|Monday, 27 March 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-04-30
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From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 37th night of NATO air strikes</strong>NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia have continued unabated for the 37th successive night. A series of explosions rocked the centre of Belgrade earlier this morning, and three people - a policeman and two civilians - are reported to have been killed in the NATO raids on the Yugoslav capital during the night.
NATO forces attacked the defence ministry, the Yugoslav army headquarters and a police station in the centre of Belgrade. Earlier a television transmitter in the city was hit, stopping transmission of the state television programme. A journalist, a fireman and a policeman were injured.
Other targets hit in last night's bombing were the town of Pancevo, fuel depots in Pristina, the village of Agvalija inhabited only by ethnic Albanians, the oil refinery at Novi Sad and two other villages, Prijezdisi and Krcmar.
On top of all the bombing, the Yugoslav capital was also hit by an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale in the early hours of this morning. No damage has been reported so far.
 Diplomatic efforts continueMeanwhile efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis are continuing.
After their meeting in Bonn yesterday, the German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, and the Russian envoy in the Yugoslav crisis, Viktor Chernomyrdin, announced that differences were being overcome and that some slight progress was being made towards finding a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis.
From Bonn, Mr Chernomyrdin went on to Rome where he met with the Italian prime minister, Massimo D'Alema. After the meeting, Mr D'Alema appeared optimistic with regard to a peaceful settlement. The Russian mediator is visiting Belgrade today.
The search for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem was also at the focus of diplomatic contacts in Moscow yesterday, where a meeting took place, at Greece's initiative, between the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, and the foreign ministers of Greece, Russia and Canada. After the meeting, the Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, said Greece fully supported the efforts of the UN secretary general and of Russia, which he said had undertaken a very important role as "a trustworthy mediator."
Yugoslavia's ambassador in Moscow, who is also the brother of the Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, has reiterated Belgrade's official position that Yugoslavia will accept the deployment of a non-military mission in Kosovo, under the auspices of the UN, with increased Russian participation and excluding those countries taking part in the NATO attacks.
The NATO secretary general, Javier Solana, has praised Russia's participation in the efforts to formulate a diplomatic solution for Kosovo.
The court hearing of an appeal which Yugoslavia has lodged at the International Court in The Hague against the 10 NATO member states, aimed at stopping the NATO air strikes against the country, will probably begin on 10th May. The US has described Yugoslavia's recourse to the International Court as "irrational and frivolous".
In the meantime the oil embargo on Yugoslavia goes into effect from today. Talks on the issue continued in Brussels yesterday at both NATO and EU level. Greece abstained from the vote by the committee of the Community's permanent representatives on adoption of the embargo.
France and Greece have opposed the imposition of a naval blockade on Serbia, especially with regard to the legality of controlling ships flying the flag of a third country.
Late yesterday the US addressed a direct warning to Russia threatening serious political and financial repercussions if it violates the embargo.
 State Department warns of anti-American climate in GreeceThe American State Department has issued a so-called "public announcement" informing American citizens of the growing climate of anti-American feeling in Greece as a result of the NATO bombings in Yugoslavia. American officials said the announcement was considered necessary after the terrorist attack on the Athens Intercontinental Hotel in which one person was killed. The announcement also warned American citizens to be particularly careful when traveling in Greece.
 Opposition leader calls for exemption from NATO operationsMain opposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis has asked that Greece be exempted from NATO's military operations against Yugoslavia. Speaking in Athens at a press conference, Mr Karamanlis accused the government of what he said amounted to a failure to clearly voice its position on the issue. The opposition leader rejected the solution of a veto by Greece in NATO, stressing that the country should not be isolated.
 Humanitarian aid to SerbiaHumanitarian aid amounting to US$ 50,000 is being sent by the Archdiocese of America to the people of Yugoslavia. A cheque for that amount will be given to Serb Patriarch Paul by Bishop Demetrios of Xanthou who will travel to Belgrade today as a delegate of the Special Ecumenical Committee.
The committee, headed by Reverend Jesse Jackson, includes representatives of Christians, Jews and Moslems.
While in Yugoslavia, the delegation is likely to meet the three US soldiers held by Yugoslav authorities, in addition to Serbia's religious leaders.
 EU forecast on Greek economyEU Commissioner Martin Bangemann, who participated in yesterday's Luxembourg meeting of the European industry ministers council, presented the Union's forecasts in relation to the course of the Greek economy. Greece was represented at the meeting by development minister Evangelos Venizelos.
According to the European forecasts, the yearly inflation rate in 1999 will be fixed at 2.1 percent, while the public deficit will be reduced by 2.1 percent of the GNP.
The EU believes that the rate of growth of the Gross National Product will be around 3.4% in 1999 and 3.6% in 2000.
 Bank of Greece governor says EMU entry feasible and likelyAccording to the governor of the Bank of Greece, Loukas Papadimos, the fulfillment of criteria for entry into European economic and monetary union, and the adoption of the euro, is feasible and very likely, but should not be taken for granted.
He made the comments during a shareholders meeting of the Central Bank of Greece.
Mr Papadimos said that the inflation rate will approximate 2% in the summer, despite external factors which have affected it negatively. One such factor is the approx. 50% increase in fuel prices on the international market, since the end of last year.
In general, the Bank of Greece governor appeared optimistic about Greece's inclusion in EMU, stressing that the impact of the Yugoslav crisis was minimal, but that a prolongation of the crisis might create problems.
 Athens stock exchange drops slightlyMeanwhile the general share price index on the Athens stock exchange dropped slightly yesterday by 0.74%, reaching 3,523.54 units.
In the parities, the dollar closed at 307.460 drachmas, the Deutschmark at 167.095 drachmas and the euro at 326.810 drachmas.
 Labour Day eventsEvents organised by the Confederation of Greek Workers to mark Labour Day on May 1st got under way yesterday with a concert by Mikis Theodorakis at the Stadium of Peace and Friendship in Athens.
On Saturday the Confederation will stage a protest rally outside the American embassy in Athens, while other trade union organisations will stage a separate rally in the city.
 Election campaign speeches by prime ministerPrime minister Kostas Simitis will address open-air rallies to be held in Athens, Thessaloniki, Iraklio, Komotini, Larisa and Patras, and possibly two other cities, within the framework of the ruling PASOK party's election campaign, in view of the upcoming Euro-elections in June.
In his announcement of the initiative, PASOK secretary Kostas Skandalidis also referred to the Yugoslav crisis, stressing that although the situation was extremely difficult, hope for a political solution was mounting.
In relation to the possible effects on tourism and the economy, the PASOK secretary emphasized that no problems existed at this stage, but caution should be exercised to achieve the targets set.
Meanwhile party strategy in view of the forthcoming European elections and today's defence and foreign affairs committee meeting were the topics of discussion at yesterday's meeting between prime minister Simitis, Mr Skandalidis and national defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
 Liberal party founded in GreeceYet another party, "The Liberals", has appeared on the Greek political stage. Its founder is independent deputy Stefanos Manos who has chosen a bull as his party's emblem.
"I have no comment to make and do not worry", New Democracy party president Kostas Karamanlis said when asked about the newly established party.
The European Liberal Party in Brussels has welcomed yesterday's announcement by Stefanos Manos that he was establishing a Liberal party in Greece.
 Famous Greek seismologist dies after heart surgerySeismology professor Ioannis Drakopoulos died in Athens yesterday at the age of 61. The famous seismologist had undergone surgery for an aorta aneurysm, but his condition deteriorated quickly and efforts for his recovery were in vain.
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