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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-04-19
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA-5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
19/4/2001 12:31:00 μμ
 Social security reformsPrime-minister Simitis will today announce the final proposals for reforms in the social security system after a joint meeting of the cabinet and the ruling Pasok party executive office.
According to reports, Mr Simitis intention is the timely conclusion of the social dialogue so the relevant draft bill could be tabled to the parliament till June 20th - prior to the opening of the parliament's summer session.
However, reforms are not expected to affect those who consolidate pension rights till 2006 while the government has underlined that the social security issue is not susceptible of any political or unionist expediencies.
On his part, the president of the General Confederation of Greek Workers - GSEE - Hristos Polizogopoulos maintained that the social dialogue should not be limited to such a short period and stressed that the government should also provide for increased financial support of the security system during the 10 year transitional period.
 BourseOn Wall Street yesterday, the Dow Jones and Nasdag share price indexes recorded a sharp rise of 3.7% and 8.5% respectively following an announcement about 0.5% drop in short-term interest rates by the US Central Bank.
On the Athens stock market, the general share index went up by 4.1% to close at 3,316 points, while a similar upward trend was recorded in the European stock markets and the Asian stock markets at their opening today.
 National Action Plan on labourLabour minister Tasos Yiannitsis announced the creation of 100 thousand job positions in 2001, within the framework of the National Action Plan for employment approved yesterday. Mr Yannitsis said that through the implementation of the new program, the employment rate will rise to 64.5% by 2010 compared to 55.9% today.
 Talks on Agricultural issuesIssues related to rural and agricultural development were the subject of talks during Wednesday's meeting of Prime-minister Simitis with the President of PASEGES, Tzanetos Karamihas in the presence of Agriculture Minister Giorgos Anomeritis.
In their statements after the meeting both the President of the PASEGES and the Agriculture Minister underlined the coincidence of views on basic issues.
 National defense minister in FranceNational Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is on an official visit to France at the invitation of his French counterpart Alain Richard. Mr Tsochatzopoulos will return to Athens today and will meet with Prime-minister Simitis at the Maximos Mansion on Friday.
 PASOK plans to upgrade its relations worldwideThe General Secretary of the Pasok party, Kostas Skandalidis will visit Balkan countries, the Middle East, North Africa, the United States and China with the aim to upgrade the Pasok party's international relations.
His visit to Skopje yesterday, where he met with FYROM political and state leadership marked the opening of this initiative. Mr Skandalidis will fly to Syria and Lebanon on Friday, while trips to Rumania, Turkey, Bulgaria and Egypt will follow.
 Ki Un Yon visites AthensThe President of the Tae Kwo Do International Federation and most prominent candidate for the presidency of the International Olympics Committee Ki Un Yon arrived in Athens yesterday. He made very encouraging statements regarding preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
 Developments in the Cyprus issueTurkish foreign minister Ismail Cem concluded his illegal visit to the occupied sector of Cyprus with threats against Cyprus and the European Union.
Also, the leader of the self-styled Turkish-Cypriot state Rauf Denktash launched an attack against Greek foreign minister George Papandreou at the presence of the Turkish foreign minister.
In the meantime, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed that Cyprus' admission course to the European Union is proceeding smoothly, adding that Cyprus would be among the first countries to become a member of the EU.
In parallel, the Danish foreign minister during his meeting on Wednesday with the Greek foreign minister expressed his support to the EU's enlargement.
 Vatican delegation visits AthensCardinal Tuci, head of the Vatican delegation arrived in Athens on Wednesday to prepare the last details of Pope John Paul II visit to Greece in May. Mr Tuci will meet on Thursday with government officials and the Greek Orthodox Church.
 Issue over family allowancesAccording to exclusive information of the Greek state radio ERA-1, the ruling of the State Legal Council leaves high possibilities for retroactive claims of the family allowance.
The legal adviser of the Civil Servants Union, Alexis Mitropoulos has advised those who have not taken an initiative so far to file an extra judicial application to the State Legal Council in order to receive two-year retroactive payments.
 OTE employees threaten with strikesEmployees of the Greek Telecommunications Company - OTE - are expected to announce strike action next week, as they object to the National Economy Minister's plans to float a further 15% of the company's shares.
 Rises in fuel pricesAs from Wednesday night, unleaded gasoline went up by 9 drachmas per litter and heating oil by 7.5 drs per litter.
 New bill on upgrading AtticaThe Development and Environment Ministries have drawn up a joint draft bill in the bid to upgrade the environment in Attica.
This draft bill provides for the relocation of business polluting the environment from densely populated areas to more remote areas, while it facilitates businesses which do not pollute the environment by granting them operation permits.