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

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Agreement in Germany
  • [02] Farewell to A. Alexandrakis
  • [03] Driver to the Prosecutor
  • [04] Money Laundering Through OPAP?
  • [05] Mitsotakis in Favour of Reshuffle
  • [06] Three Juveniles Arrested for Rape
  • [07] Olympic Truce at the Focus
  • [08] Questioning Suspects
  • [09] Greeks and Culture
  • [10] Hope for Cancer Patients
  • [11] Painting in Space
  • [12] The Point of No Return
  • [13] Sermon against Simitis
  • [14] Wrangling over Power Company
  • [15] Papariga in Favour of Separation
  • [16] Contradictory Opinion Polls

  • [01] Agreement on a Grand Coalition Agreement in Germany

    11 Nov 2005 19:37:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: ZDF - Die Welt - Reuters - C

    After nearly four weeks of tough negotiations, the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed on the formation of a coalition government in Germany. The 130-page document is a product of compromises on fiery issues, including taxation and job protection, while it will be placed for approval at the meetings of the three parties, scheduled for Monday 14 November. "I am pleased to tell you that the pact for the second grand coalition on the federal level in the history of the federal republic of Germany is finished," declared Angela Merkel. Mrs Merkel, who will become the first woman Chancellor of the country after the voting session in Federal Parliament on 22 November, will be required to deal with a series of major challenges, including the reduction of the public deficit, which comes to 35 billion euros, and combating unemployment, which is nearly at 11%.

    Austerity Ahead

    The parties remain divided on many issues, including the clean-up of public expenditures, the imposition of new taxes and the closure of nuclear plants.

    According to information, the government partners are promoting an agreement, whereby 30 billion euros of the deficit will be covered by drastic austerity measures and abolition of tax cuts. Furthermore, an addition 12 billion euros will be secured through the increase of the VAT from 16% to 19%, as of 1 January 2007.

    In an effort to settle the expected reactions to the tough measures, the future government is promoting a 25 billion euros development programme, aiming at boosting the Economy and employment.

    However, as per analysts, the investment programme in question has already been drawn up and relates to specific measures, while the possibility of a loan is quite strong.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    Reuters: "German parties seal coalition deal"

    Die Welt: "Der Koalitionsvertrag steht"

    BBC: "German coalition poised for power"

    Der Spiegel: "Vertrag perfekt - Groe Koalition in Deutschland"

    Related News:

    Merkel Appointed Ministries

    [02] At the Maroussi Cemetery Farewell to A. Alexandrakis

    11 Nov 2005 18:01:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Relatives and friends bade farewell at noon to great actor and great man Alekos Alexandrakis, who passed away at the age of 77 from cancer. His family, his two children, the love of his life Nonika Galinea, relatives and dear friends, as well as hundreds of ordinary people escorted him in his final journey. The funeral took place at the Maroussi cemetery at the expense of the state. President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister and Culture Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli Petralia, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, PASOK President George Papandreou, the other political parties and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis sent wreaths in honour of the deceased.

    Silence and Grief

    Many were those who bade farewell silently: Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, former Deputy Education Minister Eleni Kourkoula, EPAE (Hellenic Association of Football Clubs) President Alexandros Lykourezos, actor Kostas Arzoglou, actress Anna Synodinou, actor Giannis Fertis, actress Anna Fonsou, actress Katerina Gioulaki, businessman Giorgos Vardinoyannis and so many others.

    "He is leaving full of life and success," said Lila Kafantari on behalf of the Greek Actors Union. "He earned his success rightfully, for his rare talent, sensitivity and modesty," she added, wishing that his life set an example for young actors.

    "The great cycle of people who formed the modern Greek culture closed with the loss of this great man," said actor Giannis Voglis, a dear friend, as he said, who adored him.

    "Alekos was such a sweet man," stressed actor Lakis Lazopoulos. "We are all deeply moved," underlined actress Martha Karagianni.

