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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-09-24

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Greece Is in the Final
  • [02] Giannakis: "It Is Only the Beginning"
  • [03] Three Referred to Prosecutor
  • [04] Sour Fines
  • [05] Eavesdropping on E-Mails?
  • [06] Criticism against the Government
  • [07] Dimaras Sets Sights on the Town Hall
  • [08] Investigation on the Tragedy
  • [09] Rita Has Died Down
  • [10] Iran in Trouble
  • [11] Rita Hit the US
  • [12] Explosion Leads to Retaliation
  • [13] Bordering on Inflation
  • [14] The Final Obstacle
  • [15] Easy 4 out of 4

  • [01] It Defeated France in the Semis Greece Is in the Final

    24 Sep 2005 20:59:00 (Last updated: 24 Sep 2005 23:25:02)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    A 3-pointer by Dimitris Diamantidis just three seconds before the end of the fourth period was enough to send the Greek National Basketball team to the Eurobasket final in Serbia-Montenegro. Greece defeated France with a score of 67-66 during the first semi-final of the Championship and will now play in the final tomorrow at 22:00 against the winner of the game between Germany and Spain. This is the third time ever that the Greek Basketball tram advances to the finals of the European Championship. It won the gold in 1987 and the silver in 1989. Maybe its about time it won a second gold.

    Three-Pointer on the Go

    In a game that came down to the details, the Greek team, during the most crucial moment and with the heart of a true champion, managed to turn the score around and qualify for Sundays final.

    Playing good defence for the first three periods, Greece managed to keep the score low and remain in the running for a place in the final.

    Frances sole threat was Parker, who was truly uncontrollable and kept his team alive. The French guard was doing absolutely everything, coordinating the team and scoring some crucial points.

    At the same time, Greece kept stealing the ball, but unfortunately it had trouble putting them in.

    With unsuccessful two- and three-pointers, and missed free throws, the Greek players literally kept breaking the hoops.

    And this cost them dearly, as they were not able to take a substantial lead.

    As a result, Greece started off the last period trailing by one point.

    The Greek defence stopped Parker, but the French found solutions in Diaw and Gelabale, who took initiatives during some very crucial moments, giving their team a seven-point lead (55-62) just 72 seconds before the end.

    At a time when everyone thought that it was all over for Greece, the players found their inner strength.

    Not only did they manage to turn the game around, thanks to Papaloukas interventions, but they came within a two-point deficit (64-66) just 13 seconds before the end.

    With twelve seconds to go, Zisis raced up the floor and towards the basket, before passing the ball to Diamantidis, who never hesitated when releasing his left-handed shot that hit the bottom of the net, converting the final score to 67-66.

    Congratulations to Panagiotis Giannakis squad for achieving the impossible.

    Score per Period: 16-14, 29-30, 44-45, 67-66

    GREECE: Papaloukas 10, Spanoulis, Zisis 11, Fotsis, Chatzivrettas 3 (1), Dikoudis 14, Tsartsaris, Diamantidis 7 (1), Papadopoulos 15, Kakiouzis 3 (1)

    FRANCE: Fauthoux, Gelabale 7 (1), Rigaudeau 6, Julian 2, Pietrus 6 (2), Parker 20 (2), F. Pietrus 8, Schmitt 2, Diaw 14 (2), Weis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Giannakis: "It Is Only the Beginning"

    [02] Giannakis: "It Is Only the Beginning"

    24 Sep 2005 22:06:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    After the end of the game, the Greek team and coaches started hugging each other and celebrating a victory that came in the most unexpected way. Everyone was trying to comprehend the way in which Greece managed to reach a European Championship final for the third time ever. For the Greek head coach, who was also the captain of the Greek team in 1987 when it won the gold, this was a personal moral victory. Giannakis had a lot of faith in those guys and they proved him right. With a smile of relief on his face, he repeated that the Greek team has the potential for great things in the future. "This was only the beginning," he stressed, while he added, "We want to thank the propel for believing in us. These guys have the potential for great things."

    "God' Will"

    The players statements were along the same lines, while all of them could not hide their joy over the thriller game.

