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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-05-02

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, May 2, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [01] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS ARRIVES IN GREECE TODAY
  • [02] POPE JOHN PAUL II ARRIVES IN ATHENS ON FRIDAY
  • [03] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH TO TOUR NORTHERN GREECE
  • [04] NY TO HOST CONFERENCE ON INVESTING IN GREECE
  • [05] SPORTS TRADE FAIR TO BE HELD IN THESSALONIKI
  • [06] DEFENSE MINISTER TO ATTEND SERIES OF MEETINGS
  • [07] BLACK SEA BANK TO MEET AT TBILISI IN MAY
  • [08] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS GLAFCOS CLERIDES IN GREECE
  • [09] MAY DAY RALLIES: RECORD TURNOUT, FEW EPISODES
  • [10] EPISODES IN THASOS OVER INSTALLATION OF RADAR
  • [11] FRENCH BOAT RUNS ADRIFT OFF CRETE, ALL RESCUED
  • [12] IOC'S ROGGE IN ATHENS, TO MEET WITH CITY'S MAYOR
  • [13] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH ARRIVES IN N. GREECE
  • [14] PM: REFORMS NEEDED FOR NEXT GENERATIONS' SAKE
  • [15] BEGLITIS ON THE INCIDENTS IN FYROM
  • [16] SHELDON'S CONTACTS IN ATHENS
  • [17] THE GREEK AGRICULTURE MINISTER IS ON A VISIT TO SOFIA
  • [18] LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [19] THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH EXPRESSED DISCONTENT
  • [20] ROUSOPOULOS: THE PASOK GOVERNMENTS HAVE HUGE RESPONSIBILITIES
  • [21] MOUNT ATHOS DISAGREES WITH THE JOINT STATEMENT BY ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS AND THE POPE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [22] THE POPE'S STATEMENT ON HIS VISIT TO GREECE AND SYRIA
  • [23] DOUKAKIS: THE SITUATION IN EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN IS CRITICAL

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS ARRIVES IN GREECE TODAY

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides is to embark on an official, two-day visit to Greece today.

    Mr. Clerides, who will be accompanied by his wife, is visiting Athens at the invitation of the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos with whom he will meet today.

    Tomorrow, President Clerides will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the two will discuss the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and the island's course of accession to the European Union, as well as Greek-Turkish relations.

    [02] POPE JOHN PAUL II ARRIVES IN ATHENS ON FRIDAY

    Pope John Paul II is due to arrive in Athens for an official visit on Friday, May 4, at the invitation of the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The Pontiff will be greeted at the airport by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, while, immediately afterwards, he will be meeting with the president, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis and main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis at the presidential mansion.

    The state is to enforce draconian security measures during the Pope's stay in Athens. In addition to heavy police escort, the 80-year-old Pontiff will be protected by sharpshooters during his address at Pnyx Hill, a location beneath the Acropolis where the Apostle Paul preached to the ancient Athenians. Security forces will also be on guard at the Vatican's embassy.

    The Athens visit will fulfil the Pope's dream to retrace the steps of Pope Apostle Paul. He will be the first pontiff to visit Greece since the Great Schism of 1056, when Christianity was divided into Eastern and Western branches.

    The Pope will meet with President Costis Stephanopoulos, who extended the invitation for the visit during his earlier talks at the Vatican, as well as with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    According to the itinerary, the Pope will arrive in Athens at 11:30 on Friday, May 4, on board an Alitalia airliner, and a small welcoming reception will be held at the airport.

    Later, he will be visiting the Presidential Mansion where the official welcoming will be taking place, as well as the Archdiocese, before arriving at the residence of his representative in Athens where he will be staying.

    He will dine with Catholic clergymen there and rest before going to Agios Dionysios Catholic Cathedral for a meeting with clergymen and monks of the Catholic Church.

    At 8 a.m. on May 5, the Pope will be visiting the indoor basketball stadium at the installations of the Athens Olympic stadium where a church service will be held in Greek and Latin. The Pope's address to the faithful is to be read in Greek.

