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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-11-15

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Lifting of MP's Immunity
  • [02] New Leaf for Olympic Airlines
  • [03] Paris Decides on Measures
  • [04] Tzarziki Lures New Yorkers!
  • [05] Papandreou-Anastasiadis Meeting
  • [06] No New Taxes
  • [07] OKE Paves the Way for Dialogue
  • [08] New Start for Greek Team
  • [09] Hospital Supplies
  • [10] Madonna: Going Back to her Roots
  • [11] New Era for Olympic Airlines

  • [01] For Independent MP Petros Madouvalos Lifting of MP's Immunity

    15 Nov 2005 18:05:00 (Last updated: 15 Nov 2005 23:02:36)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET

    On Tuesday, Supreme Court Prosecutor Dimitris Linos asked Speaker of Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki to lift independent MP Petros Madouvalos parliamentary immunity. The request was filed through the Ministry of Justice, after a relevant document was sent to Appellate Prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos. This development followed the emergence of presumptive evidence, justifying the MPs arraignment for bribery (misdemeanour) and legalisation of revenues from criminal activities (felony), which allegedly took place from 27 to 29 November 2000. In statements he made, Mr Madouvalos said he is willing to face Justice, while he stressed that he was the one who had requested that his bank accounts be released. At the same time, he spoke of a war against him, aimed at wiping him out both morally and politically. He also declared that he has nothing to do with the charges against him and he is in favour of the lift, so that the truth can prevail.

    "I have made it absolutely clear that I will not be obstructing the judicial investigation in the slightest. Notable legal practitioners pointed out to me that a constitutional matter arises in the document for the audit of my accounts, after setting aside my parliamentary status. I respect and defend the Constitution, but the specific action does not bother me. It does not bother me, because I am not afraid of anything and because I have nothing to hide," declared Petros Madouvalos.

    The brief mentions that Madouvalos was the one who decided on the cases to be handled by his law firm during November 2000. It also mentions that the allegations concerning the deposit of 7 million drachmas to the account of former First Instance Judge Evangelos Kalousis, who is remanded in custody, aimed at concealing the responsibilities of the people implicated in the case.

    According to the examiners, the allegations made by Madouvalos associate, Christos Chatzipanagiotou are unfounded. As per the latter, the money was deposited at the request of Anastasia Delli, an associate of the law firm who passed away a few months ago, for the purchase of a car from Kalousis, on behalf of her nephew.

    According to information, the investigation revealed that in 2000, Anastasia Delli was suffering from senile dementia and was in a very bad financial situation.

    In addition, Madouvalos bank accounts revealed that between September and November 2000, there was movement in his accounts with withdrawals ranging from 1 to 3 million drachmas, which are considered suspect by the examiners.

    It should be noted that statutory limitation will apply for the crime of misdemeanour (bribery) as of the end of November 2005, unless criminal proceedings are brought against the MP.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [02] Official Announcements by Liapis New Leaf for Olympic Airlines

    15 Nov 2005 21:05:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET

    Today was a crucial day for the future of Olympic Airlines, as the fifth consecutive tender for the companys privatisation bore no fruit, as was officially announced by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Michael Liapis. The public sector and private investors will participate in the new company that will succeed the air carrier, while its business plan, i.e. funding, flights and number of employees, will be drawn up in the next two months. The final announcements were made on Tuesday afternoon, after the meeting of the Interdepartmental Denationalisation Committee and the official briefing by the governments financial consultant, Lazar, which will proceed with expressions of interest to find private capitals. At the same time, the future of the employees will be secured, since any extra staff will either depart through the voluntary redundancy scheme or be transferred to other public services, such as agencies of the Transport Ministry.

    "I remind you that the PM set the framework for a very major issue. He clearly stated that the Government was determined not to continue with past practices, which led OA to its current situation. He placed a starting point, which led to todays stop," stressed Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos.

    The possibility of a reunification of all of the companys departments is viewed positively by administrative employees, technical staff and flight personnel; however, they appear reserved as to whether the new operational framework would be viable.

    The opposition parties, though, voiced their disapproval for the latest developments

    PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos accused the Government of lacking strategic planning, while he added, "Although the Government was forced to make a 180-degree turn over the last few months, it continues to waste time."

    In an announcement, KKE mentioned, "The Governments so-called mixed plan for Olympic Airlines contains all the anti-labour characteristics, as is the case with all privatisations," while it asked that the company retains its public character.

