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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-06-28

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Reforms Discussed Parliament
  • [02] Doves Like it White
  • [03] Bush Receives "Red Card"
  • [04] New Committals of Justices
  • [05] New Revealing Documents
  • [06] Bush Holds Reservations
  • [07] Mystery Explosion in Portugal
  • [08] Violence Outbreak in Iraq
  • [09] Alarm and Concern Over Oil

  • [01] Voting Session on Thursday Reforms Discussed Parliament

    27 Jun 2005 23:23:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105.8 - ANA

    The dispute over the banks social security was transferred to the Parliaments Plenary session as of Monday, with the Government appearing determined to proceed with reforms and the Opposition parties urging it to withdraw the controversial regulation. However, the Economy Minister declared that the Government would not be accepting any of the amendments that have been submitted and which will be discussed on Thursdays Plenary Session. Meanwhile, Giorgos Alogoskoufis reassured the Parliament that any deficits to the banks subsidiary funds would be fully covered by the banks. However, banking employees have extended their strike until Thursday, while on the other hand, security guards working for collection/delivery services called off their collective actions, following their meeting with Deputy Public Order Minister Christos Markogiannakis, and will start refilling the ATMs.

    No Money Given Away

    As per Giorgos Alogoskoufis, social security is the countrys most serious problem and has to be dealt with through national dialogue.

    The Economy Minister noted that no money would be given away, while he proceeded with corrective amendments to increase the payment of employers contributions that may arise.

    Specifically, while the initial regulation provided for the payment of an amount to cover the expenses created by the incorporation of pensioners and insured employees of subsidiary funds to ETEAM in ten years, the correction provides for the payment of the amount by employers contributions.

    As per Mr Alogoskoufis, this way, the banks are given the opportunity to pay off their debts in monthly instalments, by depositing employers contributions.

    Mr Alogoskoufis added that the public sector would only be burdened if the share capitals for the Agricultural and Commercial Banks are increased. Referring to the main pensions, he noted that any deficits would be covered by IKA, as provided for by Chsristodoulakis and Reppas law.

    In addition, he stressed that Reppas bill did not solve the social security problems for the next 30 years, but on the other hand, hid them for three years, while now PASOK is pushing its luck. Finally, he added that Reppas law for main pensions did nothing more than shift the cost of IKA funding to the taxpayers.

    Mr Alogoskoufis also submitted a table, which included the 2004-2007 Growth and Stability Programme for the long-term trends of social security expenses and revenues, approved by the Commission.

    As per the table, the expenses for age pensions would increase from 12.4% of the GNP in 2005 to 17.3% in 2003 and 22.6% in 2050, while the revenues from pension contributions, based on todays trends, would increase marginally, from 8.3% of the GNP in 2005 to 9% in 2030 and 8.8% in 2050.

    "What does all this mean? It means that the social securitys deficit doubles from 4.1% of the GNP in 2005 to 8.3% in 2030 and skyrockets to 13.8% in 2050! These are the trends of the social security system, which were supposedly dealt with by PASOKs law," stated the Minister.

    Evert Insists

    During his intervention, Miltiadis Evert submitted an OTOE table, which demonstrates that employers contributions for most banks were reduced by 3%, while he also submitted a handwritten note by a top IKA executive, which asks that the 3% difference for IKA be covered by supplementary grants.

    Meanwhile, the former ND president asked the Economy Minister to clarify everything that relates to the difference between the projected employers and employees contributions, which comes to 4% for subsidiary funds as per the bill, and those that apply today and amount to 7% for the former Ionian Bank, 11.5% for the Commercial Bank etc.

    Political Clashes

    Speaking on behalf of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos mentioned that, based on the Ministers amendments, the banks are not being burdened at all in relation to the main pension, while the subsidiary funds are enjoying privileged treatment through multiple instalments of contributions.

    Meanwhile, Mr Venizelos mentioned that the Economy Ministers corrections greatly benefited the banks.

    KKE MP A. Skyllakos commented that a procedural matter of relevance regarding the regulations for the banks and OTE arises from the initial capital market bill, an opinion that was seconded by PASOK MP C. Kastanidis.

    PASOK rapporteur D.Kouselas said that the provisions violate collective negotiations, shift the burden to employees insured with IKA and force the banks employees to file suits against the banks.

    On behalf of KKE, Elpida Panetlaki said that PASOK and ND are moving in the same direction concerning the social security issue, while she criticised the Government for replacing permanent work with contracts and selling off public property.

