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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-06-02

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, June 2, 1998

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] IONIAN BANK'S STAFF CONTINUE STRIKE
  • [02] GOVERNMENT IS ADAMANT ON SELLING IONIAN BANK, SAYS REPPAS
  • [03] NATIONAL ECONOMY AND FINANCE MINISTER ON IONIAN BANK'S SALE
  • [04] THESSALONIKI TO HOST TRANSPORTATION CONFERENCE
  • [05] THESSALONIKI'S SEISMOLOGY CENTER RECORDS AFGHANISTAN QUAKE
  • [06] GREECE'S AND ITALY'S CULTURE MINISTERS CALL FOR COOPERATION
  • [07] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS PILOTS REFUSE TO WORK OVERTIME
  • [08] COUNCIL OF EUROPE'S ENVIRONMENT COM/TEE TO MEET IN GREECE
  • [09] GREEK COMPANY UNDERTAKES ROAD PROJECT IN ROMANIA
  • [10] LONDON'S MAYOR IN THESSALONIKI ON THURSDAY
  • [11] THE WORKERS UNIONS SUPPORT THE DIALOGUE WITH THE GOVERNMENT
  • [12] PROBLEMS IN OLYMPIC AIRWAYS
  • [13] THE MAYOR OF LONDON WILL SPEAK IN THESSALONIKI ABOUT THE EURO
  • [14] THE COOPERATION OF THE BALKAN CAPITAL MARKETS IS BEING STRENGTHENED
  • [15] MORE EU COUNTRIES SHOULD RECOGNIZE THE GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS
  • [16] A CHINESE BUSINESS DELEGATION WILL VISIT THESSALONIKI ON JUNE 26-30
  • [17] SIMITIS: GREEK GOVERNMENT CAN GUARANTEE GREECE'S FUTURE
  • [18] GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN SUPPORTS PANGALOS' COMMENTS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [19] ALBANIA: CONFLICT IN KOSSOVO COULD LEAD TO WAR, UN RUSHES TO RELIEF
  • [20] KOSSOVO'S RUGOVA AT UN HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK
  • [21] GREECE ASKS FOR EXPLANATIONS FROM UK ON ITS "WAR SCENARIA"
  • [22] AIR FRANCE PILOTS ON STRIKE, WORLD CUP OPERATION THREATENED
  • [23] GREEK DEMARCHE FOR THE "SUNDAY TIMES" REPORT
  • [24] OMIROU-TSOCHATZOPOULOS MEETING IN ATHENS
  • [25] CLASHES IN KOSOVO ESCALATE
  • [26] THE UNITED STATES WANT TURKEY TO GIVE BACK THE GOLD STOLEN FROM THE JEWS BY THE NAZIS
  • [27] TRACES OF BENZOLIUM FOUND IN BEVERAGES
  • [28] FATOS NANO CALLS ON BELGRADE OVER THE KOSOVO SITUATION

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] IONIAN BANK'S STAFF CONTINUE STRIKE

    Although a Greek court ruled last week that the strike conducted by Ionian Bank's disgruntled staff is illegal and has barred its resumption, the undaunted employees are determined to press on with their protest to the privatization of the bank, continuing the strike today and tomorrow. The Athens-based First Circuit Court ordered workers at state- controlled Ionian Bank to end the strike they have held since May 11.Today, officials of Ionian's staff association, the Federation of Greek Bank Employees' Unions, and the General Confederation of Greek Labor are to meet in order to discuss the government's dialogue proposal.

    In its ruling, the Court said union leaders would be fined GRD400,000 (about $1,200) on a daily basis if the order was ignored. As for the employees, under Greek law, staff members failing to return to work after such a ruling also face the possibility of dismissal.

    In its reasoning, the Court held that the striking Ionian workers have essentially barred thousands of customers from having access to their savings accounts, since there isn't even a skeleton staff on duty to serve them.

    [02] GOVERNMENT IS ADAMANT ON SELLING IONIAN BANK, SAYS REPPAS

    Government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas stated yesterday that the government's decision to sell Ionian Bank will be adhered to.

    "The decision has been made. The timetable has been decided,'' Mr. Reppas stated, following a four-hour meeting between the cabinet and the socialist PASOK party's leadership.

    Mr. Reppas noted that the government would unwaveringly implement and defend the policy it had announced.

    He added that the inner Cabinet meeting had confirmed the government's unanimous decision to sell Ionian's majority stake, exactly as announced on April 30.

