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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-11-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Immunity Lifted
  • [02] First Face Transplant
  • [03] ew Era for DEKOs
  • [04] Seventy Years PASEGES
  • [05] Half-Priced Internet for Students
  • [06] "Kosovo Constitutes Challenge"
  • [07] Satisfaction Over KEPs
  • [08] Inequalities in Education
  • [09] Merkel After Powerful Germany
  • [10] Inspection Safari
  • [11] Tough Win for Olympiacos
  • [12] Half-Priced Internet for Students
  • [13] Foreign Ministry's Renewed Site
  • [14] Papaligouras Visits Korydallos

  • [01] For Four MPs Immunity Lifted

    30 Nov 2005 15:08:00 (Last updated: 30 Nov 2005 17:13:37)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET

    With a roll-call vote, Parliament decided to lift the immunity of independent MP Petros Madouvalos, as well as for MPs Athanasios Papageorgiou, Konstantinos Badouvas and Markos Bolaris. It is noted that Mr Mantouvalos had himself requested his colleagues vote in favour of the lifting of his immunity, underlining that in case they vote against, he will immediately resign. At the same time, he apologised for the "unorthodox manner" he employed to make public his walkout from the ruling partys government groups. 237 MPs participated in the roll-call vote, 225 voted in favour of the proposal, six against and six declared present. In the meantime, Athenian lawyer Sakis Kechagioglou, who referred to the Supreme Court to testify for his involvement in the extra-judiciary ring, requested and received a deadline for December 20.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [02] First Surgery Worldwide First Face Transplant

    30 Nov 2005 19:47:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    French doctors in Amiens performed the first face transplant ever on a worldwide scale. As per the surgeons, a 38-year-old woman, whose lower face was gravely disfigured after being savaged by a dog, acquired a new nose, lips and chin. "The woman is in excellent condition and the transplanted organs tissues, muscles, arteries and veins look normal," said a relevant statement issued by the Amiens University Hospital, where the five-hour surgery was performed last Sunday. The transplants came from a brain-dead donor at a hospital in Lyon. As per plastic surgeons, after the swelling goes down, the 38-year-old woman will not look like the donor, however her features will have changed.

    Hopes and Reservations

    At the same time, surgeons in other country are ready to perform such operations, but are reserved.

    The Cleveland Clinic in the Usa has already received authorisation to perform such an operation, while in Great Britain these tupes of surgery have not been approved, because of concerns over the patients' mental and physical health.

    The greatest danger for the patient is transplant rejection. What is more, the patient has to get accustomed to their new face and take immunosuppression drugs for life to prevent rejection.

    What is more, skin transplants can provoke intense reactions to the body, while the risk of cancer and blocked blood vessels is highly increased.

    The operations were carried out by a team led by Professor Bernard Devauchelle and Professor Jean Michel Dubernard, who is known worldwide for performing the first hand transplant in 1998 and the first double hand and forearm transplant in 2000.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    C: Woman has first face transplant

    CNN: Woman 'has first face transplant'

    [03] Collective Work Contracts Not Affected ew Era for DEKOs

    30 Nov 2005 16:02:00

    Both the Economy Minister, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, and the Deputy Government Spokesperson, Evangelos Antonaros, reassured the Bill on DEKOs will not affect collective work contracts and the Government does not intend to fire personnel or cut down salaries. Speaking on NET, Mr Alogoskoufis clarified that for DEKO employees there will be a gradual convergence to the conditions existing in the private sector. As for ND Central Committee Secretary Evangelos Meimarakis, he said on NET Radio 105.8 that if the Government does not intervene in DEKOs now to limit money waste, then "things will turn out like with Olympic Airlines." He also underlined "there is no room for improvement to the Bill."

    Changes and Reactions

    According to the new Bill, which was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday, all DEKOs will be financially purged through thorough audits and will hence operate based on private-financial criteria. At the same time, the labour regime changes for the newly hired, as personnel hiring through ASEP (Supreme Council for Personnel Selection) will only apply for DEKOs where the Public Sector holds the majority of shares (51%). For non-listed DEKOs, new personnel will be primarily hired for a test period of 7 months.

    Opposition parties and trade union organisations harshly reacted to the Bill, speaking of violation of labour relations.

    "The Government makes no changes, except for afflicting labour relations," underlined PASOK Parliamentarian Anna Diamantopoulou while speaking on NET radio 105.8. KKE Parliamentarian Angelos Tzekis stressed that labour rights are violated and the Government is trying to split up workers.

