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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-12-28
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 NEWS IN ENGLISHERA 5.THE VOICE OF GREECE
28/12/2001 12:44:00 μμ
 Weather forecast.Rain and storms is forecast for today with snow on high ground. Winds northerly, northwesterly, moderate to strong and in some areas turning gale force. Rain in Athens with temperatures ranging between 8C and 11C, sleet and snow in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -1C to -4C. During yesterday' s heavy rainfall a bridge collapsed in the village, Lakka in the prefecture of Korinthia while a rural road in the island of Samos subsided leaving 4 villages cut off.
 Preparations for the introduction of the euro currency.Due to the time difference Greece and Finland will be the first countries to use the new currency-the euro. Transition to the new currency is the focus of talks during Prime-minister Simitis today meetings with senior officials of the Economics Ministry, commercial banks and representatives of social sectors.
Addressing the final meeting of the National Coordinating Committee for the Euro, National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis underlined the significance of Greece's participation in the euro zone and stressed the need for patience and understanding to deal with any problems that might arise during the first days of the euros circulation. He urged both citizens and sectors to cooperate to achieve a smooth transition to the new currency.
The governor of the Bank of Greece, Lucas Papademos, reminded that the first meeting of the committee was held two-and-a-half years ago and stressed that a lot has been achieved to facilitate the transitional period to the euro currency.
The Greek Banks' Union secretary-general Christos Gortsos said that around 80 percent of Greek banks would be ready to supply euro bills, mainly 10, 20 and 50 banknotes, through their ATMs from January 1, 2002.
 Large banks will be fully prepared to meet euro banknote demand by January 1.Today is the last day of the year for transactions with banks, tax offices and public facility companies as on Monday, they will be closed to adjust to the new currency.
 Increase in objective property value.The National Economy Ministry decided to increase by an average of 10% of the objective property value and in some areas, such as property in Athena Street, Posidonos and Thiseos avenues to up to 57%.
 Upgrading of state mechanisms.Interior Minister, Kostas Skandalidis announced yesterday that a draftbill providing for the upgrading of state mechanisms to deal with natural and technological disasters will be tabled in the parliament soon after Christmas holidays.
 ND President insists on investigation of illegranting of Greek citizenship.In an interview with a TV channel, ND party president Kostas Karamanlis stressed that the ND party would insist on the investigation of the illegal granting of Greek citizenship .Mr. Karamanlis declined to respond on former intelligence service official, Nilos Grillakis allegations about the CIA involvement in 1989 elections and accused the government of indifference to social issues.
Commenting on his statements, government spokesman Hristos Protoppapas blamed the ND party and its President of political inneficiency.
 Cyprus President, Turkish-Cypriot representative-social meeting.Turkish-cypriot representative Raulf Dektash will tomorrow attend dinner at Cyprus president Galfkos Kleridis residence. The Cyprus government, opposition parties and the Cyprus archibishopry, they all agree that this social meeting will highly contribute to the better preparation of the climate for the opening of direct talks on January 16.
 Free interest loans to earthquake victims.The Workers' Housing Organisation will grant free interest loans for the purchase or construction of houses to victims of the 1999 earthquake. Applications can be submitted till April 30, 2002.
 Illegal immigrants.The 167 illegal immigrants collected by fishing boats off the rocky islet, Gioura were taken to the Volos Exhibition center.