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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-02-11

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Neither Heads Nor Tails
  • [02] Great Loss for the Arts World
  • [03] Little Green Woman
  • [04] Karamanlis in the Lead
  • [05] New Cyprus Developments
  • [06] Wrangling over Borrowing
  • [07] Focus on the Economy
  • [08] Offers Start for Olympic Airlines
  • [09] Toppled by Stress
  • [10] Mason Unlikely to Play
  • [11] Greek Whistles in Italy &amp; San Marino

  • [01] New Evidence on Vavilis' Mysterious Actions Neither Heads Nor Tails

    11 Feb 2005 15:58:00 (Last updated: 11 Feb 2005 22:16:04)

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105.8 FM

    Neither heads nor tails can be made of Apostolos Vavilis activities. The mysterious role of the man with many identities and multiple activities gives rise to continuous questions, while at the same time, he breaks his silence with a letter, in which he claims that he was very sick. Following revelations on NET 105.8 radio stations, that in 1998, a time when he was wanted by the police, through recommendation by telephone by the Archbishop, he visited Mount Athos for confession, new evidence is coming to light. Vavilis appeared in 2002 wearing a cassock in the Prefecture of Achaia, while according to an article published today, in 2001 he traveled to Jerusalem on travel documents from the Foreign Ministry. Besides this in 2002, he is alleged to have negotiated an agreement with Greek Media enterprises on broadcasting the arrival of the Easter Flame. Mr Antonaros stated that the government expects the Church to take bold steps in purging. Archbishop Christodoulos called an emergency meeting of the Hierarchy and announced a series of measures for autocatharsis. He described his letter to Vavilis as part of his pastoral duties.

    Vavilis Breaks his Silence

    The revelations regarding Apostolos Vavilis secret affairs are continuing. The man with the thousand faces broke his silence with a letter in which he claimed that he was very ill and his life was in danger, while he denied that Archbishop Christodoulos ever intervened in his judicial cases.

    Vavilis declared his presence in a monologue aimed to create impressions. In a long letter to reporter Makis Triantafillopoulos, he claimed that the Archbishop had never intervened in favour of him.

    In the letter, which was passed to Mr Traintafillopoulos by another dark protagonist in the latest developments, retired Hellenic Police officer Giannis Triantafillakis, Vavilis tried gain the sympathy of the people.

    He claimed that he was very sick, while he attributed the involvement of his name in drug-related cases to a plot against him. He also said that he had been an informer on drug cases for the Volos Police, and later the Athens and Thessaloniki Police, for a number of years.

    "Believing that I always acted under the guidance and the assistance of the Volos Police, I put my life at risk, which is even graver today, and for two years gave them information that they never used. I wonder why?"

    As per NET sources, Apostolos Vavilis was actually very sick, but the gravity of his illness has not been clarified yet.

    Other questions that remain unanswered regard whether he was being hospitalized and if so, where. He claimed that he is not in the country, but as per information from other sources, he is probably still in Greece and is using a different name.

    As per those who knew him well, Vavilis is a shrewd, intelligent and active person, who used his real name up until his involvement in the case of the Patriarch of Jerusalem. He also referred frequently to his close ties with Archbishop Christodoulos and the Hellenic Police.

    Formal Inquiry Amidst New Revelations

    Vavilis activities is now the subject of an inquiry launched by the Public Prosecutors office. Amongst the host of accusations coming to light on a daily basis, today there is information alleging that Vavilis was involved in negotiations with Greek Media Enterprises, over a 200 million drachma agreement. Its aim was to broadcast the Easter Flame ceremony of Easter 2002 from Jerusalem via the Internet. The agreement was not upheld, following the intervention of Patriarch Irinaios.

    In the meantime, the newspaper Eleftheros Typos reveals today that in 2001, shortly before the election of the new Patriarch, the Greek Foreign Ministry gave an order to the Greek diplomatic authorities in Israel to take care of the Notas delegation, allowing three Greek citizens, one of whom was Vavilis, to enter the country. Notas is the special signal from one country to another, asking for the people mentioned not to be hindered in their mission.

    The ecclesiastic crisis was also discussed in the meeting today in Fanari between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Minister of Justice Mr Anastasios Papaligouras, who is currently on an official visit to Turkey, having been invited by his Turkish counterpart. In statements following the meeting, Patriarch Bartholomew kept his distance from the problem. "We do not involve ourselves in internal matters of other churches. It is a longstanding principle and policy of the Ecumenical Patriarchy not to get involved in issues of sister Churches. Each church has its own institutions to deal with situations," he stressed.

