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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-09-23

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Mourning and Fleeing
  • [02] Tragedy on Santorini
  • [03] Excellent Relations
  • [04] A Distilled Diet
  • [05] Pouring With Problems
  • [06] Investigations Into Hanth Fire
  • [07] Talks Fell Through
  • [08] Upheaval at Manchester Airport
  • [09] Talks on OA are Underway
  • [10] Preventive Medicine Campaign
  • [11] War over Copyrights

  • [01] Hurricane Rita Approaching Mourning and Fleeing

    23 Sep 2005 16:52:00 (Last updated: 23 Sep 2005 22:28:35)

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: Sky News, Reuters, Associated Press, CNN

    On Friday, a tragic accident marked the fleeing of millions of residents from Texas and Louisiana, who are awaiting the hit of Hurricane Rita. A bus caught fire outside Dallas, Texas and resulted in the death of at least 24 people, out of the 45 on board. The bus, which burned down to chars, was carrying elderly evacuees away from their Bellaire nursing home, a town south west of Huston, ahead of hurricane Rita. In the meantime, concern heightens over the swirl of the hurricane, and Americans are fleeing to safer areas. As per officials, the extreme weather conditions will affect at least 5.2 million residents, while a New Orleans neighbourhood, Ninth Ward, flooded as the water passed through the destroyed dams.

    Mechanical Fault Behind the Fire

    As per initial estimations, the fire was caused by a mechanical fault, while the use of oxygen containers by many of the elderly passengers contributed to the expansion of the fire.

    As local Mass Media reported, three strong blasts were heard before the fire broke out. Initially, the bus had a flat tire and the driver stopped the vehicle, and that is when the fire broke out in the brakes system and spread to the vehicle. The explosions took place at the time when the passengers were trying to evacuate the bus.

    "We were informed of the accident during the morning briefing on the hurricane. We are very saddened by the incident," stated US President spokesperson Scott McClellan.

    The tragedy resulted in blocking one of the main exit routes and cramming Texas highways, since more than 1 million residents are fleeing their houses and endless lines of cars stretch for 160km.

    Trapped in Highways

    Millions of Americans, in any way possible, are trying to avoid Hurricane Rita. Even though the hurricane has subsided it is still dangerous.

    As per the latest announcement by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) the winds will generate 135km/hour, lasting 16 hours, while the hurricane is expected to arrive in northern Texas, ranking category 3.

    As a Texas State official stated, the city of Port Arthur is expected to flood. The everyday life of 5.2 million residents will be affected by the hurricane, while around 6,000 buildings are expected to be destroyed by its passing.

    At the same time, Mayor of Huston Bill White called on whoever has not evacuated the city to seek refuge, since it is too late for them to flee before Rita arrives. Moreover, the Mayor announced that 1 million persons evacuated their homes, while buses and freight cars are transporting fuel to motorways for drivers who have run out.

    Related News:

    In the Eye of the Hurricane

    [02] A Shelter at Akrotiri Collapsed Tragedy on Santorini

    23 Sep 2005 15:08:00 (Last updated: 23 Sep 2005 22:56:50)

    By Anna Kourti

    On Friday noon, a tourist was killed and six were injured after the collapse of a metal shelter at the archaeological site at the area of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini. The injured are two Slovenian tourists, two Americans, a German woman and the security guard, who are hospitalised unharmed in the Santorini Health Centre. A C-130 is on the island, and will transport three out of the five seriously injured to Athens, while a similar aircraft took off at night, transporting a mobile medical unit and EKAV doctors for aid. The identity of the victim remains known, but it is estimated that he is a British tourist, as a British woman is searching for her husband who had told her he was to visit the archaeological sight. As per Authorities, crews were working on the shelter, placing earth on the roof in order to plant grass. However, experts estimate that the collapse of the roof is not due to the above reasons, as there had been ground studies and all necessary measures had been taken. The causes of the collapse remain to be investigated, while an experts committee will be appointed in order to investigate the details.

    Immediate Alert of Authorities

    The shelter of the archaeological sight covered around 1,000sqm. It is a metal construction and the part that collapsed measured 70x30m.

    After the tragic incident was made known, forces of the Fire Service with 15 men and ambulances rushed to the scene. A C-130 arrived in Santorini and was ordered to change course, while it was heading towards Souda. As per sources, three out of the five seriously injured will be transported with the aircraft to Athens. Also, shortly after 20:30, another C-130, which transported a mobile medical unit and EKAV doctors, took off from Elefsina en route to the island.

    The rescue crews freed two injured women, while the recovery operation of the dead man is underway. Three more injured, two men and a woman, were transported to the islands Health Centre. All the injured are foreign nationals. The forces will remain in the accident scene for further investigations.

