|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-08
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 EXPRESSION OF INTEREST CALL FOR O.A. STAKE TODAYAthens, 8 December 2000 (13:33 UTC+2)
An invitation for the expression of interest in the purchase of a majority stake of Greece's Olympic Airways is expected to be announced today, amid rumors that the state is looking to sell up to 60-65% of the ailing air carrier.
The deadline for the tenders is January 30, and all bids will have to be submitted to Credit Suisse First Boston. Interested buyers are expected to have the bid reports by the end of this month.
The next step in the privatization process is expected to follow in mid-march when Credit Suisse First Boston and the ministries of National Economy and Transportations are expected to release the short list and the Privatization Committee will then select the best offer.
 PRAYER SERVICE HELD TODAY FOR BRIG. SAUNDERSAthens, 8 December 2000 (12:10 UTC+2)
A prayer service was held in Athens this morning in memory of British Brigadier Stephen Saunders who was assassinated last June by the notorious November 17 terrorist organization.
Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and British Ambassador David Madden laid wreaths this morning near the point where Brig. Saunders was shot dead.
 THE 8TH WORLD CONFERENCE OF THE PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATIONS WILL BE HELD IN 2001Thessaloniki, 8 December 2000 (17:59 UTC+2)
The preparations for the 8th World Conference of the Pan-Macedonian Associations and the 55th Conference of the US-Canada Pan-Macedonian Associations continue at a quick pace. The conferences will be held at the "Alexander the Great" Foundation in Litochoro, northern Greece on July 12 -16.
Already, the organizing committee members had contacts with Greek government officials to brief them on the planning and the course of the conferences that are expected to make the "Alexander the Great" Foundation a reference point for the young Greeks living abroad and for the Greeks of the Diaspora in general.
 THE CULTURAL ROLE OF THE GREEKS IN PLOVDIVThessaloniki, 8 December 2000 (17:44 UTC+2)
The Greek language was the dominant language in Plovdiv's market until the end of the 19th century in spite of the fact that the Greek community was not large in numbers. The Greeks controlled, however, most of the craft guilds throughout the 19th century whenever they had not formed their own in the different professions according to historian Xanthippi Kotzagiorgis, who addressed the "Thessaloniki-Plovdiv" Conference organized in Thessaloniki by the Cultural Society of Businessmen in Northern Greece.
Ms. Kotzagiorgis pointed out that the Greeks living in the city were the protagonists in the transformation procedure through which Plovdiv reached a cosmopolitan economic and spiritual level, as they controlled most of the retail and wholesale trade as well as other business activities and the early forms of the industrial organization and production.
The dynamism of the Greeks was also evident in the sector of the education of the Greek community children. There were Greek schools in Plovdiv as early as the late 18th century but a real education explosion took place in the second and third decade of the 19th century.
 MARGINAL LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 8 December 2000 (15:48 UTC+2)
Marginal losses of 0.15% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 3.736,40 points, while the volume of transactions was at 81.3 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 151 recorded gains, 188 had losses and 25 remained unchanged.
 INFLATION WAS AT 4.2% IN NOVEMBERAthens, 8 December 2000 (15:46 UTC+2)
Inflation was high in November with the consumer prices index at 4.2%.
However, this increase can not be attributed to the oil price hikes alone as price increases were recorded and in other sectors as well such as, cigarettes and alcohol drinks.
 OVER 2,000 TONS OF RICE MISSING FROM FARMING SILOSThessaloniki, 8 December 2000 (13:16 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki's prosecutor is investigating reports that 2,500 tons of rice are missing from the silos of the city's Association of Farming Copartnerships, amounting to a loss of 250 million drachmas.
According to local press reports, the massive amount of missing rice was part of an overall quantity weighing about 45,500 tons which had been amassed since 1997 for the Ministry of Agriculture for exporting purposes.
According to the report filed with the prosecutor by an Association board member, the shortage was discovered as soon as exports were completed last May and was confirmed by Ministry experts.
 GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER TO VISIT FYROM NEXT WEEKThessaloniki, 8 December 2000 (12:59 UTC+2)
A memorandum of understanding and a military cooperation agreement will be signed in Skopje on Sunday between the Defense Ministers of Greece and FYROM, Akis Tsochatzopoulos and Ljuben Paunoski, respectively.
According to press reports in FYROM, the Greek Defense Minister will be received by the President of FYROM Boris Traijkovski on Monday, as well as by the country's Premier Ljubco Georgievski and new Foreign Minister Srdzan Kerim. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos will also visit Skopje's military hospital.
The Defense Minister will be accompanied by a delegation of representatives from the Hellenic Arms Industry who will hold talks with the dean of FYROM's military academy and will visit the metal industry of Skopje.
 BUSINESS DELEGATION TO VISIT ALEXANDRIA, EGYPTThessaloniki, 8 December 2000 (12:58 UTC+2)
A large delegation of Greek businessmen, representing trade and industry chambers from Crete, is to conduct a visit to Alexandria, Egypt, tomorrow.
