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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-04-04

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Honey is Coming Off the Shelves
  • [02] Pope's Funeral on Friday
  • [03] Growth is a Great Challenge
  • [04] Pre-eclampsia Culprit Revealed
  • [05] SYN Concerned About Kosovo
  • [06] Dangerous Peanuts Confiscated
  • [07] New Party by Haider
  • [08] Aiming to Boost Competitiveness
  • [09] Estimates for the Economic Figures
  • [10] Oil Prices are Soaring
  • [11] PSAP Against Racism
  • [12] Nicotine's Hidden Hand
  • [13] Piercing Beyond Imagining

  • [01] Scientists Appear Reassuring Honey is Coming Off the Shelves

    04 Apr 2005 16:47:00 (Last updated: 04 Apr 2005 20:10:58)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: ANA - NET - NET 105.8

    Confusion was created among consumers following the revelations regarding honey and the possible dangers caused by paradichlorobenzene, which was detected in approximately 60% of the samples. As of Monday morning, the relevant sanitation authorities commenced intensive checks in the market, while, following EFETs decision, 25 types of honey, belonging to 8 companies, are being withdrawn to be rechecked. The Consumers General Secretary, Thanasis Skordas, who denied that attempts were made to cover the matter, is in charge of the whole operation. The alternate government spokesperson, Evangelos Antonaros, stressed that the necessary actions were not delayed, while he pointed out that it is significant for the State to safeguard consumers health. In the meantime, scientists appear reassuring, pointing out that the substance can pose a threat only if daily consumption of honey exceeds 40kg.

    No Delays

    During the daily briefing of the reporters, Mr Antonaros referred to the announcement issued yesterday by the relevant Deputy Ministers, Alexandros Kontos and Giannis Papathanasiou, while he added, "We all have to make the necessary efforts, so as not to create confusion among the consumers."

    In answering to a relevant question, the alternate government spokesperson stressed that there we no delays in implementing the necessary measures, referring to the exact time when the EU set the limit for the substance in question.

    Finally, Mr Antonaros underlined that no food scandal exists, while when asked to comment on the stance of former EFET president, Nikos Katsaros, he noted, "Everyone is judged by their actions, whenever these take place."

    In the meantime, PASOK MPs responsible for production and trade asked for a general discussion concerning the problems that arose with the yoghurt and honey, during tomorrows session of the Parliamentary Committee. The new President and Vice-President of EFET have also been called to participate in the meeting

    In its announcement, KKE mentioned, "The businesses capitalist profits are undermining public health and the environment," while it accused the EU, as well as the governments of ND and PASOK, of covering the scandals.

    Scientists Appear Reassuring

    Paradichlorobenzene is a substance contained in ceroscorene, used to combat wax moths, and is considered carcinogenic.

    As per EFET, Aristotelio University of Thessaloniki and the Development Deputy Minister, the substance can become dangerous if daily consumption exceeds 40kg, thus reassuring consumers.

    Meanwhile, Aristotelio Universitys Apiary Department said that the 10-microgram/lt limit set by the EU is the limit needed to detect the specific substance and does not pose any threats to public health.

    Speaking on TV station NET, Professor Andreas Thrasyvoulou, of the Apiary Department, pointed out that a child weighing 30kg would have to consume 58kg of honey in order for the substance to become dangerous for its health. "A fuss was created for no reason," stressed Giannis Metaxopoulos, Professor of the Athens University Agriculture Department, on radio station NET 105.8.

    Furthermore, EFET noted that the problem does not concern the whole Greek production, but tests are being carried out on all brands, while it recommended that packaging companies also commence tests.