    SYN spoke of a Bill that condemns the youth, while speaking on NET radio 105.8, GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) Christos Polyzogopoulos estimated that the Government is taking advantage of the citizens' negative idea of the Public Sector, in order to promote the abolition of collective contracts.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Seventy Years PASEGES

    30 Nov 2005 15:44:00 (Last updated: 30 Nov 2005 19:32:24)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    PASEGES (Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Co-Ops Unions) celebrated its 70th anniversary today in a ceremony, which was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic, the Prime Minister and representatives from all political parties and trade unions. In his salutation, Mr Papoulias referred to the important role of farmers in the growth of Greek Economy, while Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stressed the Governments aim to ensure full and timely distribution of agricultural products in better prices to improve farmers revenues.

    Aim at Reinforcing Farmers

    "The Government's aim is to reinforce farmers' business activity, turn to new crops (organic products and bio-energy plants) and farm quality products with protected geographical indication and protected designation of origin," stressed the PM in his speech, adding that globalisation has created new greater challenges we ought to utilise in collaboration with competent bodies.

    PASEGES President Tzanetos Karamichas asked for a dialogue with the Rural Development Ministry in order to reach a solution for farming products' falling prices, while he also referred to PASEGES' aims:

    - Developing farmers' professional and business consciousness.

    - Entrepreneurship and effectiveness of Agricultural Co-Ops Unions.

    - Ensure a satisfactory income for farmers from their market activities and from other measures and funds.

    Turn to New Crops

    Rural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos referred to the measures taken by the Ministry to prepare farmers for the new Common Agricultural Policy.

    PASOK Secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou referred to the need of turning politics from quantity to quality in order to have a viable agricultural economy.

    KKE and SYN voiced their concern over the consequences of the new Common Agricultural Policy.

    PASEGES was founded in 1935 and it is a non-profit organisation.

    It constitutes the ultimate ideological, professional and steering body of the Greek Agricultural Co-Ops, representing 746,812 farmers around Greece, 6,350 Agricultural Co-Ops and 114 Agricultural Co-Ops Unions.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Affordable Internet for 600,000 Students Half-Priced Internet for Students

    30 Nov 2005 14:19:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    At Maximos Mansion, the Greek PM presided over a meeting attended by Ministers of Development, Education and Communications on the issue of providing easy access to new technologies and the Internet. Exiting the meeting, the Ministers announced the decision taken to reduce the Internet prices by 50% for 600,000 University and Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) students, as well as for post-graduate ones. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stated that the programme, entitled "Gateway", is to be implemented after a three-month trial period by the Research and Technology Centre. On her part, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou said that a programme providing for granting excelling students access to free PCs will soon be presented. Finally, Communications Minister Michael Liapis underlined that the government aims at providing easy and affordable access to the Internet and announced that Greece will host the 2006 World Conference in Computer Science.

    Who Can Participate in the "Gateway" Programme

    Undergraduate University and TEI students Postgraduate students Candidates for a doctorate or PhD Open University students

    The connection will be permanent and fast in the town where the student is studying, while he or she will gain access by displaying their ID cards.

    In an announcement, KKE asked for the free access of all secondary and higher students to the Internet.

    [06] George Papandreou in Sofia "Kosovo Constitutes Challenge"

    30 Nov 2005 21:08:00

    Sources: ANA - NET

    The need for stability in the Balkans and the developments in Kosovo topped the agenda of the Socialist International meeting on South-Eastern Europe, held in Sofia, presided by George Papandreou. The President of PASOK described the resolution of Kosovo issue as a challenge for the international Community and underlined that the main aim is negotiations through a progressive look for peace, collaboration, democracy and human rights. "Balkans and especially the progressive Balkan powers, the socialist powers, we can have a common voice when standing before the international community trying to solve our problems on our own," concluded Mr Papandreou, who had contacts with the political and state leadership of Bulgaria.

    Series of Contacts

    The Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament wished Mr Papandreou all the best for the presidency of the Socialist International and voiced the support of the Bulgarian Socialist Party to the President of PASOK. As part of his two-day visit in Sofia, Mr Papandreou met with the Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, the Prime Minister, Sergei Stanishev, and other officials.

    It should be noted that the PASOK president is the sole candidate running for president of the worldwide organisation of socialist, social democratic and labour parties.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] As Per a VPRC Poll Satisfaction Over KEPs

    30 Nov 2005 17:56:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    As per a new VPRC opinion poll presented today by Interior, Public Administration & Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and competent Deputy Minister Apostolos Andreoulakis, Greek citizens are satisfied by the operation and services provided by the Citizen Services Centres, also known as KEPs, as well as by the operation of public services. State Minister Thodoris Roussopoulos attended the event and voiced the Government's satisfaction over the work done at the Interior Ministry, also stressing that the government's commitment to improve Greek citizens' daily lives is starting to pay off. At the same time, he congratulated on behalf of the Prime Minister the Ministry's employees for their work.

    Inapproachable Record

    It is worth saying that 95% of the citizens that visited the Citizen Service Centres voiced their satisfaction for the provided services. As per opinion poll head G. Vernardakis, these indications constitute an inapproachable record, even for the private sector.

