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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-02-15

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Torrential Problems
  • [02] Wave of Support for Christodoulos
  • [03] Genius Toddler
  • [04] Potato Vaccine Against Hepatitis B
  • [05] Quake Shook India
  • [06] Lethal Rainfalls in Venezuela-Colombia
  • [07] EU Constitution in Parliament Soon
  • [08] Wrangling Over Revenue Policy
  • [09] Athens Candidate for FINA World Championship
  • [10] Internet Censorship in China
  • [11] Lighthouse Hotel
  • [12] Vavilis' Hideouts

  • [01] One Dead, 5 Injured, Severe Damages Torrential Problems

    15 Feb 2005 18:32:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The adverse weather conditions that afflicted Greece in the last 24 hours are gradually subsiding, as per the National Meteorological Service (EMY). Gale force winds and heavy rainfalls caused severe damages and cost the life of a man off the island of Psara, while another five people were injured. Most of the problems were recorded in Attica and the islands of Greece, where the strong winds uprooted trees, broke windows and cut electrical lines, leaving many areas without power. Major problems were also recorded in the ports of Piraeus and Rafina, where the ships remain docked. At Zea Marina, high waves broke a port barrier, resulting in several craft being swept away by the waves, while dozens capsized. Furthermore, two ships ran aground off Chios and Piraeus. Moreover, there were problems with the flights departing from Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport, as well as other island airports.

    One Dead, Five Injured

    The power supply is gradually being reinstated in various areas throughout Attica, however, there are still problems in Dionysos, Rafina, Avlona, Lavrio, Anthousa and Nea Makri.

    Furthermore, the tram die not run from Elliniko to Glyfada, as the sea level had risen in the area due to the heavy rainfall. The tram is not expected to start operating today, as the problem has not been reinstated.

    There were serious problems for take-off and landing at Eleftherios Venizelos airport up until this afternoon, but the situation is gradually improving, since the winds have subsided. A total of 19 Olympic Airways flights were cancelled since this morning. In addition, Aegean Airlines cancelled its evening flight to Mytilini, as well as flight 651 to Rhodes. Furthermore, the afternoon Aegean Airlines Larnaca-Athens flight was redirected to Thessaloniki, where another Delta Airlines flight, bound to Athens from New York, and a Tunisian Airlines flight also landed.

    Due to the bad weather, 52-year-old Alexandros Petralis, an engine driver of the cargo ship Panagia Psariani, was killed, when he lost his balance and fell in the sea, as he and other crewmembers were trying to keep the ship from capsizing. The man was later recovered dead from the waters, while, according to information so far, his death was caused by pathological conditions.

    Furthermore, debris and branches that were swept by the gales injured another five people. Finally, serious problems were also recorded in many rural towns and islands.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    In the Eye of the Winds

    [02] K. Mitsotakis Speaks of Unfair Attacks Wave of Support for Christodoulos

    15 Feb 2005 20:05:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The New Democracy members who are showing support for Christodoulos are increasing. Following, yesterdays statement by Miltiadis Evert, who asked for the attacks against the Archbishop to stop, the honourary President of ND, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, as well as the Public Works Minister, Georgios Souflias, also pledged their support for Mr Christodoulos. At the same time, the Church is continuing its investigations into all the scandalous cases that have been brought to light. The Continuous Holy Synod decided to also check whether monk Nikodimos Farmakis, known for his connection to Apostolos Vavilis, had been issued with a gun permit and whether retired Archimandrite Koulousousas did actually attempt to commit suicide.

    Mitsotakis and Souflias' Statements

    In statements he made today, Konstantinos Mitsotakis conveyed his support for Archbishop Christodoulos.

    "I believe that the attacks against Archbishop Christodoulos are in their greatest part unfair and I hope that they will not continue," he stated.

    Public Works Minister Georgios Souflias also intervened in the ecclesiastical crisis with a written statement.

    "The havoc being created will not help the Church. We will only help it if we let it proceed with its clean up."

