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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-09-19

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Planned Course
  • [02] Back to the Moon
  • [03] Race for the Chancellery
  • [04] Public Interest In Mind
  • [05] FYROM Issue at Focus
  • [06] Keranis Should Reopen
  • [07] Pilots Had Heart Problems
  • [08] Abused Boy Battles for Life
  • [09] Ongoing Deliberations
  • [10] Labour and Social Security at the Focus
  • [11] IMF on Greek Economy
  • [12] Oil Prices Soar Again
  • [13] Series of Contacts
  • [14] Power Cut Causes Disruption at the UN

  • [01] The Government's Political Focal Points Planned Course

    19 Sep 2005 16:01:00 (Last updated: 19 Sep 2005 21:33:44)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    In a Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister announced the focal points of the governments policy, with special emphasis on reforms. Kostas Karamanlis noted, "The cycle of changes and reforms continues in all departments. We are proceeding with a specific course plan." The Prime Minister also underlined, "Since the beginning, the criteria of our policies are changes with dialogue, consensus and cooperation. We cannot waste anymore time, we do not compromise with idle powers, nor with pressures of established interests. It is our responsibility to proceed with the changes and reforms we pledged with our programme. We know who we are; we are aware of the difficulties; what we ought to do; and that is what we are doing." "The PM did not say anything new," commented PASOKs spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis, who also accused the Government of proceeding with "reforms for the few."

    On Olympic Airways

    Mr Karamanlis added, "During these times, reforms and changes are a one-way street, in order to built a powerful and competitive economy. This government wants to be useful in the long-term, than temporarily likeable. We are open to proposals by the Opposition, if there are any. Unfortunately, we have not heard a single proposal for more reforms by the main Opposition Party. The citizens are tired of the general promises heard for many years in this land. That is why society is by the side of the government. Because it realises we have a programme, goals and determination, we have the society by our side and we will succeed."

    Referring to the OA issue, the Prime Minister said that it has to be solved in the context of our countrys duties based on public interest, EU regulations and the principles of new governance. "Our main aims are: the safeguarding of employees rights and financed flights to the Greek islands, based on the distinctiveness of the island territory, healthy competition and a viable solution."

    However, government sources did not rule out any event, even the public sectors participation in a possible succeeding scheme. In his proposal, Mr Karamanlis repeated that the main points of his policy are the reestablishment of state and human-focused development, noting, "Our choice is the strategy of changes and reforms. The meeting place with citizens is a modern social centre and our aim is a state that stands by the citizen, tidy, effective and social; an economy of opportunities with growth throughout the country, and a consensual society of solidarity and trust."

    Great Challenges

    Mr Karamanlis stated that the problems inherited by his government from the past, such as public debts, fiscal deficit, unemployment, bureaucracy, corruption, problems in the broader Public Sector, are many and complex, and underlined that the efforts require more initiatives, due to international events, and especially by the unprecedented rise of global oil prices.

    All the above, said the PM, constitute a great challenge for all and "demand determination, effectiveness and social responsibility."

    Mr Karamanlis added, "That is why we chose policies which deal with problems headfirst and do not undermine incidents, as it happened with the new generations future in the past, but safeguard a better prospective for all, mainly the new generation, and for underprivileged classes."

    The Prime Minister made extended reference to the governments work during the past 18 months, and spoke of the foreign policy being followed, noting "The citizens understand that the countrys presence in global current events is upgraded and reinforced. There is consistency, consensus and insight in our foreign policy."

    Restriction of Public Expenses

    Mr Karamanlis asked the Ministers to restrict Public expenses in view of the budget, noting that an end should be put to the above, whilst adding, "Much has happened and much more can be done, and this should be taken into account by all, in view of the new budget. All Ministries are called upon to continue their interventions aimed at restricting bureaucracy, reinforcing transparency, avoiding unnecessary expenditures and better serving the citizens." Mr Karamanlis referred to his pledge concerning the gradual decrease of tax rates for individuals as of 2007, while he focused on three points of changes and reforms directed at the reestablishment of the state and the founding of a new developmental model.

