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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-02-11

From: Macedonian Press Agency <mpa@philippos.mpa.gr>

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki, 11 February 1998


NEWS IN ENGLISH

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS


TITLES

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] STATE TO REVITALIZE PUBLIC UTILITIES: OLYMPIC AIRWAYS, POST OFFICE

  • [02] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS CAUGHT IN THE EYE OF STATE’S REVITALIZATION “STORM”

  • [03] GREEK FARMERS TO MEET WITH AGRICULTURE MINISTER TOMORROW

  • [04] PARLIAMENT TURNS DOWN PROPOSAL ON REVIEW COMMITTEE FOR “YAK 42”

  • [05] IMPORTED -SUSPECT- BLOOD WAS CONFISCATED MORE THAN A MONTH AGO

  • [06] NEW ACTION PLANS DRAWN BY COUNCIL OF GREEKS ABROAD

  • [07] STATE TO LURE DRIVERS INTO PULLING THEIR CLUNKERS OFF THE STREETS

  • [08] PRESIDENT OF ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE DEPARTS FOR CHICAGO

  • [09] GREECE BEATS STEADILY AT THE HEART OF BRUSSELS, THROUGH “ATTICO”

  • [10] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS THE DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION IN IRAQ

  • [11] SIMITIS MET WITH GOVERNMENT MINISTERS

  • [12] FARMERS BLOCKADED THE NATIONAL ROAD NETWORK IN MARGARA

  • [13] NEW UNREST IS EXPECTED IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE AGENCIES’ SECTOR

  • [14] MITSOTAKIS-BURNS MEETING

  • [15] ARCHBISHOP SERAPHIM’S STATE OF HEALTH IS IMPROVING

  • [16] THE GYPSY LANGUAGE GRADUALLY DISAPPEARS

  • [17] GREECE IS AMONG THE 20 MOST POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD

  • [18] PANAGIOTIS PSOMIADIS WILL NOT BE A CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION OF THE MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI


  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [19] GREEK AGRICULTURE MINISTER MEETS WITH EU’S FRANZ FISCHLER

  • [20] GREEK AMBASSADOR EYEWITNESSED ATTEMPT AGAINST SHEVARDNADZE

  • [21] EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT JACQUES SANTER TO VISIT GREECE IN APRIL

  • [22] CALM PREVAILS IN GEORGIA 36 HOURS AFTER THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

  • [23] TURKISH SOLDIERS FORCED 40 VILLAGERS TO WALK THROUGH A MINEFIELD


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] STATE TO REVITALIZE PUBLIC UTILITIES: OLYMPIC AIRWAYS, POST OFFICE

    Following yesterday’s meeting chaired by Premier Kostas Simitis and attended by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis and Labor and Welfare Minister Miltiades Papaioannou, the government announced that it will proceed to taking specific steps on the revitalization of public enterprises and corporations (DEKO) during this month and March, after receiving the relevant business plans from their administrations.

    “We have agreed on the time schedule," Mr. Papantoniou said, adding that "the revitalization program will be comprehensive, spherical and consistent with what we have said in Parliament".

    Mr. Papantoniou added that the government’s decisions will be the subject of social dialogue, while it would also be holding talks with DEKO administrations and workers.

    [02] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS CAUGHT IN THE EYE OF STATE’S REVITALIZATION “STORM”

    The Minister of Transportation and Communications Tasos Mantelis has stressed the government's determination to take measures to enable the national carrier, Olympic Airways, survive strong international competition.

    Following yesterday’s meeting chaired by Premier Kostas Simitis and attended by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Labor and Welfare Minister Miltiades Papaioannou, Mr. Mantelis said there was a "category of personnel" at OA which was "trying to impose the view" that seasonal workers should be employed, noting that this was prohibited by law.

    "The government cannot give in to irrational and unlawful decisions," he said.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Simitis had instructed the competent ministers to unswervingly continue to implement the program for the revitalization of loss-making DEKO.

    Mr. Reppas referred to Olympic Airways as "the champion of negative performance", adding that the plan for its revitalization had not borne results. He said that the government was drafting a business plan in direct consultations with trade union representatives of the national airline.

    Describing demands to grant permanent status to seasonal workers at OA as "irrational and unlawful", Mr. Reppas ruled out the possibility of the company being shut down or sold.

    "Olympic Airways will operate normally and at the same time its revitalization will proceed," he stressed.

    [03] GREEK FARMERS TO MEET WITH AGRICULTURE MINISTER TOMORROW

    The country’s protesting farmers are to meet tomorrow with a government delegation headed by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and including Finance Undersecretary George Drys, agriculture undersecretaries Dimitris Sotirlis and Vassilis Geranidis, and the governor of the Agricultural Bank of Greece, Petros Lambrou.

