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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-11-07

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Cluster of Riots
  • [02] Tragedy in Granada
  • [03] Reactions to Simitis' Book
  • [04] Unique Find Under Prison Bars
  • [05] "No Cabinet Reshuffle"
  • [06] Karamanlis-Voulgarakis Meeting
  • [07] Focusing on Immigrants
  • [08] Athanasaki to Be Released
  • [09] Economy Minister in Brussels
  • [10] Social Security Dialogue Commences
  • [11] Diabetes: Cause for Amputations
  • [12] TV Is Fattening
  • [13] Drunk Wheelchair Driver
  • [14] Energy Agreements at Maximos Mansion

  • [01] Concern Across France and Europe Cluster of Riots

    07 Nov 2005 18:06:00 (Last updated: 07 Nov 2005 23:36:15)

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA -Liberation-Le Monde-Reuters-BBC-CNN

    Almost all the Parisian suburbs and many other French cities have turned into battlefields between police forces and young immigrants. Sundays night of riots, being the 11th night of riots running, left ten policemen wounded, 1,408 burnt vehicles and 395 arrests in its wake. A 60-year-old, who had fallen into a coma after being beaten by a hooded man on Friday, succumbed to his wound. French President Jacques Chirac declared that restoring order is his governments top priority, while French Premier Dominique de Villepin, in his TV address, argued that the government has authorised the local authorities to impose curfews, while he ruled out any army intervention. On its part, the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF) issued a fatwa, a religious degree, blatantly condemning the riots and forbidding the Mulsims to take part in such incidents. At the same time, deep concern has aroused across Europe. Belgium and Germany are on high alert and are looking into whether it was the Paris riots that sparked the arsons reported in Brussels and Berlin during the night, while the Italian authorities are considering taking precautionary measures.

    Fatwa Against the Incidents

    The Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UIOF) has already issued a fatwa forbidding all Muslims from participating in any action that strikes blindly at private or public property or that could threaten the lives of others. The fatwa also calls on the young Muslim to appease their anger.

    However, the Muslim residents of the areas that keep turning into battlefields at nights, attribute the rage of the rioters, who are mostly second and third generation immigrants, to everyday problems, including high unemployment levels and the feeling of being unfairly treated rather than to religion. As per the Turkish Premier, the French laws that bar the Islamic headscarf from schools have ballooned the feeling of exclusion among the immigrants.

    Nearly two weeks have gone by since the unexpected death of two young immigrants while been run down by the police at Clichy-sous-Bois, where the majority of residents are of Arab and African descent. However, rage and violence escalates.

    Since November 3, cases of arsons and vandalisms were also reported in other French cities, including Nice, Strasburg, Marseille, Saint-Etienne Lille, Rouen, Nantes, Rennes and Toulouse, where police fired tear gas to push back the rioters.

    Amid fierce criticism from the Opposition parties over the governments delayed response, the French President announced measures for restoring the order, while he implicitly fall in line with the Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, who came in for fiery criticism over the harsh tongue he used.

    The trade union Action Police CFTC suggested a curfew be imposed and army be called to quell the incidents. They also described the unrest that has plagued Paris as unheard-of and voiced their concern that nothing can be done to stop the civil war that has broken out and keeps escalating day after day across France.

    In his TV address, French PM Dominique de Villepin announced a crisis management plan, described the incidents as inexplicable and assured that further 1,500 policemen will be added to the 8,000 policemen who have already deployed to stop the rioting. He also underlined that curfews during the night will be imposed if necessary. Mr Villepin went on to say that there is not going to be an army intervention, stressing that they have not reached that point yet. In the meantime, with regard to the travel ban some countries issued, French FM Philippe Douste-Blazy reassured that France is not a dangerous country. He admitted, however, that there are problems, which are dealt with determination, tolerance, respect and dialogue.

    On his part, Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, viewed the situation in the Parisian suburbs as "extremely serious" and that it is a preface to a civil war in France. Mr Le Pen pointed out that order should be restored.

