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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-01-05

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Sharon in Critical Condition
  • [02] Zhelin's Case Closed
  • [03] Two Deaths in Turkey
  • [04] "Pouring" With Problems
  • [05] Papariga to the President
  • [06] Fatal Plunge
  • [07] Tragedy in Mecca
  • [08] Violence Escalates Against the Shias
  • [09] Last-Moment Defeat for Olympiacos
  • [10] Coincidental Symptoms?
  • [11] Dog You Say? You're Hired!
  • [12] Scotland Yard: "Kate Come Home"

  • [01] "The Final Battle" Sharon in Critical Condition

    05 Jan 2006 15:59:00 (Last updated: 05 Jan 2006 23:33:53)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET, ANA, BBC

    Following the major stroke he suffered late on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being treated in the intensive care unit. Ariel Sharon initially remained sedated for 24 hours and was on respirator. However, his doctors decided to prolong his sedation for up to 72 hours. As per the director of the hospital, after the seven-hour surgery Mr Sharon underwent, his condition remains stable. However, predictions regarding the course of his health are particularly gloomy, with latest information speaking of an irreversible condition. Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmet has temporarily taken over reigns of the Israeli government. The USA, a EU spokesman, Russia, Italy and Britain wished for a swift recovery. At the same time, Israelis are numbed over the after-Sharon era, while Palestinians throughout the world welcomed the news.

    Wishes, Yet Grave Concern

    No sooner had Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas been informed of the fact, than he called Ariel Sharons office to ask for more information on his health, voiced his concern and wished him a swift recovery. He also maintained that irrespective of the developments on Sharons health, the Palestinian elections are to take place as planned on January 25.

    Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei contacted Ehud Olmert, who has assumed Sharons powers, and said that he is deeply concerned over Ariel Sharons health and that he wishes him a "swift recovery." At the same time, Palestinian officials underlined that the peace process is entering a new era.

    On his part, Saeb Ereat, chief Palestinian negotiator, speculated that the Israeli Premiers possible death is to perplex the situation in the Middle East, while he feared that violence in the occupied regions could escalate.

    Islamic Hamas, on the other hand, argued that the Middle East is definitely going to be a "better place" to live in without the Israeli Prime Minister.

    In the meantime, in the Gaza Strip, young Palestinians with a Fatah member among them gave out candies to express their happiness over Sharons critical health, eyewitnesses reported.

    US President George W. Bush praised Sharons dedication to the road map and wished for swift recovery. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan voiced his grave concern. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed the Israeli Prime Minister as a "gigantic figure" in Middle East politics.

    British Foreign Secretary Jack straw prayed for a miracle, while Russian President Vladimir Putin, EU Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, wished for swift recovery.

    Israelis United

    Deeply shocked on the news on Ariel Sharons deteriorating health. Israeli citizens are closely monitoring the battle he is fighting for his life. The Israeli Media speak of the "final battle," while crowds of make a beeline to the Wall of Tears to pray.

    Ariel Sharons political rivals and allies are gravely concerned over the Israeli Premiers health. Ariel Sharons absence marked todays Cabinet meeting, while his doctors underscored that under the these circumstances, Sharon cannot resume his place in the political arena.

    "Sharons strength will allow him to win this battle. We will keep running the state and we are praying for good news," stated acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, shortly before the opening of an emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday morning.

    Labour Party leader Amir Peretz had a phone contact with Olmert to offer his support.

    Peretz decided to halt his pre-election campaign for the March 28 elections.

    Former Israeli Economy Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took over the reigns of the Likud shortly after Sharons walkout, decided against the dissolution of Parliament to safeguard political stability in Israel.

    However, the Israeli government announced that the elections will take place on March 28, as scheduled. Opinion polls showed that Ariel Sharons party, Kadima, still leads and that he would serve a third term in office.

    Mixed Feelings

    On the other side, in the Gaza Strip, young Palestinians with a Fatah member among them gave out candies and were longing for "Draculas Downfall," as militants call him. In fact, Islamic Hijad argued that the Middle East is definitely going to be a "better place to live in" without the Israeli PM.

    At the same time, two Damascus-based Palestinian militant groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) criticized Sharon by maintaining that he does not wishes for peace in the Middle East and that his name is closely connected to massacres against the Palestinian people.

    In the meantime, Israeli Defence Minister Saul Mofaz assured on Thursday night that the countys army remains in high-level alert and called upon Israels citizens to stay calm.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Doctors prolong Sharon sedation

    CNN: Sharon to remain sedated after stroke

    Reuters: Sharon fights for life on respirator

    Jerusalem post: Sharon still in very serious condition, vital signs stable

    Related News:

    Sharon Fights for his Life

    Sharon Hospitalised Again

    [02] Zhelin's Case Closed

    05 Jan 2006 19:26:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET

    As the probe into the Russian criminals death has entered its final stage, attention is drawn to the conditions of the transfer of Maxim Zhelin and the two underage Albanians. The findings of the two autopsies, which spoke of suicide, were enhanced by the results of the ballistic tests, as well as the testimonies Trikalas Public Prosecutor has. As per the ballistic tests, Zhelin committed suicide using the gun he removed from police officer Konstantinos Vlahopanos. The amount of gunpowder detected on his right forefinger is most likely to be the leftovers of a gunshot, since it cannot be explained differently, said the police. In the meantime, Ioanninas Public Prosecutor has launched a preliminary examination into the conditions of the transfer, while Vice General Efstratios Kyriakakis, who went to Ioannina, leads a Sworn Administrative Inquiry.

    The commander of the Transfer Department and the police officer in duty were called on to testify.

