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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-07-27

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Labour Bill on Fire
  • [02] Shocking Evidence about ESY
  • [03] Turkey Will Sign the Protocol
  • [04] Spiked Drinks in Athens
  • [05] Pedophilia Ring Crackdown
  • [06] West-Islam Alliance
  • [07] Negotiations Continue
  • [08] Greece Advances to Semi-Finals
  • [09] Archaeologists Sound the Alarm

  • [01] Fierce Dispute in Parliament Labour Bill on Fire

    27 Jul 2005 16:02:00 (Last updated: 27 Jul 2005 23:42:04)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    In the aftermath of Wednesdays strike, the dispute over the Bill on labour relations is intensified in Parliament. "The 8-hour working scheme is not violated. Instead, it is protected and secured," pointed out the Development Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos. On the other hand, the Opposition parties voiced their objection to the reforms. PASOK leader Giorgos Papandreou lashed a severe criticism at the government and spoke of an intervention at the expense of the working class as well as of an utter overthrow of the established labour relations. He also repeated that his party will abolish the reforms as soon as it assumes power. On his part, Mr Panagiotopoulos reacted strongly and accused PASOK of being inconsistent and citing false claims. Earlier, KKE had backed out of the discussion underlying that the Bill marks the return to the 1900s labour regime. Finally, SYN demanded the Bill be withdrawn.

    Panagiotopoulos-Papandreou Clash

    Opposition leader Giorgos Papandreou described the Bill as a "Token of governmental incompetence, social injustice and arrogant authoritarianism revealing NDs class preference." At the same time, referring to the issue of working time management, Mr Papandreou spoke of a "time bomb" to every Greek family and accused the government of favouring abuse of power.

    PASOK leader also accused the ruling party of not being willing to change and wishing to manipulate the Church, the Justice, the Public Administration and the Mass Media. He further added that PASOK embraces people and that, based on ideology and not on mere oppositional ends, it will abolish the labour reforms as soon as it assumes power.

    Development Minister used an extremely harsh tongue against Papandreous criticism. After repeating that the 8-hour working scheme is not abolished but secured by imposing sanctions, Mr Panagiotopoulos requested disinformation and propaganda on the so called executive right be ceased.

    Answering to the accusation regarding NDs intervention at the expense of the working class, Mr Panagiotopoulos said, "Simitis government made a pact with the most speculative business activities, which looted the Athens Stock Exchange."

    KKE Backed Out

    Earlier, Mr Panagiotopoulos crossed fire with KKEs Secretary General Aleka Papariga with the latter announcing KKEs refusal to participate in the discussion.

    "The Bill demolishes what was left by PASOKs raid," pointed out KKEs Secretary General and claimed that the reforms in question re-establish the 19th centurys working conditions.

    Ms Papariga mentioned that KKEs objective is to prevent employees from coming to terms with the Bill and concluded, "When such issues arise in the middle of the summer time, they must be sabotaged."

    On his part, the Development Minister expressed his sorrow over KKEs stance and made it clear that the analyses of the 19th century fail to confront the 21st centurys perplexity.

    "The government aims at favouring prosperity through a free but not uncontrollable market in a way that averts social exclusion and restores the balances needed," Mr Panagiotopoulos said.

    PASOK's spokesperson Evagelos Venizelos attributed political absence to the government, "There are pirated policies that constitute a farce," he claimed. SYN's rapporteur Giannis Dragasakis posed a torrent of questions to the Development Minister. "Employees in Delta and Petalouda have no unions. What about the working time management there? Will a registry book be introduced?", he wondered.

    "Those who attempt to stir up fear and upset the Greek citizens are exposed and they are bound to fail, because the government is not abolishing the 8-hour working scheme. Instead we are protecting and monitoring it," stated Development Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos.