    Nikos Zisis: "It was Gods will. Unbelievable success. I cannot describe it. It was something magical. We were trailing by eight points, but it was Gods will, He owed us. When I was racing the ball down in the end, I believed that something would happen, Dimitris is not a real shooter, everyone kept saying that the team has no shooters, but he did it. The people helped us. Anyone who can make it tomorrow, should come."

    Thodoris Papaloukas: "Dimitris sent us to seventh heaven. He was unbelievably calm. We will now rest for tomorrows big game. We have great faith. We all believed that we would win. We were lucky. We thank the people and hope we can raise the flag tomorrow. It is just a game, a final, may the best and the luckiest win. We will give every ounce we have to win."

    Dimos Dikoudis: "The fact is that Greece is out there celebrating. What we did is unbelievable. Amazing game. We want to make the people happy again tomorrow. I did not believe that we would lose. The game came down to the shots, we won in the last shot, God owed us, and luck was by our side. We are playing in the final; I cannot believe it yet."

    Dimitris Diamantidis: "I was not the main star. I just scored the last shot. There are 12 of us and we have been training hard for two months. It will be a great success if we manage to win the cup tomorrow. Time was running out, I went for the shot and now we are all ecstatic. This team has faith. We did not give up the game. We managed to say focused. Now we will fight for the cup."

    Michalis Kakiouzis: "Everything is possible now. There are twelve of us fighting for a significant victory. I believe this is the beginning of Greek basketballs revival. I hope we can celebrate a victory. We will play tomorrow, even if we are sick. This success is the product of hard work."

    Congratulations from Orfanos-Koukodimos

    The Deputy Sports Minister, Giorgos Orfanos, watched the semi-final between Greece and France from a screen that had been set up in the hall where the "17th European Sports Summit" is taking place. Immediately after the end and Greeces advancement to the final, he said:

    "Your Greek spirit and talent stunned the French team once again. You have already won the respect and admiration of not just the Greeks, but also the European basketball world. I am sure that in the big final tomorrow, you will do whatever you have to do to climb on the highest step of the podium at the 2005 European Championship. I, along with all the Greek fans, wish you just that."

    The General Secretary of Sports, Kostas Koukodimos declared, "We are living through some unique moments thanks to the guys that revived Greek Basketball. Today, it was team spirit and mental strength that won. Whatever happens tomorrow, we are already winners. I wish the team good luck in the final."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Greece Is in the Final

    [03] For the Tragedy on Santorini Three Referred to Prosecutor

    24 Sep 2005 18:27:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Two engineers and one security head responsible for the roof of Akrotiri archaeological site, on Santorini, which collapsed on Friday resulting in the death of one and the injury of another six, will appear before Naxos Prosecutor on Sunday. Electrical engineer Diamantis Deligiannis and civil engineer Thanasis Sakellaropoulos are being held at the Thira police station, while supervising engineer Pavlos Tobakidis was arrested on Saturday at the islands airport, as he was arriving from Athens. At the same time, another civil engineer, Nikos Fyntikidis, who was overseeing part of the works undertaken by the Archaeological Company, is wanted. In the meantime, a special committee, which was formed by decision of the Culture Ministry, will be looking into the causes of the accident. Meanwhile, a female tourist, who is being hospitalised in KATs ICU, continues to be in critical condition, while the rest of the wounded are being hospitalised in KAT and Thriasio. The body of the unfortunate British tourist will be transferred to Britain on Sunday morning.

    Wounded Have Escaped Danger

    Americans Pierce Burrell Talbot Crosby and Vanessa Marie Farah Der Caloujian, both aged 29, are being hospitalised in KAT, while Slovenians Slavomir Patopstu, aged 27, and Julia Sodorova, aged 30, as well as German Nicole Annita Konning, aged 31, are being hospitalised in Thriasio. According to their attending physicians, they have all escaped danger.

    In the meantime, the body of Richard George Bennion, aged 46, who was tragically killed in the accident, is bring transferred to Athens on the ship Romilda, which departed at 10:30am on Saturday. His body will then be transferred to Britain.

    The unfortunate mans partner, Sheila Jennings, who was injured and was also being treated for shock, has been released from Santorinis Health Centre. The 51-year-old woman is staying at her hotel in Kamares, Santorini, and she is expected to depart for Britain on Sunday. A Greek citizen who was injured in the accident has also been released from the Health Centre.

