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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-06-09

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Call to Battle Stations
  • [02] Age Does Not Matter
  • [03] ND in the Lead
  • [04] Nothing Has Been Lost Yet
  • [05] "Government Will Justify Itself"
  • [06] Rumors of "Patriarchal" Minders
  • [07] Attacks with a Signature
  • [08] Sent Packages with Suspicious Powder
  • [09] U.S.: Central Negotiator for Kosovo
  • [10] All Eyes on the Summit Meeting
  • [11] A "Breather" for EU Constitution
  • [12] Barroso's Intervention
  • [13] Double Strike Front
  • [14] New Extension for Banks' Social Security
  • [15] Victory Was Feasible
  • [16] Virtual Intelligence
  • [17] "My Big Fat Greek" Diet
  • [18] Reshuffle or Exorcism?

  • [01] Feverish Discussions in Parties Call to Battle Stations

    09 Jun 2005 12:19:00 (Last updated: 09 Jun 2005 22:21:04)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Discussions in the party headquarters in view of tomorrows session over the confidence vote to the government are feverish. The parliamentary discussion will last for three days and will be completed at midnight on Sunday with a nominal voting session. Since this morning, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis has been holding talks in Maximos Mansion with Mr Sioufas, Mr Alogoskoufis and Mr Pavlopoulos. The satisfaction in the governing party over the developments of the motion of censure against Mr Alogoskoufis is evident. On the other hand, the Opposition seems troubled after some of its members voiced their reservations over George Papandreous handlings. The partys Political Council will convene this afternoon. Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos described tomorrows parliamentary discussion as a very good opportunity for the people of Greece to find out everything that was happening with the Economy during PASOKs governing, as well as a chance for the Government to present its progress over the last 15 months. Aleka Papariga and Alekos Alavanos criticised the government and Opposition of a set-up game.

    The Motion of Censure

    Deputy Minister Adam Regouzas statement regarding a 1.3 billion euro deficit in the budget, was the first of the arguments that PASOK included in the motion of censure against Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis, which it submitted in Parliament today.

    The motion document speaks of an "unprecedented admission of the economic leadership of the government," which is accused of compiling and submitting a forged budget plan for 2005, in full knowledge of the above. The responsibility falls solely on Mr Alogoskoufis, who gave forged budget data with the reviewed Stability Pact that he submitted to the European Commission, just a month after the vote for the budget, in which the main data was altered without the approval of the Parliament.

    Mr Alogoskoufis is also accused of conducting a "false fiscal census" in "a deceptive way," while the consequences on the economy were severe and the country was put under surveillance.

    As it is mentioned in the motion of censure, the choices of the Minister of Economy affected all of Greeces economic activities negatively and victimised employees, pensioners, farmers and the middle class.

    Also, there is a mention to the reduced income of the Public Sector from VAT, regardless of the new taxation on lower classes that led to the increase of prices.

    Mr Alogoskoufis is also being accused of insufficiency, which was indicated by the disobedience to the agreements with the European Commission over the 3rd Community Support Framework and resulted in the unprecedented decision of the Commission to impose a fine on Greece that exceeded 500 million euros.

    It is also stated, that PASOK resorted to the motion of censure against the Minister of Economy, since the Prime Minister did not take on the initiative to dismiss him from the government.

    Need for Consent

    Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos described tomorrows parliamentary discussion as a very good opportunity for the people of Greece to find out everything that was happening with the Economy during PASOKs governing, as well as a chance for the Government to present its progress over the last 15 months.

    He also noted that the Governments priority is to proceed with structural changes, a fact that is also supported by the majority of the people, as demonstrated by the various opinion polls.

    Meanwhile, answering to a question concerning the annulment of the request for consent following the initiative for tomorrows discussion in Parliament, Mr Roussopoulos noted, "The request for consent goes deeper. The Government is conducting exhaustive talks with social bodies, as was the case with OTE, while we are also asking for consent in the area of Education."

    On her part, KKE general secretary Aleka Papariga claimed that tomorrows discussion in Parliament might constitute an opportunity for the people of Greece to respond and prepare their counterattack. "Counterattacking the major problems might even lead to a motto: Motion of censure against the two parties," she added.

