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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-01-28

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece Split in Two
  • [02] Fischer, "Ashamed of the Nazi Crimes in Greece"
  • [03] Commission's Report on Greek Economy
  • [04] Earthquake in Gavdos
  • [05] Hamas Dominates in Municipal Elections
  • [06] Iraqi Elections Targeted
  • [07] 60 Years Since the Holocaust

  • [01] 24-hour Blockade in Tempi Greece Split in Two

    28 Jan 2005 11:58:00 (Last updated: 28 Jan 2005 13:50:33)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8 - ANA

    A little after 10am, Thessaly cotton growers proceeded with blocking Tempi, which will remain closed for 24 hours. The police are diverting traffic through alternate routes. Vehicles traveling towards Thessaloniki are diverted at the Gyrtoni junction towards Elassona-Katerini, while those traveling towards Athens are diverted through Katerini-Elasona-Larissa. The farmers Coordinating Committee will reconvene tomorrow to decide on their future actions, while in an announcement issued by the Thessaly cotton growers it is mentioned that they condemn the Rural Development Ministers stance and are calling on all farmers from the prefecture to participate in the blockades. Meanwhile, farmers from Magnisia closed off the old and new National Highways at the Velestino junction, while they are soon expected to decide on whether they will proceed with blockades in Almyros. If this actually happens, then major problems will arise with the flow of traffic, as Larissa and Fthiotida farmers have indefinitely blocked the alternative route via Domokos on the old Larissa-Lamia National Highway at the Drougo junction.

    Multiple Fronts

    In Serres, although cotton growers had decided to proceed with blocking the Promachonas junction at 12:30pm, they eventually withdrew their tractors as a goodwill gesture, following a meeting between their Prefect and Deputy Minister Alexandros Kontos. They are expected to meet with their Prefect at 4pm, so as to be briefed on his meeting with Mr Kontos and decide on future actions.

    Before proceeding with the goodwill gesture and freeing the road, the President of the Serres Federation of Greek Agrarian Associations, Kostas Xenitidis, the farmers from the area decided to close off the Greek-Bulgarian borders as a counteraction to the current state of affairs announced by the Rural Development Ministry for the farmers who broke the law, since they do not accept this. Meanwhile, he pointed out that that they are waiting for the Minister, Evangelos Basiakos, to commit on the amount of co-responsibility returns, so as to withdraw their tractors from the Petritsi junction.

    In the meantime, farmers from the Prefecture of Pella are considering blocking the Thessaloniki-Edessa at the Paralimni junction for a few hours. As announced, the blockade will commence at 12 noon, at which time they will meet to decide when the blockade will finish.

    Furthermore, farmers who have gathered at the Chalkidona junction will block the Thessaloniki-Edessa National Road from 1pm to 2pm.

    The Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyannis, while speaking on radio station NET 105.8, referred to the issue with the farmers, saying, "Greece cannot be both inside and outside the EU, ie on the one hand to receive subsidies and on the other not to abide by the Community Regulations."

    She also went on to add, "We will need time to regulate the farmers pending issues. However, no one has the right to burden his fellow citizens with his own problems."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Blockade at Tempi

    [02] Commemoration Ceremony in Thessaloniki Fischer, "Ashamed of the Nazi Crimes in Greece"

    28 Jan 2005 07:21:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The message of the commemoration ceremony that took place on Thursday night in the Thessaloniki Music Hall for the Greek Jews who perished in the Holocaust was "Never again such atrocities". The speakers included the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, his Greek counterpart, Petros Molyviatis and the President of PASOK, George Papandreou. "Germany feels great shame for the Nazis crimes in Greece: in Distomo, Chortiati, Kalavryta," noted Mr Fischer in his speech, expressing the horror he feels when he thinks of the trains that led to Auschwitz. "We will never forget the industrialized crimes that were committed under German orders and by the hands of Germans," said the German Foreign Minister during the event, which was organized by the local Jewish Community for the 60-year anniversary since the liberation of Auschwitz.

    "A part of the history and culture of Thessaloniki, a city that was known as the Jerusalem of the Balkans, was wiped out," added Mr Fischer, while he concluded by saying, "Those crimes will always be a part of our history and we bear the responsibility of not allowing them to happen again."

    Many members of the political, economic and social life of the second largest Greek city attended the event, including the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Nikos Tsartsionis, the President of the Central Jewish Board, Moshe Konstantinis, and the President of Thessalonikis Jewish Community, David Saltiel, all of whom made speeches. All those present lived through some emotional moments during the reading of the names of the Thessaloniki Jews who were exterminated in concentration camps, while six children lit as many candles in memory of the 6,000,000 Jews who perished in the crematoriums.

    The President of the Thessaloniki Jewish Community also held a candle, in commemoration of the Greek Christians who died in Nazi camps.

    Earlier, a memorial service was conducted at the Monument for the Greek Jewish Martyrs of the Holocaust, while another service took place in the German School.