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos will be present alongside the visiting pontiff on three occasions the first during John Paul's visit to the Athens Archbishopric, followed by their joint appearance at the foot of the Acropolis. Finally, Mr. Christodoulos will visit the pope at the residence of the Vatican's representative in Athens the same evening, May 4.

    In their addresses before the faithful, the Pope and the Archbishop will refer to terrorism, pollution and the gradual loss of Europe's Christian identity. After his departure from Athens, the Pope will visit Damascus and Malta.

    Meanwhile, a group of Greek monks and nuns held an all-night vigil at a Mount Olympus monastery last weekend, praying that the Pope's visit, planned for May 4, will be cancelled. The vigil was also attended by members of the clergy and faithful, who wished to express their opposition to the Pope's visit.

    The group also announced that it plans to hold a protest rally against the visit, to be held in Athens today, two days before the pontiff's arrival.

    [03] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH TO TOUR NORTHERN GREECE

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos is to embark on a tour of northern Greece today, at the invitation of local metropolitans.

    During the course of his tour, Mr. Vartholomeos is expected to refer to Greek-Turkish relations and to stress that friendship between the two peoples "will be to the benefit of the two countries".

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos will not be meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, due to his scheduled preparations for the Pope's imminent arrival to Athens.

    Ties between the Patriarchate and the Church of Greece are presently poor, given disputes over the two bodies' areas of jurisdiction.

    [04] NY TO HOST CONFERENCE ON INVESTING IN GREECE

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to inaugurate a New York conference that will review investment opportunities in Greece, the Athens Stock Exchange and the Olympic Games of 2004.

    The annual event, to be held on May 7, is organized by Capital Link, working with the Greek-UK Business Council.

    Other speakers will include the president of the Athens Olympics organizing committee, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, and the chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange, Panayiotis Alexakis.

    [05] SPORTS TRADE FAIR TO BE HELD IN THESSALONIKI

    The second international Sports and Re-creation Equipment and Facilities trade fair "Sportexpo" is to be held in Thessaloniki's International Trade Center on May 24-27. The theme of this year's Sportexpo, organized by Helexpo, will be the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, with focus granted on several special events not widely popular to the public, such as triathlon, hockey, softball, baseball, canoe-kayak, pentathlon, archery, body building, mountain biking, martial arts and aerobics.

    [06] DEFENSE MINISTER TO ATTEND SERIES OF MEETINGS

    Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos is to take part in a meeting of European Union defense ministers which will take place on May 14-15 with the participation of the six EU and NATO member- states and the 15 candidate countries for EU accession.

    The meeting will focus on issues concerning the final phase of the creation of the European army, which must be rendered operationally ready in 2003.

    Also, the defense minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will pay an official visit to Greece on May 17-18, in response to a visit made to Belgrade by his Greek counterpart.

    Moreover, the informal meeting of defense ministers from member-states of southeastern Europe's multinational brigade will be held in Thessaloniki on June 5-6, in continuation of their meeting in FYROM and to examine opportunities for utilizing the force for Balkan security.

    The said meeting will be attended by the US secretary of defense.

    [07] BLACK SEA BANK TO MEET AT TBILISI IN MAY

    The Black Sea Bank will hold its third annual meeting of its members in Tbilisi, Georgia, on May 20.

    According to a bank announcement, this will be the first international economic meeting to be hosted in Georgia, adding that Georgia is one of the most important countries in which the Black Sea Bank is scheduling investments.

    The "Black Sea's Business Days" will also be organized in the framework of this international meeting.

    Georgian prime minister will inaugurate the event, while speakers will include Greek European Union Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou.

    [08] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS GLAFCOS CLERIDES IN GREECE

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides is arriving in Greece today, embarking on an official, two-day visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Messrs. Clerides and Stephanopoulos are to meet at the Presidential Mansion and will be giving a joint press conference after their talks.

    President Clerides will in turn attend an event at the Athens Town Hall, where Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos will bestow upon him the golden key to the capital.

    A meeting will follow between President Clerides and the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

    Tomorrow, the President of Cyprus will have talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and members of the government, as well as with the leaders of Greek political parties.

    On Friday morning, the last day of his visit, Mr. Clerides will meet successively with Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and the honorary president of main opposition New Democracy, Constantine Mitsotakis.