    "The procedure to be followed will be of a competitive nature through the Athens Stock Exchange," he confirmed, adding that the general shareholders' meeting of Ionian's parent company, Commercial Bank, would take place on June 19 to approve the sale.

    The government is resolved to apply any lawful means to implement this decision, he said, and called on Ionian's employees to assume their responsibilities.

    "The government's aim is for this affair to end without victors and vanquished," he declared.

    [03] NATIONAL ECONOMY AND FINANCE MINISTER ON IONIAN BANK'S SALE

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou has also stressed the government's resolve to sell the Ionian Bank, in spite of the employees' reactions.

    ``The unofficial meeting between PASOK's general secretariat and the cabinet reaffirmed unanimously the decision to privatize Ionian Bank at the agreed time schedule,'' Mr. Papantoniou told a news conference yesterday.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that the meeting restated the government's decision to sell a majority stake in the bank and that terms of the sale would be submitted for approval to the board of Commercial Bank of Greece, Ionian's main shareholder, on June 19.

    Mr. Papantoniou urged striking Ionian Bank employees and union federation leaders to hold a dialogue on safeguarding jobs after the bank's sale.

    He stressed that there was abuse of the right to strike, and pointed out that in every demonstration the same nucleus of protesters had been identified.

    [04] THESSALONIKI TO HOST TRANSPORTATION CONFERENCE

    Thessaloniki is to host the Conference of Multimodal Transport and Transit Trade in Southeast Europe from June 4-6, an event organized by HELEXPO, the organizer of the Thessaloniki International Fair, in cooperation with the Department of Communications Technology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

    The event is to address legal and administrative issues pertaining to difficulties encountered in crossing borders, methods and practices associated with multimodal transport in light of new technology and the use of logistics, multimodal transport corridors and infrastructure (terminals and junctions), networks, services and international cooperation.

    Among those participating in the conference will be senior officials and representatives of European Union directorates, the ministries of transport and communications, of environment, town planning and public works, of finance, of merchant marine, universities, cultural foundations of Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and other countries and transport organizations.

    [05] THESSALONIKI'S SEISMOLOGY CENTER RECORDS AFGHANISTAN QUAKE

    The earthquake that occurred on Sunday in Afghanistan and which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale was clearly recorded by the Thessaloniki Aristotle University geophysics lab as registering 6.9 on the Richter scale.

    According to University seismologist, Vassilis Karakostas, Afghanistan "belongs to the Eurasian seismic zone, which starts from Gibraltar, runs through Greece, India and Afghanistan, and ends in Indochina". He further explained that this zone had its strongest seismic activity in Greece, namely, the island of Kephalonia.

    [06] GREECE'S AND ITALY'S CULTURE MINISTERS CALL FOR COOPERATION

    Greece's Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his Italian counterpart Walter Veltroni urged European countries to strengthen their ties in the movie-making sector in order to challenge Hollywood's monopoly on the entertainment industry.

    ``Everybody must realize that Europe is not only (about a single) currency but a continent with strong cultural links, able to create an industry to rival that of America's,'' Mr. Veltroni said.

    Mr. Venizelos said both Greece and Italy, having both won the two top awards at this year's Cannes film festival, have agreed on several joint projects to boost cooperation.

    Mr. Vetroni said the European Union had recently agreed to host a European version of the Oscar awards, to be broadcast across the continent, in an effort to strengthen European cinema.

    [07] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS PILOTS REFUSE TO WORK OVERTIME

    In a violation of their recent agreement with Olympic Airways management, the national air carrier's pilots are refusing to work overtime.

    They are protesting the elimination of various routes, such as Dubai -Bangkok, as well as the administration's decision to hire 45 pilots, as opposed to the 75 requested by the Pilots' Union.

    [08] COUNCIL OF EUROPE'S ENVIRONMENT COM/TEE TO MEET IN GREECE

    The Committee of Environment, City Planning and Local Administration of the Council of Europe's parliamentary Assembly is typo convene on Thursday, June 4, at the island of Lesbos, in order to examine environmental issues concerning the Mediterranean region.

    The three-day conference is to feature the participation of deputies from 40 countries and a number of studies will be presented on the Mediterranean basin, the Aegean, waste management and sea pollution.

    Among those to salute the conference are the Minister of the Aegean Elisabeth Papazoi, the undersecretary of Environment, City Planning and Public Works Th. Koliopanos and the vice-president of the Hellenic Parliament P. Sgourides.