    Finally, the Development Ministries and the Prefectures estimated that the withdrawal of questionable batches will have been concluded by Wednesday, while emphasis will be given to continuing checks and crosschecks of honey.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Bitter Honey

    Related Links:

    EFET

    Development Ministry

    [02] His Body Exposed for Public Veneration Pope's Funeral on Friday

    04 Apr 2005 14:15:00 (Last updated: 04 Apr 2005 23:32:34)

    By Anna Kourti

    The funeral of Pope John Paul II will be held on Friday 8 April at 08:00 GMT (11:00 Greek time). This decision was made by the Cardinals, while Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls announced in his Press Conference on Monday afternoon that the Pope would be buried in the crypt below St Peters Basilica. The Pontiffs body was taken this afternoon to St Peters Basilica, where it was exposed for public veneration. A worldwide outpouring of emotion has arisen with the death of Pope John Paul II. Italy, Poland, Haiti, the Philippines and Cuba have declared a period of national mourning. Hundreds of thousands of people are pouring into Rome to pay homage to the Pontiff, who held the office of Pope for 26 years. Draconian security measures are in place in view of the funeral ceremony.

    The Funeral

    "The Pope did not record any last wishes," stressed Vatican spokesman Navarro Valls, denying reports speaking of a papal will.

    The funeral service will take place in St Peters Basilica and will be officiated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a close friend of the late Pope and his likely successor.

    Following this, the casket will be transferred inside the Basilica, to be buried in a crypt beneath the Cathedrals Altar. That is where most Popes of the Roman Catholic Church have been laid to rest.

    Some of the late Popes relatives, close friends and Vatican employees will accompany the casket in the crypt. However, many Polish hope that the Church will permit his heart to be buried in Poland, as per their tradition.

    According to estimates, more than two million worshippers and 200 leaders, including US President George Bush and the Prince of Wales, will be attending the funeral. Greece will be represented by the Republics President, Karolos Papoulias, Archbishop Christodoulos and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    In addition, the Vatican spokesperson announced that the College of Cardinals will be convening every day, in order to clarify all the details concerning the Roman Catholic Church, until the election of a new Pope.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    A World in Mourning

    [03] Need for Reforms and Investments Growth is a Great Challenge

    04 Apr 2005 22:09:00 (Last updated: 04 Apr 2005 23:39:06)

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Attracting foreign investments and boosting the competitiveness of Greek businesses are the main priorities of the Government. Upon arriving at an event hosted by the Central Union of Chambers, the PM declared that the reduction of the deficit and a new growth prospect are great and difficult challenges for the Government. Earlier, in a meeting he had with businessmen and representatives of the producers, he underlined the need to achieve high growth rates and win the competitiveness challenge, an area where Greece, according to data by large organizations, lacks in many sectors.

    Economy with Strong Foundations

    Kostas Karamanlis stressed that the citizens who demand changes and reforms everywhere are the stars of the new development policy.

    The PM declared that reducing the deficit, a legacy left behind by the Governments of the past, is a difficult challenge, while he underlined the imperative need for a powerful economy that would be based on strong foundations.

    "That is what we have to do and we will succeed," he added, upon arriving at an event hosted by the Central Union of Greek Chambers for their 25-year anniversary.

    Businesses Ask for Bold Reforms

    Greek businessmen sent a message to the Government for bolder reforms. The president of the Central Union of Greek Chambers, Giorgos Kassimatis, asked for bolder reforms and an escape from the past. He also pointed out the need for dialogue between producers and the State, as well as more responsibilities for the countrys Chambers. "That is the only way we will have more investments and improved productivity with less unemployment, progress with social coherence and development with greater benefits," he mentioned.

    Need for Investments

    Earlier, during a series of meetings with businessmen and representatives of producers, he was briefed on the current state of business affairs.

    The president of EVEA (Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Drakoulis Fountoukakos, appeared content after his meeting with the PM.

    Mr Fountoukakos declared that the Government is moving towards the right direction of curbing public expenditure and trying to privatize as many public companies as possible. He further asked for even more steps and an acceleration of the rates, in an effort to win the bet with competitiveness..

