|Thursday, 7 December 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 04-03-30
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 At least 3 die in Canary Island helicopter crash30/3/2004 9:04:00 ́́
A rescue helicopter evacuating tourists injured in a Canary Islands bus accident crashed today killing at least three people. State radio said that five people were killed. A tourist bus had earlier plunged down an embankment near San Bartolome de Tirajana, on the island of Gran Canaria, injuring several people, police said.
 UK seizes 8 in biggest anti-terror sweep since 9/1130/3/2004 9:01:00 ́́
Police arrested eight men and seized a cache of explosives during raids at dawn today in Britains biggest anti-terror operation since the September 11 attacks of 2001. With Europe already on a high state of alert after the Madrid bombings, British police pounced in 24 separate raids, seizing more than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which is prime bomb-making material. The eight suspects were believed to be Muslims of Pakistani origin, police sources said.
 White House offers public Rice testimony on 9/1130/3/2004 8:57:00 ́́
U.S. President George W. Bush reversed course today and agreed to let his national security adviser give sworn public testimony before the 9/11 commission, while he and Vice President Dick Cheney will meet privately in a separate session with the full panel. The dramatic about-face on the two questions came in a March 30 letter to the bipartisan panel from White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez, who said the appearances could take place if the panel agreed they would not set a precedent under the constitutional separation of executive and legislative powers
 GSEE strike on Wednesday30/3/2004 8:49:00 ́́
The public transport system, some banks and public utilities are expected to shut down tomorrow due to a 24-hour private sector strike called by the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), Greeces largest umbrella union. Travelers at Greek airports are expected to encounter delays, while all ferries will remain in port from 1 a.m. to midnight. GSEE is seeking wage increases and a shorter working week. Also participating in the strike will be the Panhellenic Nautical Federation.
A demonstration is planned for the center of Athens. More than two million Greek unionists including construction workers are expected to strike. GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos played down the impact of the one-day stoppage on Games preparations and said there were no further strikes scheduled for the moment. However the union, which seeks an eight percent pay rise and flatly rejected employers 3.2 percent offer, signalled it would
not shy away from more protests if it failed to clinch a deal.
 Olympic flame arrives in Athens Wednesday30/3/2004 8:47:00 ́́
Tomorrow afternoon, the surrounding areas of the Panathinaiko stadium in central Athens will be sealed off due to the ceremony for the arrival of the Olympic Flame. The flame will reach Zappeio in Athens by helicopter from the island of Aigina at approximately 7.50 p.m. and will be taken to the Panathinaiko stadium by the final torchbearer, Katerina Thanou. The ceremony will begin at 6.45 p.m. in the presence of the president of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stefanopoulos. Admission will be open to the public.
 Greek observations on Annan plan30/3/2004 8:45:00 ́́
A memorandum outlining the observations of the Greek government on the Annan plan was delivered to UN special envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto today in Buergenstock by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis. Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the Greek governments observations were mostly centred on security issues and derogations.
Greek diplomats estimate that Annan will re-submit his plan with modifications by tonight or early on Wednesday morning, after he has received the observations of all the parties. Meanwhile, other sources said that EU expansion commissioner Gunther Verheugen has departed for Brussels in order to confer with the rest of the European Commission regarding derogations from Community laws, with his reply due later this evening.
 Final critical hours fro Cyprus negotiations30/3/2004 8:43:00 ́́
After three decades of division, politicians today entered the final critical 24 hours in their struggle to bring peace and reunification to Cyprus. Negotiators have worked «hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, night and day» in the Swiss resort of Buergenstock to find a solution that everyone will accept.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said today he hoped for a positive outcome from Cyprus peace talks even though all sides say they have objections to a revised U.N. plan to unite the island. Earlier today, the talks cleared their first hurdle when Greece, Turkey, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot delegations said they wanted negotiations to go on after seeing the fine print of Secretary-General Kofi Annans plan.
Negotiators had toiled through the night to fine-tune their responses under strict deadlines set by Annan who wanted their formal views on the proposals today and an end to talks by Wednesday. The main disputes about the plan concern how many Greek and Turkish troops will remain on the island, rights to property and freedom of movement between the two communities as well as the rule of EU law.
 Weather Forecast30/3/2004 6:56:00 ́́
Mostly sunny weather is forecast in all parts of the country, with scattered clouds from early evening and rain in the southwest. Winds variable, moderate to very strong. Temperatures in Athens will range between 11-18 C and in Thessaloniki from 8-14 C.