    [09] GREEK COMPANY UNDERTAKES ROAD PROJECT IN ROMANIA

    A five-billion -drachma project in Romania has been undertaken by Greece's "Proodevtiki" which will oversee a consortium of Greek technical companies building roads in the Romanian city Kluz.

    The project concerns the repair and expansion of a road axis whose length measures 32 kilometers and will be funded buy the European Bank of Investments. It was granted to the Greek company following an international bidding process .

    [10] LONDON'S MAYOR IN THESSALONIKI ON THURSDAY

    London's preparation for the arrival of the European Union's common currency, the Euro, is to be the topic of a speech to be delivered by the British capital's mayor Alderman Richard Nickols, during his visit to Thessaloniki.

    The British mayor is to visit Thessaloniki on the invitation of the Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce whose office in northern Greece will host a dinner on his honor.

    The event will be held on Thursday evening.

    [11] THE WORKERS UNIONS SUPPORT THE DIALOGUE WITH THE GOVERNMENT

    The opening of a dialogue with the government on the issue of the Ionian Bank was decided in a joint meeting of the presiding boards of the Bank Employees' Union (OTOE), the General Confederation of Labor and the Association of the Ionian Bank Employees.

    The employees and the union leaders will meet this afternoon with minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou and minister of labor Miltiadis Papaioannou. In the dialogue the employees will present their demand for the merger of the Ionian Bank with the Commercial Bank, while later in the evening the government and the opposition will discuss the issue in Parliament.

    [12] PROBLEMS IN OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

    New problems are being created in the flights of Olympic Airways as the pilots of the state-run airline, in violation of their recent agreement with the management, refuse to work overtime.

    The pilots react this way to the permanent cancellation of flights such as, the Dubai-Bangog flight as well as, to the decision of the Olympic Airways management to hire 45 pilots instead of the 75 requested by the Pilots' Union.

    [13] THE MAYOR OF LONDON WILL SPEAK IN THESSALONIKI ABOUT THE EURO

    The preparation of London to welcome the European single currency, the "Euro", will be the issue of the speech that will be delivered in Thessaloniki on Thursday by mayor of London Lord Alderman Richard Nickols.

    The mayor of the British capital will visit Thessaloniki at the invitation of the Greek-British Chamber and will attend a formal dinner that will be given in his honor by the Chamber's executive committee.

    [14] THE COOPERATION OF THE BALKAN CAPITAL MARKETS IS BEING STRENGTHENED

    The strengthening of the Balkan Stock Markets' cooperation was decided in the recent meeting of the US initiative "SECI" that was held in Tirana. Final decisions on inter-Balkan cooperation in the capital market sector is expected to be reached in a meeting of the involved parties scheduled to take place in Istanbul on June 14-15.

    Meanwhile, the establishment of a Center Against Corruption and Crime in Bucharest aims at dealing with business security problems. The center is expected to help all the businesses that are interested in becoming active in regions with limited security.

    [15] MORE EU COUNTRIES SHOULD RECOGNIZE THE GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS

    The decision of the French National Assembly to recognize the 1915 genocide of the Armenians by the Turks was welcomed by the Armenian National Committee of Greece.

    France is the third European Union country after Greece and Belgium that has recognized the genocide of the Armenians and the Armenian National Committee of Greece expresses the hope that the rest EU countries will also recognize the genocide and stop backing Turkey which is a constant violator of international law principles.

    [16] A CHINESE BUSINESS DELEGATION WILL VISIT THESSALONIKI ON JUNE 26-30

    Representatives of 10 Chinese businesses, 7 state-run and 3 private, will visit Thessaloniki at the end of the month to examine ways of bilateral trade cooperation.

    They are interested mostly in importing electronic products, petrochemicals, clothing items, metallurgy products, pharmaceuticals, transport and communications material, construction materials and high-tech products.

    The Chinese delegation will visit Thessaloniki on June 26-30 at the invitation of the prefecture of Thessaloniki.

    [17] SIMITIS: GREEK GOVERNMENT CAN GUARANTEE GREECE'S FUTURE

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis, in the speech he addressed, during the scheduled meeting at a parties leaders' level, that took place on the initiative of the leader of the "Democratic Social Party", Dimitris Tsovolas, stressed that the Economic and Monetary Union is not a coercion but an additional chance which will render the country capable of handling international competition and all new provocations.

    Mr Simitis, also, underlined that the government will proceed to the announced structural changes and noted that, although Greek society has unanimously approved the course to the European integration, there is not a proportionate reaction concerning the implementation of that policy.