    Yesterday, in a written statement, Miltiadis Evert stressed the need for the completion of the clean up in the area of Justice and the Church and asked for all attacks against the Archbishop to stop. He went on to remind everyone that that some powers were annoyed over his stance in the war in Yugoslavia and other matters.

    Asked to comment on the statements made by Messrs Evert and Mitsotakis, the alternate government spokesperson referred to the statements made by the Prime Minister.

    "Any attempt in favour of catharsis will have the full support of the Government and, in my opinion, of all the Greek citizens," stressed Evangelos Antonaros.

    Regarding the possibility of whether there will be an initiative by the Government, he underlined that the State authorities will naturally intervene in any matters they deem that they have to.

    The President of the Hellenic Republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, also referred to the incidents of corruption in the area of Justice and the Church, while speaking at an event hosted by the Athens Academy.

    Mr Stefanopoulos expressed his sadness for all the unpleasant affairs revealed, while he underlined that, "They were caused by the behaviours of people and not institutions."

    Operation Clean Up

    At the same time, the Church is continuing its efforts towards catharsis.

    So, following the so-called ecclesiastical beheading of the Metropolitan Bishop of Attica, Panteleimon, who will probably be permanently removed from his position after the lapse of his six-month suspension, a new article that appeared in the Press and has shocked the people, is being put under the microscope by the Hierarchs.

    The Synod decided to ask for explanations from the Metropolitan Bishop of Thessalotida, Theoklitos, regarding the article that appeared in the newspaper Ta Nea , according to which Archimandrite Serafim Koulousousas had attempted to commit suicide in Karditsa.

    Serafim Koulousousas had been ordained in 2001 by the Metropolitan Bishop of Thessaliotida and was seconded to the Archbishops private office.

    He resigned a month ago and is alleged to be overseas. However, speaking on radio station NET 105.8, Fotis Koulousousas denied the rumours regarding his brother attempting to commit suicide.

    Furthermore, the Continuous Holy Synod decided to also check whether monk Nikodimos Farmakis had been issued with a gun permit.

    It should be noted that, following the Archbishops decision, the Hierarchy will convene on Friday and Saturday to discuss the measures that will have to implemented in order to deal with the crisis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Vavilis' Hideouts

    [03] Three-Year-Old Einstein! Genius Toddler

    15 Feb 2005 18:46:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    What if he is just three years old? A toddler from Britain managed to become accepted in MENSA due to his extremely high intelligent quotient. Mikhail Ali IQ is 137, which puts him in the top 2% in Britain for his age. Due to this IQ, he has amazing capabilities in his everyday life. He knows the Arabic alphabet, he can add and subtract four-digit numbers and at the moment he is learning his times tables.

    Little Einsteins

    He even teases his mum by spelling words backwards for a joke.

    Mikhail Ali is at the moment the youngest member of MENSA.

    In May 2004, another boy, who had an IQ of 130, had become a member of the organization.

    Four-year-old Matthew Harrison had a vocabulary of 70 words when he was just a year old and also spoke Spanish, although his family was not of Spanish descent.

    As per his parents, he learnt Spanish off satellite TV!

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Beneficial Potatoes Potato Vaccine Against Hepatitis B

    15 Feb 2005 14:27:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    An important and rather unexpected medical breakthrough gives hopes for the future. American scientists performed researches with genetically modified potatoes and findings so far showed that the volunteers who tested the potato vaccine significantly increased their immunity to the virus. 42 people took part in the research and 60% of them showed signs of immunity. Researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York are hoping that this new discovery will allow them to make an affordable oral vaccine to tackle a disease, which costs the lives of one million people each year. A hepatitis B vaccine is already available as an injection but it is too expensive for some poorer countries to buy and store in refrigerators.

    Optimistic Future Scenarios

    As it appears, the solution to the problem is the relatively low cost and simplicity of an oral hepatitis B vaccine, which will make it ideal for global immunisation programmes.