    On the other hand, Mr Papaligouras stated that "the Greek state is ready to support the Church in any way required, provided it is requested of us, in order to assist in overcoming the crisis before the Churchs relations with ordinary believers are irreparably damaged."

    Alternate government spokesman Mr Antonaros also referred to the daily storm of revelations. "The government is working normally on all levels. However, articles in newspaper do not constitute evidence the issue is ongoing and the government expects the Church to make those bold steps that are necessary to purge its ranks," he stressed.

    In the meantime, Giosakis co-defendant in the antiques smuggling case, the former abbot of Osion Monastery, Kirillos, has been released from custody following a disagreement between the public prosecutor and the interrogator.

    Mr Christodoulos' Measures for Catharsis

    In Athens, Archbishop Christodoulos continued his contacts in an effort to settle the crisis. A little before his meeting with the Metropolitan Bishops, he announced his decision for an emergency convocation of the Holy Synod in order to have the proposed measures that have already been approved by the Continuous Holy Synod also approved by the Churchs supreme administrative body. "I am aware of the Churchs problems and I am saddened by them, but I have already declared my firm decision to become a guarantor of autocatharsis," he stressed.

    Mr Christodoulos also referred to the matter of the letter of recommendation he had given Vavilis at the time when he was the Metropolitan Bishop of Dimitriada, describing his action as part of his pastoral duties and pointing out that it should not be defined based on secular criteria. "It was not an act of self-interest, but a passion to save the soul of another human being," he said.

    The Holy Synod is expected to convene around the end of February, while the Archbishop will have concluded his contacts by next Tuesday. Furthermore, the Hierarchs of the Synod will convene under Christodoulos on Monday. According to information, they will decide on the excommunication of Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis.

    Alavanos' Question in Parliament

    The President of Synaspismos, Alekos Alavanos, raised once again a question in Parliament regarding the separation of the Church from the State. He pointed out that is should be done smoothly, with respect for the religious beliefs of the people and without prompting dividing opinions. The President of SYN also wondered how the Church would be able to get rid of its secular characteristics, including its thirst for power and its corruption with spies and agents of secret services.

    The Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs, Marietta Giannakou, clarified that the Government is not willing to start a discussion for the changes in the relations between the State and the Church. "We should not have the illusion that if the Church was separate from the State, if there were no oaths and if there was no Article 3 of the Constitution, there would not be any corruption incidents in this area. In the context of the independence provided by its Constitutional Map, we invite the Church to implement the necessary measures and we insist on this," she stressed.

    Speaking on NETs TV programme "The Colours of Iris", hosted by Elisavet Filippouli, the head of ND in the European Parliament, Giannis Varvitsiotis, proposed the separation of the roles of the State and the Church through a "smooth divorce, now that the conditions are ripe."

    Another guest of the same programme, PASOK MP Maria Damanaki, pointed out that it is not right to make such significant decisions in the heat of the moment and suggested constitutional reforms following creative and fruitful dialogue.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Continuing Revelations

    Vavilis Supplies Public Sector

    Christodoulos Calls for Crisis to Settle

    [02] Great Loss for the Arts World

    11 Feb 2005 19:38:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: BBC - NET

    The great American playwright breathed his last at the age of 89. The creator of Death of a Salesman died after having battled with cancer, pneumonia and a heart condition for the last few years. He was considered one of the most significant American writers of the 20th century, whose fame soared after his brief marriage with actress Marilyn Monroe. In 1937 he shared the Theater Guild National Award with Tennessee Williams, while in 1949 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman. He also received three Tony Awards during his career. Some of his most important works also include: The Crucible, Resurrection Blues and All My Sons. It has been said that the power of his literary works is comparable to those of the dramatists of ancient tragedies. Furthermore, his work manifested the dark side of the American dream.

    "A Great Playwright and a Great Man "

    Death of a Salesman, featuring Willy Loman, a man trying to live the American dream, but seeing his professional career diminish and sealed with failure, is a play that has been successfully staged in most of the best-known theaters of the West. Furthermore, the late Rod Steiger performed the film version excellently.

    British playwright Harold Pinter, who was extremely saddened by the news of Millers death, described him as "a great playwright and a great man - and a great friend of mine." He also added, "His plays are among the finest works that have been produced in the 20th Century. [] But he was also a highly dignified and an extraordinarily formidable man, an independent man. He was so honest and a man of rare integrity in his writing."

    Last Obstacle Proved Unsurpassable.

