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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-02-18

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Critical Hours in Evros
  • [02] Bush in Europe
  • [03] Cause of Alarm Over Painkiller Use
  • [04] Positive Climate for Government
  • [05] Vavilis Wants to Turn Himself In
  • [06] Attacks Against Shiites
  • [07] Three Scenarios for Deficit Decrease
  • [08] It is Raining Medals for the Mighty
  • [09] AEK: "Hurry Up"
  • [10] Consensus for Public Admin
  • [11] Proceedings Against Justices

  • [01] No Lives in Danger Critical Hours in Evros

    18 Feb 2005 14:24:00

    By Viki Keleri

    The concern of the inhabitants and the authorities in the Prefecture of Evros is great, since during the coming hours a large volume of water from Bulgaria is expected to overflow into the riverbeds of Evros and Ardas Rivers. During a meeting, which assembled this morning and presided by the Secretary of Civil Protection Panagiotis Fourlas and the participation of all relevant bodies, he confirmed that the situation is serious but not dangerous for the inhabitants and the villages. Mr Fourlas stated that the state mechanism is sufficient and capable. He also called on the inhabitants to not worry but to be alert in order to evacuate their houses, if needed, on time. However he said that for the time being no such action is necessary.

    State Mechanism Fully Prepared

    The General Secretary of the Prefectures of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Michalis Aggelopoulos, from his side, stated, "There is no possibility of predictions for the coming hours." "It is wise to not make any predictions. What is of importance is to be fully prepared to counter anything that could happen," stated the Minister of Interior Prokopis Pavlopoulos. He also repeated that every measure for the protection of people and their properties has been taken and stated that the citizens should be alert. Earlier this morning a break in a riverbank occurred, since it could not support the increased volume of water, in the area of Sofikos in Didimoticho, four kilometers from Pithio. No villages are in danger but the crops of the area have all been destroyed.

    The Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis will visit the stricken areas of Evros tomorrow morning.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    River Hazard in Evros

    [02] In View of the Double Summit Bush in Europe

    18 Feb 2005 20:01:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Reuters

    George Bush is arriving in Brussels on Sunday with a specific agenda. The US President will attend a double Summit with the EU and NATO on Tuesday, at which time he will try to reinforce the relations between the USA and Europe, as well as settle any differences, bringing the recent Iraqi elections and the reinstatement of Democracy in the area as an example. He will also present all the characteristics that unite the USA and Europe, including their common interest for peace and security. He is also expected to try and find allies, ie to have Europeans take his side on the matters regarding Syria and Iran. Speaking on Belgian TV channel VRT, Bush referred to the relations between the USA and Iraq and declared that seizing military action is not a presidents number one choice.

    No Nuclear Weapons for Iran

    In the interview, which was recorded in Washington, two days before his visit to Europe, the US President said that a presidents number one choice is diplomacy, while he pointed out that a common aim is that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.

    However, he also noted that diplomacy will bear fruit, just as long as Iran does not divide Europe and the USA.

    He Needs Allies

    His national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, hinted that the Iraqi elections have provided Bush with a very powerful card regarding his argumentation Brussels, in an effort to convince others that the war did have positive effects.

    He also stressed that in Iraq was a great opportunity for US-European unity, after bitter differences over the war.

    He further revealed that during the NATO Summit, Bush will ask the trans-Atlantic alliance to renew its training programme for Iraqi security forces.

    Regarding the EU Summit, Bush will focus on Irans nuclear programme, as well as Syrias presence in Lebanon.

    "One of the things the United States and Europe need to do is to send a clear message to Syria," Hadley said.

    Concerning the issue with the Middle East, he will ask the Europeans to make a financial contribution to the Palestinians. The USA has already pledged $ 350 million in aid.

    The Europeans' Stance

    The Europeans will present a series of matters to George Bush.

    French President Jacques Chirac made it absolutely clear that he will refer to the European completion, British PM Tony Blair will discuss the issue with the Middle East, while German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will focus on the Iranian nuclear programme.

    Earlier, the President of the Brussels Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, declared that he is looking forward to welcoming US President George Bush to Brussels.

    He stressed that the USA needs Europe and vice versa, while he added that a better world can be built through cooperation.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [03] Cause of Alarm Over Painkiller Use

    18 Feb 2005 17:01:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: National Organization for Medicines- European Medicines Agency

    The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has made strict warnings over the use of common painkillers that contain COX-2 inhibitors. The EMEA stated that the anti-inflammatory painkillers, which are usually prescribed to patients with arthritis for pain relief and side-symptoms, are suspected for causing heart problems. With an emergency announcement the Agency recommends that the drugs should be avoided, their usage should be stopped by patients suffering from heart problems or have suffered a stroke, and patients in high risk of heart problems. The National Organization for Medicines (EOF), which is aware of the developments, announced that it is closely monitoring the issue and it will inform the public, when needed.

