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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-03-07

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Mitsotakis on the Economy
  • [02] Evros Ready to Face the Music
  • [03] Breath of Renewal
  • [04] Grief and Anger
  • [05] Applications for Thousands of Unemployed
  • [06] Strike Action
  • [07] Syria Plans Withdrawal
  • [08] Sparse Measures Against Terrorism
  • [09] Front Page Art
  • [10] New Twist in Eirinaios Saga

  • [01] Attack on Garganas Mitsotakis on the Economy

    07 Mar 2005 10:36:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Konstantinos Mitsotakis today intervenes in the Economy, with a written statement in which he launches clear barbs against the Governor of the Bank of Greece Nikos Garganas. The former president of ND expresses his disagreement with the programme of voluntary redundancy from the Bank of Greece, which will lay a heavy burden of 660 million on its budget, as recorded in the 2005 budget for the Bank. The former president of ND claims that these funds will ultimately burden the states budget and the Greek people, to whom the Bank of Greece belongs. Comparing the conditions for leaving regarding Bank employees with those pertaining to employees in the rest of the public sector, Mr Mitsotakis speaks of "a heavy social injustice and fiscal provocation." At the same time, he notes that the government is in serious danger of reaching irrationality and a lack of political sensitivity, if it follows the road taken by PASOK, which he said has led Greece to todays sorry state, while he indirectly but clearly indicated his support for immediate payment of LAFKA retrospective sums.

    In Favour of Immediate LAFKA Payment

    Mr Mitsotakis notes that the Bank of Greece "could function with one fifth of its personnel. However, the withdrawal of these privileged and over-protected employees cannot be done at the expense of 300,000 euros per employee for the taxpayer, whilst private sector employees are dismissed with simple compensation, in accordance with the law. This is a heavy social injustice and fiscal provocation. Granted the terrible state of the economy, the little it has should be dedicated exclusively to the dispossessed and not to all kinds of privileged people."

    Subsequently, the former prime minister refers to Mr Garganas, saying that "he is correct in recording the miserable state of our Economy, even though he was late in discovering the reality. However, the Banks tradition of precisely recording events and proposing necessary measures, from which it exempts itself, which is repeated by Mr Garganas, is reminiscent of the old saying: Do as I say and not as I do."

    Continuing his statement, Mr Mitsotakis states that if we add to the 660 million euros for voluntary redundancy from the Bank of Greece, the 600 million euros that are the governments share of voluntary redundancy at Emporiki Bank, we reach a total burden and respective increase of the public debt of 1,260 million euros. This sum, said Mr Mitsotakis, is 50% over the total amount that would be required if the government decided to pay the 900,000 pensioners all the LAFKA retrospective payments immediately.

    "We will arrive at this point of irrationality and lack of political sensitivity if we follow the road chosen by PASOK, that led us to todays sorry state," says the former president of New Democracy, adding that ND must determinedly and quickly change direction, and private sector speakers must realise that they cannot remain indifferent when those already privileged acquire further advantages.

    Mr Mitsotakis concludes his statement by saying "when the enormous counter-productive and corrupt public sector scoffs down the largest piece of the pie, then we are all forced to make do with the rest."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [02] Ardas exceeds danger level Evros Ready to Face the Music

    07 Mar 2005 10:03:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The state mechanism remains on high alert, as the water level at the dam on the River Ardas has exceeded danger limits. The situation is worsened by the rainfall and the melting snow in Bulgaria, from where enormous volumes of water continue to flow into Evros, while the alarm has been sounded in the villages of Pythio and Poros. Today, a meeting is expected to be held in Adrianoupoli, with the Turkish authorities participating, to better coordinate efforts. The government is already working on repairing the damage, with the Minister for Rural Development Evangelos Basiakos, who visited the area, promising satisfactory compensation to those afflicted in a short time through ELGA, noting that sums for livestock will be deposited by the end of May, while for crops by the end of June.

    Spercheios Drops Acheloos at Normal Levels

    Furthermore, the scene is much better today in Lamia. The level of the River Spercheios has dropped, while traffic on the Lamia Gorgopotamo road is gradually being restored. There are no concerns in Aitoloakarnania, as the level of the River Acheloos has now returned to normal.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Evros at the Ready