    Speaking on radio station NET 105.8, SYN representative Fotis Kouvelis spoke of a fictitious tension, which is used to cover up the lack of policies. SYN will be voting against the Government in the upcoming session.

    Behind-the-Scenes Political Reactions

    At the same time, NDs Parliamentary Group seems satisfied with the latest developments in Parliament. Government members have been saying right from the start that Mr Papandreous move to ambush Mr Karamanlis boomeranged on the Opposition leader.

    "PASOK managed to achieve something inconceivable: it has been converted from a prosecutor to a defendant. And all this because it lacks specific proposals and clear strategy," stressed Transport minister Michalis Liapis. He also added that PASOK is a ship without a captain amid the waves of his indecisions, while he underlined that the Government would emerge reinforced out of this whole situation.

    On the other hand, the members of PASOK seem confused and troubled. They believe that the leak of Mr Papandreous intentions limited the ambush, while the weight has been shifted to the discussion.

    Related News:

    Vote of Confidence

    [02] New Way of Determining Age Age Does Not Matter

    09 Jun 2005 15:54:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Have you ever thought that the wrinkles that have started "surrounding" your eyes or lips mean that you are getting older? Worry not any more! Scientists have devised a new way of determining age. Instead of measuring the years one has lived, scientists rely on life expectancy, namely the years one is expected to live. "Using that method, the average person can get younger in the sense that he or she can have even more years to live as time goes on," said Warren Sanderson, of the University of New York in Stony Brook Scientists hope to explain why populations are aging, but at the same time they seem to get younger. They added that modern people no longer behave the same way their parents did when they were at the same age, but they act younger.

    With the View to Life Expectancy

    Warren Sanderson and Sergei Scherbov, of the Vienna Institute of Demography at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, employed the method in order to determine how much the percentage of the elderly in Germany, Japan and the USA, is expected to differentiate in the years to come.

    As per the study, which appears in the scientific journal "Nature", in the year 2000 the average German was 39.9 years old, and was expected to live for another 39.9 years.

    However, by 2050 the average German would be 51.9 years old, and his life expectancy will not exceed 37.1 years of life. In other words, middle-aged Germans in 2050 would be around 52, instead of 40 as it was the case in 2000.

    On the other hand, the average American was 35.3 years old in 2000, and could live for another 43.5 years, whereas by 2050, the researchers believe that it will reach 41.7 years, and 45.8 years in the future.

    "A lot of our skills, our education, our savings and our health condition determine how many years we have to live," the researchers claimed.

    At the same time, they noted that life expectancy had never been taken into account when determining peoples age, and concluded, "As people have more and more years to live, they have the ability to plan more, and to behave as of they were younger."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [03] SKAI and VPRC's Opinion Poll ND in the Lead

    09 Jun 2005 12:48:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Radio station SKAI and VPRCs opinion poll give a clear lead to ND regarding voter intention. The ruling party received 43.5%, PASOK 38%, KKE 7%, SYN 5 and LAOS 3%. As per the poll, ND is the most popular party with 49%, SYN comes second with 45%, PASOK follows with 36%, KKE with 35% and LAOS with 21%. The poll showed that 52% of the civil servants are in favour of abolishing permanency in the public sector, whereas 58 % maintain that the labour regime regulating the private sector should be implemented in DEKOs (Public Enterprises). Furthermore, 80% consider that retirement limits do no need to be increase, as opposed to 15% claiming the opposite. It is noteworthy that 57% of NDs voters, 55% of PASOKs, 43% of KKEs and 41% of SYNs are in favour of abolishing permanency in the public sector. As for the potential increase in paid deductions, 67% are opposed, whereas two out of ten support the opposite.

    On EU, European Constitution and Euro

    Regarding the European Constitution, 67% of those asked believe that a referendum should have been conducted in Greece, compared to 16% expressing an opposing view.

    In the question, what you would vote in case of a referendum, 46% said "No" to the treaty and 31% "Yes".