    Silence befits the situation, silence is what he would have wanted," whispered Nonika Galinea in mourning.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] For the New Tragedy at Maliakos Driver to the Prosecutor

    11 Nov 2005 17:55:00 (Last updated: 11 Nov 2005 19:44:55)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET

    The police are continuing their investigation into the causes of yesterdays lethal accident at Maliakos, which resulted in the death of three people and the injury of a fourth. The 33-year-old truck driver, who was responsible for the tragedy, was temporarily released, after testifying to Lamias Prosecutor. In addition, the alcohol test he underwent on Thursday night was negative. At the same time, 35-year-old Giorgos Xinianakis, driver of the second vehicle that was involved in the pileup, is hospitalised out of danger, having sustained hand injuries.

    As per the Authorities, accidents at the Maliakos bend have dropped since last March, when a Traffic Police department was established in Thermopiles. The presence of Police has increased and traffic is monitored by cameras.

    In the meantime, the Greek Public Works Ministry confirmed that the roadworks along the dangerous bend are within the set timeframe and will be concluded between 2007 and 2008.

    Specifically, the Agios Konstantinos and Kamena Vourla bypasses are expected to be completed by 2007.

    In addition, another 14km part, before and after Lamia, is under construction, while the Skarfio-Thermopiles part has been auctioned to a contractor.

    Finally, the part that will link Maliakos to E65, central Greeces new highway, will be auctioned in 2005.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Fatal Head-on Collission at Maliakos

    [04] Justice Runs Investigation Money Laundering Through OPAP?

    11 Nov 2005 15:13:00 (Last updated: 11 Nov 2005 23:18:21)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Today, the Director of the Athens First Instance Prosecutions, Dimitris Papangelopoulos, ordered an investigation into fraud and money laundering through buying out OPAP (Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics SA) football betting and lottery tickets. Thirteen ND Parliamentarians posed a relevant interpellation in Parliament, asking Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos to answer whether OPAP was used to legalise illegal winnings. In addition, the MPs, among other things, asked for clarifications on the process of issuing winnings certifications, whether citizens who kept winning in various OPAP games have been financially audited and which safety measures are implemented on winning tickets. The Government spokesperson was called to comment on the interpellation. "The case has been referred to the Public Prosecutor for quite a few months now," noted Mr Roussopoulos. In the meantime, a Bill for combating money laundering, which was submitted to Parliament today, provides for the formation of an Independent Administrative Body "Combating Legalisation of Revenues from Criminal Activities." Furthermore, the Bill will provide for the resetting of penal sanctions and will include prison sentences (up to 2 years) for intentionally failing to report suspect transactions.

    In addition, 29 PASOK Parliamentarians also posed an interpellation to Parliament on the matter, accusing the Government of lacking transparency in managing the Organisation. OPAP executives underlined that anonymity in the tickets could give room for possible illegal actions.

    On 22 July 2004, in a relevant document, the President of OPAP, Sotiris Kostakos, asked the judicial authorities to audit 1,200 cases of winnings certifications for major OPAP winners between 2000 and 2004. The wife of a businessman was among the winners.

    OPAPs president approached the matter again a few days ago. In another document, he asked for a new audit of the winners until October 2005.

    Moreover, according to newspaper Kathimerini, football officials, referees, footballers and nightclub owners are among OPAPs list of major winners.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Strongly Opposes Early Elections Mitsotakis in Favour of Reshuffle

    11 Nov 2005 21:54:00

    Sources: NET

    Speaking on TV station ANT1 last night, honorary ND president Konstantinos Mitsotakis strongly opposed the possibility of early elections, while he appeared in favour of a reshuffle. In addition, Mr Mitsotakis harshly criticised Kostas Simitis, on the occasion of the latters book. "Mr Simitis is illiberal. He proved inferior to the circumstances. History condemned Kostas Simitis and a book will not save him," declared Mr Mitsotakis. However, in another statement today, the honorary ND president did not appear as harsh towards Mr Simitis. Mr Mitsotakis also criticised PASOK President George Papandreou, saying that he is not ready to govern at the moment. The Government did not make any comments regarding Mr Mitsotakis statements.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] They Videotaped the Act with their Mobiles Three Juveniles Arrested for Rape

    11 Nov 2005 21:42:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Three juveniles, two aged 16 and one 17, were arrested for the rape of a 12-year-old girl. The boys met the girl outside her school in Loutsa and convinced her to follow them. They led her to a deserted park in the area, where they raped her and then abandoned her. The girl returned home and told her parents what happened. They in turn called the police. After an investigation, the three juveniles were located and arrested. They confessed to their act, while it turned out that they also videotaped the incident with their mobile phones.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Petralia-Papandreou Meeting Olympic Truce at the Focus

