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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-08-02

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] France Obstructs Turkish Accession
  • [02] Taxation Reforms
  • [03] New Facts for Immigrants
  • [04] Changes in Municipal Elections
  • [05] Mercury on the Rise
  • [06] Upgrade of TEI
  • [07] Meeting on Ship Routes
  • [08] No Cause for Alarm
  • [09] Explosions in Antalya
  • [10] Leathal Heatwave
  • [11] New Blast in Baghdad
  • [12] Heroes Return from Montreal
  • [13] Space Repair of Discovery

  • [01] New Given Facts France Obstructs Turkish Accession

    02 Aug 2005 17:24:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA

    The French PM described the start of accession negotiations with Turkey as inconceivable without firstly recognizing the Cypriot Republic. Fourteen days after the signing of the Customs Union expansion Protocol by Turkey, Dominique de Villepins statement is added to the existing negative atmosphere of the European public opinion starting scenarios of if Turkeys accession negotiations will begin as planned on October 3. However, Brussels and the British Presidency repeated that Turkeys recognition of Cyprus will have to be resolved in the context of the United Nations and does not serve as a condition for the start of negotiations. The Cypriot government addressed the French view, while the Greek Foreign Ministry described the Turkish statement as weighty. A Turkish official speaks of a violation of other commitments against Ankara. In the meantime, Thodoris Rousopoulos on the mention of a telegram by Reuters news agency which speaks of a postponement of Mr Karamanlis visit to Ankara, repeated that he had stated "that the visit will take place on a date which will be decided on by both parties involved."

    Political and Institutional Paradox

    "It is inconceivable for the start of any accession negotiation with a country that does not recognize each of the EU Member-States, meaning all 25," stated the French PM to radio station Europe 1.

    "There is a principles issue which I believe I have to defend, and it is what France will state to Turkey and the other countries of the Union during the forthcoming meetings," he underlined.

    "The start of a negotiation process, whichever it may be, requires a recognition of all members," stated de Villepin.

    On the question of if this means that the start of the accession discussions will be delayed, even after October 3, he answered: "Surely." Meanwhile, in an interview to the Greek service of BBC, the leader of the European Peoples Party (EPP), Hans Gert Petering, agreed with the French PM, noting that if a country wishes to be a part of the EU, it is logical that it has to recognize the other members.

    The government spokesperson of the Cypriot Republic, Kypros Chrisostomidis, described the statement of the French PM as positive.

    On the question of if the French position will be utilized, the spokesperson stated that the government is doing and will continue doing everything possible for the safeguarding of its interests.

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Valinakis stated that Turkeys statement is a European paradox, adding that the extension of this paradox will cast a shadow on Ankaras accession negotiations.

    On his part, the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that the non-recognition of a EU Member-State from a country aiming to its accession in the Union, is an evident and institutional contradiction, foreign to the European rationalization.

    Moreover, Giorgos Koumoutsakos noted that the contradiction in which Turkey has chosen to exist in should end, while the official position of our country will be stated in the bodies of the Union that will make the relevant decisions.

    After the statements of the French PM, the Greek government is faced with a serious dilemma, stated the PASOK spokesperson.

    As Nikos Athanasakis said, the government should either stop Turkeys accession process or support it having accepted the given facts. Furthermore, he noted that the government has reached a dead end due to the stance it kept in the Summit Meeting last December, a stance which lacked a strategy and a clear position on the subject.

    Dominique de Villepins statements violate other commitments to Ankara stated a Turkish official today, adding that it cannot deter or delay the start of Turkeys accession negotiations.

    Analysis of Turkish Statement

    On Monday, the European Commission officially addressed Turkeys decision to sign an added Protocol, with which it expands its union with the EU and the ten new Member-States, Cyprus included.

    On the issue of Turkeys statement, Enlargement Commissioner Oli Ren stated that according to a preliminary estimation this statement does not annul Turkeys commitment to enact the Protocol, which is an important fact.

    The Turkish statement, added Ren, will be discussed by the relevant services of the Commission in order to conclude if there are legal interventions that do not allow the full enactment of the Protocol. The European Commissioner concluded that Turkey will have to confirm that it continues its efforts for a satisfactory resolution of the Cypriot problem.

