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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-03-23
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From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA-5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
23/3/2001 3:59:30 μμ
 EU summit meeting begins in Stockholm todayThe social state, employment, education and the demographic problem are among the issues in the agenda of the EU summit meeting which begins in Stockholm today. Greek Prime-minister Kostas Simitis is in Stockholm accompanied by National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Foreign Minister Giorge Papandreou and Press Minister Dimtris Reppas. However, beyond reforms European leaders are expected to focus their interest on developments in the Balcans.
For this reason, Russian President Vladimr Putin and FYROM's President Boris Traikofsky have been invited to attend the EU summit meeting as observers. In the meantime, a bilateral meeting between Mr.Simitis and Mr.Traikofsky has been scheduled for this evening while Foreign Minister Giorge Papandreou will meet with his Skopyian counterpart Sergan Kerim and most likely with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanof.
Last night the Economic and Finance Ministers Council proposed a compromise solution regarding the creation till 2005 of a common EU money market. According to reports, the 15 EU Economic Ministers are close to a compromise solution and they might announce today an overall agreement regarding the terms for a gradual harminisation which at its first stage will set the terms for the operation of the money markets of the EU member states.
 Clashes continue in Tetovo and CracaniKFOR commander decided the deployment of Yiougoslav forces in two other sectors on the Serbia -Kossovo borders security zone.
Tension is escalating in FYROM where clashes between the security forces and Albanian extremists continued last night on the hills in Tetovo and the village Gracani, 15 km northwest of Skopyie.
The commander of the KFOR decided the deployment of Yiougoslav forces in two other sectors of the security zone on the Serbia - Kossovo borders. At the same time, Xavie Solana has assesed that the situation in FYROM will soon improve.
In the meantime Yiougoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovits announced last night that negotiations between Belgrade's goverment and ethnic Albanans begin in the village Mertere - on the Serbia-Kossovo borders today. Belgrade's positions include the re-admission of Albanians in the country's political life, demilitarisation of the broader zone and the beginnnig of efforts for economic and social reconstruction.
The Yiougoslav goverment's committee in charge to defuse the crisis in the Presovo valley has pointed out that there is no question of any change in borders or the status quo in the three communities of the region where the Albanian element prevails.
However, the Albanian side is trying to create the preconditions for the gradual unification of these communities with Kossovo. The political leaders of the ethnic Albanians and the guerilla leaders call for the presence of the international peace keeping force in the region until the creation of a local police force which would reflect the composition of the population in the Presovo valley.
In another development, the UN Security Council condemned the actions of hard-core Croatians in Bosnia who are trying to create a small state in the region and backed the decision for the removal of those elements from the Bosnia - Erzegovina leadership.
 ND party President briefed the President of the Republic on his contacts with FYROM's leadershipThe President of the ND party, Kostas Karamanlis briefed the President of the Republic Kostis Stefanopoulos, on the contacts he had on Wednesday with FYROM's political leadership.
Shortly after the meeting, Mr. Karamanlis stated that the ND party insisted on the non-violation of borders principal adding that the goverment should take initiatives to convince the International community -mainly Nato and the EU to intervene to put an end to this crisis. It is unconceivable to allow a group of extremists to set fire in the Balcans said Mr Karamanlis.
 Greek National Defence Minister called Turkey to cooperate with Greece for security n the BalcansIn an interview with the television channel CNN - Turk, Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos called on Turkey-as a NATO member country - to cooperate with Greece in order to guarantee security in the Balcans.
 Greek Foreign undersecratary in the US to attend ''March 25th'' celebrationsForeign undersecretary Grigoris Niotis is on a visit to Washington where he will have contacts with leading members of the Greek-American community.
Mr Niotis will visit the White House today, Friday, on the occasion of the signing of the declaration of Greece's Independence by US President George Bush. According to the declaration, March 25th has been defined as " Greek and American Republcs Day ''.
Mr Niotis will represent the Greek goverment at the traditional "25th March" parade on the 5th Avenue while tonight he will attend a dinner organised by the Gree- American societies in NY.
On Saturday, March 24, Mr Niotis will meet with the former Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, while on March 26, he will visit the Archdiocese to meet with Archbishop Dimitrios of America and will then give a press conference to Greek and Greek-American journalists.
 Greek Foreign Minister will meet his American counterpart in WashinghtonGreek Foreign Minister, George Papandreou will visit Washingthon on May 21st to meet with his American counterpart Collin Powell.
In the meantime, acting govermet spokesman Tilemahos Hitiris said that the State Department spokesman sent a letter to the Greek govermet clarifying the American undersecratary of State stands on the Cyprus issue.
According to the letter the american adminstration supports the EU Helsinsky summit descisions regarding Turkey and believes that a political resolution of the Cyprus issue would facilitate Cyprus admssion to the EU.
 Greek-American agreement on copyright issueGreece and the United States reached an agreement yesterday on the copyright issue regarding american films shown on Greek television channels - for which Greece had been referred to the World Trade Organisation in 1998. The Greek government committed itself to take the necessary measures.
 Fear for water shortageFear for water shortage and quality of water resources due to low precipitation levels this year, was stressed during a meeting yesterday of the Greek Water Company while the Environment ministry is planning to raise the price of water to those who consume more than 150 cubic metres of water every three months.
 New bill on labour relationsa in the private sector in effect from April 1stThe new bill 2874/2000 determining the new labour model in the private sector goes into effect on April 1st. The new bill provides for mass lay offs, flexible working schedule and reduced employers' social security contributions.
 Private insurance companies want to attend dialogue on social security reformsFollowing a conference yesterday on the subject "Pensions - social security supplement by private insurance - it came up that private insurance companies want to participate in the dialogue related to reforms in the social security system.
 New conflict between the Environment Minister and the ND partyThe conflict between Environment Minister Kostas Laliotis and the New Democracy party is escalating. Reality - construction of public projects - has belied the ND party's misleading propaganda said Environment Minister Kostas Laliotis who also spoke of depended relations of " saint families" with economic interests.
In response, the main opposition party accused the Environment Minister of mud slinging and degrading political dialogue.
 Athens stock marketA climate of uncertainty and the downward trend in world' s large stock markets have had a negative impact on the Athens stock market which yesterday dropped by 1,51% to close at 3027 ,12 points.
 No retroactive effect in family allowance to both spousesFinance undersercretary Yiorgos Drys clarifed yesterday that the family allowance to both spouses would not have a retroactive effect, however he avoided clarifying whether the family allowance would be included in this year's or next year's income.
 Summer time in effect from March 25thSumer time in all EU member states goes into effect as of Sunday, March 25th, at 3.00 hours when clocks hands will change to indicate 4.00 hours.
 Bill providing the upgrading of Technological InstitutesThe bill on the upgrading of TEIs (Technological Education Institutes) was tabled in parliament on Wednesday, despite the reactions of the University community. The rectors of Tertiary Education Institutes announced that universities will suspend their activities for three days from April 2-4.
 Weather forecastFine weather thourought the country with moderate to strong winds in the seas. In Attica ,temperatures will range from 12-22 degrees Celcius and in Thessaloniki from 7-19 degrees Celcius.
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