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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-10-11

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Race in the Ruins
  • [02] Battle over the Budget
  • [03] Fully Detailed Answers
  • [04] USA Identifies Minorities in Greece
  • [05] ALPHA TV's Studios Burnt Down
  • [06] Universities Under Lock
  • [07] EFET Fines Seven More
  • [08] Economy Ministry Circular
  • [09] One Step at a Time!
  • [10] Detox for Internet Addicts
  • [11] New Blockade at Press Room
  • [12] Papandreou at Fire Brigade

  • [01] Death Toll in Pakistan Rises to 33,000 Race in the Ruins

    11 Oct 2005 20:50:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Rescue crews are giving a battle against time to locate survivors among the ruins, four days after the deadly 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan. And while the death toll has risen to 33,000, the torrential rains afflicting the northern part of the country are hindering the job of the crews, as they grounded helicopters distributing humanitarian aid and caused mudslides, blocking the roads. At the same time, the danger of epidemics among the 2.5 million who are homeless is imminent. Cases of malaria and other infections have been recorded, mainly due to polluted water and the disintegration of bodies trapped in the ruins. Humanitarian aid cannot reach the more remote areas of India and Pakistan and the locals are condemning the authorities for abandonment. The UN and UNICEF addressed a plea for financial assistance, while a plane carrying humanitarian aid will depart from Greece on Wednesday.

    Locals Enraged

    Torrential rains have been added to the many hassles encountered by the people of Pakistan. The adverse weather conditions are not helping the Pakistani soldiers, or the rescue crews, which have arrived from Dubai, Japan, Switzerland, China and France. At the same time, the survivors are trying to find refuse, while dozens of helicopters loaded with food and medicines remain immobilised at Chaklala air force base.

    In the meantime, on Tuesday, the locals did not welcome the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, who toured the afflicted areas. The citizens of Indian-controlled Kashmir have not received any humanitarian aid yet, while neither local nor foreign support groups have been able to arrive at inaccessible mountainous villages, which have a total population of 12,000.

    The UN asked for the dispensation of $272 million in the next six months. One of the organisations directors, Yvette Stevens, clarified that this amount would be made available for covering emergency needs in northern Pakistan.

    Meanwhile, on Tuesday, UNICEF addressed a plea for the collection of $20 million, in order to deal with the immediate needs of the women and children that have been affected. According to the oprganisations estimates, 50% of those afflicted are children, while 20% of those are under 5. Furthermore, the cold weather and the trauma are worsening the situation. Anyone wishing to offer help can visit UNICEFs official website .

    NATO decided to offer planes and helicopters for the transfer of humanitarian aid. According to an official, a Boeing 707 will depart for Slovenia on Wednesday, in order to transfer basic goods to Pakistan.

    Finally, the American Pentagon announced that it will be sending unmanned recognisance planes and will be providing Pakistan with detailed satellite photos, depicting areas inaccessible to rescuers.

    Greece also Offers Help

    Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis sent letters of condolences to the PMs of Pakistan and India, while he stressed that Greece is prepared to offer assistance.

    In addition, in a letter to the Pakistani Embassy in Athens, Archbishop Christodoulos voiced the support of the Church of Greece.

    The Greek aid mission will depart for Islamabad on Wednesday morning in a C-130 aircraft. The mission includes nine doctors and nurses, as well as tents, medical supplies, blankets and beds. Furthermore, Greece has also offered the services of its local rescue crews.

    During a brief ceremony at Elefsina airport on Tuesday, in view of the missions departure, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianis expressed Greeces support, adding that the country will always participate in those kinds of special missions, aiming at providing relief to people that are suffering from natural disasters. In addition, the Pakistani Ambassador in Athens thanked the State for its support.

    In the meantime, the Pakistani Community of Greece, Unity, called on all bodies to help the Pakistani people. Meanwhile, its President, Javed Aslam, asked the relevant authorities to allow Pakistani refugees living in Greece and who have relatives in the area to visit Pakistan and then be able to return to Greece.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Struggle for Survival

    [02] Alogoskoufis Satisfied after Ecofin Battle over the Budget

    11 Oct 2005 18:21:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    George Alogoskoufis appeared satisfied over the progress of the Greek Economy, despite the international crisis, after the Eurogroup and Ecofin meeting in Luxemburg, where they discussed the consequences to growth and inflation from the increase in the international oil prices. Mr Alogoskoufis repeated the Governments pledge to reduce the deficit to under 3% with the new Budget and the measures that have been implemented. He also presented the priorities of the Economy Ministry, which will focus on structural reforms, combating tax evasion and reducing public expenditures. The Economy Ministers of the 12 Eurozone countries appeared optimistic over the improvement of the economic situation in the next few months, a fact that, as Mr Alogoskoufis noted, will also have some positive effects on Greece. In the meantime, PASOKs section head for Economy, Vaso Papandreou, asked the Government to draw up a new Budget for 2006, while SYN harshly criticised the Budget.

