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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-02-09
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE COMMUNICATIONS PRIVACY PROTECTION AUTHORITY PARTICIPATES IN THE INVESTIGATIONSAthens, 9 February 2006 (13:40 UTC+2)
Officials of the Vodafone mobile phone company are visiting the Communications Privacy Protection Authority in Marousi today within the framework of the investigations on the mobile phone-tapping affair.
The authority will investigate other mobile phone companies as well.
Government spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos clarified that since day one the government had stated that there are telephone numbers that do not belong to individuals but to a number of institutions.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis cannot guarantee the safety of the people in a broad sense, stated main opposition Socialist Party leader Giorgos Papandreou.
 MEETING IN PIERIA PREFECTURE ON THE SUSPECT BIRD FLU CASEKaterini, 9 February 2006 (19:24 UTC+2)
A meeting was held in the Pieria Prefecture building this afternoon under Pieria Prefect Giorgos Papastergiou after a suspect bird flu case was spotted in the region of Paralia Katerinis, north Greece.
Mr. Papastergiou stated to ANA-MPA that the responsible prefecture authorities received a total of 15 samples from different kinds of birds in the region of Pieria, while the suspect sample came from a dying swan found in the coastal region of Paralia Katerinis.
The suspect sample has been sent to Britain to determine if the swan was infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, said the Pieria Prefect, adding that all necessary measures are being taken in cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Development and Food.
Mr. Papastergiou also stated that intensive disinfections are being carried out in poultry farms and strict inspections are held on the way poultry meat reaches the market. He added that the owners of homebred birds have been instructed to restrict them in specific spaces to avert contact with other birds and suggested everybody to be calm.
 THESSALONIKI - THE REGIONS WITH THE SUSPECT BIRD FLU CASES TO BE PLACED IN QUARANTINEThessaloniki, 9 February 2006 (18:38 UTC+2)
The regions where the suspect bird flu cases were spotted will be placed in quarantine within a 3-kilometer range from the places where the suspect bird flu swan samples were found in Nei Epivates and Stavros, Thessaloniki.
Deputy Prefect of Thessaloniki Ioannis Bikos made the statement to ANA-MPA adding that the measures will go into effect tonight as soon as the prefecture receives exact directions from the Ministry of Rural Development and Food.
He also noted that the measures to be taken by the prefecture also provide for strict supervision of poultry farms within a 10-kilometer range from the points where the suspect samples were found. However, he clarified that there are no poultry farms in the regions of Nei Epivates and Stavros.
On the homebred birds in the prefecture of Thessaloniki, Mr. Bikos stated that their owners have received orders to restrict them in specific spaces and therefore, there are no free-ranging homebred birds in the area.
For the record, the responsible Thessaloniki prefecture authorities have sent a total of 20 swan samples to the Veterinary Institutes Centre in Thessaloniki. The two suspect samples came, according to the deputy prefect, from a dead and a dying swan.
 THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON THE KATSIKEAS CASEAthens, 9 February 2006 (17:49 UTC+2)
Government spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos cited a statement made today by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis responding to a question regarding a report in the newspaper "Pontiki" according to which, a Greek businessman was abducted by the Bulgarian authorities in cooperation with the US authorities and the Greek Foreign Ministry had to intervene for his release.
For the record, Mr. Molyviatis responding to a relevant question concerning the Katsikeas case after meeting earlier today with Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias stated that the Greek diplomatic and consular authorities follow specific orders to assist any Greek citizen reaching them with a lawful request.
 THESSALONIKI - SUSPECT BIRD FLU CASESThessaloniki, 9 February 2006 (17:30 UTC+2)
Two bird samples received by the responsible Thessaloniki Prefecture agencies were found suspect of carrying the bird flu virus based on the results of the first testing.
The suspect samples were spotted in the Thessaloniki regions of Nei Epivates and Stavros and according to assistant prefect Mr. Bikos, they come from swans that came to Greece from northern parts of Europe because of the cold.
Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis stated in the prefectural council meeting today that the H5 antigen was found in the two samples, a fact that makes them suspect.
The samples will be sent to Britain later in the afternoon for a second testing to determine if the birds in question carried the bird flu virus.
Mr. Psomiadis stated that daily inspections are being carried out and suggested calm.
 THE PACE PRESIDENT IN ATHENSAthens, 9 February 2006 (16:58 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met at noon today with Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, PACE, President Rene van der Linden who had an earlier meeting with Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis.