    "It is not that yet another tender for the sale of Olympic bore no fruit. What bears no fruit is the fact that the Government insists on trying to find ways to sell off another form of Olympic Airlines to private interests, with the support of PASOK, and despite the opposition of the Greek people," was mentioned in SYNs announcement.

    According to information about the new air carrier:

    It will be smaller than the current company. Domestic and European flights will probably be reduced. The fleet will be made up of approximately 30 planes (as opposed to 40 owned currently) Apart from the flight department, the new company will include the technical base and ground handling activities, which had been separated two years ago. The number of employees will be reduced by approximately 50%. The extra staff will either depart through the voluntary redundancy scheme or be transferred to other public services. It will start operating sometime between of 26 March and the beginning of April 2006. The tickets that have already been sold are valid, while all the flights will be performed as normal. The new name will contain the term Olympic, with possible names being Olympic Air, Air Olympic or Olympic Aviation (in Greek). The 5-circle logo will be retained in all cases. The new company will start from zero, with a new business plan, new administration, new capitals and new labour relations. The public sectors participation will be between 33% and 49%, while the majority of the capitals and the management will come from the private sector. The European Union considers the plan for the new company compatible in principle.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    New Era for Olympic Airlines

    [03] Paris Decides on Measures

    15 Nov 2005 17:10:00 (Last updated: 15 Nov 2005 20:39:46)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The rioting that has been ravaging the French cities for 19 nights running is gradually on the decline. On Tuesday, a day after French President Jacques Chiracs televised address, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin visited the suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, one of the first areas hit by rioting. Mr Villepin spoke with the immigrants and sent a message of unity. In the meantime, the French Parliament is expected to expand the state of emergency by three months, so that the local authorities can impose a ban on movement and gatherings when deemed necessary. It is noted that on Monday night fewer vehicles were torched, while there were only 42 arrests.

    "I heard that many residents wish to move on, to leave this place and meet their goals. We have to stand by their side," said the French Premier, whose government suggested the state of emergency be expanded by three months.

    The Cabinets decision is expected to enjoy the Parliaments approval, since both the Parliament and the Senate are dominated by President Chiracs centre-right government.

    Prior to the commencement of the discussion in Parliament, Mr Villepin will hold meetings with the parties representatives, irrespective of the fact that the Socialist party is expected to vote against the pan to extend the measures.

    On Monday, the leader of the French extreme right-wing party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, led a demonstration by 300 supporters of the National Front, protesting against the French immigration policy. "We have allowed 10 million foreigners to enter our country in the last 30 years. No other country can deal with such an invasion," said Le Pen.

    It should be noted that the security measures, which allow the local authorities to impose curfews, ban public demonstrations and perform searches in houses, are a remnant of the war for the independence of Algeria, in the 50s.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: France debates riot law extension

    Le Monde: L'Assemblee appelee a se prononcer sur la prorogation de l'etat d'urgence

    Liberation: Le PS se motive contre l'etat d'urgence

    Le Figaro: Villepin se rend en banlieue et prone la «fermete»

    Related News:

    Chirac's Address

    Crucial Decisions

    [04] A Greek Street Vendor Claimed a New York Award Tzarziki Lures New Yorkers!

    15 Nov 2005 14:39:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A 47-year-old Greek, who was among the finalists for the Vendy Awards honouring New York Citys street-food vendors, has brought scents from Greece at Madison Avenue and 62nd Street. Tony Dragonas has long won the stomachs and the hearts of the New Yorkers offering charcoal-grilled chicken decorated with lots of tzatziki, salad and rice for 5.50 dollars. Mr Dragonas, who attributes his success to his mothers recipe, "raced" against Indian, German and Muslim street-food ventors, each one serving delicacies from their homeland. The Vendy Award went to two brothers from Germany, who "beguiled" the judges with their sizzling sausages. A total of 10,000 carts participated in the pretty unusual contest and the 47-year-old Greek, whom the CNN network thought of as the undisputable winner, advanced to the final four.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Íew York Times: In a Battle of Street-Food Vendors, the Wurst Wins

    NY1: "Hallo Berlin" Food Cart Takes Home First Ever Vendy Award

    Related Links:

    Vendy Awards

    [05] The Developments on the Cyprus Issue Papandreou-Anastasiadis Meeting

    15 Nov 2005 12:59:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET, ANA

    The Democratic Rally (DISY) President Nikos Anastasiadis and PASOK leader George Papandreou met on Tuesday morning and discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus issue prompted by Turkeys accession talks with the EU. "Greece missed two golden opportunities on 17 December 2004 and more recently on October 3 to create a road map favouring the solution of the Cyprus issue," argued Mr Papandreou. On his part, Mr Anastasiadis underlined, "We all have to realise that time has an adverse effect on the interests of the Greek-Cypriots when it is not wisely used for the issue to be solved. There 12 months ahead with Turkey trying to prove how compatible the Turkish law is with the EU acquits."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] Institution of Permanent Structural Measures No New Taxes

    15 Nov 2005 15:23:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos declared today that there will be no added tax measures for the reduction of the deficit, while he clarified that the adjustment will be done through the implementation of permanent structural measures. "The further progress of the Governments economic policy will be achieved mainly through permanent structural measures, which will focus on controlling public expenditures and combating overspending and tax evasion, without any added tax measures," he noted. Mr Roussopoulos also stressed that no other European country has ever managed to do so much in so little time, i.e. reducing the deficit by 2.2 units of the GDP, reducing the unemployment rate by 1 unit and preserving the growth rate at 3.6%, which is the highest rate in the Eurozone.

    Referring to the securitisations, Mr Roussopoulos mentioned that it was decided not to include the 2005 revenues, while a footnote mentions that securitisations will be included in the 2006 Budget, once Eurostats technical audits are concluded. He also clarified that Commissioner Almunia publicly declared that he has given his approval for the process to continue. "What is left is the continuation of the technical processing between the Greek Government and Eurostat, which will be concluded by 2005. Since the Budget had to be submitted on 21 November, the securitisations were not included in it."

    Positive Economic Policy Results

    The Government spokesperson also referred to the criticism by the Opposition, saying, "Last year, the Opposition kept broadcasting that the economy will fall in recession, unemployment would skyrocket and the deficit would not be reduced. It was proven wrong. We achieved the results without social jolts, without growth rate reductions, without increasing unemployment."

    Asked to comment on the countrys growth rate, Mr Roussopoulos noted, "Over the last few years, growth was mainly linked the many and very expensive projects in view for the Olympic Games. Given that the Olympics have finished, the fact that the growth rate ranges at 3.6%, instead of dropping to zero, as some were saying, constitutes a specific success of the economic policy, achieved through reforms and not temporary or fictional measures, as was the case in the past."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Focusing on Deficits

    [07] OKE Paves the Way for Dialogue

    15 Nov 2005 15:20:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET

    OKEs executive board convened on Tuesday for the first time to discuss the issue of social security. As it was pointed out, a study depicting the full scale of the problem should precede the dialogue on the issue. OKE will undertake to conduct the study, whose results will be announced to all involving bodies, the political parties and the government so that they take a stand. Then a dialogue aiming at drawing up a national plan on the issue will commence.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] New Start for Greek Team

    15 Nov 2005 20:38:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    Everyone in the Greek National Team wants to accompany German coach Otto Rehaggels 2-year contract renewal with the reigning European Champions with a victory in the friendly match against Hungary tomorrow. The match, which will take place in Karaiskakis Stadium at 21:15, signals the beginning of the Greek teams preparation for the EURO 2008 preliminaries. The last training session of the national team players finished a little while ago, under the watchful eyes of 150 fans, while Otto Rehaggel will be using all the players tomorrow. The Hungarians trained tonight as well and are viewing the match seriously, as they included all their top players in the squad.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] Health Minister's Press Conference Hospital Supplies

    15 Nov 2005 16:02:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET

    As per the new bill promoted by the Health Ministry, all hospital supplies will go through compulsory tenders and contracts as of 1 January 2006. During a Press conference, referring to the figures that arose from the audits performed by the Ministrys inspectors, Nikitas Kaklamanis noted that bogus invoices and cases of overpricing in public and private hospitals, as well as huge profits for suppliers, exceeding 1,500%, were revealed. At the same time, the Health Minister referred to the new bill for public hospital supplies and pointed out that it aims at combating the squandering of public money in the Health sector. The developments in the matter of hospital debts are also positive, since the Ministry announced that 2.5 billion out of the 3 billion euros, which was the debt in 2004, have already been paid off.

