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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-05-31

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Public Sector Not to be Burdened
  • [02] All Eyes on the Netherlands
  • [03] Greeks Champions in Smoking
  • [04] Double Nationwide Strike
  • [05] Controlled Parking in Autumn
  • [06] Ano Liossia Dump Closed
  • [07] Trouble-Free Training
  • [08] Miss Canada Wore the Crown

  • [01] OTE shares go up Public Sector Not to be Burdened

    31 May 2005 11:33:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET 105.8, ANA

    The clashes at a political and trade union level are ongoing regarding the matter of voluntary redundancy. Whilst PASOKs Political Council is convening to determine the partys ultimate position, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis confirms that the Public Sector is not to be burned with the cost of voluntary redundancy. In an interview on Flash radio station, he reiterated that 20% of the total cost of the redundancy programme at OTE would be provided by the Public Sector, with 80% paid by OTE. Moreover, he added that this is the first time that such a programme is taking place with consensus. Regarding the question of where OTE will find its 80% share of the cost, he said that the sum would be funded by the purging programme. He underlined "the purging programme is very well structured," noting that has already been an increase in OTE share prices. In addition, the minister stressed that there would be no problems with the European Commission, as the Public Sector is nor providing assistance to OTE, but to its insurance fund (TAP-OTE). He stated that it in order to ensure that there would be no problems with regard to the Commission, he had already spoken to Commissioner Stavros Dimas, while he also plans to talk with other Commissioners.

    Opinions Divided

    In the meantime, as stated on NET 105.8 by GSEEs secretary, Giannis Panagopoulos, "we will attempt to void this agreement." He said "its incomprehensible for them to tell us that a firm that last year had enormous losses can undertake such a cost. This is fine on paper, but its not real policy."

    "This is an agreement attempted by DAKE-PASKE in the rationale of their parties, to increase the companys profits to the detriment of the workers," said Dimos Koumbouris, member of KKEs Central Committee.

    On the other hand, in statements on NET 105.8, ND MP Giorgos Vlachos said "no one knows the companys problems better than the workers themselves. And they are represented by the Chairman of OME-OTE Giorgos Panagopoulos and not by Mr Polyzogopoulos."

    In the meantime, there is a lot of internal complaint within PASOK, and George Papandreou is under pressure from trade unions to make expulsions. The partys Political Committee will decide on the matter.

    In any case, Mr Papandreou was tough with the trade unionists who look to his party.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [02] Polls Say "No" Will Reach 65% All Eyes on the Netherlands

    31 May 2005 10:03:00 (Last updated: 31 May 2005 13:32:24)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Following 55% of French voters who said "Non" to the European Constitution, the EU is expected to suffer a second heavy blow on Wednesday from the Netherlands. As all polls indicate, the Netherlands will vote against the European Constitutional Treaty despite pleas by the political leadership to vote for it. In fact, the polls have shown a record percentage of up to 65%, which augments problems for the leaders of the 25, although the referendum is of advisory nature. In the meantime, there are rapid developments on the French political stage, after the defeat suffered by Jacques Chirac. Earlier, the French President accepted the resignation of PM Jean Pierre Raffarin, and in his place he appointed the hitherto Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin. It is unclear how far this will go towards deflating the political crisis, as De Villepin is a non-parliamentarian, while he does not have popular ties, as he comes from an aristocratic family. Besides this, all the new facts will be dealt with by the European Council June 15, 16 and 17.

    In the Footsteps of the French

    The leaders of the big political parties in the Netherlands invited the 12 million Dutch voters to exercise their electoral rights, as polls indicate that turnout will be small. The three political parties forming the government coalition and the Opposition have asked voters to say "yes" to the European Constitutional Treaty. However, socialists and right-wingers are in favour of "No."

    The last poll conducted for public television showed that the negative French referendum has reinforced the "No" camp in the Netherlands. In particular, 59% of the Dutch asked are against the European Constitution, a percentage increased by 4% in comparison with the previous poll conducted by the same institute. However, 96% of the people that participated in the poll said they were not affected by the French "non." 48% are willing to go to the ballots, which is a smaller percentage than the one originally willing to vote before the referendum in France.

    More than 15% of Dutch people said that after the French "non" there was no reason for them to cast their votes. Although the results of the Dutch referendum are non-binding, political parties said they would take them into serious consideration, given that voter participation exceeds 30%.

    On Monday, another poll showed that "No" in the Netherlands exceeds 65%.

