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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-05-30

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Row continues between the Church and state over ID cards
  • [02] PM Simitis to chair session on 2004 Games
  • [03] Third round of Cyprus talks opens on July 5, in Geneva
  • [04] PM Simitis wants a more substantial public administration
  • [05] More fuel hikes likely to push inflation up, Energy Futures Market
  • [06] US bans OA flights to New York and Boston
  • [07] PM Simitis meets his counterpart of Belgium
  • [08] Onassis awards go to a former French president, a Greek composer


    (THE VOICE OF GREECE - Translators Dpt.)

    [01] Row continues between the Church and state over ID cards

    Strong disagreements continue to exist between the Greek orthodox church and the Greek state over the issue of whether new identity cards should contain information about the holder's religious affiliation. The church, considering itself as a guardian of the country's traditions, has reacted angrily to plans to abolish the religion entry on ID cards issue by the police. Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece described the Prime Minister's decision as a "coup" on the part of the government. He commented that if the decision had been announced a month before the recent general elections, the result of the election would have been quite different. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said there was no conflict or split with the church. He added that the roles of church and state should be kept separate and be mutually respected. Reppas denied to comment on the Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos' statements, who said Christ himself had distinguished between the citizen's duty to the state and the believer's duty to God. However, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople announced that it did not take a position on the controversial issue because it considered it an internal matter for consideration by the orthodox Church of Greece. From Brussels where he currently is, Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos has said that the government had only conformed to the law on personal data protection.

    [02] PM Simitis to chair session on 2004 Games

    The Olympic Games Organising Bi-Ministerial Committee is to meet tomorrow under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Costas Simitis to look into an array of issues relating to the Games. The Athens 2004 Olympic Games will also be debated in parliament tomorrow in a pre-agenda session, following a request by main opposition New Democracy Party leader Kostas Karamanlis.

    [03] Third round of Cyprus talks opens on July 5, in Geneva

    The third round of UN-sponsored proximity talks on the Cyprus dispute will begin in Geneva, on July 5. Talks, to last for the entire month of July are to be attended by Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    [04] PM Simitis wants a more substantial public administration

    Prime minister Costas Simitis had a meeting with interior minister Vaso Papandreou to discuss ways of improving public administration and of providing a better service for the country's citizens. A plan was presented for the reorganization of public services, which includes the setting up of a strike-force to monitor operations in the public sector and a speeding up of appointments and hiring procedures. The programme also includes measures to combat excessive bureaucracy, stamp out corruption and improve the quality of services provided. It will also clarify areas of jurisdiction between first- and second-tier local government departments in view of the proposed revision of the constitution. Following his meeting at the interior ministry, Simitis said the economy had an important part to play in the latest stage of developments in Europe and Greece's position within it. He further referred to the need for municipal and prefectural authorities to function more effectively because it was to them that the majority of citizens turned when seeking solutions to their problems. It was important, the PM stressed, for the man in the street to feel that the state cared about his problems.

    [05] More fuel hikes likely to push inflation up, Energy Futures Market to be established in Greece

    A further rise in fuel prices is expected. Reports speak of an increase of up to 7 drachmas per litre. Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday the goal of bringing down inflation even lower entailed a continual struggle by all parties concerned, as well as by consumers. He added that his ministry was in constant communication with oil companies and refineries in an effort to reach agreement this week on ways to absorb part of the cost of the latest increase. Christodoulakis also announced the creation of an Energy Futures Contracts Market in Greece aimed at supervising the operation of deregulation of the energy sector, as well as to absorb price volatility, reduce risks for producers and large consumers, and develop support services and employment in the Balkans and the Southeast Mediterranean region. Christodoulakis said government plans to deregulate the domestic electricity market envisaged cutting electricity production costs, offering reliable and accessible electricity energy to consumers around the country, and achieving targets for renewable sources of energy, natural gas, environment, new technologies and supply security.

    [06] US bans OA flights to New York and Boston

    The US Civil Aviation Authority is threatening not to allow two Olympic Airways Air Bus 340 aircraft to carry out flights to New York and Boston on the grounds that they do not meet the prescribed operational standards. Greece's national air carrier currently carries out seven flights a week to the United States, and this number is set to increase to 12 over the summer months. Olympic Airways officials are already on their way to New York to ask for further explanation about the unexpected move.

    [07] PM Simitis meets his counterpart of Belgium

    Prime minister Costas Simitis is meeting today with his Belgian counterpart Mr Berhohen. The Belgian PM will also meet Foreign Minister George Papandreou. On Thursday, PM Simitis will visit Berlin, Germany to take part in the international meeting dealing with the progressive governing.

    [08] Onassis awards go to a former French president, a Greek composer and a US professor

    Former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, internationally acclaimed Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis and Nebraska professor and environmental researcher John Doran will be this year's recipients of the Alexander Onassis Foundation's awards, the organization's board announced yesterday. Each of the recipients will also be awarded a $250,000 cash prize. The award ceremony is scheduled to take place in Athens in November. The Foundation opted against awarding prizes in 1999, citing conflicts in the Balkans.
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