    Furthermore, a Super Puma with 15 EMAK men, the Minister of Public Order, Minister for the Aegean, Aristotelis Pavlidis, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis accompanied by the General Secretary of the Culture Ministry and the General Secretary of Civil Protection Panagiotis Fourlas arrived at the scene. The Chief of the Archaeological Conservancy, who was in Oia, has rushed to Akrotiri as well.

    As Mr Tatoulis stated, there will be an in depth investigation over the causes of the accident. PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis voiced his grief over the tragic incident, stating the need of fully investigating the accidents circumstances.

    On its part, the construction company issued an announcement that reads, "The construction was made with the highest technical standards," states the construction company in an announcement.

    Construction Company's Announcement

    Expressing its deep grief over the accident, which resulted in the death of a human life, the construction company J&P AVAX-IMPREGIL/EMPEDOS, in its announcement states: "The first priority of our company is to contribute to the efforts of the Rescue Authorities and EMAK. Up no now, there has been no conclusion over the causes of the accident. Our company cooperates with the Archaeological Service and the State Authorities on issues that concern the construction work and the incident. The construction was made with the highest technical standards and under the constant surveillance of the Archaeological Service and advisers. In order to investigate the causes of the accident, the company has immediately appointed a special group of experts for the in depth investigation of the accidents causes. For any given development, there will be a detailed briefing anew."

    The History of the Archaeological Shelter

    The archaeological sight of Oia opened in the summer of 2004, on the occasion of the Athens Olympic Games. Recently, a new shelter was placed in the archaeological sight, which cost 45 million euros and financed by the 3rd CSF.

    The construction of the shelter started in 2000 by architect Nikolaos Fidikakis.

    It was awarded by the EU on the foundation, placement of the stainless steel shelter and its earthing, the wooden roof, the creation of five corridors for visitors and the restructure of the surrounding area. The shelter covered the part of the prehistoric city, and ensured the control of sunlight.

    The work was considered as pioneering in an international level, while Greek Universities collaborated for its completion. It is noted that Professor Christos Doumas, successor of Spyros Marinatos, excavated the prehistoric settlement.

    During the lengthy excavation activity in the area, only three out of the 40 houses have been unveiled, giving important information over the activities of the settlements residents.

    Between 20 and 17 BC, the settlement was one of the biggest city centres and ports of the Aegean. In the 4th of the 17th century, a great volcanic eruption covered the island of Santorini with lava, as well as the prehistoric settlement.

    [03] Karamanlis-Chirac Meeting Excellent Relations

    23 Sep 2005 16:42:00 (Last updated: 23 Sep 2005 22:37:54)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The meeting between Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and French President Jacques Chirac took place in a friendly climate. At the focus of the discussions and the business lunch, that lasted for around 1- hours, were bilateral relations, EU fiscal prospects for 2007-2013, the situation in the Balkans and the Middle East. In the joint Greek-French statement, the two countries underlined the political and operational importance of European multinational forces. Actually, Paris unconditionally supported Greeces entry in the European powers. Moreover, Greece and France stated their will to continue their traditional partnership in the departments of industry and defence equipment. At 18:00, Mr Karamanlis held a meeting with his French counterpart, Dominique De Villepin. In the meantime, in an interview published in Le Monde, Mr Karamanlis stated, "The European Union cannot back down and negotiate a special relationship with Turkey," while he voiced his concern over a delay of negotiations between Bulgaria and Romania with the EU.

    Message to Ankara

    As per sources, during the meeting between Mr Karamanlis and his French counterpart, the two leaders discussed the need of reinforcing the European defence identity. They also voiced the need for Europe to broaden, as well reinforcing partnerships with any countries wishing to join, while in reference to the EU budget, they underlined the need of promoting the proposal of the Luxemburg Presidency.

    With regard to Turkey, they agreed that the messages to Ankara should be clear. The Greek side clearly stated that the full fulfilment of prerequisites will lead to full accession, while the French side held its reservations.

    "Every obstacle created by Turkey in the road to recognising Cyprus will be a problem on the accession negotiations procedure," underlined the Prime Minister in Le Monde, stating furthermore that a European Turkey is for the benefit of all Europeans, and especially for Greece.

    In the interview entitled "Karamanlis: Greece is Ready to Pledge to a EU Defence," Mr Karamanlis describes France and Germany as "the driving forces of the EU." In reference to the French "No" to the European Constitution, he claimed, "It is not a disaster," adding that the Union "Is not allowed to be immobile," while in relation to the German elections, he voiced the hope that a strong government will form soon.

