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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-02-25

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Sharp Fall
  • [02] Worries Over Bird Flu
  • [03] Developments at Retirement Home
  • [04] Syria Ready to Withdraw from Lebanon
  • [05] Negotiations Over Kosovo's Future
  • [06] Bitter farewell for PAO
  • [07] Alcohol Seriously Harms Embryos

  • [01] Eirinaios' statements unclear Sharp Fall

    25 Feb 2005 10:21:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8, MNA

    In the wake of unprecedented revelations, and whilst voices multiply calling for him to resign, the Archbishop is proceeding with a series of contacts, trying to formulate strategy to determine his next moves, which will be made public in the Holy Synods meeting next Tuesday. The fact that his popularity is in freefall comes as no surprise, and this is shown in a study conducted by Metron Analysis. It has fallen to 41.7% from 65.5%, where it stood last October, while 60% of those questioned now support a separation between Church and State. The showdown between the Archbishop and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Eirinaios, regarding Vavilis, has taken on new dimensions. Speaking on NET, the legal counsel of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Alexis Kougias said that the journalist Vangelis Mavraganis, Press spokesperson for the Patriarchate, had never consulted with him over the statement. At the same time, a new financial scandal has come to light to add to the Archbishops troubles.


    There is a huge fraud with mobile phones at Petrakis Monastery. According to NET revelations, it appears that the manager of Financial Services Kostas Pilarinos, employee of the Continuous Holy Synod, forged documents to deceive two mobile telephony companies. The fraud is as high as 2 million euros and the case has already been referred to Justice, while the employee is about to be dismissed.

    In the meantime, the police are continuing their investigation to track down and arrest Apostolos Vavilis, who via his lawyer now denies having met Patriarch Eirinaios of Jerusalem at Archbishop Christodoulos private office, but in another area of the Archbishopric.

    At the same time, both the political world and the Church are in turmoil over the possible resignation of Archbishop Christodoulos, after revelations that he met with Archimandrite Giosakis, who escorted justices, and Patriarch Eirinaios confirmation that Vavilis and Triantafyllakis went to Jerusalem following his orders. Among others, the Metropolitan Bishop of Zakynthos urged Christodoulos to resign, as well as former SYN president Nikos Konstantopoulos and PASOK parliamentarians Theodoros Pagalos and Kimon Koulouris.

    Metropolitan Bishop Chrisostomos of Zakynthos said resignation is the only way out of this crisis that bedevils the Church. "There is no other way out. The Archbishop cannot go on lying day after day, the Archbishop cannot become angry with the Hierarchy and yet not allow a discussion on the motion of censure, submitted by the Metropolitan Bishop of Ilia. He cannot tell us he does not know Giosakis and suddenly admit at least these two cases revealed by the judge. And I tell you there are not just two, there are a hundred and two," he said, speaking on radio station Flash 96.

    "People need to sacrifice themselves for things they have taken on,and seem less than the circumstances," stated the former Speaker of Parliament and PASOK MP Apostolos Kaklamanis, speaking on the same station. At the same time, he accused the Archbishop of dealing with a particular party and accused the government of exercising political control over the Church. Evangelos Venizelos also referred to the possibility of the Archbishop resigning, criticizing the government for its stance on the issue.

    In addition, the General Secretary of the Union of Greek Clerics, Efstathios Kollas, called on the Archbishop to "make a sacrifice for the good of the Church," as he said, and step down. Metropolitan Bishop Spiridon of Cephallonia said that he supports and stands at the side of Christodoulos.

    The government expresses opposing views, with the Minister for Education Marietta Giannakou opposing the possibility of Christodoulos resigning. "We are not raising the issue of resignation for the Archbishop," stated the Minister for Education Marietta Giannakou yesterday on NET, commenting on proposals that Christodoulos should resign.

    At the same time, close colleagues of Christodoulos state that the revelations and accusations are part of a well-organised plan.

    "The plan was prepared some time ago, and foreign secret services and politicians are participating in it," stresses a colleague of the Archbishop. He states that the aim is to "make the Archbishop stop talking. He has upset them. He causes damage for them. Hes popular and with a wave of his hand, the people rise up."

    He notes that "the statement by the colleagues of Patriarch Eirinaiou that Vavilis was sent to Jerusalem by the Archbishop did not come by chance. Even the time that was chosen to make this accusation has its reasons."

