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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-12-01

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Palaiokrassas' Resignation
  • [02] Interest Rates Soar
  • [03] Refuse Dump Remains Open
  • [04] Athens Will Breathe Again
  • [05] Papariga: Reject ND and PASOK
  • [06] Focusing on Kosovo
  • [07] "We Will Not Turn into Vatican"
  • [08] Spain's Opposition Leader Survives Crash
  • [09] Reactions on Peres' Decision
  • [10] Olympic Flame in Kalampaka
  • [11] The Stones "Rolling" to Greece
  • [12] Athina's Wedding on Saturday
  • [13] Underage Criminals on Salamis
  • [14] 17N On Trial Once Again

  • [01] Awaiting his Letter of Resignation Palaiokrassas' Resignation

    01 Dec 2005 15:03:00 (Last updated: 01 Dec 2005 23:39:40)

    Sources: NET, ANA

    President of the Public Power Company (PPC) Giannis Palaiokrassas is to officially announce his resignation on Friday, following upheaval triggered by his allegations regarding the involvement of top-ranking government officials in corruption phenomena. In a phone conversation he had on Thursday evening with Prime Minister, Mr Karamanlis called on him to submit his evidence to the Public Prosecutor, otherwise he should hand in his resignation. However, Mr Palaiokrassas asked for a private meeting with the Prime Minister, a demand that was rejected by Mr Karamanlis. Following, the President of PPC replied that he will send his resignation soon enough. At noon, Mr Palaiokrassas arrived at the office of Minister of Development Dimitris Sioufas, who gave him a deadline to submit any evidence over the involvement of Government members in the PPC, to Justice. In any other case, as the Minister noted, Giannis Palaiokrassas ought to resign. The PPC President reassured him that the accusations do not involve Government members and his statements concerned irregularities he detected when he took up the leadership of PPC. Moreover, Mr Sioufas emphasised that the Government is strictly adhering to the Prime Ministers order on transparency, while whoever has evidence should submit it to the Prosecution Authorities.

    The Chronicle of the Resignation

    Shortly after six in the evening, Mr Palaiokrassas argued that he will resign following the thriller over the last days.

    The atmosphere was rather unpleasant after the ultimatum delivered by the Development Minister that expired at 18:00.

    On Thursday noon, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas had asked for Mr Palaiokrassas. Their meeting lasted an hour and the Minister urged him to submit evidence or hand in his resignation.

    It was Mr Palaiokrassas interview with Greek daily Kathimerini that triggered these developments. Mr Palaiokrassas had stated "The system of national commissioners that dominates all the Public Utilities and Enterprises (DEKO), including the PPC, is vested by transparency and the observation of lawful procedures. The worst of all is that the situation enjoys an inter-party protection."

    Elsewhere in his interview, Mr Palaiokrassas had argued, "Of course, apart from the bodies, there are also the masterminds who are top-ranking officials of Ministries."

    "He Should Give Further Explanations"

    Earlier, Government spokesperson Theodoros Rousopoulos avoided answering a question of whether the President of PPC is trusted by the Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis. However, he indirectly acknowledged that before Mr Sioufas met with Mr Palaiokrassas, the Prime Minister contacted the Minister of Development, saying "the Prime Minister daily contacts his Ministers." Moreover, he said that his comments on corruption related to the past emerged from a discussion he held with Mr Palaiokrassas previously. However, after yesterdays contradictory remarks by Mr Palaiokrassas, that corruption cases referred to present time, the Government spokesperson noted that Mr Palaiokrassas "should give further explanations."

    Vangelis Meimarakis referred to Mr Palaiokrassas issue, and noted that is has been discussed and its over, mentioning an older statement, as per which, DEKO Presidents are appointed by the Government to materialise the Governments programme, while good cooperation with Ministers is imperative for effectiveness and operation. Moreover, he noted that Mr Palaiokrassas has already been called to submit the evidence to Justice.

    Moreover, General Secretary of the Development Ministry Nikos Stefanou commenting on Mr Palaiokrassas statements, which reportedly involved him in corruption cases, said, "I do not think that Mr Palaiokrassas has said anything like that. I take care of my business as best as I can."