    Fabius Asks for Renegotiation

    In the meantime, former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, head of the "No" Left supporters, stressed that President Jacques Chirac ought to renegotiate on a new European Constitutional Treaty after the French strongly opposed to the present one.

    "The order given to the head of the French state, who voices the people's will, is to renegotiate on a new Constitutional Treaty," said Fabius speaking on private TV channel TF1.

    According to Fabius, the prevalence of "No" during the Sunday referendum is the expression of "a strong people's will for change" which is translated into the "negation for the European modus operandi" as well as into "a hope that through Democracy we can proceed towards a strong and united Europe."

    Regarding the government reshuffle, Fabius said that "my fear is that Jacques Chirac's exhaustion could mean the exhaustion of France."

    The Turks Had Warned France

    As per an article in today's Turkish paper "Radikal", the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had warned his French counterpart Michel Barnier last December on the need for "immediate commencement of accession negotiations" between the EU and Turkey given the already discernible result of the referendum in France.

    Although Ankara said the result of the referendum will not negatively affect Turkey's accession course, Abdullah Gul had warned Barnier during the Summit Meeting on December 17.

    The newspaper also reported that during talks with his French counterpart in December, Gul said that "negotiations should open right away, because if they are delayed it could cause you trouble."

    As per the article, Gul "repeated his warning in another meeting held during a period when it was fairly clear that the referendum would have a negative outcome."

    The paper read that Barnier answered by saying "we are well aware of it, but there is nothing we can do now."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    European Reactions

    European Press Comments on "Non"

    [03] Terrible first place for Greece Greeks Champions in Smoking

    31 May 2005 11:32:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Greece greets this years World Anti-Smoking Day with a sad first place. Over 43% of Greeks smoke, with men far ahead of women in this harmful habit (47%) and women following closely with a high number (39.6%). These figures explain why Greece is among the first places in European lists of cigarette consumption, while perhaps the most unsettling data is that regarding young people aged between 12 and 18. A recent study by Charokopeio University, in collaboration with Vyronas Health Centre on boys and girls showed that on average 33% of adolescents have tried smoking cigarettes at least once, while 10% of adolescents state that they smoke regularly. If this data is extended to the population in general, it means that around 200,000 Greek children smoke.

    Shocking Figures

    Each year, 3 million people worldwide lose their lives to diseases related to smoking. Of these, 500,000 people alone are in Europe.

    In a joint Press conference granted by the Hellenic Cardiology Foundation, the Hellenic Anti-Smoking Company and the Hellenic Anti-Cancer Foundation, it was shown that lung cancer victims in Greece are estimated to number 6000 per year, while smoking is to blame for a third of all cancers and 7% of adults with chronic blocked lung disease.

    According to data and estimations by specialists, one in four young people who start smoking every year will eventually die of a smoking-related disease.

    As it turns out, passive smoking is extremely harmful, sometimes even as harmful as actual smoking

    It is indicative to see the data for children of smoker parents. According to scientists a child living in a smokers house breathing their smoke every day has by the age of 5 been affected to the extent that it is as though he has smoked 100 packets of cigarettes.

    Smoking continues to be the most serious cause of disease and mortality, as beyond the well-known harmful effects on the lungs, the pharynx, the larynx and the mouth cavity, it also affects the stomach, the pancreas and the bladder, while it is responsible for breast cancer, sexual impotence and premature aging in women.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [04] Academics and IKA Doctors Double Nationwide Strike

    31 May 2005 07:21:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Tuesday will be a day of mobilisations, since IKA doctors go on a two-day strike, while Academics will be on a strike until Thursday because of the assessment bill submitted to Parliament on Monday. At the same time, on Tuesday students will proceed with the blockade of main roads in Athens, such as Solonos street near the Law School, Syngrou Avenue near the Pandeios School and Kavalas Avenue near the Technological Educational Institutes, for one hour from 12:00 to 13:00. In the meantime, students around Greece will hold mass demonstrations on Thursday at 19:00 in all major Greek cities, while on Saturday the student coordinative body will reconvene to decide on the students further moves. Their main demand is a "truly public and free education without classifications and cycles of studies."

