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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-03-15

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Net Tightens Around Vavilis
  • [02] Information, Consumers' Shield
  • [03] Mr and Mrs Missus
  • [04] MRIs Against Alzheimer's
  • [05] Quality in Tourism
  • [06] Continuing Violations in the Aegean
  • [07] Syrian Secret Services Leave Lebanon
  • [08] Landmark Decision for Home Loans
  • [09] Contaminated Potatoes Confiscated
  • [10] Submission of Tax Returns

  • [01] Alleged to be Located in a European Country Net Tightens Around Vavilis

    15 Mar 2005 18:54:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET 105.8 - NET

    The arrest of Apostolos Vavilis is a matter of time. As per judicial sources, the man with a thousand faces has been located in a neighbouring European country, while deliberations among top justice officials are underway, so that he answers to Greek Justice. In case of his arrest or surrender, the outstanding arrest warrant against him, which was issued for drug trafficking in Italy in 1999 by the 4th Athens Examiner, will be activated. Furthermore, criminal proceedings will be brought against him for money laundering. The Director of the Athens Prosecutions, Dimitris Papangelopoulos, briefed Supreme Court Prosecutor Dimitris Linos on the latest developments in the case and the outstanding warrants against Vavilis.

    Criminal Proceedings Expected

    The collaboration between judicial authorities and the police, as well as the intervention of a third party from Vavilis close circle of friends, bore fruits.

    The evidence against him warrants criminal indictments, while the authorities will demand his extradition to Greece.

    Meanwhile, the investigation being conducted by the First Instance Prosecutor, Eleni Sotiropoulou, probes into the contracts made by Vavilis companies, in order to establish whether money laundering had taken place.

    The criminal proceedings against Vavilis, provided he is indicted, will mainly pertain to his business activities for the period 1995-97. As per articles in the Press, during those years, the defendant had dealings with illegal banks and was allegedly heading a group that undertook the transfer of stolen deposits overseas, mainly to Greece and Hungary, using either his real name, or the name Apostolos Kavaleras.

    As per a top-secret NIS (Hellenic National Intelligence Service) document, which was made public by NET, Vavilis activities in Albania were known and varied. The document, dated 21 January 1997 and entitled "Conventional Armoured Vehicles of the Albanian Company VEFA", reveals that the NIS was aware of Vavilis connection to the man behind the illegal banking scandals, Vehri Alimusai.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Vavilis Involved in Illicit Albanian Bank

    [02] Information, Consumers' Shield

    15 Mar 2005 15:37:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The problems of Greek consumers were at the focus of discussion today on the occasion of the World Consumer Rights Day. The list of consumer problems includes products and services of low quality, as well as high prices, while a study showed that the overwhelming majority of consumers ignore their rights. The fortification of Greek consumers via information for their rights is among the top priorities of the Ministry of Development, which has scheduled relevant events until Thursday. "An informed consumer is the best barrier to expensiveness and the strongest lever for a quality revolution" stressed the Prime Minister.

    New Consumer Model

    In his message, Kostas Karamanlis stressed that the government is working hard, with reliability and the felling of social responsibility, to put an end to expensiveness and to reinforce the quality and competitiveness of products and services, so that Greek consumers can have more options.

    He also underlined that the state is systematically working both at a level of formulating institutions and at a level of training the youth and informing citizens on the creation of a new consumer model, which will focus on information and responsibility of choices.

    Serious Lack of Information

    Today is the World Consumer Rights Day and according to a study performed by the Ministry of Development, the overwhelming majority of Greek citizens are not aware of their consumer rights.

    Only 2 out of 10 consider themselves well informed on their rights, while 8 out of 10 admit they are not at all informed.

    The study showed that the Greek society is lacking an organized consumer movement.

    Only 1 out of 100 consumers are informed by consumer organisations on their rights.

    The findings of the study also showed that the overwhelming majority of Greek consumers are in favour of expanding shopping hours.

    Seven out of 10 citizens see the proposal of the Development Ministry in a positive way, saying they would prefer shops to be open until 21.00.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Events for World Consumer Day

    [03] When a Man Loves a Woman Mr and Mrs Missus

    15 Mar 2005 20:02:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Up until today the done thing was for the women to take their husbands surname after the wedding. However, Brazilian men are shedding their macho reputation, by taking their wives surnames after matrimony. Registry officials in Sao Paolo say 540 grooms adopted their brides surname just in the last three months. And although in Greece, calling a man by his wifes surname is considered derogatory, in Brazil this is not the case. As per psychologists, it is a sign of respect, love and admiration towards their brides.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Hopes for Early Diagnosis MRIs Against Alzheimer's

    15 Mar 2005 17:25:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: Scientific Review "Nature"

    A new technique, based on an MRI, promises to reveal the early signs of Alzheimers. As per the researchers of the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako City, Japan, an MRI can be used to detect alterations in the brain, up to two decades before the symptoms actually manifest themselves. The researchers tested the method on mice and believe that it can be used on humans for the early diagnosis of the disease. Today, Alzheimers can only be diagnosed after patients develop traits, such as forgetfulness and confusion, even though the alterations to the brain appear many years prior.