    Criticism from PASOK and SYN

    "It is an anti-growth Budget, since investments return to the 1997 levels, and an unfair Budget, since it burdens the lower income earners, while this is the first time in 12 years that the revenues of employees are actually being reduced," stressed Mrs Papandreou. Furthermore, referring to the securitisation of loans, she noted that it is a procedure provided for by the European framework, but the Budget cannot depend on it.

    Meanwhile, the Opposition section head harshly criticised the Government, underlining that it is returning to the policies and administration of Mr Mitsotakis era with its actions, and concluding that, "The Right-wing does not change."

    "PASOKs members have to provide explanations to the Greek people for their actions, instead of acting as prosecutors," responded in its announcement the Ministry of Economy and Finance, adding, "The fiscal deficit will be reduced from 6.6% to 3.6% of the GNP this year, ie by three percentile units, while the 2006 Budget provides for a further reduction to 2.8% next year. Meanwhile, the growth rate is expected to reach 3.6%, while unemployment dropped by one percentile unit this year."

    Commenting on Alogoskoufis statements, SYNs member responsible for Economic and Social Policy, Panagiotis Lafazanis, spoke of optimism that has nothing to do with reality. He also added, "Even with or without the securitisation alchemies, the 2006 Budget will prove once again fake, and what is worst, it is a Budget of austerity for salaries and pensions and a new tax burden for the people."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [03] Papandreou Hosts Luncheon for Reporters Fully Detailed Answers

    11 Oct 2005 17:56:00 (Last updated: 11 Oct 2005 23:00:04)

    By Annita Paschalinou

    George Papandreou provided some interesting answers on current affairs, during a luncheon he hosted for reporters. The discussion focused on foreign policy, opinion polls, the possibility of early elections, as well as party matters. The leader of PASOK accused the government of incompetence in the issue with FYROM and the European-Turkish relations, while he appeared prepared for early elections. In addition, he criticised the political scene, noting that PASOK is moving ahead, while the government is being corrupted. According to information, government circles commented, "Mr Papandreous divisive and biased statements today, especially when those touch on sensitive national matters, are alarming samples of political irresponsibility." PASOKs spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis responded by saying, "They are hiding behind their anonymity, in order to voice provocative nonsense," while he urged government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopulos to take responsibility for the statement, so that he can receive the proper response.

    Referendum and Veto

    George Papandreou accused the Government of incompetence in Foreign Policy.

    Specifically, on the issue of FYROM and the possibility of a referendum, he declared, "If the Government is seriously thinking about it, then it is irresponsible, because is cannot shift its responsibilities to the citizens."

    However, he noted that if this is being done in the context of a negotiating tactic, then it is a good move, just as long as it does not lead to a deadend.

    Asked to comment on the EUs veto to FYROMs accession, he declared that it would only apply if FYROM sticks to the name Republic of Macedonia.

    He noted, though, that it looks like the country will be acceding with its current name, FYROM.

    Harsh Tongue for Karamanlis

    The leader of PASOK harshly criticised the Greek Prime Minister, who, as he said, is responsible for the Governments actions.

    "I understand NDs effort to protect Mr Karamanlis, however, he is not oblivious to responsibility."

    "He does not deal with major issues, and when does, he makes a mess. Although he is fairly young, he has conservative views."

    Opinion Polls and Early Elections

    Referring to the latest opinion polls, he noted that PASOK is moving ahead, while the Government is being corrupted.

    "The Greek society has started listening to PASOK with interest. The river is running, we are moving ahead, but we should not be in a hurry," he said, criticising some opinion polls. Asked to comment on the possibility of early elections, he declared that he is prepared.

    Party Matters

    Referring to matters within PASOK, and specifically everything that happened at the latest political council, he stressed that differing opinions constitute a security valve for every leader, so that he can make the right decisions.

    "The party asks that we discuss the major issues," he pointed out, noting, "The citizens reject personal strategies and personal clashes."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Papandreou at Fire Brigade

    [04] Athens Issues Letter of Protest USA Identifies Minorities in Greece

    11 Oct 2005 21:43:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Athens sent a letter of protest to Washington, following statements concerning the infringement of rights of minorities in Greece. The statements in question regarding the repression of minorities in Greece were made recently by the US Undersecretary of State, Nicholas Burns, and the American Ambassador to OSCE. The Greek Foreign Ministrys spokesperson, Girogos Koumoutsakos, announced that the Ministrys general secretary, Charalambos Rokanas, handed the letter earlier to the American Ambassador in Athens, Charles Reese, while the Greek Ambassador in Washington will be doing the same.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Causes Remain Unknown Major Damages ALPHA TV's Studios Burnt Down

