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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-05-04

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT OF GREECE RECEIVES POPE AT MANSION
  • [02] NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER SPEAKS TO CNN
  • [03] POPE: GREECE'S MISSION IS TO BUILD UNITING BRIDGES
  • [04] MINISTER: TVX HELLAS MUST CONFORM TO RULING
  • [05] DEVELOPMENT MINISTER TOUTS REGIONAL GROWTH
  • [06] OTE REORGANIZED, TO BE SPLIT INTO 4 COMPONENTS
  • [07] IPEKCI AWARD BESTOWED ON AGRICULTURE MINISTER
  • [08] POPE REALIZES DREAM TO RETRACE APOSTLE'S STEPS
  • [09] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VISITS XANTHI IN N. GREECE
  • [10] ARCHBISHOP OF GREECE WILL TRAVEL TO RUSSIA

  • [01] PRESIDENT OF GREECE RECEIVES POPE AT MANSION

    Athens, 4 May 2001 (14:11 UTC+2)

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos received Pope John Paul II this morning with full head of state honors, immediately after the pontiff's arrival in Greece at Athens airport at 11:30 a.m.

    President Stephanopoulos greeted the head of the Roman Catholic Church outside the presidential mansion with a warm handshake and then followed him up the steps.

    The two men entered the building after listening to the Greek national anthem, where the political and military leadership of the country lined up to greet the pope.

    The frail pontiff shook hands with Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis, members of the Cabinet, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and the heads of the Greek military.

    President Stephanopoulos then greeted the representatives of the Vatican.

    A.F.

    [02] NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER SPEAKS TO CNN

    Atlanta, 4 May 2001 (12:44 UTC+2)

    Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou, presently on a visit to the United States, stressed Greece's role in the economic development of the Balkans during an interview with CNN.

    Referring to Greece's accession to the euro zone, Mr. Papantoniou said that this means high growth rates of about 5%, very low inflation close to 2.5 percent, and a budget surplus for the first time in the past 35 years.

    Moreover, the Minister referred to Greece's preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and underlined that we are an attractive destination and we are trying to benefit from our accession to the euro zone as best as we can.

    A.F.

    [03] POPE: GREECE'S MISSION IS TO BUILD UNITING BRIDGES

    Athens, 4 May 2001 (15:02 UTC+2)

    Given its geographical and historical virtues, Greece has a mission to build bridges that will not differentiate between Europe's eastern and western regions but, will, rather unite them, Pope John Paul II stated during his visit to the Presidential Mansion in Athens today.

    In a speech given before the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, the Pope -the first to visit modern Greece since the Great Schism of 1056, when Christianity was divided into Eastern and Western branches-, paid homage to the influence and role Greece played on European and global culture, and said that his visit aimed to acknowledge this.

    Moreover, he referred to important historic figures from Greece and their contribution to western culture and morals - using examples such as the Hippocratic Oath, the Olympic Games and the Marathon.

    The Pope stated that he is visiting Greece as a pilgrim to retrace the steps of the Apostle Paul, whose form had dominated 2,000 years of Christian history and whose memory was indelibly printed in the soil of Greece.

    In turn, President Stephanopoulos stressed Pope John Paul's unflagging efforts in support of major moral values, his support for democracy, peace and international brotherhood and his efforts for economic equality in favor of the poor and downtrodden peoples of the world.

    Moreover, he stated that the Pontiff's visit takes place at a "crucial time of transition for the future of Europe and humanity, when we have a duty to concern ourselves with the important moral issues and cultivate moral values that will help create the future European identity."

    The President described the Pope's desire to worship at the Areios Pagos rock, where the Apostle Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians, as a sign of respect for the apostle himself and to an important historic site in Athens where the idea of justice and democracy were born.

    Finally, President Stephanopoulos referred to the efforts for reconciliation between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, initiated under Ecumenical Patriarch Athinagoras and Pope Paul VI, and expressed hope that these would continue and contribute to the development of a climate of cooperation, understanding and trust between the two countries.