    Earlier the PM met with Nikos Efthimioiu, President of Greek Ship Owners, and discussed mercantile marine matters, as well as matters of wider economic interest.

    "The PM wanted to hear our views as to how we could assist the economy through these difficult times," stressed Nikos Efthimiou, underlining that Kostas Karamanlis is well aware of the matters relating to Greek Mercantile Marine.

    Early this morning, the PM also met with businessmen B. Konstantakopoulos and Vardis Vardinogiannis.

    Mr Konstantakopoulos briefed the PM on an investment plan, amounting to 250-300 billion euros, that he is pushing in Messinia for constructing two hotel resorts, two golf courts and a spa resort in 2008. He also suggested the formation of an office for potential investors, which would brief them on legislative matters, issuing of permits etc.

    Mr Vardinogiannis did not make any statements following his meeting with the PM.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Aiming to Boost Competitiveness

    [04] Pre-eclampsia Culprit Revealed

    04 Apr 2005 19:35:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Research by Dutch and Australian scientists inspires hopes for the early diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia. Following DNA analysis, the researchers detected a common gene, STOX1, in women who developed the complication. This gene is passed down from mother to daughter and has a 50% chance of being expressed. Scientists hope that they will soon be able to detect the gene through a simple blood test. Meanwhile, they recommend that gynecologists take a full family history of their patients, during the initial appointment.

    Full Family History

    In case the gene in question is detected in a woman, she could have repeat blood tests when she becomes pregnant, to see whether she is expressing the gene in her placenta.

    That way, said lead researcher Cees Oudejans, "It might be possible to prevent complications with treatment."

    Since the gene is passed down from mother to daughter, scientists are recommending that gynecologists take a full family history of their patients, during the initial appointment.

    Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication and it affects one in ten pregnant women, while it is manifested during the 20th week of gestation.

    It is associated with high blood pressure, swelling of the ankles and kidney problems.

    If not treated early, it could become fatal for the mother and the baby.

    Furthermore, it is responsible for the deaths of between three to five women a year, as well as between 500 to 600 babies.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] In party events day over developments SYN Concerned About Kosovo

    04 Apr 2005 14:04:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Intense concern over the situation in Kosovo and the Western Balkans from unilateral decisions was expressed by the President of Synaspismos, Alekos Alavanos at a party day of events in Zappeion. Mr Alavanos stressed that possible independence for Kosovo would have multiple negative consequences and be a step towards destabilizing and dividing Serbia, Montenegro and the FYROM. At the same time, he criticized the way in which previous governments have handled the matter, while he voiced support for multi-dimensional foreign policy from Athens and support of permanent institutions of inter-Balkan cooperation.

    Criticism of Foreign Policy

    Synaspismos representative for foreign policy Panos Trigazis criticized what he called the "discernible" Greek trend, as well as that of Europe, towards accepting the American opinion on an independent Kosovo, and stressed that on the contrary, the Balkans need a Helsinki-type process and a faithful implementation of UN Resolution 1244 on Kosovo. At the same time, he recalled that Greece has special reasons to favour this solution, considering that it is seeking implementation of resolutions regarding Cyprus, while he also recalled that consensus in the past on the part of Athens concerning early recognition of Slovenia and Croatia did not lead to the expected support on the FYROM issue. He also criticized Greek foreign policy, because, as he said, it is moving within "Atlanticism".