    Mr. Clerides, whgo will be accompanied by his wife, will attend an official dinner hosted in his honor by President Stephanopoulos, while there will also be a reception at the Cyprus Embassy in Athens.

    [09] MAY DAY RALLIES: RECORD TURNOUT, FEW EPISODES

    Only minor episodes of vandalism marred yesterday's May Day labor rally in Thessaloniki, which featured a record-breaking turnout fuelled by last week's massive strike (also the largest in over twenty years) held in protest to social security reforms proposed by the state.

    The president of Greece's largest umbrella trade union organization Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) Christos Polyzogopoulos, addressed a May Day rally organized by Thessaloniki's local Labor Center and vowed that the trade union movement would not "back down an inch" from its positions.

    He also called on Prime Minister Costas Simitis to guarantee "honest dialogue on finding additional funds for the social insurance system".

    Thesaloniki's Communist Party-affiliated PAME trade union organization organized their own separate rally which also featured a large turnout.

    Meanwhile, in its May Day message, the ruling PASOK party said May Day in 2001 is undoubtedly being celebrated in a climate of emotion and intense social confrontation.

    In his message, the leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis said that this year's May Day "puts forward the need for social solidarity, sealing the end of obsessions and necessitating a new page and a change in policy."

    [10] EPISODES IN THASOS OVER INSTALLATION OF RADAR

    Episodes erupted at the port of Thasos island when locals, protesting the planned installation of a radar, attempted to obstruct the embarkation of a SWAT team dispatched to oversee the project.

    Bearing black flags, the locals attempted to disrupt the installation process and sawed off four electrical utility poles in their effort to cut off the power supply to the premises.

    Last night, the City Council of Thasos unanimously voted to issue an injunction against the radar's installation since this, as it stated, would cause permanent and irreversible damage to the island's landscape and the balance of its ecosystems.

    In a separate petition tabled with the environment, city planning and public works ministry's environmental management department, the municipality called for all the necessary measures to be taken for safeguarding the environment.

    [11] FRENCH BOAT RUNS ADRIFT OFF CRETE, ALL RESCUED

    Five Belgian passengers on board a French sailboat that ran adrift early today off the coast of Crete, have been rescued and are well, according to Greece's merchant marine ministry.

    According to the Ministry, the French-registered sailboat "ALIN 1", of the catamaran type, issued a distress signal at dawn as it was sailing 5 nautical miles southwest of Crete after its mast snapped.

    Nearby vessels rushed to its assistance, and three of the five passengers, which included one woman, were picked up by the Singapore-flagged freighter "INNOVATOR", while the other two were picked up a short while later by a helicopter from the French naval frigate "TOURVIL" which was sailing in the area.

    The Belgians were taken to hospital in Hania for a check-up.

    [12] IOC'S ROGGE IN ATHENS, TO MEET WITH CITY'S MAYOR

    A delegation of International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials, led by IOC Coordinating Committee chief Jacques Rogge, is presently in Athens to check on the city's progress in preparing for the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Mr. Rogge is to have successive meetings with the Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Ministers of Development Nikos Christodoulakis and Transportation Christos Verelis and Undersecretary of Labor Christos Protopapas.

    Tomorrow, Mr. Rogge will be received by the Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos, Environment, City Planning and Public Works Costas Laliotis and Public Order Michalis Chrysochoides.

    The IOC officals will hold a series of meetings with the Athens Olympics organizers with whom they will review the pace of preparations, especially at the indoor stadiums of Nikaia, Liosia and Galatsi, as well the Olympic Village and press facilities. During his previous visits to Athens, Mr. Rogge had stressed that the next six months will be crucial in the country's course in preparing for the Games.

    [13] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH ARRIVES IN N. GREECE

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos embarked today on an official visit to northern Greece's Bishopries of Xanthi, Serres and Nigrita, which fall under the patriarchate's jurisdiction.

    At the Bishopry of Xanthi, the Patriarch will attend events commemorating Saint Theofanis, while at the Bishopries of Serres and Nigrita he will inaugurate a new cathedral.

