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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-04-22

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Koizumi's Public Apology
  • [02] Homosexual Marriage in Spain
  • [03] The Birth of Art
  • [04] Dialogue Commences Monday
  • [05] Checks Scour the Market
  • [06] Onassio Hospital Debts to be Settled
  • [07] Ilia Did not Appear before Supreme Court
  • [08] NATO Russia Agreement
  • [09] Situation in El. Venizelos Settles
  • [10] Killer Irons

  • [01] For Aggressions of the Past Koizumi's Public Apology

    22 Apr 2005 08:48:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: Reuters - ANA

    On Friday, Japans Prime Minister apologized over Japans wartime aggression in the past, in an effort to defuse the recent disputes that have arisen with China. Speaking at a Summit in Jakarta, Junichito Koizumi expressed his countrys deep remorse, before the leaders of 100 Asian and African countries, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, with whom he asked to meet. The Asia-Africa Summits agenda mainly includes matters concerning international trade. However, the escalating tension between China and Japan is expected to overshadow the rest of the issues.

    "Deep Remorse"

    "In the past Japan through its colonial rule and aggression caused tremendous damage and suffering for the people of many countries, particularly those of Asian nations," mentioned Mr Koizumi in his speech.

    "Japan squarely faces these facts of history in a spirit of humility," added the Japanese PM, who continued by saying that the Japanese people have engraved in their minds "feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology."

    In concluding, Mr Koizumi declared that since the end of WWII, his country has been trying not to emerge as a military force, but as an economic force, resolving all its problems peacefully and without resorting to violence.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Tokyo Requests Public Apology

    Conflict between Japan and China

    [02] Initial approval for bill Homosexual Marriage in Spain

    22 Apr 2005 12:52:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The road has opened for marriage between homosexual couples. The Spanish Parliament has voted in the bill the on the right to marriage between homosexual couples, granting them equal rights with heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt children. The decision of the Spanish Parliament is expected to cause uproar in the ranks of the Catholic Church, and it is considered to be the first challenge for the new conservative Pope in Rome, as he is outspokenly against such relations. The public galleries in Parliament were packed with people, who cheered and clapped as Speaker Manuel Marin announced that the Lower Chamber had approved the proposal from the Socialist Partys government. The bill was ratified with 183 votes in favour and 136 against, and now needs ratification from the Senate and a second discussion in Parliament in order to become law, although it is not expected to face difficulties. Only the Popular Party in Opposition and Christian Democrat Party from Catalonia have stated that they will oppose the law. "It is unfair for people to be considered second class citizens owing to their sexual preferences. Spain is among those pioneers who are defending full equality for homosexuals," stressed Socialist MP Carmen Monton.

    Spanish Catholic Church Outraged

    Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero enjoys great popular support, within and outside of Parliament, for this bill which will make Spain the third country in Europe to have legalized marriage between homosexuals, following the Netherlands and Belgium.

    As the Spanish News Agency reports, the president of the Spanish Federation of Family Unions (UNAF) Carmen Toledano congratulated the parliamentary parties for their approval of the law and described todays decision as "a historic moment."

    Despite this, Zapateros decision has caused outrage in the powerful Catholic Church in Spain, while it is unlikely to please the newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI, who has spoken out in the past against homosexual marriage, "which destroys and perverts the meaning of matrimony and erodes the social identity o Europe."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [03] The Birth of Art

    22 Apr 2005 11:14:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    A rather particular exhibit shown in a gallery has caused an uproar in Berlin. On the one hand there was the idea that the creation of a human being was the ultimate form of art, on the other hand, the name of the gallery, DNA, and these two factors combined to produce the indisputably the most original and live exhibition. Without splitting hairs, the central exhibit at the gallery was a woman giving birth to her first child, in front of dozens of visitors. This is the case of 27-year-old Ramune Gele, who decided to share this unique moment with art-loving viewers. At her side was the childs father, 29-year-old Winfried Witt, a professional musician, who, shortly before the birth of his daughter stated that the birth of a child is a gift to humanity, a unique experience. In fact, he described the experience as "an existential work of art."


    According to the gallerys director, Johann Novak, the couple wanted to challenge conventional norms, and he described it as a test to see if society could cope with it.