    Miller had once said "life is very boring without women," and he went on to prove this by getting married three times. One of his marriages was to Marilyn Monroe in 1956.

    He spent the last years of his life with painter Agnes Barley, who was 55 years his younger. He also has a daughter, Rebecca, who is married to actor Daniel Day-Lewis. According to the Press, his condition worsened in the last few days and those close to him were visiting him to say their final farewells. He asked to spend the last days of his life in his beautiful farm in Roxbury, northeast Connecticut.

    Her concluded his anticancer therapy in "Memorial Sloan-Kettering", New York, a few weeks ago.

    A little before his death, his sister had declared that his life had not gone as he planned, but he always managed to pull through. However, his last obstacle proved unsurpassable.

    Although already considered one of the foremost literary giants of his era he was catapulted into the pop culture sphere following his five-year marriage to actress Marilyn Monroe.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [03] Trendy version of traffic light man steals hearts Little Green Woman

    11 Feb 2005 15:15:00

    By Viki Keleri

    What a man couldnt do in years and years, a woman has managed in just 365 days. The little green woman, who for the past year in Germany has taken the place of the well-known little green man at the traffic lights, has put things back in their proper place. Pedestrians and drivers obey her better than was the case with her male forerunner, which has meant that the little green woman, with her sporty skirt and smart little hat represents a new trend at the lights for pedestrian crossings. The fashion started out from a town in Saxony, when the local authorities put their faith in her designers, who claimed that the woman could improve road safety. As it turns out, they were right.

    Key to Success

    The head of the manufacturing company responsible for these unusual lights revealed the secret of the little ladys success.

    Owing to her curvy shape, it is easier for her to draw the attention of drivers and pedestrians, while her dress takes up a lot of room, making her brighter than her male rival.

    Her fame spread outside the borders of Germany, and exports were not long in coming.

    In fact, last month, the city Utrecht in the Netherlands bought the first set of female lights, with locals calling the little lady Sophie.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [04] Satisfaction over Karolos Papoulias Karamanlis in the Lead

    11 Feb 2005 20:08:00

    Sources: NET

    According to an opinion poll conducted by VPRC between 7 and 9 February on behalf of radio station Sky, the popularity of the Prime Minister is quite high in relation to the other political leaders. Kostas Karamanlis appears as the most suitable for the position of Prime Minister with 48%, as opposed to 26% for the president of PASOK. In the same poll, those questioned were mostly in favour of Karolos Papoulias election to the presidency of the Hellenic Republic.

    The Popularity of the Political Leaders

    Specifically, 69% of those asked were in favour of Karolos Papoulias election as President of the Hellenic Republic, as opposed to 16% who voted against.

    With regard to the popularity of the political leaders from November up until today, Kostas Karamanlis percentage dropped from 76% to 70%, while George Papandreous percentage dropped from 62% to 55%. Alekos Alavanos received 41%, Aleka Paraiga 39% and Giorgos Karatzaferis 33%.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Kofi Annan intervenes New Cyprus Developments

    11 Feb 2005 17:23:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA

    A great deal of activity has been seen in the last 24 hours in the Cyprus issue, after the statements by the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, who called on the Cypriot President, Tassos Papadopoulos, to submit written proposals on the changes he wishes to see in the Annan Plan, describing such a development as "helpful for restarting talks." On the other hand, Mr Papadopoulos announced that he would ask for clarifications from Mr Annan, while government spokesman Kypros Chrisostomidis noted that the President of Cyprus had already written down his disagreements with the Plan in a letter dated 6 June 2004, and added that the positions of the Greek-Cypriot side are a matter for discussion by the National Council. Cyprus two largest parties, AKEL and DISY, stressed that Mr Annans statement should not be ignored. Notwithstanding, the government ruled out the possibility of submitting positions in writing before the role of the UN Secretary General is clarified.

    Greek-Cypriots Call for Clarification

    The President of Cyprus will call for clarification on how far Kofi Annan will take the initiative on the Cyprus problem, and how far he is to accept substantial changes to the Plan. Mr Papadopoulos described Mr Annans statement as "non objective."

    "Mr Erdogan has also not submitted such proposals, but I did not hear him asking for the same thing from the Turkish side," said Mr Papadopoulos, noting that in the letter of 6 June "the concerns that must be satisfied in order for the Cypriot people to be able to accept a solution" are detailed.

    "Both Sides Not Asked for Proposals"

    The representative of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Koumoutsakos referred to the matter, describing any movement towards a solution as positive, while he reiterated the Greek sides position on the reunification of the island based on the Annan Plan.