    The farmers of central Greece have said they will intensify blockades this week and will continue their protest until their demands are met for state subsidies and cheaper petrol for agricultural use. Local farmers however, have said that they are opposed to the meeting and have asked that Agriculture Ministry officials travel to Thessaloniki in order to embark on negotiations.

    Meanwhile, the local producers are to block off the national highway today at Malgara.

    [04] PARLIAMENT TURNS DOWN PROPOSAL ON REVIEW COMMITTEE FOR “YAK 42”

    In a majority vote, the Greek Parliament turned down a proposal submitted last evening by the main opposition on the formation of a review committee which would examine the causes of last December’s crash of a Ukrainian airplane which fell on the Pieria mountain range.

    While two minor opposition parties (Communist Party of Greece and Coalition of Left and Progress) supported the proposal, the Democratic Social Movement Party voted against. Leader of main opposition Kostas Karamanlis stated that the delay in the installation of a radar at Thessaloniki’s “Macedonia” airport was “criminal”, but Transportation Minister Tasos Mantelis lashed against Mr. Karamanlis and accused him of national irresponsibility.

    [05] IMPORTED -SUSPECT- BLOOD WAS CONFISCATED MORE THAN A MONTH AGO

    One day after the Minister of Health Kostas Gitonas ordered the Greek Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF to conduct an urgent investigation on the allegations made by a Swiss attorney, according to whom tainted blood had been imported to Greece, the Organization announced yesterday that it confiscated more than a month ago a large number of imported blood by-products which indeed may be tainted.

    The President of EOF G. Kavadias said that two pharmaceutical products imported from Germany were pulled off the shelves of two pharmacies in the Athens area in order to be tested for viruses. The samples tested to date did not contain infectious diseases but the testing at the capital’s "Laiko Hospital" will continue, Mr. Kavadias said.

    The woman lawyer revealed that the large law firm, for which she was working, was hiding behind a ring responsible for the imports of tainted blood from eastern European countries and Russia.

    According to her report, the illegal trade, which begun in 1996, used blood of cancer patients and people with a weak immune system.

    Mr. Kavadias stated that the case has already been assigned to a public prosecutor, since these products were promoted in public hospitals in Athens and Patras by university doctors without the quality seal of EOF.

    He also said that at least two doctors are allegedly involved in prescribing the blood by-products, and it is probable that they received large commissions for promoting the products. The EOF president stressed that all products with the EOF seal of approval may be used without fear by all patients.

    [06] NEW ACTION PLANS DRAWN BY COUNCIL OF GREEKS ABROAD

    In an effort to connect expatriate Greeks with the homeland, the Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE) is embarking on a series of new action plans, among them the organization of a world fund collection in May to enable Greek expatriates to contribute with funds towards the building of Greek medical centers in regions of the former Soviet Union where Greeks live.

    Moreover, the World Assembly of Hellenism will be held in Greece next year with the participation of prominent Greeks and philhellenes, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou stated.

    Mr. Papandreou said four preparatory conferences will be held this year in order to facilitate contact between Greeks from all over the world. One of the main aims of these conferences will be to brief participants on the initiative being promoted to have the concept of an Olympic truce accepted internationally.

    [07] STATE TO LURE DRIVERS INTO PULLING THEIR CLUNKERS OFF THE STREETS

    The Minister of Public Works Kostas Laliotis plans to introduce incentives for car owners to withdraw their old vehicles from the market in order to help cut pollution by the year 2004 when Athens will host the Olympic Games.

    "There must be attractive incentives so that cars over 15 years old on average can gradually be withdrawn... and replaced by new cars with new technology," Mr. Laliotis stated.

    He added that the import of cars up to five years old should be allowed so that Greece would not become a graveyard for old vehicles. He also pointed out that cars over 15 years old accounted for up to 40 percent of atmospheric pollution.

    [08] PRESIDENT OF ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE DEPARTS FOR CHICAGO

    The President of the Athens Stock Exchange Manolis Xanthakis departed for Chicago, heading a delegation of ASE and Capital Market Committee members, for contacts with officials of the local Stock Exchange for Merchandise. The meeting is held in the framework of obtaining better in formation for the Greek capital market.

    [09] GREECE BEATS STEADILY AT THE HEART OF BRUSSELS, THROUGH “ATTICO”

    Sequestered away at the very heart of the European Union is a sign that reads “Attico”, surely warming the hearts of the 10,000 Greeks living in Brussels. It features the emblem of the Greek goddess Athena, the owl, and designates the only recognized Greek educational organization in the Belgian capital.

