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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-03-29

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Indonesia Mourns Once More
  • [02] Measures for the Economy
  • [03] Man at Work
  • [04] "Resign"
  • [05] Warm Words for Greece from Bush
  • [06] Katsoulas Accused of Attempted Rape
  • [07] Interpellation on Gangs in Key Institutions
  • [08] Fuel Increases
  • [09] Silver Women in Aarhus
  • [10] Jennifer Files for Divorce

  • [01] Hundreds die in 8.7 Richter earthquake Indonesia Mourns Once More

    29 Mar 2005 07:44:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC

    Before the wounds have had time to heal from the deadly tsunami that struck countries in south east Asia last December, last night Indonesia was again at the mercy of an earthquake. Initial reports speak of more than 1000 people dead, the majority of them on the island of Nias, near Sumatra, which was where the epicentre of the 8.7 magnitude earthquake was. In fact, the vice president of Indonesia has expressed fears that there may be as many as 2000 victims, as the islands capital Gunungsitoli is completely devastated. The quake could be felt in the wider region of the Indian Ocean, and thousands of people on the shores of Indonesia, as well as Malaysia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka fled in panic from their homes, seeking refuge on higher ground. Over the last few hours, countries in the region have withdrawn their warnings of tsunamis, although Japanese seismologists warn of the possibility of strong aftershocks. This morning one measuring 5.7 occurred.

    Nias Island Capital a "Dead City"

    The island of Nias, 125km off Sumatra, was at the earthquakes epicentre, and following the quake saw the sea rush thirty metres inland.

    According to the vice president of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, the capital of Nia, Gunungsitoli, which has a population of 27,000, has been almost completely destroyed in the earthquake. It is estimated that about 10,000 people managed to leave their homes in time and seek refuge on higher ground. Nevertheless, many buildings collapsed and it is feared that there may be hundreds of people trapped under the rubble. 220 of the 322 victims so far recovered were in this area, while officials are describing it as a "dead town."

    Fortunately, the scientists worst fear, that of tsunamis being triggered, was not confirmed. Nevertheless, a three-metre wave struck the island of Simelue, near Sumatra, leaving 25 people dead. According to journalistic sources, the only hospital has been completely destroyed and cannot accept the injured.

    Damage was also caused to the town of Shingil in Aceh Province, where many houses have been destroyed, although there is no information on victims. A small tidal wave was recorded near the Coco Islands in the Indian Ocean, although no disaster was caused.

    In the meantime, the Japanese meteorological service has warned that there may be strong aftershocks of up to 8 on the Richter scale. Early this morning the first was recorded, of a 5.7-point magnitude, epicentred in the Indian Ocean, 620 km south of Banda Aceh.

    Seismologists consider the latest seismic activity to have been an aftershock of the 9 magnitude quake that occurred on 26 December which caused the tsunami that killed more than 273,000 people in countries in the Indian Ocean.

    According to a seismologist at the US Geological Society (USGS), the 8.7 magnitude quake is among the "four or five strongest of the last 100 years."

    Better Preparation in Indian Ocean

    Although the quake occurred during the night, reports from international correspondents show that it did not catch the Asian countries napping. Japan quickly informed six countries (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand) of the possibility of tsunamis.

    Immediately, military police, monks, fishermen and ordinary citizens went into coastal areas, using megaphones, radios, temple bells and phoning friends and relations to spread the warning. For those people in areas without access to Media, the most effective warning was the quake itself, as one seismologist stated.

    In the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 500km from the epicentre of the earthquake, thousands of people rushed out of skyscrapers and other buildings in the city. There is no information regarding victims.

    Thailand was quick to react. Just half an hour after the earthquake, the countrys Media started appealing for citizens to immediately evacuate seaside areas. The countrys prime minister congratulated the authorities and announced that the country is planning to acquire its own warning system for six south-western provinces, so that it need not depend on other countries.

    In India today there is a state of calm, as the alarm sounded for the tsunami has ended. As soon as the earthquake happened, the authorities sounded the alarm in about 73 villages, warning the residents to move to a half-kilometre distance from the shore. The residents are now being told to return to their homes, although several fishermen are refusing to go to sea.

