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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-12-20

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Turkish security forces stormed prisons across the country to end
  • [02] National Economy Minister underlined the develoomental and social
  • [03] Majors across the country claim part of thenew budget
  • [04] A number of proposals on the funding of political parties by Interior
  • [05] Prime-minister Simitis made surprise visits to IKA social security
  • [06] The drachma interest rate one base point down next week
  • [07] Tension in Cyprus as Turkish soldiers threatened to shoot journalists
  • [08] Surprise inspections of Attica markets on a daily basis to curb
  • [09] Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem died on Tuesday
  • [10] Increased measures for road safety during Christams holidays

  • NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE

    20/12/2000 1:28:09 μμ

    [01] Turkish security forces stormed prisons across the country to end hunger strikes

    At least 15 political prisoners and two policemen died when security forces stormed jails across Turkey yesterday to end a hunger strike. Hunger strikers were protesting against plans to move them from large dormitory -style jails to smaller cell prisons -a move they say would leave them vulnerable to abuse by prisom guards. Amnesty International has expressed its deep concern over the violent incidents in Turkey while the Human Rights Organisation has sent a letter to the Turkish goverment calling it to guarantee that the security forces would not use excessive violence or torture during the operation . After 15 inmates set fire on themselves ,Amnesty International called the Turkish goverment to carry out separate investigations on the death of each prisoner and relieve of their duties those responsible for the deaths . According to an announcement by the Turkish Justice Minister security forces will storm two other jails . In Greece under the initiative of Pasok deputy Theodoros Pagalos ,58 deputies from all political parties submitted a resolution to the President of the Parliament calling for the mediation of the European organs . Thousands of Turkish immigrants staged demonstrations in Swicherland ,France and Germany to protest against the violent incidents .

    [02] National Economy Minister underlined the develoomental and social character of the new state budget

    The new 2001 state budget was analysed in parliament yesterday by National Economy Minister Yannos Papantoniou - one day after his presentation of the government's ambitious stability and growth program for the country. Mr Papantoniou foresees tax cuts after 2003, wage increases over and above the inflation rate, and a gradual easing of the general price index to 2.3% in early 2001. Mr Papantoniou said that the targeted inflation rate would result from a strict fiscal policy, the implementation of structural reforms and liberalization of the telecommunications and energy markets. He also underlined the developmental and social character of the new state budget adding that for the first time in recent history a 450 billion dr. surplus would be distributed to low and medium income earners . Commenting , New Democracy party parliamentary spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos described the surplus of the new budget as fictitious adding that there is a deficit of at least 1.5 trillion drs.. The state budget debate - which began Monday night - will conclude Friday midnight with a roll-call vote.

    [03] Majors across the country claim part of thenew budget

    Majors across the country claim part of the new state budget as there is no provision for the allocation of funds to the local administration. The contry's majors have threatened with mobilisations in the event their requests are not met.

    [04] A number of proposals on the funding of political parties by Interior Minister

    Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday submitted to a special Inter-Party Committee a number of proposals related to the funding of political parties from both the state budget and private sources in order to ensure transparency and credibility. Mrs Papandreou suggested regular annual funding of parties and parliamentary deputies but ruled out the financing of political parties by state organizations and mass media owners. The interior minister's proposal also defines the terms, conditions and advertising time for parties during election campaigns.

    [05] Prime-minister Simitis made surprise visits to IKA social security clinics on Tuesday

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis yesterday made surprise visits to branches of the state manpower organisation, a state-run day care centre and IKA social security clinics in various parts of Athens. According to statements made by the prime minister - who was accompanied by labour minister Anastasios Yannitsis - he wanted to form a general picture of the way in which the public services functioned on an everyday basis. After the visits, he said that his impressions were much better than he had expected. However, he did point out that the state manpower organization was short of personnel, as were IKA clinics in Korydallos, while there were insufficient places for more children at the day care centre in Agia Varvara. Mr Simitis is expected to continue making similar unannounced visits to other state-run organizations for the next few days.

    [06] The drachma interest rate one base point down next week

    The Bank of Greece is scheduled to reduce drachma interest rates by one base point next week, in order to bring it in line with euro interest rates. Yesterday morning, prime minister Simitis met with the governor of the Bank of Greece Loukas Papadimos to discuss monetary policies and Greece's course towards a united European currency. In the meantime, the managing director of the Greek Investment Bank Anastasios Tzavellas said yesterday that interests on loans will also have to drop, within the framework of economic convergence. Nevertheless, concern has been expressed about the low interest rates on savings accounts and high interest rates on loans.

    [07] Tension in Cyprus as Turkish soldiers threatened to shoot journalists observing movements of Turkish soldiers

    According to the Voice of America, a United Nations communique indicates that tensions are rising in Cyprus, following threats made by Turkish soldiers that they will shoot Greek journalists who observe the movements of Turkish troops from the zone dividing the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus. However, Reuters news agency has quoted a Turkish-Cypriot leader as denying any such threats have been made. Meanwhile, security measures have been stepped up in the Pyla area, where a Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot were recently arrested on charges of drug possession.

    [08] Surprise inspections of Attica markets on a daily basis to curb incidents of profiteering

    The Financial Crime Squad began spot checks at markets yesterday, in an effort to curb incidents of profiteering. At a meeting yesterday between the undersecretaries of finance and development - Apostolos Fotiadis and Milena Apostolaki - it was decided that 500 personnel from the special squad would conduct surprise inspections of Attica markets on a daily basis, during the entire holiday season. Nationwide, the number of inspectors will exceed 2,000 and checks will cover production procedures up to retail sales. At the meeting, Mr Fotiadis called on meat merchants and importers to cooperate in efforts to curb profiteering, as retail prices during Christmas will have a direct impact on inflation.

    [09] Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem died on Tuesday

    Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem died yesterday of renal insufficiency. Patriarch Diodoros was born on the island of Chios and went to Jerusalem in October 1938. He devoted his life to safeguarding the Holy Land. He became Archbishop in 1962 and Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1981

    [10] Increased measures for road safety during Christams holidays

    Traffic police plan to take increased measures for road safety, in view of the upcoming exodus from urban centres for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Patrol cars will carry out checks daily on all main highways to monitor speed limits, the use of safety belts, and alcohol abuse, and heavy fines will be imposed for violations of the traffic code. Meanwhile, taxi passengers will have to pay a special Xmas bonus of 250 drs per ride as from December 20 to January 7 next year.
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