    "While Giannitsis Law allowed up to 12 hours a day, our law allows up to 10 hours under strict conditions and not for more than two months. This tool was not invented by ND, it is in force in the European countries and was introduced by PASOK's governments," Mr Panagiotopoulos concluded. The Bill is expected to be voted for by the ruling party's MPs on Thursday's morning nominal voting.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Labour Fever

    [02] Interview by Nikitas Kaklamanis Shocking Evidence about ESY

    27 Jul 2005 14:50:00 (Last updated: 27 Jul 2005 21:25:37)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Greek Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis launched accusations concerning the loss of millions of euros due to lack of organisation within the National Health System (ESY). Mr Kaklamanis noted that the number of employees and beds in public hospitals have not been recorded correctly, 22 people working in Patras were listed twice in the pay rolls, while people who were in no way connected to ESY were receiving salaries. He also revealed a circuit that embezzled money from check-ups at Larisas, as well as the chaos regarding the commissions for the health material in every hospital. At the sometime, he said that during the 22 years ESY the number of beds in many hospitals has not been recorded correctly, thus making it impossible to know the exact number of the nurses and administrative employees that each region has. The Minister also made public the findings of the sworn administrative inquiry over the cases of gastroenteritis at Iraklio Hospital, where it was noted that the outbreak was due to the unsanitary conditions in the kitchen, while those responsible will be penalised with loss of income. At the same time, the Prefecture of Athens impounded 373kg of food unfit for consumption, mainly fish, which were to be delivered to Alexandra Hospital, Athens.

    Focus on Settlement of Debts

    Mr Kaklamanis revealed that 22 people in Patras, who were in no way connected to ESY, were receiving salaries. The issue has been forwarded to the Public Prosecutor, while the amounts that have been illegally collected exceed 500,000 euros.

    According to the Health Ministry, during the 22 years ESY has been operating, approximately 3,000 employees were getting paid without being entitled to.

    Furthermore, the number of beds in many hospitals has not been recorded correctly, which could be attributed to the fact that the salary of the department heads depends on the number of beds in each unit.

    The Health Ministry also focused on the settlement of the debts, which amount to 3 billion euros for the period 2001-2004. The settled debts are at 2.5 billion euros, while the exact amount will become known in the next two weeks.

    As per Mr Kaklamanis, the measures that are being promoted by the Ministry in order to put an end to the shocking incidents recorded within ESY include the creation of a register of hospitals and suppliers, the implementation of fund management, the placement of control mechanisms, and the creation of database of hospitals and suppliers, which will be submitted to Parliament.

    "For a second consecutive year, the problems are not being dealt with. Instead, they are being brought up acuter and are being multiplied in almost all hospitals nationwide, while a series of deliberate actions or omissions undermine the national health system," commented PASOKs parliamentarian Evagelos Venizelos, who accused the government of lacking will and a well-thought plan on ESY (Greek National Health System).

    "Although an excellent constitutionalist, Mr Venizelos needs to apply himself to a great deal of work and study to become fully aware of the health and social solidarity issues. I am not convinced whether his statements favour his political aspirations. What I am certain of is that they offer no help to the improvement of the services provided by ESY," Health Minister replied.

    Heavy Penalties for Iraklio Hospital

    In the meantime, as per the findings of the sworn administrative inquiry over the cases of gastroenteritis at Iraklio Hospital, health inspector Maria Kypraki and the supervisor of the food section, Fotini Tsangaraki, were penalised with loss of income for two months. In addition, each cook was penalised with loss of income for ten days and a written admonition by the hospitals administrative director, Panagiotis Konidakis.

    The disease, which was caused by intestinal salmonella, broke out on 20 July and infected 116 people. As per Mr Kaklamanis, the Hospital reacted immediately and contained the disease. According to the findings, the cases of gastroenteritis in patients and employees were due to the unsanitary conditions in the kitchen. Actually, three days earlier, no washing detergent was used in the dishwashers, while the pots are cleaned solely with salt and water.

    According to the findings, the 116 cases of gastroenteritis in patients and employees were due to the unsanitary conditions in the kitchen. Actually, three days earlier, no washing detergent was used in the dishwashers, while the pots are cleaned solely with salt and water.

    In the meantime, the Prefecture of Athens impounded 373kg of food unfit for consumption, which were to be delivered to Alexandra Hospital. A team of controllers located the food, mainly frozen fish, in a freezer truck, as it was arriving at the hospital. It was discovered that the cooling system was not working and the temperature within the truck was between 10.4 and 13.8 degrees Celsius, as opposed to the recommended 18 degrees Celsius for the transfer of frozen food.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Cases of Gastro in Iraklio Hospital