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] Containing Carcinogenic Substances Dangerous Peanuts Confiscated

    04 Apr 2005 20:04:00

    Sources: NET 105.8

    The Prefecture of Piraeus confiscated and destroyed six tonnes of peanuts, which had been imported from Iran. As per the Prefectures scientific team, the confiscated peanuts contained the carcinogenic substance aflatoxin in quantities much larger than the allowable limit. The Piraeus Office of Prosecutions was notified of the confiscation in writing, while some quantities have already been distributed to the Greek market. After confiscating the peanuts, the Prefecture of Piraeus sent samples to the State Laboratory, which deemed that the Iranian peanuts were unfit for consumption.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] "Alliance for Austria's Future" New Party by Haider

    04 Apr 2005 21:40:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    During a Press conference in Vienna, Joerg Haider announced he was splitting from his political allies, the right-wing Freedom Party (FPO), and was founding a new political party. As per Haider, the new party will be called "Alliance for Austrias Future," and will be free of any extremist right-wing elements and inter-party opponents accused of creating rifts that led the party to electoral failure. "We have reached a crossroads," mentioned the ultra-conservative politician, while he added, "The choice was to return to the opposition benches or, as we wish to do, continue to carry our responsibility to rule with enough support." Meanwhile, Mr Haider clarified that the new party and its members, some of whom are ministers, will remain in the coalition government along with Chancellor Wolfgang Sch&#252;ssels conservatives. Earlier, Minister of Social Affairs Ursula Haubner announced she was resigning from FPO to join the new party.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Greece in the Lowest Spots Aiming to Boost Competitiveness

    04 Apr 2005 16:18:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    Today, during an event organized in Zappeio for international competitiveness, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced that more public companies will be privatized, in an effort to deal with the low competitiveness of the Greek Economy. In the same event, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stressed that competitiveness is being hindered by bureaucracy, corruption and lack of transparency, while he repeated his strict recommendation to businesses not to round off the prices upwards, due to the increase in VAT. He further added, "The Government will be harsh towards profiteers." On the other hand, the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Nikos Garganas, pointed out that the push for structural changes is a one-way street for boosting competitiveness and cleansing the fiscal affairs. Members of the Government and the Opposition, as well as representatives of traders and producers, were also present in todays event.

    "The Government is Implementing Measures'

    As per the indices of international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Economic Forum, Greece is ranked 54th, out of 104 countries. Actually, in 15 of Europes States, it comes first in corruption, long-term unemployment and bureaucracy. Finally, it is second last in purchasing power and employees productivity.

    "Our country is ranked in the lowers places based on all competitiveness indices," stressed Dimitris Sioufas, further underlining, "As opposed to what was happening in the past, the Government is implementing measures and taking initiatives in order to fight bureaucracy, corruption and lack of transparency, all of which hinder competitiveness."

    The Development Minister urged businesses to start submitting investment plans as of tomorrow, which will be incorporated in the ministry to support the Development Act.

    Furthermore, he said that the Government will give a battle in the EU, to promote the issuing of one- and two-euro bills.

    On the other hand, Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced that more public companies will be privatized within 2005, which will equal to 1% of the GDP.

    Keeping Prices Low

    In the meantime, PASOKs Development coordinator, Anna Diamantopoulou, mentioned that during the previous years, significant steps were taken to improve economic competitiveness, but were not implemented promptly, due to lack of consensus.

    Ms Diamnatopoulou also asked the Government for specific proposals to boost economic competitiveness, so that the political system would not have to make these decisions.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas welcomed Ms Diamantopoulous suggestions, describing them as a "positive step", while he noted that she spoke with responsibility and conscientiousness.

    The Governor of the Bank of Greece, Nikos Garganas, attributed the increase in inflation to the increase in wages, which, as he mentioned, should be in line with productivity.

    In addition, he noted, "It is necessary to protect those who will be affected by the structural changes," while he urged businessmen to keep the prices of their products low, so that that they could be competitive.

    Furthermore, referring to Mr Sioufas statement about the one- and two-euro bills, he declared that one-third of the EU Member-States agree to that.

    The president of SEV (Federation of Greek Industries), Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, stressed, "It is necessary to proceed with actual changes, which require stability and mutual trust," while he called on the Government to implement measures, so that that the cost of the recent economic measures will have smaller consequences on those who are unable to respond.

