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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-11-26

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, November 26, 1999

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] RULING PARTY, MAIN OPPOSITION, GEAR UP FOR ELECTIONS
  • [02] STATE LOWERS ELECTRICITY RATES IN ORDER TO CONTAIN INFLATION
  • [03] GREECE'S DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER SEES ITALIAN COUNTERPART
  • [04] SAE TO HOLD THIRD CONFERENCE AT THESSALONIKI IN DECEMBER
  • [05] CHURCH OF GREECE SENDS 150 TENTS TO TURKEY'S QUAKE HOMELESS
  • [06] FOREIGN MINISTRY OPENS INFORMATION BUREAU FOR FOREIGNERS
  • [07] GREECE MEETS ALL SCHENGEN CRITERIA, COMMITTEE SAYS
  • [08] THESSALONIKI TO HOST EXPATRIATE ENTREPRENEURS 1ST CONGRESS
  • [09] THESSALONIKI, EU, YUGOSLAVIA DISCUSS ROUTE, RAIL AXIS X
  • [10] PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC REPUBLIC TO VISIT PORTUGAL NEXT WEEK
  • [11] NATO SECRETARY GENERAL WILL BE IN ATHENS ON MONDAY
  • [12] GREECE'S AIR CARRIER RANKS THIRD WORLD-WIDE IN SAFETY
  • [13] US EMBASSY TO HOLD INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EVENT IN ATHENS
  • [14] PRIME MINISTER REJECTS RUMORS OF EARLY ELECTIONS
  • [15] GREEK RAILWAYS SIGNS COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH FYROM
  • [16] FIRE BREAKS OUT ON GREEK CARGO SHIP IN THE INDIAN OCEAN
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [17] EU PRESSURES ANKARA NOT TO IMPOSE DEATH SENTENCE ON OCALAN
  • [18] CHERNOBYL'S ONLY OPERATIONAL REACTOR GETS RESTARTED
  • [19] GREEK FM: NO G/T RAPPROCHEMENT UNLESS CYPRUS ISSUE IS SOLVED
  • [20] TURKEY RAISES TAXES TO GENERATE RECONSTRUCTION REVENUE
  • [21] EUROSTAT REPORT: GREECE IS EU'S BIGGEST ENERGY CONSUMER
  • [22] SEVERAL MONTHS MAY PASS FOR FINAL DECISION ON OCALAN'S LIFE - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] RULING PARTY, MAIN OPPOSITION, GEAR UP FOR ELECTIONS

    Both the ruling PASOK party and main opposition New Democracy are gearing up for the possibility of an early ballot in March, should the parliament fail to reach a consensus on the presidential election.

    During yesterday's session PASOK's Executive Bureau, Prime Minister Costas Simitis called on party officials to be ready even for elections in March and called on the party's ministers to at once strike back against New Democracy's scandal mongering.

    [02] STATE LOWERS ELECTRICITY RATES IN ORDER TO CONTAIN INFLATION

    The government has announced that it will halve a tax on diesel used to produce electricity and lower household electricity charges by 7.5 percent in order to ease inflationary pressures due to rising world oil prices, as per a relevant amendment submitted to parliament by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    The government is to apply to the European Union for entry in March 2000 and a decision is expected in June of the same year. The 7.5 percent cut in consumer electricity bills goes into effect on December 1, although the duration of the said measures was not announced.

    [03] GREECE'S DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER SEES ITALIAN COUNTERPART

    Greece's deputy Defense Minster Dimitris Apostolakis met with his Italian counterpart Massimo Bruti in Athens yesterday, with whom he discussed issues related to Greek-Italian defense cooperation and European defense and security policies.

    Following the talks, Messrs. Bruti and Apostolakis stated that they had agreed on the need for a European defense and security policy which would not affect the authority of the Euro-Atlantic alliance.

    Referring to Turkey's decision to uphold the death sentence on Abdullah Ocalan, Mr. Bruti said that acts of humanity and tolerance were what distinguished democratic governments from others.

    Mr. Apostolakis told reporters that the decision had a political dimension and said he believed there were margins to overcome this "sensitive and crucial phase of human rights in Turkey."

    [04] SAE TO HOLD THIRD CONFERENCE AT THESSALONIKI IN DECEMBER

    Over one thousand Greeks from all five continents will attend the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Third International Assembly, to be held in Thessaloniki between December 5-8.