    Researchers took ordinary potato plants and genetically altered them to include a single protein from the hepatitis B virus. The idea was that once consumed, the protein would trigger the body's immune system to recognise and fight any future encounter with the hepatitis B virus without causing disease.

    This discovery paves the way for many optimistic scnarions, as scientists hope that in the future countries could grow their own potato vaccine plants and immunise entire populations.

    One Million Deaths Annually

    However, until reaching that stage there is still much work to be done, as all volunteers in the study had taken the conventional Hepatitis B vaccine in the past. If the oral potato vaccine will have the same amazing effects on people who had not already been vaccinated against the virus is something that remains to be seen.

    Despite all, this does not downgrade the importance of the discovery, as scientists are convinced that it will pave the way to the oral Hepatitis B vaccine. In fact, they envisage that the final version would be given in the form of a capsule or powder.

    It is worth noting that Hepatitis B is a major healthcare problem worldwide. Some people will suffer only an acute illness and recover quickly without any long-term liver damage. However, it can cause a chronic illness that lasts more than six months, sometimes for life, with symptoms that come and go. This can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] No Reports on Victims or Damage Quake Shook India

    15 Feb 2005 17:24:00

    By Viki Keleri

    An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale scattered fear in northeastern India at 13.15 Greek time. In particular, the quake occurred in Silong, capital of Megalaya, one month after local authorities had issued a warning of an upcoming seismic activity in the area. Terrified inhabitants abandoned their homes, but for the time being there are no reports on victims, injuries or damage.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] Nonstop Rain Since 8 February Lethal Rainfalls in Venezuela-Colombia

    15 Feb 2005 11:52:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Torrential rains in Venezuela and neighboring Colombia, which are falling nonstop since 8 February, have cost the lives of at least 85 people. Tens of thousands have abandoned their homes, according to officials in Caracas and Bogota, while dozens of people are missing. Rainfalls have caused extensive damage on bridges and roads. In the state of Merida, Venezuela, many rivers have flooded and many areas are left without water, food or electricity, while in the state of Tahira the floods have even wiped out entire villages. Officials fear an epidemic outbreak in the flooded areas. Rainfalls, which have afflicted western and southwestern Venezuela, have forced authorities to declare seven countries in a state of emergency. In northeastern Colombia at least 40 people are missing and 25,000 have fled their homes.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] EU Constitution in Parliament Soon

    15 Feb 2005 14:08:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The European Constitution is on its way to Parliament, and is expected to be submitted for ratification in the coming March. The Cabinet today discussed the ratification process in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister. It was decided to form a 70-member two-party committee which in four or five meetings will go through the details of the new Constitutional Treaty before passing the baton on to the Plenary Session of Parliament. In turn, Parliament will hold a series of meetings before submitting the text to a vote. Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis described the European Constitutional Treaty as a very significant step towards the unification of Europe and the product of compromise, as is the case with all EU matters, according to democratic principle.

    Molyviatis: Consensus for a United Europe

    Full participation of Greece in the EU is a great strategic choice by ND and Konstantinos Karamanlis, which is served well, stressed the Foreign Minister as he came out of Maximos Mansion. "We are glad that this great political choice has been made so that later, most of the countrys political forces and therefore Greece itself can proceed with wider consensus towards a United Europe," he noted.

    "We are bringing the Bill to ratify the Treaty to Parliament much earlier than other countries," underlined Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the same time. "We are thereby showing in deed that Greece and our government will contribute to European completion, which does not only regard our country, but the whole of Europe," he added.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] Trade Unions Strikes in March Wrangling Over Revenue Policy

    15 Feb 2005 14:57:00 (Last updated: 15 Feb 2005 22:14:11)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Government and the Opposition crossed swords today, due to Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis statements yesterday, regarding 3.6% and 4% increases in civil servant salaries and pensions respectively. "New Democracys Government is fulfilling all of its pre-election pledges and has demonstrated this with the announcement of the revenue policy," stressed the government spokesperson, Thodoris Roussopoulos, in answering to PASOK president George Papandreou, who spoke of a dark reality and insecurity for the citizens. On the other hand, deputy government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros stated that the government is not exercising an austerity policy. In the meantime, trade unions will be proceeding with three-day demonstrations, from 17 to 19 March, reacting to the revenue policy.