    However, the test showed that the society at large cannot cope with it, as the exhibition at DNA gallery received a great deal of criticism. Stefan Foerner, Press spokesman for the Church of Berlin stated: "birth is an intimate act and should remain that way."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [04] Harsh Measures for Debts to IKA Dialogue Commences Monday

    22 Apr 2005 07:29:00 (Last updated: 22 Apr 2005 11:59:08)

    Sources: NET 105.8

    The Deputy Minister of Employment, Gerasimos Giakoumatos, announced on radio station NET 105.8 that harsh measures would be implemented as of 3 May both in the public and private sectors. Beginning from 3 May, anyone with outstanding debts to IKA (Social Security Institute) would have to pay them immediately. As per the Deputy Minister, the law will apply for everyone. In the meantime, the Ministers of Economy and Development will meet with the leadership of the Economic and Social Committee next week to commence discussions over labour and social security issues. As per the Economy Minister, the terms and conditions of the dialogue will be set during a meeting he will have with Development Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos on Monday. GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) declared that it would not be participating in a dialogue for labour and social security matters, stressing that such a discussion signals a return to the "Middle Ages" for labour.

    No Increase in Age Limits or Contributions

    Mr Giakoumatos repeated the governments commitment that neither the age limits for retirement nor the contributions would increase. Furthermore, referring to the issues with the banks social security, he stressed that the ones owing debts should pay and not IKA.

    Top executives have their own ideas and view society as numbers, pointed out Mr Giakoumatos who added that the views of OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) General Secretary over social security are similar.

    As per the Deputy Minister, social security is an issue that involves a constant search for funds.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    8-Hour Workday Stands

    Dialogue Over Insurance and Labour

    Dialogue Starts

    [05] Development Min checks scour the market Checks Scour the Market

    22 Apr 2005 12:17:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    More and more people are streaming into Varvakio Market, while at the same time checks are intensifying by teams from the Ministry of Development. Prices of lamb and kid are on the increase, while in some cases goat is especially expensive. Prices of fruit and vegetables remain at normal levels, with the exception of tomato prices. The checks are mainly concentrating on averting cases of imported lamb and kid being relabeled as Greek, so that people know exactly what they are buying and do not pay for Greek abattoirs when buying imported meat. In the meantime, today the owner of the business whose warehouse in Kallipoli in Piraeus contained three and a half tonnes of rotten veal, pork and chicken will be taken before the Public Prosecutor.

    Quality and Safety

    Besides this, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas states that there is uniformity in the market in view of Easter. As he stressed, prefectures are working closely together and there are constant strict controls, both regarding the quality and the safety of products. Deputy Minister Giannis Papahanasiou stressed that fruit and vegetables are for sale at prices lower than the same time last year, while lamb and goat prices are comparable to those of last year.

    PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou, who visited Varvakio earlier today, noted that the problem is not just with regard to the Easter table, but the shopping basket of the average family, which has been greatly affected by the governments measures.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] New Hospitals by Private Investors Onassio Hospital Debts to be Settled

    22 Apr 2005 12:08:00

    Sources: NET 105.8 - ANA

    The Greek Ministry of Economy will proceed with settling the Onassio Hospital debts, which amount to 60 million euros, as was decided following a meeting between the Economy and Health Ministers. Furthermore, within the next year, the public sector is expected to contribute a total of 950 million euros, relating to outstanding debts owed to suppliers by hospitals. Meanwhile, it was decided that private investors would be actively participating in the construction of new hospitals. Nikitas Kaklamanis pointed out that the matter of possible collaboration between the public and private sector would be discussed soon, once submitted to the Government Committee.

    Public-Private Sector Collaboration

    On the other hand, Giorgos Alogoskoufis declared that a bill concerning possible collaboration between the public and private sector is being considered. He also added that he discussed the matter with Mr Kaklamanis, so that the Health Ministry can participate in the construction of new hospitals, a fact that would not financially burden those insured.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] For Preferential Treatment of Giosakis and Bribery Ilia Did not Appear before Supreme Court