    Finally, seven out of ten citizens held an unfavourable opinion on the euro, whereas six out of ten viewed the European Union positively.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Nothing Has Been Lost Yet

    09 Jun 2005 12:31:00 (Last updated: 09 Jun 2005 19:22:19)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Husins goal in the 82 numbed the 33,000 fans in Karaiskakis Stadium, as well as all the Greeks around the globe. Up until that moment, it looked like the reigning European Champions would not be losing the match. The Greek team had imposed its own pace from the start, limiting the Ukrainians to half of the pitch. It kept missing opportunities to score, while the very few times that the Ukraine counterattacked, the Greeks proved great in their defence as well. No one could have foreseen the unpleasant development. However, as football has it, if you miss an opportunity to score, you will eventually be punished. Following this unexpected loss, Greece will have a tough time qualifying for the World Cup finals. But even though the margins have closed, the hopes for finishing in second place remain alive. However, now it does not just depend on the Greek squad, but also on the results of the Turkish and Danish teams. That is also what Otto Rehhagel and the rest of the footballers, said after the game. And although they were unhappy with the result, they did not try to make excuses for their loss.

    Rehhagel: "We Will Keep Hoping"

    "We played well right from the start, but we did not manage to score. Our opponents played cleverly in the defence. We created many opportunities, but our disadvantage was that we could not score a goal easily. The Ukraine has some quick strikers and we received a goal in a moment of idleness. The absences of Karagounis, Kapsis and Dellas were felt. Nothing has been lost yet, though. The next match is scheduled for September in Kazakhstan and I hope we have a full squad. Just as long as there are possibilities, we will keep hoping," said the German coach after the game.

    "Fatigue is not an excuse. I cannot accept that, the guys are young. We had 70% possession of the ball, but our opponent played cleverly. We will be ready in September, while, as far as the Confederations Cup is concerned, I am still waiting on a couple of diagnoses."

    Players Blame their Bad Luck

    The players statements were along the same lines, as they basically blamed their bad luck, but stressed that they are determined to overturn the situation.

    Thodoris Zagorakis: "We missed scoring, especially in the first 45 minutes. During the second half, we made some errors and found ourselves in a tough spot. We are not disappointed, though, since we still have three games ahead of us. We wanted to make our fans happy, but we did not achieve that."

    Stelios Giannakopoulos: "We have to keep trying, we cant do anything else. We were pretty good, especially in the first half, when we missed a lot of opportunities, which we did not manage to follow through. Two of our goals were cancelled because the players were offside, which I am not sure about. That is football, though; the Ukrainians managed to win after just one attack."

    Angelos Basinas: "Things are definitely looking tough, but we will fight it out. There will always be absences; we are not looking for excuses. We are still in the game."

    Giannis Goumas: "However hard we tried, it was not Gods will. He wanted the Ukraine in the World Cup, although it didnt create any great opportunities today. We did not deserve to lose."

    Angelos Charisteas: "We had six very good opportunities in the two games against Turkey and the Ukraine, but unfortunately we did not manage to win. In our home games, we should be able to convert these opportunities to goals. I want to thank the people."

    Zisis Vryzas: "It was a bad result for everyone. It was a loss after a long time. We played well, but we lost. We will go on. Up until now, it was Turkey that was waiting for us to trip up, now it is our turn."

    Antonis Nikopolidis: "We missed our opportunity to finish in first place, we will continue our efforts for the second place. Three teams with equal chances are laying claims for it. In the way the match ended, a tie would have also been good."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Standings - Upcoming Matches

    Victory Was Feasible

    [05] Preparations in View of the Discussion "Government Will Justify Itself"

    09 Jun 2005 22:02:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA

    PASOKs Political Council convened today so as to prepare, in view of the three-day discussion in Parliament. In statements he made after the meeting, George Papandreou spoke of a three-day battle, which will aim at making the Government justify itself in front of the Greek people for the tragic progress over the last 15 months. "We will give a battle to demonstrate the dead-end which the country is in and show the paths we have to take in order to provide hope to this country once again," stated PASOKs president. He further added that it would be "a battle and unity of the progressive forces, which will promote the truth that serves the Greek people." According to information, during the meeting, Mr Papandreou described Mr Karamanlis move to propose a vote of confidence as predictable, while he stressed that the PM claimed responsibility for all of his Ministers actions.

    Papandreou: Karamanlis' Move Expected

    PASOKs President accused the government of trying to fill the gaps it created and shift the burden of its errors onto the Greek citizens, undermining important social acquisitions.