    Sri Lanka is counting its blessings at not having been struck again. At dawn, Buddhist and Hindu monks started ceremonies in temples, offering prayers of thanks as no tsunami struck the country. Nonetheless, two people lost their lives, not due to the quake, but through the ensuing panic. A teenage girl was killed in a car accident, while an old woman fell to her death. About 2500 thousand policemen are stationed along the coastline to keep order.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    8.7 Earthquake in Sumatra

    [02] Approved by the Cabinet Measures for the Economy

    29 Mar 2005 14:03:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The revised programme for the Economy and the measures to reduce the deficit were approved by the Cabinet, who convened at Maximos Mansion, in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, Mr Kostas Karamanlis. In a short while, the Minister for the Economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis will announce the revised Growth and Stability Programme for Greece for 2004-2007. The Minister for Public Works, Giorgos Souflias, spoke of serious and significant decisions, underlining that the measures aim to deal with the large fiscal problem and the implementation of the budget. The Minister for Development, Dimitris Sioufas, described the measures as inevitable, and clarified that they will not affect the welfare state. Education Minister Marietta Giannakou stated that there was complete accord in the Cabinet, noting that the aim of the new measures was for Greece to come out of its crisis over the next two years.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Focus on New Economic Measures

    [03] He broke the traffic lights to cause accidents Man at Work

    29 Mar 2005 12:01:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: BBC

    As though it werent enough that South Africa is one of the countries to have the must road accidents, the authorities in Johannesburg arrested a man who tampered with the traffic lights in order to cause traffic accidents. The man was arrested after being pointed out by residents of the area, who had seen him "fiddling" with the lights, while on some occasions he was helped by two young children. As the police announced, the man confessed to tampering with the lights in order to create accidents, as he worked for two tow-truck companies, and in his own words, all he did was to increase their business. In fact, there have recently been quite a few accidents in the area, which had been blamed on the poor operation of the traffic lights. According to the police Press spokeswoman, the man will be charged with attempted murder and malicious damage to property. She added: "We dont know how long he has being doing this and how many accidents he might have caused." The man is expected in court this week. The authorities stress that they would sue any culprits, if they could prove that any accidents and deaths had resulted from their actions.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [04] Clear message expected from 10 bishops "Resign"

    29 Mar 2005 11:33:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    There are ultimately expected to be ten Metropolitan Bishops who, in statement before the end of the day, will call for the resignation of Patriarch Erinaios. According to reliable information from NET 105.8, besides the three, Archbishop Aristarchos of Konstantini, Korinthios of Petra and Damaskinos of Ioppi, who have already called for the resignation, it has been signed by a further six, while one more is expected to sign within the day. In the meantime, a 72-hour deadline was yesterday given to Patriarch Erinaios by the government of Jordan, who asked to be informed in writing as to whether there have been, through sales or long-term renting, changes to the Patriarchys property. "It is not only the Patriarchy, but Orthodoxy itself that is harmed. Now Erinaios must make his decisions," stated the representative of the Palestinian Authority in Athens, Ishmat Sambri on NET 105.8, adding nonetheless that there is no question of "Arab-ising" the Patriarchy, which is "unfounded talk of danger." Besides this, when asked about the situation in the Patriarchy, Israels Ambassador to Athens, Ram Aviram stated "the State of Israel supports maintaining the status quo, with the Greek character of the Patriarchy."

    "With each day that passes, the bearer of the highest title in the Patriarchy of Jerusalem is doubted," noted PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos on NET 105.8. The government and the Opposition agree that the Greek Orthodox character of the Patriarchy must be guarded, while SYNs President Alekos Alavanos voiced his support for the resignation of Erinaios.

    The Foreign Ministrys expert report is expected today.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Asking Erinaios for Explanations

    [05] In a special ceremony at the White House Warm Words for Greece from Bush

    29 Mar 2005 10:07:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The President of the US George Bush once again congratulated Greece on its impeccable hosting of the Olympic Games, while he praised Greeces contribution during a special ceremony organized at the White House to mark the Greek Day of Independence. The ceremony was attended by Archbishop Dimitrios of America and leaders of omogenia (ethnic Greek communities), as well as Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who had a short discussion with Mr Bush. The Greek Foreign Minister described the ceremony as "very moving" and emphatically underlined the warm words used by the American President about Greece. Earlier, Mr Molyviatis met with the Secretary General of the UN, of whom he requested that the process to solve the Cyprus problem based on the Annan Plan be restarted.

    From the Heart

    Archbishop Dimitrios also spoke during the ceremony, thanking President Bush for his active support for the protection of civil and religious freedoms, as well as generally the spread of freedom and democracy around the world, underlining the need to implement these principles in the cases of Cyprus, FYROM and the Kosovo Plain, as well as in regard to free and unhindered operations for the Ecumenical Patriarch.

    According to information, although Mr Bush had had a speech prepared, in the end the American president, affected, it was said, by the moving intervention of Archbishop Dimitrios, chose to speak from the heart on relations with Greece and Greeces contribution to history and the modern world.