    Reforms

    In particular, he referred to the regional restructuring of the country, whereby, in view of the next CSF, it will be divided in five major developmental regions. A department of the regional council will be elected and there will be a broad discussion on the future of decentralisation and self-government.

    Furthermore, the PM referred to the cleanup and the new operational framework for DEKOs, aiming at securing their social role and respect for the taxpayers money. The PM also added that the principles of business operation and international accounting models, will be implemented, while, with regard to labour relations for newly-hired employees, OTE will be used as a model. He further underlined, that neither the labour relations of those already employed, nor ASEPs duties will be affected.

    The third point of the reforms relates to denationalisations and privatisations. Mr Karamanlis underlined that the government has exceeded the targets set for 2005 since revenues reached 2.1 billion euros, as opposed to 1.6 billion that had been pre-calculated. The PM mentioned that they prepared the ground for new denationalisations (Athens International Airport, Postal Savings Banks, Ports and further increasing the Public Sector participation in Emporiki and Agricultural Banks).

    In closing, Mr Karamanlis spoke of the national reform programme which was mad public last week, mentioning that he is awaiting any supplementary proposals and noted, "It is a draft that will be completed with everyones participation; it is a national plan with which the country is responding to the Lisbon Strategy; it is the compass of our progress and aims for the economy, society and the interests of the citizens."

    The Cabinet, presided over by the PM, will meet tomorrow in Maximos Mansion.

    Reactionf from the Opposition

    The PMs statements were criticised by PASOK. "The PM did not say anything new in todays Cabinet meeting," declared PASOKs spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis. "For the past 18 months, the Cabinet has only convened seven times, while Mr Karamanlis restated the same things, ie that PASOK is responsible for everything and that the Government is proceeding with what it calls as reforms, while the citizens will have to wait until 2007, because, as per the Governments pledges, that is when they will eat with golden spoons."

    In addition, Mr Athanasakis described the PMs "so-called" reforms as "reforms for the few."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [02] Back to the Moon

    19 Sep 2005 20:31:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The last time humans set foot on the surface of the Moon was in 1972, as part of NASAs Apollo 17 mission. Many years have passed since then, while countless discoveries have been made and great steps in space explorations have been taken, however, none of those missions were manned. This is something that NASA seeks to overturn, as it prepares the first manned mission to Mars, with the Moon posing as the interim station. Having this in mind, the US Space Agency announced its plans for the first lunar mission, which is scheduled for no later than 2020.

    To the End of the Universe and Beyond

    As announced by NASAs Administrator Michael Griffin, a team of four astronauts will be sent to the Moon by 2020 and will stay there for a week, having four times the amount of time the Apollo 17 mission had to perform experiments. The astronauts will travel to the Moon in a spacecraft called Crew Exploration Vehicle. The Vehicle will be constructed based on the financially cheaper technology employed for space shuttles, which will have been withdrawn by 2010, while it is expected to be ready by 2012.

    The back-to-the-Moon programme is expected to cost approximately $100 billion, a fact that has already raised concerns within the members of the US Capitol, who are claiming that the Government should first settle its earthly pledges, including the Katrina victims and the activities in Iraq.

    On its part, despite the fact that NASA is going through a tough period, with its space vehicles reaming grounded and crewless, it does not seem fazed, since its plans are in tune with the announcements made by President Bush last year.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    NASA

    [03] Merkel and Schroeder Say 'No' to Left Party Race for the Chancellery

    19 Sep 2005 19:50:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NA - - 105.8

    The leader of the Social Democrats, Angela Merkel, who received the order to form a Government, appeared willing to commence broad discussions with all the major German parties, apart from the Left Party. In a Press interview, Merkel stated, "The CDU does not have any preference concerning the coalition Government." On his part, Gerhard Schroeder ruled out the possibility of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) forming a coalition with the Left, while he invited the rest of the powers to support a coalition, with him as the Chancellor. On the other hand, the leader of the Left Party, Oskar Lafontaine, declared that he is not willing to form a coalition with either the CDU or the SPD. In the meantime, confusion prevails within the Green Party, following the Christian Democrats proposal for a coalition, while their leader, Joschka Fisher, has not responded yet. At the same time, the president of the Liberal Democrats (FDP), Guido Westerwelle, rejected the possibility of collaborating with the Social Democrats and the Greens.

