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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-02-10

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Continuing Revelations
  • [02] Aware of 11th September
  • [03] Ministry of Justice Bill Submitted
  • [04] PASOK Announces Interventions
  • [05] Public Sector Hiring Bill Passed
  • [06] Burned Bodies Found
  • [07] OTOE on Strike on Monday
  • [08] PASOK MPs Interpellation on the Economy
  • [09] Goodbye with a Win
  • [10] No Agreement Reached in Ionikos
  • [11] Gagatsis: "I was Stressed"
  • [12] Greece Receives Justification
  • [13] Officer Arrested for Pimping

  • [01] Explosive accusations Continuing Revelations

    10 Feb 2005 12:32:00 (Last updated: 10 Feb 2005 23:19:06)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8 FM

    An avalanche of revelations is coming to light over the activities and connections of Vavilis. According to evidence made public on NET 105.8, an abbot of a monastery on Mount Athos sent a letter of recommendation to Vavilis, after being urged to by Christodoulos. The monk himself confirms that he was telephoned in 1998 by the archbishop to request that Vavilis be received at the monastery. In a statement, the Seat of the Archbishop confirms the revelation, speaking of a pastoral action, and adds that owing to the excellent relations Christodoulos had with Mr Vavilis family, he sent him there for spiritual support. On top of all this, there are two new documents, which were presented on NET televsion, which shed light on the dealings of the man of many names with the Greek police force. In the meantime, an emergency inquiry has been ordered into all articles regarding Vavilis.

    Developments in the Vavilis Case

    New evidence on the connections of Apostolos Vavilis with senior members of the church came to light today. As arises in a document presented by NET 105.8 reporter Nikos Garantziotis, Archbishop Christodoulos sent Vavilis to Grigorios Monastery on Mount Athos in 1998, which shows that despite initial denials from the Archbishops office that Vavilis, from 1987 when he received the first letter of recommendation from the then Metropolitan Bishop of Dimitriada, continued to maintain contacts with Christodoulos.

    In fact, the event was confirmed by the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Georgios, who spoke on the radio station and stated that Christodoulos had indeed contacted him by telephone to ask him to receive Vavilis at the monastery. The abbot revealed that in 2002 he gave Vavilis a letter of recommendation, in which among other things he refers to his first meeting with him, and to those that followed, with the aim of confession.

    "From then on, he came here other times for the same reason. From these meetings, I realized that he was an honest and moral man with Christian principles," says the text of the letter, which he was given to use in court.

    On the other hand, in a statement, the Archbishops office confirmed this new piece of evidence, noting that owing to the excellent relations that the Archbishop had and continues to have with the Vavilis family, he sent their son for spiritual support to Mount Athos, as he does from time to time with other young men who wish to visit Mount Athos. "We realize that those who are trying to interpret these actions of a pastoral nature with just worldly criteria are either unable to interpret their contents or deliberately misinterpret," concludes the statement.

    Accusations of a Metropolitan Bishop Owning Male Brothel

    Furthermore, another explosive accusation was made on NET 105.8 by the general secretary of the Association of Greek Clergymen Efstathios Kollas, who revealed that he had informed the Archbishop, who paid no attention, that a candidate metropolitan bishop owned a male brothel. "Few are those who cause problems to the Church and they are those who entered the Church to hide their filth and bellies," said Father Kollas and went on to add, "I am concerned about those who are to undertake the task of purging. Who among them have pure hands to do it. I expect nothing from high priests. An ecclesiastic court should be founded consisting of bishops, married priests and the faithful."

    Light Shed on Dealings with Police

    The relation between Vavilis and the Ministry of Public Order is confirmed by the ministrys correspondence with him, brought to light by NET. According to this, Vavilis was present as the representative of an Irish company when the ministry received two armoured Alfa Romeo cars. These vehicles later had problems, and in a letter Vavilis explains to the Ministry of Public Order the action taken to solve the problem.

    "We regret to hear of the problems we have caused you and assure you that just as in the past, we will continue to offer you our support."

    He even suggests withdrawing the faulty systems from the cars and substituting them with other equipment, such as bullet-proof vests.

