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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-11-03

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Reduction Without Measures
  • [02] Child Pornography at Focus
  • [03] Pitt Jolie Marriage Fictional
  • [04] Campaign on Expensiveness
  • [05] "Problem with MPs 'Incompatibility Issue'"
  • [06] Support to Poultry Breeders
  • [07] Supreme Court Showed the Door Again
  • [08] New Programme for the Unemployed
  • [09] Radio Bark-Miaow
  • [10] For the New Collective Contract
  • [11] "Proceed With Reforms"
  • [12] President's Issue is Over
  • [13] Meeting with Karamanlis-Tsiartsionis
  • [14] Firemen Demonstrate

  • [01] Aiming at a 2.6% Deficit Reduction Without Measures

    03 Nov 2005 13:42:00 (Last updated: 03 Nov 2005 20:32:12)

    The Greek Economy Ministry is directed at reducing the deficit to 2.6% in 2006 compared to 6.6% in 2004, read the fiscal progress report that was submitted to the European Commission on Thursday. Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis also argued that the structural measures of permanent nature are to account for the reduction in deficit by 3.5% and not any additional tax measures. The measures include curtailing tax evasion, furthering privatisations, cutting primary expenditures, enhancing revenues and limiting the public investment programme. "Achieving such an adjustment accompanied with growth and reduction in unemployment is extremely rare in the EU," underlined the Economy Minister and added that the structural changes are the governments top priority. "The myth of the first trustworthy and honest budget collapses," commented PASOK Parliamentarian Vaso Papandreou, while SYN described the fiscal progress as "fictional."

    Cuts in Securitizations

    As soon as the huge deficit hidden by the previous government was surfaced, reducing it below 3% became the governments top concern, commented government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos and concluded, "This goal will be mainly achieved through to the structural changes and reforms the government is working on."

    Besides, the Economy Ministry is directed at making significant cuts in the securitization of the debts to the state. Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced that this years securitization, which is to be assessed in January by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), will stand at 1.5 billion euros compared to the initial 1.8 billion forecast.

    The 2006 securitisation will also be reduced to 1 billion euros as opposed to the initial forecast that spoke of 2 billion euros. Cuts in costs and rise in revenues are to cover the difference, claimed Mr Alogoskoufis.

    Finally, he said that the 2006 privatisations will amount to 1.6 billion euros and ruled out the implementation of no new tax measures.

    "We proceed with securitization and reforms to limit the deficit hidden by the previous government," underlined Mr Roussopoulos, adding that income securitization for 2005 was implemented, thus proving wrong all those who supported the opposite. "We will see if this will be the case for 2006," concluded the Government spokesperson.

    Harsh Criticism by the Opposition

    "The country is being continuously slandered and employees and pensioners are forced to carry their own cross," supported PASOK Parliamentarian Vaso Papandreou, foreseeing that the Government will be forced to proceed with new emergency tax measures.

    Commenting Alogoskoufis statements, Mrs Papandreou noted the need to change the economic policy, "otherwise the country will pay for it and the economy would be lead to depression."

    On his part, PASOK Economy steerer Giorgos Floridis stated that the motion of censure against the Minister of Economy still stands by the Main Opposition Party, and accused Mr Alogoskoufis of returning to the Mitsotakis Governments policies, in which he was a main member.

    In a Press release, the Ministry of Economy accused PASOK of misinformation, demagogy and dangerous talk. Among others, the Ministry referred that the Government is proceeding with the clean up of Economy, with a sense of responsibility and in accord with the EU, "an effort which has specific and visible results," while it stated that the PASOK Governments, as per the European Statistical Service, dramatically increased the tax burdening of Greeks from 32.6% of the GDP, in 1995, to 36.2% of the GDP in 2003.

    "Instead of continuing the delirium on the past, it would be wise if he assumed his responsibilities for now," replied Mrs Papandreou.

    "The attack against the peoples rights and incomes is pre-decided, concerns all Member-States and is not a result of the fact that the Commission did not approve of the securitising alchemies," referred KKE in its announcement, accusing the Government of speedily promoting anti-popular community directions of privatisations, taxation and shrinkage of incomes, as well as the cut of community expenditures.