    In the rooms of “Attico” many Greek students, most of whom are second- and third-generation offspring who have never visited Greece, are given insight on the motherland and are properly taught the familiar tongue of their parents and grandparents by trained staff.

    “Each day we realize that the children of Greeks working at NATO or the European Union have a place in their heart for Greece,” stated the director of “Attico” Alexandros Katostaras to the Macedonian Press Agency.

    Aiming at complimenting the education of Greeks living in Belgium the school also serves as a tutorial center for the students of the two Greek schools currently operating in Brussels. It also provides classes in both English and French, as well as computer training, in order to better enable these students to assimilate in the new culture.

    This private school, which operates with the permission of the “Region de Bruxelles Capitale”, also features Greek-language classes at various levels for foreigners, as well as sessions tailored after needs for specific terminology.

    [10] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS THE DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION IN IRAQ

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the Greek government supports the diplomatic solution to the crisis in the Persian Gulf.

    Mr. Reppas stated that the UN Security Council resolutions should be implemented and added that the Greek government wants peaceful solutions to the problems through diplomatic means.

    The United States continue the war preparations in the Gulf in combination with the diplomatic efforts undertaken by the US Secretary of Defense aimed at winning the support of the Arab countries in the region in case of an American military intervention against Baghdad.

    Meanwhile, after the latest mediation proposal by Moscow, the Iraqis stated that they will accept the inspection of all their weapons storage facilities including the controversial so-called presidential sites.

    [11] SIMITIS MET WITH GOVERNMENT MINISTERS

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis met with minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos to discuss the new structure of the armed forces, the course of the armaments program and especially, the purchase of new fighter jets and the upcoming evaluations of high ranking officers in the armed forces.

    The prime minister also met with ministers of development Vaso Papandreou, transportation Tasos Mantelis, mass media Dimitris Reppas and interior Alekos Papadopoulos.

    [12] FARMERS BLOCKADED THE NATIONAL ROAD NETWORK IN MARGARA

    The farmers in northern Greece blockaded the Athens- Thessaloniki national road network in Malgara. They request that the leadership of the ministry of agriculture visit Thessaloniki disagreeing with the decision of the farmers’ committee members in Thessaly, central Greece, who will meet with the ministerial committee tomorrow.

    The farmers in Thessaly left only one lane open to traffic at the Viocarpet junction and they maintain that their future stance will depend on the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting in Athens.

    [13] NEW UNREST IS EXPECTED IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE AGENCIES’ SECTOR

    New unrest is expected in the sector of the public service agencies after the explicit order issued by prime minister Kostas Simitis to the responsible ministers asking them to proceed with the necessary changes for the agencies’ reform regardless of the cost involved.

    Governing socialist party of PASOK central committee secretary Kostas Skandalidis stated that the changes should take place through dialogue with the public service sector employees.

    [14] MITSOTAKIS-BURNS MEETING

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy honorary president and former prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis met with US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.

    The meeting took place at the political office of Mr. Mitsotakis and the US ambassador later stated that they discussed foreign policy issues and issues concerning the Greek-US relations.

    [15] ARCHBISHOP SERAPHIM’S STATE OF HEALTH IS IMPROVING

    Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece, Seraphim leaving the Popular Hospital of Athens, where he stayed for two days, gave the assurance that his health improves steadily.

    The hospital announced that the condition of the Archbishop’s health is stable in spite of the fact that he felt faint during the blood transfusion he underwent.

    [16] THE GYPSY LANGUAGE GRADUALLY DISAPPEARS

    The Gypsy language or Romany gradually disappears. Thousands of Gypsies living all over Greece and in the rest of the world use this unique language, which has many elements of the ancient Sanskrit language, but only a few people besides the Gypsies speak it.

    In the past five years, the Aristotle University School of Philosophy offers Gypsy language classes that are directed to researchers, students and linguists.

    The Gypsies came from India in the 10th century AD and arrived to Europe either through Armenia in the north or through Egypt in the south and during their long journey their original language was influenced by the languages of the people they met on their way. As a result, their language was shrunk both functionally and structurally.

    According to the linguists, the Gypsy language is hard to be preserved as it is not a written one and therefore, it has no alphabet and no grammar.

    [17] GREECE IS AMONG THE 20 MOST POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD

    The 17th place among the 20 most popular tourist destinations in the world was occupied last year by Greece and this fact created hopes that tourism in the country will follow a positive course in 1998. Specifically, last year Greece was visited by 10.162.000 tourists and arrivals showed an increase of 9,67% compared to 1996.