    On his part, PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis described the events taking place in PPC as "a farce" and attributed responsibility, apart from Mr Palaiokrassas, to the relevant Ministers and the Prime Minister, who as he said, appointed the President of PPC in his position and still keeps him there.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [02] A 0.25% Rise by the European Central Bank Interest Rates Soar

    01 Dec 2005 18:56:00 (Last updated: 01 Dec 2005 20:29:37)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) to raise the Eurozones interest rates by 0.25% fixing the interest rates of long-term bank loans at 2.25% is expected to have an upward influence in the interest rates of banks. On the announcement of the rise, President of ECB Jean-Claude Trichet tried to ease the concerns of the loanees noting that this decision is not to trigger a string of rises in the interest rates, while he justified the decision claiming that inflation is still facing upward dangers. Loans with floating interest rates are the first to be influenced, while the competition among banks seems to not have an impact on the interest rates of credit cards and consumer loans. Raising the eurozones interest rates encountered heavy criticism on the part of several governments and international organisations, including OECD, which argued that the inflation levels do not account for such a decision.

    Loans Get More Expensive

    As of the upcoming Tuesday, those who have got a housing loan with floating interest rates or they are thinking of getting one, will be paying a bigger installment, while the burden on consumer loans and the credit cards will be trivial.

    For instance, for a 25-year housing loan amounting to 150,000 euros and with a 4.06% interest rate, the monthly installment stands at 797 euros. After the rise, the installment will shoot up to 818 euros, namely the loanee will suffer a further 21-euros burden monthly or a 252-euros annually.

    For a 5-year consumer loan equaling 10,000 euros with an 8.45% interest rate, the installment amounts to 204.92 euros. After the rise, the installment will fix at 206.3 euros.

    The National Bank of Greece has already announced a rise in the interest rates of the housing loans as of December 5. The rise involves the interest rates that are linked to the key ECB interest rates, while no rises are projected for the lending interest rates.

    The European interest rates, which stand at the lowest level over the last six decades, are on the increase at the time when the surge in oil prices and the grand boost of money offer might lead the inflation above 2% not only for 2006, but also for 2007.

    As per the reasoning the ECB decision was built on, the rise aspires to ease the medium-term and long-term inflation expectations so that growth is enhanced.

    However the states participating in the Eurozone seem undecided, since unemployment is still high, while concerns over consumption demand and business investments are expressed.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Die Welt: EZB erhoht Leitzinsen

    Liberation: Trichet: "Mon devoir, ma responsabilite de parler"

    Corriere della Sera: La Bce alza i tassi dello 0,25%

    Related Links:

    European Central Bank

    [03] ESDKNA- Public Works Ministry Agreement Refuse Dump Remains Open

    01 Dec 2005 18:38:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: NET-ANA

    The Ministry of Public Works and the Association of Attica Municipal and Local Authorities agreed to keep the Ano Liosia refuse dump open. At the meeting, the Ministry assured the personnel that all requested environmental conditions will be maintained. Furthermore, the Ministry has no intention of transferring the sewage sludge to Ano Liosia, while the Hygienic Refuse Burial Areas (XYTA) in Phylis and Keratea will operate for a shorter period of time until all procedures regarding the management of new technology refuse advance. Earlier, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias had stated that the Ministry wants the XYTA to continue its operation and that it is willing to approve the environmental conditions provided the Association of Attica Municipal and Local Authorities provides all necessary documents. At the same time, he reiterated that transferring the sewage sludge to Sudan is a solution offered by the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP) and that it is under consideration. Besides, Mr Souflias released figures, according to which the sewage sludge is below the toxicity levels set by the EU.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Plans to Solve Traffic Problems Athens Will Breathe Again

    01 Dec 2005 15:38:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Settling the traffic problems plaguing the heart of the Greek capital city of Athens constitutes the states keynote priority. Limiting the use of cars and encouraging citizens to use the public transport system are the two basic pillars. Among the plans the government is considering is to abolish the measure of odd and even plate numbers, which has been in force for almost 20 years. Transport Minister Michael Liapis noted that the traffic conditions have changed, since everyone owns a second car. As per information, the Transport Ministry is thinking all the proposals made so far, including the placement of toll stations and a ban on cars from the historical centre of the city. On its part, the Ministry is considering expanding the metro system, while a new line, stretching from Galatsi to Marousi, will be included.

    'Stop' to Odd and Even Numbers?

    More than 1.5 million vehicles are estimated to circulate daily in Athens.

    Abolishing the measure of odd and even plate numbers, banning the vehicles from the citys historic centre, placing toll stations, banning jeeps, expanding the traffic ring measure and creating a new lane for vehicles carrying at least two people, are some of the proposals made so far.

