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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-12-08

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Karamanlis Sends Invitation
  • [02] Gotovina Arrested
  • [03] ND Ahead by 2.5%
  • [04] Angels Are not Always Innocent
  • [05] Papandreou's New Round of Contacts
  • [06] Agia Mavra Burned Down
  • [07] Amendment on Cremation
  • [08] Exports Are Vital
  • [09] Olympic Flame at "Fontana di Trevi"
  • [10] Malezani-Vardinogiannis Meeting
  • [11] Missing Ship
  • [12] K. Papoulias-OKE Meeting
  • [13] Panteion University Home Equipment

  • [01] At ND Parliamentary Group Meeting Karamanlis Sends Invitation

    08 Dec 2005 14:58:00 (Last updated: 08 Dec 2005 23:27:01)

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Speaking on Thursday morning before the ND Parliamentary Group, the Greek Premier said the Government is steadily orientated towards the strategy of reforms. At the same time, Mr Karamanlis described the changes in DEKOs as the most important government initiative and repeated the goal is to improve citizens every day lives. The Prime Minister said attacks and hardships do not overturn the clear position of transparency everywhere and for all. He also invited parliamentarians to increase their contacts with local societies, so that citizens are aware of the Governments measures to solve problems. On his part, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis extensively referred to "the big problems, which the government inherited from the past," adding there were huge secret deficits and debts, the exact figures of which nobody knew. "Greece has escaped inertia, idleness, conservation and stagnancy. For the past 20 months, the Government is building an anthropocentric model of development, which the PASOK governments failed to build in the past 20 years," stressed in his speech Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. Commenting Mr Karamanlis speech, KKE stressed the PMs recipe "on common goals and common gain between employees and businessmen" was not applied anywhere and in essence means the subordination of the working class to the capital.

    Reforms, One-Way Street

    "The citizens gave us a clear order. To change things. Deal with the accumulated problems with effectiveness. Clash with past ways and attitudes. Dare to do all those things that were always postponed," stressed the PM in his speech.

    Regarding the Bill on DEKOs, he said changes promoted today are a one-way street, because they have to work in a rather competitive environment to cover for the time and ground they lost. He extensively referred to transparency issues, giving a complete answer to the impressions created from the Paleokrassas case and launched a fierce attack on PASOK.

    Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis defended the Government policy, saying negative predictions from the Opposition did not come true. The Minister stressed the growth rate for Greek Economy in 2005 reached 3.6% and the unemployment rate dropped by more than one point. He also referred to the problem of tax evasion, which is a structural problem of Greek economy, while he put emphasis to the reforms promoted by the Government, aiming at a long lasting developing process.

    In his speech, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas extensively referred to the Government's strategy on energy, stressing it managed to fill in voids and gaps within a few months and started creating a new dynamic and long lasting energy strategy.

    He even outlined the main points of his policy, which are to deregulated the energy market, promote great ventures which would render Greece into an international energy interchange, limit oil dependence and save up energy.

    Spokespersons of the productive classes, who were invited to talk to the ND Parliamentary, referred to the problems of the Greek economy.

    The Presidents of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) and the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions (ADEDY) fiercely criticised the Governments economic policy during their speeches in the meeting, focusing on Article 14 of the DEKOs bill, which as they said, leads to the abolishment of collective work contracts.

    The reply of the Minister of Economy was immediate, calling on social partners to overcome close collusive interests, in order for the reforms to proceed thus benefiting society.

    The Vice President of the Federation of Greek Industries (FGI) and the President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) voiced their support to the bill.


    Mr Karamanlis with his speech to the ND Parliamentary Group tried to encourage his partys MPs with an exhibition of decisiveness. However, every time we hear the same futile announcements, stated PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis commenting on Karamanlis speech to the Parliamentary Group. Moreover, he stated that the Prime Minister attempted to appear as the flag bearer against corruption and at the same time is turning his back to PASOKs proposals.

    Referring to the changes being advanced in DEKOs, the PASOK spokesperson noted that there is no reform and queried if the specific bill brought to Parliament by the Government will make DEKOs more lucrative, since, as he added, the Government daily makes lucrative DEKOs detrimental with its policy.

    "It is a challenge for the intelligence and the memory of Greek people for PASOK to appear as an advocate of transparency and social sensitivity. Those who governed for 20 years put up with corruption and compromised with vested interest, enlarged social and regional inequalities, sank economy to the bottom of debts and deficits; do not persuade anyone by pretending to be critics. The only result of their crushing catastrophic words is the total collapse of their credibility," replied Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos.