    According to information, while speaking at the Political Council meeting, Mr Papandreou referred to everything being said about Mr Karamanlis counterattack, stressing that it was shallow and would prove disastrous.

    Furthermore, he denied KKE and SYNs claims concerning collusion between the two major parties against the Left wing. As he stated, "We wanted the discussion to continue, that is why PASOK filed a motion of censure against Mr Alogoskoufis before the end of the session in Parliament."

    PASOKs president denied the rumours pertaining to a leak of his intentions to file the motion, saying that they fall under political gossip. He commented that PASOK would not be tricked into attacking associates and members. It should be noted that the rumours implicate the manager of the Parliamentary Group, Reggina Vartzeli.

    Most of the discussions during the meeting focused on the preparations for the upcoming session in Parliament. According to information, Mr Pangalos desribed Mr Papandreous move to file the motion as correct.

    Furthermore, Anna Diamantopoulou stated, "We did not have the political instinct to support our initiative during the parliamentary session," while Fofi Gennimata claimed that social cohesion is in a state of crisis, because of the governments policies, and PASOK would have to support the fights of the workers. In addition, Maria Damanaki noted that PASOK should not get trapped in its past.

    Finally, Evangelos Venizelos declared that he was satisfied with Mr Papandreous speech and tone of voice during the Political Council meeting.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Call to Battle Stations

    [06] Commotion in the Holy Sepulcher Brotherhood Rumors of "Patriarchal" Minders

    09 Jun 2005 09:10:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    A commotion has stirred in Jerusalem, after the information that states that a group of 25 minders will arrive in Israel for the reinforcement of deposed Jerusalem Patriarch Eirinaios. The information which has been circulating for the past days, but was confirmed yesterday when Eirinaios refused to accept a new policeman sent by the Ministry of Public Order, substituting the 2 policemen guards, has mobilized the Israeli police and the Greek Consulate. On their part, suffragan Mr Kornilios and members of the Holy Sepulcher Brotherhood have asked the Israeli authorities to take extra measures in the case that the minders do arrive in Jerusalem and prevent a possible take-over the Patriarchate building on Eirinaios behalf.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] In Ministry of Employment and MAT Police Van Attacks with a Signature

    09 Jun 2005 08:33:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    With a proclamation, the organization "Revolutionary Struggle" has claimed responsibility for the hit in the Ministry of Development, on Thursday, June 2 and the attack against a MAT police van on October 29, 2004 in Rouf. As they claim in the proclamation "the first hit was made as an answer to the new-liberal plans of the Greek government and the second as an answer to Greeces participation in the war against terrorism." There were no victims in any of the attacks, only material damage.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Evidence Points to "Revolutionary Struggle"

    [08] To Embassies and the Parliament in Australia Sent Packages with Suspicious Powder

    09 Jun 2005 10:41:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA- BBC

    Today, many Embassies and certain parts of the Parliament in Australia are closed due to a suspicious white powder. According to information by the police and government officials, the embassies of the U.S., Great Britain, Japan, Italy, and South Korea received packages containing with white powder. In two occasions a similar package was received by the Indonesian Embassy. In the meantime, the authorities closed part of the Australian Parliament for the same reason. As security authorities stated, "a package of white powder was found and emergency situation services were called." Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer also received a package of white powder last week. Up to now, it has been concluded that the powder is harmless and non-toxic, but until the investigations are completed the Embassies and the Parliament will remain closed for security reasons. However the British Embassy operated as normal.

    These incidents take place during a very emotional reaction by the Australian people that resulted from the decision of an Indonesian court, which sentenced a 27-year-old Australian woman to 20 years imprisonment with drug trafficking charges.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] U.S.: Central Negotiator for Kosovo

    09 Jun 2005 00:52:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    U.S. State Department Undersecretary, Nicholas Burns, who is on a three-day tour in Pristina, announced that the U.S. will play a central role in the discussions for the final regime of Kosovo. "The U.S. will play a central role in the discussions process. It will intervene in a diplomatic level together with its European counterparts," he noted. Burns also added that the U.S. will keep its military presence in the context of the KFOR stabilizing force " symbolically showing dedication to the building of a stable and peaceful Kosovo."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [10] Karamanlis- Juncker Meeting All Eyes on the Summit Meeting