    SYN Parliamentarian Panagiotis Lafazanis supported, "The Government is preparing to launch an even harsher attack on peoples incomes, accompanied by a new tax raid, which will get worse if the EU does not approve the logistic alchemy of securitising due debts to the Public Sector," and asked of "a large front of employees to defy the Governments policies and the new-liberal bipartisan consensus."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [02] New Bill Soon Submitted to Parliament Child Pornography at Focus

    03 Nov 2005 14:06:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Those distributing child pornography material on the Internet will be penalized with hefty fines and imprisonment, as per the new reforms of the Justice Ministry Bill to be soon submitted to Parliament. Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras presented the new reforms in Parliament today, responding to a question posed by ND Parliamentarian Giannis Ioannidis. "The distribution of pornographic material with children has taken the dimensions of a global plague and presents features of organized crime. We have the obligation to protect the children, our children, from this threat," underlined the Minister. He also described the Bill as "an effective tool" to combat the phenomenon. "We modernized our legal framework, so it can live up to the present conditions and be ahead of developments," he added. What is more, the Bill provides for a 2-year imprisonment and fines ranging from 50,000 to 300,000 euros for distributing child pornographic material on the Internet.

    Protecting Minors

    For distributing pornographic material without using the Internet, the penalty provides one year of imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 euros.

    What is more, the penalty for child pornography for professional reasons provides for up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 euros.

    If serious injuries are caused during the act of child pornography the penalty is at least 10 years of imprisonment and 100,000 to 500,000 euro-fine.

    To protect minors, the Bill also provides for:

    The appointment of an attorney for victims of child prostitution and pornography.

    Contribution of child psychologist or child psychiatrist during interrogation.

    Psycho-diagnostic examination and treatment of the victim and the perpetrator.

    What is more, it is forbidden to publicise any incidents that could reveal the identity of the underage victim, while the victim does not have to appear in court in person, as their testimony could be substituted by the use of audiovisual means.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Brad Pitt's Manager Refuted Article Pitt Jolie Marriage Fictional

    03 Nov 2005 12:04:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Brad Pitt's environment refuted a Daily Star article, as per which the couple (Pitt-Jolie) exchanged vows of eternal love during a Buddhist ceremony. The actor's manager said on BBC that the picture used by the newspaper in the relevant article was from the motion picture "Mr and Mrs Smith", where Pitt and Jolie co-starred. Rumours have it that the two stars are a couple since the making of the movie. However, both of them categorically deny the existence of a love affair. Brad Pitt divorced Jennifer Aniston in the beginning of the year, after four years of marriage.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Campaign on Expensiveness

    03 Nov 2005 18:28:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA, NET

    A campaign against expensiveness entitled "Active Citizens Against Expensiveness," is organised by PASOK on coming Saturday, as the Secretary of the party, Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, and the Chief of Development, Competitiveness and Consumer Policy, Anna Diamantopoulou, announced on Thursday. 5,000 members and 410 panels of the party will participate in the campaign. Mrs Xenogiannakopoulou spoke of a full weakness of the Government to fight expensiveness, while Mrs Diamantopoulou stated that the Economy leadership is trapped in the fictitious reality of numbers. "The Government has a virtual reality, and is unable to understand what is going on in the market and the citizens at this time," she stated, adding that the campaign "does not simply have the dimension of an anti-governmental policy, but wants to include the active citizen and active consumer who play an important role in fighting expensiveness, and surely understanding the citizen."

    The Development Ministry's Reply

    "We thank PASOK on its initiative to remind us of its failed policies," replied the leadership of the Ministry of Development adding, "Thus the Greek people can compare, judge and conclude that today, in comparison to the non-existence of checks in markets and the non-imposing of fines by its Governments, with the implementation of operation rules of the market with a series of measures and actions, competitiveness is reinforced continually, checks are intensified in the market for its smooth operation, fines are imposed and increased, and profiteering countered."

    Moreover, the Ministry added that the Government never claimed that there is no inexpensiveness and concluded: "All efforts being made are aimed at expensiveness moving with the inflation rate. The continuous concern of the new Government and the political leadership of the Ministry of Development is the citizen and the consumer."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Statement by the Speaker of Parliament "Problem with MPs 'Incompatibility Issue'"

    03 Nov 2005 15:29:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Speaker of Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki described the Constitutions executive bill, which designated the incompatibility issue for MPs, as uncompromising. Speaking on NETs show "I Alli Opsi", Mrs Benaki noted that the aforementioned bill continually creates problems, while she supported a review of the Constitution in order to resolve the issue. "There should be security, since the MP is exposed to many and unfair indictments and persecutions, and we have to take security measures in order to stop it; outside of the strictly political context," claimed Mrs Benaki. "This issue concerning Mrs Benaki has not been discussed with the government," answered government spokesperson Thodoris Rousopoulos to a journalists question, and added: "Before the elections the government had pledged that a review of the Constitution is needed on the issue of establishing non-profit University Institutions. The government promotes all its pledges."

