|Wednesday, 5 August 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-02-17
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE ALMUNIA REPORT IS POSITIVEAthens, 17 February 2006 (14:42 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis at Maximos Mansion this morning. They discussed developments in the economy and the reform program.
Mr. Alogoskoufis asked to comment on the likelihood of early elections on the occasion of the statements made yesterday by main opposition Socialist Party PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou stated that the government is in the middle of its term and implements with great success the program of reforms and a program that will help the country solve the economic problems of the past. The opposition has its own reasons to create diversions, said Mr. Alogoskoufis.
Mr. Alogoskoufis believes that the publicized draft plan of EU commissioner on monetary affairs Joaquin Almunia report on the Greek economy is positive because it does not request the adoption of additional measures but only the implementation of the budget.
The report will be discussed next week in the European Commission and then in the Council of Ministers.
 PAPADOPOULOS-ANNAN MEETINGThessaloniki, 17 February 2006 (13:33 UTC+2)
UN secretary general Kofi Annan in the meeting he is scheduled to have with Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos in Paris on February 28 will discuss the action plan submitted recently by Ankara and the Cyprus problem in general.
The UN secretary general responding to questions by reporters on several UN issues he also referred to the Cyprus issue.
Responding to the question if he has examined the Turkish proposal and if he thinks that it is a good start, Mr. Annan stated that he has studied it and holds talks on it with all interested parties, adding that in the meeting with Mr. Papadopoulos they will discuss the whole Cyprus issue including the matter in question.
 THE MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI ON THE FYROM NAME ISSUEThessaloniki, 17 February 2006 (15:52 UTC+2)
Mayor of Thessaloniki Vasilis Papageorgopoulos told reporters today that he has addressed a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso requesting his immediate intervention in the issue concerning a report on an internal document circulated by the European Commission advising commission staff not to use the name FYROM when addressing the country's residents because they are insulted. He called on Mr. Barroso to investigate the case and recall the document if it really exists.
Such orders are in conflict with the UN resolutions and the Interim Agreement and create very serious problems to the process aimed at finding a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the FYROM name offending the feelings of the Greek people and especially the Macedons, stresses the Mayor of Thessaloniki in his letter to Mr. Barroso.
In December 2005, Mr. Papageorgopoulos had sent another letter to the Eurocities president and Mayor of Manchester on a similar issue.
 THE GERMAN AMBASSADOR VISITS THE REGION OF WESTERN MACEDONIAThessaloniki, 17 February 2006 (15:12 UTC+2)
The development model processed by the Region of Western Macedonia was in the middle of the talks held today between the region general secretary Andreas Leoudis and German ambassador to Athens Wolfgang Schultheiss.
It was mentioned that German companies have expressed interest in investing in the region in the sectors of environment and industrial tourism.
Mr. Leoudis referred specifically to ways of cooperation for the promotion of investments, while Mr. Schultheiss stated that the Greeks living and working in Germany will help in this cooperation.
 BRITAIN AND UNITED STATES EXPRESS INTEREST IN THE SAFFRON PRODUCED IN KOZANIThessaloniki, 17 February 2006 (14:16 UTC+2)
The saffron produced in the Prefecture of Kozani, northwest Greece, has attracted the interest of businessmen from Britain and the United States, according to Kozani Saffron Producers Cooperative President Nikolaos Patsiouras.
Speaking to ANA-MPA, he said that contacts will be held with representatives of all interested countries next month in Athens during a conference to take place on March 11 under the auspices of the Region of Western Macedonia.
Meanwhile, the Greek saffron has already reached Turkey, Denmark and Sweden after agreements signed by the Kozani cooperative with companies in the mentioned countries. The agreements with Denmark and Sweden provide that their markets will absorb a ton of saffron a year while the agreement with Turkey provides for the absorption of 200 kilos a year.
According to Mr. Patsiouras, Kozani produces 6-8 tons of saffron annually. Saffron is a plant with purple or white flowers with orange stigmas. The dried aromatic stigmas are used to color foods and as a cooking spice and dyestuff. One pound of the world's costliest spice requires at least 225,000 stigmas and only a small amount of saffron is used in dishes. Saffron is sold as threads (the dried stigmas) or in powdered form.
Saffron is one of the 15 agricultural products the EU decided in November 2005 to promote in markets of third countries within the framework of the efforts to improve the competitiveness of European quality products.
The production of saffron began in villages in the southern part of the Prefecture of Kozani at the end of the 17th century and can be found in only a few countries like Greece, Iran, Spain and elsewhere but in much smaller quantities.
 THREE NEW SAMPLES SUSPECT FOR BIRD FLUThessaloniki, 17 February 2006 (13:20 UTC+2)
Three new samples of swans were found suspect for bird flu, according to the National Veterinary Bird Flu Reference Laboratory in Thessaloniki.
It was announced that the subtype H5 of the bird flu virus was detected in two samples of swans from the region of Xirolimni in the Prefecture of Rodopi, northeast Greece, and in one swan sample from the region between Polychrono and Kryopigi in the Prefecture of Chalkidiki, north-central Greece.
The samples were sent to the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) in Weybridge, London for further testing to determine if they were infected with the H5N1 virus.
The responsible European Union authorities have already been informed on the issue.