    11 Oct 2005 20:37:00 (Last updated: 11 Oct 2005 22:53:41)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    A fire that broke out in the afternoon at a building in Rentis housing studios of ALPHA TV station and the station POLIS, which was to begin broadcasting its new programme in a few days, was put out around 9pm. A strong firefighting force, constituting of 20 fire engines and 60 firemen, gave a tough battle to control the situation. The fire broke out a little after 7pm, during the taping of Greek artist Lakis Lazopoulos show, in the basement of the building. According to ALPHA stations executive Johnny Kalimeris, the fire started just a few metres from the studio where Mr Lazopoulos was standing in and spread to the rest of the building, reaching the fourth floor in just a few seconds. As per the first estimates, all the studios, where some of the stations most popular shows were taped, have been completely destroyed. Employees entered the burning building, putting their lives in danger, to save tapes and archives. Unfortunately, they were not able to save Fidel, reporter Makis Triantafyllopoulos parrot-mascot, which appeared on all of his shows. One firefighter was injured, while the damages to the station are immense. Fire engines remain on site, in case the fire rekindles. The causes remain unknown, while the Fire Department is conducting a preliminary investigation.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] On Wednesday Universities Under Lock

    11 Oct 2005 19:48:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: ANA

    Universities throughout Greece will remain closed on Wednesday, owing to a 24-hour strike announced by university personnel, protesting against the financial problems in Higher Education. In its announcement, the Panhellenic University Union of Teaching and Research Personnel (POSDEP) accused the Education Ministry of "institutional attacks", as it introduces institutions and procedures that abolish every facet of university studies. Meanwhile, the university personnel condemned the recognition of degrees and professional rights from private colleges, while, commenting on the upgrading of seminaries, they spoke of "a turn towards the Middle Ages."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Businesses Face Public Prosecutor and Hefty Fines EFET Fines Seven More

    11 Oct 2005 14:48:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Seven food businesses, which were inspected by EFET (Central Food Control Agency) panels, are called to pay 67,000 euros in fines for violating food sanitation and safety regulations. The fines vary from 3,000 to 20,000 euros and were imposed on six businesses in Northern Greece (five in Thessaloniki and one in Chalkidiki) and one in Attica (Megara). Apart from the hefty fines, violators have also been referred by EFET to the Public Prosecutor.

    Fines and Violations

    20,000-euro fine on D. Masoutis (food market, 110 M. Kalidou, Kalamaria) for distributing unsafe products, infected by a biological agent. The products were confiscated and destroyed.

    20,000-euro fine on ARTI SA (trade and distribution of food, Nea Peramos, Megara), for deviations in applying sanitary regulations, bad and unsuitable food. The products were confiscated and destroyed.

    10,000-euro fine on restaurant "GEFSI TIS KINAS" (Kalamaria, 9 Kalapotharaki street) for possessing quantities of meat, which had been improperly frozen. Some of the products were unsafe and therefore confiscated.

    7,000-euro fine on restaurant AFYTIS (at a hotel in Chalkidiki) for sanitary violations.

    4,000-euro fine on bakery DELIGIANNAKIS (Thessaloniki, 83 Karakasi street) for violating sanitation regulations.

    3,000-euro fine on OUZOUNIS company (bottling of olive and seed oil, 76 Makedonias street, Thessaloniki) for violating sanitation regulations

    3,000-euro fine on ALFA-DELTA SA food market (Thessaloniki, 18 Gianni Angelou street) for distributing food not fit for consumption.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [08] For Heating Oil Economy Ministry Circular

    11 Oct 2005 14:36:00

    By Anna Kourti

    The Economy Ministrys circular, which will include all the details for the distribution of heating oil will be made public on Wednesday. According to information, the building managers will not have to submit to the tax office a declaration with the quantities of heating oil that were consumed, but would have to hold on to the invoices for at least 3 years. At the same item, the sellers will be solely responsible for electronically submitting to the tax office lists with the invoices and the receipts they have issued to building managers, homeowners and renters. Heating oil with lower tax rates will start being distributed as of next Monday. The price is expected to range around 0.57 euros per litres for large cities and slightly higher for rural areas.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    Ministry of Development

    Ministry of Economy and Finance

    [09] One Step at a Time!

    11 Oct 2005 15:04:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    There was a multitude of topics in the Press Conference Otto Rehhagel gave today for tomorrows match against Georgia. The German coach was determined to speak only for the match, but reporters were determined to get an answer whether he would stay or not. Originally, Rehhagel gave one small answer to their persistent questions, "I have not made up my mind yet," but later on he stressed, "The most important thing right now is tomorrows match. We need to reduce are mistakes to the minimum. This is what we should be talking about. My contract expires on 31/12, not after Wednesdays game against Georgia. There is plenty of time ahead. We should not take the second step before having taken the first. The most important thing right now is the upcoming match."

    I Want to Thank the People!

