|Saturday, 16 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-02-14
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SLIGHT QUAKE ROCKS CENTRAL-EASTERN GREECEAthens, 14 February 2001 (12:20 UTC+2)
Another earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale rocked the region of Thesprotia in central-eastern Greece this morning, two hours after three tremors shook Athens.
The quake occurred at 8:35 a.m., with its epicentre in the sea region between the Paxi islands and Igoumenitsa, 330 kilometers northwest of Athens. Non damages have been reported.
Mild tremors measuring 3.5, 3.8 and 3.4 Richter also were recorded at 6:04, 6:08 and 6:14 a.m. in Athens, coming from the Parnitha epicenter that produced the devastating 5.9 Richter earthquake in 1999.
According to seismologists, the three tremors were part of the area's continuing post-seismic activity from the September 1999 earthquake.
 GREEK FM, SECRETARY POWELL HOLD PHONE TALKSLebanon, 14 February 2001 (11:55 UTC+2)
Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou, presently on an official visit to Lebanon, held a 15-minute phone conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday evening, to whom he conveyed the rising concerns of Arab leaders over Israel's elections.
Moreover, Mr. Papandreou thanked Mr. Powell for his positive statement on the issue of terrorism in Greece, and briefed him on the progress noted in Greek-Turkish relations, as well as on problems concerning the Cyprus issue.
The two officials also discussed the situation in the Balkan region, where Mr. Papandreou granted particular attention to the flashpoints of Southern Serbia and Montenegro.
Messrs. Powell and Papandreou agreed to meet on February 27 in Brussels, at the sidelines of the NATO Summit.
 IOC'S ROGGE ARRIVES IN ATHENS TOMORROWAthens, 14 February 2001 (10:57 UTC+2)
The President of the International Olympics Committee's Coordination Commission, Jacques Rogge is to arrive in Athens tomorrow, February 15, in order to assess the country's course of preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games.
Mr. Rogge will hold talks with the president of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, Minister of Environment, Public Works and Urban Planning Costas Laliotis and undersecretary of Sports George Floridis.
 KISSINGER KNEW ABOUT THE PLAN TO OVERTHROW MAKARIOSNew York, 13 February 2001 (19:08 UTC+2)
New revealing facts on the Turkish invasion of Cyprus are included in a book by British journalist Christopher Hitchens.
According to Hitchens, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who lives permanently in New York, must be tried and found guilty of the crimes he committed against Cyprus, Chile, Vietnam and other countries when he served as White House National Security Adviser and US Secretary of State.
He also points out in his book that Henry Kissinger was aware of the plan to overthrow and assassinate Archbishop Makarios in July 1974 and when the British suggested to undertake military action to avert the Turkish invasion of the island the then US Secretary of State stopped them.
 A BULGARIAN SLAVE-TRADER RECEIVED A LONG PRISON SENTENCEThessaloniki, 14 February 2001 (19:06 UTC+2)
A court in the northern Greek city of Serres sentenced 23yearold Bulgarian Kiro Stoyanov to 17.5 years in prison, while he will also have to pay a fine of 2.3 million drachmas. The young Bulgarian was found guilty of attempting to bring illegally to Greece a total of 37 Asian immigrants.
He was arrested two days ago in the region of the Lake of Kerkini during a police chase. In his truck police found 28 Iranians, 7 Pakistanis and two Bangladeshis. During interrogation he stated that he crossed over to Greece from an unguarded Greek-Bulgarian border crossing and his destination was the city of Thessaloniki. He also said that he had an accomplice who managed to escape during the chase.
After the trial, he was taken to Diavata Prison, outside Thessaloniki, pending his appeal.
 THE APPLICATIONS FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM IN GREECE DOUBLED IN 2000Thessaloniki, 14 February 2001 (18:47 UTC+2)
There are 20 million political refugees all over the world and 2.7 million come from Afghanistan, according to figures presented today by UN High Commission on Refugees office representative in Greece Ms. Florinda Rojas. The UN High Commission on Refugees organizes a number of events in Greece in cooperation with non governmental organizations and institutions on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.
