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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Lament and Appeals
  • [02] Ban on Imports
  • [03] Media Silenced
  • [04] The Great Compromise
  • [05] Blocking Information
  • [06] SYN Asks for Cheaper Internet
  • [07] Papandreou at Presidential Mansion
  • [08] Macabre Findings in Chalkidiki
  • [09] Helios Boeing in the Air Again
  • [10] Gas Stations Fined
  • [11] Fake Bomber

  • [01] Tens of Thousands Victims in Pakistan Lament and Appeals

    10 Oct 2005 17:27:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    An entire generation has been wiped off, following the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that rocked Pakistan early on Saturday morning. The death toll so far has reached 40,000, and the wounded exceed 60,000, while, according to UNICEF, half of the victims are children, since many of the schools collapsed. Just in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, 2,000 people have lost their lives, while another 10,000 are missing, since the rescue crews cannot access dozens of mountainous villages. At the same time, the number of those missing remains unknown and the homeless have reached 2.5 million, while the fear of epidemics is imminent. The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, addressed an appeal to the international community for assistance, stressing that his country cannot respond to the immense devastation caused by the earthquake. The UN, the EU, the USA and other countries have announced that they will be sending humanitarian aid to the affected areas, while Greece will also be contributing to the relief of the victims. At the same time, the rescue crews are continuing their searches, while their hopes are rekindled when they recover survivors.

    International Helping Hand

    The first batch of humanitarian aid arrived at the affected areas on Monday. The earthquake-stricken citizens of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, raided the trucks carrying food.

    In an effort to provide relief to the people of Pakistan, the International Red Cross announced that it is in planning on offering emergency assistance in the form of food and lodgings to 120,000 people who have been trapped in areas experiencing adverse weather conditions. As announced by UN Secretary Kofi Annan, the organisation will assist in the efforts of the Red Cross.

    The European Union announced that it would send 3.6 million euros, the USA have sent $50 million, Japan unblocked some 180,000 euros, while the World and Asian Banks will contribute $20 million and $10 million respectively.

    In addition, China offered $6.2 million, Ireland and the Czech Republic $1 million each, Canada $100,000, Denmark 1.34 million euros and Germany 50,000 euros. Furthermore, many countries have already sent tents, food and rescue crews.

    Greece will also be contributing to the relief effort. A C-130 aircraft will depart from Elefsina on Tuesday afternoon, transferring humanitarian aid, blankets, medicines and four doctors to Islamabad. Furthermore, Archbishop Christodoulos offered to the State the services of "Solidarity", the non-government organisation of the Church of Greece.

    Finally, the Pakistani Embassy in Athens opened a bank account for the victims of Pakistan. Interested parties can deposit money in all Nova Bank branches all over Greece on the account number 5362348.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    "Help Us"

    [02] Greece is Fully Prepared Ban on Imports

    10 Oct 2005 15:40:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ ANA BBC

    Today, the European Commission is proceeding with banning all live bird imports from Turkey, since cases of avian flu have been confirmed in Turkey and Romania over the last few days. The Greek authorities are also on alert, due to the outbreak of the disease in the neighbouring countries. As a result, the importation of all birds from those countries have been banned, while the Health Minister, as well as the Rural Development Minister, declared that all the necessary measures have been implemented and the Prefectures of border areas have been ordered to increase inspections. Meanwhile, the Rural Development Ministry addressed an appeal to veterinarians to postpone their scheduled collective actions. It should be noted that the virus has not mutated and therefore to does not get transmitted from humans to humans.

    Alarm Sounded in Turkey and Romania

    Inspections are underway in Turkey and Romania, to pinpoint whether the birds had in fact been infected by the H5N1 virus. The final results are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

    New cases of bird flu were reported today at the Danube delta in Romania, while the scientists are trying to find out whether it is the same virus strain as the one that killed 65 people and millions of birds in Asia in 2003.