    Investigations Continue

    On Saturday morning, an EMAK (Greek Fire Services Rescue Team) team searched the area for three hours, and then departed for Athens, after deciding that no other people were trapped in the debris.

    At the same time, the Thira police station is continuing its preliminary interrogation into the tragedy, while a team of experts has started investigations, in order to pinpoint the causes of the collapse.

    According to the initial findings, the bioclimatic roof collapsed due to either improper materials used or some error in the struts, which gave way because of the weight.

    A new meeting will take place at the Culture Ministry within the next few days, in order to assess the latest findings, additional clues and further developments.

    In the meantime, PASOKs spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis called on the Culture Ministry and Deputy Minister Petros Tatoulis to provide explanations as to why the archaeological site in question opened to the public in 2004 and 2005.

    Finally, SYN expressed its condolences for the accident, while it also posed five crucial questions concerning the investigation to PM and acting Culture Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Investigation on the Tragedy

    [04] Sour Fines

    24 Sep 2005 17:23:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Fines for traffic offenders in eastern Hungary will have a good dose of Vitamin C, as well as a sour taste. The idea of combining fines with fruit and vegetables is part of an educational programme being implemented, whereby traffic police will be handing out fines, while local school students accompanying them will be distributing pieces of lemon. "A penalty coming from a kid for breaking rules generates a stronger feeling of guilt among adults than a simple fine," county police spokesperson Gergely Fulop said. And since, apart from fines, the programme also incorporates rewards, the students will be handing out apples to good drivers.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Software Analyses Sounds Produced when Typing Eavesdropping on E-Mails?

    24 Sep 2005 16:16:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    If you think that your e-mails or Internet conversations are secret then you are sorely mistaken. American computer scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, created a software programme that deciphers what is being typed, through the sounds produced when typing. Actually the so-called spy is 96% successful, while the microphone needed for this procedure does not even have to be in the same room as the computer. "Our algorithms require no information about the typist, keyboard, room, or text typed," said Doug Tygar, one of the researchers. A simple $10 microphone was used during the experiments, while Tygar pointed out that a parabolic microphone would be just as effective.

    Based on the Strokes

    As per the researchers, the software relies on the different taps produced by each key. For example, keys at the edges sound different to those in the centre, just as a drum produces different tones when struck in the middle or near the rim.

    Using the sequence of sounds, the computer software generates guesses as to what the words might be, and then gradually refines them using standard algorithms for checking spelling and grammar. The software also learns to recognise individual keys, becoming more accurate as it goes along.

    "Once our algorithm has ten minutes worth of typed English, it can recover arbitrary text, such as passwords," said Tygar.

    The software will be presented at an upcoming conference on computer and communications security, and it is so simple that even amateurs can use it.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] From Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou Criticism against the Government

    24 Sep 2005 20:12:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The secretary of PASOKs National Council, Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, launched an attack against the Government policies, upon concluding her official tour of Kavala and Drama, in the context of "The Path towards the People" campaign announced by George Papandreou. "NDs policy is not a one-way street," stressed Ms Xenogiannakopoulou, while speaking at a party meeting in Drama. The National Council Secretary spoke of lack of development policy, while she claimed that the Greeks are living in uncertainty and insecurity. Meanwhile, she pointed out that PASOK is drafting a new plan for the country, while she appeared optimistic over her partys victory in the next elections, whenever they are held. During her tour, Ms Xenogiannakopoulou briefed the members of PASOKs Regional Council on the procedures for choosing candidates for the upcoming municipal elections, while she also met with the manager and the contestants of the Drama Short Film Festival, and visited the Chamber of Drama.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Ready to Claim the Mayor's Office Dimaras Sets Sights on the Town Hall