    SYN rapporteur I. Dragasakis said that the Government lacks strategic planning for OTE, while the prospect of privatising banks hides behind the regulation for the bank employees social security. He also mentioned that the regulations aim at blackmailing employees.

    ND rapporteur K. Agorastos criticised the Opposition for focusing on the banks social security and not the regulations concerning the capital market, forgetting the Stock Exchange scandal and the trillions lost by investors.

    Independent state MP S. Manos said that he would be voting for the OTE regulation, but hesitantly, while he would be voting against the banks regulation, as the public sectors obligations concerning the incorporation to social security funds is nowhere to be seen. He also noted, "It is disappointing that the Government is imposing party discipline to its MPs."

    Finally, ND MP for Argolida I. Manolis claimed that social security would not survive, while he proposed that Reppas bill on Social Security be amended.

    Mitsotakis' Intervention

    Speaking on Monday on TV station Alpha, NDs honorary president noted, "At a time when the Government is implementing those structural measures, we all have to stand by the PM."

    Mr Mitsotakis voiced his satisfaction over the Governments decisions to deal with the social security issue, while he noted that this should be done as a whole and not in parts.

    Asked to comment on Miltiadis Everts stance on the banks social security, he noted that he disagreed with the former ND president over the way he handled the matter, because he demonstrated that he doubts the Government.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Social Security in Parliament

    [02] Doves Like it White

    28 Jun 2005 11:49:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Now that you come to think of it, how many times have birds become the cause for an unexpected visit to the car wash? I bet it's one too many, but do you know that you may actually go looking for it? Well, not you exactly, but the colour of your car to be more precise, because like it or not, birds have their own preferences and a thing for white. 40 British researchers came to this conclusion after conducting a survey to decode the phenomenon of mass droppings, reported British newspaper The Sun.

    The research team, headed by 37-year-old Charles West, student teacher at the University of Bristol, counted bird droppings on 2,000 motors to finally reach the conclusion that birds like it white! Bird expert Dr Derek Toomer said they might "bomb" white cars because they associate the colour with predators and further added that "birds do respond to colours." So, if you wish to spare your beloved car from air retaliation, take experts' advice and go for navy blue or black, colours which leave birds indifferent.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Americans Disapprove of his Policies Bush Receives "Red Card"

    28 Jun 2005 08:15:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    In a recent opinion poll, the results of which were publicized yesterday, Americans showed their strong disapproval of President George W Bushs policies. It is the first time, that more than one in two Americans state that President Bush "intentionally mislead" public opinion concerning the reasons over the war. Furthermore, in a record percentage that reaches 57%, the people questioned seem to believe that the government exaggerated when it claimed that the regime of Saddam Hussein possessed mass destruction weapons. In the opinion poll taken for the account of television channel ABC and newspaper Washington Post, 56% of Americans show a "red card" to their President over the way that he is handling the situation in Iraq, while 53% evaluate that the war was not worth it. Meanwhile, they seem to have hope that the situation will improve since 53% states optimistic over the future of Iraq, while 58% wished that the American soldiers will remain in Iraq until order is reinstated.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] New Committals of Justices

    28 Jun 2005 12:12:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET- NET 105.8

    Two more justices were committed to the Supreme Court Plenary Session on the question of dismissal. They are First Instance Judge Aspasia Basta and Appellate Judge Gerasimos Vazaios, for whom the decision will be taken today. Mr Vazaios is not being investigated about ethics issues, but if there was misconduct due to the delay of issuing verdicts. On Thursday, the case of Mrs Basta will be investigated, as she is being accounted for misconduct, due to lack of ethics, in relation to her involvement in the extrajudicial circuit and in particular in the case of Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Over the Jerusalem Patriarchate Property New Revealing Documents

    28 Jun 2005 07:45:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET

    New revelations have surfaced and publicized yesterday, concerning rentals of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, this time to four Jewish offshore companies. According to information by NET, former finance manager of the Patriarchate Nikos Papadimas making use of the letter of attorney, which was given to him by the former Patriarch Eirinaios, made four different contracts with the companies that foresaw the transfer of Patriarchate property between August and October 2004. The very low prices were surprising and it is indicative that a block of land, with stores and houses, was rented for the price of 560 dollars for 99 years, and with a right of renewing the contract from the same company for a further number of years. It is noted that the rented property was in the old town of Jerusalem where the prices are the highest in the world. The money reaches the amount of 2,200,000 dollars and was deposited in a Patriarchate account, however its largest part was managed by Papadimas before his disappearance.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] Bush Holds Reservations