    The private television station Realitatea TV broadcast that dozens of birds, including swans and poultry, were found dead in the village of Maliuc on the delta.

    However, the first results of the lab tests in Romania were negative.

    "The virological analyses have confirmed that the virus is present [in Turkey], but at the moment we are not able to say what type of virus we are talking about how pathogenic it is," said Philip Tod, the Commissions health spokesperson.

    Turkey is expected to send samples to EU labs as early as today, while it has culled about 3,000 turkeys and chickens so far.

    Action Plan in Case of Pandemic

    Inspections have increased in the Prefecture of Evros. Most of the interest is focused on the Evros Delta, where thousands of migrating birds find shelter around this time of year.

    Greece has already ordered approximately 200,000 boxes and 250,000 kg of special antibiotics in the form of powder to deal with the bird flu, while at the same time, it have also ordered quantities of another medicine for flu pandemics.

    As declared by the Health Minister, Greece is fully prepared to deal with an emergency situation. Nikitas Kaklamanis also noted that Greece is one of the few countries that have prepared a national action draft for a possible flu pandemic. The draft is expected to be finalised by mid-November, after the end of the EU Health Ministers Summit, which is scheduled for 20 October in London, to discuss the matter in question.

    Mr Kaklamanis also explained that only very few cases of bird flu in humans have been recorded in the countries where the disease has been detected (ie 116 people infected out of a population of 2 billion in two years), stressing that the problem lies in the high mortality rate (60 dead) of the disease

    At the same time, the Minister noted that flu vaccines have nothing to do with bird flu vaccines, which have not been developed yet.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Greek Authorities on Alert

    [03] Four-hour Work Stoppage on Wednesday Media Silenced

    10 Oct 2005 17:00:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Reporters are responding to the major problems in the Media, focusing on the latest developments concerning Flash radio, with collective actions. They have scheduled a four-hour work stoppage in the Press on Wednesday from 12pm to 4pm. At the same time, ESIEA (Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspapers) has also scheduled a demonstration on Voukourestiou and Akadimias streets in Athens.

    Sector Problems

    In a Press Conference today, ESIEA President Panos Sobolos spoke of an unprecedented crisis in the field of information.

    Some of the sector's major problems are the loss of jobs, the breach of collective labour contracts, the continuous undermining of labour and social security rights and the recent employers' tactics of leading employees on strike because of the voluntary redundancy plan.

    In the Press Conference, speakers underlined the government's responsibility, while stressing the obscure legislative framework regarding the media, which allows untrustworthy owners to take advantage of radio frequencies, which constitute a public good.

    Concerning the matter with Flash radio, the ESIEA president stated there would be a meeting with GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) on Tuesday to discuss the Confederation's proposal for its participation in a consortium that would buy off the station.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Merkel at the Wheel The Great Compromise

    10 Oct 2005 14:19:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    In Germany, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) decided to form a grand coalition with Angela Merkel as Chancellor of the country, thus putting an end to the post-election dead-end, but also triggering scenarios over which party would be taking over the various ministries. According to information, Gerhard Schroeder will not be assuming a post in the new Government, while the compromise provides for the assignation of eight ministries to the SPD On the other hand, as per the same sources, apart from the Chancellery and the Ministry of State and Federal Chancellery, the CDU and the CSU will be taking over six ministries. Furthermore, the president of the CSU, Edmund Stoiber, is expected to take over the Economics and Labour Ministry, in which the labour sector will be replaced by the technology sector. Finally, CDU MP Norbert Lammert will run for President of Bundestag, the German Parliament, succeeding Social Democrat Wolfgang Thierse in an post that is considered as the most important after the Chancellor. The European Commission and France voiced their satisfaction over the formation of a strong and stable Government in Germany.

    New Round of Talks

    A new round of parliamentary talks is necessary before 51-year-old Merkel officially assumes her duties and becomes the first female and East German to be elected to the Chancellery. As per Merkel, the talks will commence on 17 October and are expected to be concluded by 12 November.

