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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-12-15

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] PSAT Awards the Best Athletes
  • [02] 2.2% Lead for ND
  • [03] Discussion on DEKOs Concluded
  • [04] Dispute Over Refuse Dumps
  • [05] Helios Flight Reconstruction
  • [06] Attack Against Policemen in Athens
  • [07] "Mea Culpa, But" Says Bush
  • [08] Momentous Voting in Iraq
  • [09] To The Ballots in Iraq
  • [10] Focusing on Growth
  • [11] Maya Secrets Come to Light
  • [12] Why is Mona Lisa Smiling?
  • [13] Alone in the Car
  • [14] Summit on Illegal Immigration

  • [01] PSAT Awards the Best Athletes

    15 Dec 2005 21:49:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Before the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, the Panhellenic Sports Press Association (PSAT) awarded the best athletes for 2005 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. This years ceremony broke an unprecedented record, since 471 sports reporters participated in the voting process. Swimmer Aristidis Grigoriadis was awarded the prize of best male athlete for 2005, while track athlete Pigi Devetzi was awarded the title of best female athlete for 2005. As for the best team award, it came naturally for the Greek national basketball team to win it, while coach Panagiotis Yiannakis was declared best coach. The ceremony was marked by the presence of several representatives of the political and sports leadership, including Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Orfanos responsible for sports issues, Secretary General of Sport Giorgos Koukodimos and Hellenic Olympic Committee President Minos Kyriakou.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [02] As Per MRB's Opinion Poll 2.2% Lead for ND

    15 Dec 2005 19:19:00 (Last updated: 15 Dec 2005 22:11:59)

    According to the findings of a nationwide opinion poll conducted by the company MRB, ND is 2.2 units ahead of PASOK in voter intention. In particular, ND received 36.9% as opposed to 34.7% for PASOK. They are followed by KKE with 7.3%, LAOS with 3.6% and SYN with 3.4%. In the question, "Who is more suitable for Prime Minister?" Kostas Karamanlis is ahead by 43.5% as opposed to 34.9% for George Papandreou. Although the overwhelming majority of those questioned is of the opinion that reforms and privatizations should continue, the opinion poll recorded high levels of disappointment over Greeces economic situation. In the question, "Which party do you think would win the elections if they were to be held on coming Sunday?" ND received 58.5% compared to 28.6% for PASOK. In fact, 80.8% of those asked stated that they are absolutely or almost certain as to which party they would vote for.

    Faith in the Government

    As for the Greek economy, 39.8% of the participants in the poll stated that the reforms should be concluded, 16.6% favoured a mild adjustment policy, 15.8% thought that elections should be called, 12.3% were of the opinion that the economy should be subject to radical changes, 10.6% stated that the government should be oriented to other policies, while 4.9% refused to answer. Furthermore, 49.7% said they agree with the privatizations.

    Regarding the major problems troubling the Greek society, 68% viewed unemployment as being the most significant one, inflation and high prices received 63.4%, health 31.8%, education 21.9%, while 18.9% of those asked argued that drugs and issues relating to vested interests are the most important problems.

    At the same time, 37.1% viewed Nea Democratia as the party that can most effectively deal with Greeces problem, as opposed to 34.9% that opted for PASOK. 4% voiced their preference for another party, while 22.3% said that none is able to tackle the countrys problems.

    The 10 Most Popular Politicians

    Athens Mayor Dora Bagogianni is by far the most popular politician, since she received 61.1%, while the top ten consists of:

    -Nikitas Kaklamanis -Apostolos Kaklamanis -Evangelos Venizelos -Giorgos Souflias -Dimitris Avramopoulos -Lianna Kaneli -Fofi Gennimata -Anna Psarouda Benaki -Giorgos Voulgarakis

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [03] PASOK Walked Out Discussion on DEKOs Concluded

    15 Dec 2005 18:55:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    The discussion on the Bill on Public Utilities and Enterprises (DEKO) was concluded. Parliaments Plenary Session voted for the bill in principle. A heated debated with the dispute between PASOK leader George Papandreou and Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis being the most heated one had preceded the discussion. ND parliamentarian Giannis Manolis, who had been a unionist for years, voted against the controversial article 14 citing reasons of principle. When questioned on the issue, Deputy government spokesman Mr Antonaros made it clear that no sanctions will be imposed. PASOK walked out from the discussion on the bills articles blaming the government for displaying an "obdurate behaviour in NDs bid to improve the bill."