    The Transport Ministry is considering all the proposals. On Wednesday, Athens mayor Dora Bakogianni said that she is in favour of banning vehicles from the citys historic centre, while she voiced her objection to the toll stations.

    The possibility of freeing Athens centre from cars has prompted both positive and negative reactions on the part of drivers, while the President of the Hellenic Institute of Trasportation Engineers (SES) Panos Papadakos voiced his approval of the aforementioned measure.

    On the issue of placing toll stations at the heart of Athens, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias expressed his objection to the measure in question, while he said he favours the further development of the public transport system. He also added that settling the traffic problems requires a meticulous study conducted by the relevant Ministries.

    New Metro Lines

    All legal obstacles regarding the construction works of the new metro lines to Haidari and Elliniko were surpassed, since the European Commission overruled the objections that had been filed.

    The Ministry of Public Works announced that the metro line to Elliniko will be given to public use in 2009, it will stretch for 5.5km and it is expected to facilitate 80,000 commuters. The line form Egaleo to Haidari will be ready in 2008, it will be 1.5km long and it is to facilitate 3,000 commuters.

    A new metro line stretching for 19.5 km is also underway. The line will be running from Gsalatsi, Kypseli, Dikastiria, Exarhia, Panepistimio, Kolonaki, Evangelismos, Kaisariani, Zographou, Katehaki, Filothei to stop to the Olympic Sport Complex.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related Links:

    Ministry of Transport and Communications

    Attico Metro

    Ministry of Public Works

    Athens Municipality

    [05] Aleka Papariga's Speech in Larisa Papariga: Reject ND and PASOK

    01 Dec 2005 21:16:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET-ANA

    Addressing KKE voters in Larisa, central Greece, KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga described the upcoming municipal elections as a great opportunities to reject ND and PASOKs policies. Mrs Papariga spoke of a widespread political battle, from which crucial results should be drawn. Referring to SYN and its policy, she pointed out that it does not belong to the Opposition.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] Solutions Towards Establishing Peace Focusing on Kosovo

    01 Dec 2005 20:03:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET-ANA

    The developments on the Kosovo issue topped the talks of the Socialist Internationals Southeast European working group presided over PASOK leader George Papandreou. Mr Papandreou described the settling of the Kosovo problem as a "major challenge for the international community," noting at the same time that there are minority groups across the Balkans and that the European Socialists are in quest of solutions lest new conflicts should rock the region.

    "A Momentous Moment"

    "It about time the Serbs and the Albanians of Kosovo left behind the past, shook hands and proved they are capable of enjoying good neighbourly relations within the EU," argued PASOK leader summarizing the bottom line of the initiative taken by the Socialist International to endorse the international efforts aiming at settling the Kosovo regime.

    Mr Papandreou made it clear that a solution should lead to establishing peace, stability and security in the wider region and avert extremists from determining the agenda.

    "All partied involved in the talks realised that a solution should be mutually accepted. When the two sides, Pristina and Belgrade shake hands and say yes, this is the decision, all of us will have the solution we are craving for. A solution that will bring the relations between the Serbs and the Albanians of Kosovo into a new era and will ensure that no new conflicts will be triggered," claimed Mr Papandreou.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] "We Will Not Turn into Vatican"

    01 Dec 2005 21:22:00 (Last updated: 01 Dec 2005 23:46:30)

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    "The Phanar will not turn into Vatican," declared Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his interview with Turkish top selling Milliyet, defending the rights and the tradition of the Patriarchate. He went on to explain that endorsing political and secular powers runs contrary to everything the Orthodox Church stands for. In his interview with the Turkish television network NTV, PASOK leader George Papandreou described the Patriarchate as "the Mecca of the Orthodox doctrine," and underlined that Turkey should respect both the institution and the patriarch. At the same time, Tayyip Erdogans party is referred for violating the Constitution, since it fails to fully respect the separation between religion and politics.

    Ordered to Stop Using the Term "Ecumenical"

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew declared in his interview with a Turkish newspaper, underlining that it runs contrary to the doctrines of the Orthodox Church

    In his interview, Bartholomew argued that recognizing the ecumenical character of the Patriarchate does not signal the creation of a state within a state in Istanbul. In particular, he sent a crystal clear message to the Turkish ultra-nationalists that the Phanar will not turn into Vatican. "We would reject it even if Turkey itself was to propose it," he argued.

    In fact, he revealed that three years ago he was ordered by the Turkish FM of the Ecevit administration to stop using the term "Ecumenical."