    Finally, the president of GSEVE (General Confederation of Small and Medium Sized Business), Dimitris Asimakopoulos, claimed that the banks are blackmailing the political system, mentioning the compounded interest rates and the guarantee fund for small businesses as examples.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] Asking for Cuts in the 4th CSF Estimates for the Economic Figures

    04 Apr 2005 19:11:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET 105.8 - ANA

    Today, the European Commission publicized its spring estimates for the development of the main economic figures of Greece, as well as the rest of the EU Member-States, for the period 2005-2006. As per the estimates, which do not take into account the new tax measures announced by the Greek Government at the end of March, Greeces fiscal deficit will stay over 4%, as it will reach 4.5% of the GDP in 2005 and 4.4% in 2006. Furthermore, it predicted a temporary delay in the growth rate, which will be around 2.9% in 2005 and 3.1% in 2006. The Commission also estimated that the Greek public debt will reach 110.5% of the GDP in 2005 and 108.9% in 2006, while unemployment will drop from 10.5% in 2005 to 10.3% in 2006. With regard to inflation, it predicted that it would reach 3.2% in 2005 and 2006. However, Greece is expected to give a battle in June for the Community funds, since the more powerful countries of the EU are asking for a 30% to 40% cut.

    Aiming for 22.5 Billion Euros

    In the meantime, ND MEP and coordinator for the Community funds in the European Parliament, Kostas Chatzidakis, declared on radio station NET 105.8 that Greece is aiming for the 4th Community Support Framework to equal 0.41% of the Gross Domestic Product, a percentage that translates to 22.5 billion euros for Greece for the period 2007-2013.

    Actually, Mr Xhatzidakis added that the six richest Member-States are asking for budget cuts and, provided this is implemented, the main victim would be the CSF. As per the MEP, "The richer countries have a mentality that is opposed to three of the oldest countries, ie Greece, Spain and Portugal, since they are saying yes to granting funds for regional policy, but want to focus on the poorer states, which are the ten newest Member-States."

    So, if this proposal is given the go-ahead, the 4th CSF will amount to 12.5%, ie 14 billion euros.

    "In the end, a compromise will be made. I just hope that this compromise will be close to our demands. Both us in the European Parliament, as well as the Greek Government, are doing everything we can for the best possible outcome," underlined Mr Chatzidakis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Directly Affecting Fuel Market Oil Prices are Soaring

    04 Apr 2005 18:10:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET - BBC - Reuters

    The continuous increase in the price of oil in the international markets has created concerns among consumers, economic bodies and the market. In New York, the price reached $58.18 per barrel and in London the recorded price was $57.65 per barrel, while the consequences in the price of petrol and oil in the Greek market will be immediate. This price increase may be attributed to the concerns regarding the capabilities of US refineries and the fear that the price will exceed $ 100 a barrel. At the same time, OPEC is planning to increase daily production, in an effort to defuse the situation. In an announcement issued by the Greek Development Ministry, based on recordings in 2,300 petrol stations all over the country, the retail price for unleaded petrol in Greece is the lowest in the EU and is 23.23% below the European average.

    OPEK Plans to Boost Production

    There are many possible reasons for this increase in the price of oil. According to analysts, these record-prices are mainly due to the heavy winter that affected Europe and America, the shrinking of strategic US oil reserves, the situation in the oil-producing countries (especially in the Middle East), the increased demand in China and Japan, as well as the profiteering games in the oil stock markets.

    Following this frenzied rise in prices, OPEC is considering the possibility of increasing production by 500,000 barrels daily. The highest production limit had increased by the same amount in March, reaching 27.5 billion barrels.

    As per OPEK President Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah, the organization will proceed with this new increase in production before the scheduled meeting in June, unless the prices fall under $55.

    Actually, as per the advisor on oil matters of the Nigerian president, Edmund Daukoru, the decision to boost production may be made within the next two weeks.