    Moreover, the Speaker of Parliament repeated her position for the establishment of a mixed system of electing MPs, with a list and a preference cross, while she supported the increase of MP compensation, as well as the restriction of MPs appearances on television.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] After the Bird Flu Turmoil Support to Poultry Breeders

    03 Nov 2005 16:45:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Government is proceeding with measures to help Greek poultry breeders, especially after the turmoil caused by the bird flu. As per a legislative reform promoted by the Rural Development Ministry and Food, there will be a six-month postponement for all social security debts and their payment will be in 80 monthly installments. At the same time, the Ministry of National Economy is promoting reforms for the financial and economic facilitation of poultry breeders. Lastly, as per Rural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos, the EU is expected to take certain measures after fully recording poultry breeders problems.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] Korovesi Permanently Dismissed Supreme Court Showed the Door Again

    03 Nov 2005 13:04:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Investigations on extra-judicial networks continue at a quick pace. Today, the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court permanently dismissed First Instance Judge Anna Korovesi, due to ethical and working insufficiency. What is more, the Supreme Court ruled that Korovesi is not competent to exercise administrative duties in the Public Sector. The dismissed justice and her colleagues, Antonia Ilia and Panagiota Tsevi, who have already been permanently dismissed from office, are accused of setting up court panels, in order to favour remand-in-custody Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis. This is the ninth permanent dismissal of a member of the judiciary, due to implication in extra-judicial networks and the competent Appeals Examiner has asked for a thorough investigation of all cases undertaken by Petros Madouvalos law firm, while the independent Parliamentarians bank accounts are still under inspection. In the meantime, former Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos suspended his lawsuit against accused for drug trafficking Giorgos Iatridis, who had implicated the former minister in his statement by saying the latter had intervened to get him out of prison. This morning, Mr Stathopoulos lawyer Stelios Gonatas announced that the former Minister has temporarily suspended filling the lawsuit. After contacting Mr Iatridis, he was informed that the defendant is willing to refute the statement, which implicated Mr Stathopoulos.

    In the meantime, new judges and lawyers have received summons to testify, accused of actively participating in the extra-judicial network. Criminal proceedings will be brought against 11 lawyers in the coming days.

    Three of the lawyers implicated have already been named. They are Sakis Kechagioglou, Giorgos Nikolakopoulos and Nikos Emmanouilidis. Apart from bribery, they will also be charged with money laundering, while, based on Kalousis bill of indictment, the first two allegedly formed a ring with the former First Instance Judge. Furthermore, another lawyer, Evangelos Paloukis, who allegedly deposited money to the former Judges account, mentioned in an announcement: "Acting as assignee to Evangelos Kalousis, I received 5,000 euros from the insurance company "G.Skourtis AEGA", as compensation for a car accident, for which the One-Member First Instance Court of Amfissa ruled in favour of Evangelos Kalousis. I then deposited this amount in his account at Agrotiki Bank."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Reforms on Penal Code

    Delivering Indictments

    [08] Financed for Businesses New Programme for the Unemployed

    03 Nov 2005 20:17:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Today, the Minister of Employment and Social Protection, Panos Panagiotopoulos, and the Director of the Office of Employment and Manpower OAED, Giorgos Vernadakis, announced a new special programme for the support and advancement of 7,800 youths in employment. The programme will finance businesses for the hiring of unemployed youths, with 22 euros daily for the first two months, and 14 to 18 euros for the following 19 months of employment. Unemployed youths, graduates of secondary and higher education can be incorporated in small and medium sized businesses of the private sector (up to 50 persons personnel.) Its financing will be paid by the Account for Employment and Vocational Training (LAEK), which has been formed by contributions of employees and employers.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] Broadcasting on the Internet Radio Bark-Miaow

    03 Nov 2005 11:17:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    If you thought that only people feel lonely nowadays, you better think again. Pets do too, especially cats and dogs, which remain for more than ten hours home alone, while their owners are at work. Bearing this in mind, an American pet lover decided to do something and relieve his four-legged friends from their loneliness. 34-year-old Adrian Martinez instituted a radio station, broadcasting live on the Internet, to keep pets company!