    Just a few metres from the Police Headquarters, in 1996 a business operated with equipment for the police and the security forces. Documents prove that Vavilis mother was among the shareholders of the business. The shop in question had a full-page advertisement in the Police Review magazine, in the volume of April 1999.

    Besides this, an article in Avriani newspaper reports that Vavilis is the cousin of the PMs personal assistant and current MP Athanasia Merentiti. The PASOK MP for Trikala says in her statement that a distant relationship cannot be used to defame her, and concludes: "I would like to state categorically that I have had no dealings or collaboration of any kind with Vavilis. I was never asked, either to express an opinion or to intervene on anything regarding him." The MP has already turned to Justice over the libelous accusations against her.

    In the meantime, Director of Athens First Instance Prosecutions Dimitris Papangelopoulos ordered an urgent inquiry into all articles regarding Apostolos Vavilis.

    Public Posecutor Eleni Sotiropoulou is called to determine how exactly it came about that while a large number of arrest warrants are outstanding against Vavilis, he managed to enter into transactions with the Ministry of Public Order.

    Moreover, among matters under investigation will be the question of whether police bodies, prefectures and other services are involved in the forgeries, as well as how he entered and left the country whilst there were arrest warrants outstanding against him.

    Referring to the matter in his statements, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed that: "all authorities are under orders from the Greek state to do their duty."

    Giosakis' "Grace" Stretches to Cyprus

    In the meantime, according to an article in todays Cypriot newspaper Politis , Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis, who is remanded in custody in Korydallos prison, appears to have extensive connections in Cyprus. As it reports, Giosakis was the prot&#233;g&#233;e of former Metropolitan Bishop Chrysanthos of Lemessos and resided in Cyprus for three years, working as a "preacher."

    Furthermore, Archbishop Christodoulos is expected to ask for the Hierarchy to convene in late February in order to discuss all the issues that are afflicting the Church, while he is continuing contacts with metropolitan bishops in an effort to scale back the crisis.

    After his meeting with Christodoulos, the Metropolitan Bishop of Thiva stated that the Church as an institution is most apparent, rather than individuals.

    Metropolitan Bishop Chrisostomos of Zakynthos gave an interview to newspaper Ta Nea in which he favours separation of Church and State, asks for senior church members to face questions on where they acquired property, and calls for changes in the way in which metropolitan bishops are elected. In his sermon he asked the faithful to stay close to the church.

    The Metropolitan Bishop of Thessaloniki calls for purging, while the Metropolitan Bishop of Sidirokastro spoke of the charged atmosphere within the church.

    "The clergy are people, and as people, some of them have weaknesses and passions," claimed the Metropolitan Bishop of Nafpaktos.

    The Metropolitan Bishop of Thessaliotida , who is accused by former metropolitan bishops of unethical behaviour and connections with Giosakis, called for purging.

    Alternate Minister of Culture Fani Palli-Petralia expressed the opinion that through the autocatharsis process, the church would be strengthened as an institution.

    Christodoulos' Popularity Suffers

    The recent developments have dealt a serious blow to Archbishop Christodoulos popularity, as public opinion seems to view him negatively for the first time since he was elected in April 1998.

    According to a VPRC study, broadcast on Sky Radio, and carried out on a sample of 1000 people, 47% of citizens have a negative view of the Archbishop, and 43% view him positively. Just nine months ago in May 2004, Archbishop Christodoulos popularity stood at 68%. Furthermore, 63% of those asked consider that there is corruption among the ranks of the church, while only 28% believe the opposite.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Vavilis Supplies Public Sector

    Christodoulos Calls for Crisis to Settle

    [02] Report hints at US Federal Aviation Administration Aware of 11th September

    10 Feb 2005 16:38:00

    By Viki Keleri

    Sources: New York Times

    Revealing data, that shows that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had been warned that Al Qaeda was preparing a large-scale terrorist attack against the US, is published in the New York Times. The newspaper brings to light a hitherto confidential letter from the committee that dealt with the placing of responsibility for 11 September. The letter notes that the FAA had received 52 letters from the security services, all of which sounded the alarm on the probability of an air-hijacking or a suicide attack. Notwithstanding, the American Federal Aviation Administration, as stated in the document, "remained calm in a false sense of security and avoided taking preventive security measures."