    The Patriarch, as he said, not only ignored the order, but he replied that something like that runs contrary to the treaty of Lausanne, which provides for rights and freedoms Turkey keeps refusing to grant to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek minority.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] He Was Slightly Injured Spain's Opposition Leader Survives Crash

    01 Dec 2005 17:26:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Spains Main Opposition leader Mariano Rajoy survived a helicopter crash. Mr Rajoy, head of conservative Popular Party (PP) "is in sound health and has sustained a minor finger injury," announced the president of the Madrid regional government Esperanza Aguirre, who was also on board. The rest of the passengers, including the Mostoles Mayor, a cameraman and the pilot are safe and sound. The crash occurred during the takeoff from the citys arena 25 km west of Madrid.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    El Mundo: Mariano Rajoy y Esperanza Aguirre, ilesos tras un accidente de helicoptero en Mostoles

    CNN: Opposition leader survives Madrid helicopter crash

    [09] Criticism by Labour and Likud Reactions on Peres' Decision

    01 Dec 2005 14:30:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A fierce attack was made by Labour and Likud against Shimon Peres and his decision to support Ariel Sharons new party, Kadima, in the March 28 elections. "It is a bad day when a leader who received so much from the Labour Party abandons it, as if he found new hope," stated Labour General Secretary Eitan Cabel. On his part Labour MP Ofir Pines spoke of a "pathetic decision," adding, "Peres will carry this stigma for the rest of his life." Apart from the criticism by Labour on their former leaders decision, members of the governing party, Likud, also attacked him. "It is more obvious than ever before: Kadima means Left," stated former PM Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that the informal accession of Peres in Ariel Sharons new political party proves that the latter has founded a new Labour Party.

    In the meantime, as per a new opinion poll, 30% of the persons questioned stated that they are likely to vote for Kadima, after Mr Peres decision. Moreover, 47% considered that Mr Sharon is more suitable for Prime Minister, as opposed to 18.5% who said Labour leader Amir Peretz and 10% Mr Netanyahu.

    It is noted, that on Wednesday, the 82-year-old former Israeli PM announced his resignation from the Labour Party and his support to Kadima. Even if he will not officially join the new party, Mr Peres will reportedly be appointed to an important Ministry, if Kadima wins the elections.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Ha'aretz: Peres' resignation nudges 30% to vote for Kadima

    Le Monde: Le parti d'Ariel Sharon recoit le soutien de Shimon Peres et presente son programme

    Related News:

    Peres Follows "Kadima"

    [10] Olympic Flame in Kalampaka

    30 Nov 2005 21:32:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Niki Bakogianni lit the cauldron in Eletheria Square in Lamia, the first stop of the Olympic Flame during the 4th day of the torch relay. The Olympian was excited and noted that she was happy that she was a torchbearer in the town she comes from. Following Lamia, the Olympic Flame travelled to Karditsa, Trikala and ended its journey in Kalampaka, where it spent the night under the shadow of Meteora. The last torchbearer was Kostas Thanos in Karditsa, while Dimitris Avramis in Trikala. Wrestling, a sport with many medals for Greece in the Olympic Games, had another torchbearer today, Xenofondas Koutsoubas, who ran from the cauldron in Trikala and handed over the Flame to swimmer Aggeliki Exarchou and triple jump champion Kostas Zalaggitis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] "A Bigger Bang" in OAKA Stadium The Stones "Rolling" to Greece

    01 Dec 2005 18:05:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    The "grandfathers of rock" will entertain Greek audiences for the third time. The first time was in April 1967 in Alexandras Avenue Stadium, the second in April 1998 in OAKA, and the third on June 29 in OAKA once again. The loyal fans of the renowned band will have the opportunity to see them from up close and enjoy a spectacular show. The Rolling Stones European tour begins from Barcelona on May 27 and will visit 20 countries, whilst organizing 32 concerts. Some of these stops are Brussels on June 1, Paris June 3, Warsaw June 18, Vienna June 20, Belgrade July 2, Munich July 16, Amsterdam July 30 and London August 20. The ticket pre-sale is expected to start on December 3.

    The Rolling Stones World Tour began in Boston on August 20.

    The bands singer, Mick Jagger, said that they are happy on being in this tour, which was named after a new record they released in September entitled "A Bigger Bang"; the first since 1997.

    "We are having a great time. Everyone says "how can they still have fun, they should be dying of boredom! If we were to die from boredom we wouldnt do it!"

