|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-03-10
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
Today's ERA News OnlineWednesday, March 10th, 1999
 Economy minister says Greece admitted to euro zone in 2001In statements he made after his meeting yesterday with the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, the national economy minister, Iannos Papantoniou, said Greece would be admitted to the euro zone on 1st January, 2001, in accordance with the original timetable.
The positive course of the economy is reflected in activities on the Athens Stock Exchange, where the general share price index rose by 3.28% yesterday, closing at 3,444 points.
The transport and communications minister, Tasos Mandelis, yesterday announced a 3% reduction in the interest rate on housing loans provided by the Post Office Savings Bank, backdated to the 1st January this year. For public servants with large families and people with special needs, the cut may be up to 5%. He did not rule out the possibility of a further cut later this year.
 Opposition leader meets American secretary of stateDuring his meeting in Washington yesterday with the American secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, the New Democracy party president, Kostas Karamanlis, said he was in favour of the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations on condition that Turkey abandons its provocative stand against Greece. He also said he condemned all terrorist acts, wherever they came from.
For her part, Mrs Albright expressed Washington's concern at the lack of progress in efforts to deal with the 17th November terrorist organisation. As far as the Cyprus issue is concerned, she blamed the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, for the deadlock.
 American Cyprus issue coordinator expected in AthensThe American State Department's special coordinator on the Cyprus issue, Thomas Miller, arrives in Athens today for talks with the alternate foreign minister, Iannos Kranidiotis.
The American official will come directly from Ankara where he has had talks with the Turkish foreign minister, Ismael Cem. After the talks Mr Miller stated that despite a number of difficulties, a solution could be found that would satisfy both sides.
 Government spokesman says Greece no assessor of groupsIn response to a question on whether the Greek government intends to denounce the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, the government spokesman, Dimitris Reppas, said Greece opposed terrorism from any quarter but added that the Greek side could not be turned into an assessor judging particular groups. At the same time he denied reports that Washington had exerted pressure on Athens in this respect.
The speaker of the Greek parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, has expressed his opposition to American prompts for a denunciation of the PKK.
 Ankara assures European Court of Kurdish leader's fair trialAnkara has sent a memorandum to the European Court providing assurances that the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan, will receive a fair trial and confirming that he was handed over to the Turkish authorities by Kenya.
Meanwhile in an interview published in the German magazine "Stern", the brother of the jailed Kurdish leader has announced that the PKK will continue its armed struggle in Turkey, but without engaging in acts of violence in European capitals.
 PASOK secretary appeals for unity at party congressThe secretary of PASOK's central committee, Kostas Skandalidis, has appealed to party members for unity in view of the upcoming PASOK congress.
Mr Skandalidis expressed his optimism that political unity and agreement would prevail at the congress, thus reversing the existing climate of pessimism and petty fault-finding.
Speaking from Crete, the interior minister, Vasso Papandreou, said the gamble at the congress was unity, while the speaker of the house, Apostolos Kaklamanis, underlined that Mr Simitis was the president of PASOK and should continue to be so, after the congress.
However, PASOK deputies Manolis Daskalakis and Pantelis Economou have both spoken out firmly in favour of the leadership issue being raised at the party congress.
 Trial run for Athens undergroundA trial run of the Athens Metro will take place at the end of May, using regular trains along the stretch of track linking stations at the Pentagon, the Evangelismos Hospital and Constitution Square, and possibly also Constitution Square and Sepolia.
The environment minister, Kostas Laliotis, said yesterday that this was the section of the Metro line due to open at the end of 1999, while the line linking Constitution Square to Dafni would be added in October, 2000.
So far 85% of the construction work has been completed, while all the disagreements between the Greek state and the "Olympiako Metro" chain of construction companies have been ironed out.
 Foreign minister tours Balkan capitalsForeign minister Yorgos Papandreou is starting a tour of Balkan capitals today in the framework of a Greek initiative for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis.
 Athina Onassis' fortune trusteeship goes to Swiss audit firmThe Swiss authority for Guardianship of Minors has transferred trusteeship of the fortune of Athina Onassis, only surviving heir of the late shipping magnate Aristotelis Onassis, from a 5-member council appointed by her mother, Christina Onassis, to a private audit firm in Lucerne.
The main reason for the decision was the serious differences between Athina's father, Thierry Roussel, and the Greek members of the council. From now on, decisions concerning 14-year-old Athina's fortune, estimated at over a billion dollars, will be made by one of the five largest audit firms in the world. Athina is to take control of her fortune when she is 18.
 Famous MC dies of cancerAlkis Steas, one of the most popular radio and TV MCs, died at the age of 70, of cancer, in an Athens hospital where he had been receiving treatment.
Alkis Steas became famous as the MC of the Thessaloniki Song Festival; his name was also linked with the Patras Carnival, whose festivities he presented this year as well despite his ill-health. The funeral service will be held today in Paleo Faliro.