    Government Vs Opposition

    Following PASOK's steering committee assembly, Mr Papandreou accused the government of deceiving the citizens and cliamed that the increases announced were significantly lower than the ones granted by PASOK over the last two years. "Promises and reality are two completely different things," underlined Mr Papandreou and went on to note that the government and the PM are untrustworthy, while "Greek Economy is going downhill."

    In answering to these criticisms, the government spokesperson declared, "Seriousness and reliability are linked to the truth and of course they do not any way relate to scaremongering and distortion of reality, which is what Mr Papandreou is trying to do." Meanwhile, Mr Roussopoulos stressed, "The insecurity of the citizens is a result of the PASOK governments, which brought the economy to the situation it is today."

    "The Government is not implementing an austerity policy and remains true to its programme, which its has fulfilled," said the deputy government spokesperson. During the scheduled press conference, Mr Antonaros stressed that the increases announced were double the inflation, while he added that the governments intention is to converge salaries and pensions with the European average via the acceleration of processes.

    At the same time, Mr Antonaros accused the former government of PASOK that the increases announced in December 2003 were "too pre-electoral" and not included in the 2004 budget. What is more, he added that the budget will be implemented in full and it will contribute towards stabilizing of economy and combating the deficits.

    Wave of Demonstrations

    DEKO (Public Services and Utilities Enterprises) and banks are expected to proceed with a 24-hour strike throughout Greece, while a workers rally will take place on 17 March. Furthermore, the pensioners will proceed with demonstrations on 24 February.

    In a meeting held today, the heads of federations harshly criticized the government over the announced increases and decided not to accept contracts lower than 5.5%. Meanwhile, they expressed the belief that the governments plan for the banks social security can become a guide for similar regulations in the DEKOs.

    The date of strikes will be determined by the GSEE executive committee, which will convene in the next few days, while ADEDY has not presented its stance, yet, which will depend on the dialogue with the government on matters regarding Education and Health.

    In the meantime, the OTOE general council will convene on Wednesday regarding the escalation of demonstrations, while they have called a strike for next Monday.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    3.6% Increase in Salaries

    [09] Athens Candidate for FINA World Championship

    15 Feb 2005 13:40:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Five cities including Athens have bid to host the 13th FINA World Championships 2009, according to an announcement issued today by FINA. The International Federation will announce its final decision on July 16, after the assembly of the Executive Committee in Montreal, which has undertaken this year's championship. Apart from Athens, Dubai, Moscow, Rome and Tokyo are the other potential candidates to host the world championship for water sports. As it has already been decided, Melbourne will host the 2007 competition.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Thousands of Internet cafes closed Internet Censorship in China

    15 Feb 2005 11:33:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    It is well known that the Chinese authorities do not have the best relations with the various Internet cafes operating all over the country. Another proof of this is the recent closure of about 12,600 such cafes, which took place during the last three months of 2004, by order of the government. According to official announcements, the authorities closed the cafes because they were operating without a licence. Many people, however, find the official pretext unsatisfactory and believe that this move aims at stricter control on the Internet from the government. In China, Internet cafes operate within very strict regulations and many were forced to close because they were in violation of the regulation that states that they should be located at a distance of at least 200 metres from schools.

    There are also strict restrictions on the number of hours a child is allowed to surf on the Internet.

    This is down to the fact that the government of China believes that Internet cafes exert a bad influence on young people. In fact, it tries to determine what kind of video games are suitable, in order to restrict violent electronic games.

    Internet cafes are especially popular in China, mainly owing to the high cost of computers, which makes it prohibitive for most Chinese people to have computers at home.