    GSEE: Warns of Filing an Appeal to the European Court

    In the meantime, the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) is to embark on an effort to abolish the bill on DEKOs. In a press conference given at midday by the GSEE Presidium and the DEKOs Unionists, they announced their intention to file an appeal to the European Court and released figures on the employers monthly income which amounts to 1,400 euros, while the newly-hired do not get paid more than 670 euros.

    GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos foresaw that the law will not be applied to DEKOs and called on the employees to adopt a differentiated line in the talks on the national collective contracts scheduled for next week.

    Deputy GSEE President Alekos Kalyvis accused the government of violently eliminating the income and the workers rights, as well as of vying to undermine the union movement.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Dispute Over DEKOs

    [04] Greece Indicted to European Court Dispute Over Refuse Dumps

    15 Dec 2005 20:02:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA

    The European Commission decided to indict Greece to the European Court for breaking the EU law on waste management regarding the two illegally-operating refuse dumps in the areas of Kouroupitos and Mesomourio, Crete. The aforementioned decision was enough to fuel a dispute between the government and the Main Opposition. In its announcement, the Greek Ministry of Environment argued that it was the indifference displayed by PASOKs governments and the Local Governments since 2002 that brought about such a decision. The same announcement also read that the Kouroupitos issue dates back to 1998 and that in 200 the European Court had sentenced Greece with a daily 20,000-euros fine. As for the restoration works at Kouroupitos gorge, the Ministrys announcement pointed out that the project is to be auctioned in the days to come. Regarding the project to be performed in the area of Mesomourio, a part of the total cost of the project has already been approved, while the rest of the sum is to be covered by the Crete Prefecture, which supervises the works.

    On its part, PASOK drew its attention to Environment Minister Mr Souflias, who said that he had briefed last September the Cabinet on the danger of Greece being sentenced to several fines amounting to billions of euros. "Mr Souflias argued that the problem rests with the government, meaning that although he had briefed the Prime Minister and the Economy and Interior Ministers in good time, yet they did nothing, as they should have," read PASOKs announcement.

    Deputy government spokesman Mr Antonaros was also questioned on the issue. He made it cleat that Mr Souflias put the blame on PASOKs previous government rather than on his colleagues. He further added that the Cabinet meeting held last September focused on issues relating to the Ministries of the Interior and Economy. He also underlined that Mr Souflias spoke of necessary steps, which are being taken. As for the illegally-operating refuse dumps, Mr Antonaros argued that there is a deadline until 31/12/2007, while the Kouroupitos issue is to be resolved much sooner.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] Answers to Crucial Questions Helios Flight Reconstruction

    15 Dec 2005 22:08:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    The final countdown to the completion of the findings on the multi-fatality air tragedy in Grammatiko will commence on coming Monday 19 December. The Helios flight, which rocked the international community on August 14, is to be reconstructed with an airliner of the same type. The members of the investigation committee headed by Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board President Akrivos Tsolakis and a Prosecutor will play the part of the passengers. Members of the Board dressed in Helios uniforms will take their place in the cockpit exactly where the F16 jet pilots had seen the crew. The evidence to surface will complete the findings on the causes of the air tragedy. The findings will have been completed by late February 2006.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] Attack Against Policemen in Athens

    15 Dec 2005 21:41:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET, ANA

    A group numbering around 20 youths attacked two policemen by throwing stones and pieces of wood at them. The incident occurred shortly after 7pm on Thursday night at the junction of Akadimias and Asklipiou Streets. The two policemen, who were on civilian's attire, were injured and transferred to the 401 General Army Hospital. The youths robbed one of the policemen of his wallet, while they removed the others revolver. A probe into locating the perpetrators is under way.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Wrong Information, Right War "Mea Culpa, But" Says Bush

    15 Dec 2005 09:49:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA, BBC, CNN

    The USA waged a war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction, admitted US President George Bush on Wednesday. However, he defended his decision to topple Saddam Hussein. "Many intelligence agencies judged that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and its true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. And Im also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And were doing just that," stated George Bush, adding, "My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision. Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power." This is one of the rare times the US President admits there have been mistakes in the issue of Iraq. Regarding US troops in Iraq, he stressed they would remain there until the Iraqi forces were sufficiently well trained to fully take over security duties. George Bush made these statements as part of a campaign to persuade American citizens to support the White Houses choices, one day before parliamentary elections in Iraq and at a time when Bushs popularity loses ground.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Bush takes on Iraqi war critics