    The new parliament will be formed on 18 October and until Merkel is given the green light, the outgoing Schroeder-Fischer government will continue exercising its duties.

    On Monday morning, the leaders of the SPD and the CDU/CSU approved the formation of a grand coalition. They will now convene in order to decide on their future government policy, which will then be approved by their councils.

    Concessions with a High Price

    According to information, the SPD will be taking over the following eight ministries: Foreign Office; Economics; Justice; Labour; Health and Social Security; Transport, Building and Housing; Environment, Nature, Conservation and Nuclear Safety; and Assistance.

    On the other hand, the Christian Democrats will be given the ministries of Finance; Defence; Interior; Education and Research; Consumer protection, Food and Agriculture; and Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

    SPD sources declared that outgoing Defence Minister Peter Struck will be replacing Joschka Fischer at the Foreign Office. However, it is not yet clear whether Struck will also be appointed Deputy Chancellor, a position traditionally held by the Foreign Minister.

    At the same time, sources close to the CSU stressed that Gerhard Schroeder will not be participating in the new Government. Initially, it was thought that he would be taking over the Foreign Office and the Deputy Chancellery. In addition, Franz Muntefering will probably not be assuming a post in the grand coalition.

    According to analysts, the Christian Democrats will be paying a high price for taking over the Chancellery and having Gerhard Schroeder withdraw from the race. At the same time, though, the SPD will be gaining a lot from passing the reins onto the CDU/CSU, thus forming the second grand coalition in Germany since WWII.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Chancellor Merkel

    [05] Tension at the Press Ministry Blocking Information

    10 Oct 2005 16:10:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The Government spokesperson failed to brief political journalists today. The reason was the demonstration held by the employees at the Press and Information Secretariat, who blocked the building on Zalokosta street, demanding for the benefit which civil servants in other ministries receive. Thodoris Roussopoulos told employees that their demand is pending since the PASOK governments, but he included it in the Bill on audiovisual archive, which has been submitted to Parliament.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] At the Meeting with the Users' Union SYN Asks for Cheaper Internet

    10 Oct 2005 14:15:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    On Monday, SYN President Alekos Alavanos met with the Greek Internet Users' Union as part of his plan to discuss with the youth. Mr Alavanos had a constructive conversation with the Union on the problems with Greek Internet, asking for free access for students. "Its a shame for Greek students in the Department of Informatics not to have free access on the Internet at their schools," he added, also asking for cheap access for all citizens, as well as for small and medium sized businesses. At the same time he underlined the need to recognise reporters working in electronic media and to support the Greek content on the net.

    Reference to Flash Radio

    In his statements, Mr Alavanos also referred to Flash radio, stressing, "A current example is that today with the crisis on Flash, the volume of information, which Flash.gr was posting on the Internet for more than five years is in danger of being lost."

    Union President Nikos Vasilakos voiced his support to Flash's employees and stressed, "In the year 2005 we cannot be negotiating the citizens' right to information access. Internet means democracy and democracy solves its problems with more democracy. Our aim is for citizens to be able to access the Internet without worrying of costs, bills and money. This is how we could bridge the digital gap, which is primarily of financial nature."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] He Met with Karolos Papoulias Papandreou at Presidential Mansion

    10 Oct 2005 13:39:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Todays discussion between the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, and the president of PASOK, George Papandreou, focused on internal current affairs and the developments in Turkey. "I considered that a meeting with the President of the Hellenic Republic was necessary in order to share with him the anxieties of the Greek citizens over the progress of out national matters, including the Economy, high prices, unemployment, growth prospects, fiscal affairs [] as well as the style and ethics of todays Government," declared PASOK leader George Papandreou upon departing the Presidential Mansion. "Our discussion focused on those matters and I considered it was my obligation to relate to him the things I hear from the Greek citizens," added Mr Papandreou. Earlier, the president of PASOK told the Greek President that he would be visiting Turkey, while he also asked him if he gets the chance to visit his hometown. Mr Papoulias answered, "I have many obligations myself," while he told Mr Papandreou that he will be visiting Cyprus, as it is a trip he considers very important.

