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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 05-09-23
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 NOT A STEP BACKWARDSAthens, 23 September 2005 (13:38 UTC+2)
The European Union cannot back down and negotiate a special relation with Turkey points out Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in an interview published today on the French newspaper "Le Figaro".
The European Union recognized Turkey as a candidate country for accession in 1999 without expressing reservations of that kind. Dialogue is legitimate but the past cannot be kept aside. The EU must preserve its reliability, stressed the Prime Minister in his interview, adding that the westernization of Turkey is for the benefit of all and especially, Greece's.
Mr. Karamanlis reminded in the interview that every obstacle created by Turkey regarding the recognition of Cyprus would be a problem in the accession negotiations process to get underway on October 3.
The Prime Minister will have talks today with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.
The talks will focus on the Greek-French relations, EU developments, the Cyprus issue and Balkans.
 DECISIONS IN THREE WEEKSAthens, 23 September 2005 (13:48 UTC+2)
The tender in progress on Olympic Airlines is expected to be completed in three weeks and in case an agreement is reached the government will bring it before the Parliament's plenary session for approval, stressed Minister of Transportation and Communications Michalis Liapis before the responsible Parliament Committee.
On behalf of main opposition Socialist Party PASOK, both Evangelos Venizelos and former Transport Minister Christos Verelis have admitted that they understand that Mr. Liapis is making efforts for the reform of Olympic as opposed to other government officials who undermined the company through their statements.
 ACCIDENT IN THE SANTORINI ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE KILLS ONE AND INJURES A NUMBER OF OTHERSSantorini, 23 September 2005 (18:41 UTC+2)
Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis and the ministry's general secretary are on their way to the island of Santorini, in central Aegean, while a C130 military transport plane will take off with a mobile medical unit and a special team of doctors and rescuers on board to help those injured when a metal construction collapsed at the archaeological site of Akrotiri.
One person was killed and an unspecified number of others were injured when they were trapped under a metal shelter that collapsed in the Akrotiri archaeological site at noon today.
The causes of the tragedy are not clear yet but it is believed that the extreme weather phenomena in the region have played a role in the accident.
 GREEN LIGHT FOR THE REOPENING OF THE KASSANDRA MINESThessaloniki, 23 September 2005 (16:59 UTC+2)
Deputy Minister of Development Giorgos Salagoudis gave the green light for the reopening of the Kassandra mines in Chalkidiki, northern Greece.
Mr. Salagoudis participated in a special meeting of the Chalkidiki Prefectural Council and announced that all terms set by the state, the miners and the local community concerning the protection of the environment, the safety of the people and the region's sustainable development, have been met.
Mr. Salagoudis in statements he made after the meeting stressed that the reopening of the Kassandra Mines is a very sensitive issue because it directly affects the growth of a local economy while at the same time it demands the greatest possible protection of the environment and health of the local population.
 INITIATIVES TO STRENGTHEN THE GREEK-RUSSIAN TRADE RELATIONSThessaloniki, 23 September 2005 (16:44 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki's Vocational Chamber and the Greek-Russian Business Cooperation Association in a joint press conference they gave in Thessaloniki today expressed their intention to create a business information center and a cultural center where the Russian language will be taught to further strengthen the Greek-Russian trade relations.
The initiative has the support of the Russian Foreign Ministry represented in the event by Alexander Petrtipsko according to former Russian consul general in Thessaloniki and vice-president of the association Viktor Bojko.
 INVESTIGATION ON THE CAUSES OF THE FIRE IN THE YMCA BUILDINGThessaloniki, 23 September 2005 (14:27 UTC+2)
A special committee has been formed to investigate the causes of the big fire in the historical building of the Thessaloniki YMCA.
According to the Fire Department, the causes of the fire remain unknown and an investigation is underway while the likelihood of a short circuit is not ruled out.
Fire fighters remained outside the building throughout the night for precautionary reasons.
The YMCA building is a symbol of Thessaloniki for eight decades and the fire that broke out yesterday afternoon caused extensive damage mainly in its northwest wing.
Work for the construction of the YMCA building began in 1924 designed by architect Delladetsima. The arcades, the cupola and other architectural elements managed to merge the building with the city's Byzantine past.
For over 50 years, the books of the Central Municipal Library were housed in the YMCA building.
Meanwhile, the Municipality of Thessaloniki has already offered the sum of 30,000 euros for the restoration of the damages and Mayor Papageorgopoulos called on the Ministry of Culture to take action immediately and contribute in every way possible to the repair efforts.
 KARAMANLIS-CHIRAC MEETINGParis, 23 September 2005 (18:51 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with French President Jacques Chirac at noon today within the framework of his formal visit to France. Mr. Karamanlis also attended a formal lunch with President Chirac.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that he had a very constructive meeting with Mr. Chirac and discussed bilateral relations and ways to strengthen them further.
They also discussed issues of European interest mainly the EU enlargement and the financial prospects for the period 2007-2013. They also discussed issues concerning the Balkans, Cyprus, the Middle East and the outcome of the recent UN Summit meeting.