    COX-2 Inhibitors Under the Microscope

    The European Medicines Agency states that the warnings are temporary and it will return with new evidence in April, however it judged as necessary to pose an Urgent Safety Restriction, since on the basis of the current research an increased danger of unwanted heart problems due to COX-2 is indicated.

    The National Organization for Medicines states the following:

    COX-2 inhibitors should not be prescribed to patients suffering from heart disease or a stroke.

    Moreover, for patients that their blood pressure cannot be controlled, the substance of etoricoxib may can cause hypertension.

    A warning will be made according to which doctors should be careful with the prescription of the drug to patients with a high risk for heart problems such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and smoking and to patients with peripheral vascular problems.

    With the granted relation between cardiovascular danger and exposure to COX-2 inhibitors, it is recommended to doctors to use a lesser dosage for a short treatment period.

    To patients that are already following treatment that includes painkillers from the aforementioned category, it is recommended that they discuss the issue with their doctor. According to European specialists stopping the drug does not cause danger to the patients but their substitution is necessary for the relief of the symptoms.

    The substance of COX-2 is popular due to the fact that they are substances with fewer side effects to the digestive system in relation to traditional anti-inflammatory drugs. Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the market last September and Celebrex, which is under the scientists microscope are also included in the COX-2 group.

    The medicines investigated by the European Medicines Agency are Celebrex (celecoxib), Arcoxia (etoricoxib), Dynastat (parecoxib), Prexige (lumiracoxib) and Bextra (valdecoxib).

    In closing it is noteworthy to say the the European warnings are stated at a time when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has undertaken a similar investigation concerning the safety over the use of COX-2 inhibitors.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related Links:

    European Medicines Agency

    National Organization for Medicines

    [04] Positive Climate for Government

    18 Feb 2005 11:31:00

    By Viki Keleri

    Sources: NET RADIO 105.8

    The government formation of Kostas Karamanlis is more widely accepted than the one of the previous PASOK government, as it emerges from a Kapa Research gallop poll taken on the behalf of Krama magazine. The poll was based on 18 comparisons of Ministers, 15 of which Ministers of the current government won. Also a 49.5% considers Kostas Karamanlis as a more suitable PM than Kostas Simitis who received 34.7%.

    The Winners

    Nikitas Kaklamanis, Giorgos Voulgarakis and Thodoris Rousopoulos received high percentages as well as the Ministers of Public Works, Economy and Economics and Rural Development of the current government, as opposed to predecessors.

    From its side, from PASOK three Ministers win the peoples confidence vote. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Giorgos Papandreou as opposed to Petros Moliviatis, former Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Charis Kastanidis as opposed to Nikos Tsiartsonis and former Minister for the Aegean & Island Policy Nikos Sifounakis as opposed to Aristotelis Pavlidis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] With a Letter to the Supreme Court Vavilis Wants to Turn Himself In

    18 Feb 2005 15:20:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    With a letter to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, delivered by journalist Makis Triantafillopoulos, Apostolos Vavilis seems to be ready to turn himself in to the Greek authorities. In his letter, the most talked about figure of the past weeks, asks for a reassurance of a fair, objective and humane treatment from the authorities and a just trial for the charges pending on his behalf. Speaking on Thursday in NETs television show "Ta Chromata tis Iridas," Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis seemed certain that Vavilis will be arrested and guaranteed his safety in the case he decided to turn himself in.

    Decriminalizes Christodoulos, Accuses Eirinaios

    Journalist Makis Triantafillopoulos, this noon, gave the letter of fugitive Apostolos Vavilis to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Dimitris Linos. Vavilis, in his many-paged letter speaks of a "homicidal mania of the Mass Media," and journalists who want to lynch and execute him without a trial.

    He speaks of people who appear to have so-called sure information who expose and ridicule every one who he has had relations or contacts, common work associates, witnesses of his trial, his ex-wife who he states they have divorced since 2000.

    Making reference to Archbishop Christodoulos, he states that he had met him during the start of his judicial adventure and since then they have not kept any further contact. As he states " his mildness and his conversation to every man in need or in suffering lead me near him from my student years."

    On the contrary, he appears hot-spirited at the mention of Patriarch Eirinaios, who he accuses of breaching the agreement they had, which was that he would help him settle his differences with Justice.

    "I distanced myself from the new Patriarch because he breached the main and only pre-election promise which was to help me settle my judiciary problem, certainly not by affecting the Justice, but as a Pastor, explaining the size of my tragedy and the repeated unfairness," he stated.

