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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-12-23

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, December 23, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] THREE IRAQI BABIES FREEZE TO DEATH IN TRAILER TRUCK REFUGE
  • [02] FROST AND LOW TEMPERATURES THROUGHOUT NORTHERN GREECE
  • [03] GREECE, ALBANIA TO JOIN FORCES FOR BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION
  • [04] THESSALONIKI CONCERT HALL TO BE INAUGURATED ON JANUARY 2
  • [05] GREECE'S SEAFARM IONIAN BUYS MAJORITY STAKE IN TURKISH FIRM
  • [06] THESSALONIKI'S EUROCONSULTANT TO COOPERATE WITH EBRD
  • [07] COST OF CHRISTMAS TABLE A BIT MORE STIFF THIS YEAR
  • [08] PETROL STATION OWNERS CALL OFF STRIKE OVER HOLIDAY PERIOD
  • [09] SIMITIS: THE YEAR 2000 WILL BE ELECTION YEAR
  • [10] NEW PLUNGE FOR THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [11] KAKLAMANIS RAISED THE ISSUE OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES TO HIS BRITISH COUNTERPART
  • [12] SKANDALIDIS - META MEETING
  • [13] WEAK TREMOR IN THE PREFECTURE OF THESSALONIKI
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [14] BALKAN NEWS AGENCIES HAIL RAPPROCHEMENT INITIATIVES IN AREA
  • [15] FYROM GOVERNMENT COALITION AGREES TO COOPERATE
  • [16] FINAL DECISION ON BTK SALE TO BE DRAWN NEXT YEAR - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] THREE IRAQI BABIES FREEZE TO DEATH IN TRAILER TRUCK REFUGE

    Three children froze to death last night when their parents, Iraqi stowaways, sought refuge in a trailer truck in their attempt to enter Greece illegally.

    The grim discovery was made early this morning in the Evros region where the truck had entered from Turkey. The adults, who are in good health, are presently being questioned by police.

    [02] FROST AND LOW TEMPERATURES THROUGHOUT NORTHERN GREECE

    Frost and low temperatures is forecast throughout the region of northern Greece today, where yesterday's dense snowfall caused havoc to transportation.

    Anti-skid chains are required on all vehicles traveling on the national highway and provincial roads, while temperatures have fallen below the zero-mark in many regions of Macedonia. The Prefect of Thessaloniki Costas Papadopoulos announced that all schools, from elementary to high-school, will remain closed for the day.

    Flights at the "Macedonia" airport are being conducted as scheduled.

    [03] GREECE, ALBANIA TO JOIN FORCES FOR BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION

    Greece and Albania are to move forward for the faster implementation of a massive Balkan reconstruction plan, following a two-hour meeting held yesterday between Albania's visiting Prime Minister Ilir Meta and his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis.

    Messrs. Meta and Simitis earlier signed an economic agreement and agreed to work together to promote tourism. The Albanian Premier welcomed the economic cooperation between the two countries and hoped it would become stronger. Greece is Albania's second largest economic partner.

    Both men also welcomed a deal signed on Monday between the countries' law and order ministers to increase cooperation between their police forces and reinforce border patrols to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Albania into Greece.

    [04] THESSALONIKI CONCERT HALL TO BE INAUGURATED ON JANUARY 2

    The Thessaloniki Concert Hall will be inaugurated on January 2 by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos who will travel to Thessaloniki for this purpose.

    The facility will have a seating capacity of 1,476, and can be used as an opera, theater and convention center. Its construction will cost 14 billion drachmas.

    The concert hall will discontinue its operation for three months after the two-day inauguration ceremony to enable finishing touches to be placed to the building before embarking on operation in May.

    [05] GREECE'S SEAFARM IONIAN BUYS MAJORITY STAKE IN TURKISH FIRM

    Greek fish farm firm Seafarm Ionian has announced the acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Turkey's Ilknak, thereby successfully concluding months of negotiations.

    Ilknak owns a fish farm near Izmir, one of the most advanced units in the neighboring country with an annual output of around 400 tons.