The European official had separate meetings in Parliament with main opposition Socialist Party PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou, Communist Party general secretary Aleka Papariga and Coalition President Alekos Alavanos.
Later in the evening, the PACE President will address the Greek parliament.
 THE COMMUNICATIONS PRIVACY PROTECTION AUTHORITY INVESTIGATES THE PHONE-TAPPING CASEAthens, 9 February 2006 (16:47 UTC+2)
Vodafone managing director Giorgos Koronias and other company officials testified today before the Communications Privacy Protection Authority on the mobile phone-tapping case.
Meanwhile, the brother of a Vodafone employee who committed suicide testified before prosecutor Diotis investigating the case.
The meeting of Mr. Koronias with the Communications Privacy Protection Authority on the issue of phone-tapping through the network of the mobile phone company in question lasted more than two hours.
Mr. Koronias together with other Vodafone senior executives arrived at the Communications Privacy Protection Authority offices in Marousi around 11am and responding to a question by reporters stated that he has absolute confidence in the Greek justice.
 THE PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL TO VISIT THESSALONIKI ON FEBRUARY 16Thessaloniki, 9 February 2006 (15:59 UTC+2)
President of Israel Moshe Katsav will visit Thessaloniki on Thursday, February 16.
Mr. Katsav is the first President of Israel to visit Thessaloniki and will arrive from Athens accompanied by Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias. They will visit the Holocaust Monument at Eleftheria Square and lay wreaths while a memorial plaque will be unveiled.
Then they will visit the Jewish Museum in Thesaloniki at Agios Minas Street.
Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Nikos Tsiartsionis will give a formal lunch at the Governor's Mansion in honor of the two Presidents and afterwards, the Israeli President will visit the archaeological site of Vergina, the burial site of the Macedon Kings.
Later in the evening, Mr. Katsav will speak in the old Jewish synagogue at Singrou Street and will be declared honorary member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.
Mr. Katsav was born in Iran in 1945 a few months after the end of WWII and he is the 8th President of Israel where his family emigrated in 1951. He was elected to the Presidency in 2000 with 63 votes compared to Shimon Peres' 57, who was the favorite to win. He is the first President of Israel to have been sworn in for a seven-year term and he is the first Likud member to occupy the country's supreme office.
Mr. Katsav is the first President of Israel of a shephardic origin, like the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki, and the first to have been born in a Islamic country.
 THE PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT MET WITH THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY PRESIDENTAthens, 9 February 2006 (14:34 UTC+2)
Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda stressed during her meeting with Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Rene Van Der Linden the special value of the Council of Europe as an organization that works for Democracy, parliamentarianism and human rights in the European Union.
Mr. Rene Van Der Linden referred to the role of national parliaments in the European framework and to the need to strengthen the council's role which promotes Democracy, law and order and the respect of human rights.
In the meeting they also discussed the issue of the strong reactions by the Muslim world on the occasion of Prophet Mohammad's caricatures.
The Parliament President condemned the use of violence stressing that freedom is a fundamental human right expressed through movement and expression but the respect of religious beliefs is a right which should be equally protected. It is our obligation to safeguard a balance between these two rights and promote the sense of responsibility of those exercising them, stated Mrs. Benaki-Psarouda.
Mr. Van Der Linden underlined that on one hand we have to defend the freedom of the Press and on the other we have to defend the respect to culture and religion. He said that for this reason, an emergency discussion must be held in Paris in March to strengthen the inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, adding that we should not accept violence as an answer.
 PAPOULIAS-MOLYVIATIS MEETINGAthens, 9 February 2006 (14:05 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis visited Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias earlier today to brief him on current developments in foreign policy issues.
Referring to the statements made yesterday by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Cyprus, Mr. Molyviatis pointed out that Greece's and Cyprus' position is known. Mr. Molyviatis stated that the reunification of the island is supported as well as the financial backing of the Turkish Cypriots adding that if there is an isolation of the Turkish Cypriots this is the result of the occupation.
Asked to comment on his meeting yesterday with US ambassador to Athens Charles Ries and responding to a question on whether they discussed the phone-tapping affair, Mr. Molyviatis stated that there is nothing to discuss with the United States on the issue. Regarding the phone-tapping case in general, the Foreign Minister stated that the government handled the issue responsibly.