    Commenting on Rens statements, Giorgos Koumoutsakos noted that the reading of the statement was quick, and that nothing will change as far as the Protocol is concerned.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    "No Legal Effect"

    [02] On Property as of 1/1/2006 Taxation Reforms

    02 Aug 2005 14:53:00 (Last updated: 02 Aug 2005 23:10:45)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced the changes on property taxation. As per the new Bill, a 19% VAT will be imposed on new constructions as of January 1 2006, while the above will not apply on the purchase of a first house. Constructors are to pay the aforementioned tax. On the other hand, the purchase of first house is excluded from this reform, but it is still subject to the property conveyance tax. Meanwhile, new per square meter values will be enforced, and will be announced at the end of this year. The Bill also foresees that tax allowances on inheritances and parental donations, be risen from 20,000 euros to 80,000 euros. Similarly, tax allowances are equalised in cases of grandchildren, and the inheritance tax will be paid in 24 two-month instalments compared to present 24 one-month instalments. In the meantime, based on a relevant circular by the Interior Minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, on the occasion of citizens complaints concerning their non-operation during summer, the City Planning Services will be open during August.

    "Reorganization of Construction Circuit"

    The Bill also puts forward the gradual abolition of conveyance taxes and their replacement by a 1% transaction duty on the property value and an increment tax. The rates of the latter are increased by 0% up to 20% depending on how long someone owns a property.

    a. 20% if the transferable property remained in the ownership of the seller up to 5 years from its construction.

    b. 10% if the transferable property remained in the ownership of the seller for 5 to 15 years.

    c. 5% if the transferable property remained in the ownership of the seller for 15 to 25 years.

    d. 0% if the transferable property remained in the ownership of the seller for more than 25 years.

    The tax in question, which will burden the property vendors, is determined by the difference between the purchase price and the sale price and it is to be paid prior to the signing of the contract.

    Mr Alogoskoufis said that the new Bill aims at combating tax evasion, reorganizing the construction circuit and providing a better context regarding the property conveyance taxes. Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias described the reforms as "correct and fair".

    Strong Reactions

    On behalf of the Opposition, PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis accounted the government with cashing-in motives and spoke of desperate actions, which will burden the construction branch as well as the citizens who wish to purchase a house.

    In an announcement, KKE states that the draft bill for the property taxation presented by the government constitutes an escalation of the attack against the peoples income and the cover of housing needs of the employees, since it leads to a sudden increase of the relevant taxation, as well as the rent prices, while it called on the working class "to open the way to a political solution which makes housing a social right and not a product."

    The imposing of 19% VAT to newly constructed houses and the introducing of increment tax will rise the prices of property stated member of the SYN Political Secretariat Panagiotis Lafazanis. Replying to Nikos Athanasakis, the Ministry of Economy noted "it would be good if his intention is to misguide over pre-election programme of PASOK which mentions the imposing of VAT on new constructions," and adds, "PASOK once against proves that it lacks seriousness and responsibility. It is advisable that it continues with its extended vacation."

    The Opposition replied to the above saying "Mr Aloskoufis considers that he will justify his policy with sleights and crass actions," noting that the reference to the pre-election PASOK programme is non-existent.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [03] Discussion of Bill in Parliament New Facts for Immigrants

    02 Aug 2005 20:21:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET 105.8, NET, ANA

    The relevant Bill of the Ministry for the Interior proposes a series of innovations over the creation and application of a modern system of immigration policy. The discussion of the Bill started on Tuesday evening in Parliament with amendments by the Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, according to which the five-year continuous residence that is required for a foreigner to be legalized will start counting from May 2001, and not January 2004. This means that the foreigners residing in our country will be incorporated in the regime of the issue of a long-term permit, three years earlier, in 2006 and not 2009. Moreover, Mr Pavlopoulos accepted the proposals of the Scientific Council of Parliament and thus our country is harmonized with the EU legislature. Among others, the reforms foresee the institutionalization of procedures of the entrance of immigrant according to the needs of employment, and in activities which personnel is required, and is not filled by the local job market. President of PASOK George Papandreou claimed that the Bill will led to the creation of ghettos and an increase of crime, while he accused the government of having a xenophobic philosophy.

    Fire from Papandreou

    In his speech, the Minister for the Interior stated that the aim of the Bill is the institution of a policy for the admission and the integration of economic immigrants in the Greek society, which will "serve our national interests as well as the interests of the immigrants."

    Moreover, Mr Pavlopoulos noted that the legal context of the reforms will be a non-bureaucratic and functional administration system, which will be for the best interest of the economy and the immigrants rights.

