|Friday, 19 October 2018|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-04-02
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GERMAN PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN GREECE TOMORROWAthens, 2 April 2000 (20:36 UTC+2)
German President Johannes Rau will officially visit Greece between April 3-5, at the invitation of the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
President Rau will be holding talks with his Greek counterpart, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and leaders of Greek political parties. He will also visit Parliament and meet Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, as well as the Athens Town Hall where Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos will award him the Gold Medal of the City of Athens.
Mr. Rau will visit the town of Kalavryta in southern Greece, together with President Stephanopoulos, and will lay a wreath at the monument of those who died during the German occupation of Greece.
He will also have contacts with economic officials and visit the new Athens airport at Spata, east of Athens, while he will be visiting Thessaloniki, on the last day of his stay.
 THESSALONIKI TAKES REIGN AS PRE-ELECTION ARENAThessaloniki, 2 April 2000 (20:38 UTC+2)
As April 9's parliamentary ballots are nearing, the pre-election campaign is heating up and Thessaloniki will be turned into an "arena" tomorrow when the two major contenders in the race, ruling PASOK party and main opposition of New Democracy, are to hold their massive rallies in the northern port city.
Meanwhile, both parties are satisfied with last Thursday's televised debate between Premier and PASOK leader Costas Simitis and New Democracy's president Costas Karamanlis.
Commenting on the debate, the head of PASOK's election campaign, Environment Minister Costas Laliotis, stated that "the Prime Minister was clearly calling the shots, while Mr. Karamanlis fell victim to the excessive expectations cultivated by his aides and his party's affiliated press."
ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos stated that Mr. Karamanlis had overwhelmed his opponent and that according to a telephone survey ordered by the party, 41.3 percent of respondents thought the ND leader had had the edge over his opponent, 25.5 percent thought Mr. Simitis had won the impressions, while 25.2 percent thought the result had been a draw.
However, PASOK denounced the publication of the telephone survey, with the ruling party's spokesperson n Yiannis Nikolaou stating that New Democracy violated the law.
"While an explicit ban by the law exists on publicizing opinion polls 15 days before the elections and for carrying out public opinion telephone probes, the New Democracy party's spokesman made a serious mistake in violating the law", Mr. Nikolaou stated.
 POLITICS, MEDIA CONFERENCE HELD IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 2 April 2000 (20:37 UTC+2)
A two-day, international conference was held in Thessaloniki this weekend, where the participants, young parliamentarians from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, FYROM, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania, reviewed the interaction between politics and media in Western and Southeastern Europe.
The conference, the second in a series of four that are part of the Young Parliamentarians' Project, was hosted by the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe, featured speakers from Britain, Northern Ireland, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and FYROM.
The main speakers were Stevan Niksic, editor of Nedelgne Informatiune Novine, a Serb newspaper in Belgrade, who discussed the suppression of the media under President Slobodan Milosevic's regime; Nicholas Jones from the BBC, who talked about the ways in which the British Labor government uses the news media; and Jens Reuter, executive director of the Center for Democracy, who made the opening address.
The Center for Democracy is a non-governmental and non-profit organization, located in Thessaloniki, and it coordinates similar international conferences in various locations.
 ATHENS BOURSE ENDS WEEK WITH GAINSAthens, 2 April 2000 (20:36 UTC+2)
Following a six-week declining trend, Greek stocks on the Athens Stock Exchange ended the week with gains, although volume fell to its lowest levels since April 1999 as buying interest has come to a standstill ahead of next Sunday's general elections.
A Morgan Stanley Capital International announcement last week that it was placing the Greek stock market under possible upgrade to a mature market had only temporary positive effects on the market, pushing the general index 1.94 percent higher on Wednesday.
The general index ended the week 108.3 points, or 2.31 percent, higher. The FTSE/ASE 20 ended rose 0.39 percent in the week, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 4.17 percent reflecting pressures in medium and smaller capitalization stocks.
The week's turnover totaled 755.635 billion drachmas.
 FOUR AXES SET FOR BALKAN RECONSTRUCTIONThessaloniki, 2 April 2000 (20:32 UTC+2)
The Director of the Balkan Reconstruction Organization Hughes Mingarelli announced that the first ten officials are to be established in Thessaloniki within the following weeks, while adding that the organization will focus on the areas of energy, housing, transportation and irrigation-sewage.
Mr. Mingarelli state that the Organization's budget for 2000 amounts to 180 million euros, without ruling out additional funds from the European Parliament.
Speaking to the Athens daily "To Vima", he stated that the Organization's establishment in Thessaloniki could be viewed as an advantage for Greek firms since they will have access to information on projects, bids and the various processes.
 BULGARIA POSTPONES BTC SALE, OFFER IN PARLIAMENTSofia, 2 April 2000 (20:37 UTC+2)
After the Greek-Dutch telecommunications consortium OTE-KPN presented its final offer last week of $600 million - in cash - for the 51 percent acquisition of Bulgaria's BTC and the second GSM license, the Bulgarian government announced that the issue is to be examined in the country's parliament on Tuesday and said that it announce the outcome on Friday.
Stated as the final proposal, the offer made by OTE-KPN represents a $90 million increase of the bid price.
Three Bulgarian parliament committees are to jointly discuss the consortium's revised offer. According to Sofia press reports, the head of the Bulgarian negotiating team has stated that the parliament discussion was judged as necessary following a request by the consortium for changes in the legal framework governing BTC's activities.
In a letter to the Bulgarian government last week, OTE-KPN called for a clear reply to its offer, as soon as possible.
OTE and KPN established the consortium more than a year ago, being the sole bidder for a 51 percent stake of BTC and the second GSM operator in the country. The Consortium signed a preliminary agreement with Bulgaria last June, calling for the acquisition of both the BTC shares and the GSM operator, at a price of $510 million. The agreement was later re-negotiated after a government reshuffle in December.
 GREEK PIANIST SGOUROS TO PERORM IN CARNEGIE HALLNew York, 2 April 2000 (20:35 UTC+2)
World renowned Greek pianist Dimitris Sgouros will perform a recital in Carnegie Hall, New York, on April 14.
Mr. Sgouros will hold a press conference on April 11 in the press office of the Greek Delegation.
The famous pianist returns to Carnegie Hall twelve years after his debut there, at the side of Matislav Rostopivic and the National Symphony Orchestra of the United States.