    Five Months in the Closet

    The committee censures the FAA for not taking the required action, which most likely would have helped to avoid the multi-fatality terrorist strike on the twin towers.

    It is clear from the contents of the report, that the authorities were more interested in decongesting the airways and reducing delays and less in facing a clear terrorist threat.

    On the contrary, the FAA was particularly concerned about the possibility of a hijacking situation abroad.

    FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown denied the allegations and stressed that measures had been increased, giving the example of the installation of additional electronic machinery used to detect explosive devices at US airports.

    "We had intelligence relating to threats, but we had no specific information on the means and methods, that would have allowed us to take measures," she noted.

    The report, which was completed in August, was only published two weeks ago, as it had been blocked by the Bush administration for five months. Nonetheless, the report does not hold the American government responsible, as the latter did not have clear warnings of a terrorist attack in the country.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [03] Strict Penalties for Perjury and Bribery Ministry of Justice Bill Submitted

    10 Feb 2005 13:47:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The bill submitted today in Parliament foresees strict penalties for the Justices who are bribed and also commit perjury crimes. Among others the bill foresees strict penalties for perjury crimes, a 10-year incarceration sentence as well as a money fee ranging from 100,000 to 1,000,000 euros to Judges that accept gifts or other benefits, while a 10-year incarceration sentence will also apply for perjury cases. Also, the process of draw of penal courts will change; the substitution of Judge or Prosecutor is abolished, while judges who are under inquisition will be temporarily suspended. The institution of an interrogator overseer, who has to be an Appeals Judge, for the First Instance Courts of Athens, Piraeus and Thessalonica, will be introduced. After 8 months, if the Judge has not concluded the case it will be taken from him. Restraining orders have to be reassigned for discussion within 15 days. In closing, a five-member committee will audit the tax forms of Justice personnel.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Radical Developments in Justice Scandal

    [04] Proposals on political system to be submitted PASOK Announces Interventions

    10 Feb 2005 19:16:00

    By Viki Keleri

    Concern and mobilisation have arisen in the Opposition following the storm of developments over the last few days in the ranks of Justice and of the Church. Today, the leader of PASOK announced the formation of a committee which will determine the partys positions regarding the operation of the political system and the changes that PASOK should propose. Senior members of the party are to participate in the committee, as well as people from the academic world. Mr Papandreou stressed that the downgrading of institutions carries especial weight, while he noted the need to respond to the democratic need for social accountability.

    Looking Towards the Convention

    Among the institutions that should be held accountable, he included the Church, Justice, the Media, political parties, universities, local government organisations, hospitals and businesses.

    Mr Papandreou added that PASOK would organize a special conference, either before or after the convention, if time is judged insufficient.

    Those participating in the committee on the political system are: Kostas Skandalidis, Thodoros Pangalos, Alekos Papadopoulos, Evangelos Venizelos, Dimitris Tsatsos, Haris Pamboukis, Nikos Alivizatos, Giorgos Papadimitriou, Argiris Pasas, Nikos Mouzelis, Konstantinos Tsoukalas and Giannis Voulgaris.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [05] Public Sector Hiring Bill Passed

    10 Feb 2005 18:20:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET

    The Bill submitted by the Ministry of the Interior on the hiring process in the public sector has now become an Act. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos made amendments to the Bill, and according to these, a candidate judged negatively in the interview will not be barred from any further proceedings. Furthermore, the members of the committee that will be charged with conducting the interviews will be appointed by ASEP. Mr Pavlopoulos accepted an amendment proposed by New Democracy, KKE and SYN MPs, granting permanent positions to workers in the Municipality of Larisa who have been working for more than 10 years in the public sector. In the meantime, yesterday, the government and the Opposition crossed swords in Parliament over the issue of the interview. In fact, PASOK MPs withdrew from Parliament when the appeal of unconstitutionality they filed against the Bill was rejected.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] They Were Burned Alive in their Vehicles Burned Bodies Found

