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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-10-05

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] European Estimations
  • [02] Awaiting Tomorrow
  • [03] Rehhagel Believes in Victory
  • [04] End of Era for Flash
  • [05] We Achieved Our Goals
  • [06] Clowns in the Operating Room

  • [01] Good Growth Rate, High Deficit European Estimations

    05 Oct 2005 21:14:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia, who met in the afternoon, focused on implementing the stability and growth programme in view of the 2006 State Budget. After the end of the meeting, the European Commissioner stressed the need to improve Greece's fiscal position and promote structural changes, which he described as completely necessary in the context of the Lisbon Strategy, because as he said, Europe should be competitive to face the challenges of the 21st century. He underlined the good course of the Greek Economy and hoped deficit will drop below 3% of the GDP by the end of 2006. Mr Almunia also focused on the fine collaboration between the Commission and Greek authorities over the past one year and a half and announced that the report on Greece's progress for 2005 and on its perspectives for 2006, which will be evaluated in November at Ecofin's meeting, should be ready in the following weeks. As for Mr Alogoskoufis, he sounded optimistic, stressing the EU would give the go-ahead for the Government plans to reduce deficits.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [02] New Meeting for Germany's Chancellery Awaiting Tomorrow

    05 Oct 2005 20:38:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The post-election dead-end in Germany seems to have no end after all, as Social Democrats (SPD) and Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) are unable to reach an agreement on who would lead the coalition. After the third round of negotiation talks on Tuesday night, Schroeder and Merkel announced a Summit meeting, most probably to be held on Thursday, to discuss the thorny issue. And while the Chancellery still causes friction, the foundations for the collaboration of SPD and CDU/CSU seem to have been laid, some three weeks after the September 18 elections. "Contacts showed we have the basis to form a major coalition," stressed Schroeder after the end of the two-hour meeting, while Merkel was "more optimistic, than pessimistic," describing talks as successful, while she also added, "We have agreed to clarify the matter, especially the issue of staffing and the Governments operation, as well as other significant affairs." Unofficial sources said the crucial date would most probably be held on Thursday afternoon, however Mr Schroeder simply said "it will be held very very soon."

    New Opinion Poll

    The aftermath of the elections seems to have tired the Germans. Although formerly the majority was fanatically in favour of the major coalition, a new opinion poll conducted by the Emnid institute for N24 television station indicated that 40% wants none of the two for the Chancellery, while 28% favours Merkel and 25% Schroeder. What is more, 45% think the major coalition would change nothing for the better, 49% is pessimistic over the reduction of unemployment, while 48% don't believe the social state would improve.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Rehhagel Believes in Victory

    05 Oct 2005 14:10:00 (Last updated: 05 Oct 2005 17:02:41)

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    Despite the possible absences of Fyssas and Haristeas, who suffer from injuries, head coach of the reigning European Champions Otto Rehhagel appeared optimistic with regard to the game between the national football teams of Greece and Denmark in Copenhagen for the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. In the press conference he gave on Wednesday in view of the game against the Vikings at the Parken Stadium, Mr Rehhagel said that the Greek players are spirited and stated, "We need the victory," and added, "A tie also suits us." In case Haristeas, Ajaxs ace, misses the match, Otto Rehhagel has to choose between Liberoulos and Salpigidis. Shortly after the reigning European Champions completed their training at the Agios Kosmas sport complex, another reigning European Champion appeared. Coach of the Greek national basketball team Panagiotis Yiannakis wished them good luck.

    The Game is of Special Importance

    Head coach Otto Rehhagel asked his players to do their best in view of Saturdays match between the national football teams of Greece and Denmark in Copenhagen.

    "We have reached the top and we have to live up to that. We need to win this game, however, a tie is also likely to lead us to the play offs. I have heard that the pitch is going to be packed. The Parken Stadium has a capacity of 45,000 spectators, with 42,000 of them being Danes and the rest Greeks. It is going to be a special game and my players should perform accordingly. The players should rise above any difficulty they may encounter and eliminate mistakes as much as possible. However, mistakes are always made and result in goals, like the one scored in the game between Liverpool and Chelsea, where the host side took the lead after a pointless penalty was committed," pointed out the German coach during the scheduled press conference that followed the teams final training session.

    Haristeas' Participation Not Yet Determined

    Referring to the injury problems, the head coach of the reigning European Champions said that he intends to wait for the news on Haristeas and Fyssas to the very last moment.

    "Haristeas suffers from a head injury. It still remains to be seen whether he can play on Saturday or Wednesday, though, Saturdays match is more crucial for us. I cannot say if he is to be included in the team. This is how things are for Fyssas as well," pointed out Mr Rehhagel, who also questioned Dellas participation. "In Portugal, Dellas was the key player for the teams defence. He is a grand persona in the pitch, but, above all, he must be able to play," he stated and admitted that sometimes stress and pressure may have beneficial properties. "We should feel stress before every game. Succeeding something important means feeling pressure in certain games."