    Referring to European defence, the Prime Minister underlined that the "25" have to implement "Reinforced partnerships," similar to the ones in the monetary union. Questioned on whether the positions for a Europe of defence contradicts our countrys choice of preferring US F-16, Mr Karamanlis replied that nothing changes with the US cooperation, in the NATO context, leaving the event of European aircrafts to be preferred in the future open, if the deal is better. "We ought to be more careful when spending the money of Greek taxpayers," he stated.

    In closing, in relation to the European budget, Mr Karamanlis supported that the Europe of "25" cannot operate with the same budget, as before the broadening, and described the compromise on the budget presented by the Luxemburg Presidency, as a basis of the relevant discussions.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Greek PM in Paris

    [04] Agave Plant Juice A Distilled Diet

    23 Sep 2005 15:54:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Agave is a plant that grows in Mexico and dominates the scenery, while its existence, for thousands of years, accompanies the every day life, tradition and mythology of the Latin American country.

    The Spaniards that had been so impressed by the blissful properties of the "tequila wine," as they had named it, which is produced by the locals from thorny, blue-green leaves, brought it to Europe. Up to this day, tequila is one of the most popular drinks worldwide.

    Mexican scientists aspire to make agave popular for its other properties, besides being the main source of tequila. Experiments on animals from a 20-member scientific team of the Guadalajara University, near the Mexican town of Tequila, concluded that the agave juice helps weight loss and the decrease of cholesterol.

    As Reuters news agency reports, the leader of the team Dr Jorge Segura stated that the fact is attributed to some of the chemical substances of the plant, fructans, which are known for their ability to restrict cholesterol and intervene in fat absorbance during the food processing in the intestine. Dr Segura is certain that the juice presents a similar effect in humans, thus is starting experiments on volunteers, which will last 18 months. So be patient. However, scientists stated that the beneficial properties of agave juice are not similar to tequila, as they are lost during distillation.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Hail in Attica Pouring With Problems

    23 Sep 2005 15:46:00

    By Anna Kourti

    The heavy downpour and the hail stirred up serious problem in northeastern Attica. So far, the Fire Service has received hundreds of calls to pump out floodwaters in the areas of Vrilissia and Geraka, while a traffic jam has been reported on many roads. As per Greeces National Meteorological Service, the country is to experience downpours and storm on Friday.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Heavy Downpours

    [06] The Amount of Damages Not Yet Determined Investigations Into Hanth Fire

    23 Sep 2005 11:57:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    A committee of experts have been at the Hanth premises (YMCA Square), Thessaloniki since the early hours of Friday to investigate into the causes of yesterdays fire at the citys historic building. Regional Director of Central Macedonia Fire Service Konstantinos Skokas reported that the committees members are taking into consideration all possibilities. Firefighters with fire engines remained around the building throughout the night so as to avert the likelihood of rekindling. The exact amount of the damages has not yet been determined.

    Severe Damages

    The fire broke out at 6:30 yesterday evening at the historic Hanth building that lies at the heart of Thessaloniki. The fire started at the Avlaia Theatre, which is located at the northwest part of the Hanth premises overlooking on Tsimiskis Street. The fire caused severe damages at the theatre, while the blazes expanded to the ceiling of the building, as well.

    Around 200 people, including many children, evacuated the building on time, while Fire Service and police forces rushed to the fire scene. The fire was put out on good time before it expanded to the southeastern side of the building.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Merkel-Greens Talks Failed Talks Fell Through

    23 Sep 2005 17:30:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The stalemate in the talks between the Christian Democrats and the Green Party shifted the focus on forming a "grand coalition" between the Christian Union (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD). After the end of the talks, head of CSU Edmund Stoiber said that there is a great gap, while Angela Merkel did not rule out a new series of contacts saying, "Nothing is completely over, nor have we agreed on the future course." On his part, the Greens leader Reinhard Buetikofer said a new meeting is likely, however, he added that his party will participate anew in the talks for "reasons of courtesy." All eyes are on the meeting between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats scheduled for Wednesday. An opinion poll conducted by Infratest Dimap Institute before the talks showed that the majority of the German people also favours the formation of a "grand coalition."

    The Germans Favour a "Grand Coalition"

    As per the poll, 45% of the German people are in favour of a "grand coalition" between CDU/CSU and SPD, while the cooperation between Christian Democrats and the Green Party earned the 36% of the participants in the poll.

    At the same time, 30% of the Germans stated they favour the coalition among the FDP liberal party, the Greens and the Social Democrats, while the 15% is in favour of the cooperation of the Left parties.