    Diagnosis Prior to the Symptoms

    Alzheimers creates toxic clumps of protein, called amyloid plaques, the size of a pinpoint on the brain.

    The researchers injected the mice with a non-toxic substance linked to the plaques. They substituted one atom of the substance with a derivative of fluorine that is not naturally found in mice or humans.

    When the mice were then examined, the fluorine produced a distinctive magnetic signal that was easy to detect using MRI, as the images had very high contrast and essentially no noise.

    The new method has significant advantages as opposed to the radioactive imaging technique called PET, which is currently being used for the detection of the disease. PET is very expensive, its resolution is limited to millimetres and the patient has to be injected with a radioactive substance.

    Although the new technique is not immediately applicable, researchers hope that clinical tests on humans will commence in a few years.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    RIKEN Institute

    [05] Series of Measures Approved by Government Quality in Tourism

    15 Mar 2005 16:35:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Government Committee, which assembled at the Maximos Mansion presided by PM Kostas Karamanlis, examined a series of initiatives for the quality upgrade of tourism. The approved measures include changes in land use for tourist investments, the promotion of rural tourism and training of tourist business staff. Exiting the Maximos Mansion, competent Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos estimated that the tourist movement in our country will significantly improve and spoke of encouraging messages from foreign investors for the creation of a hospitable investing environment in Greece. In the meantime, the US paper the New York Times praised Greece in one of their articles yesterday.

    Regulations Over Land Use

    As Mr Avramopoulos stated, new regulations will be soon submitted to Parliament in collaboration with the Ministry for the Environment regarding the land use and the zoning on new areas for tourist development, a key-element that will contribute to the creation of new job positions. The Minister for the Environment, Giorgos Souflias, who earlier met with the PM, confirmed the promotion of regulations over land use.

    The Minister of Tourist Development also underlined that the government supports thematic tourism and answering a question regarding the Formula 1 track, he stressed that the contractor of the Bahrain track will soon come to Athens after EOT's invitation while he will be visiting Patras. At the same time, he denied any disputes between Patras and Orchomenos for the track, underlining that the existence of alternative attraction poles is always a positive thing.

    What is more, Mr Avramopoulos underlined that initiatives are taken for the creation of an ambitious investing environment and the handling of bureaucratic problems, and went on to stress the need of cooperation between the public and the private sector for the new era and the perspectives for Greek tourism.

    According to Ministry of Tourist Development sources, emphasis will be put on the development of rural tourism and ecotourism, as well as on the training of tourist business staff.

    Praises for Athens

    Yesterday's New York Times article referred to the transformation of the Greek capital as part of the Olympic Games.

    The beginning of the article praised the preparation of Athens for hosting the Olympic Games, which run smoothly, despite any original reservations by athletes.

    The newspaper also added that the city underwent a true facelift, with a sparkling modern airport (complete with wireless zones for laptops), a state-of-the-art subway system and a convenient new tram network but also a crop of either refurbished or new hotels.

    As per the journalist, tourist movement in Greece was slower than expected due to igh prices, which have dropped. "Now, however, might be the time to visit Athens," concluded the article, which Mr Avramopoulos described as encouraging. The newspaper also included a 28-page coloured EOT pamphlet with useful information for the Cyclades.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related Links:

    Ministry of Tourism

    New York Times Article

    [06] 37 Turkish Aircraft Penetrated the Aegean Continuing Violations in the Aegean

    15 Mar 2005 20:40:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET 105.8 - ANA

    Thirty-seven Turkish fighter planes penetrated the Aegean, without submitting flight plans. In 18 of the cases, they violated the national airspace, while air combats took place in another three. In all the cases, the Turkish fighter planes were recognised and intercepted by Greek planes. According to information, six of the Turkish planes carried weapons, two were Phantom planes equipped with cameras, and one was a nany plane. According to GEETHA (Hellenic National Defence General Staff) sources, todays illegal activities by the Turkish air force are probably the most intense of the last 10-11 months.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Syrian Secret Services Leave Lebanon

    15 Mar 2005 13:46:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Whilst Syrian military forces are preparing to complete the first stage of their withdrawal from Lebanon, intelligence services have begun to evacuate their offices in Beirut, and to load the equipment onto lorries. The operation is being conducted under the supervision of the Lebanese police, while it has been announced that a further two buildings are to be evacuated, near a Lebanese military barracks, where the general headquarters of the Syrian intelligence services are housed. The withdrawal of the secret services has coincided with the official visit to Damascus by the President of Egypt, Mubarak, who met with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al Assad. Mubarak has openly expressed his support for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.

