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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-10-20

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] EU Reassures
  • [02] Train Derailment
  • [03] Provocation Against Varvitsiotis
  • [04] Papandreou Attacks the Government
  • [05] Dispute over Turkey Samples
  • [06] Achilleas Zisis has Resigned
  • [07] Kokkalis' Bank Accounts Opened
  • [08] Saddam's Nephew Arrested
  • [09] Endless Violence in Iraq
  • [10] Meeting over Budget
  • [11] Invitation to Investors
  • [12] Aliakmonas Accident Trial Started
  • [13] Mysterious Abduction

  • [01] Extremely Low Risk of Pandemic EU Reassures

    20 Oct 2005 20:59:00 (Last updated: 20 Oct 2005 23:21:06)

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The danger of an avian influenza pandemic is extremely low as per the estimation of the EUs Health Ministers and experts that convened in London to go over the situation in various European countries. Greek Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Konstantopoulos, who participated in the Summit, underlined there has been a communication problem, as it was never clarified there are three different types of flu, and people panicked. Mr Konstantopoulos also underlined the EU will launch a better communication policy so that citizens are properly informed and remain calm. What is more, the EU Health Minister agreed to establish a steering centre and a solidarity fund with a capital of 1 billion euros, in order to cover the needs that could emerge in various countries because of the bird flu. Mr Konstantopoulos went on to say that the Health Ministers would apply pressure on pharmaceutical companies to increase vaccine and "Tamiflu" production. At the same time, the Health Ministers decided to create "strategic" drug reserves for the avian flu. The matter will be discussed next Wednesday at the European Council meeting. At the same time, the Veterinary Committee, which convened in Brussels, decided to take new measures against the avian influenza. In particular, EU veterinarians agreed to ban the concentration of birds in markets or exhibitions, without prior approval, while they urged Member-States to take measures so that flocks of birds would not access poultry food. What is more, they also suggested the vaccination of birds in zoos and ban their trade without prior permission.

    All Countries on Alert

    In the meantime, a wide-ranging meeting was held on Thursday at the Economy Ministry to take measures for supporting poultry units in Greece. Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias, Deputy Rural Development Minister Alekos Kontos, Deputy Employment Minister Nikos Angelopoulos and poultry breeder representatives also took part in the meeting.

    In addition, the results from the lab tests on the turkey samples from Oinouses, which was sent to London, were negative. More tests will follow; even though scientists clarified the results will be negative. At the same time, EU experts held an autopsy in Oinouses, while they are also expected to visit the special centres in Athens and Thessaloniki.

    Poultry breeders asked the Government to take financial measures (ie, loans etc), to regulate their annual contributions, to postpone bird hunting in the highly dangerous zones and promote the preparation of a wild birds monitoring plan. Competent bodies stressed they will re-examine these demands, after the relevant economic-technical studies will have been submitted. In fact, Mr Kontos said that Greece has asked for compensation from the EU.

    However, security measures remain strict in Greece, as well as in the rest of Europe, especially after the news that a farmer in Thailand died because of the bird flu.

    What is more, the Ukrainian Parliament imposed a six-month moratorium in poultry imports after the news that neighbouring counties, such as Russia and Romania, also have avian influenza cases.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Turkey Sample Not Infected

    [02] Infant Underwent Surgery Train Derailment

    20 Oct 2005 13:21:00 (Last updated: 20 Oct 2005 21:59:48)

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    The injured from the derailment of an InterCity train amount to 13, with an eight-month old infant being among them. The accident occurred toady, at the station of Adendro, a village near Sindos, Thessaloniki. Eight fire engines with 24 firefighters rushed to the accident scene and managed to extinguish the fire that had broken out in one of the trains compartments. The IC71 OSE InterCity train carrying 140 passengers was en route from Alexandroupolis to Athens with a stopover in Thessaloniki. The injured were transferred to Heppocrateion and Papageorgiou hospitals in Thessaloniki, while the infant has suffered a comminuted fracture on the head and underwent surgery in ACHEPA hospital. The baby is in a critical condition, but the doctors reassure everything is under complete control. The rest of the passengers on board the train are safe and sound and OSE (Hellenic Railways Association) has employed buses to facilitate them. As per the first estimations, the accident was provoked by the drivers fault.