    Regarding the case of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Greek Foreign Ministry is monitoring the developments, as stated today by the Ministrys Press spokesman, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who said that they are not in contact with the Israeli authorities.

    Heavy Atmosphere for Theoklitos

    In the meantime, the Archbishops colleagues continue to call for the resignation of Metropolitan Bishop Theoklitos of Thessaliotida, and advise the Archbishop to "sacrifice" him. According to newspaper To Vima, the Archbishop, although until recently refused to consider the possibility, is now seriously discussing the eventuality.

    Metropolitan Bishop Theoklitos of Thessaliotida has stated that is not going to resign and that "I will not be the sacrificial lamb."

    However, the climate for Theoklitos is especially heavy. He is likely to be called to give explanations next week to the Holy Synod regarding the accusations against him, and it is a point worth noticing that he tried to gather a group of Metropolitan Bishops in Karditsa for his name day, which is the day after tomorrow, and was unsuccessful, as most of them did not answer his telephone calls.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [02] New Case in Vietnam Worries Over Bird Flu

    25 Feb 2005 10:48:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: BBC, ANA

    And while Vietnam is confirming yet another case of bird flu to have affected a human, scientists estimate that the virus is hiding a whole lot more secrets that need to be studied. Patrick Deboyser, EU Minister Counsellor in charge of Public Health and Food Safety, said that scientists have limited knowledge on the contagion of the virus and it will take a lot of research to understand and fight bird flu. The three-day meeting between representatives from 28 countries, held under the aegis of the UN in Vietnam, appealed for the further financial support of the countries affected by the disease, as last year only 18 million dollars were given out of the 100 millions needed, according to the estimations of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN.

    New Case in Vietnam

    In the meantime, a 21-year-old boy in northern Vietnam was admitted to hospital in a critical condition and tests showed he had been affected by bird flu. Doctors estimated that his 14-year-old sister was probably affected too. Since the beginning of the year, 13 people have lost their lives in Vietnam to bird flu.

    Two days ago, the World Health Organisation and FAO warned that bird flu is likely to evolve into a world epidemic with uncontrollable dimensions if immediate action is not taken.

    As measures to deal with the problem, WHO suggested that animals are raised separately, and birds are kept in pens so that they cannot mix with wildfowl, who are believed to be the main carriers of the disease.

    There is particular concern about ducks, who can carry the disease with no apparent symptoms. For this reason, in an effort to limit bird flu, Thai authorities have slaughtered almost 2.7 million free-range ducks.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] After New Appeal to Justice Developments at Retirement Home

    25 Feb 2005 08:01:00

    By Anna Kourti

    After financial scandals and charges on mismanagement at the Athens Retirement Home, the foundation is once again under the limelight, only six months after the new Board assumed its duties. The new president, elected last August, Archimandrite Prokopios Boumas, took on the entire Board and now courts are called to provide a solution to the managerial crisis. During the first round of judicial encounter that followed, the Archimandrite was proclaimed winner, as he successfully managed to dismiss his opponents. Then, with a temporary order, he appointed a new Board with people from his close environment, while he appointed Archimandrite Vasileios Drosos as Consultant-Treasurer. However, the dismissed members of the Board referred the matter to Justice and were finally justified as a court order allowed them to reassume the management of the most historical charity foundation of Greece.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Athens Retirement Home Catapult Report

    Arson at the Athens Retirement Home

    [04] Syria Ready to Withdraw from Lebanon

    25 Feb 2005 07:25:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Answering growing international pressure to pull back troops from Lebanon, Syria said it is now ready to withdraw almost 14,000 soldiers and comply to the UN's 1559 resolution. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed al Mualem, made the relevant statements following UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's interview on TV network Al Arabiya, through which he asked for the compliance of Syria to UN's resolution by April. In his interview, Mr Annan asked for the withdrawal of Syrian troops in order to report to the Security Council that Damascus "performs satisfactorily and no additional measures will be required." Later on, UN spokesperson Fred Eckhard, stressed that Annan had not been setting a deadline, nor personally supported the imposition of sanctions on Syria.

    "Syria Does Not Train Iraqi Militants"

    It should be noted that with the 1559 resolution of September 2004, the UN Security Council asked for the withdrawal of Syrian forces and invited Damascus to allow free elections in Lebanon.