    Commenting on the developments, White House spokesman Scott McClellan again repeated the US position, which is that all Syrian forces and secret services should fully withdraw from Lebanon as soon as possible.

    So far, over 40,000 Syrian troops have left Lebanon, while, according to sources with the Lebanese security forces, Syrian military forces are expected to complete the first stage of withdrawal this week.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] Landmark Decision for Home Loans

    15 Mar 2005 21:03:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The Supreme Court ruling eventually justified a longstanding demand by home loan borrowers, who objected to two terms and conditions concerning home loans, following a collective action by the EKPIZO (Consumers Association "The Quality of Life) consumers organization against a major bank. The ruling deemed as excessive and illegal the term that incurred on borrowers an up to 2.5% penalty over the pre-repaid capital for the early repayment of the loan.

    In justifying its ruling, the Supreme Court noted that the penalty in question could not be justified in the cases of floating interest rates, since, by receiving the early repayment, the bank did not suffer any losses, as it gained the interest rate reimbursement. On the other hand, the bank cannot even request extra charges for early repayment, as the latter constitutes a borrowers right. This decision provides borrowers the right to claim back payments of those amounts.

    It should be noted that the "early repayment penalty" had been ruled as excessive by previous court decisions.

    The second term that the Supreme Court ruled against concerned the calculation of the interest rates, which was based on a 360-day year, rather than a 365- or 366-day year, financially burdening the borrower as a result.

    Furthermore, EKPIZO announced that the Magistrate Courts decisions for collective actions regarding the return of loan expenses have increased. For more information, consumers can contact the organization by phone on +30210 330 44 44.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    [09] Contaminated Potatoes Confiscated

    15 Mar 2005 21:21:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Random checks by the Greek Rural Development Ministry detected the existence of pathogenic bacteria in potatoes. The alarm was sounded immediately and the batches in question were confiscated. The Deputy Minister of Rural Development, Alexandros Kontos, confirmed that none of the batches containing the bacteria in question had been imported to Greece, while he announced that lab tests are underway to confirm the existence of the bacteria, a fact that would signal the immediate termination of imports from Egypt.

    As per Mr Kontos, similar instances have been recorded in the past. For this reason the checks commenced earlier this year. For the time being, there are no serious indications concerning the existence of the bacteria, however the lad tests will provide the final say on the matter. Furthermore, as it was announced, 80,000 tonnes of potatoes are already on the way to Greece onboard five ships.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Economy Ministry Issued Directives for E9 Form Submission of Tax Returns

    15 Mar 2005 19:32:00

    By Anna Kourti

    The submission of tax returns for small companies, owned by one individual, and freelancers who keep Category A and B books commenced on Tuesday. Furthermore, companies with an annual turnover of up to 300,000 euros and freelancers with revenues up to 150,000 euros, will be able to submit a self-assessment form, with which they will have the opportunity to finalise their 2003-2004 return, provided they have declared incomes, as per the implementation of the unique net profit factor. Directions for filling out the E9 tax form for immovable property were made public today by the Economy Ministry.

    Submission Dates

    The submission deadlines for tax returns, based on the last digit of the Tax Number (AFM) are as follows:

    15 March: 1 16 March: 2 17 March: 3 18 March: 4 21 March: 5 22 March: 6 23 March: 7 24 March: 8 28 March: 9 29 March: 10,20,30, 40, 50 30 March: 60,70, 80, 90, 00

    It should be noted that submission deadlines for pensioners and wage earners will begin in May.

    E9 Tax Forms

    The Greek government is updating the database of all real estate owners in Greece. For this purpose, anyone who owned immovable property in Greece (lots, plots, lands, houses, estates, apartments, undivided properties, inheritances not settled yet etc.) on the 1st of January 2005 must submit E1 and E9 tax forms to the tax authority in Greece.

    This obligation covers not only those who reside in Greece, but also permanent residents outside Greece, whether they have Greek citizenship or not. Those who reside outside of Greece must normally submit their E1 and E9 tax forms until May 2005. In order to do that, they must have a Greek Tax Number. If they dont, they must first obtain a tax number and then submit the two tax forms.

    Those residing outside Greece can obtain a tax number without coming to Greece personally, but by sending a power of attorney and a copy of his passport to a proxy in Greece.

    It is noteworthy that even those who have already submitted an E9 form in the past must submit the new E1 and E9 tax forms. Everybody must submit this tax form, even if they have not acquired or sold real estate in Greece recently.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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