    What is more, 91% consider KEPs constitute a major contribution to the modernization of public administration, 78% would like to have their Tax Office transactions through KEPs, while 68% would rather pay their bills (OTE, PPC, EYDAP etc.) in KEPs.

    At the same time, 45% say public services are much better now than they were in the past, 28% feel nothing has changed, 19% think it is worse than before, while 8% did not answer the question. Still, regarding the overall image citizens have from their transactions with the Public Sector, 56% remain unsatisfied, 38% are content, while it is worth noting that new technologies and the Internet did not receive the expected percentage in transactions with the Public Sector.

    Mr Pavlopoulos voiced his satisfaction because Greek citizens see the difference in public administration, underlining the survey in question indicated that path to be followed by the Ministry to better serve citizens and stamp out bureaucracy.

    He also praised Deputy Interior Minister Stavros Benos, who established the Citizen Service Centres.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [08] Concluded a Report by GSEE Inequalities in Education

    30 Nov 2005 16:34:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Serious class and social inequalities in the education of Greek youth was concluded by a report of the General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) Education Policy Development Centre, as per which, free education, on its own, is not enough to even out inequalities. The report indicated that in low prosperity areas, and in islands where there are gaps in school units in the beginning of the year, small success percentages in entry exams are recorded. On the other hand, areas with a high standard of living, such as the northern suburbs of Attica, the Prefectures of Thesprotia, Serres, Arkadia Achaia and others), recorded the highest success percentages in Universities and Technological Educational Institutes (TEI).

    GSEE noted the need of taking measures in order to even out inequalities, based on the needs of every Prefecture. On her part, Minister of Education Marietta Giannakou committed to utilising the reports findings, however, she said that special educational policies cannot be followed in each area. "We can however reinforce problem areas with infrastructure and personnel, where it is concluded that the development of students is affected," she added.

    PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos referred to the ineffectiveness of educational policies.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] While Announcing the Government Schedule Merkel After Powerful Germany

    30 Nov 2005 18:55:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    While announcing the Governments new schedule in Parliament, new Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to make Germany stand at the top of Europes economic powers within 10 years. At the same time, she committed to fight terrorism, adding she will not be blackmailed by the kidnapers of a German archaeologist in Iraq. She also asked Turkey to comply with the EUs accession criteria and repeated her intention to have a "close, honest, open and trusting" relationship with he USA. Mrs Merkel also thanked the outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, for his bold reforms and pledged to continue on the "difficult path" of improving the German Economy, posing unemployment and development as top priorities. In the meantime, the Chancellor will travel to Washington and meet with US President George Bush on January 11, 2006.

    Tough Measures on Economy

    Referring to economic issues, the German Chancellor presented a realistic image on the country's economy, which has the slowest growth rates among the EU Member-States, with unemployment reaching 11% and public deficit rising to 35 billion euros.

    Angela Merkel promised to combat unemployment and guaranteed pensions for all workers. Among the announced measures is the gradual increase of pension limits to 67 years. As she clarified, the relevant process will start in 2012 and finish in 2035.

    Terrorism and Foreign Policy

    Opening her speech, Mrs Merkel referred to the kidnapping of 43-year-old Susanne Osthoff, who was abducted on Friday in Iraq and kidnappers threaten to kill her.

    "One thing is clear. This government, this parliament will not let itself be pressured," underlined the Chancellor and described international terrorism as one of society's greatest challenges.

    Referring to foreign policy, Angela Merkel pledged to have a "close, honest, open and trusting" relationship with Washington.

    Lastly, the German Chancellor voiced her preference for a "privileged relationship" between Ankara and the EU, clarifying that full accession is not ensured and Turkey would have to meet all criteria in order to stand a chance.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Handelsblatt: Die Kanzlerin und die kleinen Schritte

    CNN: Merkel defiant over German hostage

    Liberation: Angela Merkel lance un vibrant plaidoyer contre le terrorisme

    Sueddeutsche Zeitung: Mit Mut und Demut

    [10] By Economy Ministry Inspection Safari

    30 Nov 2005 18:47:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    In view of the Christmas season, Economy Ministry panels will be performing intensive market inspections from December 19 to January 8 to stamp out tax evasion. As per an announcement issued by the Special Inspections Service, its panels will be performing spot checks in meat and vegetable markets, in slaughterhouses, warehouses, cold storages and ports. Stores selling clothes, shoes, seasonal items, liquor, candy and toys, as well as hair salons will also be inspected. What is more, panels will be performing spot checks in bars, entertainment centres and winter resorts.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] In Basketball Tough Win for Olympiacos