    Turkish Community Satisfied

    The president of the Turkish community in Germany, Kenan Kolat, estimated that Merkels marginal three-seat majority signalled the disapproval of her policy against Turkeys European prospect.

    "I invite Mrs Merkel to abandon this idea and promote a clear accession prospect for Turkey," he mentioned in an announcement.

    Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan also appeared satisfied over the electoral result.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Seeking Allies

    [04] Referral to EU Court Over Penalties Public Interest In Mind

    19 Sep 2005 15:06:00 (Last updated: 19 Sep 2005 20:47:27)

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA

    Securing the employees rights, flights to the islands and a viable solution are the prerequisites for the future of our national air carrier, noted the Prime Minister during the Cabinet meeting on Monday. The issue was discussed in a meeting between the Minister of Economy and the presidency of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE), while the Minister did not rule out a multi-body inspection system for the company. At the same time, the Minister of Transport, Michalis Liapis, noted that the governments aim is the privatisation of Olympic Airways. PASOKs spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis spoke of a change in the government and the PMs stnace. In the meantime, Olympic Airways and Airlines is expcted to appeal to the European Court in order to decrease the debts set by the European Commission. Moreover, the banking and financial adviser, Lazard, will hold a new series of discussions with the interested investors, who will have to express their intentions by the end of September. This morning, the technicians of the company staged a rally at the OA technical base in Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport, while they decided to not proceed with collective actions, asking for the social nature of the company to be retained.

    The Main Aims

    Referring to the OA issue, Kostas Karamanlis noted that the context of Greece's duties has to be dealt with, based on public interest, EU regulations and the principles of new governance, adding that the main aims of the government are:

    Securing the employees rights, Securing financed flights based on the distinctiveness of island territory, and Securing healthy competition and a viable solution.

    Upon exiting the Cabinet meeting, Mr Liapis stated that the government has a plan with an introduction and a conclusion. "We are in a difficult stage, as the relevant competition is in development. This is a very difficult case. Patience and modesty are needed. Populist ideas are not accepted," noted the Minister.

    The government is planning to proceed with denationalising OA, however, if there are no satisfactory proposals, it has alternative solutions, stated the Minister of Economy, after his meeting with the leadership of GSEE.

    Mr Alogoskoufis, replying to a relevant question, did not rule out the prospect of an OA multi-body inspection system. He stated that the aim is a strong scheme, which will secure flights security and healthy competition in air carriers.

    Athanasakis Statements

    PASOKs spokesperson noted that whoever compares what the PM said today to what he had said a week ago in Thessaloniki, as well as to the statements made by the government spokesperson and the relevant Ministers, can realise the extent of Mr Karamanlis slip-up at the expense of the company and public interests.

    From the two options closure or liquidation whilst in operation the Government is now moving towards a different context, which should have been adopted from the beginning, instead of undermining the company for the last 18 months, noted Mr Athanasakis.

    Alavanos Asks For Investigative Committee

    Later today, the delegates of the Civil Aviation Unions Confederation (OSPA) will participate in a Confederations assembly from all employment areas in GSEE.

    However, the employees repeated that they will not proceed with collective actions, so as not to cause problems in the operation of the company, during this crucial period.

    Earlier, President of SYN Alekos Alavanos met with the Presidency of OSPA, and repeated the need of maintaining the public nature of OA.

    Moreover, Mr Alavanos asked for the formation of an investigative committee for recording the companys situation, and public businesses in general, and repeated his proposal over a referendum for OA.

