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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-01-25
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
25/1/2001 12:54:10 μμ
 Greek economyThe European Commission has described the macro-economic plans of the Stability programme of the Greek economy as ambitious, pointing out that its implementation presupposes strong economic development through investments.
The competent European commissioner Pedro Solbes believes that the Greek economy will be boosted even more from the country's entry to the European Monetary Union. He also pointed out that the danger of inflation may be dealt with a more careful fiscal policy.
According to the Commission, Greece its Gross National Product will have a 0.5% surplus in 2001, while the public debt will be reduced by 20% in 2004.
 Ban on radioactive missilesThe Council of Europe has asked the ban of manufacture, tests, use and selling of weapons with depleted uranium or plutonium, as well as constant medical follow up of civilians and soldiers who were in areas which had been bombarded.
Earlier, however, NATO's special committee stated that there was no scientific proof that the use of depleted uranium bombs was responsible for the increase of leukemia cases. The issue of the use of depleted uranium during the air strikes in Kosovo, was the main object of the meeting the Greek foreign minister George Papandreou had in Athens on Wednesday with the commander of the NATO forces in Europe, wing-commander, Joseph Ralston.
In his statements, Mr Papandreou pointed out that they also discussed the situation in Kosovo and southern Serbia, as well as NATO's enlargement. The Greek foreign minister will also have a meeting with the UN secretary general's special envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.
Meanwhile, the Greek research center ''Democritos'' announced on Wednesday that the research results on the repercussions from the use of uranium-tipped missiles in the Balkans showed that the readings of uranium detected in our country were within safety levels.
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, national defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos underlined that no missiles with depleted uranium were used at the military exercise ''Dynamic Mix'' in Langadas and therefore, there was no danger whatsoever for public health. Mr Tsochatzopoulos also met with wing-commander Joseph Ralston who is currently visiting Greece.
In a related development, the general secretary of the Greek communist party Aleka Papariga is visiting Belgrade, where she will meet with the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.
Shortly before her departure for Belgrade, Mrs Papariga stated that the war in Yugoslavia still goes on but with different means.
Meanwhile, the Greek communist party - KKE - will hold an anti-imperialistic rally this afternoon, in the framework of demonstrations against the repercussions of the war in Yugoslavia.
 The Greek president visited the VaticanThe Greek president of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos who is currently visiting Italy, met at the Vatican on Wednesday afternoon with Pope John Paul II and officially invited him to visit Greece.
The Greek president also met with the Italian prime minister Juliano Amato, as well as with the speaker of parliament and the president of the senate.
 Investigations for last Sunday's bomb attackThe condition of New Democracy deputy - victim of a terrorist attack last Sunday - Vasilis Michaloliakos, who is still in the intensive care unit in Tzaneio Hospital, is good.
Mr Michaloliakos told journalists who visited him on Wednesday, that he thanks God for the fact that he is safe and well.
Meanwhile, the anti-terrorist squad continues investigations for the assassination attempt against the New Democracy deputy. So far, no organisation has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack and this is puzzling the authorities which fear a possible second blow.
However, the suspicions of the police turn against the terrorist organization 17 November. Justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos stated that he was in favor of submitting suspects of terrorist acts to DNA tests, even without their consent and also of lifting - exceptionally - the confidentiality of telephone conversations, in order to investigate crimes.
The ministers of culture, public order, national economy and finance, submitted to the State Council a draft presidential decree on the organisation and operation of the Olympic Games Direction for Security which will be responsible for the security measures in the 2004 Olympic Games.
 Debate on Constitutional revisionThe parliamentary plenum yesterday debated the first part of the articles of the Constitution under revision.
Addressing the plenum, justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos announced that two bills will be tabled soon providing for indemnities to people who were unfairly sentenced to prison and then referred to the execution of sentences imposed by the courts.
Taking the floor, PASOK deputy Theodoros Tsoukatos reiterated his proposal on the establishment of a minimum income level for the economically weaker groups.
 Developments in the ruling PASOK partyPrime minister Kostas Simitis will visit all the constituencies of the country, as it was decided at a meeting he had with government and PASOK cadres on Wednesday, in view of the prime minister's tour of Crete.
Specifically, prime minister Simitis will visit the prefectures of Rethymno and Chania on Friday and Saturday.
Unity is the element that will lead the government and the ruling PASOK party to achieve their goals, stressed prime minister Kostas Simitis last night, during an event organized by the ruling party to cut the New Year's cake.
Mr Simitis also said that Greece is in the center of developments, stressing that in 2001 the country will deal with all the challenges. Finally, he ascertained that the New Democracy party was raising its opposition tones, in view of its upcoming congress.
 Greek Eurodeputy resignsThe Greek communist party eurodeputy Yannis Theonas resigned from the European Parliament.
Mr Theonas said that he will make everything possible regarding common action, rallying and also united action of the Left-wing.
 Fuel pricesAs of midnight, the price of super will go up by 3.7 drachmas per litre and heating oil by 1.7 drs, while the price of unleaded will go down by 0.4 drs and of diesel by 0.8 drs.
 Athens bourseOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index went down on Wednesday by 0.99% and closed at 3,032.85 points.
 Attiki Road opens soonFollowing an inspection of construction works of Attiki road, public works minister Kostas Laliotis said that the first part of Attiki Road connecting Pallini with the new international airport in Spata will be ready at the end of February.