    Belgium-Germany in Alert

    At the same time, the rest of the European countries are closely monitoring the situation so that they can avoid similar outbreaks in their territories. Belgium is already looking into Sundays arsons reported south of Brussels.

    A spokesman for the Belgian policed underlined that no one has claimed responsibility for the arsons and no suspects have been located so far, while a spokesman for the countrys Crisis Management Centre described the incidents as "local", however the authorities remain vigilant.

    Germany also witnessed arsons on Sunday night. The incidents took place in Berlin and the police forces did not rule out the possibility that the arsonists wanted to imitate the French unrest. Similar incidents were also reported on Saturday night in Bremen, where vehicles and an empty building were set aflame.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Out of Control

    [02] Unprecedented Accident in Spain Tragedy in Granada

    07 Nov 2005 19:40:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: El Mundo

    An untold tragedy occurred on Monday evening in Granada, Spain. A highway bridge collapsed killing a team of workers. The official account spoke of six casualties, however, the Spanish Media reported that the casualties are at least twenty and that at the time of the accident nearly 30 people were working under the bridge. Five Portuguese and one Spaniard are among the dead.

    [03] From the Government and PASOK Reactions to Simitis' Book

    07 Nov 2005 15:40:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Various reactions were prompted by the book of former PM Kostas Simitis, entitled Politics for a Creative Greece 1996-2004, which is available in bookshops now and will be officially presented on Wednesday. In his book, Mr Simitis refers, among other things, to the reasons why PASOK lost the elections and the issue with the Greek identity cards, while his revelations concerning Imia are quite interesting. The last matter in particular prompted many comments by Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, who wondered today, during the briefing of political reporters, whether the publication of sensitive data referring to the handling of the crisis which truly affected Greece in a negative way is of assistance the country. In addition, the head of NDs MEPs, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, also intervened in the matter. In an announcement, he accused Mr Simitis of committing a national mistake by providing the Turkish Press with the opportunity to taunt the Greek Armed Forces. "The fact that the former PM does not comprehend the damage he is causing to the country is quite intriguing. I am truly saddened," mentioned Mr Varvitsiotis in his announcement.

    Lymberis' Response

    Referring to the matter of Imia in his book, Mr Simitis revealed that he was briefed on the occupation of one of the islets by the Turkish forces through the US intelligence agencies, blaming the then head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Christos Lymberis.

    On the other hand, in statements he made to newspaper Apogevmatini, Mr Lymberis said that Mr Simitis suffers from selective memory.

    In addition, he described the fact that the Turkish Press was given the opportunity to taunt the Greek Armed Forces as a major blow to the country and its dignity.

    Various Comments by PASOK

    The former PMs book also prompted various reactions within the main Opposition party, with many of its members commenting on the content.

    The remarks mainly focused on Mr Simitis comments concerning the partys defeat in the recent elections.

    "The question for PASOK, 20 months later, is how we will win the next elections; a matter that concerns everyone, including myself," declared PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos.

    Giorgos Panagiotakopoulos, a member of the partys Political Council, was quite harsh in his statements, saying, "The others are to blame for everything, apart from Mr Simitis."

    "In every case, he [Simitis] experienced the elections, so he is recording his own views, which are possibly the views pertaining to his beliefs and which will proven right or wrong in history," mentioned PASOK MEP Nikos Sifounakis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Kostas Simitis' Book

    [04] The Most Ancient Christian Church in Israel Unique Find Under Prison Bars

    07 Nov 2005 13:58:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: Reuters, BBC

    The construction of a new wing at a maximum-security prison in Megiddo in northern Israel brought to light a Christian church dating back to the 3rd of 4th century. Archaeological excavations led to the most ancient Christian church in the area and to mosaics of exceptional craftsmanship with ancient Greek inscriptions. "This is a very ancient structure, maybe the oldest in our area," said excavation supervisor Jotham Tefer. "This is a once in a lifetime find and the inscriptions are very rare," he added, while Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called the church a "very exciting" find. "This is truly an amazing story," he added, in remarks to reporters in Jerusalem. Of course, there was excitement in the Vatican as well. The Vatican's ambassador to Israel, Pietro Sambi, described the find as a "great discovery," which makes Israel more appealing to Christians. Prison inmates helped in the excavation works, which will continue until the entire construction is revealed.