    CNN: Bush takes responsibility for invasion intelligence

    [08] For the New Iraqi Parliament Momentous Voting in Iraq

    15 Dec 2005 18:11:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Despite the violence breakout reported early on Thursday morning, which according to Iraqi officials was of minor importance as opposed to the violent incidents that claimed the lives of nearly 40 people last January, there was a high turnout in Iraqs parliamentary elections. Thursdays incidents killed two Iraqis and injured some nine people, including an American soldier. The ballots closed at 5pm, an hour later than initially scheduled due to the high turnout. The Iraqis voted for 275 members to make up the new National Assembly. Some 6,655 candidates, 307 parties and 19 coalitions registered for the ballot, electoral officials said. The final results are expected to be released in two weeks time or maybe more.

    The US government described this day as a historic one and praised the high turnout, as well as the fact that the violence outbreak was limited. On his part, British Premier Tony Blair, who is in Brussels, also called the day historic for it marked the first fully free parliamentary elections to be held in Iraq. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw voiced his belief that the new Parliament will be elevated to a "democratic government for the Iraqi people."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    To The Ballots in Iraq

    [09] One Dead in Mosul To The Ballots in Iraq

    15 Dec 2005 07:17:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Despite Draconian measures, one blast after the other shook Baghdad this morning, a few minutes after the ballots opened in Iraq for the first government elections after Saddam Hussein was removed from power. The first and most powerful blast occurred in the Green Zone, the tightly secured area housing the headquarters of the Iraqi Government, as well as the US and British Embassies. What triggered the blast is yet unknown, but eyewitnesses and correspondents said it sounded like a mortar. The other explosions resulted in the injury of two Iraqi civilians. The ballots opened at 07:00 local time (05:00 CET) and 15.5 million citizens cast their votes to elect 275 Parliamentarians from a total of 7,500 candidates from 307 "political entities." 150,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers are on patrol across the country in an effort to prevent attacks. In fact, 160,000 US soldiers are on alert to intervene if so is deemed necessary. However, the explosion in Baghdad was not the only one that marred the elections. Another explosion was reported in Ramadi, west of the capital, while a mortar exploded near Tikrit, Saddams birthplace. In Mosul, the blast near a police station killed one man.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Reuters: Polls open as blast hits Baghdad

    BBC: Iraqi polls open in landmark vote

    CNN:Polls open in historic Iraqi election

    [10] Focusing on Growth

    15 Dec 2005 17:47:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET-ANA

    Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis presented on Thursday 15 the updated Stability and Growth Plan, which is to be submitted to the EU on Friday. The plan provides for an ongoing rise in the growth rates, drop in deficit and public debt, enhancement of farm pensions and EKAS (Pensioners Social Solidarity Allowance), and rise in employment. In particular, the plan foresees that the growth rate is to stand at 3.8% in 2006 and 2007 and it will rise to 4% in 2008. The Economy Minister noted that the rise in the EU growth rates as well as the structural reforms, which are to continue, will contribute to the rise in the GDP. As for the inflation, it is expected to fix at 3.5% in 2005, to fall to 3.2% in 2006, to further fall to 3% in 2007 and to stand at 2.7% in 2008. According to the plan, unemployment is to amount to 10.4% in 2005, to 9.8% in 2006, to 8.9% in 2007 and to 8% in 2008. The deficit is also expected to post a gradual fall ranging from 4.3% in 2005, to 2.6% in 2006, to 2.3% in 2007 to fix at 1.7% in 2008.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] On a 2,000-year-old Mural Maya Secrets Come to Light

    15 Dec 2005 12:14:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Buried in the depths of a tunnel at the Guatemalan desert, at the ruins of San Bartolo, archaeologists discovered an amazing Maya mural, depicting the ritual for crowning a king. The mural, measuring 9m x 90cm dates back in 100 BC. It depicts the birth, death and resurrection of the son of the corn king while offering a blood sacrifice. Archaeologist William Saturno of the New Hampshire University discovered the first part of the mural in 2001. This time, archaeological excavations brought to light the remaining, "the crown jewel," a work of art, which the archaeologist does not hesitate to compare to the Sistine Chapel.

    Same Rituals for 800 Years

    "It's like discovering the Sistine Chapel, if you didn't known the Renaissance existed" said the archaeologist.

