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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-05-26

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Progress and Resolutions
  • [02] Reforms are Necessary
  • [03] FGI Annual General Assembly
  • [04] Next Day for OTE
  • [05] All Eyes on the Undecided
  • [06] 21st Century Youth: High Tech and Stress
  • [07] Criticism to Government Over Development
  • [08] "Samina" Case Taken to Court
  • [09] New Program for OTA
  • [10] Giovanni Leaves After Being Crowned Champion
  • [11] Loophole for the Parthenon Marbles Return
  • [12] At the Edge of the Solar System

  • [01] Karamanlis Speaks at FGI Assembly Progress and Resolutions

    26 May 2005 21:09:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Speaking at the yearly Assembly of the Federation of Greek Industries (FGI), the Prime Minister stated the governments decisiveness to go forth with radical changes in all areas of the economy, to fight established interests and attitudes, but also to advance progress and resolutions. Mr Karamanlis announced an institutional opening hour context for stores that will emerge through dialogue, and noted that the government is building a new development model "with equality for all and not practices for the few." He also underlined that the government is fighting the accumulated problems and made harsh criticism to the organizers of grey propaganda practices. Earlier, Minister of Economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis made reference to the reforms being advanced, while FGI President, Odisseas Kiriakopoulos stated the need for extreme changes and a change of attitude, in order for Greece to become the new entrepreneurship and development centre of southern Europe.

    A Year of Changes and Reforms

    Presenting the key points of the new economic policy, the Prime Minister made reference to the fiscal rationalization, which, as he said, is a survival term of the economy, but also to the freeing of the markets and the ban of state monopolies with a new generation of privatisations.

    He also spoke of the freeing of the electric energy and natural gas market, the partnership of the public and private sector, the completion of large investment plans that in the previous years were left defunct.

    Once again, Mr Karamanlis underlined the turn towards regional development, stating that the 4th Community Support Framework will be entirely distributed to rural areas.

    Commenting on the 14 months of New Democracy rule, the Prime Minister made reference to the new tax and development bill, to the simplification of the permit process of secondary businesses, while he announced reforms for trade, tourism and the modernisation of the bankruptcy law.

    In closing, the government seeks reforms in employment relations, and the resolution of social security problems, while he saluted the agreement of the OTE administration with the employees, saying that both sides showed maturity and responsibility and proved that consent can exist in the economy.

    "Building a Climate of Trust"

    During his speech, Mr Alogoskoufis made reference to the new climate of trust that has been created due to the reforms being advanced.

    The Minister of Economy made reference to the event of surpassing last years goal of the collection of 1.6 billion euros from privatisations, describing as prime examples OPAP, the Greek Postal Service Bank and Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.

    Furthermore, he supported the better adjustment of work hours and the consensual reform of social security, and announced the bill submission for the appointment of public works to the private sector in June.

    In closing, Mr Alogoskoufis gave special emphasis to the results of the tax reform, the development bill, and also the bill for collaboration of the public and private sector, which will constitute "the third critical stage of the new development policy."

    Structural Measures Without Delay

    From his part, Mr Kiriakopoulos stated, "The timing is right and we have to seek out new sources of development which will allow Greek economy to find its way."

    The President of FGI stated that radical structural measures should be taken immediately, without delay, in many of the governments work areas, while commitment to specific timelines are necessary, and added that the governments are judged at the end of the four-year rule, from the course of the economy and the results in areas such as employment, unemployment, pensions, average income and price rises.

    Moreover, Mr Kiriakopoulos noted that the vision of the business world is for Greece to become the new entrepreneurship and development centre in southern Europe, underlining the need for consent between social partners and the cultivation of a climate of trust.

    Earlier, speaking at the FGI Assembly, President of PASOK, George Papandreou make criticism on the economic policy of the government accusing it of undermining the countrys capabilities.