    [03] Impressive first for Panagiotis Fasoulas Breath of Renewal

    07 Mar 2005 12:43:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    A broad renewal, along with representation of all trends are the main features of the new National Council of PASOK. The first meeting of the new body will be held on Friday, chaired by George Papandreou. The meeting is expected to elect the new secretary of the Political Council. An impressive first for former MP Panagiotis Fasoulas, and the significant number of women elected, increasing the percentage to 40%. 5378 convention goers went to the polls, 5186 valid votes were counted, and Panagiotis Fasoulas (1155 votes) was followed by Nikos Athanasakis (940 votes), Katsikarelis, Panagiotakopoulos, Mademlis, Kanellopoulos, Manikas, Kotsakos, Vougias and Argiris. Amongst the women, in first place was Marilena Koppa (513 votes), followed by Maria Arseni (456), Sakorafa, Dinou, Moropoulou, Efthimiou, Giannaka, Koletsi and Lampsa. In the meantime, George Papandreou is currently at the taekwondo hall where the convention was held. By his initiative, members of PASOK are participating in the clean-up operation.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [04] Strong anti-American feelings Grief and Anger

    07 Mar 2005 12:24:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA. BBC

    In an atmosphere of anger against the United States, the funeral service for the Italian secret services agent Nicola Calipari, who lost his life in shots fired by American soldiers in Iraq, protecting released former hostage, reporter Giuliana Sgrena, in western Baghdad. The funeral of 50-year-old agent Calipari is at public expense, as the Italians are honouring him as a hero and a martyr for his contribution to the release of the reporter. Italian political and cultural leaders will attend the funeral, led by President Carlo Ciampi.

    "They Wanted to Kill Me"

    The Italian reporter, who was released after being held hostage for a month in Iraq, openly accused the American soldiers of wanting to kill her.

    "Everyone knows that the Americans do not want to negotiate for the release of hostages," stressed Giuliana Sgrena.

    The White House pledged to conduct an investigation to discover what led the American soldiers to open fire, but this has not at all reassured Italian public opinion, who are outraged over the murder of Calipari and the injury inflicted on Giuliana Sgrena.

    "It is a terrible accident, for which President Bush telephoned personally to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to offer him his condolences, and to reassure him that a full investigation would be conducted to shed light on the case," the White House director of communications told CNN.

    "In a battle zone, especially on the road leading to the airport, there are many attacks with cars packed with explosives, and decisions are made in split seconds, which should be taken into considerations," he added.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [05] On the stage programme Applications for Thousands of Unemployed

    07 Mar 2005 10:55:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    The programme for applicants to submit their papers for the recruitment of 7252 unemployed people on 4 new work experience gaining programmes starts today. As stated on NET 105.8 by the director of OAED (the Greek Manpower Organisation), Giorgos Vernadakis, the recruitment concerns unemployed people aged between 18 and 40, who will be employed in bodies with the Ministry of Health, insurance funds, municipalities and prefectures. The daily pay will be from 21 to 30 euros and the employment will last from 9 to 18 months. Applications can be submitted by interested parties at local OAED offices, whether in person, by post or via the OAED webpage. (click here)

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] Strike Action

    07 Mar 2005 10:39:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    Primary school cleaners are holding a 48-hour strike starting today, demanding that their contracts become permanent. At 11:00 this morning, they have planned a rally in Klavthmonos Square, and a march on the Ministries of the Interior and Education. In Thessalonica, taxi drivers have pulled on the handbrake, as they are holding a work stoppage until 13:00, protesting the new transport plans from the Ministry of Transport. In the meantime, OTOE is going ahead with the 24-hour national strike on 17 March, on the insurance question, while today the general board of the Federation is to convene in order to make the final decision. In fact, today employees at Emporiki Bank are holding a 24-hour strike.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [07] Syrian-Lebanese Council meets in Damascus Syria Plans Withdrawal

    07 Mar 2005 11:42:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Syrian President Bashar al Assad is today meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Emile Lahoud in Damascus, in order to discuss the time frame and the appropriate way to conduct the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. The meeting, which will take place in the context of the Supreme Syrian-Lebanese Council, will also be attended by the Prime Ministers, Foreign and Defence Ministers of the two countries, and a joint statement will be released at the close. In any case, it is not clear whether today in Damascus the agenda will include the withdrawal of Syrian secret services, as demanded by the international community. Furthermore, Lebanese Defence Minister, Abdel Rahim Mourad stated that today the first stage of the withdrawal of Syrian troops would start with their redeployment in the Bekaa Valley. The second stage regards the reorganization of the Syrian troops, and their relocation on Syrian soil, near the border between the two countries. In the meantime, the Lebanese Opposition accepted Lebanese Hezbollahs call to assist in peace and national dialogue and called on the supporters of the pro-Iranian organisation to respect unity and avoid provocations during tomorrows scheduled rally.

    National Dialogue Proposal from Lebanese Hezbollah

    "The Opposition was pleased to accept the appeal by the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrala, for national dialogue, and his pledge of peace and saving the nation," reports a statement from the Opposition n Beirut.

    The statement stresses: "the Lebanese do not have to choose directly between Syrian domination and an Israeli or foreign force in their country. Their choice is for national sovereignty, far from any occupation."

