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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-03-22
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
Today's ERA News OnlineMonday, 22th March, 1999
 Prime minister Kostas Simitis re-elected president of PASOKPrime minister Kostas Simitis was re-elected president of PASOK at the close of the party's fifth congress. He received 65.7% of the votes of 5, 666 delegates. Blank ballots amounted to 30% and invalid ones to 4%.
In a speech after his election Mr Simitis said PASOK's 5th congress was a national event, offering new prospects for the country. He added it was an occasion for charting a new course amid renewed collectivity and a new beginning for the party.
Meanwhile, with 2,750 of the votes for the new central committee counted, Akis Tsohatzopoulos occupies first place followed by Yorgos Papandreou, Evangelos Venizelos, Theodoros Pangalos, Kostas Laliotis, Kostas Skandalidis and Vasso Papandreou.
Mr Tsohatzopoulos said unity was the central message of the congress and congratulated Mr Simitis on his re-election.
 Opposition leader describes Euro-elections as referendumOpposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis again spoke critically of the government's policy as a whole, in a speech he delivered in Kranidi yesterday at the close of his three-day tour of the prefectures of Arkadia and Argolida.
He strongly criticized the situation prevailing in the sectors of public administration, health, education, law enforcement and in general the quality of life.
Mr Karamanlis said the policies of prime minister Simitis would be judged at the Euro-elections, which he described as a referendum on all issues. He also said that the outcome of the Euro-elections would change Greece's political map.
 Greek foreign minister to meet NATO secretary generalGreek foreign minister Yorgos Papandreou will meet with NATO secretary general Javier Solana in Brussels today, to brief him on the recent meeting of the foreign ministers of Balkan states in Bucharest and bring home the Greek conviction that not all means have been exhausted for a peaceful solution to the problem.
At the same time, Greek diplomatic sources believe that the USA should await the decisions of the European Council in Berlin before undertaking any action.
 EU foreign ministers discuss European Commission resignationThe EU foreign ministers' conference in Brussels, which will pave the way for the EU summit meeting in Berlin, on March 24 and 25, began its sessions yesterday with a reference to the recent resignation of the European Commission.
The German presidency of the EU presented a draft declaration saying a powerful Commission was needed, with greater democratic legality, such as would arise from the European parliament's increased participation. According to the text of the draft declaration, the ministers' council respects the Commission's decision to resign and acknowledges its desire to continue its work until its replacement and in particular until completion of the "Agenda 2000" at the Berlin summit.
In reference to the Greek positions on the" Agenda 2000", foreign minister Yorgos Papandreou said he hoped and believed that package would be better than the previous one, while alternate foreign minister Yannos Kranidiotis pointed out that Greece was determined to claim the funds necessary for its developmental course and for the creation of new jobs.
 61st anniversary of first Greek parade in New YorkIn order to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the first parade of immigrant Greeks along New York' Fifth Avenue, the Federation of Greek Associations has put together a programme of festive events for the 25th of March Greek national day.
The events have already started within the context of the Week of Greek Culture, proclaimed by the New York town council, and they will culminate next Sunday, March 28, with a service at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
First place among the many representatives of the American Congress to attend the celebrations on March 28 will go to senator Edward Kennedy who, together with Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and the benefactor of the Federation Bill Stathakos, have been appointed masters of ceremonies for the parade.
 Explosion at Citibank branch in AthensAn explosive device went off late last night outside a branch office of Citibank in the Athens suburb of Kallithea, causing minor damage. Twenty minutes later, police dismantled another home-made bomb planted at another Citibank branch in the coastal suburb of Palio Faliro.
Shortly before the first explosion, an anonymous caller had warned a private television station of the two bombs, but so far no organisation has claimed responsibility for the blast.
 Head of Orthodox Church of Estonia enthronedThe new head of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Estonia Stephan was enthroned yesterday at Talin cathedral. Attending the ceremony were church leaders from Finland, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, the Moscow Patriarchate, the Roman Catholic church and the Lutheran church.
The Estonian prime minister also attended the ceremony, while the Estonian president sent a cable of congratulations expressing his joy at Metropolitan Stephan's election and the belief that he would lead the Church of Estonia into the third millennium.
 Justice minister out of intensive careThe condition of justice minister Evangelos Yannopoulos, who is receiving medical care at an Athens hospital, has been improving satisfactorily. He was moved out of the intensive care unit on Saturday.
Mr Yannopoulos underwent surgery on Wednesday for the removal of intestinal polyps.