    Fish farms in Turkey are currently producing 15,000 tons a year, while Greece produces 50,000 tons.

    [06] THESSALONIKI'S EUROCONSULTANT TO COOPERATE WITH EBRD

    Thessaloniki's Euroconsultant SA has signed a cooperation agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which calls for collaboration on a regional development initiative that includes the Inter- Balkan and Black Sea Business Center, Cyprus Development Bank and the Hellenic Technology Transfer Center.

    EBRD's regional development initiative, of a two-year duration, aims to identify and pre- select investments by small- and medium-sized enterprises in FYROM, Romania and Armenia, in the first year of its implementation.

    Three more countries in the region will be included in the program in the second year.

    EBRD will participate with an average of 30 percent in each investment. The focus will be on administration, technology and commerce.

    [07] COST OF CHRISTMAS TABLE A BIT MORE STIFF THIS YEAR

    The cost of this year's Christmas table will be a bit more stiff as consumers note a 10- 20% increase in fresh meat prices, although fresh produce prices have been contained at last year's prices.

    While retail stores are operated all -day long, following holiday schedules, the recent bout of snowy weather hampered sales.

    [08] PETROL STATION OWNERS CALL OFF STRIKE OVER HOLIDAY PERIOD

    The Federation of petrol station owners has decided to call off a strike planned for the holiday period, after the ministries of transportation and economics met some of their demands, which included a 15-percent increase in transportation fees and the abolition of a tax on number plate renewals.

    Meanwhile, significant increases have taken place in fuel prices where gasoline will be higher by 6.5 drachmas and heating oil by 3.5 drachmas.

    [09] SIMITIS: THE YEAR 2000 WILL BE ELECTION YEAR

    The year 2000 will be a decisive year for Greece, because Greece's EMU membership will be decided and the necessary work has already been done for everything to go well, stated Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis, who visited the central PASOK party offices in Athens to share Christmas wishes with party members and employees.

    Mr. Simitis stressed that the year 2000 is election year according to the constitution. Mr. Simitis stated that the next elections will confirm the leading presence of PASOK in the Greek political scene. He also stated that 2000 will be a good year with which a new history circle will open and PASOK will continue the reform of the Greek society. The prime minister responding to a question by a reporter on when the next elections will be held he said: "From now until October, 2000".

    [10] NEW PLUNGE FOR THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The Athens Stock Exchange general index, after yesterday's gains of 0.62%, recorded losses of 4.18% today and closed under the 4.800 points mark.

    The lack of purchase interest and the market's draining off as a result of the wave of share capital increases led the general index to close at 4.789,37 points while the volume of transactions shrunk to 200 billion drachmas.

    The biggest losses were recorded in the parallel market stocks and its index dropped by 7.73%, while extremely strong were the pressures exerted on the construction companies which had losses of 7.91%.

    However, the bank shares and the blue chips which played a leading role yesterday in helping the general index to regain its lost ground were unaffected.

    [11] KAKLAMANIS RAISED THE ISSUE OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES TO HIS BRITISH COUNTERPART

    The issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece was raised by Greek parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis in a letter he addressed to his British counterpart in the House of Commons Ms. Betty Boothroyd.

    Mr. Kaklamanis pointed out in his letter that over 34.000 signatures of plain citizens, scientists and distinguished personalities have been collected via Internet in support of Greece's demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles which are kept in the British Museum.

    The Greek parliament speaker stated in his letter that in favor of the return of the marbles are international organizations such as the European Parliament and UNESCO as well as the international science and archaeology community and concluded stressing that he is certain that the British parliament will approach the whole issue with sensitivity.

    [12] SKANDALIDIS - META MEETING

    The Greek-Albanian relations and the problems faced by the neighboring country were discussed in the meeting of governing socialist party of PASOK central committee secretary Kostas Skandalidis with Albanian prime minister Ilir Meta.

    In his statement Mr. Skandalidis characterized his discussion with the Albanian leader as constructive and said that they examined issues concerning both the Albanians who live in Greece as well as the Greek minority in Albania.