    Commenting on the speeches of the Prime Minister and the leader of Opposition, KKE made an announcement stating "their competition to show who was a better manager of the anti-worker policy was suspenseful," while President of SYN, Alekos Alavanos stated "the leaderships of New Democracy and PASOK disagree over the adoption of their choices in the new-liberal dogmas and the favor of FGI."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Reforms are Necessary

    FGI Annual General Assembly

    Related Links:

    FGI

    [02] The Needs of Greek Businesses Reforms are Necessary

    26 May 2005 15:35:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    On Thursday morning, its President, in a speech to the members during a behind closed doors meeting, in the context of the yearly general assembly of the Federation, mentioned the creation of conditions that will favor healthy entrepreneurship, the improvement of competition and social cohesion are the main priorities of the Federation of Greek Industries. Odisseas Kiriakopoulos described these priorities as necessary conditions for the Greek economy to enter a new course of development. From his part, Vice President of FGI, Dimitris Daskalopoulos presented the Obligations and Rights Charter of business. Also, the Federation in cooperation with Boston Consulting Group has gone forth in an actualization of a report that will document the needs of Greek businesses, concluding that if a bold reforms program is made the Greek economy can overcome the problems and develop with speed in the future.

    Obligations and Rights

    As Mr Kiriakopoulos noted after the report, FGIs proposals are focused on changes and reforms in four great departments: business infrastructure, tax context, job market and man power.

    The Obligations and Rights Charter of businesses was presented by FGIs Vice President Dimitris Daskalopoulos, noting that its aim is to contribute to the forming of a behavior context based on common values, stances and notions that will make the prototype of the modern Greek businessman emerge, that will contribute to the effective cooperation of all social partners and will facilitate the creation and common acceptance of a modern environment that will advance competitiveness, employment and social cohesion.

    General Director of FGI Giannis Drapaniotis made a minute report and stated that the actions of the Federation last term were mainly aimed at the counter of problems of the current circumstances and the chronic weaknesses that battled development.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    FGI Annual General Assembly

    Related Links:

    FGI

    [03] Karamanlis-Papandreou Speeches FGI Annual General Assembly

    26 May 2005 11:27:00

    By Anna Kourti

    In his speech at 19:00 at the Annual Assembly of the Federation of Greek Industries, PM Kostas Karamanlis is expected to announce the main priorities of economic policy and the changes promoted by the government regarding privatizations and working relations in the wider public sector. Mr Karamanlis will also refer to the radical changes the government will proceed with, beyond any political cost that could even lead to a collision with the deeper state. As per information, the Prime Minister will ask industrialists to actively participate in the growth perspective of Greece so as to reshape the bad condition of Greek economy.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Satisfaction by OME-OTE and Government Next Day for OTE

    26 May 2005 14:22:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    OTEs Labour Federation (OME-OTE) voiced satisfaction over reaching an agreement after 10 months of negotiations with OTEs board regarding new staff hiring terms and labour relations. The agreement includes the implementation of a voluntary redundancy plan for 6,000 workers, who established their right to receive pension by 2012, while all future hiring will be governed by standard private sector employment contracts. The Government said the agreement is of historical importance both for OTE and the total of Economy. Following the signing of this important deal, both workers and OTEs board have agreed to lift the permanent working status. Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis and of Transport Michalis Liapis underlined that the particular move is a very good reform, which as they underlined Greek Economy really needed. Commenting on the agreement, Government spokesperson Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed that it paves the way for the restructuring of OTE to the benefit of the organisation, the workers and Economy in general. SYN President Alekos Alavanos harshly criticised the latest developments, stating that the Government played the role of a demolitions contractor. GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) President Christos Polyzogopoulos was reserved, while ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions) President Spyros Papaspyros stated he is in favour of permanent employment in the Public sector.

    OME-OTE Voiced Satisfaction

    OME-OTE's presidium voiced satisfaction over the signing of the new agreement with the organisation's board. In a Press Conference held in Thessaloniki, both OME-OTE president Giorgos Panagopoulos and general secretary Antonis Birbilis voiced their satisfaction over the agreement, while unionists Nikos Sindanis and Kostas Anestos disagreed to the latest developments. Mr Panagopoulos stressed that the signed agreement ensures OTE's future in a competitive environment and does not hurt workers' interests, nor the interests of those employed today or those who will be hired in the future.

    He also underlined that with the same contracts new employees will be hired, as permanent contracts and the four guarantees that are provided for and regard hiring, evolution and salaries ensure permanency.

    Regarding the voluntary redundancy plan, he stressed that it was proposed by OTE's board and OME-OTE agreed because it provided for the support of Social Security Funds, as the cost would be covered by the Government and OTE. At present, OTE has 17,000 strong work force and their average age is 50 years.