    11 Nov 2005 16:12:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA - NET

    Greek Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia met with the President of PASOK, George Papandreou, in his office in Charilaou Trikoupi Street. They mainly discussed matter relating to the Olympic Truce, since they are both Vice-Presidents of the Foundation. "The document that was drawn up for the Olympic Truce was voted by the UN four days ago. It was signed by 190 countries, while Greece continues to hold a dominating role in the compilation of the document," declared Mrs Petralia after the meeting. She also added that they discussed the creation of an Olympic Truce Centre in Turin, in collaboration with the IOC. The Alternate Culture Minister further mentioned that she has also held discussions with the former Director of the Centre, PASOK MEP Stavros Lambrinidis, as well as PASOKs section head for Educational Matters, Maria Damanaki, on the capabilities of the Centre next year and the initiatives that will be taken by the two Vice-Presidents. On his part, Mr Lambrinidis described the meeting as very interesting, while he mentioned that the efforts for Olympic Truce should not stop.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Jordanian September 11 Attack Condemned Questioning Suspects

    11 Nov 2005 12:13:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA, Reuters, BBC

    Yesterday, Jordanian monarch Abdullah reassured that Jordan would not be bend by terrorists and pledged to arrest the terrorists responsible for the suicide attacks in Amman, which cost the lives of 57 people. The Jordanian monarch also addressed an appeal for a joint strategy against terrorism. Last night in Amman, hundreds of people lit candles in memory of the victims and held a demonstration to condemn the "Jordanian September 11 attack" and show their devotion to Abdullah. Protestors also held signs reading "Burn in hell Abu Musab al Zarqawi." In the meantime, Authorities are already questioning suspects, while investigations to locate the terrorists are in progress, but there is no further information on the matter. However, Iraqis are included in the arrested.

    Will Not Change Stance

    Jordanian Foreign Minister Farouq Kasrawi reassured that the attacks would not make Jordan, one of USA's allies, change its policy.

    Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the triple bomb attack against Radisson SAS, Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels. Most of the people who died are of Jordanian origin, while the macabre death toll includes people from other Arab countries, as well as two Chinese, two Americans and one Indonesian. Syrian film director Mustafa Akad succumbed to his wounds, while 14 bodies have not been identified yet. DNA tests are pending for their identification.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Jordanian Times: Authorities probe attacks, net suspects

    Reuters: Jordan questions suspects

    BBC: Jordan 'not afraid' after bombs

    [09] As per a Metron Analysis Survey Greeks and Culture

    11 Nov 2005 10:00:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Greeks would rather go on a night out or watch a DVD at home, instead of reading a book, going to the theatre or getting into art in general. These were the findings of a Metron Analysis survey conducted for Highlights magazine. In their majority, Greeks say culture is "everything" and "arts are the main drive of cultural expression." However, their knowledge is limited when it comes to modern Greek and foreign artists, while they oppose to any cultural work they feel offends their traditional values. Greeks also think the state is "disorganised" in cultural matters. Their source of information for cultural events is television advertisements and cultural shows on TV, shows which 9 out of 10 Greeks watch on a daily basis. What is more, they do not spend over 5% of their family budget on entertainment and culture, they clearly prefer music, regardless of social status, much less literature and almost not at all plastic arts. The survey entitled "Greeks' Cultural Behaviour" was held by Metron Analysis on a national scale for Highlights magazine from June until October 2005 and was officially presented on Thursday at the Byzantine Museum, in the presence of Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli Petralia and Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis.


    Highlights magazine editor Konstantinos Noulas said "the average Greek has a low cultural level which is inexcusably low but these findings, regardless of how annoying they may sound, can only alarm us for the better."

