|Thursday, 7 December 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-05-16
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH
(THE VOICE OF GREECE - Translators Dpt.)
 Reactions about new ID cardsThe council for the protection of personal data decided that the new identity cards will not be including the religion, spouse's name, occupation and finger prints. The decision which is binding, will be sent to the public order ministry next week.
The secretary of the synodical committee, archimandrite Ierotheos Argyris, stressed that all those who are in favour of not writing down the religion on ID cards did not provide any legal argument, as article 13 of the constitution defines fully the framework of ID cards.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, insists on a referendum to be held on the issue, thus triggering off reactions. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that there was no question of a referendum, adding that the role of the church and state was distinct and no confusion was allowed.
The speaker of the Greek parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis appealed for seriousness and responsibility on the part of the church.
Finally, the coalition of the Left wing and progress said that Archbishop Chrysostomos' demand for a referendum was divisive and accused him of attempting to make a political intervention to the relations between the state and the church, in view of the forthcoming revision of the constitution.
 National action plan on employmentThe aim of the national action plan on employment that was approved by the responsible ministerial committee, is to boost employment and combat social isolation. The national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou stated that the plan provides for the creation of 75,000 new jobs in 2000 and vocational training for as many unemployed, with the cost of the plan amounting to 800 billion drachmas.
The national action plan has already been released to the political parties and social agents, and will be tabled for approval by the European commission by the end of the month. However, according to the data of the national statistical service, unemployment stood at 11.7% last year compared to 11.1% in 1998, as 28,000 new unemployed have been added to the list.
However, it is expected that the unemployment rate will drop this year.
Meanwhile, the representatives of the General Confederation of Greek workers and employers organizations yesterday signed a new collective labour contract and agreed on labour peace in the next two year period. Furthermore, it was agreed to give 3.5% raises this year in two parts, while in 2001 the raises will reach 3.3%.
 Greek president in IsraelThe president of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos started a four day official visit to Israel and the autonomous Palestinian territories. The Greek president is accompanied by the deputy foreign minister Elisavet Papazoi, the national economy undersecretary Yannis Zafiropoulos and many Greek businessmen.
However, Mr Stefanopoulos' visit will be cut short to three days as a problem appeared with the meeting place and his contacts in the Palestinian territories. According to reports, the Palestinians have expressed their embarrassment due to the fact that Mr Stefanopoulos' agenda did not include meetings between a members of the Greek delegation and a Palestinian representative in Jerusalem. It is the Palestinians' firm policy to seek meetings with officials of foreign countries in eastern Jerusalem, in order to consolidate their historical claim for the city, invoking the relative UN resolutions.
resident Stefanopoulos met with the country's president and prime minister as well as with other officials and discussed with them bilateral relations in the sectors of commerce and economy between Israel and Greece, and international developments. Speaking at the Greek-Israeli forum, the Greek president, addressed a clear invitation to Greek and Israeli businessmen to develop activity sectors towards the Balkans and Europe. He also stressed that there were no obstacles for the further strengthening of Greek-Israeli relations in the business sector and noted that the success of his visit to Israel depended substantially on the outcome of the talks between the Greek and Israeli businessmen.
 Meetings for Athens 2004 OlympicsPrime minister Kostas Simitis met with the administrative board of the organising committee for the 2004 Olympic games, in view of the special committee set up to supervise the Athens Olympics which met for the first time, under the chairmanship of the prime minister. Earlier, the prime minister had a separate meeting with culture minister Theodoros Pangalos and the new chairwoman of the Athens 2004 organising committee, Yanna Angelopoulou- Daskalaki.
 Confrontation in New Democracy partyThe New democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis continues his contacts with party members in order to defuse the crisis that has broken out after the expulsion of deputy George Karatzaferis from the ND parliamentary group recently. Meanwhile, ND deputy Ioannis Varvitsiotis is keeping a distance from Mr Karamanlis' statements about circles which undermine the party, saying that he was never involved in schemes. Apart from Yannis Kefalogiannis, Apostolos Andreoulakos has also urged for the withdrawal of Aris Spiliotopoulos from the post of ND press spokesman. The government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the ND had no ideological and political profile, adding that the ND party leader Kostas Karamanlis was trying to get away from the painful reality of his party.
 Reactions for Greek Telecommunications OrganizationFollowing the statements of the ND party leader Kostas Karamanlis' recent statements about the appointment of the new managing director, the employees of the Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE) demand from all the political parties to leave OTE out of their party games. The employees federation of OTE issued an announcement, stressing that Mr Karamanlis included the largest corporation of the country in his opposition policy.