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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-01-02

Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


CONTENTS

  • [01] ESCAPED RUSSIAN MURDERER FOUND DEAD
  • [02] GREECE WORKING TOWARDS DEFUSING A RUSSIAN- UKRANIAN DISPUTE ON GAS
  • [03] THREE IRANIAN NATIONALS ARRESTED FOR ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLING
  • [04] TAX REVENUES' GROWTH EXCEEDED BUDGET TARGET IN 2005
  • [05] MOTORCYCLE RECALL
  • [06] ESCAPED RUSSIAN FOUND DEAD- SUICIDE SUSPECTED
  • [07] THESSALONIKI MAYOR WELCOMES NEWS AGENCY MERGER
  • [08] BARROSO STATEMENT ON OCCASION OF GREEK ACCESSION TO EUROPEAN

  • [01] ESCAPED RUSSIAN MURDERER FOUND DEAD

    Athens, 2 January 2006 (11:43 UTC+2)

    The body of a 23-year-old Russian convicted killer, who escaped last week after shooting two police officers to death while being transferred from a police detention centre in Ioannina to a prison in Volos, was found by police on Monday on the shores of Malakasiotis river.

    A manhunt had been mounted on Friday for the Russian convict, 23-year-old Maxim Zhilin, after he killed two policemen who were escorting the Zhilin and two 17-year-old Albanians convicted on minor drug charges from a police detention centre in Ioannina to a jail in Volos. One of the Albanians was injured by gunfire in the transport van, while the second Albanian, who escaped with Zhilin after the massacre, was captured on Sunday some 12 kilometres from the scene of the crime.

    The two police officers -- a driver and a guard -- were killed in Malakasi, Kalambaka, on Friday when they made an unscheduled stop because the Russian and one of the Albanians asked to relieve themselves.

    Zhilin asked the guard to remove the handcuffs he was wearing and when the guard complied, he assaulted him and grabbed his weapon, shooting him in the head. The Russian and one of the Albanians overpowered and killed the driver before fleeing, while the second Albanian was injured during the process.

    Zhilin was serving time for the murder of a 42-year-old woman in Corfu on October 2. The Russian posed as a hitchhiker and robbed and murdered the woman after she gave him a lift. The two Albanians were being held for drug-related offences.

    A massive search operation by land and and air was immediately launched by police and border guards aided by special forces and police commandos flown to scene of the crime.

    According to initial reports, officers of the EKAM special police force found the Russian's body on the shores of the Malakasiotis river, a tributary of the Pinios river, at quite a distance from the scene of the massacre and escape.

    It is believed that Zhelin attempted to cross the river to escape the police search squads, but that he froze to death after spending many hours outdoors in freezing temperatures and adverse weather conditions.

    The body was being transported to a police morgue for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

    Details were due to be released later in the day by the police.

    [02] GREECE WORKING TOWARDS DEFUSING A RUSSIAN- UKRANIAN DISPUTE ON GAS

    Athens, 2 January 2006 (15:19 UTC+2)

    Russia's decision to cut off gas deliveries to Ukraine would not lead to any prices increases in the Greek market, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday.

    The Greek minister, in a radio interview, said the government was fully alerted to ensure smooth supply of natural gas in the domestic market. Sioufas said Greece has not experienced any problems so far and stressed that the Austrian EU presidency has acted immediately by informing both Ukraine and Russia to overcome their dispute.

    The Greek minister acknowledged that Hungary and Poland already faced some supply problems but reassured that both the EU presidency and the Greek government were working closely to solve the problem. Sioufas will meet with the Russian and Ukrainian ambassadors later today to discuss the issue.

    Sioufas said Russia (mainly) and Algeria were Greece's suppliers with natural gas, but said the country's natural gas, and liquified natural gas reserves were enough to ensure the smooth supply of domestic markets. He acknowledged, however, that a further escalation of the crisis could create wider problems. Sioufas said the government would continue a procedure of signing liquified natural gas supply contracts with Algeria.

    Sioufas said Ukraine was a member of Europe's energy charter and stressed that the country had specific obligations to meet.

    [03] THREE IRANIAN NATIONALS ARRESTED FOR ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLING

    Athens, 2 January 2006 (15:18 UTC+2)

    Three Iranian nationals have been arrested in Athens on antiquities smuggling charges after attempting to sell three ancient Greek coins for 17,000 euros, the finance ministry's special investigations service revealed on Monday.

    The ministry said that the three men were arrested by police in Athens on Friday, following a joint investigation by the ministry's special investigations service and the Attica security police headquarters. The arrests were made in a joint operation by the Attica security police's narcotics squad and the security police's antiquities smuggling squad.

    Police said that, at the time of the arrest, two of the three Iranians were armed with a military knife and hatchet.

    They further said that a small quantity of hashish and pills containing illegal substances, as well as photographs of hundreds of ancient coins were also found in the detainees' possession and confiscated.

    The three Iranians were taken before a public prosecutor.

    [04] TAX REVENUES' GROWTH EXCEEDED BUDGET TARGET IN 2005

    Athens, 2 January 2006 (15:16 UTC+2)

    Tax revenues rose by 13 percent in December, to record a 6.0 percent annual increase exceeding a budget forecast for a 5.0 pct growth rate in 2005, Greece's Finance ministry said on Monday.

    A finance ministry announcement attributed the significant increase to a 13.5 pct rise in VAT revenues. Ministry officials said tax revenues would continue rising in 2006 and in particular in the first months of the new year, which are of particular significance to the smooth implementation of the government budget.

