|Monday, 11 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 02-09-07
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 DRUG RELATED DEATHS IN GREECE DOUBLEAthens, 7 September 2002 (12:20 UTC+2)
Drugs in Greece are spreading like a lethal disease. Within the past 7 years, drug related deaths in Greece have doubled, according to the 2001 report published by the National Information Body of the Drug Enforcement Coordination Body. Specifically, 321 people died from drug use in 2001, in contrast to 146 people that died in 1994. 318 deaths are attributed to heroin use, which is considered the #1 lethal substance.
49% of those who lost their lives to heroin and other substances in 2001 were aged 21-30, while the corresponding percentage the previous year was 43%. As far as sex is concerned, 93.5% are men. Most deaths were recorded in Athens and Thessaloniki.
According to the report, the main distributor in the Balkans is Albania and its Mafia. It is characteristic that out of the 93 major heroin cases solved in the past year, 72% involved Albanian traffickers.
 SIMITIS: THE ROLE OF THESSALONIKI AND N.GREECE IS NOT RESTRICTED INSIDE THE GREEK BORDERSThessaloniki, 7 September 2002 (19:17 UTC+2)
The role of Thessaloniki and northern Greece is not restricted inside the Greek borders, stressed Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in his address delivered in the formal dinner at the Ioannis Vellidis Convention Center this evening within the framework of the inauguration of Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair.
Mr. Simitis stated that the Balkan, European and international dimension of Thessaloniki signals three developments namely, the activation of the Greek plan for the economic reconstruction of the Balkans, the EU Summit meeting in June 2003 and the bid for the EXPO 2008.
The Prime Minister said that Greece's economy today works with the Euro, has the fastest growth rate in the European Union, is characterized by low inflation, high public and private investments and budget surplus. He added that the goal is to make sure that the policy followed will not allow our conquests to be overturned.
The goal, said Mr. Simitis, is to strengthen the ability of the Greek economy to operate at an equal basis with the rest European economies and guarantee the safety of the country in a difficult international environment. He added that this is the goal of the big infrastructure projects in northern Greece and across the country and also the goal of the structural changes promoted in all the sectors of the Greek economy, the strengthening of business activities and the social security and tax system reforms.
Earlier, in the meeting he had with production forces representatives, the Prime Minister presented detail figures on the course of the public works in Thessaloniki and northern Greece, the Greek Plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans, the bid to host EXPO 2008 and the government plans in the region.
 FLORIDIS: 3RD COMMUNITY FRAMEWORK OF SUPPORT DISBURSALS IN 2003Thessaloniki, 7 September 2002 (20:55 UTC+2)
Undersecretary of Finance Giorgos Floridis speaking in the Central Association of Chambers general assembly that was held in Thessaloniki today assured that a large part of the 3rd Community Framework of Support resources will be used in 2003 in businesses and infrastructure projects.
The Greek economy will have a growth rate of over 4% in 2003, said Mr. Floridis, adding that this goal will be achieved through public investments which will reach 7% of the GDP and will contribute to an increase of the GDP by 1.5-2 percentage points.
He added that foreign investments can become an important lever of development and that the opportunities presented today are greater than in the past. He underlined that the structural changes, the 2004 Olympic Games and the Euro play an important role toward this direction.
 OTE:STABILIZATION IN THE EXISTING MARKETSThessaloniki, 7 September 2002 (19:37 UTC+2)
Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, vice-president and OTE International President Giorgos Skarpelis expressed satisfaction for the results brought by the OTE investments abroad, where the number of subscribers increases with a daily rate of 6-7 thousand.
In an interview with MPA, he referred to OTE's investment growth rate in southeastern Europe which is a market of 60 million people and 18 million subscribers. He stressed that the goal of the company is not to make new investments but to stabilize the situation in the existing markets of Bulgaria, Albania, FYROM, Romania and Serbia, as well as in Jordan and Armenia.
Referring to the Greek market, he said that the OTE subscribers are over 9 million underlining, however, that the Greek market is a mature one.
 HITIRIS: MPA'S NAME WILL NOT CEASE TO EXISTThessaloniki, 7 September 2002 (18:55 UTC+2)
The name Macedonian Press Agency will not cease to exist after the unification with the Athens News Agency and the creation of the Hellenic News Agency, stated Undersecretary of Press Tilemachos Hitiris. Mr. Hitiris visited the pavilion shared by MPA and ANA in Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair accompanying Minister of Press and Mass Media Christos Protopapas.