    24 Sep 2005 11:30:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: Newspaper "Ethnos"

    PASOK MP for Athens Giannis Dimaras seems prepared to put in a claim for the office of the Mayor of Athens. In his interview to newspaper Ethnos, the leader of the municipal party "Athens our City" stressed that it was up to PASOK and its president to approve which candidate will be running for the office. However, he admitted that he would be running for mayor. Mr Dimaras was in favour of converting Athens to a metropolitan Municipality, while he considered the current municipal authority as the most fostered of the last few decades, due to the Olympic Games. In addition, he urged the Left wing to seize the opportunity in order to win the majority in the Municipality of Athens. Finally, he considered Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis as the toughest opponent, if the latter runs for Mayor of Athens.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] One Dead and Six Injured Investigation on the Tragedy

    24 Sep 2005 10:58:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis ordered an in-depth investigation to find those responsible for the tragic accident in Santorini yesterday, where a British tourist lost his life and six more people were injured, when a part of a metal shelter collapsed at the archaeological site of Akrotiri. In the meantime, electrical engineer Diamantis Deligiannis and civil engineer Thanasis Sakelaropoulos, who are accused of immediate participation in the construction of the protective shelter that collapsed, are held in custody at the Thira police station and will be then taken to the Naxos Public Prosecutor. What is more, authorities are looking for architect Nikos Fyntanakis. In the meantime, the foreign tourist who was injured yesterday is still in the ICU intubated and her condition is serious. The rest injured are hospitalised in KAT and Thriasio Hospital. After returning from Santorini, Mr Tatoulis called an emergency meeting with Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zachopoulos and other executives.

    The Meeting

    During the meeting, the following were decided:

    The formation of a Committee by competent Culture Ministry officials and representatives from the National Technical University of Athens and the Technical Chamber, who will in-depth investigate the causes of the accident and issue a relevant report. The immediate interruption of the archaeological site operation. The submission of a report by the Athens Archaeological Company, as the body which realised the venture. The Culture Ministry will make all efforts to ensure the best possible conditions of hospitalisation and care of the injured. A new meeting will be held within the following day to evaluate the latest data, additional evidence and new developments.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Tragedy on Santorini

    [09] Hurricane Poses Low Threat Rita Has Died Down

    24 Sep 2005 15:27:00 (Last updated: 24 Sep 2005 21:07:28)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Hurricane Rita arrived at the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico extremely weaker, as it gradually dropped to a Category 1 storm. As announced by the National hurricane Centre in the US, the hurricane, with maximum winds reaching 120 kph, is expected to cause severe rainfalls (25-38cm) in eastern Texas, western Louisiana and southern Arkansas over the next few days. Ritas devastating blow is expected to last another 16 hours, while its passage over the heart of the oil industry in Texas left behind damages, floods, power cuts and a deep feeling of concern for the oil refineries. The government is now awaiting the estimate of the damages, while the Pentagon announced that some 500 soldiers, and special emergency and rescue units will be sent to Louisiana and Texas respectively, in order to deal with the aftermath. US President George Bush, who visited the army headquarters in Colorado Springs, where all the operations are being coordinated, declared that they were very well prepared and organised.

    Weak, but Destructive

    Ritas trail over the Gulf of Mexico may have been weak, but it was enough to cause major damages in Texas, Louisiana and parts of Mississippi.

    With winds exceeding 193 kph, the hurricane made a landfall at the Texas and Louisiana borders, where it hit Beaumont, the city where the first oil deposits were discovered, and Port Arthur, where the facilities of the world oil industry are located.

    At the port of Lake Charles, the waves destroyed a cargo liner, while many areas in New Orleans flooded, when the repaired dams were damaged. Furthermore, Galveston, Texas main tourist centre, has been flooded, while three building burnt to the ground after fires caused by the collapse of the power network.

    There have been no reports on any victims yet. In fact, most of the cities are deserted, as an estimated 2,500,000 people have fled their homes and were ordered by the authorities to stay away.

    Some 17,000 soldiers and 37,000 members of the National Guard have arrived in the affected areas. Bush stressed that the main priority was to provide relief to the victims, while he added that they are beginning to analyse the situation and prepare the necessary response to stabilise the situation.

    As per the initial estimates, the damages are between $2.5 and 5 billion, while the country is still counting its wounds from Hurricane Katrina.

