|Friday, 13 December 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 04-03-02
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 At least 45 dead in attacks on Pakistan Shi'ites2/3/2004 8:18:00 ́́
At least 44 people were killed when suspected Sunni Muslim radicals attacked rival Shiites with automatic rifles and grenades in Pakistan today as the minority sect marked one of its holiest days. Hospital sources said more than 150 people were wounded in the suicide attack in the southwestern city of Quetta.
 At least 22 Iranians killed in Iraq blasts2/3/2004 8:15:00 ́́
At least 22 Iranian Shiite Muslim pilgrims were among at least 85 people killed by bombs and mortars in the Iraqi city of Kerbala today.
Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi told state television dozens more Iranians had survived with injuries in Kerbala. He said he was still awaiting information on Iranian casualties from separate blasts at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad.
 Greece sees tough Cyprus talks going beyond May 12/3/2004 8:13:00 ́́
Greece today raised the possibility of Cyprus peace talks extending beyond May 1, the date the island joins the European Union, in the latest sign that the U.N.-brokered negotiations are going nowhere.
Foreign Minister Tassos Yannitsis stated to reporters in Athens that if the negotiations continue beyond May 1 then a deal would be reached in the foreseeable future. However, Mr. Yannitis added that Greece preferred a settlement before the May deadline -- a sentiment echoed by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul after consultations with Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat.
The U.S. special coordinator for Cyprus, Tomas Weston, who flew to Athens from Cyprus today said he remains «encouraged» by the developments despite the problems.
A senior U.N. official visiting Cyprus today also tried to put a brave face on the lack of progress. Kieren Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs stated UN secretary general Kofi Annan) believes a settlement is within reach if the parties show the necessary political will.
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash told reporters that if the Annan Plan is accepted without change Turkish Cypriots will be destroyed.
Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, who won elections last year with an agenda of changing the U.N. plan to better suit his side, accused Denktash of stonewalling.
Reflecting such concerns, a group of Greek Cypriot MPs called for the approval threshold in next months referendum on the U.N. plan to be raised from 50 percent-plus-one to 70 or 75 percent, making a yes vote harder to secure. It was not immediately clear how many members of the 56-member Greek Cypriot assembly would back it.
 Communist leader proposes creation of 3 basic pension funds2/3/2004 8:12:00 ́́
In an interview to Alpha television today, communist party leader Aleka Papariga proposed creating three basic pension funds for farmers, laborers and the self-employed. At 10 p.m., Mrs. Papariga will speak to NET television while tomorrow the communist partys central campaign gathering will be held in Athens at Areos Park.
 ND leader meets with honorary ND pres. K. Mitsotakis2/3/2004 8:10:00 ́́
The Cyprus issue and political developments were tabled during a meeting today between ND leader Kostas Karamanlis and the honorary president of the ND party, Konstantinos Mitsotakis.
 PM Simitis calls on citizens to support Pasok president, G. Papandreou2/3/2004 8:08:00 ́́
From the Ionian island of Itaki today, Priem Minister Simitis called on citizens to support George Papandreou since he can guarantee stability, economic development and promote our national interests and social policies. Tomorrow, Mr. Simitis will visit Zakynthos.
 Pasok president speaks to athletes and scientists2/3/2004 8:06:00 ́́
Speaking to athletes at the Olympic Installations at Agios Kosmas Athens today, Pasok president, George Papandreou announced making permanent the positions of instructors in the Olympic Education program and underlined the lesson would be included in all grade school and high schools.
During a speech at the Planetarium later today, Mr. Papandreou stated that by 2008, 60% of the population would be able to completely utilize new technologies and committed to reducing the monthly charges for internet connections to under 30 euro per month. Mr. Papandreou also committed to assisting over 100 thousand low-income families with children to purchase computers.
 Weather Forecast2/3/2004 8:05:00 ́́
Overcast weather and showers are forecast in all parts of the country, with light snowfall on high ground in the north and probably storms in the southwest. Winds variable, strong to gale force. Temperatures in Athens will range between 9-16 C and in Thessaloniki from 6-11 C.