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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-07-18

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Focus on Reforms
  • [02] Targeted by Terrorists Because of Iraq
  • [03] EU Warns of New Unsafe Products
  • [04] Contemporary Public Administration
  • [05] Anti-Terrorism Measures at the Focus
  • [06] Papariga Visits Olympic Airways
  • [07] New Extrajudicial Network in Courts
  • [08] Heatwave at the Gates
  • [09] Harry Potter Writes History
  • [10] New AIDS Vaccine
  • [11] "Health and Safety" of Trains
  • [12] New Essay Creates Havoc
  • [13] Reactions Over Trading Hours
  • [14] Houses Were Threatened

  • [01] G. Alogoskoufis on the Lisbon Strategy Focus on Reforms

    18 Jul 2005 12:32:00 (Last updated: 18 Jul 2005 22:19:15)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET Radio 105.8, ANA, newspaper "Ta Nea"

    The acceleration of structural changes and the safeguard of fiscal stability are the main preconditions to boost growth and employment, stressed Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis speaking on Monday morning at the meeting for the Lisbon treaty. As the Minister said, the Government' goal is to complete the reform on labour relations, set the basis for reshaping social security, eliminating tax evasion and rationalize public expenses. In fact, he said the aim to drop deficit below 3% is of "major importance." He also noted that a new generation of privatizations in under way and that the exploitation of public property is still one of the Governments top priorities. Mr Alogoskoufis also said the rationalization of taxation for assets is at the final stage of process and the competent committee is completing its work. He also stressed the introduction of VAT in new constructions will apply as of 2006 and property taxation is simplified.

    Tax Measures Wont Change for 2006

    In the meantime, in an interview for newspaper Ta Nea , the minister stressed there will be no new tax measures for 2006, apart from the ones already announced. However, he said there could be minor adjustments in taxation while drawing up the budget if so is deemed necessary, while he also announced a reform in employees taxation with the 2007 budget.

    As per the Minister, the countrys main policy, not just for this year, but for the following years as well, is to deal with deficits and debt, without endangering the other aims of economic policy (growth and unemployment).

    What is more, he also announced the rationalization of the supervision and operation framework of DEKOs (public enterprises).

    Regarding rumours that Olympic Airlines could close down in August, he said, "We are at a very crucial point of the contest," stressing that further information could jeopardize negotiations.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [02] Iraq and Afghanistan Armed the Bombers Targeted by Terrorists Because of Iraq

    18 Jul 2005 20:17:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: BBC, ΝΕΤ, ANA

    A report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) has created havoc in Britain. As per the report, the attacks in London were prompted by Britains participation in the military operations against Iraq and Afghanistan. Blairs Government angrily rejected this view, which was also voiced by Clair Short, former minister of the Labour Government. The report, which was made public on Monday, mentioned that the war in Iraq gave a boost to al-Qaeda and rendered Britain extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, it noted that the situation in Iraq has created difficulties to Britain and the Alliance, while it paved the way for al-Qaedas propaganda and recruitment

    Blair Government Rejects the Report

    In the same report, it is noted that the military operations in Iraq have absorbed significant funds, which could have been used to support the Karzai Government in Afghanistan and bring Bin Laden to justice.

    The Institute, which is also known as Chatam House, used harsh tongue in its report, while, referring to the London-Washington collaboration, it described Britain as a "pillion passenger compelled to leave the steering to the ally" and not an equal decision-maker.

    On its part, the Blair Government continues to hold its stance, insisting that the 7 July hits are not related to the countrys military activities.

    British Foreign Minister Jack Straw expressed his amazement at Chatam House for saying that Britain should not have allied with the USA. He further added, "The terrorists have struck across the world [] and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq."

    "It is the responsibility of people in the civilised world to stand up to that terrorism and not provide them with any excuse whatsoever," he stressed.

    Earlier, Tony Blairs spokesperson had rejected the existence of a link between the war in Iraq and the attacks in London, saying, "Was there terrorism by al-Qaeda and its allies prior to the war in Iraq? Answer: Yes. Twenty-six countries have been attacked over the last twelve years."