    During his speech in Parliament, Mr Papandreou made harsh criticism to the advanced reforms. As the Opposition leader claimed "the government views the immigrant as a problem," and that the Bill will contribute to the creation of ghettos and the increase of crime, while it will lead the new generation of immigrants into illegal circuits and quite possibly in terrorism groups.

    In closing, the PASOK President asked for the reform that foresees deportation to be abolished, and mentioned that even if the Bill takes a few steps forward "it does not counter the current situation and the future of immigration."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] Expected to be Enforced in 2006 Changes in Municipal Elections

    02 Aug 2005 19:34:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The government is determined to go forth with the change of the Bill in force over the elections in Local Administrations. The main points of the bill is the election of Mayor from the first Sunday, with 42% and above, as well as the election of the Regional Council by the people, changes which will be included in the Bill for the new Charter of Municipalities and Communities, which will be placed for discussion by October. During the regular briefing of political journalists, government spokesperson Thodoros Rousopoulos stated that the enactment of every legislative initiative is under study, while he did not rule out the event that the new system in Municipal elections will be enacted in the October 2006 elections, saying "nothing is ruled out." Minister of Public Works Giorgos Souflias statements were along the same lines, and noted that the new system is included in the pre-election commitments of the governing party and will be enacted in the forthcoming Municipal elections, while he described the procedure of the two-rounds as unreasonable. In the aforementioned changes, the Opposition, the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) and the Union of Prefectural Authorities of Greece (ENAE) stated their disagreement, while the issue will be discussed on Wednesday in a broad ND party meeting at its headquarters in Rigillis Street presided by Vangelis Meimarakis.

    Mayor from the First Sunday

    According to information, the changes will mainly concern Capodistrian Municipalities, while a decision has not been yet made if the regime will change in the five big cities of Greece, which are Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Patra and Herakleion.

    The changes in the electoral Bill will be at the focus of the meeting between the ND Secretary and the departments of Organizing and Local Administration of the party at 11:30 on Wednesday morning. It is reminded that in a recent interview Mr Meimarakis supported the election of Mayor and Prefect from the first Sunday, by 42% or above.

    "The issue of the electoral Bill enforced in the Municipal elections is not a game and we will not play hide and seek," commented PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis, and called on the government to immediately take a position on the issue. On its part, SYN asked for the enactment of simple analogy in the elections of councilors, and 50% plus one for the election of Mayors and Prefects.

    In closing, the President of KEDKE, Paris Koukoulopoulos, expressed his opposition to the aforementioned reforms and supported that there is no serious reason that justifies them. President of ENAE Fofi Gennimata also opposed the reforms of the electoral Bill.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Request for Saving Energy Mercury on the Rise

    02 Aug 2005 15:42:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    The next two days will be extremely warm with temperatures rising up to 39, even 40 degrees Celsius in many areas of the country. Regardless of the fact that the State Services are on alert, the citizens are called to take the necessary protection measures, mainly the ones belonging to susceptible groups. On Thursday, the temperature is expected to gradually decrease. The General Secretariat of Civil Protection states that there is a danger of fire in islands where strong gales are expected, while it advises the public to avoid unnecessary outings. A very high danger of fire is apparent in the Prefecture of Lasithi, Crete, and the islands of Samos and Ikaria. The Public Power Company (PPC) is on alert over the event of an increase of electricity usage, due to the increased use of air conditions. The PPC and the Ministry of Development repeats their request for saving energy during peak hours, which are 11:00-15:00.

    Record in Energy Consumption

    Today, shortly before 13:30 a new record in energy consumption occurred when usage reached 9510 megawatts from yesterdays 9035 megawatts.

    Damage occurred in the station of Megaloupolis, which resulted in the network to work with 80 megawatts.

    The demand was dealt with energy imports from Italy and the northern borders, and cuts of load from PPC mines and irrigation/pumping units.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    August Arrives with Heat Wave

    [06] Safeguarding Specialization Rights Upgrade of TEI

    02 Aug 2005 14:50:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET 105.8, NET

    On Tuesday, the Bill of the Ministry of Education over the upgrade of Technological Educational Institutes has received the green light by the government Committee presided by the PM. Marietta Giannakou described the Bill as the first big step in order to confirm the higher education character of the TEI. The Bill foresees 1,030 new positions created for educational and administrative personnel in the institutions, as well as the end of hourly-rate wages. Moreover it is directed at the upgrade of TEI with qualitative criteria, in order for employee rights to not be cancelled as they were with a decision of the Supreme Administrative Court.