    As for Mr Birbilis, he said that those who should fear are not present or future employees in OTE, but the other competitive companies, where there is chaos in labour relations. "We have managed to ensure the constitutional rights of the newly hired, we have also ensured the rights of the employees working today," he stressed and went on to add "we have given OTE the possibility to proceed with changes necessary for its future course. Trade unions have proved their maturity."

    Comments and Reactions

    "Yesterday's agreement between OTE's board and the employees is of great importance for the Organisation and the Economy," stressed Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis and added that consensus has positive results since a great structural change took place that will help OTE, while it could also set an example for other companies that are in need of purification.

    GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos remained reserved over OME-OTE's agreement with OTE's board and said that unions are self-governed. Commenting on the agreement, ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyrou said that "regarding the Public sector we are in favour of the permanent working status and we will protect the institution against any efforts of changing it."

    Minister of Transport and Communications said the new deal for the voluntary redundancy plan and the lift of the permanent working status is very important. In statements outside the Maximos Mansion after meeting with the PM, Mr Liapis stressed "we are proceeding responsibly towards great reforms that Greek Economy is in need of."

    "Congratulations should be given to all those who worked hard to come to this result," stressed government spokesperson Theodoros Roussopoulos commenting on the agreement. Answering a question whether the government will apply this formula to other DEKOs (public enterprises which are classed as public services and utilities), Mr Roussopoulos said no such announcement has been made, while he also noted that OTE was the main target, since it is operating amidst tough competition.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Suspense Over EU Constitution Referendum All Eyes on the Undecided

    26 May 2005 22:32:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: BBC- AFP

    With "no" taking the lead in opinion polls, the curtain of the campaign, in view of the referendum for the European Constitutional Treaty, will fall on coming Sunday. As it all seems, the battle will be decided by the undecided, whom the advocates of "yes" and "no" are trying to win over. "A rejection of the European Constitution can be considered as a no to Europe," stated French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday night, making a last request for the voters to approve the Treaty. In the meantime, a new opinion poll of the Ipsos Institute gives 55% to "no" and counts the undecided to 11%, while earlier, for an opinion poll for Le Monde newspaper and television stations RTL and LCI, "no" reaches 44% and 20% of the people questioned are undecided. As the analysts evaluate, the French Referendum constitutes a critical test for the Euroconstitution, since if "no" prevails, the EU will be called on to decide if a ratification process from the member states will go forth or temporarily freeze.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] Research Conducted by the University of Athens 21st Century Youth: High Tech and Stress

    26 May 2005 19:35:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The profile of the 21st century Greek youth has been designed. According to a research conducted by the Mass Media department the University of Athens, Greek youths are unsure of the future, familiar with new technologies and attached to traditional values. They state that they are obsessed with new technologies and watch television daily, even though they do not trust it. Moreover, the youth of Greece are proud of their descent and trust in traditional values and institutions, such as family, religion and friendship, while they turn their back to political parties and syndicates, expressing disaffection for the corruption in public life. Their greatest fear is unemployment, and describe their future as dim, while appear stuck on money, which they place above creativity in the work area. The research was conducted in city centers around Greece, to 1,600 people.

    Technology Geeks

    According to the results of the research, 93% own a cell phone, 62.5% a PC, while 47.8% has access to the Internet.

    The percentage of youth that live in rural areas and own a PC and connect to the Internet is lower by 10 units as opposed to city centers, even though 93.7% own a cell phone.

    Also, 78% state that they watch television daily and up to three hours, while 13% of watch television five hours a day. On the other hand, Greek youths do not trust their television sets and accuse it of being disorientating.

    Greek and Proud

    The majority of the people questioned, state that they are proud of their roots, while they expressed their skepticism over the European Union.

    Only 7.9% feel proud that Greece is a EU member state, at the time when 47% state that they feel Greek and not European, as opposed to 40% that state that they are Greek and following European. The "Eurosceptics" describe the cooperation of the EU and the U.S., in international matters, as aggravating, and consider that the big countries of the Union impose themselves to the small ones.

    A 75% state their pride in traditional values and ancient Greek civilization, 51.3% in folklore, while the organization of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the European Championship Cup boosted national spirits and 33% and 30%, respectively, state proud of these accomplishments.

    Also, 25% youth are proud of their Greek Orthodox religion and 24% of modern Greek culture.

