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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-04-05
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA.5- THE VOICE OF GREECE
5/4/2001 2:01:09 μμ
 Prime-minister Simitis will announce measures to combat povertyAfter an inner cabinet meeting today , Prime-minister Kostas Simitis is expected to announce a package of measures to boost the low -income groups .
The ministers of Labour Tasos Yianitsis and Health Alecos Papadopoulos will give details on the new measures in a press interview at the Zappio Building at noon today .
Last week, the cabinet decided to raise 4 trillion drachmas through cutbacks particularlly in defence spending , a decsion which has given rise to strong reactions not only by National Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos but also by other senior members of the ruling Pasok party
 Economy Minister responds to criticismRepplying to critcism regarding cutbacks on defence spending and delays in structural changes , National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou accused both the opposition and the business world of mistrust and ignorance .
 Improvement of amendment on compound interestFollowing reactions by deputies from all the political parties in parliament on Wednesday , National Economy Minister Yiannos Papatoniou decided to improve the amendment on compound interest rates.
A ballot on the amendment will be held in the parliament today. The planned changes include loans overdue since December , 2000, while the amendement provides for 1 to 5 million drachmas fines to banks that will not apply the new regulations .
 University rectors threaten to escalate tensionUniversity rectors insist on their demands regarding the withdrawal of the bill on the upgrading of the Technological Education Institutes (TEI) and also on their request to meet with the prime minister. Nevertheless, universities opened today, although the rectors have threatened to escalate actions in May .
 Athens the arena for a peraceful settlement of the ME issueAthens has proved to become the arena for the peaceful settlement of the Middle East issue. Following their meetings with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the EU High Commissioner on Foreign policy and security , Xavie Solana in Athens on Wednesday , the Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres and the Deputy-premier of the Palestinian authority Nabil Saath agreed on the resumption of the dialogue on security matters at military level .
Mr Papandreou described the agreement as an honour for Athens , while both the Israeli and Palestinian officials stressed the need for an immediate agreement on peace in the region.
However , a wave of violence broke out in the ME when Israeli soldiers opened fire against a car convoy of the Palestinian security authority in the Gaza Strip ,injuring 3 Palestinians .
The Palestinian officials had just concluded a meeting with their Israeli counterparts attended also by CIA officials while 24 hours earlier , 55 Palestinians were injured during an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip and 4 bombs exploded in a Jewish settlement rersponded by an attack against the guard of Palestinian leader Yiaser Arafat .
 Greece firm on its aim to consolidate peace in the BalcansPrime minister Kostas Simitis had meetings on Wednesday with his counterparts of Albania Ilir Meta, of Serbia Zoran Gingic and of the Former Yiugoslav Republic of Macedonia Zoran Zizic regarding developments in the Balkans.
After the meeting, Mr Simitis stressed that Greece will continue its policy aimed to consolidate peace in the Balkans. Meanwhile, opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Kostas Karamanlis had also a meeting with the Serbian Prime- minister.
 Greece-Turkey -agreement on mutual reduction in the armament programsForeign Minister George Papandreou will today fly to Turkey within the framework of a two-day work visit . The Greek Foreign Minister's visit to Turkey is of special importance, particularly after his proposal for an agreement on mutual reduction in the armament program which has met with a positive response by the Turkish press , given the bad economic situation of the neighbouring country .
Taking the opportunity of Foreign Minister George Papandreou visit to Turkey , Prime -minister Simitis stressed that cutbacks on defence spending was the result of positive developments in Greek-Turkish relations .
Asked whether there was a question of a confederation solution to the Cyprus issue , Mr Simitis said ''there was no such question as it has been repeatedly stressed .
 Milosevic trial preferably in BelgradeThe three-day international conference on the subject " Strategy at the dawn of the 21st century'', organized by the " Economist'' ended on Wednesday.
Addressing the forum, the Prime minister of Serbia Zoran Gingic referred to the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic and said that the judicial process was in development in Belgrade. ''I prefer that Milosevic's trial took place in Belgrade'', Mr Gingic said, adding that it was easy and simple to send him to the court at the Hague.
Mr Gingic then stressed ''We are all co-responsible, as in part, he was the fruit of our own weaknesses . We will discuss whether the trial will take place at the Hague, in a few months.''
 The Greek parliament votes on the revision of the constitution on FridayA roll call vote will be held in the Greek parliament on Friday, and the 300 deputies will be called to endorse with their signatures the revision of the constitution.
The speaker of the majority , Evangelos Venizelos ,expressed the belief that the majority of the parliament will vote in favour of article #57 regarding the incompatibility of exercising one's profession while holding a seat in parliament .
However , he said he did not know the official position of the ND party
 Talks between the Greek Church and the Ecumenic Patriarchate open in Fanari KonstantinopolisTalks on pending issues that create problems in the relations between the two churches will begin on Friday in Fanari, Constantinople between the delegations of the Church of Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The spokesman of the Standing Holy Synod, Metropolitan Bishop Efstathios of Sparti, said ''all issues were open for discussion, as there is no agenda".
The Standing Holy Synod had a session on Wednesday on the issue of the upcoming visit of Pope John Paul II and pointed out that the two churches will issue a joint communique to express their fears regarding the loss of Christianity in Europe.
 Private meeting of ND party President with Giorgos SufliasND party leader Kostas Karamanlis will have a private meeting on Friday with George Souflias to discuss his new activities in the party . Giorge Suflias recently returned to the party ranks .
 Yianna Aggelopoulou briefed the President of the Republic on the course of preparations of the 2004 Olympic GamesOn Wednesday, the president of the "Athens 2004" organising committee Yianna Angelopoulou met with the president of the Republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos at the presidential mansion and briefed him on the course of preparations for the Olympic Games.
Mrs Angelopoulou proposed to the president to become the first Greek volunteer for the 2004 Olympics. The program of events of the Cultural Olympiad that will take place till 2004, was also announced on Wednesday.
 Oil prices go upAs of Thursday midnight, gasoline will go up by 8 drachmas per litre and heating oil by 1 drachma per liter , while the price of diesel remains unchanged.
 Athens stock marketOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index went slightly up by 0.03% on Wednesday to close at 2,967.58 points.
 Weather forecastFine in most parts of the country , but in the afternoon it will be cloudy with local rain in the western and southern parts and moderate south-westerly winds.
In Attica the temperature will range from 9 to 21 degrees centigrade, in the northern parts from 2 to 20, on the islands from 8 to 19 and in the rest of the country from 5 - 9.