    Due to High Speed

    The accident occurred at about 12:30 at midday a few metres before it reached the station of Adendro, when the train attempted to enter a by-pass. As per the first estimations, the driver tried to enter the station at a much higher speed and four compartments derailed. The passengers got out in good time, while two of them were pulled to safety by OSE staff, who rushed to help. OSE officials and experts are on their way to the site to launch a probe into the causes of the accident.

    OSE has employed buses to facilitate the passengers, who were travelling with the Alexandroupolis-Thessaloniki-Athens route, towards both destinations, and as OSE announced, they will depart to their destinations as planned, by bus, since the rail lines have sustained minor damages.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [03] Athens Condemned Turkish Action Provocation Against Varvitsiotis

    20 Oct 2005 14:29:00 (Last updated: 20 Oct 2005 15:47:01)

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA, NET, NET 105.8

    Athens strongly reacted to the provocative behaviour of Turkish authorities to not allow entrance in the country, of head of the New Democracy European Parliamentarians Giannis Varvitsiotis. It is noted that the EU MP arrived in Istanbul, from Brussels, in order to participate in the 9th Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Parliamentary Group of the European Peoples Party-European Democrats. The authorities stated that his European Parliamentarian passport was invalid. The Turkish authorities allowed entrance to Mr Varvitsiotis three hours later, after feverish actions by the Greek authorities. Furthermore, the head of the New Democracy EU MPs paid an entrance fee, while he was forced to return to the airport, as the Turkish authorities had forgotten to stamp his passport. Mr Varvitsiotis described the Turkish stance as unacceptable and stated that it does not befit Turkeys accession efforts in the greater European family.

    Athens and EU People's Party's Condemnation

    "These actions cast shadows on the Turkey, on the eve of a great event such as the 9th Dialogue, which among others, is aimed at displaying Turkeys European character," he said. "This behaviour does not befit the operation of a country which wishes to access the EU," stated Foreign Ministry spokesperson Giorgos Koumoutsakos to NET 105.8. on his part, government spokesperson Thodoris Rousopoulos mentioned that all the necessary actions were taken and the issue resolved.

    In an announcement, the European Peoples Party condemned as unacceptable the behaviour of Turkish authorities against Giannis Varvitsiotis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] Over the Utilisation of the Information Society Papandreou Attacks the Government

    20 Oct 2005 18:07:00 (Last updated: 20 Oct 2005 21:19:57)

    By Vicky Keleri

    PASOK President George Papandreou visited the headquarters of the Information Society and was informed by the board and employees on the companys contribution to the know-how both in the public and private sector. Mr Papandreou said that the company is making a huge effort to elevate Greece on a European level, an effort which PASOK is totally supporting. "The Information Society invests in the people, facilitating citizens in their transactions with Public Services, focusing on transparency, without corruption and bureaucracy," he stressed. At the same time, he criticised the Government, because as he said, it does not make use of the companys potential. In fact, the PASOK president supported that 150 million euros have been lost so far. What is more, he voiced fears that other resources could also be lost. Internal Affairs Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on the matter, "Despite the usual barren criticism, this time Mr Papandreou could neither ignore the work produced by the Information Society S.A. nor avoid seeing the huge difference of growth rate today in comparison to the past, when PASOK was governing."

    "Twice as Much Work"

    As per the Minister, it is widely acknowledged that within a year and a half, the company has produced twice as much work in relation to the period 2001-2004.

    "Hence, the dangers Mr Papandreou is referring to and which the company is now successfully dealing with, appeared during PASOK's governing. Why was not Mr Papandreou worried then and why couldnt he foresee the potential he just came to discover?" added Mr Pavlopoulos.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Criticism by Papandreou and Alavanos Dispute over Turkey Samples

    20 Oct 2005 15:54:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA, NET, NET 105.8

    The Presidents of PASOK George Papandreou and Synaspismos Alekos Alavanos, criticised the governments handling on the case of the turkey samples from Oinousses. In his statements, Mr Papandreou spoke of irresponsibility and lack of seriousness on the governments part, while Mr Alavanos claimed, "we have reached a comical point." "Other countries are trying to convince that they have not been infected by the avian flu, while we are globally announcing that it has arrived in Greece, without even being sure," he stated. Furthermore, the Synaspismos President stated "the situation cannot be described by politicians or journalists anymore. A good scriptwriter and a cast of comedians are needed."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] From President of the Judges and Prosecutors Union Achilleas Zisis has Resigned