    Related News:

    Rita Hit the US

    [10] IAEA's Decision over its Nuclear Programme Iran in Trouble

    24 Sep 2005 18:58:00 (Last updated: 24 Sep 2005 22:37:37)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The International Atomic Energy Agencys decision to pass a European Union resolution over Tehrans nuclear programme has opened the way for Iran to be reported to the UN Security Council. With 22 votes for the resolution, one against (Venezuela) and 12 abstentions (including Russia and China), the IAEAs 35-member governing board adopted the resolution condemning Irans nuclear activities. The EU resolution asked that Iran be reported to the UN Security Council, without, however, specifying a date. The possibility of an immediate referral was being considered, but eventually it was not accepted.

    Irans Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hamid Reza Asefi described the resolution as illegal and unacceptable, while he added, "Irans answer will be announced after the return of the Iranian team from Vienna and the necessary reviews." Javad Vaeedi, Irans top delegate to the meeting, said, "The United Sates and United Kingdom wanted [...] to send the case to the UN Security Council now. And at this session, they failed," claiming that this is the first time ever that the IAEA does not unanimously agree on something.

    It should be noted that EUs three biggest powers (France, Germany and Britain) had been negotiating with Tehran for at least two years, offering financial incentives in order for the country to halt its nuclear programme. However, the talks failed in August, when Iran recommenced its uranium enrichment activities, claiming that its atomic ambitions were peaceful.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Coastal Areas Seriously Afflicted Rita Hit the US

    24 Sep 2005 12:13:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Hurricane Rita hit the USA at 10:40 Greek time, spreading fear to the inhabitants of the US South. Rita is expected to sweep through the States of Texas and Louisiana for more that 16 hours, while authorities fear that Port Arthur will flood. Galveston, which was hit in 1900 by the worst hurricane in the history of the USA, Port Arthur, Huston and New Orleans are nothing but deserted cities, while the coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana are afflicted by strong winds and heavy rainfalls. Rita is moving northwest, covering at least 19km per hour, while it is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. According to the National Hurricane Centre, based in Miami, Florida, the first and most dangerous hit was in Lumberton, Texas, at the borders with Louisiana, east of the Sabina Pass, at a speed of 200km per hour and is starting to spread towards the heart of the country in the form of a cyclone. 90% of Galveston has already been evacuated, while there is no power supply. Port Arthur is in the cyclones path, while Beaumont and the Golden Triangle have already been hit. Some 2.7 million inhabitants have evacuated Texas and Louisiana, while in New Orleans, the water has reached 3-4 feet.

    Deserted Cities

    Television network CNN broadcast that Lake Charles, some 250km west of New Orleans, sustained serious damages, as houses were levelled and trees were uprooted. The city has a population of 72,000 and is among the cities with the most important oil distilleries. As per CNN, a fire broke out in Huston, large areas of which have been evacuated. It is estimated that some 2,700,000 people have fled Texas, including the people on Galveston island and at the lower parts of Huston. In Louisiana, rescue crews saved a pregnant woman and her four-year-old son, whose lives were threatened by Rita. Ten thousand soldiers are on alert in case of a tsunami at the Gulf of Mexico. President Bush will go the army headquarters in Colorado, from where authorities are coordinating this difficult work.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    A Heartbeat From Texas

    [12] Explosion Leads to Retaliation

    24 Sep 2005 10:23:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    As of today, the Israeli army imposed a complete blockade of Palestinian territory "until further notice," while Israeli Defence Minister Saul Mofaz ordered the armed forces to proceed with violent operations at the Gaza Strip, underlining that Israel would have to give a clear answer to assaults against its territory. He also ordered an attack against the infrastructure of Palestinian organisations Hamas and Jihad at the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which will also be affected by continuous air assaults. He further ordered army troops to gather near the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The blockade was imposed after Israeli territory was severely attacked in the night from the Gaza Strip with five injured in Sderot, south Israel. In retaliation, the Israeli army answered back with helicopter assaults at the Gaza Strip against three weapon construction laboratories belonging to Hamas, two of which in the city of Gaza and one in Jabaliya. These are the first attacks after the withdrawal of Israeli troops on September 12. Two Palestinians were injured, including one woman, in Jabaliya, at the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

    Decisions to Be Taken

    According to military sources, at least 21 missiles have been launched from the Gaza Strip in the last hours. Another missile was targeted near Netiv Haassara, without any victims. This is the biggest Palestinian attack after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, after 38 years of occupation. Hamas had earlier accused Israel of being responsible for Friday's attack in Jabaliya, where 15 people lost the lives, including two children, and at least 80 were injured during a military parade. The Israeli army refuted allegations of any interference in this tragedy.