    On Friday, Mr Fischer is scheduled to meet with Mr Molyviatis, while upon arriving at Macedonia Airport he met briefly with Mr Papandreou.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    60 Years Since the Holocaust

    [03] Measures for Deficit and Debt not Adequate Commission's Report on Greek Economy

    27 Jan 2005 20:55:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: NET 105.8 - ANA

    The European Commission is asking Greece to implement extra measures for the reduction of the fiscal deficit and the promotion of flexibility in the employment market. As per its annual report, social security and the aging of the population are the main factors exacerbating Greeces fiscal image and threatening the viability of social funds. According to the Commission, the pay increases in Greece are higher that the rate of inflation and productivity and as a result, the competitiveness of Greek economy is being hindered.

    Flexibility in Employment Market

    The long-term viability of public finances and the reform of the social security system continue to be two of Greeces main challenges, as per the European Commissions second annual report.

    The Commission supported that the measures implemented in Greece for the reform of the social security system were inadequate, while it declared that that it is not clear whether the measures implemented for the reinforcement of employment are satisfactory.

    Meanwhile it pointed out that Greece demonstrated minor progress in fulfilling its goals a year and a half after the implementation of its economic policy.

    Specifically, the report mentioned that no progress was recorded in the previous year with regard to the long-term viability of public finances, while, despite the strong economic development, the measures for the reduction of the deficit and the public debt were inadequate.

    According to the Commission, Greece continues to deviate from the target of a balanced or surplus budget in 2004.

    The report recognized that efforts were made to boost productivity, while with regard to the energy market, it was noted that competition has not been completely secured, mainly due to the inadequate measures.

    It was also underlined that the progress in the efforts to reduce the structural unemployment index and increase employment, especially for women, was limited.

    Finally, the impact following the measures implemented by the government for the boosting of part-time employment and flexibility in the employment market was evasive, since, as per the Commission, the hurdles for entering the employment market remain high.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] 4.8 on the Richter Scale Earthquake in Gavdos

    28 Jan 2005 11:08:00

    By Viki Keleri

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    An earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale shook the small Greek island of Gavdos early this morning, spreading fear among the residents. The tremor was recorded at 2:18am, 335 km south of Athens and 50km west of the island. There are no reports yet on injuries or damages.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Victory Dedicated to Yassin Hamas Dominates in Municipal Elections

    28 Jan 2005 10:04:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Hamas made a strong showing in the municipal elections held in the Gaza Strip, demonstrating that it outrivals the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas. According to the central voting committee, the Islamic Hamas movement is winning 12 out of the 13 seats in the constituency of Beit Hanun, 11 out of 13 in Zawaida, 14 out of 15 in Deir el Ballah, 8 out of 11 in Khuzaa (Khan Younes), 10 out of 13 in Bani Souheila (Khan Younes), 10 out of 11 in Shukaa (Rafah), 3 out of 13 in El Nasr (Rafah), 2 out of 9 in El Zahara (Gaza City) and 9 out of 9 in Mfader (Deir Ballah). "This means that the Palestinian people refuse corruption and hope for change to protect its interests. This significant result also means that democracy has won," said Moshor el-Masri, a Hamas spokesman.

    Claiming Part of Control

    Hamas also prevailed in the areas where Fatahs victory was considered definite.

    The winners of the elections dedicated the victory to Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, however, a member of the Fatah in Gaza declared that it was still too soon to make official statements.

    The Palestinian Authority decided to organize the local elections in stages. The first stage took place on 23 December in many West Bank areas, while the second took place in the Gaza Strip.

    The voter turnout was approximately 80%, while 118 seats in 10 municipal councils were up for grabs.

    In the meantime, political analysts believe that the Hamas wanted to demonstrate its political power and claim part of the control, in view of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.

    Palestinian Forces Deployed in the Gaza Strip

    Meanwhile, a Palestinian Security Services representative told AFT that 2,000 Palestinian police officers were deployed this morning in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

    "We have finished our deployment which took place without incident," declared General Mohammed Rajab, head of border police.

    The Palestinians police officers took up their position at bases and checkpoints, while they also commenced patrols in areas in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, added Genral Rajab, who also pointed out, "Our national mission is to prevent any violence and any aggression."

    However, the Israeli army continues to control the border crossings into Egypt, in order to prevent the illegal transfer of weapons from Egypt via underground tunnels.

    Following the decision of the Palestinian Authority last week, another 2,000 police officers were deployed in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

    These operations are conducted following an agreement reached between Mahmoud Abbas and radical groups for a ceasefire against Israelis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] Explosions in Electoral Offices Iraqi Elections Targeted

    28 Jan 2005 08:53:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ANA

    Three electoral offices were targeted in Basora, where minor explosions that resulted in minimal damage were recorded, just two days before the Iraqi elections. In Baghdad, four Iraqis were killed on Friday morning, when a car bomb exploded close to a police station in town. In the meantime, in his interview on the New York Times, US President George Bush said that the presence of allied troops in Iraq was necessary, adding that most people within the Iraqi leadership also recognize this. However, he also mentioned that if the new government asks them to depart, then the soldiers would retreat. At the same time, the Turkish PM, Recep Erdogan, speaking from Davos where he is attending the World Economic Forum, expressed reservations with regard to the extent to which the elections can be considered democratic.

