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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 02-01-15
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 NEWS IN ENGLISHERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
15/1/2002 12:34:00 μμ
- Weather forecast
- Final announcement on the mergin or not of the National and Alfa banks today
- Political parties describe list of terrorism suspects as absurd and ridiculous
- Security, final budget for the Olympic Games
- Nicosia, intensive talks in view of direct talks
- ND party questions granting of Greek citizenship from 1990 to present
- Debate in the parliament on draftbill on education
- American Patriarch Demetrios visit to Greece
- Ecumenic Patriarch concludes official visit to Iran
 Weather forecastCloudyday is forecast in most parts of the country today, with light rain expected in the west, centre and south.
The west will see storms from evening, and snow is to fall on high ground in Epirus and western Macedonia. Winds variable, moderate to very strong.
In Athens temperatures will range between 7C and 11C and in Thessaloniki from 1C to 6C
 Final announcement on the mergin or not of the National and Alfa banks todaySenior executives of National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank met on Monday in a bid to save a merger plan between the country s two largest commercial banks, industry sources said.
Today the governor of the National Bank, Theodoros Karatzas and the president of the Alfa bank Yiannis Kostopoulos are expected to meet in a last effort to bridge differences - which apppear to be mainly the distribution of responsibilities among senior executives and middle management of the two banks.
Final decisions are expected after the meeting of the Alfa bank board.
Equity prices yesterday came under strong selling pressure following rumours about failure in the merging of the two banks.
The negative climate influenced the Athens stock market leading the share price index sharply lower, 1,97% down to close at 2523.85 points.
 Political parties describe list of terrorism suspects as absurd and ridiculousAll political parties in Greece have angrily reacted to a front page article in the Sunday newspaper "To Karfi", reproducing a list of names seeking to implicate Pasok party senior members in terrorism.
The list is beleived to have been compiled by former intelligent agent Grillakis in 1988 Prime minister Simitis described the scenarios in the article as ridiculous and absurd, while a similar statement was made by Press minister Hristos Protopappas.
The General Secretary of the Pasok party spoke of a document of shame inspired by ill-minded brains. The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party described the content of the article as a spy fiction story not worthy of serious consideration.
On his part the President of the Coalition of the Left and Progress spoke of an attempt aimed at political destabilisation while the President of the Democratic movement, Dimitris Tsovolas underlined that the report was likely to serve foreign interests and petty partisan expidiencies.
In the meantime , the newspapers "To Vima" and "Kathimerini" in articles in their Sunday issues maintain that police authorities are close to the arrest of November 17 terrorist suspects.
Public Order Minister , Mihalis Hrisohoidis stressed that solely the Greek government is responsible for the combat of terrorism and not foreign centers.
 Security, final budget for the Olympic GamesThe final decisions on the budget for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens are expected to be taken during today s meeting of Prime-minister
Simitis with the ministers of Environment, National Economy and Culture.
At yesterday s meeting of the inner cabinet Prime-minister Simitis conveyed the American administration complete confidence in security at the 2004 Olympic Games.
Mr. Simitis will today brief the President of the Republic on the outcome of his official visit to the U.S.
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence chaired by Prime-minister Kostas Simitis meets today to select the armed and air forces new general chiefs of staff.
 Nicosia, intensive talks in view of direct talksIntensive negotiations are being held in Nicosia, Cyprus in view of the opening of direct talks tomorrow.
 ND party questions granting of Greek citizenship from 1990 to presentThe ND party has submitted a proposal to the Greek parliament for the setting up of an enquiry committee to look into the grantings of Greek citizenship from 1990 to the present.
Commenting, Press Minister , Hristos Protopappas said that the ND. Party has not yet realised it had lost the elections and is still looking for an allibi.
 Debate in the parliament on draftbill on educationOpposition political parties raised objections regarding the draftbill providing for the evaluation of teachers, whose debate began in the parliament yesterday.
In the meantime, in the public education sector, grammar school teachers and high school teachers today have scheduled a 24 hour strike and 3 hour work stoppage respectively demanding pay rises and withdrawal of the draftbill providing for their evaluation.
 American Patriarch Demetrios visit to GreeceWithin the framework of his official visit to Greece Patriarch of America Demetrios will be today received by the Greek President , Kostis Stefanopoulos.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis received the visiting Orthodox Archbishop of America Demetrios yesterday and had an hour-long talks.
During their talks, Mr. Simitis referred to his official visit to the United States last week, thanked the ecclesiastical leader for the preparations he had made in relation to his visit and stressed particularly friendly climate from the upgraded Greek - American relations.
 Ecumenic Patriarch concludes official visit to IranEcumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos concluded a three-day official visit to Tehran on yesterday.
The Patriarch was unable to meet with the spiritual leader of the Islamic revolution in the country, Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei due to the fact that he had to return to Istanbul.
However, he met with the Archbishop of the Armenians.
In a press conference he gave prior to his departure, the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed a message to the Iranian people, stressing the importance of the dialogue between Islam and Christianity aimed at consolidating peace in the modern world.