    New Clues about the Bombers

    In the meantime, new evidence concerning the activities of the four London bombers is surfacing daily. On Monday, British officials confirmed that three of the bombers had visited Pakistan last year and stayed there for three months. Specifically, Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer travelled to the country together in November 2004 and stayed for three months, while Hasib Hussain visited Pakistan last July and stayed there for an undisclosed period of time.

    The three men were located by the special surveillance system "Pisces", which photographs anyone entering Pakistan.

    According to his family, Tanweer attended an Islamic school, while the Pakistani authorities declared that he had visited the country at least one other time, in 2003.

    Now, the British authorities are trying to find out exactly what they did during their stay in the country. The British secret services are examining the possibility that the three Pakistani-Britons came into contact with al-Qaeda or other Islamic groups in Pakistan, while they are not ruling out the possibility that the mastermind of the 7 July attacks may be based in Pakistan.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    The Journey to Terror

    Related Links:

    Royal Institute of International Affairs-Chatham House

    [03] Via RAPEX EU Warns of New Unsafe Products

    18 Jul 2005 18:14:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Six new products have been added to the EU RAPEX systems list of unsafe products. According to the announcement issued by the Consumers General Secretariat, the products included on the Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products list are: toy gun "Rong Hua - Hunting gun" (R322), country of origin unknown; all Terrain Vehicles "Honda ATVs"; lawn mower "Granja 102 FLORASELF" (France); childrens safety harness "CANPOL BABIES childrens harness" (Poland); motorcycle "Yamaha & MBK - Y125, Y150 and Y180" (manufactured between 2001 and 2005), country of origin Spain; and Two pins flat type plug "Mains supply plug Class II" (DG-RCB), country of origin unknown. The products that appear on RAPEXs weekly notification have either been located by the relevant authorities in each EU Member-State and have been deemed as unsafe, or have been withdrawn from the market by the manufactures, because they may cause serious risk to the health and safety of consumers.

    Administrative Sanctions

    Since there is a possibility that the specific products, which have been deemed as unsafe by the EU, may be distributed in the Greek market, the Consumers General Secretariat has been posting the lists in the Press, in order to firstly inform consumers promptly and secondly to force distributors to withdraw the products from the Greek market immediately. In addition, the relevant authorities are also notified, so as to monitor the market.

    In case the relevant authorities locate any products through checks or complaints by consumers, the General Secretariat will be imposing strict administrative sanctions to anyone involved in the distribution chain of the product to the Greek market.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Contemporary Public Administration

    18 Jul 2005 18:58:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Significant steps towards creating a contemporary Public Administration with competent personnel were made through the activities and programmes of the National Centre for Public Administration and Self-Government (EKDDA). During a Press conference on Monday, Interior Minister Prokopois Pavlopoulos and the Ministrys General Secretary Giorgos Voutsinos presented EKDDAs activities, which have been reinforced with more programmes and an extra 18,900 employees for the year 2005. Mr Pavlopoulos stressed that nothing would have been achieved without the help of ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions), while he added that the National School for Local Government will start operating as of autumn. Meanwhile, he noted that, as per the new public sector employees code, education would form the basis for the development of each employee.

    EKDDA Forms the Government's Priority

    "As it is known, no major reform in the area of Public Administration can be achieved, if the personnel is not adequately prepared and especially at a time when technological developments form the basis of Public Administrations activities," noted Mr Pavlopoulos, who also stressed that the operation of the Centre constitutes a significant priority for the Government.

    In addition, Mr Pavlopoulos pointed out that great emphasis was given to the restructuring of the programmes, while he mentioned that an agreement was signed between EKDDA, ADEDY and the University of Peloponnesus, aiming at establishing and running the first post-graduate programme for undergraduate public sector employees. The cost of this programme will be covered by EKDDA and ADEDY.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    National Centre for Public Administration and Self-Government

    [05] Karamanlis-Voulgarakis Meeting in Maximos Anti-Terrorism Measures at the Focus

    18 Jul 2005 16:24:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    The measures proposed by the 25 EU leaders during the emergency Summit in Brussels were at the focus of the meeting between Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis. Upon exiting Maximos Mansion, Mr Voulgarakis declared that he briefed the PM on the trips he made to Brussels and London, his meeting with his British counterpart, as well as the proposals discussed during the Summit to combat terrorism. Furthermore, Mr Voulgarakis briefed the PM on the initiatives underway to curb the use of firearms in Crete.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] Plea for Fights Papariga Visits Olympic Airways