    US Presence Necessary

    In his interview, the American President also mentioned that, from the contacts he made with Iraqi officials, he gained the impression that the presence of US troops until the Iraqis can assume their responsibilities was necessary.

    Mr Bush said that it was important to ensure that the Iraqi citizens will view the American soldiers as assistants and not as conquerors; however, he admitted that many Iraqis consider the USA an occupational force.

    Erdogan's Reservations

    "It is impossible to describe these elections as wholly democratic. However, they could be described as a transition towards democracy," declared Mr Erdogan, who went on to describe the fact that not all citizens will be able to vote as "an indication of negative developments for the future of Iraq."

    Furthermore, in answering to a relevant question, he said that the elections would not provide the opportunity to eradicate violence, expressing the concern that the result of the elections will lead to a split in Iraq, since the voting will be based on nationalistic criteria. He went on to add that Ankara continues to support the need to preserve Iraqs territorial integrity.

    The Turkish PM also mentioned that it is still too soon to hold a discussion with regard to whether his government would allow Americans to use its air force bases in the case a military attack against Iraq is decided upon.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Ceremonies in Memory of Auschwitz 60 Years Since the Holocaust

    27 Jan 2005 19:16:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The ceremony to mark 60 years since the liberation of the Nazis Auschwitz death camp started in Poland with the whistle of a train, like the one carrying the hundreds of thousands of Jews, gypsies and homosexuals to the fascist inferno of Auschwitz. Despite the biting cold and the falling snow, leaders from all over the world, almost 2,000 former inmates, fifty Russian veterans of the Red Army, who participated in the liberation operation of the camp, as well as hundreds of young people, who want to keep the memory of the greatest drama in History alive, paid tribute to the dead of the Holocaust. Greece was represented by the President of the Republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos.

    Never Again

    Wearing tags displaying their prison number - numbers that are still tattooed on their bodies the almost one thousand survivors that were lucky to escape the gas chambers but will always bear the marks of horror on their bodies and souls, went back in time.

    Russian president Vladimir Putin stood by the side of soldiers of the former Soviet Union, who participated in the camp's liberation, while he condemned all acts of anti-Semitism.

    Mr Putin urged humanity to learn something from the "horrifying lesson" of the Holocaust and paralleled nazism to terrorism. "Terrorists, just like the nazis, exterminate people. We must be united to save mankind," said the Russian president.

    Escorted by Simon Veil, Auschwitz survivor, the French president Jacques Chirac inaugurated a new monument at the location of the hospital at the Krakow camp in honour of French nationals interned in Auschwitz, saying his country must bear its responsibility for the deportation of Jews from Nazi-occupied France, while he urged Europeans not to erase the history of Auschwitz from their conscience.

    "We fear anti-Semitism. We fear Holocaust denial, we fear a distorted approach by the youth of Europe," Israeli President Moshe Katsav said. He was also very critical on the Allies of World War II for doing nothing to prevent the Holocaust. "The allies did nothing to stop gas chambers and crematoria," stressed Mr Katsav and appealed to the EU to oppose any form of racism.

    The new president of the Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, apparently moved as his father was an Auschwitz inmate, promised that he "will guarantee that in Ukraine there will never be anti-Semitism, xenophobia or hatred between people."

    In his message, the Pope urged all people to denounce terrorism and racist ideologies, while he underlined that Auschwitz constitutes a "crime that will mark the history of mankind forever and will function as a warning."

    Tribute Paid Throughout the World

    The ceremony in Poland completed a week of events around the world in memory of almost one and a half million people who lost their lives in Auschwitz, between 1940 and 27 January 1945.

    Victims of the Holocaust were honoured throughout Europe with ceremonies in many countries. In Brussels, the European Parliament observed a one-minute silence in memory of the Auschwitz victims and suggested that 27 January should be established as "European Day of Memory for the Holocaust." What is more, all European countries are called to coordinate their efforts to counter anti-Semitism and put an end to attacks against minorities.

    In Great Britain, Queen Elisabeth hosted a reception at the palace of Saint James in honour of survivors, while the German and Israeli Parliaments held special memorial ceremonies for the Holocaust.

    The Israeli community hosted an event in memory of the Holocaust at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, which was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Molyviatis and PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou. Among the speakers was Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Nikos Tsartsionis and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer. At the same time, the Jewish Museum of Greece is hosting an exhibition named "Hidden Children in Greece during the Occupation," with sixteen personal testimonies of people who experienced the tough years of World War II.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti


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