    Opposition to Politics

    Political parties, Public Administration, syndicates, Parliament and government do not beat in the heart of the youth.

    78% totally or somewhat agree with the view that "politicians are not interested in what people like me think," while the same percentage believe that parties are only interested in the peoples vote, and 85% evaluate that there is corruption in public life and Greek society. Even in the grading level, politics receive a low percentage, as Local Administration, police, EU, newspapers and Middle Education rate below average, while the army, justice, Higher Education, the Church and the President of the Republic rate above average.

    Also, a turn towards the right wing and the centre that began from the start of the decade seems to freeze. Based on the scale that was given, 14.8% state that it belongs to the right wing, 44.1% to the centre and only a 9.9% to the left wing. It is descriptive that the ages of 25 to 29, state that they belong to the right wing (16.2%), centre (45.6%) and left wing (10.5%).

    Unsure of the Future

    The generation of the 21st century seems to justify the description given by many researchers of being stressed out.

    Nearly half (45%) see their future as unsure and dim, considering unemployment as the countrys biggest problem, followed by the economy (15%), and drugs (6.5%). Price raises, poverty, corruption, education, economic immigrants, alienation and crime follow with even smaller percentages.

    However, these percentages differentiate on the question related to the most important personal problem. 23% evaluate economic/personal problems as important, 21% has no problems, while 15% state troubled by the unemployment issue.

    Loneliness is another problem, since 40% feel lonely and 37% would like to have more friends. Also, 23.5% feel that they do not have a substantial relationship with their friends, while 27% is troubled with their relationships with the opposite sex.

    Top Values: Family and Money

    Family is the most important value, since it receives 9.4 points out of 10, while 68% of the people questioned live with their parents, while love, friendship, knowledge and money follow.

    Money plays a determinate part in the youths life, since 39% consider it as the most important in choosing a profession, at the time when 25% chooses their profession based on security, 17% on creativity and 4.5% on the capability of social service.

    In closing, the youth seem cautious over volunteering and prefers charity. It is indicative that 59% state that they are not affiliated with organizations of "the society of citizens," while the same takes place with syndicates and professional bodies where participation reaches 2.3%.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related Links:

    Faculty of Communication and Media Studies

    [07] Papandreou's Speech at FGI General Assembly Criticism to Government Over Development

    26 May 2005 16:20:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    On Thursday, from the General Assembly of the Federation of Greek Industries, President of PASOK George Papandreou asked for a dependable state and not a collective with multiple laws, corruption and clashing services. George Papandreou accused the government that with its handlings it has created an unsettled environment that makes development and investments difficult. Making direct reference to the main shareholder bill, he underlined that the government wasted valuable economic and political funds, exposing the businessmen and the country. Mr Papandreou called on the businessmen and social partners, in general, for cooperation in order to present specific proposals for the economy, health, education and the counter of state control.

    "Transparency and Participation"

    The leader of the Opposition, presenting his own power prototype, noted that it co-acts with the principles and values of transparency, participation, electronic administration and the counter of bureaucracy.

    As he hinted that the government program of ND is not serious, George Papandreou noted that he will not make the mistake of choosing an easy opposition tactic that will bring him, as government, faced with the problems.

    In closing, Mr Papandreou made reference to the transparency issues, necessary sections and changes of the tax reform, as privileged fields for the achievement of consent with social partners.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Reforms are Necessary

    Related Links:

    FGI

    [08] Trial Commences on Friday "Samina" Case Taken to Court

    26 May 2005 18:30:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    On Friday, nine people, accused over the Samina shipwreck, on September 2000 in Paros that resulted to the death of 80 people, will face justice. Six crewmembers, two representatives of the ship company and a Mercantile Marine inspector will be tried over the case. Captain Vasilis Giannakis and Lieutenant Tasos Psichogios face capital offences, while First Officer Giorgos Triantafillos, 1st Engineer Gerasimos Skiadaresis, radio operator Dimitris Tsoumas, deckhand Panagiotis Kasdaglis face misdemeanor charges, while company representatives Kostas Klironomos and Nikos Vikatos and Marine Mercantile inspector Panagiotis Tsorvas.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] 3.5 Billion Euros to Municipalities New Program for OTA

    26 May 2005 18:06:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    The funds that will be given to the municipalities for the implementation of the "Thiseas" program during 2005-2009, is calculated to 3.5 billion euros, and was presented by the leadership of the Interior Ministry on Thursday. Moreover, reference was made on the distribution of the approved works, and includes public medical centers, homes for the elderly, day care centers and also road works, drainage and waste management per province. As Minister of Interior, Prokopis Pavlopoulos noted, the prime example of the specific development program is the funding, in which, this time, the central administration participates in, with 35% of the Local Administration funds.