    18 Jul 2005 13:36:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET

    On Monday, on a visit to the technical base of the company, Aleka Papariga expressed her opposition to the attempted privatization of Olympic Airways. The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece accused ND and PASOK over the policies followed by all these years, which as she said resulted in the situation reaching a borderline. Furthermore, Mrs Papariga called on the employees to fight altogether in order to cancel, as she said, whatever they can.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] Seven Judicial Officers Under Investigation New Extrajudicial Network in Courts

    18 Jul 2005 16:50:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    According to information, evidence for the existence of a second extrajudicial network, apart from the one that had been set up by Iakovos Giosakis, is coming to light, following the investigation conducted by appellate examiners Giannis Sideris and Giannis Fiorakis. They are investigating the involvement of seven judicial officers, including an appellate judge, and a lawyer. They are also looking into another two judicial officers, who, according to information, had participated in the extrajudicial network involving Giosakis and former Examiner Antonia Ilia. In the meantime, businessman Kostas Avramidis, who was a litigant in the 1999 Stock Exchange case, testified before Supreme Court Deputy Prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas today. He provided explanations as a suspect for accessory to violation of duty, allegedly committed by the Supreme Courts Deputy Chief Justice, Achilleas Zisis. The criminal proceedings against the top judge and President of the Judges and Prosecutors Union have temporarily been postponed, due to the serious health problems faced by Mr Zisis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] The Mercury Will Climb to 40 Degrees Heatwave at the Gates

    18 Jul 2005 19:40:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Temperatures will start rising as of tomorrow throughout Greece and may even reach 40 degrees Celcius. Tomorrow the temperature will increase to 38 degrees Celcius in Athens and 36 in Thessaloniki. The areas that will be hit the hardest on Wednesday will be Thessaly, Eastern Serres and Eastern Peloponnesus. According to the weather bureau, it will start cooling down as of Thursday, with rain in the north and a slight drop in temperature.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] Hysteria over the Young Magician Harry Potter Writes History

    18 Jul 2005 11:02:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    The latest book in the series featuring the young magician, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, broke all records in the USA, selling 6.9 million copies in the first 24 hours it was released, thus becoming the fastest-selling book in history, as announced today by publishing house Bloomsburry and an independent market research committee. In the USA, sales exceeded 280,000 copies per hour, grossing $ 100 million. At midnight on Friday, the now very rich author, J.K. Rowling, read experts from the book to 70 young friends of Potter from all over the world in Edinburgh Castle, where she appeared amid smoke. Actually, just for that night, the Castle had been converted into the Hogwarts School of Wizards and Witchcraft. The author also claimed she was ecstatic about the book, which will answer many questions. However, the critics views are contradictory, since others are saying it is common and boring, while other describe it as a classic.

    In Greek on 3 December

    In Greece, long queues were formed in central bookshops by friends of Harry Potter, who wanted to buy the English version, since the Greek version will be released on 3 December.

    In addition, the English version will also be released in Braille, for the blind readers, but this venture is very costly for Greece.

    The previous book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , had sold 5 million copies on the first day it was released.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    J.K. Rowling's Official Website

    [10] New AIDS Vaccine

    18 Jul 2005 14:40:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: Reuters

    Italian scientists express the hope that the AIDS vaccine will be ready by 2011. Already, the trials have indicated that the vaccine is safe and the immune system responds to it. According to Barbara Ensoli of Italys National Health Institute the vaccine was tested on 47 volunteers, 27 of which are AIDS patients. The information weve gathered allows us to affirm that the vaccine is safe and well tolerated in all subjects," underlined the Italian scientist. Furthermore, its safety ranges at 100%, while its effectiveness on the immune system is 80%. As Mrs Ensoli has stated she is in discussion with investors from the Public and Private Sector for the necessary funds, in order for the vaccination to start in volunteers in Italy and Africa. As she stated, 50 million euros are needed.

    Encouraging Results

    The trials started in 2003 in four different clinics in Italy and the first results are expected in 2006.

    Until now, 30 vaccines have been tested, 12 of which has progressed into Phase II, where the interest is focused on its security and effectiveness.

