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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-12-21

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Palestinian Elections Jeopardised
  • [02] Hagia Sophia Secret Room Opened
  • [03] Voices Raised at Parliament
  • [04] Papoulias-King Abdullah II Meeting
  • [05] Eleven Awards for ERT
  • [06] Silvio at his Best!
  • [07] Arnie: "Not One of Their Own"

  • [01] Israel Imposes Blockade Palestinian Elections Jeopardised

    21 Dec 2005 16:50:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: BBC - Associated Press

    Israel's decision not to allow Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem to cast their votes has set another obstacle in the Palestinian government elections, scheduled for January 25. Speaking on BBC, Israeli Prime Minister spokesperson Raanan Gissin said the decision was based on fears that the Palestinian militant group Hamas might gain power. On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority condemned the decision and Information Minister Nabil Saath said elections would be cancelled if voting in Jerusalem were barred. Palestinian negotiator with Israel Saeb Erekat spoke of a sabotage to the electoral process. However, Hamas said elections should be held as per normal. In the meantime, according to an opinion poll conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 50% of Israelis are in favour of negotiating with Hamas if so is deemed necessary for the peace process, while 47% rejected such an eventuality.

    Clashes Over Hamas

    Israel had said in the past that if Hamas would prevail in the government elections, the second after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1995, the peace process would die.

    "The Israeli Government will not help a terrorist organisation, Hamas, come to power," stressed Mr Gissin, adding Palestinians had previously been allowed to vote in Israeli post offices, but these had been "exceptions."

    "For us, Jerusalem is more important than any other thing," underlined Mr Erekat. "If these elections don't take place, it will be a catastrophe for the Palestinians," he said.

    It seems though that some members of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas' party share Israel's fears and pressure the President to call the elections off.

    The group is expected to perform well in the January poll having won a sweeping victory in municipal elections in the West Bank last week. Hamas' charter commits it to the destruction of Israel, and the group has been responsible for most of the suicide attacks inside Israel.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Jerusalem Post: PA to nix election unless bans lifted

    Reuters: Half of Israelis favor talks with Hamas: poll

    [02] Hagia Sophia Secret Room Opened

    21 Dec 2005 15:17:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Following the orders of the Hagia Sophia museum director and in the presence of witnesses the lock was broken and the door opened. Swamped in dust, a room that remained closed for more than 35 years revealed its secrets. A newspaper dating back to 1968 lying on a bench, indicated the room had been once opened. It was the workshop of Swiss architect Gaspare Fossati. Benches, sketches, reconstruction materials, a scaffold weighing 10 tonnes, the original ironworks from the domes, amphorae, jars, and small pieces of gold mosaics were found inside the room.

    The Lost Key

    According to Milliyet newspaper, Fossati's workshop was revealed when Museum Director Jale Dedeoglu asked if there were any rooms that had not been opened.

    Then, someone told her of a secret room. And since the key to the door was never found, the director ordered an employee to break the lock.

    Gaspare Fossati

    Swiss architect Gaspare Fossati (1809-1883) linked his name to the reconstruction of Hagia Sophia.

    In 1837 and after he was declared official architect of the imperial court of Saint Petersburg, he reconstructed the Russian Embassy to Istanbul and designed many other buildings.

    Ten years later, in 1847, Sultan Abdulmedjid assigned Fossati the reconstruction works of Hagia Sophia.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Over the Budget Voices Raised at Parliament

    21 Dec 2005 14:26:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA

    In Parliament, the discussion on the budget continued for the fourth day, with disputes between the Government and the opposition primarily on the results of the Brussels Summit. The interest is to escalate during the evening, when Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis, Minister of Health Nikitas Kaklamanis and former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis are expected to speak.

    Dispute between Molyviatis Kastanidis

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Molyviatis described the results of the recent European Council as a great Greek success, noting that the 20 billion euros of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF), as well as the maintenance of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as is until 2013, were ensured after intense diplomatic proceedings.

    Referring to the stance kept by the Main Opposition Party, he commented: "The Main Opposition Party even doubts the value of the result. This kind of opposition harms more the one who is making it, rather the one which is directed at."

    Answering to the Foreign Minister, PASOK Parliamentary spokesperson Charis Kastanidis queried "why does Greece, for the first time, fall short, in relation to community funds as opposed to Portugal by 7% when the criteria are identical."

    "During the previous 20 years Greece received 100 billion euros. If they had been utilised correctly, Greece would have been another country," said Mr Molyviatis.

    Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Valynakis also replied to Mr Kastanidis reminding him "of the special case of Portugal in the agricultural department, which had already been recorded in community documents since 1999, as it had reorganised its regions, as opposed to Greece."