    Sheikh Nasrala appealed for a peace rally to be held tomorrow in the centre of Beirut, with the aim of "condemning all foreign involvement, defending resistance against Israel, establishing peace and rejecting the signing of agreements with Israel."

    Representatives of Hezbollah will meet tomorrow afternoon with representatives of the Lebanese Opposition. Sheikh Nasrala claimed that tomorrows rally does not turn against the Opposition, whom he called on to participate.

    However, despite the calls from the leader of Hezbollah for peace, an 18-year-old Lebanese boy was shot and seriously injured last night in Martyrs Square, where the anti-Syrian Opposition has been demonstrating every day for the past two weeks. Sources with the security forces told the French News Agency that the shots came from an oncoming car, which was flying the flag of pro-Syrian organisation Amal. The bullets seriously injured the 18-year-old boy, who was traveling in a car flying the flag of the Lebanese Forces (Christian Opposition).

    "The passengers in the two cars swore at each other in Saifi district, near Martyrs Square, and someone in the Amal car shot at the Lebanese Forces car," said the same source.

    Opposition youth movements are tomorrow organizing a major demonstration in Beirut, as three weeks have passed since the murder of Rafik al Hariri.

    Pro-Syrian movements announced that they were organizing a counter-demonstration on Tuesday, in order to express their solidarity with Syria and condemn "foreign involvement" in Lebanon.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] At a national government level Sparse Measures Against Terrorism

    07 Mar 2005 09:20:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    One year after the terrorist attack in Madrid that rocked the whole of Europe, EU member states have taken very few steps to improve coordination of security plans, according to the EU Anti-Terrorism Coordinator, Gijs de Vries. Networks for exchanging intelligence information are still in their infancy, and coordination between judicial and police authorities is scant, says the first anti-terrorism coordinator for the 25 in an interview in the newspaper Financial Times. De Vries stresses that member states should make it a priority to prepare to counter such kinds of attacks, improve their coordination, combat the funding of terrorist organisations and strengthen the protection of transport means and infrastructure.

    Coordinating Role for De Vries

    In several of our countries we must do more to speed up the implementation of our legislation, stresses de Vries, who was appointed to this position in the wake of the bomb attack against trains in Madrid on 11 March 2004, in which 191 people were killed.

    Notwithstanding, Brussels has no power to impose anything in the security sector, and de Vries role is limited to coordinating efforts between member states to improve their security and promote coordination between themselves.

    Just one month ago, during his visit to Europe,his American counterpart, William Pope warned that the EU is open to even more disastrous attacks, even with chemical or biological weapons.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [09] Front Page Art

    07 Mar 2005 11:58:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: Benaki Museum

    An exhibition showing the original works of artists who designed the front pages of the newspaper Athens Voice during its first year of circulation is on display until 27 March at the Benaki Museum. Dynamic and recognizable artists from Greece and several famous foreign artists have turned the front cover of the weekly newspaper into a direct message and work of art. Painters, illustrators, graphic designers, cartoonists, sketchers, photographers and graffiti artists became members of the A.V. team and co-developers of its image. The world of art is measured against communication, which is, in turn, taking up more and more room in the city.

    This is a case where modern art and new forms of creation are used by the Media. It is the same message, in the contents of the work on the front page. A visual comment on the life of the city, on the issues occupying it. It is a message as a choice: art in 80,000 copies, art on the pavement, art at red stands, art as an element of the urban landscape.

    If this initiative by the newspaper marks something, it is not only the record of some artistic trends, but the way in which we see ourselves and produce art and printed communication. Front-page works reflect our thoughts and city aesthetics, touch on feelings, sharpen our humour and personalized familiarity, from comics to urban myths and the turbulent ground of fantasy.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [10] Appeal against him accepted New Twist in Eirinaios Saga

    06 Mar 2005 21:04:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    An Israeli Court of First Instance has accepted the case brought by an Arab Orthodox Christian, from a Church in the Galilee area, against the recognition of Patriarch Eirinaios of Jerusalem. Neither the Patriarch nor his lawyer appeared in court, but he has the right to submit an appeal against the decision, which is non-binding. In the meantime, the recent furore in the Patriachal Seat of Jerusalem was triggered by the review by Israeli and Palestinian authorities of judicial decisions referring to the pre-election period to choose the Patriarch of Jerusalem. At the same time, in a Palestinian court, Metropolitan Bishop Timotheos of Vostron has been acquitted on charges of plotting to murder Patriarch Eirinaios three years ago. According to the ruling, the person whop accused Timotheos of paying him to murder Eirinaios committed slander and there is no evidence against the Metropolitan Bishop.

    Translated by Millie Williams

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