|Sunday, 18 April 2021|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-01-03
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK PM BRIEFED OVER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTSAthens, 3 January 2006 (14:08 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday was briefed by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis over economic developments in the country.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Alogoskoufis said 2006 was the year of implementing economic reforms and stressed that the government was working towards reducing its fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.
The Greek minister, replying to reporters' questions over whether the European Commission would offer an one-year extension to reduce its deficit, said "one more year never harmed anybody" and noted that the government would maintain its mild adjustment policy. "We have not asked for an extension, but if the Commission make any such offer it would be welcome," Alogoskoufis said.
 SUDDEN RISE IN THE WATER LEVEL OF EVROS RIVERAthens, 3 January 2006 (11:21 UTC+2)
The services of the prefectures of Evros, of the Eastern-Macedonian and Thrace regions and of nearby municipalities are on alert since Monday afternoon, as the strong rainfall of the past days in the border prefecture, but also in neigbouring Bulgaria and Turkey, in combination with the melting of snow, has brought about a sudden rise in the water level of Evros River.
The water level at Evros this morning was 5 metres, with the safety limit being at 4.70 metres. The level of alert is 5.70 metres.
 PASSENGER TRAFFIC AT MACEDONIA- THRACE AIRPORTS FLAT IN JAN.-NOV.Athens, 3 January 2006 (17:30 UTC+2)
Passenger traffic at the five biggest airports of Macedonia and Thrace provinces was slightly less than the previous year's levels in 2005, a bulletin published by the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.
The report, based on figures by the Civil Aviation Authority, said the airports of Thessaloniki, Kavala, Alexandroupolis, Kastoria and Kozani attracted more than 3.987 million passengers in the 11-month period from January to November 2005. Passenger traffic at the same airports throughout 2004 was 4.264 million persons.
Around 3.45 million passengers used Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport in the 11-month period, with January recording the biggest monthly increase (+7.2 pct) and March the most significant decrease (-17.5 pct).
Passenger traffic fell at the airport of Kavala, reaching 280,500 (from 341,300 throughout 2004), and with March recording a 31.3-percent drop.
Traffic in the Alexandroupolis airport totaled 238,460 persons in Jan-Nov from 258,287 in Jan-Nov 2004. March was the worst month as well, (-24 pct), with April (the Easter season) the best month (+30.4 pct).
 HIGH COURT PROSECUTOR ORDERS PROBE INTO FUGITIVE'S DEATH, ESCAPEAthens, 3 January 2006 (16:45 UTC+2)
The head of the Supreme Court prosecutor's office on Tuesday ordered a preliminary investigation into the conditions surrounding the death of an escaped Russian murderer, whose body was discovered by authorities a day earlier 1.5 kilometers from the spot where he gunned two police guards on Friday.
High-ranking prosecutor Dimitris Linos also ordered a probe, conveyed to another prosecutor in the NW city of Ioannina, into the circumstances surrounding the ill-fated transport of the three prisoners by the slain officers.
The body of 23-year-old Russian national Maxim Zhilin, who escaped on Friday after killing the two police guards, was found on Monday along the banks of a river with a bullet wound in the head.
According to reports, Maxim Zhilin was clutching the revolver he took from one of the two slain policemen. Authorities found the body near a remote riverside trout farm after local residents reported hearing a single gun shot in the early morning hours of Monday.
A Larissa coroner later confirmed initial reports that Zhilin had committed suicide by aiming and firing the revolver into his right temple. The time of death was determined as taking place 20 to 24 hours before the body was found.
His body was found on the banks of the Malakasiotis River, a tributary of the Pinios River.
According to top police officials during a subsequent news conference on Monday afternoon, the escaped man was without shoes and wearing only the shirt and pants he wore during the escape, even though temperatures were routinely below zero throughout the time he was on the run. Additionally, authorities said the site where the body was found had been previously and repeatedly searched both by ground forces and from the air by helicopter crews.
A manhunt was ordered late Friday morning for the fugitive after he killed the two policemen escorting him and two 17-year-old Albanians charged with minor drug offences from a detention centre in Ioannina to jails in Larissa and Volos. One of the Albanians was injured by gunfire in the police transport van, while the second teen, who escaped with Zhilin after the slayings, was apprehended on Sunday some 12 kilometres from the scene of the crime.
The two police officers -- a driver and a guard -- were killed near the village of Malakasi in the Kalambaka district of Trikala prefecture (central Greece) on Friday when they made an unscheduled stop because the prisoners persistently asked to relieve themselves.
 THREE ARSON ATTACKS ON CARS, RULING ND OFFICE DURING THE NIGHTAthens, 3 January 2006 (12:48 UTC+2)
Three instances of arson attacks on cars and a ruling New Democracy party (ND) office occurred early Tuesday, within the space of an hour, in the greater Athens area, police said, adding that the fires caused material damage but no injuries.
The first instance occurred at 3:10 a.m. in the Mets residential district of Athens, where a home-made incendiary device comprising small propane canisters exploded beneath a parked car bearing diplomatic licence plates. The ensuing fire spread to four other parked cars, causing material damage to all five vehicles.
Fifteen minutes later, at 3:25 a.m. in the suburb of Petroupolis, unidentified persons torched a parked car without licence plates. The flames spread to another parked car, causing damage to both vehicles.
In the third instance, a home-made incendiary device comprising small propane canisters exploded at 4:15 a.m. in the Kypseli residential district at the entrance of a ND office on the ground floor, causing material damage.
Police said an anonymous caller phoned the private ALTER tv station at 5:00 a.m. and claimed responsibility for the arson attacks on behalf of a hitherto unknown group calling itself "Anti-State Justice", in an act of solidarity with anarchists Panayiotis Aspiotis, George Kalaitzidis and Petros Karasaridis, who are serving time in prison for arson attacks and several felonies.
 GREECE DOES NOT WANT REDUCTION IN SUPPLY OF NATURAL GAS, FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYSAthens, 3 January 2006 (11:22 UTC+2)
Greece's interest for the quantity of natural gas supplied to the country not to be reduced, due to the matter which has arisen between Russia and Ukraine regarding the determination of the price of natural gas, was expressed on Monday to the ambassadors of the two countries by the director of the foreign minister's diplomatic office.
In the meeting of Ambassador Constantine Rallis with the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine in Greece, Andrey Vdovin and Valerii Tsyboukh, respectively, the Greek side expressed the wish for a speedy settlement of the natural gas price issue. Finally, the Greek side noted that it is important that both sides are giving assurances for their already obligations.
As announced by a foreign ministry press release, the meeting was held following instructiions by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis. The same announcement said that the foreign ministry communicated with the Austrian EU presidency to brief it on the Greek positions.