    [03] For Extending the Customs Union Turkey Will Sign the Protocol

    27 Jul 2005 14:03:00 (Last updated: 27 Jul 2005 20:10:29)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The meeting between British PM Tony Blair, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency, and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, focused on Turkey signing the customs union protocol with the 10 new Member-States. Mr Blair stated that signing the document does not necessarily constitute the recognition of the Cypriot Republic. On his part, Mr Erdogan told the Turkish Media that the protocol would be signed soon, but Turkey would not be recognising Cyprus, unless the matter is settled. "It is simply important for us to restate the legal fact, which is the signing of the protocol does not involve the recognition of Cyprus," Blair said, while he noted that this was also stipulated by the EU leaders in December, as well as last month. Erdogan said his country would sign the customs union soon, but did not give an exact date. "There is no difference with our approach. We hope that it will be adopted as soon as possible, so we can commence negotiations on 3 October," declared Mr Erdogan. The Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson G. Koumoutsakos commented, "It is obvious that the refusal on the part of a candidate state to recognise a Member-State constitutes an institutional and political paradox, which must be dealt with as soon as possible."

    Awaiting the Accompanying Declaration

    However, the European leaders are awaiting the content of the accompanying declaration, in which Turkey would be stating that it would not be recognising Cyprus, in order to determine whether it coincides with the European Councils decisions for the commencement of accession talks.

    During his interview to the Turkish reporters after his meeting with Tony Blair, Mr Erdogan noted that it would be wrong on the part of Greece, as well as other countries, to reintroduce the matter of the Aegean, which is being discussed on a bilateral level between Athens and Ankara, in the accession talks.

    Yesterday, the British PM met with the President of the Cypriot Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos to discuss the developments, while they concluded that the reunification of the island constituted a priority. Cypriot spokesperson Kypros Christostomidis stated that during the meeting the introduction of a well-structured dialogue was agreed in order to create a continuous and direct contact with the view to clarifying the two sides stances on the EU issues, dispelling, at the same time, any rumours or speculations. "Stances on the EU issues coincide, while a common declaration referring to the promotion of unifying our country has been uttered," said Mr Christostomidis and he added that the British PMs contribution has been positive. Regarding Turkeys obligations towards the EU, he said that Mr Blair was explicit, "All countries wishing to become EU members are obliged to adopt and fall in line with the same standards."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Adulterated up to 100% Spiked Drinks in Athens

    27 Jul 2005 13:07:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8, Newspaper "Ta Nea"

    SDOE (Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit) and General Chemical State Laboratory checks in Greece revealed shocking evidence of alcohol adulteration, since some of the alcoholic beverages served in bars and restaurants in Attica were up to 100% spiked. Most of the cases were recorded in nightclubs operating along the coastal road, while spiked beverages were also located in other parts of Attica. According to the General Chemical State Laboratory of Greece, 20% of the whiskey, 65% of the vodka and 100% of the rum and tequila samples were found to be adulterated. The checks were performed in 39 nightclubs, but the Economy Ministry has not named the businesses. However, as was published today in the newspaper Ta Nea, quoting Ministry sources, they are the most popular beach clubs. As per SDOE, any businesses found serving spiked drinks will be prosecuted for illegal smuggling, while they may even lose their operational licences.

    Dangerous to Health

    As Pharmacology Professor Nikos Choulis explained to the newspaper, one of the main ingredients contained in spiked drinks, methanol, is very dangerous to health, especially if consumed in large quantities. The Professor also noted that it is very hard for a lot of people to realise that their drinks are spiked.

    The symptoms are usually headache and dizziness, while their manifestation depends on the individual. They become more intense if greater quantities are consumed, leading to fainting episodes. Furthermore, excessive consumption may even lead to death.

    Great Number of Tax Evaders

    Spiked drinks do not only affect health, but also public finances.

    As per the Economy Ministry, those drinks are produced in illegal distilleries and then they are bottled and distributed to the market.

    The networks that distribute illegal drinks make millions of euros in profits, as they do not pay any consumption tax, while they use low-quality ingredients during production.

    Furthermore, the Ministry checks revealed that 70% of the businesses that were controlled evaded taxes, with the main violation being the non-issuing of receipts.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Pedophilia Ring Crackdown

    27 Jul 2005 20:11:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The biggest pedophilia trial ever been recorded in France was concluded with heavy penalties for the accused. The unveiling of the rings sordid actions, which had been developed in the undermined neighbourhoods of the town of Angers in January 2002, resulted in taking to stand 39 men and 26 women. They were all accused of sexually abusing 45 children aged six months to 14 years old. Three of the masterminds of the pedophilia ring, known as Philippe, Franck V. and Patricia M. were sentenced to 28, 18 and 16 years in prison respectively.