    The coronation ritual is identical to the one of the classic Maya period, in 600-700 BC, a fact indicating that despite their advanced knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, the Mayas applied the same coronation rituals for 800 years.

    The colours prevalent in the mural, which was found at the centre of a room used to prepare blood sacrifices, are orange, light blue and grey.

    Most Ancient Mural Discovered Accidentally

    Saturno was excavating in the area of San Bartolo since 2001, when he accidentally dropped his flashlight down a tunnel, which illegal antique traders had dug.

    All objects found in the tunnel had been stolen, but the illegal antique traders failed to notice the Maya mural, which is more ancient than those found in Tikal, Guatemala.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    La Jornada: Descubren en Guatemala parte final de un mural maya mas antiguo que Tikal

    [12] Algorithms Speak the Truth Why is Mona Lisa Smiling?

    15 Dec 2005 17:07:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA-New Scientist

    Mona Lisas enigmatic smile, which has been puzzling scientists and art lovers for 500 years, was finally deciphered with the use of modern technology. Mona Lisas smile was analysed with the help of a computer and the results appear on New Scientist. According to the findings, Mona Lisa is 83% happy, 9% arrogant, 6% scared and 2% furious.

    The algorithm used by the researchers of the University of Amsterdam in collaboration with the University of Illinois, the USA, focused on key facial features, including the curvature of the lips and wrinkles around the eyes, better known as goose paws, and compared and contrasted them with six key human emotions. As per New Scientist, this programme could herald the adjustment of computers to the moods of their users.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [13] Three-Year-Old Crashes With Police Car Alone in the Car

    15 Dec 2005 11:31:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    You all remember the classic film "Home Alone" where the hyperactive and cunning kid messed with the lives of the burglars. And although the star of our story, little Oliver, was still unborn when the movie was filmed, he apparently shares the same genes with the film hero. But let's take things from the start. When Oliver's dad stopped outside a store to get him cookies, he made sure the kid was properly sitting in the passenger sit with the seatbelt on, anxiously waiting for his cookies, and therefore completely harmless. Completely you say? It seems the father did not think things through and Oliver, apparently imitating his daddy and taking advantage of his absence, wanted to go for a short ride around the block while waiting for his snack.

    As it turned out, it was quite a ride, as the little fellow managed to take the car out of gear, release the handbrake and then steer 15 yards down the road, before the Police stopped him.

    Naturally, we don't mean the Police waved at the youngster and he stopped. In truth, the kid's ride ended badly as his dad's car crashed into the police vehicle.

    After their original shock, police officers rushed to see what had happened. Imagine their surprise when instead of a drunk or reckless driver, all they saw was a three-year-old boy sitting in the passenger seat with his seatbelt on.

    The boy's father became aware of the incident only when a police officer entered the shop and asked: "Does anyone have a white car?"

    He ran outside at the "scene of the crime" to see his son sitting exactly where he had left him. The only thing the little boy said was "have you got my cookies?" Besides, he hadn't do anything wrong, had he now?

    Mr Coster said he would never leave his son in the car again. "It is what thousands of parents do every day. I never thought he would be able to take the handbrake off."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [14] Among Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan Summit on Illegal Immigration

    15 Dec 2005 15:50:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA

    A four-day Summit is being held in Athens between the Greek Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and the Interior Ministers of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, Messrs Mostafa Pur-Mohammadi, Aftab Ahmed Khan Shairpao and Abdulkadir Aksu. The Summit is focusing on the issues of illegal immigration, human and drug trafficking, as well as on organized crime. The Summit resulted from Mr Voulgarakis official visit to Pakistan last May. On the sidelines of the Summit, the three Interior Ministers visited the Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and later they were welcomed by the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    "Immigrants living in Greece and especially those coming from countries Greece shares long and close ties with are sacred to us and should reside in Greece legally enjoying full and mainly equal rights in the Greek society," underlined Mr Pavlopoulos exiting the meeting. He also referred to the new law on immigration and the integration policy, which, as he said, is examined by experts so that its effectiveness is safeguarded. "When it comes to immigration, no one can be contented with what has been achieved. We are obliged to deal with this phenomenon, which is a global one, by displaying high levels of alertness and sensitivity where necessary," argued the Interior Minister.

    The Summit had been originally been scheduled for October 10 and 11 in Athens. However, it was called off due to the devastating earthquake that rocked Pakistan.

    Translated by Areti Christou

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