    Request for Emergency Grants

    According to their administrations, the Technological Educational Institutes present a deficit that reaches 30 million euros. The Ministry of Education has proposed to the Ministry of Economy an emergency grant of 33 million euros and hopes that it will be approved at large.

    It is noted that the new personnel positions are added to the 800 already approved by the Ministry of Economy.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] Heavy Traffic in Piraeus Port Meeting on Ship Routes

    02 Aug 2005 13:12:00

    By Anna Kourti

    An unscheduled meeting is being held at the Mercantile Marine Ministry to discuss the recent problems that plagued Coastal Shipping. Meanwhile, the same chaotic situation remains in the Piraeus Port. Blue Star Ithaki and Agios Georgios delayed to set sail because they had been employed to perform unscheduled routes to serve the passengers. Both ships set sail with a 2-hour delay. Traffic in the Piraeus Port is expected to culminate the following hours, since by midnight a total of 20 ships will have set sail.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Coastal Shipping at the Focus

    [08] No Cause for Alarm

    02 Aug 2005 17:33:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: Reuters, NET 105.8

    A small fire that broke out in a double-decker bus in central London, near the Underground station of Kings Cross, caused the immediate alert of British authorities. The police preventively closed off the area of Greys Inn where the bus was situated. Initially the Mass Media broadcast that a suspicious package was found in the bus, but possibly the smoke came from damage in the bus. The CCTV cameras showed that the buss windows were intact which means that there was no explosion. However, the area remains closed off, while some passengers were given first aid, since they experienced difficulty in breathing due to the smoke.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] Six Persons Injured Explosions in Antalya

    02 Aug 2005 15:24:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: Reuters, NET 105.8

    A new bomb explosion rocks Turkey. Six people were injured by two blasts in the tourist resort of Antalya. Turkish news agency Anatolian broadcast that the explosive devices had been placed in rubbish bins in the city center, which is the fourth biggest in Turkey. The bins, where the explosive devices were placed, were situated in different locations and exploded minutes from each other. According to police sources during the first explosion three dustmen were injured when trying to empty the first bin. During the second explosion two Turkish citizens and a tourist were injured. As a high rank police official stated, the authorities are investigating the explosions. Antalya is one of the most popular Turkish tourist resorts and attracts thousands of tourists annually. Todays explosions follow the attacks in Cesme, Kusadasi and Istanbul where five people were killed. No organization has assumed responsibility over the explosions, but the police estimate that Kurdish rebels are behind the attacks.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [10] 56 Died and 1,000 Hospitalised Leathal Heatwave

    02 Aug 2005 14:32:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    An unprecedented heat wave has been gripping Rumania since last week, with temperatures exceeding 36 degrees Celsius. As per Rumanian Health Ministry, 56 people died and 1,000 have been admitted to hospitals suffering heat-related problems. The deceased suffered from chronic illnesses, heart or neurological disorders. Emergency services announced that requests for ambulances saw a 50% rise as opposed to the same period last year. Doctors advise people to consume water and avoid going outdoors. The meteorological service expects rains as of the end of the week.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] New Blast in Baghdad

    02 Aug 2005 13:47:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Nine Iraqis were killed on Tuesday morning in a suicide car bomb. The attack targeted an American convoy at the heart of the Iraqi capital. An American army vehicle was on fire shortly after the attack, whereas 14 more cars and nearby shops sustained damages.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [12] Heroes Return from Montreal

    02 Aug 2005 14:43:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    The first Greek swimmer to be crowned world champion ever attracted all eyes and the flashes on the Greek participations arrival from Montreals World Swimming Championships. At Eleftherios Venizelos airport, Deputy Tourism Minster authorised for sports issues Giorgos Orphanos and the Press warmly welcomed the Greek athletes who carried in their suitcases a gold and a bronze medal. 19-year-old Aris Grigoriadis won the gold medal after his triumph in the mens 50m backstroke finals, while the Greek national water polo team won the bronze medal.

    Grigoriadis at the Focus

    The "golden" boy of Greek swimming, Aris Gregoriadis, was deeply moved and he pointed out that he would substitute this medal for nothing but an Olympic one. "It was a tough period that began and ended well," reigning world champion and Greek record holder stated.