    [05] MOTORCYCLE RECALL

    Athens, 2 January 2006 (15:14 UTC+2)

    Some 50 motorcycles, identified as the Suzuki AY50A, have been recalled due to the incorrect placement of their back break caliper, development ministry authorities said on Monday.

    [06] ESCAPED RUSSIAN FOUND DEAD- SUICIDE SUSPECTED

    Athens, 2 January 2006 (14:09 UTC+2)

    The frozen body of a 23-year-old Russian convicted killer, who escaped last week after shooting two police officers to death while being transferred from a police detention centre in Ioannina to a prison in Larissa, was found by police on Monday on the shores of Malakasiotis river with a bullet wound in the head and clutching the revolver he snatched from one of the two dead officers, after police search squads headed to the river, from where local residents reported that they had heard a single gun shot in the early morning.

    A manhunt had been mounted on Friday for the Russian convict, 23-year-old Maxim Zhilin, after he killed two policemen who were escorting the Zhilin and two 17-year-old Albanians convicted on minor drug charges from a police detention centre in Ioannina to prisonsl in Larissa and Volos. One of the Albanians was injured by gunfire in the police transport van, while the second Albanian, who escaped with Zhilin after the massacre, was captured on Sunday some 12 kilometres from the scene of the crime.

    The two police officers -- a driver and a guard -- were killed in Malakasi, Kalambaka, on Friday when they made an unscheduled stop because the Russian and one of the Albanians persistenty asked to relieve themselves.

    Zhilin asked the guard to remove the handcuffs he was wearing and when the guard complied, he assaulted him and grabbed his weapon, shooting him in the head. The Russian and one of the Albanians overpowered and killed the driver before fleeing, while the second Albanian was injured during the process.

    As police had said shortly after the incident, Zhilin took the revolver he snatched from the officer with him, and there was one bullet left in the revolver.

    Zhilin was serving time for the murder of a 42-year-old woman in Corfu on October 2. The Russian posed as a hitchhiker and robbed and murdered the woman after she gave him a lift. The two Albanians were being held for drug-related offences.

    A massive search operation by land and air was immediately launched by police and border guards aided by special forces and police commandos flown to scene of the crime.

    According to initial reports, officers of the EKAM special police force found the Russian's body on the shores of the Malakasiotis river, a tributary of the Pinios river, at quite a distance from the scene of the massacre and escape.

    It is believed that Zhelin attempted to cross the river to escape the police search squads, but that he was physically run down after spending many hours outdoors in freezing temperatures and adverse weather conditions.

    Police who found Zhilin's body said the corpse was frozen, with the revolver clutched in one hand.

    They consider it highly likely that Zhilin used the final bullet in the revolver to end his own life, not wishing to be captured and already in a state of exhaustion from the cold. Uncorroborated reports also said that the body was not wearing shoes.

    It is also believed that Zhilin died early Monday morning, given that local residents told police they heard a single gunshot coming from the area of the river.

    The body was found by an EKAM team, aided by hunters familiar with the territory, and a medical examiner and prosecutor arrived at the scene shortly afterward, as well as an ambulance, which carried the corpse to a police helicopter for transport to a police facility in Larissa, where an autopsy would be performed to determine the exact cause and time of death.

    Details were due to be released later in the day by police chief George Aggelakos and head of the police operations for northern Greece, Stratos Kyriakakos, both of whom rushed to Trikala after Friday's bloody incident.

    [07] THESSALONIKI MAYOR WELCOMES NEWS AGENCY MERGER

    Thessaloniki, 2 January 2006 (11:07 UTC+2)

    The mayor of Thessaloniki, Vassilis Papayeorgopoulos, on Sunday welcomed a recent merger of the Athens News Agency and Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA).

    Creation of the unified agency would boost news coverage for the domestic public and publicise Greece more widely abroad, Papayeorgopoulos told a New Year cake-cutting ceremony in the northern port city.

    The ceremony was attended by Spyros Kouzinopoulos, MPA's general director.

    [08] BARROSO STATEMENT ON OCCASION OF GREEK ACCESSION TO EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES

    Brussels, 2 January 2006 (17:37 UTC+2)

    European Commission President Jos? Manuel Barroso on Monday issued a statement on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Greece's accession to the European Communities, as well as on the 20th anniversary of Portuguese and Spanish accession to the European Communities

    "... 25 years ago, Greece became a member of what was then the European Communities. 20 years ago, Portugal and Spain joined in, too. Today, we can proudly say that Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as Europe as a whole have all become much stronger as a result of the second and third enlargements.

    "The perspective of membership did much to consolidate democracy and encourage reform in these countries. Membership led to unprecedented development, the result of which was greater stability and greater competitiveness.

    "But the benefits of enlargement move in both directions.

    "The accession of these countries made Europe bigger and stronger. It consolidated Europe's Mediterranean and Atlantic dimensions, and opened up new vistas in Africa and Latin America.

    "The example of Greece, Spain and Portugal provides good evidence that enlargement is beneficial to the existing as well as to the acceding countries. One expression of this experience is the unstinting support Greece, Spain and Portugal have given to all enlargements which have followed - particularly the last one, towards Central and Eastern Europe.

    "Of course, we should not allow celebrations to slip into complacency. Greece, Spain and Portugal, like the rest of Europe, face new challenges. They must constantly adapt and reform in order to be fit for the 21st century and to reap the full benefits of globalisation.

    "But if they continue to progress over the next years how they have over the last decades, then they - and Europe as a whole - can look forward to a very bright future indeed," the statement concluded.


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