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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-12-21
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
21/12/2000 1:49:00 μμ
 The euro will replace the drachma in 2001Prime minister Kostas Simitis yesterday briefed the president of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos on current issues of foreign and domestic policy.
After the meeting prime minister Simitis stated that the country will turn a page on January 1st, since the drachma will gradually start beeing replaced by the euro - a change that will take place in a climate of stability without the turmoil noted in other countries.
 Greek foreign minister visits BangladeshThe Greek foreign minister George Papandreou yesterday effected an official visit to Bangladesh - the first official contact ever between Greece and this country of southern Asia on political level. This visit is the first a foreign minister from the EU ever effects as well.
Mr Papandreou was received by the political leadership of Bangladesh and discussed - among other things - the possibility of legalizing the 6,000 immigrants from Bangladesh living in Greece.
The Greek foreign minister also promised that Greece will look into the possibility of considering as a model the recent Italian-Bangladesh agreement on immigration.
Finally, speaking to reporters, Mr Papandreou thanked the leadership of Bangladesh for its support to the UN resolutions on Cyprus and left afterwards for Jaipour in India.
 Debate on 2001 state budgetThe debate on the 2001 state budget continues in parliament for the 4th day and will end tomorrow - Friday - with a roll- call vote.
Taking the floor in parliament yesterday, labour minister Tassos Yannitsis gave assurances that the planned social security reforms will not be concerning people who have completed or will complete the prequisites and age limits for retirement by the time the new bill is passed.
He also said that a dialogue would begin with political parties and social bodies after the end of January, when relevant proposals would be submitted to the government by a foreign firm, and pointed out that there was no reason for concern about the loss of pension rights.
 Patriarch Vartholomeos meets Turkish presidentIn Ankara, ecumenical patriarch Vartholomeos of Constantinople visited the Turkish president Ahmet Nedzet Sezer at the presidential mansion yesterday and brought up the issue of the re-opening of the Theological School in Chalki and also the problems of the institutes of the ethnic Greeks in Turkey.
 ICAO and Greek airportsExperts of the American service of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently expressed their discontent over the measures the Greek Civil Aviation Service applies for flight security, following thoroughly checking Greek airports. However, ICAO said this does not concern Olympic Airways which has two flights to New York and Boston.
Nevertheless, the Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that airports and flights in Greece were safe, stressing that the transports ministry had promoted a bill providing for the creation of a body of inspectors regarding the safety of flights, while he referred to the existence of a presidential decree which provides for stronger security measures.
Meanwhile, a prosecution started against Macedonian Airlines regarding the safety of aircraft since the company's pilots did not have the required recognised certificates by the Greek authorities.
 Political oath for Christian Orthodox as wellThe political oath will established for Christian Orthodox as well, if the witness does not wish to take a religious oath.
The justice ministry is promoting a relative amendment, in the framework of reforms in the criminal procedures.
 Pasok executive office meetingThe executive office of the ruling Pasok party met yesterday on the issue of the party's re-organization and political developments as well.
Prime minister Kostas Simitis chaired the meeting after having met with deputies of the ruling party.
 Relocation of ministriesNational economy minister Yannos Papantoniou yesterday announced that 13 ministries, 22 regional services and 2 staff services of the public order ministry will be relocated in the broader Attica region by 2005.
 Oil prices drop for one weekOil prices touched the lowest levels of the last eight months, below 25 dollars per barrel, since the US crude oil reserves were considered satisfactory.
Consequently, the new reduced prices will be in force as of today and for one week in Greece.
Specifically, the price of gas will be by 3 drs less per litre, diesel by 6.5 drs and heating fuel by 10 drs.
 Athens bourseOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index dropped by 0.23% on Wednesday, closing at 3,454.28 points.
 Funeral of patriarch DiodorosThe funeral service of patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem will be held at St. Constantine's church in Jerusalem and will be buried afterwards on the Mount of Olives in Galilee.
Meanwhile, the 17 member Holy Synod of the Patriarchate in Jerusalem will have to convene together with the representatives of the local metropolitan churches in 21 days to elect a new Patriarch.