|Sunday, 3 December 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-01-11
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA-5 THE VOICE IN GREECE
11/1/2001 11:34:21 рм
 Balkan syndromeNational Defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos briefed the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on the Balkan syndrome.
Mr Tsochatzopoulos will visit the Greek peace-keeping troops in Kosovo on Friday together with a delegation of deputies. The Defence minister reiterated that the Greek militaries who had served or are serving in Kosovo will undergo a special test on radioactivity in Democritos Centre and at the same time made it clear that the Greek force would remain in Kosovo, and all necessary measures would be taken, if any problems were ascertained.
Referring to the uranium-tipped missiles used during Greek training exercises, Mr Tsochatzopoulos said the missiles did not blow up in the air, but fell at the bottom of the sea and this was not a danger. He also said that soldiers who have served in the last ten years in frigates and munition depots would undergo medical tests.
Meanwhile, according to tests carried out by the Greek scientific committee, radio activity levels are the same as last March.
Furthermore, 80 of the 328 Greek soldiers who had requested to participate in the peace-keeping force in Kosovo, have changed their minds.
In the meantime, former Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos said he had presented American State Department Secretary Madeleine Albright with a peace plan in order to avoid bombings, but Mrs Albright had replied that President Clinton had already decided on the matter.
In a relative development, Greek communist party general secretary Aleka Papariga and the leader of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress party Nikos Konstantopoulos have urged for the return of Greek university students from Yugoslavia, while New Democracy party honorary president Konstantinos Mitsotakis expressed his opposition to the use of depleted uranium missiles, stressing that the Greek government was handling the issue in a wrong way. The cabinet will hold a meeting today to examine the issue, while prime minister Kostas Simitis will answer relative questions on Friday.
In the meantime, in Brussels during a meeting of the Council of permanent representatives in NATO on Wednesday, Greece, Italy and Germany proposed the implementation of a moratorium on the use of weapons with depleted uranium, but the other Nato member states rejected the proposal.
In an interview after the meeting, NATO secretary general George Robertson said the United States had briefed ever since July 1st, 1999 its European allies on the repercussions from the use of depleted uranium missiles. However, NATO diplomatic sources have disclosed that the governments of member states had never been notified about the specific document which was meant for local use. Specifically, it was only notified to the NATO military commanders in Naples and Kosovo.
Meanwhile, Yugoslav experts have ascertained that radioactivity levels in five regions that were hit by uranium-tipped bombs were 1,100 time above normal levels.
 Cyprus issue - proximity talksAmerican and British envoys are rushing into the Athens - Nicosia - Ankara triangle, with the aim of dealing with the Cyprus problem, at a time that appears crucial, as the Turkish side apparently has no reason to back the continuation of UN-sponsored proximity talks which began in December 1999.
The British emissary for Cyprus Sir David Hanney arrived in Nicosia on Wednesday and had a meeting with foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulidis. The British emissary will have separate meetings with the cypriot president Glafkos Kliridis and the Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash today.
In Athens, foreign minister George Papandreou met on Wednesday with Sir David Hanney, who declined to make any forecasts about the next round of proximity talks, saying that experience had taught him to be cautious, prior to hearing both sides.
However, when asked to comment on information that Ankara had prepared a plan to annex the occupied territories of northern Cyprus, the British official stressed that during his talks with the Turkish leadership, no-one had ever made statements to that effect.
 Financial news - Athens bourseReplying to the New Democracy party regional head for finance regarding the downward course of the Athens Stock Exchange, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the Athens Stock Exchange was an autonomous institution and therefore the government did not intervene in its operation.
Earlier, Miltiades Evert had asked for the intervention of justice, since - as he maintained-small investors lost about 23 trillion drachmas last year. Meanwhile, on the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index closed at 3,095.84 points on Wednesday, dropping slightly by 0.06%.
It was officially announced on Wednesday that new telephone rates will be introduced by the Greek telecommunications Organization -OTE- in early February, Local calls will go up from 9 drachmas to 10.5 per unit and the fixed monthly charge from 2.400 drachmas to 2,800, while long distance calls within Greece will drop to 28 drachmas per minute and international calls will cost about 10% less.
Connection with INTERNET will rise slightly from 120 drs per hour to 140 drs during the day and from 60 to 70 drs at night.
In a separate development, development minister Vaso Papandreou forecast on Wednesday that household consumers could save 10-20% on energy costs by using natural gas.
 Athens 2004 Olympic GamesThe new draftbill which is being drawn up to cover the needs of sectors involved in the organisation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was the focus of a meeting on Wednesday between prime minister Simitis and the president of the Athens 2004 Committee Gianna Angelopoulou.
A relative memorandum was also signed at the meeting and which will be completed in March concerning the installations and the areas belonging to the ministry.
According to reports issues still pending are the organisation of volunteers, tax reliefs for certain categories of sponsors and the appointment of a new general manager.
Mrs Angelopoulou also met with Agriculture minister Giorgos Anomeritis to discuss a number of issues related to the athletes' nutrition and natural environment.