    09 Jun 2005 19:40:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis met with the president of the European Council, Jean Claude Juncker, this afternoon in Luxemburg. Their discussion mainly focused on the preparations for the EU Summit Meeting, which is scheduled for 16 and 17 June in Brussels. They also talked about the fiscal prospects for the period 2007-2013, as well as the Enlargement process. In his statements following the meeting, Mr Karamanlis stressed that the developments in the European Constitution ratification process following the No by France and the Netherlands will be the main topic of discussion during the Summit. As announced by the Greek PM, they both agreed that the ratification process would have to continue. Finally, he concluded that they would review the situation and make the necessary decisions for the future, after having heard out French President Jacques Chirac and Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende.

    Need for Agreement on Fiscal Matters

    With regard to the fiscal prospects for the period 2007-2013, the Greek PM noted that Greece has been supporting the efforts of the Luxemburg presidency for an agreement right from the start.

    Furthermore, Karamanlis and Juncker also conceded that achieving a political agreement on fiscal matters has become even more important, following the latest developments concerning the European Constitution.

    Finally, with regard to the Enlargement process, Mr Karamanlis pointed out that the EU would have to implement the decisions it made last December, but on the other hand, the candidate states would have to fulfill all their pledges.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Asked the President of the EU Parliament A "Breather" for EU Constitution

    09 Jun 2005 10:04:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    During a Press interview given after the discussions over the future of Europe and the EU Constitution, President of EU Parliament, Josep Borrell made mention to the necessity of a possible "pause", a "breather", and a "break" in the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty. On the question of "what does he plan to say in the European Council next week as a position of the Parliament," Mr Borrell answered, "As you know I have to make a composition of the Parliaments views. It would be easier for me if the Parliament had voted one view that would express this composition. Therefore a wider understanding span is needed on my part, which means that I have to compose of a view that will not be easy to be presented as one. I will study the transcripts and will try to give a correct composition that will express each sides views."


    Giving further details over the general picture of the atmosphere in the Plenary Session, after the views voiced by the main political parties, Mr Borrell said "it is clear that there is no consensus in the Parliament, and none of the views received total support. Every group has its own position, i.e.:

    The EPP asks for a pause, a breather and then to go forth with the ratification procedure of the Constitutional Treaty.

    The Socialists support that we have to go forth with the procedures without delay.

    The Green Party does not oppose the procedure, but claim that a majority should exist in the Parliament in order to continue the ratification procedure."

    Mr Borrell concluded, "Thus there needs to be a pause, a break for a reconstitution, in order to start the procedure. There should be special attention to the opinions voiced by every political party leader. I am not making a simple diagnosis; I know that the majority says that the procedure should continue, perhaps after taking a small break, which has to be assigned a time limit and its nature explained. It is certain that no one wishes for the procedure to be stopped as this will be a wrong interpretation."

    Mr Borrell plans to meet with the leaders of the political parties before attending the Council in order to correctly interpret " what has been said openly and behind closed doors," as he said.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] Facing Two Important Challenges Barroso's Intervention

    08 Jun 2005 15:42:00

    By Anna Kourti

    At Wednesday noon, Jose Manuel Barroso submitted his views before the Plenary Session of the European Parliament on what will happen in the Summit Meeting on June 16 and 17. The Commision's president intervened in the context of a discussion over Europe's future, following the negative results of the two referendums in France and the Netherlands for the European Constitution. "The Council is facing two important challenges for the EU. The first is to send EU citizens a message of unity regarding the process of ratifying the Constitutional Treaty and the second is to draw a steady and sustainable framework for EU's fiscal matters over the following years," stressed Barroso. Earlier, the European Parliament's Plenary Session rejected a motion of censure against Barroso on the "Latsis case."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [13] GSEE Rally on June 16 Double Strike Front