    30 Nov 2005 22:52:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Back to victories for Olympiacos in the Euroleague after prevailing 70-65 over Polish Prokom in the Peace and Friendship Stadium, Athens, in match day 5 of Group B. Nikos Chatzis did the works for the home team's prevalence, as he scored 13 of the 19 points of the fourth period, leading Olympiacos to victory. This was the second win in five matches, while this was Prokom's third loss. The score per period: 16-15, 29-34, 49-52, 70-65.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] Affordable Internet for 600,000 Students Half-Priced Internet for Students

    30 Nov 2005 14:19:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    At Maximos Mansion, the Greek PM presided over a meeting attended by Ministers of Development, Education and Communications on the issue of providing easy access to new technologies and the Internet. Exiting the meeting, the Ministers announced the decision taken to reduce the Internet prices by 50% for 600,000 University and Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) students, as well as for post-graduate ones. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stated that the programme, entitled "Gateway", is to be implemented after a three-month trial period by the Research and Technology Centre. On her part, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou said that a programme providing for granting excelling students access to free PCs will soon be presented. Finally, Communications Minister Michael Liapis underlined that the government aims at providing easy and affordable access to the Internet and announced that Greece will host the 2006 World Conference in Computer Science.

    Who Can Participate in the "Gateway" Programme

    Undergraduate University and TEI students Postgraduate students Candidates for a doctorate or PhD Open University students

    The connection will be permanent and fast in the town where the student is studying, while he or she will gain access by displaying their ID cards.

    In an announcement, KKE asked for the free access of all secondary and higher students to the Internet.

    [13] Foreign Ministry's Renewed Site

    30 Nov 2005 16:26:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Exercising foreign policy in our times cannot be limited to the traditional forms of diplomacy, stressed Petros Molyviatis while presenting the Ministrys renewed website. The Foreign Minister met earlier with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rosemary DiCarlo and with PASOK Foreign Section Head Christos Papoutsis. In an interview on Associated Press, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis underlined that peace and stability in the Balkans is still frail. Tomorrow at 10:00, Mr Molyviatis will visit the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, to inform him on the Foreign Ministrys current affairs and latest developments. A while later, he will be meeting with his Hungarian counterpart, Mr Ferenc Somogyi, who is on an official working visit in Greece.

    In Three Languages

    While inauguration the Ministry's renewed website (www.mfa.gr/english/), Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis referred to the importance of communication and the Internet, as well as to the importance of countries' public image.

    The Ministry's new website will be user friendly with many support tools and constant update.

    The website will be available in three languages (Greek, French and English).

    As per Foreign Ministry spokesperson Giorgos Koumoutsakos, the Ministry is thinking of informing diplomatic reporters via emails as well, apart from the standard Press Conferences.

    DiCarlo's Contacts

    Earlier, the Foreign Minister met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, with who she discussed the situation in the Balkans, especially in Kosovo.

    Following, DiCarlo met with PASOK Foreign Section Head Christos Papoutsis.

    "We support the developments leading to peace, economic cooperation, reinforcement of democratic institutions and mainly to the European prospect of all countries in the wider area," said Mr Papoutsis after the meeting.

    Mr Papoutsis also added that PASOK supports a future regime in Kosovo that would be accepted by all peoples in the area. Regarding FYROM, Mr Papoutsis said he is in favour of FYROM's accession to the EU, stressing the need to find a mutually acceptable solution over the name, which has to respect the geographical, cultural and historical particularities of the two peoples."

    Frail Situation in the Balkans

    In the meantime, Mr Molyviatis gave an interview to Associated Press, where he stressed in view of his visit to Kosovo and Serbia on December 6-7, that peace and stability in the wider Balkan area are still frail.

    At another part of the interview, Mr Molyviatis stressed the talks that would determine the final political regime in Kosovo, the referendum to be held in April, which could lead to Montenegro's independence and the new Constitution aiming at unifying the nationally divided Bosnia until March, should be dealt with undivided attention, as development in these three primary issues could lead to an explosive situation in the Balkans.

    "I believe the international community has to be really cautious when handling these developments. We should not overlook the potential threats lying under these problems and especially in relation to the extreme nationalistic trends and feelings prevalent in the area. The international community should act in a way that takes under serious consideration the need for peace and stability in the area," stressed Petros Molyviatis.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [14] Papaligouras Visits Korydallos

    30 Nov 2005 14:39:00

    On Wednesday, Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras visited the maximum-security special hall at the women's prison facilities in Korydallos, where the 17 November trial is due to start on Friday. During the trial, security measures will be draconian, while only those having received a special clearance from the Justice Ministry will be able to attend the trial. At the same time, the number of the audience will be limited. Mr Papaligouras, Press Ministry Secretary General Panos Livadas and ESIEA (Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspapers) President Panos Sobolos inspected the Press hall, which has been upgraded, while reporters will be watching the trial through a closed circuit.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti


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