    20 Oct 2005 16:16:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA, NET 105.8

    The Vice President of the Supreme Court and President of the Judges and Prosecutors Union, Achilleas Zisis, has submitted his resignation, while the question of final dismissal, demanded by Minister of Justice Anastasis Papaligouras from the High Disciplinary Council, is still pending.

    It is reminded that Achilleas Zisis has been charged of breach of law on the financial audit of declaration of assets, but mainly of the breach of duty, in relation to interference to his inferiors on the account and favour of Kostas Avramidis and the Tsitsirigos brothers.

    After Achilleas Zisis resignation, the Administrative Council of the Judges and Prosecutors Union has been called to elect a new President. Today, it convened unscheduled, as it unanimously accepted the resignation, while the issue of his succession was postponed, due to many absences. Mr Zisis, who spoke of a systematic attack against him, will remain a Council member. In the meantime, the Supreme Court has dismissed First Instance Judge Aspasia Basta, due to insufficient service, as she is being accused of participation in the extra-judicial ring. The basic defendants of the case are also dismissed First Instance Judge Antonia Ilia, and remnant prisoner Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] To Investigate of Any Fraud Crimes Kokkalis' Bank Accounts Opened

    20 Oct 2005 12:19:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    The Appellate Court has given the green light for the opening of businessman Sokratis Kokkalis bank accounts in Switzerland, in order to investigate fraud crimes, for which the Russian National Sports Institution, on the operation of LOTTO game, has accused the businessman. Questioned on the issue, Minister of Justice Anastasis Papaligouras, after his meeting with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, noted that in the context of speeding up the administration of Justice and the securing of the departments clean up, all pending cases are proceeding. "No one is above the law," stated Mr Papaligouras.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [08] Accused of Financing Insurgents Saddam's Nephew Arrested

    20 Oct 2005 13:21:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Iraqi security forces arrested Saddam Husseins nephew Yasser Sabawi on charges of financing insurgents ready to mount attacks against civilians and government officials. Son of Saddams half brother, Sabawi was arrested on Wednesday during a protest in favour of the ousted former Iraqi leader in Tikrit. "He was seen distributing money to incite violence," national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told Al Arabiya TV network. "He is listed among those who bring in funds to finance acts of terror in the north and northeast of Iraq," he concluded.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Saddam's Trial Adjourned

    [09] Attacks Against US Soldiers Endless Violence in Iraq

    20 Oct 2005 09:45:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Four US soldiers were killed and five more were wounded on Wednesday night in attacks mounted north of Baghdad, reported US army officials. Three men were also killed and one was wounded when a bomb set off near the town of Balad, 70 km north of the Iraqi capital. Further north near Tikrit, another soldier died and four were wounded when their vehicle was attacked. Wednesday. The aforementioned losses have raised the death toll to 1,979 US soldiers, who have been killed in battles and accidents after the US invasion in Iraq in March 2003. Since last Saturday, when the referendum on the Iraqi Constitution was held, 12 US soldiers have been killed. In the meantime, on Thursday morning, a mortar hit an oil pipeline transferring oil to Turkey. The mortar detonated near the village of Al Bazi, 60km west of Kirkuk, and caused a fire. As per an Iraqi official, there no victims were reported, however, the transfer of black gold to Turkey was disrupted until the fire was finally put out.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [10] DEKO and VAT Bills On Final Stretch Meeting over Budget

    20 Oct 2005 16:56:00 (Last updated: 20 Oct 2005 21:09:47)

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA, NET, NET 105.8

    This morning, the Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis met with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. The course of the economy, in view of the budgets draft bill review by the European Commission, was at the focus of the two-hour meeting. In his statement after the meeting, Mr Alogoskoufis announced that until the end of the year, two basic bills concerning DEKO and the VAT implementation on newly constructed buildings, will be advanced. It is noted that the Minister has stated that all changes in assets taxation, will be implemented as planned, by 1/1/2006. In the meantime, replying to a relevant question on whether scandalous statements are affecting the economy he stated, "these statements do not concern the government."

