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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-09-16

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Preaching Peace
  • [02] Aiming at Sale
  • [03] Benefits For Families With 3+
  • [04] Google Searches for Blogs
  • [05] Committee for Greece-Albania Relations
  • [06] Construction of Dump Postponed
  • [07] Responsibilities Will Be Attributed
  • [08] Nuclear Weapons for Peace Purposes
  • [09] Papandreou Visits the TIF

  • [01] From the UN's Podium Preaching Peace

    16 Sep 2005 18:32:00 (Last updated: 16 Sep 2005 20:25:55)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Human rights, peace, development aid and combating terrorism topped Greek PM Kostas Karamanliss address at the 60th UN Summit on Friday. Mr Karamanlis underscored the need to reform the Organisation, while he stated that the UNs Millennium Declaration is "a good beginning in the long path of necessary reforms." With regard to this global effort, Greece has significantly increased its development assistance and added that there is still much to be done. "Extreme poverty and hunger are the disgrace of our century. Today we have the means to eradicate them. We must persevere in this goal, as indeed in all of the Millennium Development Goals, in order to achieve them by 2015," said Mr Karamanlis.

    "Five years ago [adopting the Millennium Declaration] we proclaimed our collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level," said Mr Karamanlis stressing the necessity of taking specific measures in order to give life to the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration.

    The Prime Minister went on referring to recent world-shaking events, like the terrorist attacks in New York and elsewhere, that have dramatically changed the way we perceive peace and security. He also added, " In these constantly evolving times, the Declaration we are adopting today is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to certain basic principles," such as the obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force, the peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law, the authority of the Security Council to take action and the full implementation of Security Council resolutions.

    "Only through such commitment can we hope to successfully face terrorism, global pandemics, extreme poverty, natural disasters, weapons of mass destruction, transnational organized crime, massive human rights violations and other scourges of our world," underlined Mr Karamanlis to conclude, "The Declaration we are adopting today constitutes, in our view, a good beginning in the long path of necessary reforms. It is a strong political call encompassing most of the suggested ideas in development, peace-building, human rights, peace-keeping, and UN institutions."

    Related News:

    Terrorism and Poverty at the Focus

    [02] Legislative Regulation Securing OA Aiming at Sale

    16 Sep 2005 14:33:00 (Last updated: 16 Sep 2005 19:47:12)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Government appears determined to exhaust all avenues on privatising Olympic Airways, as was also reaffirmed after the Interdepartmental Committee meeting on Thursday, while the political dispute is continuing. Aiming at keeping the company in operation, the Economy Ministry submitted a legislative regulation to Parliament, safeguarding OA from its creditors, excluding the Greek Public Sector, for at least five months. According to the regulation provisions, no injunctions can be filed against OA or its subsidiaries until 28 March 2006, a fact that freezes all confiscations for debts and secures the undisrupted operation of the company. The regulation had been indirectly confirmed by Thodoris Roussopoulos, who said, "The Government is doing everything it can, so that OA can continue flying." The final decisions for the future of the national air carrier will be made within the next few days, during a new Interdepartmental Committee meeting, presided over by the Greek PM and after the Commissions decisions have been thoroughly analysed.

    The Next Moves

    The prospective OA investors will have to declare interest within the next few days, while the Commissions decision will also be sent to them.

    The prospective OA investors will have to declare interest within the next few days, while the Commissions decision will also be sent to them.

    The consortium Olympic Investors-York Capital has already signed a Memorandum of Agreement for buying Olympic Airlines, which will have to be approved by the EU. Furthermore, another investor, Klesch & Company, has reaffirmed its interest in a letter sent to the Ministers of Economy and Transport on 12 September.

    However, as per Government sources, the Public Sector will probably not be participating in the new format.

    As was noted by Transport Minister Michalis Liapis on Thursday, the employees rights will be secured in every case. OA employs 4,500 permanent and 3,500 seasonal staff. Some of the alternatives being examined include the conversion of some contracts to fixed-term, while, in addition, these employees will receive a bonus amounting to the salaries of half a year for every year they have been with the company, a cost that will burden the Greek Public Sector and not IKA.

    On their part, the employees have asked to meet with the relevant Ministers, while on Tuesday, they will gather at an Athens hotel.

    Furthermore, on Friday afternoon, the companys Board will convene to discuss the matter of appealing to the European Court.