    Works of Development

    Specifically, as Deputy Minister Athanasios Nakos said, from the total of funds, 1,575 million euros have been distributed, 45% of the program, with objective criteria.

    A 35%, 1,225 million euros, will be distributed with programmed criteria, which will be finalized within the year, in order to be implemented starting from 2006.

    In closing, the distribution of 700 million euros for OTA and emergency necessities will take place in 2005.

    For the cover of emergency necessities of local municipalities, 1,364 road works, 662 works for the improvement or replacement of water networks, and 259 drainage works have been incorporated.

    The "Thiseas" development program was present in Zappeion Hall by the Minister of Interior, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and Deputy Minister Athanasios Nakos, presided by Deputy Minister of Culture Petros Tatoulis, Economy Christos Folias, Development, Giannis Papathanasiou and members of relevant Ministries.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [10] Giovanni Leaves After Being Crowned Champion

    26 May 2005 16:35:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Piraeus is in a state of ecstasy one day after claiming the double in football. The big port is reliving the magic moments of 1999, when it had claimed both titles again. However, the impressive thing is that despite the seven consecutive championships, Piraeus really celebrated this trophy, the 8th in the last ten years, as though it was their first. Perhaps because, as captain Petrag Djordjevic said, it was the sweetest of all. Last night was turned into day from the fireworks in Piraeus and Olympiacos fans gathered at Karaiskakis stadium for a mini fiesta to celebrate the double trophy with all the players and technical staff. As the administration announced today, the official celebration will be held on Friday at 20:00 at Karaiskakis Stadium. However, the big news is that earlier Olympiacos will give a Press Conference in order to say goodbye and honour player Giovanni Silva de Oliveira for his great contribution.

    Festive Atmosphere Until the Morning

    Even though everyone was instructed not to gather at the El. Venizelos airport but go directly to Karaiskakis Stadium, more than 3,000 faithful fans welcomed Olympiacos at the airport and turned night into day all over again.

    Mottos, fireworks, songs and of course the always expected reaction of not allowing the bus to exit the airport.

    What more could the player ask for? They took part in the celebrations without being in the mood to talk about fatigue or anything else for that matter. Especially latin-spirited Castillo, Giovanni and Rivaldo really outdid themselves when they climbed at the top of the bus to sing and dance along with their fans.

    Olympiacos' vice-president Petros Kokkalis, who also welcomed the champions and cup holders, said the following: "This is a great day for Olympiacos. Congratulations to all. Olympiacos will be officially crowned Champion on Friday."

    Leaving the airport, Attiki Odos seemed small to contain the passion of fans and players. With many stops along the route, buses, cars and motorcycles headed for the Karaiskakis stadium, where a mini fiesta was held.

    The delegation arrived at the legendary stadium around 01:30 and its entrance from the fourth floor and the restaurant set the crowds on fire. Same thing here too. More than 15,000 fans went mad for all the players, whose names echoed all over the stands. Once again, Castillo, Giovanni, Rivaldo, Georgatos, Anatolakis and Djordjevic triggered festivities.

    Bajevic: "I Have Made My Decisions"

    One day after celebrations and while you can still smell fireworks in Piraeus, the management is called to give solution to a series of pending issues that concern the team.

    And if the issue with Giovanni reached an end since the Brazilian is leaving to continue his career in Santos, the issue with Bajevic remains an open case, without any answers whether he will remain on Olympiacos' bench next season.

    In statements he made on SUPERSPORT FM, he did not give a straight answer regarding his stay.

    "I cannot tell you whether I will stay or not. I need to talk with Mr Louvaris first. My mind is made up, but I really need to talk with Olympiacos' people first. Give me a couple of days and then I will be able to give you more details. I had thought of leaving at some point, but I didn't want to satisfy my opponents and I decided to go all the way after all," said Mr Bajevic, who also referred to the double and Rivaldo's value and contribution to winning both the Cup and the Championship this season.

