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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-05-28

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Moments of Anxiety in France
  • [02] New Violence Outbreak in Indonesia
  • [03] Celebrations in Piraeus
  • [04] Election of New SYN Secretary
  • [05] Natural Gas Discussed at Maximos Mansion
  • [06] "We Have Executed the Japanese Man"
  • [07] Suicide Attack in Tikrit

  • [01] Over the European Constitution Moments of Anxiety in France

    28 May 2005 00:01:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The countdown for the greatest test of the European Constitutional Treaty and the French government has started. A few hours before the critical referendum for the ratification of the European Constitution, opinion polls show that the French say a loud "no," with percentages ranging from 51-56%. At the same time, the opposing camps are putting up a fight with continuous demonstrations, while politicians and important figures around Europe either go for or against the Treaty in an effort to affect French voters. In the meantime, the French Press speaks of "panic within the Government" as a possible prevalence of "no" is expected to affect both the European Constitution and the Chirac government. In fact, scenarios for the day after, want the European Constitution in a standstill and the French Government one step away from a possible reshuffle, in the case that "no" prevails. At the same time a special edition of the British newspaper The Sun stirs a commotion in France.

    "No" Steady in the Lead

    The Sun calls on the French voters to say no to the referendum, in order to save Europe from making a huge mistake. Its front page mocks Jacques Chirac, as it depicts a frog holding the French flag while the Presidents photograph is placed above the amphibian. At the same time, in a heavy climate of concern, the French government and the EU await the result of the referendum, at the time when eleven opinion polls give a majority to the "no" vote, with percentages ranging from 52% to 55%.

    According to most polls, the "no" vote is in the lead in most vocational and age groups, an 80% of the French society, which is the employed of all categories. Also, the largest majority of all ages, with the exception of people over 65, are against the EU Charter Map.

    As analysts observe, the "no" vote seems powerful. It is descriptive, that the Frenchs refusal cannot be overturned, besides the fact that 90% of the newspapers and 60%-70% of the electronic Mass Media and the political leaderships of many European countries support the document. The analysts conclude that a miracle is needed to save the Constitution from rejection.

    From their part, the supporters of the "yes" vote claim that nothing has been judged yet, since the undecided reach 20%.

    Rallies and Pleas

    On Friday, the "yes" and "no" supporters made a series of deciding rallies.

    In an effort to support a French "yes," Germany ratified the Treaty in the presence of its architect and former French President Valery Giscard dEstaing, while in rallies supporting the Treaty, the leaders of Germany and Spain, Gerhard Schroeder and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero gave speeches.

    European diplomats are sounding the alarm, saying that a "no" vote from the French and three days later from the Dutch, will mean the end of the Constitution, and that in order to be implemented it has to be ratified from the 25 member states of the Union.

    President of the Greek Republic Karolos Papoulias also expressed concern about the referendum in France, while describing it as important and expressed the notion that the situation will become difficult if the French and Dutch vote it down.

    At the same time, SYN President Alekos Alavanos sent a message of support to the French Communist Party that side with the "no" vote.

    Whatever Paris answer may be to the referendum, the European Committee claims that the ratification process of the Treaty has to continue. However, if "no" prevails, it will be the first time that one of the founding members of the Union will oppose European unification.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    All Eyes on the Undecided

    [02] Fear Over New Religious Tension New Violence Outbreak in Indonesia

    28 May 2005 09:55:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Reuters

    Nineteen people lost their lives and at least twenty injured in a series of explosions that shook the central market of the town of Tentena, an area inhabited by Christians, on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The explosions occurred 15 minutes apart from each other and cause concern over the event of a possible resurgence of a religious war between Christians and Muslims. The religious feuds began in 1998 and within three years, when a peace treaty was signed, at least 2,000 people lost their lives. Up to this moment it has not been clarified if the explosions are connected to religious tension or a different cause.

    Action Field of Jemaah Islamiah

    The religious tension on the island of Sulawesi, is mostly apparent in the city of Poso, which is located 1,500 northeast of Jakarta. The picturesque town of Tentena, where the two explosions occurred, is mostly inhabited by Christians and is located 20 km from the city of Poso. The tension on the island of Sulawesi attracted many Muslim organizations that wanted to contribute to the Muslims of the island. One of these organizations is Jemaah Islamiah that is known to have ties with the Al Qaeda network. For the above reason, western countries warn their citizens to be particularly cautious of travel in Indonesia

    On Thursday, the U.S. closed down their diplomatic offices in Indonesia, fearing a possible threat.