The number of those requesting political asylum in Greece has doubled in 2000 compared to 1999, while there was also an increase in the political asylum approval rate reaching 11.2% compared to 8.5% in 1999.
In the last five years, political asylum was granted to 6.291 individuals coming mainly from Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. The main entry points of refugees to the Greek territory are the Greek-Turkish borders and the Aegean islands. Referring to the issue of the Kosovo refugees, Ms. Rojas stated that 80% of them have returned to their homes.
 THE PRIME MINISTER WANTS ACCELERATED PACE IN THE ATHENS OLYMPIC GAMES PREPARATIONSAthens, 14 February 2001 (18:06 UTC+2)
Prime minister Kostas Simitis called for accelerated pace in the preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens in the ministerial meeting on the Olympic Games that was held today.
In statements he made after the meeting, undersecretary of press Tilemachos Hitiris stated that the preparations in progress were examined in view of the visit to Athens by an International Olympic Committee, IOC, delegation headed by committee vice-president Jacques Rogge.
"Athens 2004" Organizing Committee president Ms. Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis stated that it is important to realize that the issue is of extremely urgent nature and that everybody must have a sense of the responsibility that corresponds to them. She also stated that she is personally concerned over the fact that time is the enemy in this case, adding that more determination is needed and changes must be made even if the changes are institutional ones.
The undersecretary of press stated that there are 1.200 days before the Athens Olympic Games and the problems that arise must be dealt with quickly.
Mr. Hitiris stated that Mr. Rogge will have separate meetings tomorrow with sports undersecretary Giorgos Floridis, labor undersecretary Christos Protopappas, environment, land planning and public works minister Kostas Laliotis, culture minister Evangelos Venizelos and prime minister Kostas Simitis. On Friday, Mr. Rogge will give a press conference to comment on the progress made by Greece in the preparations for the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
 THE LEGISLATION DEALING WITH MONEY LAUNDERING IS ADEQUATEAthens, 14 February 2001 (17:32 UTC+2)
The legislation that deals with money laundering phenomena is adequate, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, adding that the government is willing to proceed to marginal improvements whenever this is necessary.
Specifically, Mr. Reppas stated that the government is studying the European legislation on such issues for the Greek justice ministry to incorporate it into the existing state legislation.
 NO NEW DEVELOPMENTS ON THE ISSUE OF THE FYROM NAMEAthens, 14 February 2001 (17:22 UTC+2)
The round of consultations, held under the UN auspices on the issue of the name that will be used by FYROM continues, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responding to a relevant question by reporters, pointing out, however, that no new developments have been observed on the issue.
Mr. Reppas underlined that the climate in bilateral relations is totally different compared to the past and announced that the Balkan Summit meeting will be held in Skopje at the end of the month, stressing that this would have been inconceivable a few years ago.
 MEETING OF THE PARLIAMENT PRESIDENTS OF GREECE AND CYPRUSAthens, 14 February 2001 (16:52 UTC+2)
The latest developments in the Cyprus problem were discussed in Athens by Greek parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis and his Cypriot counterpart Spiros Kiprianou, who is on a visit to Greece.
Mr. Kaklamanis stated after the meeting that it was productive and useful, while he expressed the belief that the exchange of views on Cyprus will continue. It should be noted that the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem appear to be stagnant because of the unwillingness expressed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to attend the new round of the proximity talks held within the framework of the United Nations.
The Turkish Cypriot leader calls for the recognition of two states in Cyprus, while the Cypriot Republic is in favor of a two-zone, two-community federation.
 GAINS WERE RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 14 February 2001 (15:55 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose by 0.47% at 3.211,32 points, while the volume of transactions was 122.47 million Euro or 41.73 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 268 recorded gains and only 62 had losses, while the value of 40 stocks remained stable.
 THE GREEKS IN THE FORMER SOVIET REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA GO THROUGH HARD TIMESAthens, 14 February 2001 (15:51 UTC+2)
The situation for the Greeks in the former soviet republic of Georgia continues to be difficult as it is for all Georgians. Unemployment exceeds 50%, while the average monthly pensions is just US$ 7. About 1.500 Greek families live in squalid conditions and it is not an exaggeration to say that they are deprived of basic foodstuffs, such as flour, sugar, butter, etc.