    Mrs Petralia said on the matter that the survey "is a tool to help us understand the needs of Greek society."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Greek Researcher Developed Vaccine Hope for Cancer Patients

    11 Nov 2005 16:51:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A Greek researcher developed a vaccine, which stimulates the immune system and hence gives hopes for life extension to cancer patients. As vaccine developer and director of the Medical Research Institute in Paris Kostas Kosmatopoulos said, the vaccine was tested on 59 patients suffering from terminal cancer and 75% of them lived for an entire year, when life expectancy ranged from 6 to 9 months. At the same time, all patients' immune system was stimulated and there were no side effects, facts that encourage researchers. Although the vaccine does not promise cancer cure, 30% of patients (20 of the 59) showed stabilisation of the disease. In particular, Oncology professor at the University of Crete Vassilis Georgoulias reported the case of a patient with breast cancer, who was stabilised for two years. The next step is comparative testing, to evaluate results.

    Eyes on Comparative Research

    As per the two Greek scientists, the next step is comparative research on patients who have taken the vaccine and on others who have not.

    Researchers will focus their study on inhibiting the disease from developing and for this reason the vaccine will be tested on patients who have had a primary tumour removed, but are still in a high-risk category.

    The comparative research results for patients in Greece, Italy, France, Germany and perhaps the Netherlands will be released in three or four years and give the green light for the vaccine's circulation in the market.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] Seen from the Spitzer Space Telescope Painting in Space

    11 Nov 2005 14:59:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A new photo taken from NASAs Spitzer infrared space telescope depicts an impressive cosmic landscape. The picture shows giant pillars of dust and cool gas with hundreds of newborn stars hiding inside them. The Spitzer image, which NASA named as "The Mountains of Creation," shows a region in space known as W5, in the Cassiopeia constellation 7,000 light-years away. "We believe that the star clusters lighting up the tips of the pillars are essentially the offspring of the regions single, massive star," said Dr Lori Allen from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, USA, adding that radiation and winds trigger new stars to form. Scientists think that W5 was originally formed of thick gas and dust clouds, while stars, some of which are ten times bigger than the Sun, were formed in groups. The Spitzer space telescope used infrared light and captured the image of stars being born. Visible-light images of the same region would show dark towers fringed by halos of light.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    CNN: Telescope sees "Mountains of Creation"

    BBC: Telescope sees birth of stars

    [12] The Point of No Return

    11 Nov 2005 18:02:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    An American Internet caf&#233; owner in the Cambodian province of Kampot is faced with charges for disseminating false information and defaming. Governor of Kampot Puth Chandarith filed the lawsuit, supporting that Roger Graham used two websites to urge people, who wanted to kill themselves, to do so in Kampot. The case was brought to light, when the Governor received a series of complaints on the two sites in question. In fact, the relatives of a 47-year-old woman, who had recently committed suicide, believe these two sites influenced her decision. After the lawsuit was filed, the two websites have been taken offline, although they still carry the banner: "You're going to die anyway, so why not in Cambodia?" However, Graham said, "I dont understand why people are making such a fuss," and complained over the unrest at his Internet caf&#233; called the Blue Mountain. It is noted that Cambodia has no laws concerning euthanasia.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Reuters: "One-way ticket to Cambodia, please..."

    [13] Sermon against Simitis

    11 Nov 2005 21:40:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET

    Metropolitan Bishop Amvrosios of Kalavryta and Egialia delivered a harsh sermon against former PM Kostas Simitis, because of the latters book. In his three-page announcement, he mentioned the matter relating to the Greek ID cards, as well as the crisis in Imia, while he also included personal views concerning Mr Simitis. Specifically, he called him "small-minded" and "illiberal", while, with regard to Imia, Amvrosios claimed that the former PM is untrustworthy, saying, "During his days, a piece of our national dominion was lost." He also added, "Instead of remaining silent, he is trying to shift the responsibilities to others." On the matter of the Greek ID cards, he noted, "The things Mr Simitis writes about His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos and the issue of excluding the religious denomination from the IDs are malicious and totally inaccurate and unproven. Specifically, that the Archbishop attempted to intervene in the Simitis government and manipulate the political world, by using the issue with the IDs as a pretext." Amvrosios also added that on 17 May 2000, the then Education Minister, Petros Efthimiou, visited the Archbishop to reassure him that the PM did not intend to pursue the matter of including the religious denomination in the new IDs and they agreed to let things calm down for a 6-month period.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [14] Company CEO Targeted Wrangling over Power Company

    11 Nov 2005 17:00:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET - ANA

    A dispute arose in Parliament between PASOK MPs and Deputy Development Minister Giorgios Salagoudis, when during the discussion concerning an interpellation for the PPC (Hellenic Public Power Corporation), the Opposition MPs launched a personal attack against the CEO of the company, Giannis Paleokrassas. PASOK MP Dimitris Piperias described the CEO as a "caricature of Inspector Clouseau," while he added that his allegations drove 478 PASOK members to court. In answering, the Deputy Development Minister sided with Paleokrassas, adding that cases should be heard in court, even if there is only a shred of doubt. In the meantime, Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos voiced his disappointment over Dimitris Piperias remarks.