    The event will be opened by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and will be attended, among others, by President Costis Stephanopoulos, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and several party leaders.

    Within the framework of SAE, the first world youth conference will be held on December 1-2 followed by the forum of overseas Greek entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and overseas Greek women. on December 3-4.

    The SAE's third council will elect an 11- member presidium, while, according to reports, SAE President Andrew Athens will seek his re- election for the third time.

    [05] CHURCH OF GREECE SENDS 150 TENTS TO TURKEY'S QUAKE HOMELESS

    The Church of Greece will send 150 tents to Turkey, in aid to those rendered homeless by the latest earthquake,

    The funds were acquired by donations submitted for the said cause, and the tents will be forwarded this weekend to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul which in turn will distribute them to those in need.

    [06] FOREIGN MINISTRY OPENS INFORMATION BUREAU FOR FOREIGNERS

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established an information bureau for foreign residents in Greece, aimed at providing information on issues related to the operation of the ministry.

    The bureau will be open on a daily basis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will provide information and advice, as well as a complaint line. The office is located at 3, Akademias St. in Athens, - tel. 36.82.700. The website for the bureau is www.mfa.gr

    [07] GREECE MEETS ALL SCHENGEN CRITERIA, COMMITTEE SAYS

    Greece meets all the necessary Schengen Pact criteria for its full integration into this European Union system, which allows for the unrestricted travel of European Union citizens to all of EU's member-states.

    According to a decision of a Schengen joint committee of permanent representatives, Greece will join the pact on Jan. 1, 2000, although several secondary airports in Greece's provinces will not be included in the initial phase but will be integrated by March 2000.

    "It is a new and important upgrading of our country within Europe. The unification of Greek territory with the rest of the Schengen territory will complete our country's inclusion into a democratic region of guaranteed security," Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos said.

    The decision will be officially approved during a meeting of the same committee at the ministerial level on Dec. 2-3 in Brussels.

    [08] THESSALONIKI TO HOST EXPATRIATE ENTREPRENEURS 1ST CONGRESS

    The First World Congress of Expatriated Entrepreneurs is to be held in Thessaloniki on December 4, illustrating the city's role as a Balkan reconstruction center.

    The congress, which will be held within the framework of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Third International Assembly, to be held in Thessaloniki between December 5-8, will review Greece's role as a starting point for the development of economic cooperation with Balkan and Black Sea countries.

    Participants will have the opportunity to discuss potential ventures in the sectors of industry, exporting, trade, banking, construction, energy, telecommunications, transportation, high technology and tourism.

    [09] THESSALONIKI, EU, YUGOSLAVIA DISCUSS ROUTE, RAIL AXIS X

    Officials from the seven states aligned on the map of the road and rail X Axis, as well as representatives from the European Commission and the United Nations are presently in Thessaloniki, joined by observers from Yugoslavia, Germany and Turkey, in order to examine the re-operation of the route which links central Europe to Thessaloniki.

    The talks, chaired by the Greek Ministry of Transportation secretary general George Maniatis, also feature the participation of officials from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Hungary and Slovenia, as well as the president of the Thessaloniki Port Authority.

    The meeting will assess the need of technical support to the said Axis, which amounts to 2,239 kilometers, before the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is assigned both its technical support, as well as the discovery of project funds.

    The Axis' main part, measuring 1,387 kilometers, originates at Thessaloniki's port, and travels through Skopje, Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, before ending at Salzburg, Austria, while auxiliary roads extend to Bulgaria and Hungary.

    Following the end of the Kosovo conflict, this is the first forum to which Yugoslavia has been invited to participate, with the attendance of EU and UN officials.

    [10] PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC REPUBLIC TO VISIT PORTUGAL NEXT WEEK

    The President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos will conduct a state visit to Portugal from December 1-4 at the invitation of his Portuguese counterpart Jorge Sampaio, it was announced today.

    President Stephanopoulos will be accompanied by deputy foreign minister Christos Rokofyllos.

    [11] NATO SECRETARY GENERAL WILL BE IN ATHENS ON MONDAY

    NATO Secretary General George Robertson will arrive in Athens on Monday, November 29, where he will hold talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced.

    On Thursday, the president of the European Union, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Liponnen will be in Athens for talks.