    Dispute with PASOK

    The new bill also provides for the creation of a register of suppliers; contracts for the type, quantity and value of each product; a maximum of three weeks storage of goods in hospitals; and the inventory of existing stocks.

    The Health Ministry believes that significant amounts of money will be saved through these measures, which could be invested in other sectors, while all suspect supplies will be dealt with by prosecutors.

    In fact, Mr Kaklamanis said that at least 26 cases are already being investigated, while some 250 million euros have been saved over the last few years, due to the interventions made.

    In the meantime, PASOK members criticised the Governments policy concerning the Health sector.

    "We accuse ND of inconsistency," declared Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, while Evangelos Venizelos noted, "After 20 months, we have reached the revenge of the cockroach in the Health sector."

    In answering, Nikitas Kaklamanis stressed that the citizens are fully aware of the changes in the Health sector.

    "I am glad to see that the Health sector is high in the Oppositions list of interests. They toured regional Greece yesterday and found nothing," he noted, referring to the two-day visits by PASOK members to regional hospitals and health centres.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] At the Club She Made her 1st Appearance Madonna: Going Back to her Roots

    15 Nov 2005 13:14:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Tonight, Madonna, aka the "Queen of Pop," will turn back time, returning to the beginning of her career by giving an exclusive concert at the club where she first appeared, 22 years ago. The 47-year-old superstar will walk on the stage of the Koko Club and sing five songs from her new record entitled "Confessions On a Dance Floor" to 1,500 audience members. In 1983, an unknown singer called Madonna presented her single "Everybody," but no one could ever imagine that she would return to the same stage and perform, after having sold more than 200 million records. The mini concert of the "Queen of Pop" will be broadcast live on the Internet, while the lucky viewers won tickets through radio contests. It is noted that Madonnas new album, sprinkled with a disco retro feel, was released a few days ago and the first hit single is "Hung Up;" a remix of Abbas "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!"

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related Links:


    [11] Next Moves at Focus New Era for Olympic Airlines

    15 Nov 2005 15:33:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA, NET

    The Governmental Committee presided by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis convened on Tuesday morning to discuss the future of Olympic Airlines. Transport Minister Michael Liapis described this day as a "Day of decisions" for Olympic Airlines and announced that the final decisions on the future of the national air carrier are to be released after the meeting of the Interdepartmental Denationalisation Committee and the official briefing from the governments financial consultant. "We were given instructions," Mr Liapis said and added, "After the European Commissions decision taken on September 13, nothing is the same for Olympic Airlines any more." The new ownership scheme of the company Mr Liapis presented to the Governmental Committee will be combined, it will be run with less personnel and with a reduced fleet, while it will include the technical base and ground handling activities. The draft bill on the new Olympic Airlines is to be submitted in a weeks time.

    OA Personnel's Future Will be Safeguarded

    After the legislation was submitted and tenders expressed their interest, the Lazar financial consultant, the governments privatisation consultant, will seek for tenders, mainly from the banking sector, for the new combined ownership scheme. At the same time, a special advisor is to draw up the new companys operational plan for the upcoming two months. The plan has to be approved by the European Commission. The new company is to be fully operational as of April.

    On Thursday at 10am, Transport Minister Mr Liapis is to meet with the presidency of the Civil Aviation Trade Union Federation (OSPA) to discuss the future of the OA personnel, as well. As per sources, the future of the OA personnel will be safeguarded either by favouring the voluntary redundancy plan or by transferring them to other services.

    "Nothing has changed from what the Prime Minister had said when the issue was first brought up last September," argued government spokesman Thodoris Roussoupoulos when referring to the future of the OA personnel.

    PASOK parliamentarian Evangelos Venizelos used harsh tongue. "The government keeps losing time and lacks a strategic plan," he commented.

    Steady Ahead at Providing Services

    It is noted that the new company scheme will include the technical base and ground handling activities.

    These two sectors are deemed OAs strongest aces. As per the companys announcement, on handling services in particular, OA is stationed in 45 civil airports and facilitates more than 175 airlines, resulting in the company holding first place in ground service nationwide, and with its market share exceeding 80%.

    Moreover, regardless of the drop in passengers in 2005, the ground handling services had a positive economic turnout, with revenues remaining steady at 137 million euros.

    In closing, the announcement noted that one of the largest European tourism organisations, TUI, awarded OA the first prize for quality for the second year running, selecting it among hundreds of partner companies.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related Links:

    Olympic Airways Services S.A.

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