    Bans and Arrests

    The recent closure of thousands of Internet cafes is not the only such incident. Quite often in the past, the government of China has made moves against such enterprises because they did not keep to the strict operating regulations.

    All the approximately 100,000 Internet cafes in the country are obliged to use special software that controls the type of webpages users can visit, while a file is kept on the pages visited.

    The laws that determine the operating hours of Internet cafes and the way in which the Internet can be used were introduced for the first time in 2002 when 25 people lost their lives in a fire in one such caf&#233;. At that time, the government decided to take harsh measures and institute an operating licence for Internet cafes.

    In August 2004, the Chinese authorities closed about 700 webpages and arrested 224 people in an effort to put down Internet pornography. Following this, it introduced new regulations in order to block out Internet porn sites from outside China.

    At the end of 2003, the organisation Reporters Without Borders accused some of the worlds largest technology companies of helping the Chinese government to censor the Internet, while in its report it revealed that the control systems for the Internet and email that have been developed by the Chinese government are among the most developed in the world.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [11] In Northern Germany Lighthouse Hotel

    15 Feb 2005 12:58:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    A different hotel will open shortly at a port in northern Germany. The building is a renovated 19th century lighthouse, which has been transformed so as to accommodate up to six customers. The lighthouse hotel 'Roter Sand' (which means red sand) operated last year as well, but after its renovation customers will be able to spend two nights in it, rather than one which was the case last year. The tourist Authorities of the Bremerhaven port announced that the lighthouse, built in 1885, will reopen its gates on March 12. Despite lacking necessities, which is reasonable for that type of hotels, its prices remind of a rather luxurious hotel. A daily trip will cost you almost 60 euros, for a single-night accommodation you will pay 407 euros, while two nights will cost you 495 euros. Last year, more than 450 tourists visited the lighthouse and 89 of them stayed overnight.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] Eirinaios' Treasurer Gone Missing Vavilis' Hideouts

    15 Feb 2005 21:42:00

    Sources: NET

    The Vavilis case seems to resemble a crime novel or a movie plot. New evidence keeps coming to light all the time by people who knew him, conducted business with him or were defrauded by Apostolos Vavilis. However, he remains in hiding, while new scenarios keep emerging regarding his whereabouts.

    Last Seen in Calabria

    Mt Athos, Shanghai and Athens are some of the places where the secret hideouts of Apostolos Vavilis are believed to be located.

    It has been confirmed that he was last seen in Calabria, two months ago, where he posed as monk Raphael.

    Father Nilos Vatopedinos feels regret today, not because he was na&#239;ve, but because he had believed that had found a sworn supporter.

    Speaking on radio station NET 105.8, Father Nilos, did not seem able to explain what Vavilis group was seeking to do in Italy.

    He admitted, however, that he had known retired officer Trainafyllakis for a long while.

    He later met the third member of the Jerusalem group, Archimandrite Nikodimos, who accompanied them to Calabria in November 2004.

    In Athens, Triantafyllakis and Vavilis were gathering money and material goods for the monasteries.

    Howver, it remains unknown when exactly Apostolos Vavilis business activities with the Public Order Ministry, during the period 1997-98 when he was wanted by Interpol, had commenced.

    On the other hand, Nikos Balerbas, advisor to the Ministry at the time, claimed that Vavilis had already commenced his collaboration when he assumed his duties.

    Spotted in Bangkok

    At the same time, according to sources, Vavilis is alleged to have been spotted in Bangkok towards the end of January, ie just two weeks ago.

    As per information, pilots, crews and members of the Greek humanitarian aid delegation saw his purchasing microcameras and other electronic devices from a store in Bangkok, at which time he introduced himself as a police officer serving in the Greek Embassy in China.

    Eirinaios Treasurer Missing

    Furthermore, as per the Director of the Athens Public Prosecutions, Dimitris Papaggelopoulos, the preliminary investigation into the treasurer of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Nikolaos Papadimas, has nearly been concluded. However, Papadimas, who along with his wife Katerina, is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Patriarchates fund, has gone missing.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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