    On his part, Mitchell Warren executive director of AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) underlined that this is a very important study but noted that it is not certain if the first AIDS vaccine will be made.

    The vaccine created by Barbara Ensoli is unique, since it acts on the TAT protein, which is necessary for the reproduction of the virus and does not block the virus itself, a fact that can proven very effective.

    [11] Employees Ask for their Withdrawal "Health and Safety" of Trains

    18 Jul 2005 19:02:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    In answering to articles in the Press that spoke of the existence of asbestos, OSE (Greek Railways Organisation) announced that all the trains on the Thessaloniki-Istanbul route fulfil the health and safety regulations. As per OSE, which quoted a written confirmation by the French Railways, all asbestos was removed from the wagons in question in 1998, except from a sound-insulation material that is located in the middle of the 15cm-thick outer wall of the wagon. The material contains traces of asbestos mixed with tar material and is encased, therefore it cannot be spread to the environment. In its announcement, OSE also noted that similar wagons run as per normal in France and Italy on the Venice-Paris and Milan-Paris routes. On the other hand, though, employees are asking that the trains be withdrawn, as they are claiming that there are traces of asbestos on the control panel and the hydraulics system.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [12] "It Does not Reflect the Views of the Archbishop" New Essay Creates Havoc

    18 Jul 2005 16:59:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    A new easy written by one of the Archbishops associates prompted fierce reactions. The document focused on Turkeys accession in the European Union, a development which it described as a "serious blow to Greece." The document in question, entitled "Turkey at the Gates", had been sent in the same envelope as the other document that harshly criticised the leader of the Opposition. Referring to the matter, the Archbishoprics Press Office admitted the existence of the document, however, it mentioned that it did not reflect the views of the Archbishop.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [13] Roadblocks Around Greece Reactions Over Trading Hours

    18 Jul 2005 14:04:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    The discussion on the Development Ministrys Bill, which includes the controversial reforms on trading hours, is starting tomorrow in Parliament. Reacting to the promoted changes, tradesmen and merchants have scheduled collective actions and roadblocks. So, tomorrow from 08:00 to 09:00 tradesmen in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace will block the Nestos river bridge, while the federation of Serres tradesmen will block the border station at Promachonas.

    In Thessaly, merchants are thinking of blocking off tollbooths at Tembi, however any final decisions will be made tomorrow afternoon at 05:00 in Larissa.

    What is more, Corinth tradesmen will block the Isthmus bridge at the Kalamaki tollbooths tomorrow at 18:00.

    As for Patras merchants, they still havent decided whether they will block the Rio-Antirrio bridge or not.

    In the meantime, PASOK Development Section Head Anna Diamantopoulou stated that PASOK will ask for a nominal vote in Parliament calling ND parliamentarians to take a stand, while she also supported that the law promoted by the Government abolishes social contracts in an authoritarian way.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [14] In Three Fronts Houses Were Threatened

    18 Jul 2005 12:35:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    The fire that broke out shortly before 12:00 on Monday near the settlement of Dartiza Menidi, Athens, above the Kapotas military camp, was finally placed under control. The fire broke out in three fronts and even reached a distance of just 200 metres from houses. From the very first moment, Fire Service forces rushed on site by land and air. As per inhabitants, the fire started by garbage and then the flames headed towards the foothill of Mt Parnitha. 100 firemen with 25 fire engines, 32 EMAK members on foot, four fire-fighting planes, 2 helicopters and road tankers carrying water participated in the difficult task of putting out the fire. Civil Protection Secretary General and the Fire Service leadership also rushed to the area, while fire engines still remain on site to put out any small fires that may still exist.

    Preliminary Hearing on Causes

    As the Fire Service announced, the fire broke out near an inhabited area by yet unknown causes and when fire engines arrived on site, three fronts had already been formed.

    The fire seriously threatened the houses in the area, without however causing damage to any of them.

    One of the fronts was heading to the monastery of Panagia, but was quickly intercepted.

    The Fire Service Chief coordinated the work of firemen, while deputy Public Order Minister Christos Markogiannakis also rushed on site to closely monitor the fire brigades work.

    The Fire Services Department of Arson Crimes is running a preliminary hearing on the causes of the fire.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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