    On the first issue, Mr. Skandalidis stressed to Mr. Meta that nationalism must stop adding that such approaches have no place in modern times. On the Greek minority living in Albania, Mr. Skandalidis said that Greece is very much interested in their rights, their lives and their prosperity.

    [13] WEAK TREMOR IN THE PREFECTURE OF THESSALONIKI

    Seismologists characterize as usual phenomenon the weak tremor measuring 3 on the Richter scale that was recorded at 1am this morning and its epicenter was located in Migdonia Basin in the prefecture of Thessaloniki at a small distance from Lake Volvi.

    Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Geophysics Laboratory announced that the exact epicenter of the tremor was 58 kilometers east of Thessaloniki, between Lake Volvi and the village of Varvara in Chalkidiki.

    It should be noted that an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale had been recorded in the same region on December 12, while a strong earthquake of 5.8 on the Richter scale had been recorded in March, 1995 and was especially felt in the region of Arnea, Chalkidiki.

    Seismologist Manolis Skordilis stated that based on all indications so far the region does not present increased seismic activity and he did not rule out the likelihood for the tremor to be a late aftershock of the 1995 earthquake.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [14] BALKAN NEWS AGENCIES HAIL RAPPROCHEMENT INITIATIVES IN AREA

    The Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) warmly saluted the initiatives presently being undertaken by the governments of the Balkan countries towards settling and further developing ties among the region's states, through a resolution unanimously adopted during its Ninth General Assembly held in Kusadasi, Turkey.

    According to the ABNA, which comprises the national news agencies of all Balkan countries, these initiatives will contribute to the creation of a climate of peace, security and cooperation, void of prejudices that divide the peoples. The ABNA's members stated that the achievement of the said aims will endow the expansion of cooperation among the countries of the Black Sea region and, concurrent with the development of the European and Community ideal, facilitate the qualitative improvement of the mass media in the Balkans.

    Moreover, the ABNA members concurred on the fortification and operation of their mutual site on the Internet (http://www.abna.org), which was established by the Macedonian Press Agency within the framework of the "Balkan News Bank". The said address provides Internet users with access to news and reports by and for all the countries of southeastern Europe, in an effort to eliminate information barriers in the Balkans.

    Furthermore, in an effort to provide ABNA journalists unhindered travel throughout the region, the Association authorized its Secretary General Spyros Kouzinopoulos, who is also the MPA's general director, to forward a relevant letter to the Balkan governments asking them to enable its journalists conduct their professional task.

    Finally, the ABNA, which has a rotating, semi-annual presidency, expressed its gratitude to the present term's outgoing president Mehmet Guler, the General Director of the Turkish news agency "Anadolu", for his service, and warmly welcomed his successor Andreas Christodoulides, the General Director of the Athens News Agency (ANA).

    With the leadership of ANA, the member- agencies noted, ABNA enters the new millennium under the administration of a historic agency whose operation has spanned the course of over a century and made a substantial contribution to the arena of independent and objective information.

    [15] FYROM GOVERNMENT COALITION AGREES TO COOPERATE

    FYROM's tripartite government coalition signed an agreement for further cooperation yesterday, ending uncertainty about its future. According to the French news agency AFP, the agreement was signed by leaders of the three parties -- Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of VMRO-DPMNE, Vasil Tupurkovski of the Democratic Alternative (DA) and Arben Dzaferi, the leader of the Democratic Party for Albanians (DPA).

    After signing the agreement, Premier Georgievski stated that he would give back his mandate to newly-elected President Boris Trajkovski, which would enable a total reshuffle of the government.

    Within the current government VMRO-DPMNE has 13 ministers, the DA eight and the ethnic Albanian party five.

    [16] FINAL DECISION ON BTK SALE TO BE DRAWN NEXT YEAR

    Negotiations on the sale of Bulgaria's state BTK telecommunications to the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and KPN of the Netherlands, which are to jointly purchase 51% of the Bulgarian firm's shares, are to continue into the year 2000, according to Transportation Minister Antoni Slavinky.

    The newly-appointed minister stated that, henceforth, all matters pertaining to BTK's sale will be overseen by the Privatization Organization, under the personal supervision of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov.

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