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related Links:

    Rolling Stones

    [12] Will her Father Walk Her Down the Aisle? Athina's Wedding on Saturday

    01 Dec 2005 14:23:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA

    She likes Brazilian soap operas and shopping at the local super market. He swears he is marrying her because he loves her, and not for her money. Who are we talking about? But of course, about 20-year-old heiress Athina Roussel-Onassis and 32-year-old Brazilian equestrian champion Alvaro Alfonso de Miranda Neto, who will exchange vows in a glorious ceremony in Sao Paolo, on Saturday. Around 750 guests are invited to the ceremony, which will take place in the Maria Luisa and Oscar Americano Foundation, in Morumbi. It has not yet been known if the father of the bride, Thierry Roussel, will attend the wedding, or if the couple has signed a pre-nuptial agreement. Athina will wear a Valentino gown, similar to the one worn by Jacqueline Kennedy in her wedding with Athinas grandfather, Aristotelis Onassis, in 1968. As per Caras magazine, the gown costs 70,000 dollars, while as Veja magazine reported the hairstyling and make-up will cost 1,200 dollars. Moreover, thousands of Veuve Cliquot champagne bottles have been ordered.

    Donations Instead of Gifts

    400 bodyguards have taken up the security of the couple and guests. The guests will meet at a secret location and be transported to the wedding with limousines, after passing from two checkpoints. The wedding will be ecumenical since the bride is Greek Orthodox and the groom a Roman Catholic. What will the presents of guests be? Donations to charity organisations "We decided on that, in order to prove that there is a better place to give their money," stated Miranda.

    An Ordinary Couple

    The couple met in Belgium in 2002 and their relationship found a common point in their love of horses.

    Miranda, or Doda as he is widely known, is the son of industrialist Ricardo Miranda. He is one of the best riders in Brazil and has won two bronze Olympic medals. He is the father of 6-year-old Vivian from a previous relationship with a model. "He lives a comfortable life but he is not a millionaire," reported Epoca magazine, while his friends and family do not doubt his intentions and stated that his love for Athina is real.

    The couple lives in a penthouse, which overlooks Ibirapuera Park, in Sao Paolo and spends most of their free time in Hipica Paulista Equestrain Club. They do not like going out and prefer to watch DVDs at home.

    As far as their future plans are concerned, Athina will turn 21 in January and is involved in a legal fight for the control of her inheritance from the Onassis Foundation, which demands she retains her ties with Greece. Doda and Athina are thinking of riding for Greece in the 2008 Peking Olympic Games.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [13] Three Brothers Killed a 78-Year-Old Woman Underage Criminals on Salamis

    01 Dec 2005 19:26:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    The unprecedented crime that occurred on Salamis has left the Greek public opinion numbed. Three brothers aged 7, 8 and 14 strangled Malamatenia Mihalaki, 78, to rob her. The children have been living in a gypsy settlement along with their father, who had a stroke on finding out the murder, while their mother is in jail on drug charges. On Thursday noon, the 14-year-old boy was referred to Pireaus Public Prosecutor and received a deadline to testify. His two younger brothers were released, and the Court of Champers is to rule on them at the trial. The three brothers also confessed to having abused and robbed an old man at his place in Salamis last summer.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [14] Trial on 2nd Degree Charges Begins on Friday 17N On Trial Once Again

    01 Dec 2005 17:59:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The trial of terrorist organisation 17N members, on 2nd degree charges, will begin with procedural issues and objections by the accused in a special room of the Korydallos prison, on Friday. The seventeen accused, thirteen of which are imprisoned, will appear at the Five-Member Courts of Felony Appeals and are: Alexandros Giotopoulos, Dimitris Koufodinas, Savvas Xiros, Christodoulos Xiros, Vassilis Gorgatos, Iraklis Kostaris, Patroklos Tselentis, Konstantinos Tellios, Kostas Karatsolis, Sotiris Kondylis, Vasilis Xiros, Thomas Serifis, Dionysis Georgiadis, Nikos Papanastasiou and Pavlos Serifis. Moreover, Giannis Serifis and Aggeliki Sotiropoulou, who were acquitted in the first degree, will also stand trial, as there was an appeal to the law, while Theologos Psaradellis and Anestis Papanastasiou will stand trial, as they were unanimously acquitted. The President of the Court will be Appellate Judge Dionysios Vertelis and permanent Court Prosecutor, Appellate Judge Efterpi Goutzamani.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Papaligouras Visits Korydallos

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