    Ongoing Disputes

    On Friday, the political dispute over the matter was transferred to Parliament, during a discussion over a question submitted by PASOK MPs and regarding the financial self-sufficiency of local self-government organisations. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos accused the PASOK governments of leaving OA out in the cold, while burdening it with a 1.2 billion deficit, which the Government managed to reduce to 517,000 euros, in the form of a fine imposed by the EU. Responding to the Minister, Opposition MP Miltiadis Evert claimed that PASOK proceeded with a cleanup progamme, while the current Government is consciously undermining the national air carrier, serving private interests.

    "PASOK is constantly trying to remind us of its ugly face and the responsibilities it shares for OAs demise," declared NDs secretary, Vangelis Meimarakis, who added that the employees cannot continue paying for the erroneous policies employed by the managements appointed by PASOK.

    On the other hand, SYNs president, Alekos Alavanos, asked for the formation of a parliamentary Investigative Committee, which would attribute responsibilities, while he claimed, "OA can become viable, public, effective and profitable."

    In a question to the European Parliament, LAOS MP Giorgos Karatzaferis targeted Jacques Barrot. As per the MEP, the Commissioner had been sentenced to 8-month imprisonment and 2-year deprivation of his civic rights in 2000 in France, as he had been convicted of a financial scandal. In addition, a few days before the announcement of the condemning decision for OA, he met with Greek businessmen. At the same time, speaking at the TIF, Mr Karatzaferis accused the German company operating Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport, Hochtief, of bankrupting OA, because it increased the annual cost paid by the company to 65,000,000 euros, as opposed to 7,000,000 euros it used to pay at Helliniko Airport.

    NDs honorary chairman Constantine Mitsotakis said, "OA cannot be saved since it is no longer competitive and the state is not allowed to assist it." Mr Mitsotakis also accused PASOKs former governments and OAs employees.

    Finally, the Technical Chamber of Greece described the discussion over the financial problems of the national air carrier as "limited, disoriented and extremely detrimental for the country." Meanwhile, it proposed safeguarding the full and undisrupted operation of the company for at least six months, so that the relevant proposals can be made.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Seeking a Solution

    [03] Gradually For Families With 3+ Benefits For Families With 3+

    16 Sep 2005 13:27:00 (Last updated: 16 Sep 2005 18:51:32)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The government is to grant a lump sum of 2,000 euros for the third and any subsequent children as of 2006. The above sum is to be readjusted to amount to 2,500 euros as of 2007. The government will be able to proceed with this measure by the end of November, when the relevant bill is to be signed into a law. The bill will contain all the institutional provisions that are already valid for families with 4+ children, which will also be valid for families with three children. This is what Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis announced following their meeting. Within the upcoming three-year period, families with three children will be exempted from car registration duties. The exemption will be gradual and it will amount to 35%of the total sum in 2006, 70% in 2007 to reach 100% in 2008.

    Measures for 130,000 Families

    Mr Kaklamanis made it clear that the number of families with three children reports an annual increase that ranges from 8,000 to 10,000. In total, the car registration duties exemption measure concerns nearly 130,000 families with three children. On his part, the Economy Minister stated that supporting families with 3+ children is the governments key priority irrespective of the economic difficulties and the tragic economy situation the previous PASOK government handed over.

    Furthermore, Mr Alogoskoufis said that the money required to cover the lump sum of 2,000 euros to be granted to families with three children, stems from cutting costs

    In closing, the two Ministers announced the creation of 4,500 new jobs in hospitals with 2,000 of them relating to nursing staff within 2006.

    Reactions From Opposition

    PASOK parliamentarians Vaso Papandreou and Evangelos Venizelos spoke of a violation of a top pre-electoral pledge. At the same time, they argued that thousands of families with three children have to make do with the gradual car registration duties exemption, a reform that does not apply to those who already have a car or those who do not intend to buy one.

    SYNs Political Secretariat Member Dimitris Stratoulis described the measures as "peanuts" and demanded that the measure valid for families with 4+ children be applied to families with three children. He also asked for measures in favour of the new couples, the single-parent families and the working mothers.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Same Look, Same Philosophy Google Searches for Blogs

    16 Sep 2005 13:00:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Google launches new tools. The popular search engine, which has had its name included in the British dictionary, offers a new tool that allows surfers to search for blogs and postings in the vast world wide web. Google Blog Search, which is available in beta, retains the technology, look and philosophy of the basic search engine. The users can find the blogs available in the web by inserting their password.

    It Will Also Search the Blogosphere

    Google Blog Search does not search for blogs and postings that are not subject to constant updating.

    The Advanced Search allows users to locate Web diaries by author, title, posting title, foreign language and even the time of posting, which must not be before June 2005.