    Making reference to his misadventure with narcotics, he claims he is a persecutor and not a dealer and that he cooperated with the Greek Police to uncover drug circles.

    Vavilis authorizes his lawyer Giorgos Alifantakis to give all the necessary clarifications over the content of his letter.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Vavilis' Hideouts

    No End to Vavilis' Shenanigans

    Vavilis Supplies Public Sector

    [06] Over 30 Killed in 5 Attacks Attacks Against Shiites

    18 Feb 2005 22:13:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: Reuters

    On the eve of the Ashura festival, the holiest day of the Shiite calendar, Iraq was rocked by back-to-back blasts against holy cities. A total of five attacks took place against Shiite targets, resulting in the death of over 30 people, during the bloodiest day since the 30 January elections. The most recent attack was by a car bomb, late on Friday night, in the town Iskandariya, killing seven people and injuring another ten. The deadliest attack took place at a packed mosque in Doura. At least 15 people were killed and several injured when a suicide bomber mingled with worshippers before detonating his explosives. Earlier, three people were killed in two suicide attacks against Shiite mosques in Baghdad, while a few hours earlier another suicide attack killed two police officers and a member of the Iraqi National Guard. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet, however, the Iraqi Security advisor stated on CNN that al-Zarqawi is behind the attacks.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Measures will be Structural and not Receivable Three Scenarios for Deficit Decrease

    18 Feb 2005 15:37:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA- NET RADIO 105.8

    The government will move to the direction of materialization of the EU recommendations, which gave a two-year deadline to Greece to decrease the deficit under 3% GDP, with structural and not receivable measures. This was made clear by the Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis who presented the results of yesterdays ECOFIN meeting. Mr Alogoskoufis stated that the 2005 budget will stand as it is as will the design of further measures which concern 2006. The plans of the government for the course of the Greek economy is included in the current Stability Pact, which will be submitted in Parliament and the EU until the middle of March and is condensed in three scenarios.

    Alogoskoufis: EU Ratifies Mild Adjustment

    Making reference to the ECOFIN meeting results, Mr Alogoskoufis stated that they are adopted in the whole as well as the Greek governments initiatives for the amends in the fiscal transparency and the fiscal balance.

    "The mild adjustment strategy was apparent in the 2005 budget. The Ministers Cabinet ratified this choice, since in the framework of the European process for the cases of excess deficit another year is officially given to Greece, in order to complete its correction" stated the Minister of Economy.

    In the meantime, until the end of March, the government will have to submit the review of the Stability and Growth Pact. As Mr Alogoskoufis stated, the three scenarios that will be included for the course of the Greek economy are the following:

    -The first will concern the case that everything will function according to the government program.

    -The second scenario will concern an intermediate situation and will function more towards the positions of the European Committee.

    -The third will concern what will happen if the developments in economy are adverse from the predictions.

    The program will be submitted to the Parliamentary Committee of Ecomony and European Issues, where it will be discussed.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Ecofin's Proposals

    Papandreou Criticises Economic Policy

    [08] It is Raining Medals for the Mighty

    18 Feb 2005 21:43:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    The Greek athletes surpassed all expectations in the EU European Weightlifting Championship, in Caen, France, winning a total of 12 medals, nine gold and three bronze. Therefore, following the final farewells of many Greek Olympians during the Athens Olympics, they left a lot of promises for the future of weightlifting in Greece. The athletes who won three gold medals each were: Christina Filandrinou (48kg) with 52.5kg in snatch, 70kg in clean and jerk and 122.5 in total; Theocharis Chatzidis (56kg) with 100kg in snatch, 125kg in clean and jerk and 225kg in total; and Charis Mouzenidis (62kg) with 110kg in snatch, 132.5kg in clean and jerk and 242.5kg in total. Maria Panagiotidou (63kg) received three bronze medals with 75kg in snatch, 87.5 in clean and jerk and 170kg in total.

    Tamoutzidis is Content

    Apart from the abovementioned athletes, who managed to win medals from the outset of the French event, other Greek weightlifters also competed in the EU Weightlifting Championship and achieved some great results, fully satisfying their delegation leader, Antonis Tamoutzidis. Maria Dova (63Kg) came fourth with 167.5kg in total (80-87.5), Lefteris Demelidis (77kg) came sixth with 280kg in total (125-155) and Pavlos Avramidis came eighth with 270kg in total (120-150).

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] AEK: "Hurry Up"

    18 Feb 2005 14:11:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    The long time that went by from the AEKs game against Panathinaikos until yesterdays announcement by the Hellenic Football Federation (HFF) regarding Paolo Assucsaos penalty, infuriated the football club. Therefore, AEKs managers issued an announcement asking the Federation not to delay so long in making decisions. In its announcement, AEK does not oppose the decision, which it considers fair, but just voices its objections regarding HFFs decision-making.

