|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-02-07
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 MERRY VENTS HIS SPLEEN, PROPHESIZES 2004 DISASTERWashington, 7 February 2001 (12:53 UTC+2)
Prophesizing that a bloody disaster is looming over the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, a former State Department and Pentagon official blasts Greece's security measures and warns of an imminent calamity bound to be worse than the Munich-held Games of 1972.
Unleashing his venom against Greece in an op-ed commentary in the "Los Angeles Times", Wayne Merry writes in nail-biting prose that "the clock is ticking toward potential bloody disaster at the Athens Games in 2004, the worst since the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Games in 1972."
Mr. Merry, who has served at the US embassy in Athens, also characterizes the Greek capital as a city worse than Bogota and Beirut, at least on security-related matters, and accuses the Greek police of turning a blind eye to the notorious terrorist group 17 November (17N).
Furthermore, the former diplomat does not hesitate to allude that there has been and may still be an affiliation between 17N and the ruling socialist PASOK party.
"It is no secret that the ruling PASOK party had active terrorist links in the past. Whether direct ties still exist, the government treats 17 November with benign neglect amounting to appeasement," according to Mr. Merry.
Impelling the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to take action, Mr. Merry unabashedly advises its members to "give the Greek government until the end of 2001 to wipe out 17 November. If, on Dec. 31, these conditions have not been satisfied, the Games should be moved."
And, lest the IOC forget, "Los Angeles and Seoul are two viable alternatives", he adds.
 "LOST" GREEK BANK ACCOUNTS IN SWISS BANKSAthens, 7 February 2001 (16:59 UTC+2)
In a milestone decision the Swiss government opens the confidential files of the country's banks and looks for the descendants of depositors from all over the world who had bank accounts before the year 1945 and have given no sign of life since then.
A list with 21.000 names is presented on the Internet in an effort to trace their descendants who will be called to collect the money with half a century interest. In the list of the "lost" depositors are the names of 31 Greeks.
The list of names that was given to publicity via the Internet two days ago on the address www.dormantaccounts.ch has been delivered to all the European foreign ministries. A smaller list of 580 depositors had been publicized earlier and included the names of 4 Greeks.
The oldest Greek bank accounts in Swiss banks belonged to Michalis Ezehil and Olga Rekanati-Ezehil from Thessaloniki, Stats Kufer from Kavala and Matheos Kambouris, who had declared Vietnam as his place of residence.
 LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 7 February 2001 (15:57 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped by 0.77% at 3.105,74 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 105.74 million Euro or 36.03 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, just 84 recorded gains and 239 had losses, while the value of 45 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE 2ND TECHNICAL MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN COASTAL REGIONS CONFERENCEThessaloniki, 7 February 2001 (15:56 UTC+2)
The second technical meeting of the European Coastal Regions Conference (CRPM) aimed at forming a Balkan Cooperation Committee will be held in Thessaloniki on Friday at the initiative of eastern Macedonia-Thrace region general secretary Aris Papadopulos and CRPM director Philippe Cichowlaz with the support of central Macedonia region general secretary Vasilis Valasopoulos.
The first meeting was held in the city of Komotini in northeastern Greece on January 26 with the participation of representatives from eastern Balkan regions and prefectures.
The final decision for the establishment of the Balkan Cooperation Committee will be reached in the CRPM general assembly meeting in Kavala on May 17-18 and it will be approved in the CRPM general assembly meeting next fall. In the CRPM participate European coastal regions with the goal to promote the interests and cooperation of the participating countries and exchange experiences.
 YUGOSLAV BUSINESS MISSION IN ATHENSAthens, 7 February 2001 (15:51 UTC+2)
A delegation of the Yugoslav Commerce and Economic Chamber made up of the presidents of the regional chambers of Novisad, Subotica, Kragugevac and Nis as well as 50 executives representing 33 Yugoslav companies and banks will be in Athens today.
The talks that will be held in Athens will focus on the prospects of cooperation in the sectors of agriculture, food industry, chemical industry, paper industry, textiles, ship building etc.
It should be noted that the volume of the trade transactions between Yugoslavia and Greece reached US$207 million last year. The Yugoslav exports to Greece were US$75 million, while the Greek exports to Yugoslavia were US$132 million.
 THE 4TH EXHIBITION OF GREEK BUSINESSES WILL BE INAUGURATED IN FYROM ON FEBRUARY 22Thessaloniki, 7 February 2001 (15:38 UTC+2)
The 4th Exhibition of Greek Businesses, that will take place at the Skopje Exhibition Center in FYROM on February 22 organized by Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair Ltd, is expected to be an opportunity for business deals between businessmen from Greece and FYROM.
It should be reminded that the products of about 100 Greek businesses were presented in last year's exhibition, while the participation of exhibitors was increased by 65% compared to the 1999 exhibition.
 THE GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER WILL BE IN KOSOVO TOMORROW ACCOMPANIED BY 25 PARLIAMENT DEPUTIESThessaloniki, 7 February 2001 (15:33 UTC+2)
Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos will be in Kosovo tomorrow heading a large parliament delegation. The minister will be accompanied by 25 parliament deputies, 18 from the governing socialist party of PASOK, 6 from the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy and one from the party Coalition of the Left.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos and the members of the delegation will visit the headquarters of the 34th brigade at the "Alexander the Great" military camp in Kosovo Polje and at "Rigas Fereos" Camp near Urosevac where they will be briefed on the existing situation, meet with the soldiers and give a press conference.
