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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-12-24

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] DATE OF ELECTIONS STILL OPEN
  • [02] DEFENCE MINISTER VISITS GREEK TROOPS
  • [03] CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR MILLENNIUM PROBLEMS
  • [04] PATRIARCHATE'S PROTEST TO TURKISH AUTHORITIES
  • [05] SEVERE WEATHER CAUSES TRANSPORT PROBLEMS
  • [06] CRIMINAL CHARGES AFTER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CHILDREN'S DEATHS

  • [01] DATE OF ELECTIONS STILL OPEN

    Despite the festive season, political developments are in full swing, following the decision announced earlier this week by the main opposition New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, to support the re-election of Kostis Stefanopoulos as president of the republic. Meanwhile, in spite of public statements by PASOK officials that there are no vital reasons to seek recourse to the polls earlier than scheduled, senior members of the party still appear to favour an early election. However, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, said in reply to questions put to him during an exchange of Christmas wishes at PASOK headquarters yesterday that elections would be held "sometime between now and October next year." He added that the year 2000 would be of decisive importance for Greece in view of the decision on the country's admission to European economic and monetary union and the general election that must be held next year, in accordance with the Constitution. The election, Mr Simitis said, would confirm the leading role played by PASOK on the country's political scene. In the meantime the New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, confident of his party's victory, is still insisting on national elections being held before March 2000.

    [02] DEFENCE MINISTER VISITS GREEK TROOPS

    The national defence minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, is currently visiting the Greek forces stationed in Kosovo, to convey Christmas greetings to the troops.

    [03] CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR MILLENNIUM PROBLEMS

    It was announced yesterday that the Greek armed forces and the Greek police are ready to deal with the computer problem in 2000, known as the Y2K problem, on the basis of an emergency plan. Some mobile telephone companies - Panafon, Telestet and Cosmote - also stated that all necessary measures had been taken to minimise problems which may arise as a result of the date change. Hospitals throughout Greece will be on call on New Year's Eve to deal with any problems that might arise as a result of the so-called "millennium bug" in computer systems. Over 100 appliances used for medical purposes will be put temporarily out of action as a precautionary measure.

    [04] PATRIARCHATE'S PROTEST TO TURKISH AUTHORITIES

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate has lodged a protest with the Turkish culture minister over New Year's Eve celebrations planned to take place in the historic church of Aghia Irini, in Constantinople. In his letter, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos expressed his regret at the lack of respect for the historic church, and said the Greek minority strongly objected to the event. The letter concluded by expressing the certainty that all Christians would share this point of view. Aghia Irini, in which the 2nd Ecumenical Synod was held in the year 381, is one of the oldest Byzantine monuments and of special historical and religious significance. In a separate development, the Turkish president, Suleyman Demirel, has for the first time issued a Christmas message to Turkey's Christian minority. In his message, Mr Demirel underlined that all Turkish citizens were faithful to a tradition of tolerance in respect of all religions, and lived in harmony with one another, irrespective of dogma or belief.

    [05] SEVERE WEATHER CAUSES TRANSPORT PROBLEMS

    After a severe bout of cold weather, conditions in Greece are expected to improve later today. Meanwhile vehicles on most roads in the north of Greece have required the use of chains and the airport at Alexandroupolis remains closed because of ice on the runway. Ferry boat services from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina to the Aegean islands and Crete have been cancelled because of the stormy weather.

    [06] CRIMINAL CHARGES AFTER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CHILDREN'S DEATHS

    The deaths of 3 young children of illegal Kurdish immigrants shocked the nation yesterday. The 2 boys and a girl died of exposure while being transported with their parents in a refrigerated truck from the Evros border to Athens. The public prosecutor has filed criminal charges against the driver of the truck, and the children's' parents for illegal entry into the country.
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