    Furthermore, commenting on Mr Papandreous upcoming trip to Turkey, the Greek President said that as of 3 October, the Turkish society started implementing many changes, and the adjustment period would be difficult.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Body of Five-Year-Old Recovered from Sea Macabre Findings in Chalkidiki

    10 Oct 2005 13:53:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Law enforcement agencies in Chalkidiki are on alert, as the body of a young boy, aged between 5 and 6, was recovered yesterday at the sea area of Olympiada. However, it yet remains unknown if the death was due to drowning or murder. As the Port Station of Stratoni announced, the macabre finding was recovered at the sea area of Gourgourou, in Olympiada, were part of the body, from the waist down, was washed ashore. However, experts cannot determine the time of death nor the unfortunate boy's nationality. He was wearing a pair of blue pants, black trainers and purple socks. His body was taken to Papageorgiou Hospital in Thesaloniki, so that doctors can perform an autopsy on it.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [09] Helios Boeing in the Air Again

    10 Oct 2005 13:25:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    The Helios Boeing 737-800, which had made two emergency landings over the past three days, was viewed as airworthy following a flight test on Monday. The airliner took off shortly before noon with Helios, Boeing and Cypriot Civil Aviations engineers on board. The flight was successful and the airliner is expected to fly its scheduled flight to Glasgow early in the evening.

    The decision for the inspection was taken on Monday morning at an emergency meeting chaired by Cypriot Transport Minister Harris Thrassou. Representatives of the Cypriot Civil Aviation Authority and the Legal Service also attended the meeting.

    The first emergency landing was made on Last Monday morning, when shortly after its takeoff from the Larnaca airport an overheating problem in the air conditioning of the passenger cabin was reported.

    The second emergency landing occurred on Sunday morning, when the same problem was reported, despite part of the system having been changed by a Boeing engineer.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Drastic Measures on Helios

    [10] Twenty-Two Stations with Tampered Pumps Gas Stations Fined

    10 Oct 2005 13:21:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    In inspections performed in September in Attica on a total of 267 gas stations with 1,358 pumps, panels from the General Secretariat of Commerce located 22 gas stations, which operated with tampered pumps. As per Deputy Development Minister Giannis Papathanasiou, the spot checks revealed that 22 of the gas stations inspected had 23 defective pumps, which had been tampered with to supply cars with less fuel than recorded on the meters. As a result, consumers paid for more gas than they had actually been supplied with. The 22 owners were referred to the Public Prosecutor, who will decide on their penalties.

    Market-Price Violations in Piraeus

    The Commerce and Tourism Department of the Piraeus Prefect proceeded with inspections in gas stations in the wider Piraeus area from July 5 until September 30 and the findings of the report were rich in violations.

    Only four of the 119 gas stations inspected were not reported for violations. The other 115 were referred for omissions, which oppose the market-price law (like absence of price lists or non updated books) and the competent agency proceeded with the statutory actions.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] Put Police on the Alert Fake Bomber

    10 Oct 2005 13:08:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    He intended to make the difference in a masque ball. He ended up spreading terror in a New Zealand city, instead, and almost got himself behind bars! The man of the story came up with the idea of masquerading as a bomber! Everything went smooth at the party, but he could not get back home, for no cab driver stopped at his call. He decided, therefore, to throw his costume and his fake explosives in a trash bin outside a hotel. The following morning, when a homeless, who was searching the rubbish, found the hot stuff, the police sounded the alarm. Two hotels were evacuated, three blocks were cordoned off, while experts were called to deal with the suspect material. Really upset by the fuss made, the 29-year-old New Zealander went to the nearest police station and confessed. He was lucky, though, for no charges were pressed against him. His hassles, however, are to continue, since at least one of the hotels is considering to file a lawsuit against him.

    Translated by Areti Christou


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