|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-20
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE ATHENS AIRPORT IS SAFEAthens, 20 December 2000 (19:37 UTC+2)
The Athens Airport is safe as are the flights made, while the accusations and the insinuations made from time to time are groundless, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responding to a relevant question.
When he was asked if an issue was raised on behalf of the US side on the safety of the Greek airports he responded that from time to time discussions are being held between the Greek authorities and the US Civil Aviation Agency.
 THE CIVILIAN OATH WILL BE ESTABLISH FOR THE CHRISTIANS AS WELLAthens, 20 December 2000 (16:50 UTC+2)
The establishment of a civilian oath not just for the atheists but for the Christians as well, who don't want to give a religious oath, is being promoted by the ministry of justice with a new provision.
This way all the Christians, who wish to, can swear in courts citing their honor and conscience to testify the truth. This provision is expected to create new reactions on behalf of the Church of Greece.
 MARGINAL LOSSES OF 0.24% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 20 December 2000 (16:29 UTC+2)
Marginal losses of 0.24% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index was 3.454,28 points and the volume of transactions was small at 72.75 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 181 recorded gains, 181 had losses and 34 remained unchanged.
 PATRIARCH DIODOROS OF JERUSALEM PASSES AWAYJerusalem, 20 December 2000 (15:05 UTC+2)
Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem passed away last night at the age of 77, after a long illness.
The Patriarch's health had been steadily deteriorating, as he long suffered from renal failure and underwent a cardiac episode three days ago.
His Beatitude Patriarch Diodoros was born at the island of Chios in 1923 and traveled to Jerusalem in 1938 where he finished his early education. In 1957 he graduated from the Theological School of Athens and subsequently returned to Jerusalem where he was appointed Patriarch in 1981.
The late Patriarch was a noted philanthropist who, through the Greek Orthodox Church, founded new schools, orphanages and hospitals, while he held an instrumental role in the restoration of historic monasteries.
 OTE, MATAV NOW ENTER FINISH LINE IN MAKTEL BIDAthens, 20 December 2000 (14:47 UTC+2)
The battle of bids between Greece's OTE and Hungarian telecom firm Matav for a 51 percent stake in the Former Yugoslav FYROM's telecom monopoly Maktel, is coming to a crescendo, with a preferred buyer to be selected today.
While FYROM's commission overseeing the tender is to decide today which of the two bidders it will opt for, Matav is reportedly viewed more favorably because some 60 percent of the company is owned by Germany's giant Deutsche Telekom. Greek conglomerate Dimtiris Kontomenas is also a shareholder of Deutche Telekom, whose offer amounts to 618.2 million euros, outbidding OTE by 9.9 million euros.
 GREECE TO HOST INTERNATIONAL YOUTH CONFERENCEThessaloniki, 20 December 2000 (14:25 UTC+2)
An international youth conference is to be held in central Greece's city of Elasona on December 22-29, organized by the Athens-based European Cultural Organization for Social Education and held under the auspices of the European Commission's "Youth" program.
The meeting aims to develop ties of friendship among the youth of the Mediterranean region, namely from Greece, Italy, Spain, Lebanon and Tunesia and to encourage their active participation in social and cultural events.
The sixty participants will form task groups and will hold discussions with local authorities, while their program includes sightseeing in Thessaloniki and the archaeological site of Vergina.
 FINANCE MINISTRY POLICE TO COMBAT PROFITEERINGAthens, 20 December 2000 (14:04 UTC+2)
Over 2,500 Finance Ministry police (SDOE) are to be combing the country's markets and shopping centers every day over the Christmas shopping period in an attempt to restrict profiteering.
At a meeting yesterday, Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis and Deputy Development Minister Milena Apostolaki said 500 officers would be inspecting shops in Athens and the remaining 2,000 will be on the lookout throughout Greece.
 FAA THREATENING TO DOWNGRADE GREEK AIRPORTSAthens, 20 December 2000 (13:38 UTC+2)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering the downgrade of the Greek airports' flight safety rating, from its present category A status to B, although the decision is to be finalized within the following days.
FAA officials, who met with Greece's Transport Minister Christos Verelis in Athens yesterday, reportedly call for the strict adherence to international aviation standards and strengthened security measures.
Ministry sources claim that the State Department is trying to exert pressure on Greece to adopt tighter security measures in light of the 2004 Games. The same sources point out that Greece has taken significant steps in this direction, i.e. the codification of the civil Aviation's regulations and the flight safety bill.
 GREEK PM: TURKEYS BEHAVIOR TO THE WEAK IS CRUELAthens, 20 December 2000 (12:59 UTC+2)
Commenting on the violence that has erupted in Turkey's prisons, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated today that the neighboring country displays "brutal behavior towards those who cannot defend their human rights."
Mr. Simitis added that every country that is a candidate for accession to the European Union is obliged to show respect for human rights, while he also added that Ankara's ties with the EU are the means for establishing a state of justice in Turkey.
Mr. Simitis was received by the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos this morning.
 GREEK MPs CONDEMN PRISONER TREATMENT IN TURKEYAthens, 20 December 2000 (12:46 UTC+2)
With a resolution drawn under the initiative of former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, 58 Greek parliamentarians have denounced the atrocities and blatant human rights violations pervading Turkey's prisons.
Fifteen prisoners and two soldiers were killed early this morning when Turkish forces stormed the prisons throughout the country in an effort to end a two-month-old hunger strike that prisoners launched to protest plans to transfer them to small prison cells, where they fear abuse by guards. Many of the hunger strikers were on the brink of death after subsisting on sugared water for two months.
Expressing their profound concern, indignation and sorrow for today's violence, the Greek deputies, who span all political parties, call on the President of the Hellenic Parliament to denounce the Turkish regime's tyrannical and undemocratic methods to the European Council's Parliamentary Assembly and to the European Parliament.
Moreover, the parliamentarians ask that the Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou immediately bring the matter forth to international organizations and European Union bodies.
"Once again, the Turkish police and security forces, caring for the 'safety' of political prisoners with methods familiar only to them, raided 20 prisons and dispersed terror and death."
"We do not forget," the resolution reads, "that at the present time there are 12,000 political prisoners in an EU candidate-member, while torture victims from 1981 to date are innumerable.
"Turkey's arbitrary and anachronistic regime didn't miss the chance to show its true colors: a profound disregard for the principles of respect for human rights, the value of human life and the European democratic institutions.".
 TSOCHATZOPOULOS' CONTACTS IN SARAJEVOSarajevo, 20 December 2000 (19:20 UTC+2)
Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos pointed out in the meeting he had with Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation president Zifko Radisic that there is a need for the speeding up of the economic and social development in Bosnia in order for the region to start approaching the security institutions in southeastern Europe and the European Union.
In the meeting they had they discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation between Bosnia and Greece in different sectors and mainly the prospects for the Greek side to back Bosnia's rapprochement moves with the European Union. They also discussed the five-year presence and the activities of the international peace-keeping force in Bosnia and Mr. Radisic requested that the peace-keeping force extend its stay in the region.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos also met with defense minister of the Serb Republic in Bosnia Manolio Milovanovic and discussed issues concerning bilateral cooperation, and invited him to visit Greece. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos also met with the minister of defense of the federal government and later he visited the Greek army camp.
 THE FUNERAL OF THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEMJerusalem, 20 December 2000 (18:43 UTC+2)
The funeral of Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem, who died at the age of 77 after suffering a heart attack three days ago, will take place on Friday.
Diodoros was born in the northeastern Aegean island of Chios in 1923 and in 1938 he went to Jerusalem where he finished high school. He became a chorister and then a monk. In 1981 he was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem.