|Thursday, 12 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-04-04
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 FOREIGN MINISTER BAKOYANNIS VISITS NICOSIAAthens, 4 April 2006 (11:46 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will embark on a formal visit to Nicosia today. Yesterday, after meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis she had stated that the goal is to intensify cooperation with Nicosia.
Before departing for Nicosia, Ms. Bakoyannis will brief the parliament's Standing Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs on major foreign policy issues.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Greek American community after meeting with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried concluded that the United States is determined to launch a new beginning in Cyprus.
Ms. Bakoyannis will depart for Nicosia today for a three-day formal visit. In the afternoon, she will meet with Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos and discuss the latest developments in Cyprus in view of the new momentum created.
Ms. Bakoyannis will have talks with her Cypriot counterpart Giorgos Iakovou, Parliament President Dimitris Christofias and political party leaders.
In an interview with the Cypriot radio and television, RIK, the Foreign Minister stated that the Annan Plan as presented to the Cypriot people is history, stressing that after receiving the negative vote of the Cypriot people the plan does not exist anymore.
Ms. Bakoyannis reiterated that Turkey should meet the obligations it has undertaken toward the European Union and materialize the protocol for the expansion of its customs union with Cyprus.
 THE FIRE BRIGADE IS UPGRADEDAthens, 4 April 2006 (11:16 UTC+2)
The inner cabinet meets under Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to decide on the approval of the Ministry of Public Order sponsored draft law concerning the modernization and upgrading of the Fire Brigade.
Before the meeting, Mr. Karamanlis will confer with ruling New Democracy Party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis followed by a meeting with Minister of Defense Vangelis Meimarakis.
Later in the evening, he will address the dinner given by the "Economist" conference: "Revealing the new priorities in a world of changes".
 PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE PAKISTANI ABDUCTIONS CASEAthens, 4 April 2006 (18:17 UTC+2)
Pakistani immigrants in Greece reiterated allegations according to which, they were the victims of abductions by secret services last summer.
In a press conference today by the Stop the War Alliance, Genoa 2001 Initiative and the Pakistani Community in Greece it was mentioned that three more individuals testified last week before a prosecutor that they were too the victims of abduction.
In the press conference it was also stressed that Pakistanis who had testified that they had been abducted were pressured and blackmailed by individuals close to the Pakistani embassy to retract their testimonies. They also claimed that in order to be persuaded to do so they were offered money and benefits.
Among those present in the press conference were four individuals who maintained that they had been bribed by three fellow Pakistanis close to the Embassy of Pakistan to retract their initial testimonies.
Pakistani community president Javet Aslam stated that three Pakistani government officials are expected to come to Greece in the following days (one from the Foreign Ministry, a second from the Interior Ministry and the Minister responsible for the Pakistanis Abroad) to investigate the allegations and examine the role of the Embassy of Pakistan in the affair.
 OTE TO SELL ITS ARMENTEL SHARESAthens, 4 April 2006 (17:49 UTC+2)
The Greek Telecommunications Company, OTE, announced its decision to sell its shares in the Armenian telephone company Armentel within the framework of the new policy it implements regarding its investments abroad.
According to a relevant announcement, a process has been launched in consultation with the Armenian government to examine ways to sell its 90% equity stake in Armentel.
OTE has hired HSBC Bank PLC to act as its financial consultant and collect bids from prospective buyers.
Armentel serves approximately 595,000 fixed-line telephone subscribers and 345,000 mobile phone service customers, while its annual turnover is an estimated 110 million euros.
According to OTE senior executives, there is a great interest in purchasing Armentel on behalf of Russian operators and Russian and European Investment Portfolios.
OTE paid 120 million euros in 1997 to purchase Armentel but then it had serious problems with the Armenian government and as a result, the company's value dropped to 60 million euros by the end of 2004. However, a systematic effort was made during the past year within the framework of which the initial license was renegotiated and as a result the problems were fixed, the company was reformed, an environment of trust was created and the company value recorded a notable increase.
 TRUFFLE CULTIVATION IN KOZANI, GREECEThessaloniki, 4 April 2006 (15:40 UTC+2)
The cultivation of tuber magnatum or truffle is a modern farming activity with low production cost and astonishing yield that constitutes an alternative organic cultivation unknown to the majority of Greek farmers.
An initiative for the cultivation of truffle was undertaken by the Kozani Prefecture and within this framework it proceeded with the purchase of 220 young plants grown in Italian greenhouses to promote them to regions of the prefecture where the specific cultivation can thrive. In addition, the Kozani Prefecture tabled a proposal to include the truffle cultivation in the subsidized cultivations of the 4th Community Support Framework.
The truffle cultivation in Greece is being encouraged by the National Agricultural Research Foundation, NAGREF, Forest Research Institute.
The truffle production leaders are Italy and France.
The truffle market price in Europe and the United States is 1,220-7,000 euros a kilo and when production is small the price is skyrocketing as luxury restaurants and hotels buy truffle in auctions.
Last year in a charity auction in Italy, a truffle lover paid the astronomical sum of 95,000 euros for 1.2 kilos of Italian white truffle.
The Latin name of the truffle, tuber magnatum, means food of Kings and is one of the most valuable of the underground fungi (a parasite that grows in the roots of trees). It is one of the most exquisite and outrageously expensive delicacies and can be found only in gourmet dishes in spite of its bad smell and unattractive looks.
Forest Research Institute researcher Stefanos Diamantis told ANA-MPA that the cultivation of truffle begins with the purchase of young lime, hazel and oak trees with their root system infected with tuber fungi. Currently, those plants are being imported from Italy.
The truffle was widely known in the Greek antiquity and both Theophrastus and Dioscorides referred repeatedly to it.
Theophrastus was a philosopher known as the father of botany and a favorite pupil of Aristotle. He wrote more than 200 books with only two partially surviving, History of the Plants and Causes of the Plants. Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist and while traveling as a surgeon in the Roman army, he collected information on the remedies of the period and wrote a work on medicinal drugs and their sources, preparation and use that remained standard for centuries.
 MANOEUVRE WITH MINOR INJURIESThessaloniki, 4 April 2006 (13:13 UTC+2)
Two crew members of Olympic Airlines flight 181 to Athens-Thessaloniki-Dusseldorf were slightly injured when the pilot had to make an abrupt manoeuvre because according to the cockpit instruments, the plane was flying close to another aircraft. It appears that a midair collision with two warplanes was avoided at the last minute as a result of the good reflexes of the OA pilot.
The incident happened, 70 nautical miles from Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport over the Aegean island of Skyros, while the Olympic Airlines Boeing 737-400 was descending preparing for landing.
The passenger plane landed safely at Macedonia Airport at 10:30 am and 2 of its 116 passengers were taken to hospital to be treated for shock.
 PAPANDREOU VISITS MACEDONIA UNIVERSITYThessaloniki, 4 April 2006 (12:11 UTC+2)
Main opposition Socialist Party PASOK president Giorgos Papandreou will address an event organized at Macedonia University in Thessaloniki by the PASOK student movement, PASP.
Mr. Papandreou expressed support to the people in Amorio, in Evros, northeast Greece, recently hit by floods. Mr. Papandreou visited the region yesterday and reiterated that he will support the five-year plan for the reconstruction of the region of Evros.
He also supported cross-border cooperation with Bulgaria and Turkey and called on the government to undertake an initiative and launch a trilateral cooperation aimed at finding a solution to the flood problem.