    "We were all happy with winning the double, it wasn't just me. I can assure you it was the sweetest of all. Olympiacos rightfully conquered the Championship. Even when we lost the seven-point difference, the players still believed we could win. We simply waited for Panathinaikos and AEK to trip up, which they did, and we ceased the chance. I believe that after many years, nobody has something to say against Olympiacos" stated Bajevic and went on to praise the Brazilian ace:

    "What can I say about Rivaldo? He has achieved so much, he has played in such big teams with so many distinctions that there is really not much I can say. Such great players should become one with the rest of the team and not operate on their own. Rivaldo realized that right away. He is a man of great personality and he has complained only once, that time when I substituted him in the match against AEK. However, nobody can ask their coach not to substitute them. A coach always has his reasons for doing so, this is their job, this is what they do."

    Dusan Bajevic also referred to his cooperation with Olympiacos' administration saying that "following the match against Socheaux there have been no talks with the administration for transfers and contracts," and that his close cooperation is more with Mr Louvaris and less with Mr Kokkalis.

    As for the next day, Olympiacos' coach underlined the need to renew the existing team:

    "We have many good players, but all good teams need to be renewed at some point. However, when this will happen is an entirely different subject. Offensively speaking, Olympiacos adjust their play depending on their opponents. Olympiacos has many players who can score. I didn't want a static striker in my team because he wouldn't be able to deliver the result I wanted. I couldn't depend on a single player to score. It is always good to have such a player in your team, but it's not necessary. It all starts in defense. All of my players helped each other in that department, including Schurrer. When he got injured and lost some matches, the rest of the players did well and I just couldn't leave them on the bench."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] There Will be a Precedent Loophole for the Parthenon Marbles Return

    26 May 2005 14:12:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    A case of artworks that had been stolen during the Nazi years from the Czech Republic and are now at the British Museum, is at the last stage of its hearing. The four works of art had been stolen by the Nazis in the 30s from a Jewish collector. If the British High Court rules in favour of the endorsees, then a precedent would be created, based on which Greece could claim the Parthenon Marbles. The British general prosecutor, Lord Peter Goldsmith, asked the High Court to decide whether the British Museum should return the four paintings, as British legislation bans the Museum from returning anything belonging to its collections.

    More Requests Will Follow

    If the court rules that Lord Goldsmith, top legal advisor to the government, can grant permission for the return of the works, then a precedent will have been created and other similar claims will follow.

    "They could return any objects from their collections, if the consider they have the moral obligation to do so," said a spokesperson for the general prosecutor's office.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] Voyager 1 Arrived After 28 Years At the Edge of the Solar System

    26 May 2005 13:13:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    After a voyage that lasted for 28 years, NASA's Voyager 1 probe has finally reached the outer border of our solar system, having crossed a turbulent area, where electrically charged particles from the Sun crash into the thin gas that drifts between the stars. Astronomers monitoring its journey, said during a conference in New Orleans, they believe Voyager 1 has reached the so-called termination shock region in a distance of 14 million kilometres away from the Sun and has entered an area called heliosheath. Last November, scientists debated whether Voyager had reached the so-called termination shock region. This is where the "wind" of electrically charged particles coming off the Sun is slowed by pressure from the sparse gas found between the stars. At the termination shock, the solar wind slows abruptly from a speed that ranges from 1.1-2.4 million km/h and becomes denser and hotter. The most persuasive evidence that Voyager 1 has crossed the termination shock and has entered the heliosheath is its measurement of a sudden increase in the strength of the magnetic field carried by the solar wind, combined with an inferred decrease in its speed.

    "Reached the End of its Race"

    "Voyager 1 has entered the final lap on its race to the edge of interstellar space," said Dr Edward Stone.

    The prediction of the termination shock location was a tough nut to crack, as the accurate conditions in interstellar space are unknown and changes in the speed and pressure of the solar wind cause the termination shock to expand, contract and ripple.

    Originally, scientists estimated that Voyager 1 would have a mission life of five years, but reality proved estimations wrong and the Voyager 1 has been traveling in space for more than 28 years.

    It is carrying a time capsule in the form of a golden gramophone record, complete with stylus, which contains greetings from Earth in different languages, as well as music ranging from Mozart to Blind Willie Johnson.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti


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