    The visit will last until May 7, when the Patriarch will be returning to Istanbul. He is visiting at the invitation of the Metropolitans Panteleimon and Maximos.

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos will not be meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, due to his scheduled preparations over the Pope's imminent arrival to Athens.

    Ties between the Patriarchate and the Church of Greece are presently poor, given disputes over the two bodies' areas of jurisdiction. The Patriarch has spoken harshly recently of Mr. Christodoulos' efforts to gain control over bishoprics that fall under Mr. Vartholomeos because they were under Turkish control when the Church of Greece was granted autocephalous status in 1833.

    [14] PM: REFORMS NEEDED FOR NEXT GENERATIONS' SAKE

    Urgently appealing for efforts to build a better future for Greece, Prime Minister Costas Simitis addressed the ruling PASOK party's parliamentary group today and stressed that better days will emerge only through sacrifices.

    Specifically referring to the volatile issue of social security reforms, which has sparked enormous and unprecedented protests, the Premier stressed that the time has come for the government to clearly face its mission and called on all parties and union leaders to submit their completed proposals.

    "Greece mustn't return to where it came from" he stated, adding that good-intention' policies are actually anti-social when they fail to correspond to reality.

    The government's mission, according to the Premier, is to ensure economic stability and growth, to advance reforms and projects and to achieve social cohesion, in all, "to lead Greece into the 21st century", a mission that calls for "heightened political responsibility".

    Stressing that he understands and empathizes with those who fear the planned reforms, Mr. Simitis stressed that the demographic shift, specifically an aging population, necessitates these measures.

    "The reforming of the social security system will be the subject of a substantial political dialogue," he stressed, adding "during this dialogue we are open to receiving all proposals and a combination of measures that will be tabled".

    In reference to the proposed measures, the Premier stated that state expenditures for pensions are to be increased to a tune of seven trillion drachmas between 2010-2020, and will subsequently multiply to 40 trillion drachmas during 2020-2030.

    The Premier said social insurance systems throughout the European Union are undergoing reforms and Greece has the opportunity to achieve a smoother transition.

    He further underlined that the reforms must be based on the principles of social justice, solidarity of generations and security and certainty that every citizen should have for his present and his future in a social state.

    "We embarked on this four-year term with a focus on Health, Education and Employment", he stated, pointing out that funds allocated for these sectors amounted to 3.5 times greater than the inflation rate.

    The Premier stressed the need for fulfilling all restructuring reforms and proceeding to the necessary innovations in order to achieve cohesion with the EU's developed societies, which would only bolster Greece's position with the European Union.

    "Greece is called on to face a challenge of historic proportions," he stated, adding "no one will achieve our targets for us. We have to attain them on our own right and worth."

    [15] BEGLITIS ON THE INCIDENTS IN FYROM

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis condemned the incidents that took place in the city of Bitola, FYROM.

    Mr. Beglitis stated that the attacks on Albanian property in Bitola are strongly condemned, adding that such actions can undermine the climate of coexistence among ethnic groups and work in a way that can destabilize the domestic political normality. Mr. Beglitis also pointed out that every political power in FYROM has to condemn those incidents and at the same time launch an effort aimed at completing the political dialogue and consolidate political and social stability in the country.

    [16] SHELDON'S CONTACTS IN ATHENS

    US armed forces chief Henry Sheldon, who is on a formal visit to Greece, met with defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos in Athens today.

    In the meeting that was held in the Pentagon, were discussed the developments in the Balkans, bilateral military relations, the Greek-Turkish relations and the new structure of NATO.

    Mr. Sheldon also met with right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis.

    According to information, Mr. Sheldon appeared satisfied with the improvement in the Greek-Turkish relations, while Mr. Karamanlis pointed out that there have been no meaningful steps showing a change in Turkey's stance.

    [17] THE GREEK AGRICULTURE MINISTER IS ON A VISIT TO SOFIA

    Greek minister of agriculture Giorgos Anomeritis and undersecretary Evangelos Argiris left for Sofia today for bilateral contacts with Bulgarian agriculture ministry officials and minister Ventislav Varbanov. They will also attend the Agribusiness Forum 2001 on agriculture, the nature and food safety.

