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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-10-21

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] OLYMPIC VIDEO-LOTTO PROVISION WITHDRAWN BY PRIME MINISTER
  • [02] REACTIONS BY OPPOSITION PARTIES
  • [03] BANK OF GREECE REDUCES INTEREST RATES BY 0.5%
  • [04] REDUCED INTEREST RATES AND LESS VAT FOR FARMERS
  • [05] 100 NEW SCHOOLS TO BE BUILT IN ATTICA
  • [06] MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS GREECE
  • [07] NO RESULTS FROM AMERICAN ENVOYS' TALKS IN CYPRUS
  • [08] BRITAIN PREPARED TO DISCUSS RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES
  • [09] 4.4 TEMBLOR IN SEA OF MARMARA

  • [01] OLYMPIC VIDEO-LOTTO PROVISION WITHDRAWN BY PRIME MINISTER

    A debate and roll-call vote requested by the opposition New Democracy party on a draft bill, which included a provision connected with the controversial Olympic video-lotto game, was held in parliament yesterday in a tense atmosphere. The bill was passed with 147 votes to 125. Meanwhile prime minister Kostas Simitis, who was not present at the session, announced yesterday that the government had decided not to go ahead with the video-lotto scheme. In a written statement he said the government would guarantee all the necessary funds for the Olympic Games projects and would not allow the New Democracy party to poison the country's public life by clouding the real issues and debasing Greece's achievements, making the country appear as a place of gambling dens and one-armed bandits. The announcement also said Greece would not follow the pace imposed by New Democracy for its own petty partisan reasons, but the pace dictated by national interests. It added that the opposition's argumentation was a repetition of objections raised against the Olympic lottery by legitimate and illicit economic interests.

    [02] REACTIONS BY OPPOSITION PARTIES

    The New Democracy party and the Democratic Social Movement claim the government withdrew the provision as a result of the general outcry. The New Democracy party's press spokesman said the prime minister's decision was the most cynical proof of the government's guilt. The New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, launched a harsh verbal attack on the government, claiming the prime minister's retreat over the issue was equivalent to an admission of guilt, and he submitted a request for a pre- agenda debate on transparency in the country's public life. The national economy minister, Yannos Papantoniou, retorted that the New Democracy party was acting as the mouthpiece of the casinos and gambling machine institutions. The leader of the Democratic Social Movement, Dimitris Tsovolas, called for the definite withdrawal of the controversial provision, while the leader of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress, Nikos Konstantopoulos, said the matter was one of the most noisome and suspect cases poisoning political life.

    [03] BANK OF GREECE REDUCES INTEREST RATES BY 0.5%

    The decision by the Bank of Greece to reduce its base interest rates by 0.5% has opened the way for other banks to reduce their interest rates on deposits and loans. On the Athens Stock Exchange, the general share price index showed an impressive rise of 5.78% on Wednesday, closing at 5,704.26 points. In the parities, the US dollar closed at 305.720 drachmas, the German mark at 168.522 drachmas and the euro at 329.600 drachmas.

    [04] REDUCED INTEREST RATES AND LESS VAT FOR FARMERS

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis and agriculture minister Giorgos Anomeritis met yesterday with leaders of farmers' unions. It was decided that loan interest rates and VAT for farmers would be reduced. Other measures for boosting income were also discussed.

    [05] 100 NEW SCHOOLS TO BE BUILT IN ATTICA

    The education minister, Gerasimos Arsenis, announced yesterday that work is to start immediately on the construction of 100 new schools in the earthquake-hit districts of Attica. He added that 80 more school buildings will have been repaired by the end of the year. Meanwhile a student rally is to be held in Athens today in protest at educational reforms. The president of the Teachers' Federation has said in a press conference there were not enough teachers and text books, but stressed he approved of the ministry's arrangement for the admission of graduates of technical schools to technical universities.

    [06] MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS GREECE

    The Mexican foreign minister, Rosaria Green, is paying an official visit to Rumania and Greece. While in Athens she will have a meeting with the Greek president, Kostis Stefanopoulos, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, and the speaker of the house, Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    [07] NO RESULTS FROM AMERICAN ENVOYS' TALKS IN CYPRUS

    The talks which the American envoys in the Cyprus issue, Alfred Moses and Thomas Weston, had in Nicosia with the Cypriot president, Glafkos Kliridis, and the Turkish Cypriot representative, Rauf Denktash, wound up yesterday without any specific outcome. The Cypriot government spokesman referred to a breakdown in the talks and said Mr Denktash continued to set unacceptable conditions and to demand recognition of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot state in northern Cyprus.

    [08] BRITAIN PREPARED TO DISCUSS RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES

    Britain now appears to be prepared to discuss the possible return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. The British parliamentary committee responsible for cultural matters is already looking into the question of returning cultural treasures to their countries of origin and is expected to start hearing verbal testimonies regarding the Parthenon Marbles in February or early March next year.

    [09] 4.4 TEMBLOR IN SEA OF MARMARA

    An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre in the Sea of Marmara, was registered in Turkey in the early hours of this morning. The tremor was felt as far away as the Greek-Turkish border. There have been no reports of any casualties or damage.
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