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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-01-07

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] GREECE CELEBRATES EPIPHANY YESTERDAY
  • [02] GOVERNMENT UPBEAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY
  • [03] GREEK PRESIDENT IN FIRST-EVER VISIT TO PALESTINE
  • [04] STRENGTHENING OF GREEK-ISRAELI MILITARY TIES SUGGESTED
  • [05] SLIGHT POPULATION INCREASE MAINLY DUE TO IMMIGRANTS
  • [06] AUSTRALIAN CAMPAIGN FOR RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES
  • [07] KURDISH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DISCOVERED IN TRUCK

  • [01] GREECE CELEBRATES EPIPHANY YESTERDAY

    Greece and Greeks around the world celebrated the Epiphany yesterday. The prime minister, Costas Simitis, and almost the entire political and military leadership attended the traditional blessing of the waters in Piraeus yesterday morning. In a speech delivered after the ceremony, Mr Simitis said Greece was now stronger, more capable, more prepared and generally in a position to open up new avenues, new prospects and new horizons. The prime minister declined to answer questions about the date of the upcoming general elections. However, the speaker of the Greek parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, said people should forget about early elections, as the Constitution has provided for a 4-year term in office for the government. In Kolonaki, in central Athens, the traditional blessing of the waters ceremony was conducted at Dexameni in the presence of the city's mayor, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the education minister, Gerasimos Arsenis and Dora Bakoyanni, representing the main opposition New Democracy party. It would appear that the chilly weather discouraged many people from diving into the sea to retrieve the Cross, as is customary at ceremonies conducted during the Epiphany. New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis attended the Epiphany service on the island of Zakynthos, where he was on tour. He took the opportunity to visit the island's elderly people's home, before departing for Athens in the afternoon.

    [02] GOVERNMENT UPBEAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY

    The government's financial advisors appear optimistic about the course of the Greek economy, whose major objective is admission to the Economic and Monetary Union. Also, a recovery of the Greek stock market is soon expected, following the recent downward slide of stock markets world-wide. National economy minister Yannos Papantoniou echoed the optimistic forecasts, in statements made after the blessing of the waters in central Athens, yesterday morning.

    [03] GREEK PRESIDENT IN FIRST-EVER VISIT TO PALESTINE

    The Greek president Constantine Stefanopoulos and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had a half-hour meeting yesterday. This is the first visit by a Greek president to Palestine and the event was hailed with special honors by the local authorities. Togther with leaders of other Orthodox nations, President Stephanopoulos then attended the service at the holy church of Christs' Nativity, within the context of events celebrating the 2000th anniversary since the birth of Jesus Christ.

    [04] STRENGTHENING OF GREEK-ISRAELI MILITARY TIES SUGGESTED

    Israel's acting prime minister, transport minister Mr Mordechai yesterday suggested to the Greek foreign minister, George Papandreou, the strengthening of Greek-Israeli military cooperation, during talks the two men had in Jerusalem. Mr Mordechai described the level of the two countries' relations as very good and added that the Greek experience could contribute positively to the relations between Israel, Syria and Iran. In the course of talks also held in Jerusalem with the Greek national economy minister Rodoula Zissi, the Israelis expressed the wish to participate in bids for the construction projects planned for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

    [05] SLIGHT POPULATION INCREASE MAINLY DUE TO IMMIGRANTS

    According to recent European Union statistics, the Greek population marginally increased in 1999 by 18,000 people- of which 14,000 are immigrants-while the birth rate per one thousand people was 9.9 and deaths 9.5. Eurostat has further assessed that the European population has increased by 980,000 people, stressing that the number of elderly people is steadily increasing and that the birth rate is at its lowest post-war level.

    [06] AUSTRALIAN CAMPAIGN FOR RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES

    A major campaign has been launched in Australia for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens. Most radio and television channels as well as many newspapers have reported the main points of an interview with the members of the Australian Committee in Sydney and are harshly critical of the British government's refusal to return the Marbles to Greece. Meanwhile a spokesman for the British High Commission in Canberra said calls for the Marbles to be returned before the staging of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens were irrational and impracticable.

    [07] KURDISH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DISCOVERED IN TRUCK

    13 Kurdish illegal migrants have been discovered hidden in a truck at the port of Patras, shortly before embarking on a ship that would take them to Italy and, eventually, to Germany. The driver and his co-driver have been arrested by the port authorities and will appear before a public prosecutor today, along with the illegal migrants.
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