    Mr Bush expressed his respect for the Greek PM, and recalled the many meetings he has recently had with him, both bilateral during Mr Karamanlis visit to the White House last May, and as part of multilateral Summits. He asked Mr Molyviatis to give warm greetings from him to Mr Karamanlis.

    Mr Molyviatis ended his five-day visit to the US, visiting the new deputy Secretary of State for political affairs Nicholas Burns immediately after the ceremony.. The two men discussed the range of bilateral relations and the international issues concerning the two countries, which Mr Burns knows well, owing to his term as Ambassador in Athens. Mr Molyviatis was the first Foreign Minister to visit Mr Burns, as he was appointed just a few days ago to the position (the third in American diplomacy hierarchy.)

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] Against 19-year-old girl, during 5-day leave Katsoulas Accused of Attempted Rape

    29 Mar 2005 10:40:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8, ΝΕΤ

    Charged with the attempted rape of a young Albanian girl, Asimakis Katsoulas will today appear before Amfissa police court. He is a member of the notorious band of Pallini Satanists, who is currently serving a life sentence in Malandrinos Prison, and had been on a 5-day leave from 24 March, returning yesterday. In Itea, Katsoulas approached the 19-year-old girl pretending to be a policeman and asked her to get into his car to go to the police station to check her identity, as she did not have any documents on her person. Katsoulas took her to a deserted construction site and attempted to rape her. The police easily traced Katsoulas, as the girl kept the details of his car registration plate.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [07] Interpellation on Gangs in Key Institutions

    29 Mar 2005 11:01:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    In an interpellation in Parliament, Nikos Konstantopoulos condemned the activities of parastatal, unofficial gangs and the spread of known foreign secret services in key institutions, such as the Justice sector and the Church. "The Giosakis and Vavilis cases are not circumstantial," stressed Mr Konstantopoulos, calling for "the dissolution with legal means of Chrisopiyi and all pseudo-religious organisations that provide cover for illegal activities of unofficial branches." At the same time, he asked for the names of about 70 clergymen who carry weapons to be published and for there to be controls on donations and benefactions towards ecclesiastic bodies and all provisions from them towards third parties. "What role is played by the Friends of Tzaneios, another of Kallinikos organisations, and who are the members of its Board?" wondered the former President of SYN.

    "There is a government, which is dealing with corruption in public life as a top priority, methodically and determinedly," was the answer from the Minister for Justice, Anastasis Papaligouras.

    Regarding Mr Konstantopoulos statements on gangs in the Justice sector, the Minister stated that "even though there were such things in the past, today there is no free rein for any such gang to act and exert influence," and he recalled the vote on the Bill for transparency in Justice.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] Fuel Increases

    29 Mar 2005 12:27:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Greece-wide price gauges by the Ministry for Development have recorded an increase in the average price of unleaded petrol by 1.46% within one week. From 0.823 euros per litre on 18 March, the price rose to 0.835 euros per litre on 28 March. At the same time, heating oil during the same time period rose on a nationwide level by 1.02%, and from 0.492 has risen to 0.497 per litre, while in Attica the price was found to be 0.488 euros per litre.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [09] Silver Women in Aarhus

    29 Mar 2005 13:19:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    The Greek Women's Table Tennis Team will return from Aarhus, Denmark, having ranked 18th overall in the Premier Division and having won the silver medal in the Challenge Division. Giorgos Karytsas' golden girls, who claimed the greatest success in the female history of the sport, completed their performance in the Challenge Division final, where they were defeated 3-0 by Ukraine. In the last game, 18-year-old promising Olga Georgopoulou made her debut in Greek colours. The results of the game: Ntoulaki-Koltova 0-3 (9-11, 8-11, 7-11), Fili-Sorochinkova 0-3 (9-11, 8-11, 8-11), Georgopoulou-Tkachova 0-3 (6-11, 7-11, 9-11).

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Simple incompatibility of characters Jennifer Files for Divorce

    29 Mar 2005 13:05:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: BBC

    36-year-old Greek-American star Jennifer Aniston has conferred with her lawyers. Several weeks after announcing her separation from actor Brad Pitt, Aniston has filed for divorce. For quite a few weeks, the couple have kept firmly silent on the separation. A few days ago, however, Aniston decided to take the big step and filed a petition with Los Angeles Superior Court, owing to irreconcilable differences. The irony is that Jennifer has recently been promoting her new film, entitled The Break-up. Despite the fact that the news of the divorce petition has leaked out, the famous actress continues to keep silent on the break-up of her relation with Brad Pitt. All that she has done, is on an American television show to state that she completely ignores comments, however nasty they are. In any case, it seems that the irreconcilable differences do not hinder the stars in working together in the cinema company they founded, Plan B, which has made a strong start in show biz with the film Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

    Translated by Millie Williams

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