 GREECE: MERRYS ARTICLE IS JUST "CONTEMPTIBLE"Athens, 7 February 2001 (14:01 UTC+2)
Simply contemptible, is how Greece termed the commentary written for the Los Angeles Times by former State Department and Pentagon official Wayne Merry who warns of an impending disaster at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Mr. Merry keeps repeating the same things over and over; it's as if he's single-handedly undertaken the task of slinging mud against Greece, implicating everyone in his tales, the Greek society en masse, the Press, (the ruling party) PASOK..., Undersecretary of Press and acting government spokesperson Telemachus Hytiris said.
The (L.A. Times) article is contemptible and I don't really know what Mr. Merry's role is.
I would say that it would be far simpler for him, in any role he wishes to assume, if he were to inquire with his own government, which cooperates with the Greek state on terrorism-related matters, and obviously knows of the existing impediments and the accomplishments to date, he added.
Furthermore, Mr. Hytiris stressed that the Greek government is firm on its counter-terrorism resolutions and plans to revise existing legislation and safeguard security at the Olympic Games.
Countering Mr. Merry's claims, Mr. Hytiris noted that Greece is collaborating with a number of advisers and foreign experts whose involvement in planning and implementing security measures at earlier Olympics has been internationally recognized; moreover, he added, Greek officials are attending the winter Olympics in the United States in order to acquire first-hand knowledge.
Noting that Greece is experienced in organizing sports games, Mr. Hytiris said that we haven't had events such as the ones that occurred in Atlanta or Munich.
Everything is planned for and the state is not leaving anything to chance, he stressed, adding that Greece is not waiting for Mr. Merry, or anyone else for that matter, in order to care for the security of the Games.
Any talk of removing the (2004) Olympics from Greece is ludicrous and Mr. Merry is not the one to determine if the Olympics will be held in Athens of Los Angeles, as he suggests. The Games will definitely be held in Athens and will be the most secure ever.
 POLICE CONFISCATE 3,500 TONS OF FROZEN PRODUCEThessaloniki, 7 February 2001 (13:59 UTC+2)
Police have confiscated 3,500 tons of frozen produce which were imported to Greece from southeastern European countries - New Yugoslavia as well- and were in turn sold as local.
According to the Thessaloniki prosecutor's office, the confiscated produce, frozen packages of string beans and peas, was discovered by chance during a routine inspection for depleted uranium contamination of agricultural products.
Even though the frozen produce was imported from Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey, their packages bore tags fraudulently claiming the country of origin as "Greece".
 GREECE ONE OF WORLDS SAFEST COUNTRIES FOR KIDSThessaloniki, 7 February 2001 (11:16 UTC+2)
Greece ranks among the industrialized world's safest countries for children, according to a report released by the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Examining annual statistics from the 26 richest nations in the world, the report found that Sweden had the lowest child death rates with 2.5 per 100,000 children, followed in descending order by Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and Greece, the last of which has a rate of 4.7 per 100,000 children.
Ranking at the bottom of the list, South Korea has a rate four times worse than the safest countries with 25.6 deaths annually for every 100,000 children. Mexico has 19.8 deaths and Portugal has 17.8, while the United States have the fourth-worst record, at 14.1.
Notably, one of the main reasons the US have such a high child-death rate is the minors' easy access to firearms, while the UNICEF report found that one out of every six children die in gun-related episodes.
The report, excerpts of which were broadcast by the BBC, also found that the leading cause of death among children is transport accidents, followed by drowning and attacks, while boys are 70 percent more likely than girls to die from preventable injuries.
Lastly, the report also notes that children's death rates have been reduced by half during the past 30 years, and advises parents against being overprotective since this may hamper a child's ability to deal with danger properly.
 THE ATHLETES IN THE 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES WILL ADMIRE THE GREEK HISTORYHelsinki, 7 February 2001 (17:20 UTC+2)
The athletes in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens will have the opportunity to admire an interesting part of the ancient Greek history.
According to the Finnish newspaper "Aumulehti", archaeologists and workers in the southern Aegean island of Crete intend to construct a replica of an ancient ship built 3.500 years ago, planning a sea voyage just before the opening of the Athens Olympic Games.
Historian Apostolos Kourtis, who is in charge of the project, stated that the ship will be built using the materials and methods that were used in antiquity.
The goal of the project will be to promote the Minoan civilization and its achievements in ancient Greece. The ship will be 15 meters long and will have 22 oarsmen.
 SECOND ARTICLE BY WAYNE MERRY ON TERRORISM IN GREECEWashington, 7 February 2001 (18:18 UTC+2)
It appears that Wayne Merry, a former US State Department and Pentagon official, is launching an orchestrated attack against Greece as he continues the attacks with a second article written by him that will be published on the February 12 issue of the "The Weekly Standard" magazine.
Merry launches an attack against the Greek Police for its alleged inability to trace "17 November" terrorist organization members maintaining, without presenting any evidence, that the problem is political and that the Greek government does not wish to unveil the members of the terrorist organization in order to keep hidden the old ties between the governing socialist party of PASOK and "17 November".
He alleges that in the past 25 years there was no systematic effort made by the Greek Police to trace "17 November", mentioning that it is often characterized by the Greek mass media as the urban Robin Hood. He also writes that only recently two Greek newspapers had published full-page revelations presenting facts discovered by the Scotland Yard team immediately after the Saunders assassination in Athens, adding that the information was channeled to the press by Greek police agencies. He also maintains that eye-witnesses known only to the police are now being threatened by the terrorists while the life of respected journalists, who are investigating the issue, is in danger.