    Rehhagel also referred to the people and fans for whom he said, "I want to thank the people in Greece and Athens. Wherever they saw me they were very friendly, I was in a very warm atmosphere. It is amazing when they want to keep you somewhere, when they don't want you to leave. We are living in a democratic country and we can make decisions. I need to make my decisions, but I need more time. I will first talk with the President and then we'll see."

    Everybody in the Delegation

    Back to the match now, the German coach underlined that injuries and absences due to cards do not leave much room for questions, since none of the players at his disposal would remain off the delegation. "The stadium will be packed and we have an obligation towards the people. We want to win the match with Georgia. We have had some setbacks, like with penalised Giannakopoulos, Kyrgiakos and Karagounis and injured Dellas and Charisteas. We are waiting for today's training and then see what happens. As for Fyssas, he will not play. So, the remaining 18 will form the delegation and hence there is no need of leaving someone out."

    He Makes the Decisions

    Questions concerning his stay in the team were few but to the point. As for Tsiartas, Rehhagel stressed, "Even when Tsiartas played, we did not score that much. We make the roster and lineup in the way we think is best. Tsiartas needs to find a team and I really don't understand why he can't find a Greek team to play in." As for Basinas, he said, "Basinas is a player running all the 90 minutes and tries hard for the team. He plays as I want him to play. I make the decisions and I don't have to explain each and everyone of them."

    Inviting the People

    Closing, Otto Rehhagel invited Greek fans to attend the match and support the Greek footballers. "You should all come to the match," he said and added, "There will be eleven players doing their best to claim victory. I want to thank all the Greeks for their support. The matches lost were lost because of personal mistakes. We were never full and could not use the lineup of Portugal. I couldn't use the players I had in mind."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] First Special Clinic in China Detox for Internet Addicts

    11 Oct 2005 12:06:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: BBC, China Daily

    The several problems China has occasionally encountered with regard to Internet are well known. Excessive freedom of expression and movement of ideas are some of the problems that the Chinese government fights with shutting down sites and Internet cafes. However, China has to face yet another major problem, which no one would perceive in the past. Chinese people are logging on every day by thousands, while the Internet users have soared past many millions, regardless of the censorship and the severe banning implemented in the country. The rise in personal wealth can account for this new reality China experiences. However, the Chinese users seem to have gone off limits, and many of them have developed an addiction that requires psychological treatment.

    More Than 2.5 Millions Need Help

    The Internet addiction is not only a Chinese problem, however, the news that the Asian country with a population that amounts to 1.3 billions has established a detox clinic for Internet addicts made the headlines worldwide. The majority of the addicts are young people, who surf the net to chat or to play games.

    As per Internet addicts, who have already attended the detox programme, they realised they had develop an addiction only after the endless hours they spent online had dramatic changes in their lives. It was then that they were convinced to check in the first clinic specialised in such cases.

    The clinic started operating last March and also provides detox programmes with drug addicts and alcoholics.

    The two-week detox programme includes medical treatment, psychological therapy, and daily workouts. The latter part of the programme is viewed as absolutely necessary, since most of the patients spent hours in front of the computer screen.

    Dr Tao Ran, head of the clinic stated that the problem in China has gone off limits, for more than 20 million Chinese young people log on the Internet every day, with 2.5 millions of them being addicted.

    Twelve-Year-Old Addicts

    China Daily put down the outbreak of this unusual addiction to the sharp economic growth the country enjoys and went on to say that young people resort to the clinic at the early age of 12.

    Dr Ran pointed out that these children encounter problems at school, while they develop depression, aggressiveness and sleeping disorders.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] Second Day without Briefing New Blockade at Press Room

    11 Oct 2005 15:41:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Employees at the Press and Communication Offices broke their strike, after blocking the Press Room for the second day running, protesting for their unfulfilled financial demands. Thodoris Roussopoulos described the collective actions as unreasonable, since, as he said, although the employees are aware of the fact that the current Government has been long fulfilling their demands for special allowances, they continue exposing themselves and creating wrong impressions to the citizens. "Naturally, everyone wonders what or who is hiding behind those actions," he added.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Blocking Information

    [12] Informed on Fire Fighting Means Papandreou at Fire Brigade

    11 Oct 2005 12:15:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    This morning, PASOK President George Papandreou visited the centres of operations of the Fire Brigade in Chalandri on the occasion of the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. The leader of the Main Opposition was given the grand tour of the Centre for Forest Fires by Fire Brigade Chief Christos Smetis and was informed on the results of the non-fire season. Mr Papandreou also visited the Centre for Urban Fires. The Fire Brigade Chief informed Mr Papandreou on the shortage of personnel. Mr Papandreou said the Fire Brigade is a model state agency, while Mr Smetis gave him a collectors' firemen hat. The PASOK president was escorted by Miltiadis Papaioannou.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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