    22 Apr 2005 11:22:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Former Examiner Antonia Ilia will be called to testify before the Supreme Court after Easter. Ilia will have to provide explanations as she allegedly participated in the extrajudicial circle that rigged trials and illegally released drug offenders. The justice officer, who is probably facing permanent dismissal, did not appear before Supreme Court Deputy Prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas today, quoting personal reasons, as her father just passed away. Antonia Ilia, who is accused of the preferential treatment of Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis, has also been called in as a suspect for participation in a gang, bribery and violation of duty. However, she is denying all charges and attributes them to a plot against her. In the meantime, the Supreme Court Council will convene on Monday behind close doors, to decide on the transfer of 115 justice officials who have been serving in specific areas for long periods of time.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Three Lawyers in High Court

    [08] Collaboration on Good Path NATO Russia Agreement

    22 Apr 2005 07:10:00

    Sources: ANA

    On the sidelines of an unofficial summit between NATO Foreign ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Thursday, NATO and Russia signed an agreement allowing for closer cooperation between their forces, as well as permitting allied troops to enter Russian soil. Both NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, described the agreement as the "cornerstone" of their collaboration. Other international matters discussed during the summit included the role of NATO in Kosovo, Afghanistan and the Middle East; NATOs collaboration with the EU; international matters set forth by the various delegations; and a series of internal matters concerning the Alliance.

    Relations with Ukraine Enter New Phase

    Another agreement was signed between NATO and the Ukraine, allowing the latter to participate in the anti-terrorist operation Active Endeavour.

    Furthermore, it was decided that NATO funds be made available to the Ukrainian authorities in aid of the countrys democratic institutions. They also decided to implement a series of measures to recommence political dialogue between the country and the Organization.

    Mr Scheffer spoke of a new phase in the relations between NATO and the Ukraine, a fact that was also emphasized during the joint Press conference he gave with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister

    According to Greek diplomatic sources, the situation in Kosovo, which was not discussed in the present summit, continues to remain high on the NATO agenda. This was also confirmed by Mr Scheffer, who said that NATOs KFOR force would continue its operations in the area, while the matter was also discussed with the Russian Foreign Minister.

    With regard to the situation in Afghanistan, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Valinakis reminded, "Our country [Greece] will continue its assistance with the dispatch of a medical unit to the area of Kabul."

    Finally, the 26 Foreign Ministers commenced preliminary talks concerning the roles that the UN, the EU and NATO could assume in a series of joint ventures.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Rice Calls for Change in Belarus

    [09] Flights Performed With Larger Planes Today Situation in El. Venizelos Settles

    22 Apr 2005 00:02:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Passengers in the El. Venizelos Airport and other Greek regional airports went through an ordeal yesterday because of the 24-hour strike of the Federation of Civil Aviation Service Unions. The company announced that larger aircrafts will perform routes today in order to facilitate passengers who did not travel yesterday. 100 Olympic Airlines and Aegean domestic flights were cancelled on Thursday, as well as all Charter flights, while all international and domestic flights from Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport to Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Rhodes and Corfu proceeded as per normal.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Development Ministry Warns Consumers Killer Irons

    21 Apr 2005 23:15:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA - NET

    Consumers have been worried over the recent revelation that 338 PERLA steam irons are hazardous. As it was annpunced, these steam irons are responsible for the death of at least four people from electrocution. In an announcement, the Ministry of Development described the PERLA MOD CIR 2038 C irons, which are distributed by PERLA company based in Kavala, as very dangerous. What is more, the Consumers General Directorate issued an emergency warning urging all consumers owning such irons to immediately return them to the shop where they bought them from. As per the Ministry announcement, the company imported 3000 steam irons, 816 of which have been distributed to stores, while 478 of these 816 have been either returned or withdrawn. The steam irons which were not distributed to shops have already been returned to the supplier in China. Furthermore, the Ministry of Development urged all merchants and shops selling the product in question to see that all PERLA products are returned to the company.

    Compensation for the Death of Employer

    The steam irons in question have proven to be hazardous for the employers of the distributor as well, since on 1 March 2004, PERLA employer Andreas Balitsis lost his life to electrocution while trying to repair one of these irons.

    Recently, the Kavala First Instance Court recognized the company's liability and ruled in favour of the victim's family with a compensation of 300,000 euros.

    As per the case, the electrical steam irons bore the CE indication, which means they were manufactured based on EU preconditions, although they had many omissions. What is more, there was a second victim who died from using a PERLA iron. Charilkeia Marianou, mother of four who lived in Karditsa, died of electrocution while ironing.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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