    Furthermore, Mr Chrisostomidis stated that he hails the initiative by the UN Secretary General, if it aims to negotiate and make substantial changes to the Annan Plan, and he added that the UN Secretary General has never asked for both sides to sumit changes to the Annan Plan.

    However, when asked to comment on Mr Annans statement that the Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown his willingness for talks to proceed to find a solution, Mr Chrisostomidis stressed that Mr Annan did not mention that the President of Cyprus states "almost every day" that he is ready to proceed with negotiations for changes that the Greek-Cypriot wishes on the Annan Plan.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] PASOK Accuses ND of Unnecessary Borrowing Wrangling over Borrowing

    11 Feb 2005 18:07:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    The Government and the Opposition crossed swords yet again in Parliament today, due to a question raised by PASOK MPs regarding Greeces recent loan, as well as the management of the public debt. In answering to PASOKs question, the Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas blamed the former government for the state of the Economy. He also pointed out that there is no need to worry about the level of the reserves, while he added that the country has had a plethora of offers from banks regarding loans. The PASOK MPs accused the Government of unnecessary over-borrowing to the amount of four billion euros through non-transparent procedures.

    Accusations Flying High

    Actually, Mr Doukas spoke of a "fiscal tsunami" that was PASOKs legacy to ND, which was prompted by PASOKs dangerous policies that included borrowing on a daily basis.

    The PASOK MPs accused the Government of total lack of borrowing policy, while they also spoke of "gloomy phenomena in the Economy."

    Furthermore, PASOKs former Economy Minister, Nikos Christodoulakis, claimed that the Greek public sectors reserves have always been adequate and there was never any case of inability to meet its financial obligations. He also went on to comment on the Governments unwise borrowing.

    Moreover, PASOK MP Thodoros Pangalos accused Mr Doukas of unnecessarily proceeding with an impromptu loan through questionable procedures and with unfavourable terms and conditions, thus resulting in eight million euros of losses for Greece per month.

    In answering, Mr Doukas assured everyone that there is no need to panic despite the fact that the funds available are under a billion euros, while he pointed out that they have had interesting offers from many banks with exceptionally favourable terms.

    Clashes over the Fiscal Inventory

    The wrangling over the Economy continued with comments by the alternate government spokesperson and PASOKs spokesperson.

    "The Greeks found out about the real picture of the Economy through the fiscal inventory, which put an end to the cooking of figures and the creative accounting of former governments," declared the alternate government spokesperson Vangelis Antonaros.

    On the other hand, Nikos Athanasakis spoke of another two years of recession and austerity, depreciated increases and total abandonment of the Governments pre-election pledges, while he accused the government spokesperson of putting the PM on the spot with his statements, since it now appears that he was not aware of the state of the Greek economy a few months ago.

    "Before speaking of cooking the figures, the government spokesperson should look in his governments kitchen," pointed out PASOKs spokesperson, while he also spoke of loss of valuable time for the government and another two years of recession.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Meeting with Moliviatis and Basiakos Focus on the Economy

    11 Feb 2005 13:32:00

    By Viki Keleri

    Since this morning, the Prime Minister has held consecutive meetings with Ministers in Maximos Mansion. He discussed all matters regarding the Economy with the Minister for the Economy, Mr Giorgos Alogoskoufis, who announced increases to pensions and salaries. Moreover, Mr Karamanlis met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Moliviatis with whom issues of Greek foreign policy were discussed. Following this, he held a meeting with the leadership of the Ministry of Rural Development & Food with whom the prospects opening up in the agricultural sector, mainly after 2006, were discussed. After the meeting Minister Evangelos Basiakos announced that a Bill would be submitted to Parliament on the restructure of the Ministrys services.

    Increases Announced

    All the issues regarding the Economy were at the focus of the two-hour discussion between the Minister of the Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis and the Prime Minister. After the meeting, the minister announced increases to salaries and pensions higher than inflation (which closed last year at 2.9%) as well as increases to OGA and EKAS at twice the rate of inflation. He stressed that income related policy would be announced in the coming week. He also underlined that the government persists with the strategy of moderate fiscal application and put emphasis on economic development and the outward-looking nature of the economy, noting that the governments initiatives will unfold shortly.

