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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-02-08
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA.5 THE VOICE OF GREECE
8/2/2001 2:10:51 μμ
 Greek PM visits IndiaPrime minister Kostas Simitis is visiting Bombay today (Thursday), last stop of his official tour of India. Addressing India's Confederation of Industries prime minister Simitis said that the political and economic stability in Greece were placing the country at the top of the list in the sector of investments.
Mr Simitis said that in the last five years, Greece's growth rate was over the average European one, its inflation is just 3% and today's state budget is in surplus. He also pointed out that this macro-economic stability was consolidated one month ago, when Greece became the 12th member of the European Monetary Union (EMU). Being a member of EMU, Mr Simitis said, is a guarantee for low inflation and healthy public finances. He added that these created an environment of investment stability. On Wednesday, the Greek prime minister toured Jaipur and visited the monuments of the Maharajahs. Referring to the outcome of the Greek delegation's visit to India, development minister Nikos Christodoulakis said he believed that prerequisites were being formed for better cooperation between Greece and India in several sectors, such as agriculture, energy, modern technology and tourism.
Meanwhile, the non governmental organisation ''Institute of International Social Affairs'', sent on Wednesday humanitarian aid to the earthquake-stricken people of India. The aid was co-sponsored by the Greek foreign ministry and the European Union.
 Conference of CHA in MelbourneThe Council of Hellenes Abroad of Oceania (CHA-Australian branch) will hold a conference at the Greek-Australian community building in Melbourne this weekend. More than 100 delegates from all over Australia and New Zealand are expected to participate in the conference to deal among other things with issues, such as the 2004 Olympic Games and the contribution of Greek-Australians to their success, the course of Greek national issues, the structure and representation of the Council of Hellenes Abroad, as well as the possibility of concluding an inter-state agreement on retirement between Greece and Australia.
Certain issues are expected to trigger-off frictions, especially issues related to the structure of the Council, meaning who should participate in it and how to be elected. Among the proposals that will be discussed at the conference, are the increased responsibilities of the regional Councils of Hellenes Abroad and the election of their representatives be held in the countries they represent and not in Thessaloniki. Another proposal that will be discussed is that the expenses of airplane tickets for the members of the Council should be paid by the organisations they represent and not by the Council of Hellenes Abroad or the Greek State.
 Americans attack Greece on OG security and terrorismAthens reacted angrily at the new attack against Greece for the 2004 Olympic Games on the issue of terrorism. Acting government spokesman Tilemachos Chytiris described as ''despicable'' articles carried in the American newspapers according to which the Olympics 2004 should not take place in Athens unless the terrorist organisation ''17 November'' was broken up until the end of the year.
The American press even came to the point of predicting that a massacre would occur in Athens like the one in Munich and urged for the transfer of the Games to another country. Addressing a Senate Committee Wednesday night, CIA director George Tenet referred to the issue and stated that the Olympic Games were extremely vulnerable and the Greeks should deal with the terrorist threat more seriously than in the past. At the same time, a letter the president of the Olympic Games organising committee ''Athens 2004'' Yanna Angelopoulou received by the vice president of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogue who was raising for the first time the issue of security in the Olympic Games, has caused a stir. However, in an interview with the state New Greek Television -NET- Jacques Rogue said that the issue of safety of the 2004 Olympics was never raised by IOC.
 EU wants to ban meat consumptionThe Greek agriculture ministry appears negative towards the proposal of the European Union on the ban of the consumption of meat coming from the part close to the back- bone of cattle over 12 months old. The ministry issued an announcement pointing out that there are no cases of the ''mad cow'' disease in Greece.
 Greek defense minister visits KosovoNational defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos will visit Kosovo on Thursday, at the head of a parliamentary delegation consisting of 18 deputies of PASOK, 6 of the New Democracy party and one of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress. The delegation will also visit the base of the 34th brigade at the camp ''Alexander the Great'' in Kosovo Polje, and also the camp ''Rigas Feraios'' near Urosevac, where it will be briefed on the situation that prevails there and will communicate with the soldiers.
 Third EU Support FrameworkThe sum of 2.2 trillion drachmas from the 17.5 Greece will receive from the EU Third Support Framework will be allocated in the next six years for the implementation of the Operational Competitiveness Program, which aims to improve and develop the country's economic structure and also boost businesses which are active in the sector of new investments. In parallel, it is estimated that the implementation of this program will eventually lead to the creation of 100,000 new jobs. As the development ministry has announced, the program will soon be approved by the competent EU commissioner.
 Reforms in EducationThe certificate of Technological Institutes will be the first Academic title of the Higher Education and graduates will have the possibility of carrying out their post-graduate studies in Greek and foreign universities, as provided for by the draft bill of the education ministry that was released on Wednesday.
 Debate on Constitution under revisionThe articles of the constitution under revision which refer to Mass Media were debated in parliament on Wednesday. Opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Kostas Karamanlis said that the ruling PASOK party was controlled by big interests, while culture minister Evangelos Venizelos accused the ND party of demagogy and called on it to check its own finances and its sponsors. Article 24 regarding forests was also debated in parliament and triggered-off reactions, as on Wednesday night, representatives of ecological organizations, in a symbolic move, surrounded the Greek parliament.
Culture minister Evangelos Venizelos said that some wished to be deciding on the Constitution instead of the Parliament, questioning the credibility and honesty of the political system on issues of ecology. The Culture minister was referring to ecology organisations and some judges of the State Council.
 NATO navy exercises in Ionian seaNATO will carry out navy exercises in the Ionian sea and the eastern parts of Sicily, from 15 to 18 February, with the participation of 12 countries. According to a NATO announcement in Naples, the exercises are considered as the most important in the world in the anti- submarine race.
More than 130 missions will take place during the day and at night in the bid to prove NATO's determination to maintain its effectiveness in anti-submarine missions and missions against ships and also coast patrols by a multinational force.
 Bulgarian official in GreeceThe Bulgarian foreign minister Nadelda Michailova is on an official visit to Greece and will meet with her Greek counterpart George Papandreou Thursday afternoon.
 Debate on the stock marketSocial security undersecretary Nikos Farmakis reassured parliament on Wednesday that the drop of the general share price index on the Athens stock exchange limited the profits of social security funds that had invested in bonds, without however causing any damage. Greek communist party deputy Antonis Skylakos disputed strongly Mr Farmakis reassurance, while the Federation of Greek Industries -SEV- is urging for the punishment of those who affect the prices and create artificially the demand in the capital market. Meanwhile, on the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index dropped again on Wednesday by 0.77% and closed at 3,130.10 points.
 Ship fares go upShip fares will increase by 5% as of March 1st, and by a further 2% as of June 1st.
 Changes in fuel pricesFuel prices will change as of midnight. Specifically, unleaded will be by 2, 3 drachmas more expensive per litre, while super and heating oil will go up by 2.2 and 2 drachmas respectively. The price of diesel will drop by 3 drachmas.
 European Commission report on GreeceAccording to the European Commission report, Greece comes last in the European Union as regards the ''per capita'' income and the expenses for education, while it comes second as regards unemployment.
 51st Film Festival in BerlinThe 51st Film Festival opened in Berlin Wednesday night with European and American films. Greece is taking part with three interesting films, after nine years of absence from the specific festival.