    Mosaics of Exceptional Craftsmanship

    The site is near the mythical hill of Armageddon, where the Book of Revelations says God will prevail over Satan in a fiery end-of-the-world battle.

    One mosaic depicts the early Christian symbol of fish, the other depicts an altar, while a third one tells the tale of a Roman official and his wife, who gave money to build a church in honour of Jesus Christ. There is also an inscription written in ancient Greek, which reads, "Lover of God who contributed the altar to Jesus Christ, as a memorial."

    As per archaeologists, the church has one aisle, while clay remains, the letterforms on the inscription, the geometric patterns and the fish depiction instead of the cross, indicate that the Church was not used after the 3rd century. However, Israeli Authorities have not yet decided what to do with the dig, even though they wish to turn the site into a tourist resort. Archaeologists said they preferred to keep the church intact and in place but that the mosaics might be moved if necessary.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] No to Government Coordinator "No Cabinet Reshuffle"

    07 Nov 2005 17:37:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105,8

    The government rules out the cabinet reshuffle, but it is considering establishing a crisis management committee, reiterated government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos. "The Steering Council operating during the 2004 Olympic Games is likely to continue its operation," he said, while he made it clear that it is the Prime Minister who coordinates the governments work.

    Earlier, following his meeting with the Prime Minister, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas underlined the need of a government coordinator

    Speaking on radio station NET 105.8, former ND leader Miltiadis Evert voiced his belief that neither a cabinet reshuffle nor a coordinator is needed for the time being, In the meantime, the Prime Minister will request the government work be accelerated and political initiatives be taken as a response to PASOKs allegations that Mr Karamanlis is an onlooker to the developments.

    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis keeps meeting with ND officials in a bid to re-assign the roles within the party and to make the best of more party officials in view of the municipal elections.

    On Monday morning he met with ND director general Kostas Simaioforidis, while in the evening he met with Apostolos Stavrou.

    Exiting the meeting, Mr Stavrou stated that he briefed the PM on the planned campaigns the ND parliamentarians are to launch across Greeces local communities.

    At the same time, following Vangelis Meimarakis, the government spokesman also called on George Papandreou to criticise the slogan heard during the latters tour.

    "We are sorry for this kind of slogans. The political mores we are trying to introduce have no room for such slogans," argued Mr Roussopoulos.

    Related News:

    Karamanlis-Voulgarakis Meeting

    Energy Agreements at Maximos Mansion

    Karamanlis' Meetings

    [06] For the Greece-China Cooperation Memorandum Karamanlis-Voulgarakis Meeting

    07 Nov 2005 13:52:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    On Monday, Greek Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis met with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis to brief him on the recent signing of the security cooperation memorandum between Greece and China. As noted by Mr Voulgarakis, Greece will be advising the relevant Chinese bodies on matters concerning the security of the Olympic Games, as well as the procedures that have to be followed so that China can host safe Olympic Games. In the meantime, Mr Voulgarakis added that the relations between the two counties are gaining "new depth" and as a result Greece will be able to open new avenues in other sectors with this safety diplomacy. Finally, answering reporters questions, the Minister said that the Government is not facing any crises.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Athens-Beijing Cooperation for 2008

    [07] New Immigration Offices Inaugurated Focusing on Immigrants

    07 Nov 2005 16:21:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    At the inauguration of the Athens Directorate of Foreigners and Immigration offices in Rouf, Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos outlined the governments policy on immigration. "Nowadays, Greece boasts a modern policy that is worthy of the countrys civilisation and our peoples idiosyncrasy, worthy of our responsibilities towards the immigrants," underlined Mr Pavlopoulos and added that the law has hastenned their fitting-in the Greek society. The Interior Minister also thanked everyone working at the Directorate as well as the immigrants, from whom he apologised "for all the delays."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] Application Accepted Athanasaki to Be Released