    During the 5-month trial proceedings, the evidence was gruesome. Many of the accused were the childrens parents or close relatives, aged 27 to 37 years old, who lured the victims in exchanged of small amounts, food or even cigarettes.

    Children's Souls Fell Prey to Perversion

    Dozens of children fell prey to sick perversion in the French city of Angers. The disclosures to everything that had been taking placing between January 1999 and February 2002 left the judges, the jury and the French people speechless. Suspects were not identified by full names because of French laws designed to preserve the anonymity of child victims.

    Franck B. and Patricia M. are believed to have hosted in their house most of their sordid deeds. Franck was also sentenced for raping his three children.

    Two more brothers received 28 and 26 years in prison as a result of their involvement in the ring. Eric was described as an "ogre" and was known to the children as "the fatty", Jean-Marc was his brother.

    As per correspondents, the majority of the accused were unemployed living off benefits in state-supported housing. Most of them did not say much during the trial proceedings and appeared confused. 20 out of the 66 accused confessed to their wrongdoing, while others said they knew nothing of the ring. According to their lawyers, the evidence is not sufficient. They also claimed that some of the accused had suffered sexual abuse as children themselves.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] Zapatero-Blair New Objective West-Islam Alliance

    27 Jul 2005 19:51:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    The idea of creating a joint front between Western and Islamic countries to combat terrorism was at the focus of the meeting held today in London between the British PM Tony Blair and his Spanish peer Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The two leaders said that they aim at developing an "alliance of civilizations" to "eradicate terrorism. "I firmly believe that this proposal can be put forward within the upcoming months," Tony Blair pointed out. He also made it clear that the term alliance was introduced to indicate that we are not in a clash of civilizations. "Its the terrorists who want to stir up these differences between Islam and the rest of the world," he concluded. Furthermore, Blair and Zapatero reflected on the measures to be taken in order to "combat the misconception of Islam" and to "avert the involvement of young Muslims to radical groups."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Over the Sale of Olympic Airways Negotiations Continue

    27 Jul 2005 22:00:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    The inter-ministerial committee for the denationalizations held a meeting on Wednesday afternoon at the Economy Ministry, and decided to extend the negotiations with the Olympic Investors regarding the sale of the Olympic Airways. The Economy, Transport and Development Ministers also participated in the meeting. The committee was briefed over OA denationalization process by the Greek Publics finance and legal advisor, while as per information, a relevant memorandum is to be signed with the interested party. The memorandum will be non-binding upon the Greek Public Sector.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] Greece Advances to Semi-Finals

    27 Jul 2005 10:46:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    After ending fourth at last summers Athens Olympic Games, the Greek national water polo team advanced to the semi-finals at the World Championships in Montreal, Canada. The Greek team achieved a 13-9 victory over Italy and made it to the semi-finals, where it is to play against Hungary on Friday at 4:30am (Greek local time).

    The Match

    7-minute periods (with Greece first): 2-3, 4-2, 4-3, 3-1.

    The scorers:

    GREECE: Schizas 2, Mazis 2, Chatzitheodorou 1, Theodoropoulos 4, Christos Afroudakis 1, Doskas 2, G.Afroudakis 1.

    ITALY: Postiglione 1, Felugo 2, Vittoroso 1, Angelini 3, Calcaterra 1, Fiorentini 1.

    Women Fight for the Fifth Place

    On the contrary, the Greek womens team did not make it to the semi-finals. Although the Greek team played well, the Canadians won an overtime thriller with 8-6. Greece now aims at the fifth place in the tournament. Koulis Iosifidis team will play tomorrow at 19:00 (Greek local time) against Germany and it will fight for the victory in order to be able to claim the fifth place against the winner of the Italy-Australia match.

    7-Minute Periods (with Canada first): 1-3, 2-2, 2-0, 1-1 (regular time), 0-0, 2-0 (overtime).

    The Scorers:

    CANADA: Alogba 1, Gardiner 2, Arpin 1, Perrault 1, Dow 2, Dionne 1.

    GREECE: Kozoboli 1, Roubesi 2, Karagianni 3.