    What the Bill Provides for

    The Bill provides amongst others for:

    The educational, research or any other type of curriculum of Higher Educational Institutes will be under continuous assessments. The assessment of each Higher Educational Institute will be based on the assessment on each academic units (Schools or Departments) of which it consists, as well as on the assessment of the institute's operation in total. The programmes of undergraduate or postgraduate studies or other services offered by academic units or the Institutes in total will also be assessed.. The process and the means of the evaluation are defined. In particular, the evaluation of universities will be held in two stages, internal and external, and will be repeated every four years at the latest. The Independent Authority of Ensuring Quality in Higher Education will be responsible of coordinating the evaluation processes and support them on a national level. In addition, the new regulations will set the criteria that will be used for assessing the quality and effectiveness of research and education of studies and the rest of the services offered by universities.

    Those criteria and the assessment figures would be further standardised, supplemented and specialised, based on the directions issued by ADIP, which will also set the internal and external assessment process.

    Finally, a Degree Annex will be established, which will not replace the official studies title or the academic transcript.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Controlled Parking in Autumn

    31 May 2005 11:49:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: NET 105.8

    The Municipal Council of Athens has decided to return controlled parking to the commercial centre of the capital, starting from this coming October. According to a proposal composed by the relevant committee, yesterday approved by majority vote, the first stage will cover 5000 controlled parking spaces, with a further 4000 spaces added within a year. These will be divided into spaces for short term and spaces for permanent residents.

    The measure will initially be implemented in the commercial triangle in Psyrri, Geraniou Market, Plaka and Kolonaki, and in the future it will be extended to Thisio, the Music Hall and around Panathinaikos Stadium.

    The fee for parking for visitors will be 1 euro for the first two hours and 6 for three hours. Payment will be made via special cards available from kiosks. Permanent residents will be provided with a special badge, while they will pay an annual fee of about 20 euros to the Town Hall for their main car.

    The system will be in force for visitors from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 21:00 and on Saturday from 09:00 to 16:00, while for permanent residents it will apply around the clock. On Sundays and bank holidays the system will not apply. There will be an international competition to award the contract to a company to implement the system and the municipal police will attend to policing the parking spaces.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] Ano Liossia Dump Closed

    31 May 2005 09:15:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works submitted a proposal to transfer the sewage sludge from the waste water treatment plant on the island of Psittalia to the Ano Liossia dump and the old Mousamas quarry in Petroupoli. The inhabitants, who fiercely oppose to this proposal, held a mass demonstration outside the ministry on Monday and announced that the dump will remain closed from 08:00 on Tuesday until Wednesday morning. They also issued a warning for further demonstrations in the following days, while the Western Attica Prefecture Council said they will take the matter to the Supreme Administrative Court and the European Court in the case the ministry proceeds as planned. On Tuesday, a committee headed by Mr Aristeids Arkoudaris will meet with the Minister for the Environment Mr Soufilas in an effort to find a solution.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] Trouble-Free Training

    30 May 2005 23:18:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    The preparation of the Greek National Football Team in view of the two crucial upcoming matches against Turkey and the Ukraine for the preliminaries of the 2006 World Cup is continuing without any troubles. Todays training session in Agios Kosmas facilities took place in front of 500 fans, who cheered fervently for the reigning European champions. Thodoris Zagorakis and Takis Fyssas were absent, as they had to play for their respective teams (Benfica and Bologna) yesterday, while Giorgos Karagounis and Michalis Kapsi followed a lighter programme, as they played over the weekend. Antonis Nikopolidis trained as per normal, after having overcome a haematoma in his quadriceps, which he sustained during the match between Olympiacos and Iraklis. Furthermore, Aggelos Basinas and Kostas Katsouranis both trained without any problems, a fact that pleased Otto Rehhagel in view of Saturdays match against Turkey in Istanbuls S&#252;kr&#252; Saracoglu stadium.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Miss Canada Wore the Crown

    31 May 2005 09:18:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Miss Canada Natalie Glebova of Russian origin was proclaimed the most beautiful woman in the universe and was crowned with the glittering diamond-encrusted Miss Universe tiara in the beauty pageant held in Bangkok. The 23-year-old girl from Toronto succeeded Miss Australia Jennifer Hawkins and will hold the sceptres of universal beauty for a year. The choice was no surprise as all odds were in favour of Natalie; however, the final announcement appeared to stun Miss Canada. "This is all happening too fast and it's unreal. It's slowly starting to sink in," she told reporters moments after being crowned while hugging her parents. Glebova also praised her new homeland for giving her and her family the chance to start a new life. "When we came 11 years ago, we came with nothing, and now we've got so much," she said. Among 81 beauties from around the world, Miss Puerto Rico Cynthia Olavarria came in second.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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