    In the forum, that will be attended by Bulgarian prime minister Ivan Kostov, Mr. Anomeritis will speak about the challenges faced in the creation of a new joint agricultural policy. Among those attending will be EU agriculture ministers council president Margarita Winberg as well as the agriculture ministers of the 14 countries under EU accession.

    For the record, Greece and Bulgaria have developed close and creative relations in the farm sector, while a strong effort is being made by Greece to assist Bulgaria in its EU accession procedure. Also, an effort is being made for the development of trade and investment activities in the neighboring country by Greek companies.

    [18] LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Small losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.59% at 3.267,30 points, while the volume of transactions was relatively high at 180.67 million Euro or 61.56 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 115 recorded gains and 195 had losses, while the value of 60 stocks remained stable.

    [19] THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH EXPRESSED DISCONTENT

    The representatives of the Greek Catholic Church expressed their discontent in a press conference they gave today on the measures imposed to be in effect during the Pope's visit to Greece on May 4-5.

    Greek Catholic Church press office representative Nikos Gasparakis stressed that the rejection of their request to be allowed to use the open-air Olympic Stadium for the mass that will be officiated by the Pontiff on Saturday, constitutes a rejection of the most basic human right namely, the right of the people to go to church.

    He also stressed that the Holy Seat has realized the sensitivities of the Greek Orthodox Church and for this reason the Vatican's diplomatic delegation has decided that the Pope will not be offered soil at the airport, as it traditionally happens when he visits foreign countries, to avoid any misinterpretation of the gesture.

    [20] ROUSOPOULOS: THE PASOK GOVERNMENTS HAVE HUGE RESPONSIBILITIES

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy press spokesman Thodoros Rousopoulos, commenting on prime minister Kostas Simitis speech that was delivered before the governing socialist party of PASOK parliamentary group, stated that Mr. Simitis confirmed the huge responsibilities the PASOK governments and himself personally have for the current situation in the social security system.

    Mr. Rousopoulos stressed that Mr. Simitis tried to persuade the PASOK parliament deputies to back his choices but once again he ignored the Greek society and the insecurity the government has caused with its proposals.

    Mr. Rousopoulos stated that the dialogue, the usefulness of which was discovered only today by the prime minister, demands above all honesty and clear-cut positions.

    [21] MOUNT ATHOS DISAGREES WITH THE JOINT STATEMENT BY ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS AND THE POPE

    The Holy Community of Mount Athos, in a letter to the archdiocese in Athens, expressed its total disagreement and indignation regarding the joint statement that will be issued by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece and Pope John- Paul B', and called for the reversal the specific decision.

    In the letter it is mentioned that it is unthinkable for an Orthodox Bishop and a heretic not only to issue a joint formal statement but to cosign it as well.

    It is also mentioned that the content of the joint statement is unacceptable from a theological point of view.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [22] THE POPE'S STATEMENT ON HIS VISIT TO GREECE AND SYRIA

    In a statement he made from the Vatican today, Pope John-Paul B' called on the Catholics to pray for his trip to Greece which is very important to him. He also expressed the wish that the outcome of his trip will be positive in order to increase understanding between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches intensifying the progress toward total unity among the Christians.

    The Pope also referred to his visit to Syria and expressed the wish that it will strengthen the religious dialogue with the faithful of Islam and promote a fruitful and peaceful coexistence.

    [23] DOUKAKIS: THE SITUATION IN EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN IS CRITICAL

    The Association of Greek-Americans from Mitilini honored former Massachusetts governor and US presidency nominee Michael Doukakis in a special event that was held in Crystal Palace, Astoria, in New York.

    In his speech, Mr. Doukakis characterized as critical the situation in eastern Mediterranean, while he underlined that thanks to the Helsinki Agreement, Cyprus will join the European Union. He also added that many changes must be made for Turkey's wish to be fulfilled and become an EU member.

    Mr. Doukakis pointed out that one cannot be a Greek and not be involved in public life, stressing that the same goes for the Greek-Americans.

    The president of the association announced that a campaign will be launched aimed at founding a library in Greece named after Michael Doukakis.


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