The above were stressed to MPA by Greek Communities in Georgia Federation president Kiriakos Iordanidis, who is in Athens for contacts with the responsible government institutions and officials.
Mr. Iordanidis expressed satisfaction for the contacts he had so far with general secretary for the Greeks Living Abroad Dimitris Dollis and pointed out that he expects solutions to be found for the big problems faced by the Greeks in Georgia. Mr. Iordanidis was also scheduled to meet yesterday with undersecretary of foreign affairs responsible for the Greeks Living Abroad Grigoris Niotis, while today he will meet with undersecretary of national economy Yiannis Zafiropoulos.
He stated that ten years ago, the Greek community in Georgia numbered 130.000 members but now the Greek presence has shrunk dramatically with the known results.
 CONSUMER PRICE INDEX COMPONENTS ADJUSTEDAthens, 14 February 2001 (14:00 UTC+2)
January inflation is expected to close at 3.5 percent year-on-year, compared with 3.9 in December, according to the National Statistics Service's (NSS) report expected to be released tomorrow.
The report notes that the containment of oil prices and the dollar's declining rate are both contributory factors for curbing inflation.
As the Athens daily Imerisia reported, NSS has begun taking into consideration the changes in the Consumer Price Index's components which were adjusted followng household budget reviews.
According to the modified CPI, spending on food, housing, outerwear and footwear has fallen as a percentage, while spending on health, transportation, commuicatins and education has rocketed.
 SAE TO CONVENE IN THESSALONIKI THIS MONTHThessaloniki, 14 February 2001 (13:41 UTC+2)
The Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE) is to convene at its Thessaloniki offices between February 20-24, in the presence of underdecretary of Foreign Affairs Grigoris Niotis and the Secretary-General of Expatriated Greeks Dimitris Dollis.
The meeting will feature the participation of SAE presidennt Andrew Athens, alternate president Costas Pappas, and regional vice presidents for SAE's branches in Cyprus, Asia-Africa, North and South America, Europe and Oceania.
 THE GREEK UNDERSECRETARY OF NATIONAL ECONOMY WILL VISIT ROMANIABucharest, 13 February 2001 (19:18 UTC+2)
Greek undersecretary of national economy Yiannis Zafiropoulos will visit Romania on February 15-16.
He will have contacts with Romanian deputy foreign minister Christian Kolteanu to brief him on the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans based on which, Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM, Serbia-Montenegro, Kosovo and Romania will received an economic assistance of 180 billion drachmas in the period 2000-2005. Romania will receive a total of 24 billion drachmas.
Mr. Zafiropoulos will also address an audience of Greek businessmen active in Romania during a special event.
 REASSURING SWISS LABORATORY TEST RESULTS ON THE PRESENCE OF PLUTONIUM IN THE BALKANSBern, 14 February 2001 (17:08 UTC+2)
The tests conducted by a Swiss scientific laboratory showed very small traces of plutonium in the depleted uranium bombs that were used by the NATO forces in the Balkans, according to Swiss radio reports.
Based on the same information, the plutonium quantities traced in the depleted uranium bombs that were used by the NATO forces in the Balkans are very small and are not a threat for public health.
The UN Environmental Program had sent a group of specialists to Kosovo in the beginning of the month to collect soil, water and plant samples from different areas in Yugoslavia. Those samples were tested in laboratories to clarify if the depleted uranium weapons are any threat whatsoever, for the people.
 THE EL GRECO PAINTINGS EXHIBITION IN ATHENS ATTRACTED A RECORD NUMBER OF VISITORSBrussels, 13 February 2001 (18:44 UTC+2)
Last year's exhibition of El Greco paintings in Athens tops the list with the most visited exhibitions that was presented by art magazine "The Art Newspaper".
According to statistical figures, the exhibition was visited by a total of 629.572 art lovers namely, an average of 7.000 visitors on a daily basis.