In an interview with MPA that was broadcast live on the Internet, Mr. Hitiris stated that the unification of the two news agencies is the best option as it will give a momentum to the Hellenic News Agency that will result from that move.
On the issue of the 2004 Olympic Games, Mr. Hitiris stressed that there is a change in the international climate to which has contributed the quick pace of the Olympic preparations and Greece's success in the effort against terrorism.
Mr. Hitiris also stressed that the government campaign for the promotion of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens is starting to give fruit. He added that Greece has self-confidence because it has entered Europe and adopted the Euro in a dynamic way, while it is a modern country that can organize Olympic Games.
Responding to the criticism by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy according to which, the government has launched a propaganda by promoting its work in view of the municipal elections, he said that this is an exaggeration. Mr. Hitiris added that New Democracy does not offer alternative solutions and proposals, while in certain issues it should be on the side of the government, like in the case of terrorism and the Olympic Games preparations.
 PROTOPAPAS' INTERVIEW WITH MPA ON THE INTERNETThessaloniki, 7 September 2002 (18:44 UTC+2)
The government is determined to work for Cyprus' EU accession, stated government spokesman Christos Protopapapas in the interview with MPA, broadcast live on the Internet. He gave the interview during his visit today to the pavilion shared by MPA and ANA in Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair.
Responding to the question if there is a likelihood for the EU states to change their stance on Cyprus' EU accession, he said that the Prime Minister will undertake an initiative in the EU member states for the implementation of the Helsinki decisions.
Mr. Protopapas stated that the joint presence of MPA and ANA in the ITF is a first step toward their unification. He said that discussions will be held for joint actions to be undertaken by the two news agencies, like the promotion of the 2003 EU Summit meeting and the Greek EU Presidency, stating characteristically that Thessaloniki will host a total of about 3.000 journalists.
On the criticism exercised by the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, Mr. Protopapas said that New Democracy has no positions or proposals.
Responding to the question if there is more safety now that there is no 17 November and Dimitris Koufodinas is in the hands of the police, he said that the terrorist group 17N is no longer operational and therefore, it cannot be active and pose a threat. He added that efforts will continue to break up all terrorist groups.
 CHRYSOCHOIDIS: POLICE SUCCESS NOT LIMITED TO N17Thessaloniki, 7 September 2002 (14:29 UTC+2)
¿The successes of the Greek Police are not limited to eradicating ¿November 17¿, but extend to fighting crime in all sectors¿ underlined Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrysochoidis from Thessaloniki, on occasion of the opening of the Greek Police kiosk at the 67th TIF.
Referring to the successes of the Greek Police, Mr. Chrysochoidis mentioned the General Police Direction of Thessaloniki as an example, saying that ¿it has surpassed all expectations¿. As the Minister underlined, the men and personnel of the Thessaloniki police have important achievements to show, since, as he said, despite the criminal elements that the city has received, they have responded excellently. ¿This is a crucial and important result for the lowering of crime¿, he said.
Meanwhile, according to information announced at the event by Thessaloniki Police Director Nikiforos Tzatzakis, crime, in the broader urban Thessaloniki area, has dropped by 30%-40%.
 KOUFONTINAS SHOOTS... THE BREEZEAthens, 7 September 2002 (14:26 UTC+2)
¿I will say nothing of specific people and events. I am (part of) N17 and take responsibility for what the organization signed. For everything¿. These were words Generals and District Attorneys were able to wrench out of Dimitris Koufontinas yesterday during the whole night they spent in the Counter Terrorism Service's offices.
According to an ¿Eleftherotypia¿ publication, the 44-year-old that turned himself in to the ¿regime enemies¿, recognizing the political defeat of N17's practices, stood by his position relentlessly until 5am.
Hundreds of questions were posed to N17's ¿Lucas¿, concerning crucial issues about the organization. His answers were stereotypical and negative, and the questioning turned into a general political and philosophical conversation, with two District Attorneys, Mr. Karoutsos and Mr. Diotis, present.
¿Why did you do all this? You were just a child back in 1975 when the organization began its actions¿, they asked him.
¿It does not matter. I take political responsibility for everything N17 signed¿, he answered, answered Koufontinas. ¿I have a solid Left view. I have been politically settled since I was a teenager¿.
N17's ¿tough guy¿ gave the other discussants the impression of a politically settled individual, who not only accepted his action in N17, but showed no sing of remorse or self-criticism. ¿What happened did well in happening¿, was his spirit.
Despite accepting their operational defeat and the general ascertainment that the times are not good for such practices, Dimitris Koufontinas did not even imply that N17 would have disrupted its action if it had not been found.