    However, Mr Kastanidis continued, saying, " while in February 2004, Greece negotiated 24 billion euros, the Government decreased the amount to 20 billion euros."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] The Royal Couple of Jordan in Greece Papoulias-King Abdullah II Meeting

    21 Dec 2005 13:46:00 (Last updated: 21 Dec 2005 16:29:35)

    By Anna Kourti

    The Royal Couple of Jordan is on a working trip to Greece. At noon, King Abdullah accompanied by his wife Queen Rania visited the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, at the Presidential Mansion. The meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere, while beforehand two agreements on tourism and investments by the relevant Ministers were signed. Later on, the Royal Couple will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and President of PASOK George Papandreou. In the afternoon, the Jordanian monarch will visit the City of Athens.

    Economic Agreements

    In the meeting at the Presidential Mansion, the two men supported a united and democratic Iraq. The President of the Republic stated, "We agreed that the combat of terrorism cannot only be made with means of suppression. It has to be fought at the root of the problem by the improvement of education, the peoples living conditions and the respect of human rights."

    On his part, King of Jordan voiced his desire over the strengthening of economic relations and for this purpose he will meet with selected members of the Greek industry and the private sector. "I hope that I can return your hospitality when you visit us in Jordan, which I hope is quite soon," said the Jordanian monarch.

    Two economic agreements were signed before the statements of the two men. One concerned a partnership in tourism, which was signed by Minister of Tourism Dimitris Avramopoulos and Jordanian Minister of Industry and Commerce Sharif Zoubi, while the other concerned the promotion and mutual protection of investments, which was signed by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Evripidis Stylianidis and Sharif Zoubi.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] "Figures 2005" Ceremony Eleven Awards for ERT

    21 Dec 2005 11:53:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET, Ethnos newspaper

    The biggest stars of Greek television graced a brilliant night with their presence. The Television Awards, "Figures 2005," have become an institution and every year tens of productions compete for the jury and the viewers preferences. This year, NET won 11 awards in total. The biggest winner was "Ta Paidia tis Niovis," which is broadcast for the second year running, and won six awards. From the 41 awards in total, 27 were given by the jury and 13 from the viewers. A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Giorgos Michalopoulos. First on the list ranked MEGA, with 13 awards in total, followed by ANT1, Alpha, Star and Alter.

    "Ta Paidia tis Niovis" received the following awards:

    Best Production Giannis Koutsomitis Best Direction Kostas Koutsomitis Best Scenario for Drama Kostas Koutsomitis, Vasilis Mavropoulos Best Drama Show Best Costume Design Maria DimitriadiBest Photography Argyris Theos, Prokopis Dafnos

    The other five awards received by ERT were:

    Best Cultural Show "Oi Megales Parastaseis" (Alexis Kostalas ET1) Best Journalistic Story "The Tsunami" (Filios Stagos, Giorgos Georgiadis, Petros Katsakos NET) Best Music Show "Stin Ygeia Mas" (Spyros Papadopoulos NET) Best Sports Show "Athlitiki Kyriaki" (Antonis Katsaros, Anna Karamanli NET) Special TV Event "Solidarity Concert for the Tsunami Victims"

    ERTs Executive Adviser Giorgos Chouliaras received the award for the Best TV Event by Maria Choukli, a nominee by the viewers for Best News Presenter. Nikos Chatzinikolaou and Elli Stai won the award of Best News Presenter.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] Sour Grapes and Humour Silvio at his Best!

    21 Dec 2005 13:33:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Reuters

    The descriptive names, his discretion and tact behind the actions and expressions of Italian Prime Minister are well known to most. Another comment has been added to the long list of his humorous statements. The Italian Prime Minister sent Swedish counterpart G&#246;ran Persson 24 bottles of Italian wine. As he said to foreign journalists, he did it in order for the Swedish PM to "recuperate" from the wine offered by the British Presidency at the recent Summit Meeting. "Persson was so aghast at the English wines at the summit that I promised to send him some of our wines," said the Italian PM and joked, "Up to 24 bottles is fine. More than that is corruption." Mr Berlusconi has not always been that kind with the Scandinavians taste. At the December 2001 Summit Meeting, when Parma was competing with Helsinki over which city would host a European Authority for food safety, he had commented, "Parma is synonymous with good cuisine. The Finns dont even know what prosciutto is."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] Arnold's Strained Relations with Birthplace Arnie: "Not One of Their Own"

    21 Dec 2005 12:07:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The Governor of California attempted to beat Graz Municipality, Austria, before it removed his name from Liebenauer Stadium, as a sign of dissatisfaction by his decision over death row inmate Williams. With a letter sent to the Mayor of the town, he asked for his name to not be used, and is returning the "ring of honour" presented in 1999 for his career and as the descendant of the Austrian town. " In all likelihood, during my term as governor, I will have to make similar and equally difficult decisions," reads the letter and quite ironically adds "In order to spare the responsible politicians of the city of Graz further concern, I withdraw from them as of this day the right to use my name in association with the Liebenauer Stadium. The official Graz appears to no longer accept me as one of their own, this ring of honour has lost its meaning and value to me. It is already in the mail," concluded the letter.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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