    Tomorrow, a rally has been organised in Spata by delegates of the workers centres from areas that host airports.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Crucial Week for OA

    Seeking for A Solution

    Referendum on OA

    [05] Nimitz-Molyviatis Meeting In NY Today FYROM Issue at Focus

    19 Sep 2005 07:07:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    During the next two days, Petros Molyviatis will hold consecutive diplomatic meetings in New York. Today, the Greek Foreign Minister will meet with UN mediator on the FYROM issue Matthew Nimitz. On Sunday, the meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, took place in a friendly atmosphere. The possible arrival dates of the Greek PM in Ankara, bilateral relations, Turkeys European prospective and the Cypriot conflict were at the focus of the meeting.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] Keranis Should Reopen

    19 Sep 2005 19:04:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    During her visit to the tobacco factory Keranis on Monday, Anna Diamantopoulou launched an attack against the governments economic policy. Furthermore, she called on the government to proceed with the immediate granting of social benefits to the employees and commence proceedings in order to find a strategic investor for the company. As per Ms Diamantopoulou, coordinated actions on the part of the Local Self-Government and the Prefecture, as well as the Municipality which has to take a stance since the factory is located there can bring results. It should be noted that the tobacco company employees have proceeded with work stoppages.

    Intervention Deemed Necessary

    PASOKs Political Council member, who is also responsible for the Development Sector, said that her party will be posing the matter of increasing the building and construction coefficient of that that building only, which she described as extremely questionable, to Parliament soon.

    Meanwhile, she noted the need for immediate intervention with integrated reconstruction programmes, like the ones implemented in other European countries, while she added that Keranis is a special case, as it is a company that has a lot of potential.

    Furthermore, she mentioned that 370 companies in Greece declared bankruptcy between February and August and 25 those employed 4,500 people, while she added that Government could not just remain idle and simply monitor the events.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Of the Fated Helios Boeing Pilots Had Heart Problems

    19 Sep 2005 18:21:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA - NET 105.8

    The results of the histological tests performed on the bodies of the two pilots of the fated Helios Boeing that crashed in Grammatiko brought new significant clues to light. As announced by the Chief Athens Coroner Filippos Koutsaftis, both pilots were facing heart problems. He also added that co-pilot Pambos Charalambous seemed to be in a more serious condition.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Abused By His Mother's Partner Abused Boy Battles for Life

    19 Sep 2005 11:05:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    Five year old Petros, who was brutally abused by his mothers partner in their house in Stomio, Ierapetra, is fighting his last battle for life in the Childrens ICU of the University Hospital, in Crete. As per his personal physicians, the 5-year-old boys health is irreversible. Panagiotis Kalatzis admitted abusing the boy and after his confession was remanded in custody, with the joint decision of the Prosecutor and Interrogator, while following was taken to the Neapolis Jail. There, he is being confined to isolation, as they are dangers of lynching by his prison mates, while he has threatened of committing suicide.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    "I Lost Control"

    [09] Ongoing Deliberations

    19 Sep 2005 19:16:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA

    Just two weeks remain until 3 October, the date that has been set as the commencement of accession talks between Turkey and the EU. However, there is no light at the end of the tunnel on the matter of Turkeys one-sided statement regarding Cyprus. Todays Permanent Representatives Committee meeting (COREPER) in Brussels bore no fruit, since, according to information, the Cypriot diplomats are keeping their reservations towards the presidencys proposals. The efforts, however, will not stop here. The matter will be discussed during the EU Foreign Ministers Summit on 26 September, while it is very likely that the British presidency will be calling a new emergency COREPER meeting, if the differences are resolved.

    The Cypriot representatives appear reserved as to whether it will be clarified if the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey would, on the one hand, constitute an inarguable precondition for Turkeys European progress and, on the other hand, be done independently to the UNs efforts for resolving the issue with Cyprus.

    The deliberations between the British presidency and the Cypriot diplomats will continue, despite the fact that specific decisions were not reached in todays COREPER meeting.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] GSEE Asks for Heating Oil Benefit Labour and Social Security at the Focus

    19 Sep 2005 17:00:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET 105.8 - ANA

    After meeting with Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis on Monday, GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) pointed out the need to commence discussions on social security in 2006, also stressing that the government respects the collective bargaining agreements. On his part, the President of GSEE asked that 300 euros be granted in the form of a heating oil benefit, as well as the convergence of salaries to the EU average. At the moment, GSEE and the administrations of DEKO union federations are determining their stance in view of the privatisations in the wider public sector and the labour relations of newly-hired employees.