    Regarding the rest of the countries included in the list it should be noted, that the first place among the most tempting tourist destinations is occupied by France with 66.800.000 tourists and an increase of 7,04% followed by the United States with 48.977.000 tourists and a 5,72% increase and by Spain with 43.403.000 and an increase of 7,06%.

    [18] PANAGIOTIS PSOMIADIS WILL NOT BE A CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION OF THE MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy Parliament deputy Panagiotis Psomiadis withdrew his candidature for the mayoralty of Thessaloniki, according to a written statement he has issued.

    Mr. Psomiadis mentions that he withdrew his candidature after rumors came to light regarding a “Third Option” that can be adopted in the municipality of Thessaloniki. He said that he took the decision in order to preserve his dignity and facilitate the ND president in his decision, on who will be the party nominee in Thessaloniki, by not becoming part of the problem.


    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] GREEK AGRICULTURE MINISTER MEETS WITH EU’S FRANZ FISCHLER

    Greece’s Minister of Agriculture Stephanos Tzoumakas met yesterday with the European Union’s Commissioner Franz Fischler with whom he held talks concerning the problems in Greece's agriculture sector, especially for cotton, tobacco, olive oil and rice producers.

    The Agriculture Minister expressed his satisfaction over the talks, although diplomatic sources state that difernce in opinions remains between Greece and the Commission on issues concerning agricultural policy, such as subsidies for cotton producers and their products’ trade.

    Mr. Tzoumakas stated that the Commission had accepted Greek demands that subsidies for cotton be submitted directly to producers, and that in case of over-targeting of maximum quotas penalties would be shared out to both the responsible producers and areas.

    Regarding olive oil, Mr. Tzoumakas asked for the Commission’s approval for the creation of reserves by the few organizations of producers which have the right, and which due to their limited facilities should be able to assign the task to sub-contractors.

    Mr. Fischler committed himself to submitting the request to the legal service of the Commission.

    Mr. Tzoumakas also set out Greek positions on tobacco, which were contrary to the Commission's, on the reduction of supports for varieties of poor quality tobacco, and distinctions between bad and good varieties, which are threatening Greek tobacco-producing areas.

    [20] GREEK AMBASSADOR EYEWITNESSED ATTEMPT AGAINST SHEVARDNADZE

    The Greek Ambassador at Tbilisi Mr. Kriekoukis was an eyewitness at Monday night’s assassination attempt against Georgian President Edvard Shevardnadze.

    Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Kriekoukis stated that the attempt took place outside the hotel where he was staying at temporarily.

    He stated that the ambush had been set up directly across the street from the hotel. Attackers ambushed Shevardnadze's motorcade with anti-tank grenades and automatic weapons. Two of the president's bodyguards are believed to have been killed in the attack while another four traveling in the motorcade are reported to be in serious condition.

    The Greek diplomat relayed to President Shevardnadze the Greek President’s Kostis Stephanopoulos congratulatory message for his survival.

    [21] EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT JACQUES SANTER TO VISIT GREECE IN APRIL

    The President of the European Commission Jacques Santer is to conduct an official visit to Greece between April 9-13.

    During his stay in Athens, Mr. Santer will meet with the state and political leadership of the country and will also be the keynote speaker at a banquet at an international conference on "Greeting a new Business Age" being organized in Athens by “The Economist” magazine on April 9.

    Mr. Santer will also visit the island of Crete, where he will meet with representatives of local authorities and producers. It will be Mr. Santer's third official visit to Greece since assuming the top seat of the Commission in January 1995.

    [22] CALM PREVAILS IN GEORGIA 36 HOURS AFTER THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

    Calm prevails in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, 36 hours after the assassination attempt against president Edvard Chevardnadze.

    Greek ambassador to Georgia Mr. Kriekoukis, who was an eye witness to the attempt, stated to MPA that life in the country has return to normal.

    The Greek diplomat delivered a message by Greek president Stephanopoulos to the Georgian leader, while he presented Greece’s position regarding the terrorist attempt.

    [23] TURKISH SOLDIERS FORCED 40 VILLAGERS TO WALK THROUGH A MINEFIELD

    The Turkish parliamentary committee on human rights decided to prosecute the Turkish soldiers, who forced 40 villagers in south-eastern Turkey to walk through a region thought to be a minefield. The committee reached the decision after a thorough examination of a report submitted by a parliamentary sub- committee.

    According to the Turkish newspaper “Sabah”, the soldiers asked the 40 villagers who were waiting at a bus-stop to show them where the alleged minefield was and forced them to walk through it.


    Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/

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