    Paleokrassas Is Honest

    The Opposition MPs were harsh against Giannis Paleokrassas, accusing him of intending to completely dominate the administration of the PPC and proceeding with actions that have already resulted in the resignation of three top executives and have paralysed the operation of the Board of Directors.

    "You have huge responsibilities. You handed over the PPCs administration to a caricature of Inspector Clouseau," mentioned Dimitris Piperias, who added, "He is known for his litigiousness. He was the President of NDs much-raking committee in 1989, while 478 PASOK members appeared in court because of his allegations and none of them were convicted."

    "Mr Paleokrassas honoured the countrys politics, as an MP, a Minister, an EU Commissioner and a visiting Professor at Oxford. All the venomous comments heard in Parliament do not affect him," answered Deputy Development Minister Salagoudis.

    In addition, responding to the allegations concerning the undermining of the company, the Deputy Minister noted that the PPCs profits increased by 11.2%, compared to the first half of 2004, while productivity per employees increased by 2.6%. He also underlined that, despite the increase in oil prices, the increases in power bills were along the same line as the inflation rate (3.5%), while 50-100% increases were recorded in other European countries (Germany, Britain, France and Spain).

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [15] In the Relations between Church and State Papariga in Favour of Separation

    11 Nov 2005 16:17:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    KKE considers the initiative taken by the Hellenic League for Human Rights concerning the regulation of the relations between Church and States positive. The partys general secretary, Aleka Papariga, who met with representatives of the League, appeared in favour of the complete separation of Church and State, noting that the situation is "overripe". "This involvement does not help. We do not have illusions that the Church leadership will stop intervening in political matters, however, the umbilical cord that exists on the specific issue will be severed," pointed out Mrs Papariga. She further added that the separation will not hinder religious freedoms and it will have to be extended to all institutions, including Education and society as a whole.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related Links:

    Hellenic League for Human Rights

    [16] Over the Difference between ND and PASOK Contradictory Opinion Polls

    11 Nov 2005 15:39:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: ANA - NET

    Two opinion polls that were published on Thursday differ significantly in their results. As per the first, which was conducted by VPRC on behalf of radio station SKAI, New Democracy gathered 42.5% in voter intention and is ahead of PASOK by 3.5 percentile units. This difference is the same as the one in the companys previous poll. On the other hand, in the second opinion poll, which was conducted by Metron Analysis on behalf of TV station MEGA, the governing party is ahead by 0.6%, with 35.2%, as opposed to 34.6% for PASOK. "The damage to a Government cannot be recorded in opinion polls," stressed Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, adding, "The Government is proceeding with its task, which is being recognised by the overwhelming majority of the Greek citizens." On her part, PASOKs National Council secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou declared on radio station Alpha that the Metron Analysis poll records "a deep disappointment and disapproval of the citizens in relation to New Democracy and its policies," as well as the reestablishment of trust towards PASOK.

    "No Damage to the Government"

    As per Roussopoulos, ND was ahead of PASOK by 2.5% in an opinion poll last Sunday, 2.4% on Monday, while on Thursday the difference was 3.5%and 0.6%. "Therefore, in three out of four opinion polls the difference is between 2.4% and 3.5%, concluded the Government spokesperson.

    PASOKs parliamentary spokesperson Charis Kastanidis and GSEE President and member of PASOKs Political Council Christos Polyzogopoulos also commented on the opinion poll results.

    "Obviously PASOK is winning. And it is winning, because the gap is narrowing. What is needed from now on is for PASOK to develop a framework of views and political proposals for the future of the country," claimed Kastanidis. On the other hand, Polyzogopoulos said that polls record the opinion at a given moment, while the important thing is to establish a social and political power that will question the Governments policies.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    ND Ahead by 3.5%

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