Discussions revolved around Marxism, Trotskyism, the history of terrorism, and modern Greek history. His views around the issues were clear and his theoretic knowledge was, not surprisingly, impressive.
¿We recognized N17's DNA in Koufontinas' personality. He is a tough and unrepentant terrorist¿, commented a supreme official that participated in the discussions.
He found questions on organization connections with parties, politicians, state mechanisms and secret services hilarious: ¿What are you talking about? How is it possible for revolutionaries to have relations with what they are trying to overturn?¿
As far as the money, the 45mm, the computer hard drive, the organization's seal, and other things that he is assumed to have taken from the hideouts, Koufontinas was completely negative.
The lab evidence against him consists of his fingerprints found in both hideouts, while graphology reports and DNA testing, which he will be obligated to undergo along with the other suspects, are pending.
 GREAT EXPECTATIONS FOR 67TH TIFThessaloniki, 7 September 2002 (13:54 UTC+2)
The 67th Thessaloniki International Fair, aspiring to be the year's most major national, financial, and cultural event once more, opened its gates to the public today.
The organizers of the Fair, that was opened last night by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and which will last until September 15, aim at attracting 300,000 visitors to the International Fair's exhibition facilities in Thessaloniki.
This year's organization, which will remain open from 10am to 10pm during this weekend, has three main characteristics:
- The special kiosk dedicated to the Greek contending for the EXPO 2008 World Fair for Thessaloniki, where, in a specially formed area, in front of the Palais des Sports, visitors will have the opportunity to be informed of the importance, as well as on the EXPO's reciprocity for Thessaloniki. Also, EXPOGNOSIS is a communication program with the visitors, and 100,000 people are expected to learn about Thessaloniki's candidacy for the 2008 EXPO through the program's 25 terminals. The EXPO's proposed topic is ¿Human Networks¿.
- The second characteristic is France's participation as honorary country. After 40 years of a continuous presence at the TIF, France is making its financial, scientific, and cultural presence intense, over the total of 1800 square meters of kiosk 10, with 63 French businesses within and outside the International Exhibition Center. Part of this presence is one of the best flying show squadrons in the world, the Patrouille de France, which has already performed today, and will do so again tomorrow at 11am, over the Thermaikos gulf in the Nea Paralia area.
- The final special characteristic of this year's TIF, is the exhibition called ¿Greece Changing¿, organized by TIF S.A. and the Telloglio Foundation of Fine Arts of AUTh. The exhibition promoting the significant changes throughout the century that contributed to the creation of post-war art and modern Greek culture, will be opened by Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos on September 7, 2002, and will last until January 31, 2003.
There are 1.234 · direct and indirect · exhibitors participating in the 67th Thessaloniki International Fair and more than 37 bodies from the Public and broader Public sector. There are 20 official state participation in the 67th TIF. Open hours are weekdays from 10am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm, while on weekends the Fair is open from 10am to 10pm.
 KOUFONTINAS TESTIFIES TOMORROWAthens, 7 September 2002 (11:55 UTC+2)
Dimitris Koufontinas, accused of participating in a total of more than 71 ¿November 17¿ terrorist actions, will appear before Special Examiner Leonidas Zervobeakos tomorrow.
N17's ¿Lucas¿ was taken to the Examiner's office yesterday, where he requested and was allowed, to testify the following day, while he was indicted. He then returned to the Athens General Police Direction.
It should be noted that through his lawyer Gianna Kourtovik, Koufontinas did not deny his personal involvement in terrorist actions, connecting his own actions to his political beliefs, while he denied the charges against him as they have been described.
At the same time, there have been some major changes in the position held by the Xeros brothers. ¿They got the message¿, was Koufontinas' statement when he heard of the three brothers' change of heart, according to his lawyer.
Yesterday afternoon, the Xeros brothers' lawyer, Giorgos Agiostratitis, stated that his clients are moving on the same political line as D. Koufontinas.
According to media reports, After the meeting Mr. Agiostratitis had with his clients he stated that ¿the Xeros brothers will not retract their confessions on the actions they have admitted¿, and added that ¿in the next few days we should expect a big surprise from the accused¿.
Mr. Agiostratitis stated that ¿we are moving to a different line of defense, on an ideological level¿, he pointed out.
He also mentioned that his clients were pleased with D. Koufontinas' statement yesterday, but had already decided on their move days ago.
Specifically he said that yesterday's announcement of the Xeros brothers was not a result of Koufontinas's statement, and that they had already decided, several days before, on the specific action.