    28 Jun 2005 10:03:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: BBC- ANA

    Amidst difficult political circumstances, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrived in the White House for a meeting with U.S. President George W Bush, during which important issues such as Germanys candidacy in the UN Security Council and the recent developments in Iran were discussed. George W Bush stated that he does not oppose Germanys permanent membership in the Security Council, however he avoided committing to such an event, since the U.S. oppose the increase of the countries which participate in the Council. " We oppose no countrys bid for the Security Council," said Bush, at the time when Shroeder is fighting a battle for his reelection as Chancellor, as opinion polls are indicating that he is in the lowest rankings.

    Opposing Views on Iran

    Up to this day, the U.S. only supports Japans permanent membership in the UN Security Council, since they want two to three permanent members in the council. However, Germany has a different view since it believes that the accession of another ten members, will not affect decision-making.

    "Numbers do not determine the effectiveness of the council. It is the representation by its members and their readiness to take up responsibilities that form the criteria," said the German Chancellor, referring to the concerns of the U.S. that a multi-member council will slow down proceedings.

    It is noted that Japan, India, Brazil and Germany have proposed a plan for the accession of six new permanent and four non-permanent members in the Security Council.

    Furthermore, the Presidential election in Iran was discussed, a matter that the two men have opposing views on.

    The American President supported that "it is not free and just when a group of people that have not been elected decide who will be candidate," while the German Chancellor stated that Ahmud Ahmadinejad "should be respected" given the fact that he was elected by the Iranian people. Bush prompted Shroeder to start a discussion in the EU, which will be targeted at the prevention of nuclear weapons from Iran. We should send a unified message to Iran that the development of nuclear weapons will not be accepted, stated the U.S. President.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] An Elderly Woman Dead Mystery Explosion in Portugal

    28 Jun 2005 08:59:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    On Monday night, an elderly woman was killed by the collapse of a building in Porto. The firemen found her dead in the ruble, while her husband has not been located yet. The collapse of the building was due to an explosion, the causes of which remain unknown. On his part, Mayor of Porto Rui Rio, who rushed to the scene, did not rule out the event of a criminal act. According to Mr Rio "an explosive device" was placed in the building, since damage is great and it does not justify the event of an explosion due to a gas leak. From the explosion, damage was caused to buildings that were in a 100m range from the scene, while five neighboring houses were evacuated and traffic was stopped in the adjacent streets.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [08] New Suicide Attacks Violence Outbreak in Iraq

    28 Jun 2005 10:36:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    As days go by and after the election of the new government, violent incidents in Iraq continue to escalate. Today, one more member of the Parliament, 87-year-old Dhari al-Fayadh, his son and three bodyguards were killed in a car bomb explosion. " Dhari al-Fayadh, his son and three bodyguards were killed when a car driven by a kamikaze exploded near their two cars in the area of Rashidiya," stated a spokesperson of the Interior Ministry. Al-Fayadh, a member of the Shiite alliance, was the oldest MP and presided over the first convocation in January. Shortly after, three more men were killed and another 13 injured when a kamikaze dressed up as a policeman blew himself up in a hospital in the city of Musayyib, 75km south of Baghdad. In the meantime, two American soldiers, who were missing since June 23 after a car bomb explosion in Fallujah, were found dead.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Bush Receives "Red Card"

    Bloody Attack in Iraq

    [09] Price Remains Above Sixty Dollars Alarm and Concern Over Oil

    28 Jun 2005 09:36:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    This morning, the price of oil was slightly decreased in Asian markets, however alarm and concern is apparent in the economic leaderships of the governments. More specifically, in the Singapore Stock Exchange, the price of oil decreased by 16 cents, reaching 60.38 dollars due to the concern of the market for the election of Ahmud Ahmadinejad in the Presidency of Iran, the second biggest oil producing country member of the OPEC, after Saudi Arabia. In Greece, the average price for unleaded gas is 91 cents/liter, an increase of 24.62% since the beginning of 2005. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Development is investigating the event of a unification of a special consumption tax in heating and diesel gas targeted at the counter of adulteration and smuggling.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Aiming at Fighting Adulteration

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