    At the same time, Syrian secret services refuted allegations that they trained Iraqi militants. The official Syrian news agency described these allegations as "completely groundless and insubstantial," citing secret service sources. The occasion for these statements was a video broadcast by Iraqi state television, showing some men saying there were militants trained by Syrian secret services.

    "Syria is interested for the security and stability of Iraq and does not interfere in its internal affairs," allegedly said a source on the Syrian news agency.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Second Semester of 2005 Negotiations Over Kosovo's Future

    25 Feb 2005 09:58:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Chief of UN Mission in Kosovo Sorren Jessen Petersen expressed his optimism that negotiations over the future regime of the Serbian province of Kosovo will probably open by the end of 2005. What is more, talks will start soon regarding the final regime that will determine whether Kosovo will become independent, as is the wish of the Albanian majority, or will remain a part of Serbia. "I feel we have a fine opportunity to keep this timeframe and the procedure will lead to talks over the regime in the second semester of 2005," stated UNMIK chief before the Security Council.

    Crucial Decisions

    "Before the beginning of talks, certain facts need to be examined, like democratic institutions, minority rights and the independent legal system, so as to ascertain if significant progress has been made," stressed the Chief of UN Mission in Kosovo Sorren Jessen Petersen. Continuing, he admitted there are still problems and a lot more steps need to be taken in order to ensure that minorities will have a future in Kosovo.

    Analysts estimated that the determination of Kosovo's future regime is a matter of immediate priority and some believe there will be clashes if decisions are not made and the bad financial conditions in the area continue to deteriorate.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] Bitter farewell for PAO

    25 Feb 2005 00:35:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    The greens bade farewell to the round of 16 of the UEFA Cup, after their defeat by Seville, 2-0. After a bad first half, Malesanis team went to the changing rooms with 0-0. However, with perhaps their best player, Gonzales, sent off in 74, the game was decided, as the Seville team attacked and in the last ten minutes scored the two goals that gave them the ticket to qualify to the next round. In 83 Makukula and in 92 Adriano were the scorers for the Spanish team.

    Luck and Galinovic

    The first half was a real struggle for Panathinaikos. The Seville team went strongly into the game and quickly took the reins, as Panathinaikos was having trouble doing anything on the offensive. At the same time, Minhs bad day played havoc with the greens left side, with Aranda doing whatever he wanted.

    The first good chance for Seville came in 19 when Aranda attacked by himself and was alone in facing Galinovic. Panathinaikos goalkeeper reacted in the right way and saved his goal.

    The host team kept up the pressure, and in 31 they saw another good chance. But yet again Panathinaikos Croatian goalkeeper knocked out Arandas shot. The first half finished with two good phases, one for each team. In 42 the team from Andalusia was in the goal area with Baptista, the ball changed direction with Jesulin, but fortunately for the greens, the ball went out.

    Shortly before the end of the first half, Panathinaikos went on the counterattack and even missed a good score opportunity. Konstantinou and Papadopoulos worked together, but the latters shot bounced at the last moment off Davic. This meant that the two teams went to half time with the score at 0-0.

    Cold Shower at the End

    Minhs improvement in the second half greatly helped Panathinaikos to become more effective in defence, In fact in 56, the green team missed a great opportunity with Gonzales, whose shot went slightly out.

    Seville immediately answered with Antonito sending his header out. In 61, Gekas took Papadopoulos; place and freshened up the attack.

    Until 74, Panathinaikos held out well, but Gonzales, their top player, was sent off with a second yellow card for tough marking.

    Seville stepped up the pace and in 83 got to the goal with Makukula, who alone on the penalty line, had no trouble in scoring, 1-0. The Andalusian team kept up the pressure in extra time, and Adriano scored 2-0, giving the Spanish team the chance to qualify.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [07] It affects the brain and body weight Alcohol Seriously Harms Embryos

    25 Feb 2005 11:26:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Alcohol consumed by pregnant women appears to cause serious problems to embryos, as shown in research conducted by Australian scientists. Experiments carried out on sheep showed that a alcohol level of 0.1% in the blood for three days is enough to destroy the brain of the embryo, while it has a serious effect on body weight. This recent research confirms the findings of previous studies that have shown that alcohol hinders the development of embryos. In a similar study, carried out recently in the USA, it was found that one out of 10 defects found in embryos are caused by alcohol. After the latest findings, the scientists consider that if pregnant women say goodbye to alcohol and cigarettes, there will be a significant difference in the health of new born babies.

    Translated by Millie Williams

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