    [12] GREECE'S AIR CARRIER RANKS THIRD WORLD-WIDE IN SAFETY

    Greece's air carrier Olympic Airways is rated third among the safest airlines world-wide according to the results of an international conference on flight safety held in Athens earlier this month, which also found that flight control and services at Greek airports are impeccable.

    The high ratings for state-owned O.A. and the Greek airports were also confirmed after an inspection recently conducted by US Federal Aviation Authority officials.

    [13] US EMBASSY TO HOLD INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EVENT IN ATHENS

    Delegates from 31 countries are expected to attend an international tourism infrastructure conference to be held by the United States embassy in Athens next week, between December 1- 3.

    The conference aims at bringing closer US companies and firms from Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Estonia, FYROM, Spain, Israel, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Palestine, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and Finland.

    The US delegation will include representatives from the Commerce and State Departments, Export-Import Bank, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and US ambassadors from around the world.

    Originally to be held in Thessaloniki, the conference was postponed earlier in the year due to the crisis in Yugoslavia.

    According to US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns, Greek-American economic relations were steadily expanding after starting from a low level. He said that US companies were soon expected to show their interest in the Greek market, which they viewed as fast growing and with a healthy outlook linked to its anticipated entry into the euro zone.

    [14] PRIME MINISTER REJECTS RUMORS OF EARLY ELECTIONS

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis has rejected persistent rumors of early elections, by stating today that the ballot will take place at the end of the ruling PASOK party's four-year term.

    Presently in Crete for a two-day tour, Mr. Simitis challenged main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis to "drink the bitter cup" and "take beneficial decisions on the President of the Republic."

    PASOK "is not going to go to early elections," he said, adding that "those are rumors instigated by all those who wish to avoid certain important decisions... Elections will take place at the end of the four-year term," he stressed.

    [15] GREEK RAILWAYS SIGNS COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH FYROM

    Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) has signed an agreement with FYROM's railways authorities aimed at strengthening co-operation and implementing common freight pricing policies next year.

    According to the announcement issued today, the agreement also envisages efforts to attract cargoes to freight train networks. The deal covers all freight transport categories, imports, exports and transit.

    [16] FIRE BREAKS OUT ON GREEK CARGO SHIP IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

    A fire broke out aboard a Greek-owned cargo ship early today in the Indian Ocean off the Indian port of Madras, and nearby boats were on the way to pick up the 20-member crew, which was spotted by airplane on a life-raft.

    According to press reports, the fire broke out aboard the freighter "ELIZA" as it was sailing 280 miles southeast of Madras, en route from Sri Lanka to Bangladesh without cargo. The ship started to take on water after the blaze broke out. According to information from the Bombay port authorities, an aircraft had spotted crew members in a lifeboat near the burning ship.

    According to the Ministry of Merchant Marine, the crew included two Greek technicians.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [17] EU PRESSURES ANKARA NOT TO IMPOSE DEATH SENTENCE ON OCALAN

    The European Union's High Representative for foreign affairs and security Javier Solana warned Turkey that its membership application could be jeopardized if "positive measures" are not taken over the death sentence against Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    Mr. Solana expressed the disappointment of the EU at the upholding on Thursday of the death sentence by an appeal court in Ankara, the spokesman said. Many leading EU members have also individually urged Turkey not to carry out the death sentence. The ruling came ahead of the European Union summit in Helsinki on December 10-11, where Ankara hopes to have its candidacy status confirmed.

    Mr. Solana said Turkey had to take "positive measures" over Mr. Ocalan's case "because it will be very difficult for Turkey to become a member of the family of European countries if the death sentence against Mr. Ocalan was executed.

    [18] CHERNOBYL'S ONLY OPERATIONAL REACTOR GETS RESTARTED

    The only operational reactor at the Chernobyl power plant, scene of the world's worst nuclear power disaster, reopened this morning after five months of repairs, the French news agency AFP reported.

    Duty engineer Mykola Suvorov said that "the reactor has to reach its nominal power of 1000 megawatts on Sunday," adding that it is presently working at half capacity.

    Reactor three was to have reopened yesterday, but spokesman Olexander Olexeyuk told AFP that "a dysfunction in the safety system forced us to postpone the resumption from Thursday evening till Friday."

    The restart, originally planned for November 9, had been repeatedly postponed due to lack of funds and the scale of repairs needed.