    10 Feb 2005 12:15:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: AFP

    The burned bodies of at least 20 Iraqis, who were accompanying sugar cargo for the Ministry of Commerce, were found on Thursday in their vehicles, 60 km south of Baghdad, as is was made known by the Police. An unknown representative of the Police stated, "The patrol in the area located 20 charred vehicles which were transporting sugar to Baghdad." "Two policemen and two soldiers who were accompanying the vehicles were also found dead," he added. "The bodies in the vehicles were decomposed, which means that the attack occurred two days ago," stated the Polices representative.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] OTOE Leaves Committee OTOE on Strike on Monday

    10 Feb 2005 18:53:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    OTOE is to hold a 24-hour nationwide strike on Monday, after the decision to withdraw from the dialogue committee on the social security of bank employees. Moreover, a decision was taken to convene an emergency meeting of their general council to examine any prospects for dialogue over the social security question. OTOE decided to withdraw because in yesterdays committee meeting, the Ministry of the Economy submitted a proposal that leads to harmonization of the social security of bank employees with IKA over the next five years, and will mean an increase in retirement age and a reduction in pensions. Trade unionists state that in order to return to dialogue with the government and bankers, a precondition would be for the ministrys proposal to be withdrawn and a mutual and workable proposal from the banks to be submitted. The Chairman of OTOE, Dimitris Tsoukalas, stated that the ministrys proposal undermines the Reppa law and called on the government to seriously examine the Federations proposals.

    Employment Ministry: Pensions Not to be Replaced

    In the meantime, today during the discussion at the National Employment Committee, the Minister for Employment Panos Panayiotopoulos stressed that the proposal from the Ministry for the Economy was unknown to the Ministry for Employment. A the same time, he described the proposal in question as a tool for dialogue that can be withdrawn and noted that the Ministry for Employment has no intention of substituting the main or supplementary pension from professional funds.

    On the other hand, the Chairman of GSEE Christos Polyzogopoulos stated that the government is using the banks to open a more general social security issue. He noted that workers would not accept reductions in social security rights and he warned the government that if it persists it will end up in clashes with trade unions.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] To Giorgos Alogoskoufis PASOK MPs Interpellation on the Economy

    10 Feb 2005 15:25:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    In an interpellation that they submitted today to Parliament, to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, 34 PASOK MPs condemn the "governments weakness that led to the state of supervision of the Greek Economy by the European Union." Among other things, the PASOK MPs call on Mr Alogoskoufis to answer for the derailing of fiscal indicators, for the dramatic reduction in income, the probability of new increases being imposed, for NDs and Mr Karamanlis deceptive pre-election pledges that they would restrict wasteful expenditure and by saving 10 billion euros annually, they would assist low-income and low-pension strata and the welfare state and thereby give workers and pensioners greater raises than those given by PASOK.

    Demanding Answers on SDOE and the 4th CSF

    Besides this, the PASOK MPs ask Mr Alogoskoufis, among other things, to explain the governments hypocritical announcement regarding the abolition of SDOE, and the transforming of the governments announced process of following through pending tax cases from voluntary to mandatory, thereby violating the relevant law voted in by government majority. Furthermore, other points to be explained regard the rejection by the EU of a stability programme submitted by the government, the dramatic reduction in public contract granting and execution of public works, as well as the negotiable weakness of the government to secure the 25 billion euros in funding proposed for Greece by the EU for the 4th CSF. The interpellation was signed by: Giannis Magriotis, Andreas Makrypidis, Giannos Papantoniou, Theodoros Pangalos, Giorgos Floridis, Dimitris Georgakopoulos, Alexandros Akrivakis, Dimitris Androulakis, Giorgos Anomeritis, Christos Verelis, Giannis Vlatis, Dinos Vrettos, Kostas Geitonas, Vasilis Geranidis, Giannis Diamantidis, Rodoula Zisi, Petros Katsilieris, Kimon Koulouris, Stathis Koutmeridis, Lazaros Lotidis, Stilianos Matzapetakis, Stavros Benos, Thanasis Papageorgiou, Vaso Papandreou, Dimitris Pipergias, Christos Protopapas, Manolis Stratakis, Giannis Tsaklidis, Andreas Fouras, Apostolos Fotiadis, Nikos Christodoulakis, Michalis Chrisohoidis, Anastasios Horemis, Evangelos Papachristos.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [09] Goodbye with a Win