    Otto: "We Focus on Us"

    The German coach of the Greek national football team is not interested in the recent statements of the Danes who promised to give the Greeks a hard time at the Parken Stadium.

    "I stay concentrated on my team, the players I am going to use and their performance. We cannot have a saying in what the Danes say and think. We focus on us. Our opponent is a very good team, with many of its players excelling abroad, and this game is their last chance to claim the second place of the group and therefore they are certainly to make the best of it."

    Irritation at the Press Conference

    Mr Rehhagel went on to answer the reporters questions. In fact, one of them irritated the usually calm German coach when he noted that the Greek team has not performed well since the first half of the game against Denmark at Karaiskaki Stadium. Mr Rehhagel answered, "Schalke came in for harsh criticism after two failures, but after two successes they were elevated to a world class team." "Kazakhstan were a difficult team to win in their home. Ukraine achieved a victory after scoring one goal in the injury time, and all the teams had problems against Kazakhstan. You all witnessed the way my players celebrated the winning goal, despite their playing in different clubs. This is what really matters to me," he underlined and defended once more his choice to use the same players that were crowned European Champions in 2004 in Greeces bid to advance to the 2006 World Cup. "I have made up my mind. I do not bother to wonder whether I was wrong nor have I regretted it. I always look ahead and defend my choices. It was sheer pleasure working with these players. Losing some games is inevitable," Mr Rehhagel replied.

    Yiannakis Wishes Them Luck

    A pleasant surprise was waiting Mr Rehhagels players at the end of their final training meeting at the Agios Kosmas sport complex. The winner of the recent Eurobasket, head coach Panagiotis Yiannakis went there to wish them good luck in their effort to book a ticket for Germanys World Cup in 2006.

    [04] Radio Station and Website Close Down End of Era for Flash

    05 Oct 2005 11:33:00 (Last updated: 05 Oct 2005 18:58:28)

    The total of the Journalists Unions demanded the government intervene with the imminent shutdown of Flash radio station after 16 years of operation. The Unions also accused Mass Media owners of launching a full attack against their employees. Flash owner Sotiris Poulopoulos announced the shutdown of the radio station, as well as the shutdown of website to the employees on Tuesday. He also announced that all the employees are to be made redundant and he promised that they are going to receive the full amount of the compensations by October 20. Mr Poulopoulos is expected to state on Wednesday whether the radio station and the website are to close down before or after the compensations are paid to the employees. In its emergency meeting, the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV) was informed on the issue with Flash by the owner's lawyer, Mrs Eirini Anastopoulou, who said all possibilities are open regarding the station's future and repeated that all employees' claims will be satisfied by October 20. Questioned on the matter, the government spokesperson voiced the governments sorrow, while PASOK MPs Tilemachos Hitiris and Miltiadis Papaioannou filed an interpellation on the developments regarding radio station Flash.

    "When a Means of Communication Closes Down, Democracy Gets Poorer"

    Flashs journalists and technicians have undertaken to run the programme and air the listeners, colleagues and politicians who protest against the closing down of the radio station.

    Mr Poulopoulos also reassured that Flash96 will not be transferred that the "96.0" frequency will be given to the NCRTV.

    "When a means of communication closes down, democracy gets poorer, underlined government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos and added that he contacted the Ministries of Development and Transport as well as the NCRTV President.

    In particular, Mr Roussopoulos asked the Deputy Transport Minister Anastasios Neratzis to remind the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission that the frequency belongs to the state. Should the radio station close down, the frequency will be transferred to the state and will remain inactive until a bid for issuing new permits for setting up radio stations is announced.

    When asked to comment on PASOK MP Mimis Androulakis claim that businessman Sokratis Kokalis offered the shutdown of the radio station as a present to the government, Mr Roussopoulos said, "I am really sorry for this statement.

    Political Reactions

    There have been reactions on the matter by all political parties and the journalistic world. PASOK Parliamentarians Tilemachos Chitiris and Miltiadis Papaioannou submitted an interpellation to Parliament asking Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos to provide answers on the developments and the measures to be taken by the Government in order to reinforce Flash's smooth operation, restore certainty to employees in the media and "prevent any possible manipulation that could damage the NCRTV's prestige.

    "It is not just the issue of reporters who will no longer have a job, it's also an issue of information," said Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos. "Let's see what we could do from now onwards," said ND Parliamentarian Tasos Karamarios.

    As for PASOK, Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis voiced his support to Flash's employees, accusing the Government of an institutional void regarding the media.

    On behalf of KKE, journalist Liana Kaneli spoke of a black winter of information.

    DAKE (Democratic Independent Workers' Movement) President Kostas Poupalkis said "Flash has been by the side of all Greek citizens all these years."