    09 Jun 2005 08:43:00 (Last updated: 09 Jun 2005 21:31:45)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    Today and tomorrow, dockers of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) decided to go on a 48-hour strike, protesting against the comments of the Mercantile Marine Minister concerning "aristocracy of the Public Utilities and Enterprises (DEKO)," while they are also reacting to the event of a change in the labour status quo. In the meantime, bank employees will continue their strike until Friday, reacting to the changes in social security. However, employees in the Hellenic Petroleum Group (ELPE) have postponed the 10-day strike that would have began tomorrow, since they reached an agreement with the administration over the pay raises. The president of the ELPE employees, Nikos Orfanos, announced the agreement. In the meantime, the pensioners also joined in the mobilisations. This morning, they held a protest rally in Kanigos Square, while after that they marched towards the GSEE offices, where a delegation met with the Confederations president, Christos Polyzogopoulos. The pensioners voiced their demands and protested over social security issues, while they opposed the creation of a new confederation for pensioners. On his part, Mr Polyzogopoulos extended an invitation for dialogue.

    Syndicates on Full Alert

    During yesterdays meeting, which took place in a tense atmosphere, GSEE announced its decisions for work stoppages or a 24-hours strike in DEKOs, depending on the capabilities of each branch, and a rally in Syntagma Square on June 16. "Syndicates will not remain indifferent," stated GSEE President, Christos Polyzogopoulos. In addition, GSEE is planning a 24-hour strike and a referendum against the choices of the government on July 13, the submission date for the bill regarding flexible 8-hour working days and reduction of overtime costs.

    In the meantime, member of DAKE and the GSEE presidium Philippos Davris stated his opposition, reacting to the GSEE decision to hold a referendum against the governments choices.

    ADEDY will also participate in the strike scheduled for June 16, demanding permanent and full-time employment, as well as the abolishment of the flexibility of labour relations.

    In the Press Conference held today, ADEDYs president Spyros Papaspyrou called on the unions and the employees to remain alert and fight against developments on the insurance issue, adding that summertime is crucial and demands vigilance on their part.

    OTOE (Federation of Bank Employees) will be taking part in the demonstrations as well. It is also likely that bank employees will be on strike until next Friday. "We will not compromise over the insurance issue," said the Federations president, Dimitris Tsoukalas.

    Furthermore, the union members maintained that the process of the partial legislative intervention employed by the government will be prove a dead-end, because there are huge constitutional and legislative obstacles to be encountered in the future.

    Mercantile Marine Ministry vs Dockers

    At the same time, the Piraeus Port commercial section, where dozens of commercial ships load and unload daily, remains closed as of today and for 48 hours, following todays dead-end meeting between OLPs dockers union and the Minister of Mercantile Marine, Manolis Kefalogiannis.

    "The insistent protests of the dockers, as well as their unacceptable inflexibility, are incompatible to their privileges. The Greek people are aware of the reality, feel the magnitude of the challenge in these tough times and will not succumb to the blackmail by aristocratic dockers, who earn over 140,000 euros annually," mentioned the Minister in a relevant announcement, following his meeting with the dockers, who responded with a 48-hour strike. Furthermore, the dockers will refuse to work overtime following this strike, while they have called a new 48-hour strike for 16 and 17 June, which will be followed by another refusal to work overtime.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Joint Front

    Related Links:


    [14] OTOE Is Reacting New Extension for Banks' Social Security

    09 Jun 2005 18:36:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Today, Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos gave a new 10-day extension to OTOE (Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions) in order to find a mutually acceptable solution to the matter with the banking employees social security. With regard to the cases of the Commercial and the Agricultural Banks, Mr Panagiotopoulos underlined, "The State is handling the assets of the Greek people. We do not have the right to let them dwindle away." He also repeated that the resolution of the social security issue, following agreement by both sides, remains as the Governments top priority. In the meantime, OTOE announced that it would be participating on the strike called by GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) for Thursday 16 June. Actually, the banks may even extend the strike to include Friday. "We will not back down concerning the social security issue, " declared the president of the federation, Dimitris Tsoukalas. Furthermore, the unionists claimed that a one-side intervention by the Government might prove to be a dead-end, since major constitutional and legislative obstacles will arise in the process.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Double Strike Front

