General Staff allegations regarding the events of November 17 during which a Turkish F16 fighter jet launched flares during its engagement with a Greek fighter jet.
The Greek National Defense General Staff points out that the Turkish allegations according to which the use of flares is normal are groundless, because the launch of flares within the framework of NATO and in time of peace is regulated by a series of restrictions.
Flare launches can take place only in specific regions set for this purpose and according to mutually acceptable restrictions. The interception-identification procedure is always done with the use of aircraft radar to make the identification procedure as safe as possible for the aircraft involved.
 MICHALOLIAKOS IN THE CONFERENCE ON EUROPEAN DEFENSE AND SECURITYAthens, 24 November 2004 (18:59 UTC+2)
Greek Deputy Defense Minister Vasilis Michaloliakos attended a round table with his counterparts from Albania, FYROM, Turkey, Serbia-Montenegro and Latvia wrapping up his participation in the three-day Conference on European Defense and Security that took place in Berlin on November 22-24.
The issue of discussion was the factors affecting military cooperation and armaments programs in the enlarged EU environment. Mr. Michaloliakos referred to the initiatives aimed at the modernization of the military capabilities of the European states to be able to respond to the new security environment.
He mentioned that the EU has to be able to act and deter and not simply react and underlined that Greece together with the rest EU member states has set common goals: the protection of common values and fundamental EU interests, the strengthening of the EU security, the preservation of peace and the strengthening of international security as well as, the promotion of international cooperation, the strengthening of democracy and the state of law, including human rights.
 VICTOR ERICE: TIME AND DETAIL ARE THE ESSENCE OF CINEMAThessaloniki, 24 November 2004 (17:56 UTC+2)
Spanish film director Victor Erice, one of the guests in the 45th Thessaloniki Film Festival during which a special presentation of his work will take place, presented his relation with the meaning of time, detail and lyricism and their role in his pictures.
He is regarded as one of the most important creators in the European cinema in spite of the fact that in his 40-year-old career he has completed only two short movies and three films.
Erice referred to the importance the meaning of time has in his films, stressing that time is probably the essence of cinema and the flow of time can be presented in the best way through cinema. He made the comment while referring to his new film Ten minutes older in which, each one of the film directors participating in it has 10 minutes to express what they see as time.
Regarding the small number of films he has created, he commented that he has prepared many other films as well but they have not reached the production stage because this has to do with the conditions in film industry.
He also stated that detail is important to understand the music and rhythm he wants to get across through his pictures.
Erice directed his first film in 1968 and became known in 1973 with the film El espiritu de la colmena.
 TENS OF GREEK BANK BRANCHES IN THE BALKANSThessaloniki, 24 November 2004 (16:56 UTC+2)
Most of the branches of the Greek banks open in the Balkans are in Romania followed by Albania and Bulgaria, according to data provided by the Association of Exporters in Northern Greece.
A total of 650 branches of Greek banks are open around the world, while the countries with the most branches, apart from Cyprus, are Romania 36, Albania 31, United States 31, Bulgaria 25 and Britain 23.
The cities with most Greek bank branches are London 19, Bucharest 15, Tirana 10 and Sofia 8. The three Greek banks with most branches are the National Bank of Greece 110, Piraeus Bank 102 and Alpha Bank 64.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 24 November 2004 (16:52 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.42% at 2574.50 points, while the volume of transactions was at 152,4 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 114 had gains and 159 had losses, while the value of 147 stocks remained unchanged.
 CRETANS AGAINST GUNSIraklion, 24 November 2004 (16:42 UTC+2)
Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis announced that a special team will be formed, made up of distinguished Cretans and headed by world famous music composer Mikis Theodorakis, having as a goal to sensitize the people of the island of Crete, southern Greece, on the issue of the accidents caused by guns.
Mr. Voulgarakis met in Iraklion, Crete today with 9-year-old Vasilis Kokotakis, who was injured when a gun backfired on October 1. The young school student asked for measures to be taken in order to be the last victim.
 THE GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER ACCUSES PASOK OF BLATANT LIESAthens, 24 November 2004 (15:20 UTC+2)
Greek Minister of Defense Spilios Spiliotopoulos accused main opposition Socialist Party of PASOK of blatant lies on the occasion of statements made by opposition officials according to which, while the government was ready to sign an agreement with Russia for the supply of the Russian weapons systems TOR M1 did not do it to allow the creation of an inquiry committee to examine cases against former Defense Ministers of PASOK Akis Tsochatzopoulos and Yiannos Papantoniou.
Mr. Spiliotopoulos, responding to allegations by PASOK officials that the contract by the government of New Democracy is similar to a contract reached when PASOK was in government, stated that since March 7 the government has not signed contracts without the legal guarantees that will safeguard public interest.
 INCREASED TURNOUT OF CINEMA LOVERS IN THESSALONIKI'S 45TH FILM FESTIVALThessaloniki, 24 November 2004 (14:02 UTC+2)
Increased turnout of cinema lovers is recorded in Thessaloniki's 45th Film Festival.
For the record, a total of 24,000 people watched screenings of films in the first four days of the Film Festival.
A total of 5,000 cinema lovers watched the film screenings on the first day of the festival's formal opening, while on the second day they reached 6,694.
 GREECE IS ONE OF THE BEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD TO LIVE INLondon, 24 November 2004 (16:24 UTC+2)
In 2005, Greece will be one of the best countries in the world to live in, according to the Economist edition The world in 2005 that examines life in 111 countries.
Greece ranks 22nd in the world in terms of quality of life, which is a very good position given the fact that the per capita income ranks lower at the 27th place.
To determine the quality of life a number of important factors are taken into consideration namely, not only how rich the people are but other factors as well that are important to people like, family life, life in the community, climate, geography and safety at the workplace, factors that make Greece a very attractive place to live in.
According to the Economist special edition, economic growth in Greece in 2005 will be over the EU average at around 3.4% compared to the Euro-zone average, which will be at 2%. Regarding inflation, it will be at 2.9% which is not ideal neither alarming.
 PAPASTAMKOS TO FYROM: SEIZE THE HISTORIC OPPORTUNITYBrussels, 24 November 2004 (14:46 UTC+2)
Greek governing party of New Democracy Euro-deputy and Interparliamentary Delegation to the EU-FYROM Joint Parliamentary Committee Chairman Prof. Giorgos Papastamkos met in Brussels today with FYROM Parliament President Lupco Jordanovski and Parliament deputies Gesovski and Rustemi.
Mr. Papastamkos expressed support to the country's European course and acknowledged the positive message of the November 7 referendum results as a development that safeguards the unity of a multicultural state. However, he pointed out that there are still many challenges that need to be faced regarding crucial political, economic and social reforms.
The Greek Euro-deputy stressed that FYROM should seize the historic opportunity for closer relations with the EU through the display of consistency and determination for the complete implementation of the framework agreement and the European adjustment agenda. He also underlined that the total incorporation of FYROM into the European integration procedure will contribute to the further political stability in the region.
Mr. Papastamkos stated characteristically that the common European target is for the region to enter a new era of stability, peace and security. He added that the European Union respects the national identity of each member state but presupposes the transcendence of national stereotypes through dialogue and consensus as well as inter-border cooperation.
The dispute over the FYROM name should be resolved within this framework of dialogue and good neighborly relations for the overall good relations between Greece and FYROM to be further strengthened, stated Mr. Papastamkos under his authority as a Greek Euro-deputy.
Mr. Papastamkos also pointed out that for a country to have a higher-level cooperation with the EU and much more to become a full EU member will have to ensure the approval of all member states.