    Towards a New Tax Reform

    The Government is not aiming at changing the collective bargaining system that determines pay increases, declared the Minister.

    Meanwhile, Mr Alogoskoufis noted that a discussion concerning the new 2007 tax reform with regard to individuals would commence in 2006, while he spoke of a fair and effective system that would contribute towards alleviating wage earners.

    Finally, the Minister described the margins for further expenditure cuts, which would create the opportunity for granting heating oil benefits, as extremely tight, thus indirectly refusing the unions relevant demand.

    Convergence of Salaries

    Mr Polyzogopoulos asked for the convergence of salaries to the EU average, warning that the unions will demand increases.

    Furthermore, he asked for a support timeframe for the Social Security system beyond 2025, since, as he claimed, the relevant studies indicate that there is no problem prior to then, at least for IKA.

    At the same time, he warned that the employees are monitoring the employers who are threatening to close down or transfer their factories overseas, and asked that the public funding of businesses that are closing down be made public.

    Answering to the relevant request, the Minister declared that the information exists, while he did not rule out the possibility of making it public.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Findings Submitted to Alogoskoufis IMF on Greek Economy

    19 Sep 2005 09:53:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The findings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Greek economy were submitted by a delegation of the international Organisation to the Minister of Economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis. The delegation, which stayed in Greece for 10 days, collaborated with relevant services of the Ministry of Economy, the National Bank of Greece and others, in order to collect data, and write up the report on the situation, and the prospects of Greek economy. The full document of the report will be made public next November. In the meantime, on Wednesday, the Minister of Economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, will depart for the United States, in order to participate in the proceedings of the International Monetary Fund Summit Meeting.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] OPEC Meets in Vienna Oil Prices Soar Again

    19 Sep 2005 09:11:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Oil prices recorded an upward spiral in Asian markets on Monday, since OPECs prospects to increase production seem to be dwindling due to fears with regard to the refinery ability as winter sets in, analysts claimed. At 7:50 (Greek local time), in Singapores market, crude oil to be delivered in October amounted at 63.17 dollars per barrel, posting a 71-cent rise since last Fridays fixed price in New York. The Oil Ministers of the OPEC countries are to hold two-day talks (Monday and Tuesday) in Vienna to reflect on the proposal for stabilising the market. In particular, Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah, Kuwaits Oil Minister and OPEC President, proposed that present production, which stands at 28 million barrels, be increased by 500,000 barrels. However, OPEC warned that an agreement may not offer more oil to the market, since the refineries throughout the world already function at full capacity. Speaking to reporters in the Austrian capital, OPEC President stated that OPEC thinks that the oil prices still remain very high.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [13] Molyviatis-Nemitz Meeting Series of Contacts

    19 Sep 2005 21:52:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis met with UN Special Envoy on FYROM Matthew Nemitz in New York and discussed the matter of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. As per the Greek Foreign Ministrys spokesperson, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, the FM repeated to Mr Nemitz Greeces stance, ie that his latest proposals are considered a basis for negotiations. On his part, the UN Envoy voiced his respect towards Greeces stance, while he announced his intention to continue meeting with representatives from both sides.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [14] Power Cut Causes Disruption at the UN

    19 Sep 2005 21:31:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Proceedings were disrupted and confusion was created at the UN headquarters in New York, due to a fire that broke out in an electrical switching station on the buildings 28th floor. The power failure that followed shut down elevators, lights and telephones, while the last ten floors of the 38-fllor building were evacuated.

    Hundreds of staff were forced to abandon their busy schedules, given that the Organisations annual General Assembly is currently underway, and leave their posts. Actually, as per UN spokesperson Farhan Haq, the operation took place as a precaution, despite the fact that there were no indications or threats of sabotage or terrorist activities. He further noted that the General Assembly proceedings would continue as normal, however, it would take several hours for the power to be fully restored.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis


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