    [18] GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN SUPPORTS PANGALOS' COMMENTS

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas fully supported Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, concerning the comments of the latter against the Greek Commissioner Christos Papoutsis.

    Mr Reppas stressed that mr Papoutsis overstepped the bounds of his authority and described his comments on mr Pangalos' moral standards as unsuccessful and inadmissible. Regarding the Foreign minister, mr Reppas underlined that mr Pangalos excelled in the bids he made for national interests which should not be doubted by anyone.

    However, the European Commission spokesman fully supported Mr Papoutsis, saying that "Commissioners are politicians, not political eunuchs", a phrase previously stated by the EC president Jacques Santer.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] ALBANIA: CONFLICT IN KOSSOVO COULD LEAD TO WAR, UN RUSHES TO RELIEF

    Albania has issued an appeal to the international community to intervene in order to end the "cleansing" that Serbia has embarked upon in Kossovo. Moreover, the Albanian government warned that he conflict would escalate to a full blown war. According to Albanian press reports, 2,000 persons from Kossovo have sought refuge during the last two days in northern Albania.

    Serious fighting erupted in Kossovo over the weekend, causing people to flee into Albania, United Nations Spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday. According to preliminary reports from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), some 1,300 people fled into Tropoje, in northern Albania in the largest such exodus to date, Mr. Eckhard said. The UNHCR does not know how many people have been displaced in the latest fighting, but there are reports some are trapped and cannot cross the border.

    There was heavy and indiscriminate shelling in two villages alongside the border with Albania, he continued. Workers in the hills could see 120 millimeter mortars being fired into the villages. The UNHCR and other UN agencies are rushing relief supplies into the area.

    [20] KOSSOVO'S RUGOVA AT UN HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK

    At a press conference given at the United Nations Headquarters in New York yesterday, the President of Kossovo's Albanian community, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, described the situation as very dangerous and said Serb police and military action had left many people dead.

    Massive ethnic cleansing was quite possible in Kossovo, although Albanians make up 90 per cent of the population, he said. He urged the international community to do more to end the massacres.

    Independence for Kossovo was the best political solution and would bring stability to the whole region, including Albania and FYROM and would also help the Serbs as well, he added.

    Moreover, Dr. Rugova said he had urged UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to provide more support for Kossovo and to initiate preventive measures, including the establishment of a human rights monitoring office.

    He had also urged support for a United States initiative to start talks between Prishtina and Belgrade. However, he stressed, police and military action must stop, for any talks to succeed.

    At a meeting with United States President Bill Clinton, Dr. Rugova said he also called for some kind of international civil administration as an interim measure.

    [21] GREECE ASKS FOR EXPLANATIONS FROM UK ON ITS "WAR SCENARIA"

    An article published in the British newspaper "Sunday Times", which wrote of a "hot incident" taking place in Cyprus if the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles are installed in Cyprus and the airlift prepared by the British government for the emergency evacuation of British tourists and pensioners in case of war in the island, has provoked the reaction of the Greek government.

    The Greek ambassador to London Vassilis Zafeiropoulos has lodged a protest to the Foreign Office over the report..

    Mr. Zafeiropoulos stressed to Foreign Office officials that such articles created serious negative repercussions for the tourism of both Greece and Cyprus and should not be used as a means of exerting pressure to secure the cancellation of the missiles' installation.

    A British Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that the government was not involved in the article's publication. British defense ministry and foreign office representatives questioned the credibility of the reporter who wrote the article.

    A Foreign Office representative was quoted as saying that the article had also damaged British foreign policy.

    [22] AIR FRANCE PILOTS ON STRIKE, WORLD CUP OPERATION THREATENED

    A strike threatened by the pilots of the French national carrier Air France could undermine the smooth operation of the world cup soccer tournament Mudial.

    The pilots are protesting an offer to exchange 15 percent of salary for stock in the airline since, they say, this amounts to a loss of two months' salary a year.

    Air France has canceled its flights through Thursday, but the pilots' union strike notice is for two weeks -- in other words, for five days after the world cup soccer tournament opens next week, June 10 to July 12, and it is renewable.

    As such, Air France, which has painted its aircraft with huge figures of soccer players from all of Mudial's 32 participating nations, faces the prospect of seeing its fleet grounded throughout the world cup festival.

    According to statistical data, Air France pilots are among the best-paid pilots in Europe, their average salary being just over 120 thousand dollars a year.