    On behalf of SYN, Mr Lafazanis stated that Mr Karamanlis "announced the unrestricted escalation of new-liberal anti-social policies, implemented by all governments since the start of the 90s," and noted: "Greece of a new-liberal consensus is walking towards the 21st century turning the clock of social and labour relations a hundred years back."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    "Economy and Growth"

    [02] Accused of War Crimes Gotovina Arrested

    08 Dec 2005 16:43:00 (Last updated: 08 Dec 2005 23:04:07)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Fugitive Croatian General Ante Gotovina will appear at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as he was wanted for war crimes against Serbs during 1991-1995. As Chief Prosecutor of ICTY Carla Del Ponte announced, the 50-year-old General was arrested on Wednesday night at the Spanish Canary Islands and is under custody. Until the proceedings are completed for his extradition and his delivery to the International Criminal Tribunal, the High Court decided that Gotovina remain imprisoned in Spain.The EU and NATO hailed the fugitives arrest, noting that Karadzic and Mladic should also follow, as did Croatia, since the Gotovina case was an obstacle to its accession attempts in the European family.

    Appearance at the Hague

    The accusations against 50-year-old Gotovina were announced on July 2001 and concern crimes against Serbs at the end of the Serb-Croat conflict during 1991-1995, whereby he has remained in hiding.

    Actually, the retired General ranked at the first three places of the most wanted list with Serb-Bosnians Karadzic and Mladic.

    "We were working since September for his location," stated Mrs Del Ponte, voicing the hope that the Croatian Generals arrest will speed up the efforts for arresting Karadzic and Mladic.

    "The arrest of Gotovina is good news for the world. Its good news for bringing people to justice who are not yet convicted, but who are accused of very serious crimes, the most serious crimes " stated NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, while a spokesperson for the British EU Presidency stated that the arrest lifted an important obstacle for Croatias accession in the European Union.

    Croatias failure to arrest Gotovina, who is considered a war hero by many Croats, led ICTY to continuous criticism against Zagreb for lack of cooperation, resulting in Croatias accession in the EU to be postponed on March 2005.

    The Croatian Government, however, had repeatedly stated that it did not know where Gotovina was hiding. It extended its efforts for its location, a fact that was recognised by the Hague and contributed for the go ahead of accession negotiations with the EU last October.

    In the meantime, Serbia continued receiving criticism on the Karadzic and Mladic case. Actually, Mrs Del Ponte, who arrived in Belgrade this morning, will soon deliver to the UN, a report on the cooperation of Serbia Montenegro with the International Criminal Tribunal. If the report is negative, there is the danger of delaying or postponing Belgrades effort of accessing Euro-Atlantic institutions.

    Belgrade Hailed Arrest

    Gotovinas arrest was also hailed by the political leadership of Serbia.

    This development however, has caused concern to Government circles, since, as it is estimated, pressure will be applied to Serbia.

    Political observers commented on the fact that Carla Del Ponte announced Gotovinas arrest in Belgrade, during her visit to the Serb capital, constituted a form of pressure, and a warning to the Kostunica Government that the tolerance limits have been exhausted.

    However, PM of Serbia Vojislav Kostunica, after his meeting with Carla Del Ponte, stated the willingness of the Serb Government to successfully complete its cooperation with the ICTY, adding his wish for the arrest of General Ratko Mladic.

    On her part, Carla Del Ponte voiced her disappointment that the Serb Authorities did not act for the location and arrest of all the wanted persons hiding in Serbia and warned that the content of the report submitted to the UN Security Council in the end of the year will depend on the progress made by Belgrades cooperation with the Hague.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    CNN: Top Croat war crime suspect held

    El Pais: Detenido en Tenerife el general croata mas buscado por la guerra en la antigua Yugoslavia

    C: Long road from Krajina to captivity

    The Australian: Captured Croatian general to face war crimes tribunal

    Related Links:

    International Criminal Tribunal

    [03] A VPRC Opinion Poll for Skai Radio Station ND Ahead by 2.5%

    08 Dec 2005 15:50:00 (Last updated: 08 Dec 2005 22:16:59)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    An opinion poll conducted by VPRC for radio station Skai gave a 2.5 unit lead to New Democracy as opposed to PASOK. In particular, the governing party, on the intention to vote, received 42%, followed by PASOK 39.5%, KKE 8%, while SYN and LAOS received 4%. Kostas Karamanlis is ahead of George Papandreou on the question of "who is more suitable for Prime Minister" (46% as opposed to 28%), while 7 out of 10 citizens want the Government to run its four-year term and 54% supported a reshuffle. Moreover, 55% of the persons asked stated that if elections were to take place tomorrow ND would win, and 23% PASOK, as opposed to 61% and 14% on Novembers opinion poll. On the question of "how satisfied are you by the Government," only 3% stated very much, 33% not at all and 21% enough. The percentages for the Main Opposition Party are along the same lines: only 2% stated that they are very satisfied, 39% not at all, 41% not so much and 15% enough.