    Google will soon request the bloggers submit their sites in the search engines index, in case Google has not picked it up automatically.

    With regard to the blogs and postings that were posted before June 2005, the company is searching for ways to cover the blank.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] Albania Plans to Set Up Committee for Greece-Albania Relations

    16 Sep 2005 16:20:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The spokesperson of the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced on Friday Albanias intention to set up a special committee that will be focusing on working out disputes between Greece and Albania, as well as on further improving the relations between the two countries. As per the announcement, it was the Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis who suggested the committee be set up during his meeting with his Albanian peer at the UNs headquarters in New York. The committee is to be made up of experts from the fields of diplomacy, education, security and defence authorities, while the two PMs decided to cooperate in the energy sector.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] By Decision of the Court of Auditors Construction of Dump Postponed

    16 Sep 2005 12:39:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    The Greek Court of Auditors has halted the construction of a temporary refuse dump in Fyli, which was to cover the needs of the Attica Basin until the construction of three new HYTAs (Hygienic Refuse Burial Areas) in Attica within the next 18 months. ESDKNA (Association of Attica Municipal and Local Authorities) will appeal against the decision, while, the postponement may create a serious problem with the rubbish in Attica, since the Ano Liossia refuse dump is already overfilled.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Declared Akrivos Tsolakis Responsibilities Will Be Attributed

    16 Sep 2005 11:59:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The delegation of the Greek Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board that is looking into the causes of the Helios accident in Grammatikos, under Akrivos Tsolakis, concluded its meetings in Britain and is returning to Athens. The testimonies given by the two key witnesses, Helios British engineers Alan Irwin and Malcolm Fowler, as well the information supplied by the British company responsible for the maintenance of the fated aircraft, are of significant importance to the investigation. "If responsibilities arise, they will be attributed," declared Mr Tsolakis. In the meantime, as was announced today by Washington, the International Aviation Safety Association decided to honour chief investigator Akrivos Tsolakis for his services to international aviation safety. The ceremony will take place in Moscow, in the beginning of November.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] China's Proposal to North Korea Nuclear Weapons for Peace Purposes

    16 Sep 2005 16:31:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    China submitted a draft plan to end the stalemate the six-party talks on Pyongyangs nuclear programme have reached. The draft plan grants North Korea the right to develop a nuclear programme for peace purposes, while the delegates of the participant nations (the USA, North and South Korea, Russia, China and Japan) should reach an agreement by Saturday. However, the disputes seem unresolved. The USA insisted on not being able to trust Pyongyang and argued that the latter intends to construct an atomic bomb, while Moscow described the draft plan as promising but warned that unless they arrive at an agreement, the negotiations are doomed. On its part, North Korea announced that it has no intention of accepting the US request to halt its nuclear programme without gaining anything in return. However, it agreed to allow a joint administration on one light-water reactor and to subject it to inspections. In case the talks fail, Pyongyang is likely to be indicted to the UN Security Council. The USA was in favour of this possibility, while China opposed it. North Korea, on the other hand, argued that sanctions could lead to war.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [09] At the Weekend, in Thessaloniki Papandreou Visits the TIF

    16 Sep 2005 11:51:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    PASOK head George Papandreou is the last political leader to visit at the weekend the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair. Mr Papandreou is expected to arrive at 4pm on Saturday at Macedonia airport, where he is to deliver a brief speech to the partys members and friends who are preparing a mass reception. In the evening, in the Congress Centre Ioannis Vellidis he will address the representatives of the labour class, the citys intelligencia as well as the representatives of students council. He will then go to Neapolis to participate in an event organised by PASOK Youth. On Sunday, PASOK leader is to meet with the governing councils of the TIF and with the representatives of the working class. Later he will tour the TIFs stands. At 1pm, he is to give a full-scale press conference in the Congress Centre Ioannis Vellidis and at 3pm he is to dine with PASOKs officials at the Macedonia Palace Hotel.

    PASOK leader will be escorted by the Secretary of the partys National Council Mariliza Ksenogiannakopoulou, the members of the Political Council Nikos Athanasakis, Evangelos Venizelos, Maria Damanaki, Anna Diamantopoulou, Theodoros Pagalos, Vaso Papandreou, Christos Papoutsis, Kostas Skandalidis, Rovertos Spyropoulos, Thanasis Tsouras, the Secretary of the Parliamentary Group Dimitris Reppas, Deputy Speaker Philippos Petsalnikos and parliamentary spokesperson Charis Kastanidis.

    Translated by Areti Christou


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