    Redistribution Favouring the Wealthy

    During a Press Conference, SYRIZA Parliamentarian Giannis Dragasakis spoke of a budget that "increases inequalities and non-transparency without reducing deficits, but simply covering them or transferring them to the future." He also said the State should regain control (up to 51%) of certain banks and other public enterprises, which have been privatised, but are of strategic importance and reinforce the viability of social security, as a defence means against foreign groups aiming at buying them out.

    As for Panagiotis Lafazanis, SYN Head of Economic and Social Policy, he stressed that the budget is hard on salaries and pensions and broadens social inequalities, while downsizing social expenses. Mr Lafazanis said the salaried and pensioners will pay a lot more taxes in 2006.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] Sioufas' Speech at Economist Convention Invitation to Investors

    20 Oct 2005 12:20:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    While opening the proceedings of the Economist convention, held in Athens, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas called on Greek and foreign companies to invest in Greece. The Minister stressed that Greece has upgraded its infrastructure, has modernised its institutional framework and has shortened the processes promoting big investing plans. At the same time, he referred to the Olympic real estate, tourism, energy, informatics and shipping, describing them as areas of great investing interest, as there are many opportunities for consortiums and collaborations aiming to utilise the Olympic and tourist real estate, as well as port facilities. Furthermore, Mr Sioufas announced that the Bills regarding the deregulation of the electric energy and natural gas markets would be submitted to Parliament next week, while a new framework for licensing commercial and tourist businesses will be submitted for adoption soon enough. He also said there would be a new zoning plan for the establishment of renewable energy source units and creation of tourist zones.

    It should be noted that on Wednesday Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis presented the new law on foreign companies, which provides for the abolition of tariff motives and changes in the taxation, aiming to attract investors.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] First Statements by Witnesses Aliakmonas Accident Trial Started

    20 Oct 2005 13:11:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    In the presence of the victims families, the trial has started on the multi-fatality road accident in February 2003, in the Aliakmonas River Bridge with a KTEL bus. The hearing started shortly after 9am, with the recognition of documents, and continued with the first statements by witnesses. The courtroom ha been filled by black-dressed women, relatives and friends of the 16 victims, while strict security measures have been taken, with the presence of policemen in the room and hallways of the third floor of the Court Mansion.

    Facing Trial

    The driver of the lorry truck, which was ahead of the bus, is facing trial accused of making a dangerous manoeuvre, which resulted in the bus crashing onto the protective rails of the bridge in Aliakmonas, and following falling in the river.

    The driver is also accused of driving under the influence of narcotics, while the owner of the lorry truck is also a codefendant.

    Furthermore, the two owners of the KTEL bus, which was en route from Thessaloniki to Athens, are also facing trial.

    Two decisions of the Thessaloniki One-Member First Instance Court have been issued, which ordered the compensation of the 16 victims relatives of the road accident. In particular, the Thessaloniki KTEL and the Northern Greece and Thessaly Insurance Co-ops of Professional Public Use Vehicles will have to pay 100,000-euro compensation for every parent, 70,000 euros for every sibling and 20,000 euros for every grandfather or grandmother.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [13] Abducted by Romanians in Lisbon Mysterious Abduction

    20 Oct 2005 12:56:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    A 55-year-old businessman from Rethymno, Crete, after his abduction last Saturday, in Lisbon, will soon be returning to his home. The abductee, a hotel owner in Plakia, arrived in the Portuguese capital to sign an agreement with representatives of a tourist company, who wished to rent his hotel for three months. However, the representatives were seven Romanians who abducted the man asking for 100,000-euro ransom. The businessman contacted his wife, who in cooperation with the Police, the Portuguese authorities and Interpol, deposited 5,000 euros in a bank account. On Tuesday, the Portuguese authorities arrested three men and one woman, upon their exit from a bank with the ransom. Following investigations, two more Romanians were arrested, while another is being sought after. The 55-year-old man is safe from harm, while the Portugeuse authorities are investigating the event that the abductors have been involved in similar cases in the past.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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