    Crisis in Trust to the Mass Media

    As per the opinion poll, 8 out of 10 considered that the owners of television channels affect the political life of the country. Moreover, 64% believed that television journalists maybe are violating peoples personal rights, 21% "they somewhat respect them", while 12% stated, "they do not respect or violate."

    In closing, 61% of the persons questioned supported the lift of permanent working status for newly hired in DEKOs, as opposed to 30% who disagreed.

    Commenting on the findings of the opinion poll, PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis underlined that a steady trend of difference decrease between the Government and the Main Opposition Party is recorded, since from the 5 units in July, it fell to 3 in the previous opinion poll and is now at 2.5.

    "On the backdrop of new-liberal consensus of the two big parties and the transformation of policy in a communication game of impressions, the Mass Media and especially the electronic, are gaining room for an upgraded political role," stated Secretary of the SYN Central Political Committee Nikos Chountis.

    The opinion poll was conducted on December 5-6, to 951 via telephone interviews.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] Angels Are not Always Innocent

    08 Dec 2005 15:30:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    At first glance, everything seemed perfect on the wrapping paper children got for free outside movie theatres in Canada. However, when their parents set their eyes on the Christmas gift, things got messy. But let's take things from the start. A mobile telephony company in Canada chose a very challenging way to advertise its products using angels, the symbols of innocence, in love shenanigans. Children were given a wrapping paper to wrap their Christmas gifts, which depicted two angels at a somewhat advanced flirt. The male angel was caressing the breasts of the female and it returned the caresses even more warmly. Parents protested for the shocking depictions on the wrapping paper and as a result, Virgin Mobile Canada was forced to recall its advertising campaign. A spokesperson tried to set the record straight by underlining the material was mistakenly distributed to children, as it was originally destined for people aged 18-24. Still, the excuse was not good enough as the particular company has challenged the public opinion many times in the past with provocative advertising campaigns on television.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] With Trade Unionists Papandreou's New Round of Contacts

    08 Dec 2005 13:39:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    PASOK President George Papandreou continues his meeting with producers. Today, he will be having consecutive meetings with the presidiums of GESASE (General Confederation of Greek Agrarian Associations), PASEGES (Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Co-Ops Unions) and ESEE (National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce) at his office in Parliament. Yesterday, Mr Papandreou met with GSEE's presidium (Greek General Confederation of Labour) and the Piraeus Labour Centre and accused the Government of its economic policy. Instead of uniting the Greeks, it tears them apart and wrongs employees, stressed Mr Papandreou.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] The Historic Monastery of Zakynthos Agia Mavra Burned Down

    08 Dec 2005 20:32:00

    Sources: NET

    The monastery of Agia Mavra surrendered to flames, the only church of Zakynthos saved from the great earthquake of 1953. The historic monastery, situated in the village of Macherado, with murals and icons of great historic value, was charred by the fire that broke out on Thursday noon, by an unidentified cause. Built in the mid 14th century, it is a church with special architectural interest, with impressive decorations, and a wooden hand carved chancel decorated with gold sheets. The icon of Agia Mavra, dating back to the 3rd century AD, who lived and died in Egypt, was also in the monastery.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] By 10 MPs of ND, PASOK and SYN Amendment on Cremation

    08 Dec 2005 19:52:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The right to choose cremation was asked to be institutionalised in Greece by ten MPs of ND, PASOK and SYN. In particular, the amendment, which determines the preconditions on the cremation of deceased persons, was submitted by President of SYN Alekos Alavanos and co-signed by ND MPs Miltiadis Evert, Nikos Georgiadis and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, PASOK MPs Nasos Alevras, Maria Damanaki, Theodoros Pagalos, Panagiotis Sgouridis and Giorgos Floridis and from SYN by Parliamentary spokesperson Fotis Kouvelis. As the MPs stated in their explanatory report, our country is violating Article 13 of the Constitution and International Contracts for Human Rights, as it does not accept the last wish of millions of people living in Greece or visiting it, and the religious beliefs of those that allow cremation.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related Links:

    Church of Greece

    Foundation of a Cremation Center in Greece

    [08] To Greek Economy Exports Are Vital

    08 Dec 2005 14:03:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The development of trade and investment in the globalised economy was the topic of the International Conference held by the Panhellenic Exporters Association. The President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, honoured with his presence the inauguration of the Conference. In his speech, he underlined that the extroversion of Greek Economy and the increase of exports constitute a national goal, especially under the present conditions of all-increasing competitiveness in the international trade. At the same time, he said the continuous increase of exports creates new job openings, reinforces social cohesion and strengthens the country. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas was a keynote speaker at the Conference and referred to Greece's important role in the Balkans. He also underlined Greek exports have shown a significant 12.3% increase in the last 9 months. PASOK Parliamentarian Anna Diamantopoulou referred to the need of radical changes in Greece's export policy, considering the cycle of former policies has closed and mere improvements are not enough.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [09] Olympic Flame at "Fontana di Trevi"

    08 Dec 2005 12:33:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    Today, President of the Republic of Italy Carlo Azeglio Ciampi lit the torch of the Winter Olympic Games in a simple ceremony at Piazza del Quirinale and passed it to the first torchbearer Athens marathon Olympian Stefano Baldini, thus commencing its journey of the Eternal Flame to Torino. From Piazza del Quirinale, Baldini ran to the Fontana di Trevi where he passed on the flame to the second torchbearer. After a distance of 11,300km ran by another 10,000 torchbearers, the Flame will pass through 140 towns in 64 days and will arrive in Torino, opening the curtain for the Winter Olympic Games on February 10.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Olympic Flame in "Eternal City"

    [10] Malezani-Vardinogiannis Meeting

    08 Dec 2005 21:23:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    The causes of the bad performance of Panathinaikos and the solutions were discussed in a meeting between Giannis Vardinogiannis and Alberto Malezani, which lasted for more than two hours. An issue of resignation, removal or dismissal was not discussed in the meeting, however this does not annul the bad atmosphere created by the defeats. As per information on the meeting, responsibilities were allocated to persons, including Malezani, however, Mr Vardinogiannis did not want to substitute the Italian coach, as it will not be easy to do so, nor will it change the teams performance. The given fact is that Malezani will return to the "greens" bench on Sunday, and quite possibly will have one last opportunity to change things around. The most likely event of substituting the coach, if it is included in Vardinogiannis plans of course, is to do so after the holidays with the team returning back to the games.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] Investigations are Underway Missing Ship

    08 Dec 2005 19:49:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Port Authority is on alert for the location of ship Africa Star in the broader sea area west of Cephallonia. The Honduran flag cargo ship with an 8-member crew and no passengers is sought after by the rescue crafts of the Port Authority, a C-130 aircraft and nearby ships, which rushed to the scene of its last spotting. The disappearance of the small ship, which had departed from Piraeus destined to Gibraltar, was reported by the ship owning company Texas Shipping, based in Piraeus, to the Operation Chamber of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] Focused on Social Consensus K. Papoulias-OKE Meeting

    08 Dec 2005 16:34:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET, ANA

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias voiced his concern on the social deficit of European Union countries, as well as the unemployment issue, welcoming the Presidency of the Economic and Social Committee (OKE). "We have reached the middle of the Lisbon Treaty, and we cannot be very satisfied," stated Mr Papoulias. He congratulated OKE members on their work during a difficult, as he said, time. "The fight is joint; you are pioneering and we stand by your side," he added. In statements after the end of the meeting OKE President Nikos Analytis referred to the issue concerning the issue of social consensus represented by the Committee. He stated that the President of the Republic is a man of consensus and understanding, while he underlined that the countrys future depends on the above procedures.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [13] Findings on Economic Scandal to Justice Panteion University Home Equipment

    08 Dec 2005 15:24:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET, Apogevmatini newspaper

    Carpets from Pakistan, sanitary appliances, fireplaces, chimneys and pebble stones are some of the items reportedly purchased during 1994-1998 by Panteion University, without however needing them. These shocking findings on the economic scandals in the education institution of Syngrou Avenue surfaced by the third investigation of the Ministry of Economy, which was sent to Justice. As it emerged from the inspections of the investigators Mr Kostaras and Mr Kardiasmenos, fictitious equipment costing 622,000 euros, ended up in the houses of employees!

    Dowry for the Employees

    After thorough inspections, 21 bathrooms, 23,150 bath tiles, 34 toilet seats, 62 cisterns, 21 faucets, 12 water basins and 4 bathroom benches were found in houses at Oropos, Kriekouki, Glyfada and Liosia, and not in Panteion, the new buildings of which, were constructed by private companies and delivered key in hand.

    The same occurred with 164 chimneys, 2,750 tiles for fireplaces and 5,980 pebble stones, while some others purchased carpets from Pakistan, for 2,500 euros each!

    As per the findings, the ones responsible are the members of the Deans Council, the head of the equipment department, the members of handling committees and the head of the secretariat.

    The findings were sent to the relevant Prosecution Authority

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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