    It is noted, that Jemaah Islamiah has been blamed for being responsible for many attacks against western targets, such as the explosions in Bali nightclubs in 2002, which resulted in the death of 202 people, mostly tourists.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [03] Celebrations in Piraeus

    27 May 2005 22:43:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Today, Olympiacos celebrated the 33rd championship in their history, their 11th double and the 8th championship in ten years. And what place better to do it than the new Karaiskakis Stadium. More than 30,000 red fans inside the "palace" and a few hundreds outside were there all day to welcome their beloved team in an atmosphere that has never been created before! Fans started gathering in the Stadium as early as 6 in the afternoon, while matrixes were showing the teams' goals for the season and the sounds of "My Number One" were filling the area. In fact, fans even remembered older Olympiacos players, like Carembeu, Gogic, Karapialis, Alexandris, Giannakopoulos and Amanatidis. The host of the fiesta was well-known Greek actor Renos Charalabidis and the show started with Giovanni's award for his contribution to Olympiacos.

    With Giovanni's appearance, fans went mad. The Stadium was literally rocking and the people were cheering and applauding for quite some time, while Giovanni thanked them from the heart, before receiving the honorary plate from Sokratis Kokkalis. The ceremony for the trophy award followed suit. However, when EPAE's (Hellenic Association of Football Clubs) president Alexandros Lykourezos made his appearance, fans booed. He avoided saying something despite receiving the microphone and simply took his position behind the trophy. On the contrary, Olympiacos general manager Savvas Theodoridis was more than welcomed, while when Dusan Bajevic made his appearance, it seemed that fans were divided. The overwhelming majority went mad for the coach that led their team to the double, but a small part of the fans were rather disapproving of him.

    As was expected, in a climate of cheers and applause the host started presenting the footballers, who in their majority got on stage with their children. First was Rivaldo, followed by Nikopolidis, Georgatos, Anatolakis and then the rest. Predrag Djordjevic was the last to come up, and before lifting the trophy high in the air, he asked Sokratis Kokkalis to join him and they lifted it together. Karaiskakis Stadium was literally on fire! Fireworks turned night into day, music filled the air and players started acting like little boys who had just been given the best present. It was time for the tour of the triumph. Fans respected the footballers' request and stayed off the pitch and this was the first time in these eight championships that the players managed to make a full circle.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Central Political Committee Convenes Election of New SYN Secretary

    28 May 2005 13:07:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    On the focus of the relevant committee of Synaspismos are the current political developments, the approval of the political program but mainly the election of secretary of the Central Political Committee. The discussions of the meeting, which is taking place in a central Athens hotel, will commence with a speech by President of the party, Alekos Alavanos.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] PM Meets with Sioufas and DEPA President Natural Gas Discussed at Maximos Mansion

    28 May 2005 12:45:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    At this time, the Prime Minister is meeting with Minister of Development, Dimitris Sioufas and President of the Public Gas Corporation of Greece, Rafail Moisis. The decision of the government to free the natural gas market is at the focus of the discussion. At the end of the meeting with the Presidnet of DEPA, Mr Karamanlis will meet with the President and Managing Director of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] Japanese Embassy Investigates Video "We Have Executed the Japanese Man"

    28 May 2005 10:34:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The militant group Ansar Al Sunna announced the execution of Japanese man Akihiko Saito, who had been abducted on May 8, in Iraq, and at the same time broadcast a videotape on the Internet to prove its point. In the video, the body of a dead man with blood on his face slumped on the ground is depicted, and other evidence such as the identification card and passport of the 40-year-old Japanese man is also shown. A short while ago, the secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Baghdad noted that it is quite possible that the Japanese hostage is Akihiko Saito, a former parachutist and veteran of the French Foreign Legion.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] Seven Dead and Several Injured Suicide Attack in Tikrit

    28 May 2005 10:50:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Seven people lost their lives and 24 were injured by a suicide attack at the birthplace of Sadam Hussein, in Tikrit, Iraq. The attack occurred shortly after 18:00 Greek time, but was announced today by the American Army. The kamikaze detonated the vehicle packed with explosives at the time when an Iraqi patrol was passing by. Much damage occurred from the explosion, in stores and many vehicles parked near the area.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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