    [15] Defeated But Hopeful Victory Was Feasible

    08 Jun 2005 23:33:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Two years after Greeces victory in Alexandras Avenue Stadium versus Ukraine which gave Greece third place and led the team in Portugal and the European Championship, roles switched hands for both teams. Back then it was Charisteas goal in the 87, today it was Husins goal in the 82 that provided Oleg Blochins team with victory and booked Ukraines ticket to German stadiums. Otto Rehhagels team failed to claim victory. They were defeated. A defeat that came in the worst time, as for the time being Greece has fallen in third spot, giving their place to Turkey, which prevailed in Kazakhstan with 0-6. The Greek football team now has 15 points while Turkey has a one-point lead and enjoys second place. Unfortunately, Denmark is now after second place too, as they defeated Albania today with 3-1 and now have 12 points and one match less. However, the dream is not over, as second place will be finalized in the Fall. On September 3 Denmark will play versus Turkey in Copenhagen. On September 7 the Turks will play in Ukraine. On the same day, Greece will play versus Kazakhstan. One month later, on October 8, the Greek team will give their best against Denmark in Scandinavian stadiums. The worst-case scenario is a point-tie with Turkey, in which case the neighbors will play in the qualification match because of better defence. We dont even want to think about it.

    Going After One Point and Getting Three

    In the beginning, nobody could think Greece would lose. The worst-case scenario would be a null draw. However, life is not a movie and scenarios are never verified.

    Blochin knew very well that a draw would book Ukraine the ticket to Germany and he set his team based on that thinking. A purely offensive player in the front, Shevchenko, four defenders, three defensive halfs, two midfielders. And don't go thinking that with seven defensive players he was going after victory.

    However, his plan worked like a clock and then some. He held on to null draw for 80 minutes, his team opened the score in the 82' and he left the Karaiskakis stadium with three points in his luggage.

    Until the moment of the goal though he had a hard time, since Greece forced Ukraine to a passive role and a play in half the court.

    Bad Luck

    Scoring opportunities were quite many and the beginning was in the 22', when Zagorakis was awarded a foul kick but Kapsis' header went wide. In the next minute, Seitaridis' strong side kick forced the ball to go high and end on Goumas, who kicked it right onto the Ukrainian goalkeeper.

    In the 24', Karagounis' amazing solo (he dribbled the entire Ukrainian defence) ended in a fine, technical pass that sent the ball slightly over Shovkovskiy's horizontal bar, while in the 26' Giannakopoulos was awarded a foul kick and passed to Kapsis, whose header went wide.

    From that point on, Lady Luck turned her eyes away from the Greek team and in the 35' Tsiartas replaced injured Karagounis, in the 57' Vintra substituted also injured Kapsis and Seitaridis undertook the task of guarding Shevchenko.

    Despite all, Rehhagel's players continued to have the lead inside Karaiskakis stadium and in the 66' Tsiartas passed to Fyssas who was alone in front of Shovkovskiy, but the latter preferred to pass to Giannakopoulos, who was in an offside position.

    However, from that point onwards, fatigue fell heavy on Greek feet and that cost European Champions victory.

    One mistake by amazing Basinas in the 82', when he miscalculated the course of the ball and failed to send it away, proved to be fatal: Husin unexpectedly found himself in front of Nikopolidis' post and calmly opened the score, 0-1.

    From then onwards, Greece simply bowed before its fate. They were defeated, even though they didnt deserve defeat. Now, there are three more matches left. With three victories and their opponents losing points, everything is possible. And don't forget the Greeks are fighters and they know pretty well that hope is always the last to die.

    Referee: Renatus Temink (the Netherlands)

    Yellow Cards: Fedorov, Nesmachniy, Husin, Gusiev

    GREECE (Otto Rehhagel): Nikopolidis, Basinas, Kapsis (57' Vintra), Goumas (85' Papadopoulos), Seitaridis, Fyssas, Zagorakis, Karagounis (35' Tsiartas), Giannakopoulos, Vryzas, Charisteas.

