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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 03-03-22

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From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Weather forecast
  • [02] More protests for war against Iraq

  • [01] Weather forecast

    Cloud with light rain and little snow are forecast for most parts of Greece today, while the temperature in Athens will range from 3 to 12 C and in Thessaloniki from 2 to 6 C.

    (22/3/2003 12:03:00 μμ)

    [02] More protests for war against Iraq

    The American British forces pounded Baghdad and the northern towns of Mosul and Kirkuk all night long, while more explosions rocked Baghdad and its outskirts in the morning hours.

    Meanwhile, UK officials said seven crew members were killed after two Royal Navy Sea King helicopters collided over the Gulf on Saturday.

    They said the crash - over international waters - was not caused by enemy action. It came just a day after eight British soldiers and four US marines died in a helicopter crash in Kuwait.

    American and British war planes carried out 1,000 sorties and launched and equal number of Cruise missiles against Iraq, with 320 of them hitting Baghdad outskirts.

    Explosions rocked Baghdad's command centre and destroyed one of Iraqi President Saddam Husein's Presidential mansion. An American official maintained that military command centres, as well as locations where weapons of mass destruction might have been hidden, were hit.

    At the same time, battles are carried out round the port of Basra.

    According to American and British officials their forces have entered Southern Iraq and are not facing any major resistance on behalf of Iraqi forces. They also claim that they have seized the Umm Qasr port, while the British claim to have seized Fau peninsula.

    However, the Iraqi Press Minister rejected both pieces of information, claiming that fierce battles are taking place there, adding that 250 civilians were wounded during the American British air raids last night. Moreover, he said that the Iraqi forces had destroyed five enemy tanks.

    At the same time the ABC TV network reported that according to CIA information, three Iraqi high rank officials were killed during yesterday's bombardment of Baghdad.

    Moreover, according to American army sources, about 8,000 Iraqi soldiers have surrendered after fighting against the American Third Infantry Division near the Euphrates in the night.

    On a relative development, Turkey has allowed the American warplanes to use its airspace and at the same time sent its army to Northern Iraq, a development objected by Washington. About 1,500 Turkish soldiers are in Northern Iraq with Turkey claiming that they intend to hold back refugees and avert any possible terrorist acts.

    It should be noted however, that a Kurd military commander rejected the information about Turkey's infiltration to Northern Iraq.

    Meanwhile, reacting to the large-scale attack against Iraq, Amnesty International has asked from the American and British governments to illustrate which measures they have taken for the protection of civilians.

    At the same time, according to today's edition of Washington Post, the United States has come into contact with Iraqi military commanders in secret and informed them about the buildings in Baghdad that would not be hit by American missiles and bombs and could serve as refuge for those who will wish to defect.

    Additionally, the Iraqi representative in the United Nations accused the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan of helping the USA to attack Iraq offering them the management of the programme 'petrol to food' and by withdrawing the peace forces from Kuwait.

    On a relative development, the Danish Parliament approved yesterday Denmark's participation in the war against Iraq, while Belgium, Germany and France will meet during a mini summit meeting in April to form a 'European defence nuclei'

    In the meantime, the Russian President Vladimir Putin described the war against Iraq as a potential instability source for more regions all over the world, among which are former Soviet Republics.

    From its side, North Korea has postponed talks with the South, blaming Seoul's "extremely dangerous" heightened defence posture since the start of US-led military action in Iraq.

    The move comes a day after Pyongyang complained that joint US-South Korean military exercises showed the US was preparing an invasion of the North.

    At the same time, upon his return from Brussels yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed that the present developments demanded calm and responsibility, adding that Greece could not be acting as if it is the centre of the world.

    He also added that international legality should be supported, while aid would be sent to the refugees after the end of the war in Iraq.

    Mr Simitis was praised by the French President Jacques Chirac for dealing with the Iraqi crisis in a successful way, adding that the European Union had agreed unanimously for the reconstruction of post war Iraq, a development that would lie within the United Nations responsibilities.

    In a relative development, Synaspismos party leader Nikos Konstantopoulos described EU's communiqu&eacute; on Iraq a moral defeat, adding that it constituted admittance of political failure, while the Secretary General of the Greek Communist party Aleka Papariga described it an insult against the European peoples.

    Hundreds of thousands of Greeks took to the streets on Friday to protest against the U.S.-led war on Iraq, as anti-war demonstrations, rallies and marches continued in cities throughout the country for a second day.

    The ranks of tertiary education and high-school students that again turned out to voice their opposition to the attack on Iraq were swelled on Friday by members of the workforce, who responded to a call for a four-hour strike from trade unions and came out in force to join the protestors.

    Public services, public transport, ferries, banks, even shops, light industry and supermarkets were among those that shut their doors, while more demonstrations have been organised for Saturday.

    In Athens, demonstrators filled Syntagma Square and the surrounding streets in their thousands to join the rally organised by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the civil servants' union ADEDY, the Athens Labour Centre and activist groups such as the Greek Social Forum, the ''Stop the War'' Alliance and others. Among them were former resistance fighters, pensioners, civil servants, even members of the clergy.

    According to police estimates, more than 50,000 people turned out for the anti-war rally in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, whose central banner was Pablo Picasso's painting ''Guernica''.

    As on Thursday, meanwhile, rallies were held in other main cities throughout Greece, including Corfu, Ioannina, Samos and elsewhere.

    (22/3/2003 12:01:00 μμ)

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