|Saturday, 24 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-04-04
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH
(THE VOICE OF GREECE - Translators Dpt.)
 Pre-election speeches and activitiesWith the national elections just five days away, political parties are concentrating on organising the final pre- election rallies to be held in Athens every evening this week.
Prime minister Kostas Simitis addressed a gathering of Pasok party supporters in Nikaia, where he announced that the basic insurance contributions of the low salaried would be covered by the state budget, thus increasing their annual income by 140.000 dr, while he accused the New Democracy party of giving unrealistic promises to the Greek people. Mr Simitis reiterated that in the new four-year term, Pasok would place emphasis to the strengthening of the social state and the battle against unemployment. Finally, Mr Simitis urged again the people to give a pure mandate to Pasok on April 9th, for a strong government.
Speaking in Thessaloniki, the New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis accused Pasok of cultivating a climate of polarization and fanaticism. Our goal, Mr Karamanlis said, is to help Greece get into a balanced and speedy development by lifting inequalities and encouraging investments.
During his meeting with the governor of the Bank of Greece Loukas Papadimos, the New Democracy party leader said that his party did not intend to turn against those appointed by Pasok in the public sector. Today, Mr Karamanlis gave a press conference at the Zappeion mansion in Athens.
The secretary general of the Greek communist party Aleka Papariga delivered a speech to a gathering of people of the arts and letters, while she will address a rally of party supporters in Athens.
The leader of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress Nikos Konstantopoulos, spoke to people of the arts in an event that was held in the Association of Editors, while he addressed his party's main pre-election rally in Omonia square.
Speaking at his party's main pre-election rally in Athens, the Leader of the Democratic Social Movement, Dimitris Tsovolas launched an attack on Pasok and the New Democracy parties.
 The German president's visit to GreeceThe president of the federal republic of Germany Johannes Rau, who is on a three-day official visit to Greece, went to Kalavryta accompanied by the president of the Greek republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos and layed a wreath on the monument erected in memory of victims of a massacre by Nazi occupation forces on December 13th, 1943, during World War II.
Meanwhile, Mr Rau's visit to Greece is in the limelight of the German media, as the German president visited Kalavryta. According to the German undersecretary to the president's office, Mr Rau's visit to Kalavryta is a message for forgiveness to Greece and to the country which represents the saying that "certain things should not be forgotten".
The fact that the German and Greek presidents layed a wreath together with the young people of Kalavryta, symbolizes that the past cannot stand between the people of the two countries, but can become the source of drawing strength in order to form the future.
Mr Rau is the first president of the republic of Germany to visit the place of the massacre and this does in no way mean that the German government's negative stand on the pending issue of reparations to the victims of the Nazi occupation, and consequently for the compulsory loan.
The Greek president received the German president at the presidential mansion last night and told him that substantial moves ought to be made on the part of Turkey so that bilateral relations may be fully settled.
Referring to Kosovo, Mr Stefanopoulos underlined that Turkey should realize that its constructive contribution to the achievement of a final Cyprus settlement was imperative for its prospects for admission to the EU.
He also stressed that the lack of recognizing the principle of the respect of the existing borders in the Balkans could create dangerous situations. The two presidents had talks in the presidential mansion afterwards and stressed the excellent level of Greek-German relations, as well as the close cooperation between the two countries in the European Union.
Furthermore, the Greek president briefed his German counterpart on Greece's demand concerning the German reparations.
Mr Raw met with the speaker of the Greek parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis who said that Mr Rau's presence in Greece would contribute to the further development of bilateral relations, as well as to the settlement of the German loan and compensation for war damages, a matter which is still pending in the Greek and German courts.
Mr Raw met with the Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis and will go to Thessaloniki, where he will meet with repatriated Greeks from Germany.
After Greece, Mr Rau will visit Turkey, where -apart from talks with Turkish officials- a meeting has been scheduled with ecumenical patriarch Vartholomeos of Constantinople.
Also, the German president will visit the mosque of Suleyman in Constantinople, together with the Turkish president Suleyman Demirel.
 The Cypriot president visits the USAThe Cypriot president Glafkos Kliridis left for a three-day visit to the United States, where he will attend the opening of four halls that will host Cypriot antiquities in the Metropolitan museum in New York. Mr Kliridis will have a series of meetings with various American officials.
 Greece's proposal for EU - African Unity Organization summitThe deputy foreign minister Christos Rokofyllos is on a visit to Cairo at the head of a Greek delegation which will participate in the First summit between the European Union and the Organization of African Unity that will take place today and tomorrow.
On the occasion of Greece's presidency of the European Union in the first six months of 2003, Mr Rokofyllos assessed that Greece's proposal to host the next summit of the European Union and the Organization of African Unity in Athens had a positive response.
Referring to Greece's participation in the summit in Cairo, Mr Rokofyllos noted that Greece had traditionally good relations with Africa and wanted to help in every way in obtaining a systematic strategic relation between Europe and Africa, based on common interests for democracy, stabilization, human rights, as well as economic and cultural development.
 Funeral of NET fellow-journalistA dear fellow-journalist of Greek state radio and television, Lambis Charalambidis died on Sunday of a heart attack at the age of 55.