    Speaking on NET radio 105.8, ESIEA (Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspapers) secretary general Dimitris Trimis said the station's shutdown was due to a political deal. "The business, he added, was never financially healthy and operated without being audited by tax authorities and labour inspection agencies."

    In the morning, representatives from ESIEA, POESY, EPIEA and ETER met with NCRTV President Ioannis Laskaridis and other members of the Council to voice their requests. They asked the NCRTV to allow the radio station's operation until all employees are fully compensated.

    A total of 160 people are currently employed at the radio station and Flash's website and the debts of the business rise to 5 million euros, 700,000 thousand of which are for social security services and 580,000 of which should be paid to Intracom. At the accordance of the NCRTV, Sotiris Poulopoulos bought the station from Eleni Kokkali for 250,000 euros last December.

    [05] Roussopoulos' Answer over Turkey We Achieved Our Goals

    05 Oct 2005 16:31:00 (Last updated: 05 Oct 2005 22:26:17)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Government spokesperson T. Roussopoulos described the decision of the 25 to open negotiation talks with Turkey as an "important development for Europe, Turkey, our region, the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cypriot issue." Responding to the Oppositions criticism on lost opportunities, Mr Roussopoulos underlined that the process to be followed dictates Turkeys adjustment to "specific terms, rules and prerequisites." The governments achievement was to include the Greek demands in the EUs legal binding texts, he added. "This is reality, this is a historic turning point, this is the start for a future of stability and peace, just like the Greek people want," underlined Mr Roussopoulos, accusing the Opposition of "petty politics and ungrounded criticism."

    "For the first time the EU has asked Turkey as an obligation and prerequisite to improve its bilateral relations with Greece, respecting the relations of good neighbouring and everything else this commitment might be including," underlined Mr Roussopoulos, adding, "For the first time there are clear preconditions for the Cypriot Republic's de facto and de jure recognition by Turkey, right after the commencement of accession negotiations."

    Consequently, Turkey will be under the pressure of finding a solution to the Cypriot issue, while Community documents read that among Turkey's commitments are "to deal with the issues of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greeks in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos." Government spokesperson T. Roussopoulos also noted there has been no change in clause 5 of the negotiating framework, stressing, "The stance of the Foreign Ministry has been proved right."

    Especially with regard to the Presidency's relevant statement, the Government spokesperson repeated, "Mr Straw's statement has no legal leverage," while asked whether Turkey continues to have a veto right on Cyprus' accession to NATO, he repeated, "Each international organisation has its own rules and regulations."

    Making an overall evaluation of the Luxemburg agreement, the government spokesperson repeated that the commencement of accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU under the terms it was made, constitutes "Greece's foreign policy success."

    What is more, Mr Roussopoulos said the EU would be monitoring the candidate country's conduct throughout the process," also stressing, "Greece and Cyprus will be the judges of this course, given that decisions will be made unanimously."

    Athanasakis Launched Accusations

    Responding, PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis said the Greek side backed down in Luxemburg's negotiations, stressing the Greek voice is never heard.

    Mr Athanasakis underlined that claiming Greece got what it asked for, simply verifies it asked for nothing.

    Lastly, despite criticism against government handlings on the issue of accession talks, the PASOK spokesperson welcomed that fact that "the path has opened" for Turkey's accession.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] Stress-Free Operation Method for Child Patients Clowns in the Operating Room

    05 Oct 2005 13:18:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: BBC

    So far, we have been under the impression that clowns belong to circuses and child parties. However, a new Italian study sends clowns in hospitals and assigns them a new role. As per the scientists, specially trained clowns with big, red noses and baggy trousers can ease anxiety among child patients aged 5-12 put under anesthesia for surgery. This novel method has been active in 82 hospitals worldwide. However, doctors and nurses were annoyed for fear it might upset the normal working protocols. On their part, the Italian scientists presented the results of their study on 40 children before they undergo a minor operation.

    Tricks and Jokes Eliminate Stress Levels

    Two clowns stood by the side of half of the children that participated in the study, during anaesthesia. The clowns were trying to cheer the children and their parents up with their jokes and tricks.

    The rest of the child patients were comforted only by their mother or father. In both cases, specialists were recording the stress levels each child depicted to conclude on which group of children developed higher stress levels.

    In the meantime, the parents had to fill in a questionnaire about their own anxiety during the process. The researchers also asked the operation room staff for their opinions.

    The study showed that the child patients and their parents in the clown group were far less stressed. The positive contribution of the clowns was also conferment by the doctors and the nurse.


    Despite the promising findings of the study, only few Italian doctors appeared willing to use clowns on a permanent basis.

    However, the Italian scientists feel that better information regarding the benefits of the study would brush aside the objections.

    Sue Hind-Woodward, executive director of the Theodora Foundation that trains the clown doctors underlined the importance o f their presence in the operating room, and added that except Italy, there no objections were raised in other countries.

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