    07 Nov 2005 15:28:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Eirini Athanasaki, who was accused of participating in the terrorist group ELA, will be released, after her application for the suspension of her sentence was accepted by the Athens Five-Member Court of Appeals. Athanasaki, who had been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, will have to pay a 3,000-euro bail, while restrictive conditions will apply. According to those, she will not be able to leave the country, while she will have to appear at her local police station often. In her application, Athanasaki quoted medical problems faced by her parents, as well as the contradictory decisions of the Three-Member Courts of Felony Appeals. One of them had sentenced her to 25 years, while the other had acquitted her of some of the charges.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] For Eurogroup and Ecofin Economy Minister in Brussels

    07 Nov 2005 15:07:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    The Minister of Economy and Finance, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, departed for Brussels, where we will be representing Greece at the Eurogroup and Ecofin councils, scheduled for today and tomorrow (7-8/11/05) respectively. On the sidelines of the proceedings, Giorgos Alogoskoufis will meet with EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. The two men are expected to focus on the prospects of the Greek Economy, based on the progress report sent recently by Greece, as well as the matter of debt securitisations. The matters that will be discussed at the two councils include the inflationary pressures due to the increase in oil prices, the EU budget, and the creation of a unified environment for cross-border mergers in the banking sector. The meetings will also focus on the European Commissions proposal concerning the reform to the current sugar regime.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Letter to ΟΚΕ Social Security Dialogue Commences

    07 Nov 2005 13:22:00 (Last updated: 07 Nov 2005 17:49:23)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    The Government has commenced a dialogue over social security. After their meeting today, Economy Minister Giorgios Alogoskoufis and Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos sent a letter to the Economic and Social Council (OKE), aiming at assigning to them a series of studies, which will be funded by the state budget, on the matter of social security. In addition, the letter noted that meetings will be scheduled with the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions (ADEDY) and the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE), to discuss the relevant matter. According to the two ministers, the dialogue will be longwinded and there will be no changes to the general legal framework until the talks are finalised. On the part of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos accused the Government of undermining IKA and other social security funds, while he wondered how it was possible to commence a dialogue without the Government first having published its stances.

    Reactions by GSEE and Political Parties

    "OKE is unable to deal with such a major issue as social security, because its role is strictly supportive, rather than institutional and legal," responded GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos to the announcements made today by Panos Panagiotopoulos and Giorgos Alogoskoufis.

    Meanwhile he underlined that social security demands responsibility and sensitisation from everyone and especially those assigned with the task of legislative reforms.

    Finally, he considered that a primary precondition for dialogue was the immediate payment on any dues to IKA and other social security bodies.

    On the part of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos accused the Government of undermining IKA and other social security funds, while he wondered how it was possible to commence a dialogue without the Government first having published its stances.

    "We cannot have a dialogue with perplexing conditions," declared former Economy Minister Nikos Chrsistodoulakis on radio station NET 105.8

    SYN described the dialogue as a pretext, adding that the Government is trying to create the right political and social climate for "social security terrorism".

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] More than 1,000,000 Cases Annually Diabetes: Cause for Amputations

    07 Nov 2005 12:03:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Every 30 seconds, a lower limb is lost to sugar diabetes somewhere in the world, as per the figures published by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). At the same time, the predictions for the future of the disease are quite grim, since the cases are expected to increase by 45% this current decade and by 70% in the next 20 years. Today, over 200 million people worldwide suffer from sugar diabetes, while, according to the scientists estimates, this figure is expected to increase to 340 million by 2025. As per the Hellenic Diabetes Association, sugar diabetes can create major problems and chronic complications in various organs of the body, in combination with other diseases. However, the situation can be combated with coordinated efforts by the scientific community and better education of the public. In fact, as per the studies, 85% of the amputations could have been prevented with proper well-organised diabetic foot care, good diabetes control and well-informed self care.

    Feet Constitute a Priority

    Apart from amputations, diabetes is also the number one cause of adult blindness, while it also constitutes one of the main reasons leading to heart failure, stroke and erectile dysfunction.