    In light of the strike, Air France management has promised to use non-striking crews to bring world cup teams into France, although it says that it cannot guarantee the transport of the thousands of fans, whom they may be able to accommodate with the French state railroad's 200 extra high-speed train routes on a daily basis.

    [23] GREEK DEMARCHE FOR THE "SUNDAY TIMES" REPORT

    The British Foreign Office does not intent to give a formal response to the Greek government on the plan for the emergency evacuation of the British nationals in case of a war in Cyprus which was made public by a "Sunday Times" news report.

    Greek ambassador to London Vasilis Zafiropoulos made a demarche to the British government and pointed out to the British Foreign Office officials that such publications have negative effects on tourism in Greece and Cyprus and that they should not be used as a means to exert pressures aimed at averting the installation of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus.

    According to the BBC radio, a Foreign Office spokesman has confirmed the existence of an operational routine plan for Cyprus, as he characterized it. He also described the publication as "unfounded" and stressed that there is no intention to give further clarifications as requested by Greek foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    [24] OMIROU-TSOCHATZOPOULOS MEETING IN ATHENS

    The sovereign right of Cyprus, a member of the UN, to defend itself can not be put under negotiation, stated Cypriot minister of defense Yiannakis Omirou after the meeting he had with Giorgos Dounas, commander of the Greek Navy training ship "Aris" which is on a visit to the port of Limassol in Cyprus.

    Mr. Omirou referred to the British press publications on the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, and stressed that an effort is being made to intimidate the Cypriot Republic and harm the country's economy. The main message, said Mr. Omirou, is that Greece backs the Cypriot Hellenism at this difficult time and a joint effort will be made to deal with national dangers. He also added that the Turkish expansionism does not threaten only Cyprus but the Aegean, its islands and Thrace as well.

    The Cypriot minister of defense will be in Athens this afternoon, on his way to Paris for a meeting with his French counterpart, and he will meet with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos to set the program for the joint defense course of the two countries.

    [25] CLASHES IN KOSOVO ESCALATE

    Thick clouds of war gather over Kosovo, as clashes escalate between Serb forces and the Albanian- speaking population resulting to the deaths of tens of people, while about 2 thousand ethnic Albanians have already crossed the borders into Albania.

    The Albanian government of prime minister Fatos Nano has accused the Serb government of seeking the ethnic cleansing of the Albanians in Kosovo and issued an appeal to the international community to intervene.

    [26] THE UNITED STATES WANT TURKEY TO GIVE BACK THE GOLD STOLEN FROM THE JEWS BY THE NAZIS

    A US State Department report mentions that part of the Jewish gold seized by the Nazis during World War II was liquidated in Turkey and calls on Ankara to return it to its rightful owners with its current value.

    In the report, which is being presented in Washington today, it is pointed out that during that time Germany, through two of its banks in Switzerland and Turkey, liquidated gold with a total value of 70 million dollars. The value of that gold today is estimated at 600 million dollars and it should be returned to the Jews, who survived the Holocaust or to their relatives.

    The 200-page report was drawn up at the initiative of assistant US Secretary of State responsible for economic issues Stuart Aizestein and among others it mentions that together with Turkey, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal as well, supplied the Nazis with ammunition and raw material that were paid with money that came from the stolen Jewish gold.

    Based on the report, Turkey's gold deposits before the war were 27 tons but after the war they reached 216 tons, as a result of the gold that was brought to the country by the Nazis.

    [27] TRACES OF BENZOLIUM FOUND IN BEVERAGES

    Millions of cans and bottles of beverages and mineral water were taken off the shelves in the British market when laboratory tests showed traces of the cancer causing chemical substance benzolium.

    Among the beverages taken off the shelves are millions of cans and bottles of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Seven Up, Fanta, and Sprite. However, the companies that make those beverages stressed that there is absolutely no danger for the public health and that the measures were taken to check their quality and not if they are dangerous.

    [28] FATOS NANO CALLS ON BELGRADE OVER THE KOSOVO SITUATION

    The Albanian cabinet held a session today concerning the tense situation in Kosovo and the big numbers of ethnic Albanians who seek refuge in the Albanian territory.

    The Albanian prime minister Fatos Nano, in the speech he addressed, stressed that Belgrade, through the policy of an ethnic cleansing, it pursues, aims at the collapse of the dialogue which began in Pristina between Serbs and Albanians.

    Mr Nano added that the Albanian government will be obliged to revise its policy against all sides involved in the crisis, if Belgrade adheres to its stance regarding Kosovo Albanians.


    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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