    It should be noted that daily oil consumption worldwide is estimated at 90 million barrels per day and is on an upwards trend. Up until now, one-third of total reserves has been pumped, while most experts agree that oil will be in abundance for at least the next twenty years.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] PSAP Against Racism

    04 Apr 2005 14:53:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    A statement condemning the racist slogans shouted at Kofi Abonsa in yesterday;s match between Egaleo and Iraklis was released by the Greek Association of Professional Footballers (PSAP). In its statement, PSAP stresses, among other things, that "such incidents are not only saddening, but at the same time cause especial concern," and it underlines: "the incident with the unacceptable behaviour towards Egaleo FC footballer Kofi Abonsa can only irritate those of us who love Greek football, as it would seem that the situation is getting out of control."

    PSAP's Statement

    "The Greek Association of Professional Footballers condemns all forms of offensive and racist behaviour towards professional footballers, wherever and from whom it may originate. Until now, Greek football had many other problems, but did not see such incidents, which are not only saddening, but at the same time cause especial concern. Unfortunately, the incident with the unacceptable behaviour towards Egaleo FC footballer Kofi Abonsa, who has in the past played in four different professional Greek teams, without causing problems with his stance or state, can only irritate those of us who love Greek football, as it would seem that the situation is getting out of control. The members of PSAP are in the front line in the fight against racism and discrimination in football, and send their message out to everyone. In sport, we must all advance together, and it is neither wise nor logical for there to be exclusions."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [12] Why it is hard to quit smoking Nicotine's Hidden Hand

    04 Apr 2005 12:12:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: BBC

    A group of British researchers moved a step closer to finding out why smokers find it so hard to get this harmful habit out of their lives. According to researchers at Goldsmiths College in London, the lack of nicotine makes smokers face their daily lives with less enthusiasm and positive thoughts. However, these findings have brought strong reactions from anti-smoking organisations. As they claim, these new results will discourage many smokers from making the decision to quit.

    The Progress of the Research

    A total of 200 people participated in the study, all of whom smoked more than ten cigarettes per day.

    The volunteers went through two tests that were conducted after they had not smoked for twelve hours. Following this, some were given a pill containing nicotine and others were given a placebo. Finally, they were all asked to complete a questionnaire, in which they described how pleasurable they found daily activities, from eating to an evening out.

    From the answers it arose that the volunteers who did not receive the nicotine were much less content and more negative than the others.

    "These results led us to conclude that giving up smoking must make many other things in life much less fun," said Dr Lynne Dawkins, who the led the research.

    The researchers also found that this group of volunteers had reduced resistance. More specifically, they had an uncontrollable urge to pay attention to something they had been told not to look at.

    Based on this, Dr Dawkins stated that it is likely that smokers who are trying to give up often start up again precisely because they cannot resist their craving for nicotine.

    Reactions and Responses

    This research brought strong reactions from anti-smoking organisations. As they claim, these new results will discourage many smokers from making the decision to get this harmful habit out of their lives.

    However, Dr Dawkins states that there is no such danger. On the contrary, she claims that the research will have beneficial results, as we can now understand what it is that makes smokers abandon the effort to give up.

    "The next step is to determine why it is that some people quit more quickly than others," she stated, stressing that the team has already started work in that direction.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [13] A different type of spectacle frame Piercing Beyond Imagining

    04 Apr 2005 14:52:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    He was irritated by his glasses, that were consistently slipping down his nose, and searched for the way to make his life easier. Seeking for the solution to his problem, 22-year-old James Sooy from Dallas put the most original piercing idea into practice. With the help of a friend, he created a glasses frame that he put on like a ring on the bridge of the nose. Sooy himself appears to be especially pleased with his invention, which he is actually thinking about commercializing from the summer onwards. However, there are quite a few people who remain skeptical about his inspiration, including Elayne Angel, medical coordinator for the American Union of Professional Piercers. "I imagine that it will be very difficult for anyone to use that frame, especially without help," she stated.

    Translated by Millie Williams


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