    [19] GREEK FM: NO G/T RAPPROCHEMENT UNLESS CYPRUS ISSUE IS SOLVED

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, presently in Nicosia for meetings with government and other party leaders, stated that rapprochement between Greece and Turkey cannot be achieved unless the Cyprus problem is solved, albeit noting that this does not mean that the two countries must not attempt to improve their relations.

    Following talks with his Cypriot counterpart Yannis Kasoulides, Mr. Papandreou stated that Athens will decide on Turkey's candidacy at the upcoming EU summit in Helsinki after it first sees the final terms.

    "I cannot call you compatriots," Mr. Papandreou told the Turkish-Cypriot reporters, "but I can wish that you are soon members of the EU with your compatriots, the Greek Cypriots."

    Regarding Turkey's EU candidacy, Mr. Papandreou stated that "we will decide in Helsinki when we see these final terms of this candidacy." He added that Turkey's desire to become part of Europe should be shown in practice", noting that this "certainly will be assessed in Helsinki depending on how it is expressed."

    [20] TURKEY RAISES TAXES TO GENERATE RECONSTRUCTION REVENUE

    The Turkish parliament y passed a controversial bill today introducing new taxes to generate revenues for the reconstruction of northwestern Turkey following two massive earthquakes in the last three months.

    As the French news agency AFP reported, the bill was first submitted to parliament in August, just days after a massive tremor devastated Turkey's industrial heartland killing some 20,000 people.

    But the government eventually withdrew the legislation following harsh criticism from the public, business circles and even members of coalition parties.

    The bill was reintroduced in parliament on Wednesday and more levies were added to its final version, which was endorsed this morning after a night-long marathon of heated debates.

    The law, passed despite stern opposition, foresees a five to 10 percent increase on income and corporate taxes, double taxation on real estate and vehicles, extra levies on annual earnings of more than 23,500 dollars and a 25 percent levy on cell phone bills.

    [21] EUROSTAT REPORT: GREECE IS EU'S BIGGEST ENERGY CONSUMER

    Greece is the biggest energy consumer among European Union member-states in recent years, according to comparative figures on energy consumption per GDP unit produced released by the EU's statistical service Eurostat and appearing in today's Athens daily "Ta Nea".

    According to Eurostat, Denmark is the most frugal energy consumer in the 15-nation bloc, while Greece was the largest user, followed by Portugal, Britain and France. According to data attributed by the newspaper to Greece's development ministry, energy consumption (oil, electricity and others) in the country jumped 37.4 percent in 17 years, from 11,483,000 oil- equivalent tons in 1979 to 16,273,000 oil- equivalent tons in 1996.

    [22] SEVERAL MONTHS MAY PASS FOR FINAL DECISION ON OCALAN'S LIFE

    The upholding of the death sentence on Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkey's appeals court yesterday, on treason and separatism charges, is just one step in the process, as it could be several months before the final decision on his fate is taken, the French news agency AFP reported.

    Lawyers for Ocalan will lodge a request with the president of the appeal court, Vural Savas, for the decision to be reconsidered, one of the defense team Dogan Erbas told AFP. Mr. Savas must accept or refuse the request within about a week.

    If Mr. Savas accepts, the appeal court must deliberate again. If he refuses, as looks more likely as he recommended the court uphold the sentence, then Ocalan's legal options within Turkey are exhausted.

    His lawyers will then bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg. "We will base our request on the principle that the death penalty must be abolished and we will ask the European Court to call on Turkey to suspend the decision to execute until the court has given its judgment",' Mr. Erbas explained.

    Turkey is not a signatory to the protocol for the abolition of the death penalty "but must respect it as a member of the European family" he said.

    Even though Turkey is not bound to await the decision of the European Court before going ahead with the sentence, Turkish leaders have let it be known that they are prepared to take their time and wait for the ruling.

    Alternatively the case will be put before the Turkish parliament, starting with the parliamentary justice commission, which will right away submit it to the full assembly for a vote.

    Since 1984 the commission has kept all cases on hold and no death sentence has been carried out, thus imposing a virtual moratorium on the death penalty.

    If the death sentence is passed by parliament the decision then passes to Turkish President Suleylan Demirel to ratify it. If he disagrees he can return the case to parliament to show his dissatisfaction. However if parliament reiterates its decision the president must then ratify it.

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