    Following the speeches, the Pope had brief talks with the president, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis and the leader of main opposition New Democracy Costas Karamanlis.

    Mr. Kaklamanis expressed satisfaction over the Pope's reference to human rights and noted that human rights were also currently being violated on Cyprus.

    Following his meetings, Pope John Paul II arrived 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. tomorrow, 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 this evening.

    A.F.

    [04] MINISTER: TVX HELLAS MUST CONFORM TO RULING

    Thessaloniki, 4 May 2001 (14:38 UTC+2)

    The TVX Hellas mining company has no other choice but to conform to the Highest Court's recent ruling, Minister of Development Nikos Christodoulakis stated in reference to the recent court decision that upheld residents' objection to the operation of a gold mine in northern Greece.

    Addressing a Thessaloniki-held conference that featured the presence of the city's production, industrial and local government sectors, Mr. Christodoulakis stated that environmental protection is not safeguarded through a belligerent stance towards investments, but, rather, through entrepreneurial competition, modern infrastructures and the citizen's right to exercise control.

    In a recent ruling, the Council of State, Greece's highest court, has ruled in favor of local residents in who are opposed to the operation of a gold mine and mill owned by TVX Hellas SA, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company, TVX Gold Incorporated.

    With 20 votes to 7, the Council of State upheld the residents' challenges to the Olympias project, which is not currently in operation, and voted to overturn all acts of government, inter alia presidential decrees establishing the mining unit, approving environmental specifications and selecting a site for the project.

    The Council of State found that the mill's use of cyanide and arsenic for processing gold ore would endanger the environment and the health of residents. Specifically, the court found that the state had not taken sufficiently into account the impact that the processing method would have on the environment.

    The court's ruling, which is to be published in May, could have a significant effect on the project, which has been held up since 1996.

    The $248-million project aims to develop 254,000 ounces of gold on an annual basis, along with 2.3 million ounces of silver, 21,500 tons of zinc and 22,500 tons of lead over the first five years of production.

    A.F.

    [05] DEVELOPMENT MINISTER TOUTS REGIONAL GROWTH

    Thessaloniki, 4 May 2001 (14:12 UTC+2)

    The Simitis-led government will grant highest priority to regional growth, along with increased employment, in an effort to put an end to uneven growth rates noted in various parts of Greece, according to Minister of Development Nikos Christodoulakis.

    Addressing a Thessaloniki-held conference that featured the presence of the city's production, industrial and local government sectors, Mr. Christodoulakis stressed that in order to achieve the provincial region's convergence with the country's larger cities, major infrastructure works have to be completed.

    Growth will be borne from these infrastructures, according to the Minister, who explained that these projects in themselves will attract foreign investments in Greece.

    Moreover, the Development minister stressed that the sectors of natural gas and new technology are the winning hands for northern Greece, as the region thus acquires the needed strategic advantages that will promote it into a Southeast European metropolis.

    In reference to a recent framework adopted for the Attica region, which calls for the adoption of greener technology manufacturing units and industries, Mr. Christodoulakis stated that the plan could also be enforce in Thessaloniki by encouraging the use of environmentally friendly means of production.

    Mr. Christodoulakis also stressed the significance of the Third Community Support Framework, amounting to 2.5 trillion drachmas, which provides an enormous growth opportunity for the region.

    However, the Minister stressed that a sine qua non condition for increasing entrepreneurial competitiveness in Greece is the simplification of the administrative framework concerning the establishment of new firms.

    The state must encourage, not avert, the spirit of enterprise, he stated.

    The Macedonian Press Agency was among the sponsors of this conference, the first of its kind, which concludes in Thessaloniki tomorrow.

    A.F.

    [06] OTE REORGANIZED, TO BE SPLIT INTO 4 COMPONENTS

    Athens, 4 May 2001 (12:58 UTC+2)

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), a heavily traded share on the Athens bourse, is to be divided into four components in an effort to improve its operational efficiency.

    Inaugurating the launch of OTEGlobe, a venture specializing in telecommunication services, OTE chairman Nikos Manasis stated that it was difficult for the group to exert control over its 30 current subsidiaries due to its unwieldy structure.