    10 Feb 2005 23:30:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    In a game with no meaning in terms of points, as they teams had already been knocked out of the tournament, Olympiacos defeated Spanish team Estudiantes 90-80 and bade farewell to the Euroleague. It has been a bad league, that Olympiacos is sure to want to forget, as in a total of 16 games, they only managed to score four wins (todays was the fourth) and 12 defeats. It now seems that the club will concentrate on the rest of the matches in the Greek league, and worry about Europe for next year. The quarters: 20-17, 45-37, 63-52, 90-80.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [10] No Agreement Reached in Ionikos

    10 Feb 2005 18:58:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Despite the initial agreement between Ionikos Amaliada and the teams of the two players, problems have ultimately arisen, and the players will not be transferred to the Greek team. Reggio Calabria (Hansel) and Bududsnost (Vukcevic) did not forward the letters of clearance to the Greek Federation and the club, and it will not be possible for them to participate in the Greek Championship.

    First for Brown

    Apart from this, the newly transferred player of the blue and white team, American Brandon Brown (1981, 2.03), will today hold his first training session, while he expected to be among the team chosen to play against Iraklis on Saturday for the Greek league.

    Together with Brown, who will be making his debut, Mirza Kurtovic will most likely be allowed to play, as he has overcome the leg trouble that put him out of action for a month.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [11] Gagatsis: "I was Stressed"

    10 Feb 2005 16:47:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    The President of the Hellenic Football Federation (HFF) Vasilis Gagatsis with statements made to ERA SPOR described yesterdays win as a landmark for the continuation of the event, which will be difficult, starting from the game with Georgia. "After the game with Denmark the scale has tipped. The game was a landmark. The first position will be either taken up by Denmark, Ukraine, Turkey or us. The win against Denmark was the first made between four competitors games. The game with Georgia is quite difficult," stated Mr Gagatsis and making reference to the game added "the players and coaches believed in the win. Our performance in the first half was amazing. I think we have not seen it before. After the 2004 Euro there is self-esteem. The guys believe in themselves and can win any opponent. The night of the game they reassured me. The coach knows who has to play or not."

    Concerning the Scandal

    On the issue of the rumors that surfaced and indirectly involve Greece in the scandal with the set-up games of Germany, Mr Gagatsis stated "We will sent a document to the German Federation and ask for explanations as far as the Greek Cup is concerned. If evidence arises will take further action," and concluded by stating Greeces justification in the issue with the categories in the game with Armenia. "Also, the final document from UEFA has been sent, concerning the game with Armenia which fully justifies us."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] Greece Receives Justification

    10 Feb 2005 16:18:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    After an investigation, which started after the game with Armenia, UEFA with a letter sent to the Hellenic Football Federation makes known that no attempt of bribery from Greek relevant bodies took place and acquits the Federation of every charge. Analytically the HFF letter states: "A letter from UEFA to the HFF, states the completion of the investigation which took place on the subject of Armenian football team officials after the game of the preliminary phase of 2004 Euro between Armenia and Greece (06.09.2003) and which led to the irreversible acquittal decision of the Federation and its President from every charge. In the next issue of Uefadirect a relative article will be published in which will make clear that based on the evidence of the research, the HFF and its President have not been involved in a bribery attempt."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [13] Given a 12-month suspension Officer Arrested for Pimping

    10 Feb 2005 21:11:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    An Air Force officer who was arrested early this afternoon is accused of blackmail and pimping. By order of the deputy minister of Defence, the 42-year-old officer was given a 12-month suspension. According to the police, the officer, who is married and has two children, found girls through classified ads in newspapers and on the Internet. He promised to find them jobs and money for a supposed photo session. However, he involved them in erotic scenes that he recorded on video. He then blackmailed them, threatening to give photographs and videos to their families and friends, and forced them into prostitution with clients whom he chose himself for 100 euros each, of which he kept 50%. As announced by the Chief of Attica Police, Stefanos Skotis, the investigation is ongoing, while he called on the victims of the pimp to testify to shed light on the case. The officer admitted his actions and tomorrow will face the Public Prosecutor, while the police are searching for a female accomplice. The police have also confiscated a CD found in the mans office.

    Translated by Millie Williams

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