    "The medal I won came after having worked really hard," he went on and he revealed that prior to the final he aimed at the podium. "My initial goal was an Olympic medal, but I finally won it this year at the World Swimming Championships," said Aris Gregoriadis who flew to his hometown, Thessaloniki.

    On his arrival to Thessaloniki, the 19-year-old swimmer was welcomed by his crying father and his relatives. His teammates from Aris Thessalonikis, as well young children dressed in yellow, Aris Thessalonikis colours, were there. Aris football club delegates along with the mayor of Kalamaria town Christodoulos Oikonomidis were also present to congratulate Grigoriadis on his feat. His mothers absence, on the other hand, stayed at home to prepare her blue-eyed boy his favourite meal.

    Greek Water Polo Players on Cloud Nine

    The members of the Greek national water polo team were on cloud nine after winning the bronze medal at the World Swimming Championships. It is noteworthy that the Greek water polo team has been ranking among the worlds leading teams for many years without ever stepping on the podium.

    "We proved that we deserved the medal and that we rank among the leading teams in the world," said the captain Giorgos Afroudakis. "We are already in the third place, and we are very close to the second and first places," he added smiling and he went on to say that this success was achieved thanks to the people who have been working really hard to "build" water polo in Greece.

    On his part, Thodoris Chatzitheodorou did not forget to refer to the Greek expatriates in Canada, who trembled with pride and shed tears of happiness for the Greek victories. "It is difficult to realize the magnitude of our success. We made Greeks, both in our Country and in Canada, feel proud. The team has not yet run its course. We will be playing for the World Cup in ten days time. We are full steam ahead for new successes."

    The Italian coach of the Greek team Alessandro Campagna said he was extremely delighted although he expected a better place in the tournament. "We played well throughout the tournament. We deserved the medal. Our defeat from the reigning world and Olympic champion Hungary by one goal was our sole unfortunate moment."

    He Wished For Greater Succeses

    Greek Deputy Tourism Minister responsible for sports Giorgos Orphanos congratulated the members of the Greek participation and wished for more successes in the years to come. "Greece gladly welcomes our participation. Our swimmer and golden medallist Aris Grigoriadis, the mens national water polo team that won the bronze medal following years of numerous participations in the finals of great tournaments, the womens national water polo team and all the swimmers who made it to the finals of their events. We should also refer to the synchronized swimming and diving teams that also performed well proving that Greek aquatic sports have a brilliant future ahead. My warmest congratulations on the athletes, their coaches, the Hellenic Swimming Federation and the boards of the club that support this effort. I wish for similar successes in the future. The government, on its part, will do its best to improve infrastructure so that more children can excel at a sport, so that we can achieve greater successes," Mr Orphanos concluded.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [13] Repair of Damage on Discovery Space Repair of Discovery

    02 Aug 2005 18:24:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    NASA decided to go forth with repairs in the space shuttle Discovery during its stay in the International Space Station (ISS). The unprecedented task will be performed by 49-year-old astronaut Steven Robinson, one of the seven crew members, during the third space walk planned for Wednesday. NASAs aim is to remove ceramic strips sticking out between Discoverys heatshield tiles on the nose section of the Discovery, damage that most likely occurred during launch vibrations. The repair is considered to be more than necessary, since the damage can affect the aerodynamics of Discovery during its re-entrance in the atmosphere but could also cause overheating due to friction with air. "Ill have to be careful but the task is very simple," said Robinson from the ISS and concluded, "We predict it wont be too complex".

    Aimed at Avoiding Accident

    Steven Robinson will perform the space repair with Canadarm2, which will help him remove the gap fillers from the nose section of Discovery. If the astronaut does not succeed, he will try to smooth the part protruding with a saw.

    Discoverys problem has been carefully investigated during the past three days from NASA technicians who found several ways of repairing the damage. However, the procedure that will be followed has not been found yet. Robinson will take up the part of the technician on Wednesday, while his space walk could be taken another day in order to fully prepare for the task.

    As the aerodymanics group of the Space Service estimates, the damage can increase the thermal load received by the heatshields in the specific point by 10% to 30% during re-entrance. In order to avoid the worst, NASA decided to repair the damage in flight.

    It is reminded that the return of Discovery to Earth is programmed for 12:36 Greek time on Sunday, August 7.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    NASA Officials Puzzled

    Related Links:


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