    The Announcement

    "In the Cup game against Panathinaikos in the Olympic Stadium, AEKs player Paolo Assuncao proceeded with an action that was anti-sportsmanlike and defamatory for football. During an altercation between players, Assuncao hit an opponent.

    The following day, AEKs administration called Paolo Assuncao to provide explanations and with the agreement of the coach, it imposed a 5,000-euro fine on the player, judging that this behaviour does not befit the new criteria set by our team, both in the pitch and on the stands. Yesterday, HFFs disciplinary committee penalized the player with three games, a decision that AEKs administration agrees with and therefore will not be filing an appeal.

    However, AEK FC believes that important decisions, which relate to severe violations by footballers, should be made as soon as possible and the penalty should be immediate. This way, it will set an example for players, since they will not be able to compete in the following game, as well as assists the teams, as they will quickly find out when they will be able to use the player again."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] National Convention for Administrative Reform Consensus for Public Admin

    18 Feb 2005 16:41:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    During the 4th National Convention for Administrative Reform Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked for the consensus of parties and social bodies, for the reestablishment of Public Administration, based on the 3-year programme "Politeia 2005-2007" (State). The Convention took place on Friday in Zappeio Mansion. In his speech, Mr Pavlopoulos stressed that todays Public Administration has many flaws, including its relations with citizens and the implementation of a Rule of Law. In continuing, he defined the aims of the programme as: the reform of Public Administration, so that it serves the citizens, the untilization of its powers and the consolidation of a social Rule of Law.

    The Aims for the Period 2005-2007

    The aims of the programme for the next three years (2005-2007) are as follows:

    Transparency in Public Administration Serving all citizens, based on their needs E-Government in all Administrative levels (central and regional administration, municipalities) Restructuring of agencies Institutional build up of Public Administration, with regard to protecting the private information of citizens Strengthening and utilizing the human resources in Public Administration Implementation of new technologies

    Problems with Public Works

    Mr Pavlopoulos stressed that the Programme "Politeia" existed when PASOK was in power, but today it is developing. However, he pointed out that it requires consensus in order to improve, since, it sets the foundations on which others will build on.

    He also noted that a major problem in Greece is the fact that many public works are not continuing and if it is not fixed, the misfortune of Public Administration will continue.

    Former Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos declared that PASOK is participating in the deliberations of the National Convention in order to contribute towards the upgrading of Public Administration, an undertaking which, as he said, commenced 50 years ago.

    Mr Papadopoulos said that all the governments have made efforts and now a programme is being set up, while he asked all the members of the Convention not to hinder its operation. He also pointed out that a timeframe should be set for the reform they are trying to implement.

    The President of ASEP (Supreme Council for Personnel Selection), G. Veis, as well as the President of the Greek Ombudsman, G. Kaminis, also attended the Convention.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Against First Instance Judge Stathis & Six Law Proceedings Against Justices

    18 Feb 2005 13:18:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Appellate Public Prosecutor Kiriakos Karoutsos brought criminal proceedings for felony and misdemeanour against the first corrupt judge case to be undertaken by an appeal judge-examiner. The case concerns First Instance Judges President Leonidas Stathis and six lawyers allegedly implicated in bribing him. The charges brought by Kiriakos Karouzos regard the felony of legalizing revenues coming from criminal activities, bribery (misdemeanour), and immediate accessory to bribing judges. In the meantime, assistant public prosecutor Nikos Athanasopoulos, who is allegedly implicated in the Giosakis case, received a deadline to testify next week before Supreme Court Judge Christos Baltas.

    Witness Testimonies Commence Next Week

    The criminal proceedings, according to evidence by the brief, regard First Instance Judge Leonidas Stathis and lawyers Ioannis Papadopoulos, Efthimia Chalkidou, Nikos Kanatakis, Konstantinos Danias, Gerasimos Apergis and Stavros Choursoglou. The brief will be submitted to the special appellate examiner Mr Sideris. According to information, the felony of legalizing revenues from criminal activities will most probably be brought against the lawyers and not the judge. The criminal proceedings were based on testimonies and documents, while the Appellate Public Prosecutor's office announced that conversations recorded in tapes will not be taken under consideration. Within the following week, Mr Sideris is expected to summon the first witnesses. It should be noted that according to evidence included in the brief drawn up by assistant public prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas' investigation, the justice was bribed with 32,000 euros from December 2004 to January 2005, in order to issue favourable rulings for cases of particular lawyers.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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