According to the chairman of Alexandria's Chamber of Trade and Industry Moustafa Al Naggar, the size of the Greek delegation confirms the level of economic collaboration enjoyed by the two countries. A protocol of bilateral cooperation is expected to be signed.
 COMMISSION PROPOSES MARITIME SAFETY MEASURESNice, 8 December 2000 (12:16 UTC+2)
Maritime safety was among the topics discussed during the European Union's Summit Conference in Nice, according to Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in light of the European Commission's proposals for tighter controls on maritime traffic and the creation of a European maritime agency to prevent marine accidents and disasters.
According to confirmed reports, the Greek government will fervently support every initiative aimed at protecting the marine environment, ensuring maritime safety and safeguarding human life in the sea, all in close cooperation with the European Commission and the European Presidium and Parliament.
The Commission's proposal calls on all of the EU's 15 member-states to adhere to new monitoring and standardization of all seagoing vessels which will be carried out by a new maritime agency. The said agency will inspect ships to assess whether they meet EU safety rules, while it will also be responsible for coordinating accident investigations.
In addition to the agency, the Commission also plans to introduce the mandatory use of black boxes, similar to those used in aircraft, as well as requiring that ships have automatic transmitters so vessels that are in distress may easily be located.
A special EU compensation fund is also proposed which would provide victims of sea-accidents - such as oil spills - access to restitution of up to one billion euro.
However, EU officials said they expected resistance from the shipping industry, as well as from oil companies and some EU member states.
 SIMITIS' PRESS CONFERENCE IN NICE, FRANCENice, 8 December 2000 (19:10 UTC+2)
Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis in a press conference he gave in Nice, France today referred to a number of important issues that were discussed in the European Council.
Speaking about western Balkans, the prime minister stated that the European Council in Nice offers to the countries in the region a prospect of participation in the EU and added that there will be no border changes in the region.
Mr. Simitis also said that the EU undertakes its own initiatives concerning the rapid intervention force and promotes the issue with its own means in consultation with NATO. He also said that the EU has its own foreign and defense policy and its own means to promote those policies.
The prime minister stated that the "15" assessed the progress made in the Balkan issues and added that the comments made on the conclusions reached in the Zagreb Summit between the EU and the western Balkan states were positive. He said that the EU gives an emphasis to the support of democracy, regional cooperation, the easing of the tensions, the implementation of international law and the inviolability of the existing borders.
Meanwhile, the developments in Nice are dramatic. The afternoon meeting of the EU leaders was canceled as a result of the strong differences in their views concerning the Inter-governmental conference, while the formal dinner was also canceled. French president Jacques Chirac, who is presiding in the European Council, undertook to meet separately with each one of the 14 European leaders in an effort to reach a settlement.
 THE "15" ARE SATISFIED WITH THE AGREEMENT ON THE EU-TURKEY PARTNERSHIP RELATION TEXTNice, 8 December 2000 (18:20 UTC+2)
The leaders of the European Union attending the EU Summit meeting in Nice, France expressed their satisfaction for the agreement on the EU-Turkey partnership relation and called on Ankara to present to the European Commission its plan for its adjustment to the European standards.
Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis clarified that the EU-Turkey partnership relation text is a framework in which Turkey must move in its effort to make the necessary adjustments for its EU candidature to be promoted.
Mr. Simitis expressed Greece's satisfaction because in the Nice Summit conclusions' text the European Council reaffirms its support to the efforts made by the UN secretary-general for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Also, all parties involved are called to assist in the solution of the problem.
 A GREEK BUSINESSMAN WAS HONORED FOR HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HUNGARIAN ECONOMYBudapest, 8 December 2000 (15:42 UTC+2)
Greek businessman Panos Zeritis, president of the Greek industry group under the same name to which Hungary's largest paper industry "RISZKEY" belongs, was honored with the Golden Cross of the Officers medal in Budapest yesterday.
This important distinction is awarded to personalities of an international prestige and was delivered to Mr. Zeritis by the Hungarian president.
The distinction was awarded to the Greek businessman for his contribution to the development of the Hungarian economy, his very positive participation in the privatization process and his meaningful contribution to the strengthening of the Greek-Hungarian relations.
 THE GREEK LANGUAGE WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE ITALIAN HIGH SCHOOLS EXAM MATERIALRome, 8 December 2000 (15:36 UTC+2)
The Greek language will be included in the exam material on which the Italian high school students will be tested.
According to Italian press reports, the Greek language will be the second course on which the classical studies' high school students will be tested in the maturita diploma finals.
 US INTEREST IN HOLDING A MELINA MERCOURI FESTIVALWashington, 8 December 2000 (15:38 UTC+2)
Washington's National Gallery has expressed interest in holding a film festival dedicated to Melina Mercouri in the fall of 2001 to take place within the framework of the presentation under the title "Dynamic Women". The American interest was expressed after a proposal by the Greek embassy in Washington.
Meanwhile, the Greek embassy considers holding supplementary events dedicated to Melina Mercouri that can take place during the festival such as, a symposium on the Parthenon Marbles and a photo exhibition.