    Excellent Performances in Swimming

    Aristeidis Grigoriadis of Greece finished sixth at the 100m back final at the World Championships. The Greek swimmer clocked 54.61 finishing the race approximately a second behind Aaron Peirsol who won the gold medal. Randall Ball was second and Cseh Laszlo finished third.

    Mens 100m Backstroke Final Results:

    1. Aaron Peirsol (USA) 53.62 2. Randall Ball (USA) 54.02 3. Laszlo Cseh (Hungary) 54.27 4. Morita Tomomi (Japan) 54.31 5. Arkady Vyatchanin (Russia) 54.50 6. Aristeidis Gregoriadis (GREECE) 54.61 7. Markus Rogan (Austria) 54.81 8. Blaz Medvesek (Slovenia) 55.13

    Another Greek swimmer will be swimming at the World Championships final. Giannis Drymonakos made it to the 200m butterfly final. The Greek champion clocked 1:57.09 and finished first in the first preliminary heat. His time is a new Greek record. The previous Greek record was also set by Drymonakos on June 11, 2004, at the test event for the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Greek Divers Finished Eighth

    Finally, Giannis Gabriilidis and Sotiris Trakas finished eighth at the Mens 10m Sunchro Platform. The Greek duo collected 325.62 points. It is noteworthy that they had also finished eighth at the events preliminaries. The Russian divers Dobroskok Dmitry and Galperin Gleb collected 392.88 points and won the gold medal. The Chinese pair with Yang Jinghui and Hu Jia finished second and the British Peter Waterfield and Leon Taylor won the third place.

    1. Dobroskok Dmitry/Gleb Galperin (Russia) 88 2. Jinghui Yang/Jia Hu (China) 374.79 3. Peter Waterfield/Leon Taylor (Britain) 367.95 4. Roman Volodkov/Anton Zacharov (Ukraine) 353.40 5. Erick Alvarez Fornaris/Jose Antonio Querra Oliva (Cuba) 346.44 6. Vadzim Kaptur/Aliaksandr Varlamov (Belarus) 334.95 7. Michele Benedetti/Francesco DellUomo (Italy) 326.76 8. Sotiris Trakas/Giannis Gabriilidis (GREECE) 325.62 9. Omar Oleda/Rommel Pacheco (Mexico) 317.70 10. Bryan Nickson/James Sandayud (Malaysia) 314.46 11. Riley McCormick/Wegadesk Gorup-Paul (Canada) 309.06 12. Sascha Klein/Norman Becher (Germany) 295.83

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [09] To Save Allianoi, NE Pergamos Archaeologists Sound the Alarm

    27 Jul 2005 12:47:00

    By Areti Christou

    More than 100 volunteers are digging around the clock 18 km northeast of the great Hellenistic city of Pergamos to save Allianoi. It is a unique ancient town, which will sink 17m underwater this coming November. Along with the town, the sole thermal bath complex of the Hellenistic and Roman era will also be lost forever under the waters of a river, since the damp that is being constructed will flood the valley. Faced with this dilemma, Dr Ahmet Yaras, Professor of Archaeology and leader of the excavations, has sounded the alarm. "Allianoi is one of the most unspoiled settlements in the area. The Yortanli dam will bury the place, before we have time to dig it all up and study it," pointed out Dr Yaras. According to the findings so far, Allianoi was one of the most significant thermal bath complexes of antiquity, while it is also mentioned by ancient author Aristides, in his book Hieroi Logoi.

    In Need of Funds and Time

    The complex combined all the contemporary methods used in antiquity.

    It included therapy with the use of spas, which are still running, as well as conventional methods, such as surgery, evidenced by the dozens of medical instruments discovered in the area.

    It also consisted of public buildings and amazing mosaics, while significant archaeological finds, such as statues depicting Nymphs and Asclepius, keep coming to light daily.

    In addition, important Byzantine monuments, including Basilicas and Necropoles, are being discovered, thus demonstrating that the destruction of this archaeological site would constitute a crime against world history and has to be dealt with immediately.

    Dr Yaras, who is also the Director of the Pergamos Museum, declared that time and funds are urgently needed to finish the dig, while he added that the whole place cannot be excavated on time, even if every one of the volunteers used earthmovers.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    Allianoi Excavation Plan

    Allianoi Official Website

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