    A Palestinian armed group, the Saha el-Deim Brigades, claimed responsibility on Saturday morning for launching three homemade missiles in southern Israel, in retaliation to the unexpected explosion in Gaza.

    As for Hamas, it accused Israel of launching missiles against a convoy approaching its supporters during a rally. As per Hamas' representative, Israel launched two air missiles, while the Palestinian Authority said the blast was an accident. An Israeli government and army spokesperson refuted any interference with this bloody event, voiced their condolences for the victims and accused the Palestinian Authority of not doing enough to break down the armed groups.

    Qurei's Appeal

    According to eyewitnesses, two major explosions were reported in the city of Gaza after the order of the Israeli Defence Minister, as army helicopters and Israeli F-16 fighter jets are flying over the Palestinian city.

    Eyewitnesses and security sources said one of the helicopters launched a missile against a non-military target in eastern Gaza. There are no reports on victims or damages. Another explosion was reported five minutes later and plumes of smoke rose above the area. A third explosion was heard in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, and a fourth in Rafah. As per the Palestinian Internal Affairs Ministry, at least four Palestinians lost their lives in the explosions. After the new assault against the Palestinians, Hamas threatened to hit the heart of Israel.

    As for Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, he invited the international community and the USA to "intervene and stop the Israeli escalation."

    This appeal was addressed after the order of Defence Minister Saul Mofaz for "long" operations at the Gaza Strip in retaliation to the missile assaults against Israeli territory.

    "We are appealing to the international community, the quartet (USA, UN, EU and Russia) and the US government to intervene and stop the Israeli escalation," stressed Qurei to reporters, describing Israel's air attacks at the Gaza Strip as "dangerous."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [13] Pay and Pension Rises Bordering on Inflation

    24 Sep 2005 14:55:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    Pay and slightly higher pension increases will be granted, as provided for by the Governments revenue policy for 2006. In an interview to newspaper Typos tis Kyriakis, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis confirmed that the tax-free threshold would increase to 12,000 euros as of 2007, while two tax rates will be established, with the highest being 40% for higher income earners. Responding to the allegations by PASOKs president, whereby the Government favours the interests of the few, the Economy Minister stressed that they were unfounded, while he described Mr Papandreous announcements as a parody of the governments policy. With regard to social security, Mr Alogoskoufis underlined that a public dialogue has to take place, while he confirmed that the Government would not be trapping or extracting anyones consent. Speaking on radio station NET 105.8, ND MP Thodoros Kassimis stressed it was imperative for a discussion on social security to commence. On his part, PASOK MP Nikos Christodoulakis declared that the restructuring of social security should have an 8-year timeframe.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [14] France Is the Last Obstacle Before the Final The Final Obstacle

    24 Sep 2005 14:25:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    During Eurobasket 1987, which was hosted in Greece, the local team played against the then Yugoslavian team twice on its way to the medal and European recognition: once in the preliminaries and once in the semis. Last year, the Greek Football team played twice against Portugal, in the preliminaries and in the final, when it was crowned European Champion. The coincidences are continuing this year with the National Basketball team, which will also encounter France twice; once in the preliminaries and once today, in the knockout match, which, provided Greece wins, will lead the team to the finals. If history repeats itself for the third time, then, tonight, Greece can hope on celebrating for yet another appearance in a final. The outcome will be decided in a few hours from now, at 19:00.

    Demonstrating Strength of Character

    The Greek team needs to demonstrate the same strength of character it demonstrated in the second half of the game against Russia.

    The Greek players are in great physical shape, while they do not seem to have any problems mentally either, considering the two victories against Israel and Russia.

    However, they probably are a bit stressed, but the game should help them take the edge off. If they play with a clear head, they should be able to win and advance to the final.

    They possess the ability to do just that, while, as far as France is concerned, they defeated them easily in the preliminaries with a score of 64-50.