    The bottom line, however, is that Merkel and Gerhard Schroeder agree that they disagree regarding the interpretation of the tight vote, since they both claim they received the order to rule the country. The failure of the talks, though, creates new standards, which will top the meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] Upheaval at Manchester Airport

    23 Sep 2005 12:32:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The British security forces were put on alert in the early hours of Friday and arrested a man carrying a suspect package at Manchester Airport. British television network Skynews reported that a man had been seen near terminal two, which was temporarily closed. British policemen used a Taser gun to arrest him under the Terrorism Act, while an army bomb disposal unit were called to examine the suspect package and proceeded with a controlled explosion. All terminals at Manchester Airport operate smoothly.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [09] Creditors' Claims Are Halted Talks on OA are Underway

    23 Sep 2005 15:01:00 (Last updated: 23 Sep 2005 19:06:40)

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA,NET 105.8

    The first round of talks over privatising the OA will have been completed by October, stated on Thursday Transport Ministry Michael Liapis and noted that the governments key priority is the safeguarding of employees of the Greek national carrier. "We have embarked on completing the privatisation process, which has turned out more difficult following the European Commission resolution," claimed Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis from Washington, and pointed out that should the talks fall through, there is an alternative. When the contacts between the consultation house and the bidders, the government will issue an announcement, pointed out deputy government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros. In the meantime, as of the upcoming Wednesday, tickets for OAs international flights are to post a rise due to the soaring oil prices.

    "Turning Point"

    "We have reached a turning point," claimed Giorgos Alogoskoufis after his meetings with the US Congress officials and added, "I do not think we can say more at this delicate stage."

    On his part, Mr Antonaros, when answered whether the government regards that only one carrier could operate in the country, said, "The principles of free economy prevail in Greece and the answers to this kind of questions are provided by the market."

    However, PASOK parliamentarian responsible for employment, social welfare and health Evangelos Venizelos stated, "The various scenarios on the OA issue, which are fuelled by contrasting government sources, are indicative of the governments confusion and unworthy motives. Unless they can do something else, they had better make the best of what we told them at yesterdays meeting of the Parliaments competent committee."

    Rise in Ticket Prices

    With regard to the international flights, namely to New York, Toronto, Montreal and Johannesburg, the ticket price is to post a 45 euros increase per flight.

    For the rest of the destinations abroad, the ticket prices will increase by 15 euros per flight.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [10] Preventive Medicine Campaign

    23 Sep 2005 12:04:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    For the fifth year running, the Society "Friends of Social Paediatrics/Medicine Open Arms" will be offering free medical checkups to border island residents. Medical personnel from three Armed Forces disciplines, as well as ESY (National Health System) hospitals of Attica, will be visiting Kastelorizo (24-26-9), Kasos (26-29/9), Chalki (29-30/9), Leipsi (30/9-4/10) and Agathonisi (4-5/10).

    The doctors will perform paediatric and gynaecological checkups, Pap Smears, PSA tests, fluoridation on childrens teeth, as well as blood and biochemical tests. In each island visited, the panel of doctors will also be distributing gifts to the children, while entertainment shows will be organised. In addition, a symposium on the topic "School as a Support Framework Promoting Health" will take place on Leipsi from 30/9 to 2/10/2005.

    The campaign is part of the Programme "Supporting Life", under the aegis of the Ministries of National Defence, Health and Education and DIPE Dodecanese.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Google's Hassles over the Virtual Library War over Copyrights

    23 Sep 2005 13:00:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Following the US authors, who, through the Authors Guild, filed a lawsuit against Google for its Virtual Library projecy, now British publishers are thinking of resorting to Justice over the matter of copyright law violation. The Authors Guild, which represents some 8,000 US authors, charged the company of massive copyright infringement. Through Virtual Library, Google provides access to millions of digitised books located in libraries and universities.

    Britons Thinking of Suing

    The search engine company had previously come to an agreement with many US publishers, while among the matters discussed was what amount of the content of each book Google would make available to users for free.

    In Britain, five of the worlds most famous libraries, including the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, have agreed to have books scanned by Google and posted online.

    However, concerns have been raised as to whether Google would be keeping its agreements both with the US authors and the British libraries.

    Following these protests over copyright infringement, Google announced that it would stop posting copyrighted books online until November.

    The lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild affected the situation in Britain, so now the British publishers are thinking of taking similar actions.

    Upon filing the lawsuit, Authors Guild president Nick Taylor spoke of brazen violation of copyright law. "Its not up to Google or anyone other than the authors, the rightful owners of these copyrights, to decide whether and how their works will be copied," he declared.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    Google's Print Project

    Authors Guild

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