    UKRAINE (Oleg Blochin): Shovkovskiy, Nesmachniy, Fedorov, Tymoschuk, Yezerskiy, Russol, Shevchenko (90'+ Bjelik), Gushiev, Voronyn (90' Selayev), Vorobey (56' Rotan), Husin.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Standings - Upcoming Matches

    [16] IBM Programme Virtual Intelligence

    09 Jun 2005 12:33:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    IBM company in collaboration with a Swiss research institute introduces an ambitious programme aiming to shed light on the mysteries of human brain. "Blue Brain" programme hopes to create a computer-based model of the brain, and give new insights into the workings of the most complex organ in the body. Blue Gene is the computer system that will play an instrumental role in the programme, as it is set to model the brain at the cellular level. The system to be installed in the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne will be the most powerful worldwide, as it has a peak processing speed of at least 22.8 trillion floating-point operations per second, or 22.8 teraflops. Should "Blue Brain" proves successful, results will be invaluable for the whole scientific community, since new evidence on memory, intelligence and other sophisticated functions of the human body, will come to light.

    Aiming at Decoding

    The first stage of "Blue Brain" deals with the modelling of the circuitry in the neocortex (NCC), which stands for about 85 percent of the human brains mass, and where the functions of language, learning, memory and abstract thought are believed to rest with.

    An exact copy of the neocortex is the first step towards "imitating" the whole brain. It will also facilitate the connection between the brains function, both at genetic and molecular level, and the cognitive functions.

    During the second stage of the programme, which will be launched the next decade, the 3-dimensional models of neurons, and their interactions are to be expanded, resulting in "imitating" the human brain as a whole.

    Dr Henry Markram, who is in charge of the research team of the Polytechnic School in Lausanne, believes that "Blue Brain" is one of the most ambitious research programme in the field of neuroscience, because it takes into account hundreds of thousands of parameters.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [17] Wrote a Book About his Weightloss Journey "My Big Fat Greek" Diet

    09 Jun 2005 10:14:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    He once advised his patients to "Do as I say not what I do." How could he tell them to "do what I do" when at the age of 35 he weighed 220 kilos! Greek American Dr Nick Yphantides, in his own particular way managed to lose 120 kilos, without undergoing surgery, but doing something very unusual. He traveled around the country to watch baseball games and drank fluids for a year! The goal was achieved and the weightloss journey of Dr Yphantides became a book entitled "My Big Fat Greek Diet" (Nelson Publishing.)

    Became a Different Person!

    He started his diet on April 1, maybe in attempt to fool himself. His last meal was with his father and his two siblings, who were overweight but not obese. He started out with an 800 calorie-a-day diet, which he stresses should not be followed without medical consultation and observation. The effort was not easy as his empty stomach brought him down.

    In order to beat his low spirits he decided to travel.

    Being a baseball fan, Dr Yphantides decided to take a leave of absence and travel to all of the baseball games around the country in a van.

    He traveled to 50 U.S. states in order to beat his hunger.

    Wherever he was, he never forgot to undergo medical exams in order to see the difference and improvement in his body and health.

    In the spring of 2002 he had watched 109 Major League games and he became a different person.

    He weighed 95 kilos!

    A Book About his Success Story!

    Having achieved his goal, he slowly started eating normally.

    For four weeks he ate light meals, mainly vegetables, thus gaining 5 kilos. Since then he weighs 100 kilos. He doesnt count calories but is careful with his portions.

    He avoids carbohydrates and fats and follows a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and tries to consume unprocessed foods.

    He returned to his normal work hours, and exercises a few hours a day, while he met the love of his life and became a father.

    Moreover, he made his success story into a book, entitled "My Big Fat Greek Diet" following the example of Nia Vardalos and the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [18] Reshuffle or Exorcism?

    09 Jun 2005 16:02:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Romanias Agriculture Minister asked for the help of a priest-exorcist, after many strange accidents had been recorded in his ministry. Water pipes bursting, doors slumming on their own and mysterious phone calls created a scenery similar to those of horror films, and made officials search for a solution, while they made the sign of cross before getting down to work. The icing of the cake was when a part of the ceiling fell on the Ministers head. The Ministers officials blamed evil spirits, and called in an exorcist. "We tried to work out why we were so unlucky, and realised no priest had stepped foot in this ministry for years," one of the officials said, adding, "The last government had not had a particularly close relationship with God." The exorcist arrived immediately, and after spraying with holy water, and saying a set of necessary prayers, the Ministrys staff went back to normal life.

    Translated by Areti Christou

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