|Sunday, 8 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-02-13
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 INITIATIVES AND INVESTIGATIONAthens, 13 February 2006 (13:37 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stated after his meetings with Hellenic Authority for Information and Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) President Mr. Lambrinopoulos and Hellenic Communications and Post Commission (EETT) President Mr. Alexandridis that this is a major issue that has to be dealt with seriously and with a sense of responsibility. The meetings were held in the presence of the Ministers of Justice and Transport & Communications and Law Professors Manitakis, Tsatsos, Androulakis, Manoledakis, Kapsalis and Tsanakas.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that investigation is underway covering every direction and assured that all those responsible will be found and face penalties.
The Prime Minister stated that the government undertakes initiatives to strengthen the institutional framework and the independent authorities while at the same time it makes inspections stricter and adopts tougher penalties for those committing phone-tapping offences.
 INFORMATION AND MEASURESThessaloniki, 13 February 2006 (13:16 UTC+2)
The initial results of the lab tests on two individuals hospitalized in Thessaloniki came out negative for the bird flu virus.
Meanwhile, an information campaign directed to the public has been launched in the regions of Thessaloniki and Pieria where the three dead swans infected by the bird flu virus were found.
Samples from 15 dead birds found in Alexandroupolis and Skyros have been sent for testing.
In Evros, northeast Greece, tens of thousands of migrating swans are being fed in order to stay at a specific region and not move to populated areas in search of food.
 SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL ON THE PROPHET MOHAMED CARTOONSAthens, 13 February 2006 (14:12 UTC+2)
Main opposition Socialist Party PASOK leader Giorgos Papandreou under his authority as the Socialist International President had telephone communications with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Danish Social Democratic Party President Helle Thorning-Schmidt to discuss the Prophet Mohamed cartoons and the Middle East issue.
Mr. Papandreou, who participates in the Barroso Commission on the future of Europe in the world, discussed with Mr. Annan the Cyprus issue as well.
 THE PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL TO VISIT THESSALONIKI ON FEBRUARY 16Thessaloniki, 13 February 2006 (17:54 UTC+2)
President of Israel Moshe Katsav will visit Thessaloniki on Thursday, February 16 within the framework of his official visit to Greece.
Mr. Katsav is the first President of Israel to visit Thessaloniki. He will come to the city from Athens accompanied by Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias. They will visit the Holocaust Monument at Eleftheria Square and lay wreaths in memory of the Jews who perished during WWII while a memorial plaque will be unveiled.
Afterwards, they will visit the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki at Agios Minas Street.
Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Nikos Tsiartsionis will give a formal luncheon at the Governor's Mansion in honor of the two Presidents. The Israeli President itinerary also includes a visit to 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 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 Israeli President to have been born in an Islamic country.
 MINISTRY OF TOURISM: BIRD FLU WILL NOT AFFECT TOURIST FLOWAthens, 13 February 2006 (17:03 UTC+2)
Greece's picture as a tourist destination is not expected to be affected by the bird flu cases detected in migratory birds, according to the Ministry of Tourist Development. It is also mentioned that it is very encouraging that the bird flu virus was detected only in migratory birds and not in homebred birds while it is stressed that correct information is a catalyst for the correct management of the situation.
Meanwhile, the recently completed trip of Minister of Tourism Dimitris Avramopoulos to the United States brought very positive results and it is estimated that the number of American tourists visiting Greece will rise during the summer while the Greek cruises become a very attractive vacation option.
Mr. Avramopoulos was the main speaker in the proceedings of the 15th annual conference of the Greek American Organization Leadership 100 held in Florida, USA. The Leadership 100 Board of Directors after a unanimous decision honored Mr. Avramopoulos with the organization's supreme award for his contribution to the country's political scene and the significant work he has done in the sector of tourism during the past two years.
 THE PUBLIC IS OVERREACTING REGARDING THE BIRD FLUThessaloniki, 13 February 2006 (16:28 UTC+2)
Aristotle University Forestry and Natural Environment professor Nikolaos Papageorgiou, specializing in Wild Fauna, stated that the public overreacts in response to the bird flu cases detected in a few swans in Greece.
The deaths recorded in a limited number of swans are mainly due to the fact that the birds became weak by bad weather, possibly their old age and in general their worn out immune system, mentioned the professor, explaining that many birds can carry the virus without becoming sick.
In a different case, we would have mass deaths given the fact that they are social creatures and could transmit the virus to each other during mating, said the professor.
He also stressed that the virus in question is transmitted from the swans only to turkeys and chickens and all necessary measures are being taken in Greece for the protection of homebred birds. Regarding the migrating corridors, the birds expected in Greece during the spring will come from Asia Minor, Dodecanese and Evros.
Only isolated incidents of the disease have been spotted in Africa and particularly in the south of the country and the birds migrating from there will use the central migrating corridor to Sicily, Italy and further north and the west corridor to Gibraltar and Spain, said Mr. Papageorgiou.
 THIRTY PERCENT OF MIGRATING BIRDS CARRY THE BIRD FLU VIRUSThessaloniki, 13 February 2006 (15:35 UTC+2)
An estimated 30% of the migrating birds carry the bird flu virus without meaning that these birds will become sick, stated to ANA-MPA Aristotle University bird pathology department assistant professor Prodromos Iordanidis. The situation is not that tragic given that the virus will not mutate and be transmitted to humans, stated Mr. Iordanidis adding that vigilance is necessary.
Referring to the transmission of the bird flu from wild birds to homebred birds, he said that it can be done if a hungry sick wild bird looks for food in an area with free-ranging poultry.
Mr. Iordanidis reiterated that the situation is not that tragic because the bird flu cases are sporadic while in Asian countries where people live in primitive conditions a total of 150 million chickens have been culled in the past 7 years while 70-80 people have died out of a total of 150 who were infected with the virus.