    Surely, quite a few things have changed since 16 September, which was when Greece played against France.

    After that game, the Greek team pulled two dismal performances against Slovenia and Bosnia.

    With regard to the game against Israel, although the performance was average, the team pulled together at the right moment and managed to win. The same thing happened in the quarterfinals against Russia, as it was trailing in the score at some point, but in the end it pulled through.

    Victory for the Greek team is not a one-way street, but just a very good opportunity for a place in a Eurobasket final, the third in its history.

    The first time was in 1987 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, when Greece won the gold. The second was two years later, when they lost to Yugoslavia and finished in second place.

    Let us hope that today the boys will make Greeces dreams a reality and win the second national distinction this year, following the Greek Water Polo teams silver medal at the World Championships in Montreal.

    As for France, their transformation after the preliminaries has been phenomenal. They managed to defeat both host Serbia-Montenegro and 2003 European Champion Lithuania.

    It is as if someone touched them with a magic wand, changing them from an uncoordinated group to a worthy team.

    Greece can only hope that they regress back to their old selves, or at least force them to an average performance.

    France, however, has a very strong motive. A victory would signal their first participation in a European Championship final since 1949, when they won the silver.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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    Ready For the Next Step

    Greece Advances to the Semis

    [15] Easy 4 out of 4

    24 Sep 2005 19:04:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Olympiacos proved decisive once again, after defeating Akratitos by 2-0 in the empty Karaiskakis Stadium, achieving its fourth victory in as many matches. Apart from the three points it won, Olympiacos also managed to keep its nets goalless for the fourth game running. As far as the actual match is concerned, the home team was not on its best day and Akratitos even came close to taking the lead, but Kostoulas saved the goal. After that, Olympiacos scored two goals in four minutes, with Djordjevic in the 24 and Konstantinou in the 28 (his first wearing his new teams colours) and cleared the game. In the second half, Olympiacos did not really up the pace, as it was trying to conserve its strength in view of the match against Real Madrid on Wednesday for Champions League.

    Only Two Opportunities

    Both teams started off quite nervously. Olympiacos kept trying to play in the centre, while Akratitos was opting for counterattacks. Actually, during Nikopolidis first exit, the guests came very close to taking the lead. In the 13, Kapsis kick to Nikopolidis was intercepted by De Francesco, who avoided the goalkeeper and tried to score, but Kostoulas saved the ball on the line.

    This seemed to awaken Trond Solleids team and the players started to plant their feet more firmly on the ground. So, within the span of four minutes, the home team managed to score two goals. In the 24, following a great team effort, Rivaldo crossed to Djordjevic, whose strong kick from within the box defeated Stelea and the team took the lead (1-0). Four minutes later, after a free kick by Djordjevic from the right, Konstantinou took the header between three opponents and sent the ball to the Romanian goalkeepers nets. This was also Kontasntinous first official goal wearing his new teams colours.

    Olympiacos started the second half with two substitutions, as Babagida and Dani replaced Okkas and Konstantinou. However, the home team did not seem that eager to charge ahead, since it was trying to conserve its strength in view of the match against Real Madrid on Wednesday for Champions League. On the other hand, Akratitos could not manage to achieve anything really decisive, so there were only a few opportunities for a goal. Initially, Olympiacos came close to scoring a third goal with Babagida, when he came face-to-face with Stelea, but the Romanian goalkeeper managed to save the goal. In the 83, the guests also came close to scoring, when Macquet crossed to De Francesco, who kicked the ball beautifully towards the nets, but Kostoulas saved the day once again.

    Referee: Ilias Mazarakos

    Yellow Cards: Konstantinou, Macquet, Zuela, Kostoulas, Obradovic, Kapsis

    OLYMPIACOS: Nikopolidis, Kapsis, Mavrogenidis, Kostoulas, Kafes, Rivaldo, Djordjevic (84 Castillo), Toure, Georgatos, Okkas (55 Babagida), Konstantinou (55 Dani)

    AKRATITOS: Stelea, Obradovic, Paganin (46 Merino), Badas, Vanoli, Zuela, Macquet, Musumbu, Marinescu, Vujovic (46 Sales), De Francesco.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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