    Regarding the matter or a disagreement or otherwise with the Minister for Employment Panos Panagiotopoulos, on the bank employees social security issue, Mr Alogoskoufis said that there is complete accord with Mr Panagiotopoulos. In fact, he noted that in the dialogue between bank employees and the banks, the government is not submitting proposals, but representatives of the Ministries for Employment and for the Economy are participating in order to secure the interests of the public sector. Regarding the offers for Olympic Airlines, he stated that the deadline has closed, while he stressed that there are several interested Greek and foreign investors as well as airline companies, noting that the process would concentrate on the best offers, according to the provisions of the competition announcement.

    Focus on Improving Competitiveness

    Mr Basiakos stated the need for the competitiveness of agriculture and the farmers situated in the countryside to be supported in every possible way, together with International Law and the EU.

    He also stated that the main priority of the government is the development "of comparative advantages of the country and the agricultural department in the intensely competitive environment after 2006."

    In closing, he noted that during the previous time interval the Ministry assured the speedy dispensation of benefits and compensation, while he made mention to the high absorbency of the European funds from the 3rd Community Support Framework.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [08] Offers Start for Olympic Airlines

    11 Feb 2005 13:08:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The process of selling Olympic Airlines has entered its final stages, as at midnight the deadline for declaring interest ended. According to information, the list includes six or seven airline companies and investment groups from Greece and abroad. Today, the bidding is expected to open, while within the next few weeks, the process of evaluating the offers is expected to be completed in order to compile a final list and receive committed offers. Today, the Ministers for the Economy and for Transport Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Michalis Liapis met in order to discuss the matter. The two ministers did not make any statements, although economic sources describe the developments as satisfactory.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [09] Toppled by Stress

    11 Feb 2005 18:08:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    As per Giannis Topalidis, Dennis Rommendhals goal at the end of the first half of the match between Greece and Denmark proved to be crucial for the development of the match, as far as the Greek footballers performance was concerned. Otto Rehhagels assistant spoke on radio station SuperSPORT FM today and expressed the belief that the slump in the second half was mainly due to the fact that the goal stressed out the Greeks, who feared that the draw was imminent. "We played well in the first half," declared Mr Topalidis, and went on to add, "The goal we received in the end of the first half contributed to the slump in the second half. The boys entered the match fearing they might receive a second goal and so they played defensively in order to keep the score at 2-1."

    A Draw is OK, but we Want a Victory

    Mr Topalidis also referred to the three footballers who were having problems with injuries and said that they did not know whether they would be able to participate, although they had told Rehhagel that they wanted to play. "We had problems with Basinas, Zagorakis and Karagounis. The coach told them that he would wait for them until the last minute and if they could not play he would then see what he would do. They declared that they were feeling a bit ill, but were determined to play. They tried very hard." He also talked about the future of the preliminaries, saying, "A draw against Georgia would not be a bad result, but we have to play to win, since the match between the Ukraine and Albania did not end in a draw as we were hoping. Georgia has a team with good technique, and although it is not as tough as Denmark, it is quite dangerous in the counterattacks due to its quick strikers."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Mason Unlikely to Play

    11 Feb 2005 16:01:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    With the red and white team concentrating mainly on the A1 Championship, the players are preparing to go to the Olympic Stadium in order to face Panathinaikos on Sunday. The bad news for the coach of the Piraeus team has come from Roger Mason Junior, who felt unwell, and it is doubtful whether he will play.

    All for a Win

    The American forward went through a series of examinations, which showed that he had gastritis, giving him a 50-50 chance of participating in the match.

    Everyones minds are on the crucial match on Sunday, in which all they want is a win. One of the teams best players, Perry, spoke first of all about the red teams performance and the fact that they were knocked out of the European championship, saying: "if we had had this team from the beginning of the year, we would have qualified to the next stage of the Euroleague," and he went on to talk about the match against the Champions and the plans for the future.

    "We have a good team, but we lack continuity. On Sunday against Panathinaikos, we must play strongly and have our minds on a win. If were scared or go into the game thinking that we wont make it, then the game is lost before it even starts."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [11] Greek Whistles in Italy & San Marino

    11 Feb 2005 14:33:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    Sources: Hellenic Football Federation

    Two more games of the preliminary phase of the 2006 World Cup will be painted in "blue and white," as two Greek referees will be participating in the event. On March 26, FIFA appointed Kiros Vassaras to referee the game between Italy and Scotland with Mr Tsolakidis and Mr Bozatzidis as assistants, while Mr Briakos will take up the 4th referees duties. A few days later, on March 20, Giorgos Kasnaferis will referee the game between San Marino and Belgium, with Mr Dallas and Mr Tapratzis as assistants and Mr Douros as 4th referee.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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