    OTE will be divided into four components, representing fixed-line telephony services, mobile telephony, Internet services, and other activities," he said.

    Details of the reorganization will be presented to shareholders at the annual general meeting on June 25.

    A.F.

    [07] IPEKCI AWARD BESTOWED ON AGRICULTURE MINISTER

    Istanbul, 4 May 2001 (12:57 UTC+2)

    Greece's Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis received the Ipekci Award, along with his Turkish counterpart Husnu Yusuf Gokalp, for their cooperation protocol signed in June last year.

    The biannual awards were also bestowed on the former dean of Athens University Constantine Dimopoulos and the current dean of Istanbul University, Kemal Alemdaroglou, for their role in promoting friendship and cooperation between Greece and Turkey.

    A.F.

    [08] POPE REALIZES DREAM TO RETRACE APOSTLE'S STEPS

    Athens, 4 May 2001 (12:21 UTC+2)

    Realizing his dream to retrace the steps of Apostle Paul, Pope John Paul II arrived in Athens at 11.30 this morning on board an Alitalia airliner and was handed an olive branch and flowers by children wearing traditional costumes.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou represented the government at the welcoming reception held at the airport.

    The Pontiff was not transported in the well-known glass-covered pope mobile, nor did he kiss Greek soil upon his arrival -a traditional gesture he performs when visiting a new country-.

    The state is enforcing draconian security measures during the Pope's stay in Athens. In addition to a 5,000-strong police force on alert throughout his stay, 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.

    Transportation in the Greek capital is to be disrupted as all roads to be traveled by the Pope and his entourage are to be closed off.

    Police will also close off Messogion Avenue leading from the northern suburbs to Athens, and the central Vassilissis Sophias Avenue, along which the Pope and his entourage will pass en route to the Presidential Mansion.

    Equally stringent measures are being taken at the Vatican's embassy in Paleo Psychico, where the Pope will be staying.

    The Pope will visit 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. tomorrow, 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 this evening.

    Pope John Paul II is the first pontiff to visit Greece since the Great Schism of 1056, when Christianity was divided into Eastern and Western branches.

    After his departure from Athens, the Pope will visit Damascus and Malta.

    A.F.

    [09] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VISITS XANTHI IN N. GREECE

    Thessaloniki, 4 May 2001 (11:59 UTC+2)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, currently on a visit to Thrace, officiated at a church service in Xanthi yesterday, in the presence of 20 Metropolitans, including the Metropolitans of Alexandroupolis Anthimos and Ioannina Theoklitos.

    "Some criticize us Orthodox believers as being pagans because we respect the holy relics of the faith. We do not attribute strength to these material objects but we accept that it is the grace of God that acts through them," the Patriarch said in referring to saints and holy relics.

    His visit will conclude on May 7 in the city of Komotene and the Dadia Monastery.

    Meanwhile, the Metropolitan of Langadas and Holy Synod Deputy President Spyridon extended a message of welcome from Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos to the Ecumenical Patriarch, while Mr. Vartholomeos in turn congratulated the Archbishop on the occasion of the third anniversary of the assumption of his duties.

    Archbishop Christodoulos could not meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch, due to his scheduled preparations for the Pope's arrival to Athens.

    A.F.

    [10] ARCHBISHOP OF GREECE WILL TRAVEL TO RUSSIA

    Athens, 4 May 2001 (11:57 UTC+2)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos is to embark on an official visit to Russia tomorrow, heading a delegation of Metropolitans.

    Mr. Christodoulos, who will remain in Russia until May 14, will be welcomed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport by the Patriarch of All Russia Alexiy and the members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Church.

    He will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the President of the State Duma Selezhnev, Moscow Mayor Luzhkov, the Greek ambassador to Moscow and many Metropolitans of the Russian Church.

    During his stay, Archbishop Christodoulos will be visiting many holy monasteries and shrines, as well as St Petersburg's Academy of Theology, while he will also be attending receptions and commemorative events.

    A.F.


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