    In an effort to promote the significance of the relationship between diabetes and the risk of lower-limb amputation, the IDF has dedicated this years World Diabetes Day (Monday 14 November) to the specific issue, with the motto: "Put Feet First, Prevent Amputations."

    As per the Federation, there is hope for improving the situation. Among other things, the IDF recommends to diabetes patients to check their feet daily for cuts, blisters, bruises and colour changes. In addition, they should opt for shoes that protect the feet from injury, wear socks, wash their lower limbs with soap and water, pay specific attention to the areas between the toes, and keep in close contact with their attending physician.

    Furthermore, patients should prefer soft shoes, with no pointy toes or high heels, as well as avoid smoking and obesity.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    Hellenic Diabetes Association

    International Diabetes Federation

    [12] New Revealing Research TV Is Fattening

    07 Nov 2005 14:11:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: Reuters

    Two new studies, which were published in The Journal of Pediatrics , reveal new evidence to the relation between obesity and TV viewing. As per researchers from Middlesex Hospital and University College London, children who watch television for hours on end on the weekends are more likely to grow up as obese adults. The conclusions are attributed to various factors, including lack of physical exercise and consumption of unhealthy food (junk food). In the first study, the scientists analysed 11,200 Britons born in 1970, who were monitored at the ages of 5, 10 and 30. The aim was to determine whether the timing and type of TV watching, as well as mothers attitudes toward television, would have any effect on adult weight. In the other survey, the scientists analysed 173 girls aged 9 and 11, focusing on the extent to which the parents TV viewing habits affected their children.

    Parents' Habits Constitute a Main Factor

    As per the researchers from Middlesex Hospital and University College London, every additional hour of weekend TV watched at age 5 increased the likelihood of obesity at age 30 by 7%.

    At the same time, they realised that there was no connection between adult obesity and mothers attitudes toward TV, weekday TV watching, or the type of programming watched.

    However, the scientists pointed out that TV watching in Great Britain in 1975 was different to today, since only three channels were available and only one of them carried advertising. So, they believe that the effect of TV watching seen in their study is likely due to lack of physical activity, rather than any effect of food advertising.

    On the other hand, in the survey conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents TV viewing habits had a major effect on how much TV their children watched.

    According to their study, 40% of the girls whose parents watched a lot of TV themselves, as well as those who relied heavily on TV as a recreational activity and spent more time watching TV as a family, exceeded the 2-hour limit per day recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [13] Drunk Wheelchair Driver

    07 Nov 2005 11:16:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    German authorities applied the letter of the law on a 26-year-old disabled man. Sven Mietke from Loebau was penalised for speeding with his electric wheelchair after having consumed a great deal of alcohol! It all started on a fine morning, when the police stopped the 26-year-old while he was on his way to buy beer from a fuel station. Mr Mietke was speeding down the road and going from side-to-side. When breathalysed, police discovered the disabled man was dead drunk, as the alcohol level in his blood had far exceeded the allowed limit. In court Mietke admitted, "I drink 10 to 12 bottles of beer a day." He was been caught more than four times over the drink drive limit and in an effort to talk some sense into him, the judge fined him with 1,000 euros and banned him from using his electric wheelchair for three months. He will now have to use a regular wheelchair until the ban is over.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [14] Energy Agreements at Maximos Mansion

    07 Nov 2005 13:25:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    On Monday, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas to discuss the intergovernmental agreement between Greece and Italy for the construction of the natural gas pipeline. Exiting the Maximos Mansion, Mr Sioufas referred to the importance of the pipeline, which he described as an important energy venture both for the two countries and for Europe, while he also said the agreement would be soon submitted to Parliament for adoption. At the same time, Mr Sioufas and the PM discussed the ministerial meeting between Greece, Turkey and Italy aiming at expanding collaboration in the energy area, while he stressed the Greek-Turkish pipeline works continue as per normal. Answering reporters' questions, the Development Minister refuted allegations of a government reshuffling.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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