    The Station All Pets Prefer

    On DogCatRadio.com, four-legged listeners can enjoy the sounds of soothing music and of course songs, where cats and dogs star.

    In between tracks, DJs offer practical advice to pet owners and ask them to send pictures of their cats and dogs, so they can be posted on the site.

    Styled as "the radio station all pets prefer", DogCatRadio.com goes out live 17 hours each day.

    The station claims 8,000 listeners each week through its website but currently makes no money, because it has no advertising.

    However, the US pet industry is worth some 35 billion dollars annually, and Mr Martinez eventually hopes to attract advertising.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] For the New Collective Contract

    03 Nov 2005 16:49:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA, NET

    The General Confederation of Labour Unions (GSEE) proceeded with the announcement of the national employment collective contract, in order to commence negotiations with employment bodies on the signing of a new contract. The General Confederation demands for a percentage of increases in Public Sector wages, estimated at approximately 8%, and further financial reinforcement to minimum wages and salaries. In particular, as GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos stated, the increases, which will be demanded, will include four cases: a. the cover of loss by inflation b. cover of the employees share from the increase of productivity c. compensation of incomes lost by VAT increase d. reinforced increase securing the approximation. The aim is for the gradual approximation of wages in Greece to equal other countries of the European Union. On his part, Mr Polyzogopoulos avoided allocating the exact increase percentage, because, as he noted, they unions are decided to demand for a bigger reinforcement to minimum wages than average ones.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] Meimarakis-Karamanlis' Meeting "Proceed With Reforms"

    03 Nov 2005 15:00:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Early at noon, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met with ND Central Committee secretary Vangelis Meimarakis at Maximos Mansion. In statements after the end of the meeting, Mr Meimarakis stressed that the country is on a growth track and underlined that the top priority is to proceed with reforms. "Our bet is to make the country go ahead," he stated. The Prime Minister also met with Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Nikos Tsartsionis and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] In Relation to the Visit's Cancellation President's Issue is Over

    03 Nov 2005 14:52:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Giorgos Koumoutsakos repeated the consistent accord of Greece for the improvement of Greek-Albanian relations, who described the incident in Albania against the President of Democracy, Karolos Papoulias, which led to the cancelling of the meeting with his Albanian counterpart, as over. "Bilateral relations cannot be dictated by extreme incidents," said Mr Koumoutsakos, and added " we think that this is also the Albanian sides accord, especially at a time when the neighbouring country is focused on the intensification of its relations with the European Union." Moreover, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the meeting of Papoulias and Moisiu, from the Greek side, had been prepared in the best possible way, while the Albanian authorities had been informed on its security measures, and the necessary reassurances given. "The fact that Karolos Papoulias is in this position, is a relief to all who care about what goes on in our neighbourhood," stated LAOS President and European Parliamentarian Giorgos Karatzeferis, who met with the President of the Republic this morning.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Backing to Papoulias

    [13] Upgrading the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace Meeting with Karamanlis-Tsiartsionis

    03 Nov 2005 12:43:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8

    On Thursday morning, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis held a meeting with Minister of Macedonia-Thrace for the upgrade and restructure of the Ministry. Upon his exit from Maximos Mansion, Mr Tsiartsonis stated that the staffing of the Ministry was investigated, as well as the way by which it has to respond to its new executive role. The two men also discussed the content of the Presidential Decree, which foresees the restructure of the Ministry to 18 departments. "The upgrade of the Ministry depends on its restructure, the Budget, the funds that have to be distributed, as well as the staff hire, which will reinforce its upgrade," said Mr Tsiartsonis. Following, Mr Karamanlis held a meeting with Secretary of the ND Central Committee Evangelos Meimarakis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [14] Outside the Public Order Ministry Firemen Demonstrate

    03 Nov 2005 12:12:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    2,500 temporary firemen of the Hellenic Federation of Temporary Fire Fighters demonstrated on Thursday morning outside the Public Order Ministry demanding to become permanent employees in the Fire Service, as they cover constant needs. The firemen have signed a 5-yearlong contract, but are only hired for a 5-month period. After the demonstration, they rallied towards the Ministries of Economy and Internal Affairs, in order to submit a letter of protest. In an announcement, the GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) voiced its support to temporary firemen, who "have been working with renewed contracts under highly difficult conditions."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti


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