    At the same time, the two officers on board the Super Puma helicopter testified to Trikalas Public Prosecutor assigned to look into the conditions surrounding Zhelins death.

    Zhelins body is to be given to his family as soon as his case is closed.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Findings Confirmed

    Investigations Continue

    [03] Due to Avian Flu Two Deaths in Turkey

    05 Jan 2006 18:54:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA-Rueters-AFP

    Turkey announced that the two teenagers died of avian flu, and the EU and the World Health Organisation (WHO) immediately sounded the alarm. The grave concern grew even bigger following the announcement that yet another six people were transferred to hospital after developing flu-like symptoms. The EU has ordered a special veterinary expert to travel to Turkey to assess the situation and contribute to the combating of the flu, while the World Health Organisation has sent a group of experts to assist the probe into the death of the two teenagers. As per the European Commission, it is still likely for more avian flu cases among human to be detected in the region.

    The EU and WHO Immediately Took Action

    Turkish authorities immediately took action and sent samples from the infected poultry to a EU special lab to undergo tests, while samples from the human victims were sent to a WHO lab in Britain to confirm the identity of the virus.

    At the same time, transferring poultry to the province of Dogubeyazit has been banned, while the authorities have decided to cull large amounts of poultry.

    As per Brussels, the first tests conducted in Turkeys labs verified that the four people were infected with the H5 strain of avian flu. Two of them passed away.

    WHO officials, on their part, argued that the two teenagers probably died of lethal H5N1 strain of avian flu.

    "A second test conducted today in Istanbul confirmed the findings yielded by Ankaras lab, according to which they died of H5N1," said a spokesman for Geneva-based WHO.

    The final diagnosis, however, will not be announced until the British lab yields its results.

    Should fears be confirmed, the two teenagers are to be the first avian flu victims among humans outside China and southeastern Asia.

    However, the World Health Organisation argued that these cases do not signal the outbreak of a pandemic.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    CNN: Bird flu claims 2nd Turkish child

    BBC:Turkish teenagers die of bird flu

    CNNTURK: WHO heyeti Turkiye'ye geliyor

    Related News:

    Coincidental Symptoms?

    [04] Due to the Downpour "Pouring" With Problems

    05 Jan 2006 16:40:00 (Last updated: 05 Jan 2006 21:48:42)

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: ANE, NET

    The heavy rainfalls that inflicted several regions across Greece have brought on extensive damages. In Attica, the heavy downpour that started in the early hours of Thursday seriously affected many regions in the basin. In Piraeus, a male lost his life when his car plunged into the sea due to marginal visibility. The road network of the Prefectures of Thesprotia and Ioannina sustained grave problems due to subsidence and landslides. In Giannena, the lakes water level, which has gathered such amounts of waters as never before over the last decade, is not threatening. The night was also quite difficult for the residents of Nea Peramos in Kavala, watching their houses and properties being destroyed, while the water lever surpassed past 50cm. The wider area of Farkadona has turned into a large body of water, while hundreds of peasants are in despair, because their crops are drenched in great amounts of water. Blue Star ferry with 665 people on board managed to dock at Rhodes' port, since the gale-force winds that prevent it from docking at island's port. As per the Hellenic National Meteorological Service, weather is to considerably improve as of tonight.

    Traffic Problems in Attica

    Water lever in Laka Kalogirou reached 80cm. The rainfall caused extensive damages in Megara. The rain waters reached the entrances of houses and the roads turned into streams.

    On Nato Avenue, major traffic problems were recorded, while several vehicles broke down in the middle of the road.

    In Piraeus, a male lost his life when his car plunged into the sea due to marginal visibility. However, a second tragedy was averted at the very last moment, when a port official also fell in the sea in his effort to reach the accident scene.

    The heavy rainfalls fuelled problems in Glyfada, while at Halyvourgiki Inc in Elefsina, several drivers were blocked. Fire Service units were on the site to cope with the problems.

    Traffic Police advises the drivers to be particularly careful when reaching the regions where severe problems were recorded.

    Related News:

    Rainy Problems

    Related Links:

    Hellenic National Meteorological Service

    [05] Papariga to the President

    05 Jan 2006 14:08:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    After meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, KKE Secretary Aleka Papariga described the memorandum promoted by the Council of Europe on communist parties as a "fascist delirium." In statements after the meeting was over, Mrs Papariga said the memorandum to be discussed on 24 January "declares war on communist ideology," and voiced her hope it would be rejected. Referring to allegations that Pakistanis have been kidnapped and interrogated in Greece, Mrs Papariga said the case has to be solved, although she is certain these people have been in fact abducted as part of agreements between the EU and the Simitis government. "The people should act and demand their abolishment," she concluded.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] The Driver Drowned Fatal Plunge

    05 Jan 2006 09:46:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA

    This morning, a 69-year-old man died a tragic death at the cold waters of the Piraeus port, when his car plunged into the sea, probably because of limited visibility from the downpour. A port official driving his car and heading towards pier E, rushed to rescue the man and under undefined conditions his car also plunged into the sea, but the officer was rescued. The body of the 69-year-old driver was taken to hospital for an autopsy, in order to discover the exact causes of his death. It is possible the man was on his way to pick up a passenger coming from Crete.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] At Least 15 Pilgrims Were Killed Tragedy in Mecca

    05 Jan 2006 18:15:00 (Last updated: 05 Jan 2006 20:38:03)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ANA, Reuters, Telegraph

    Islams holiest city, Mecca, is drenched once again in deep mourning. A four-storey building housing dozens of pilgrims collapsed. The citys authorities fear the death toll will surpass past 15, while some Saudi Media spoke of 23 fatalities. So far, some 49 injured people have been pulled to safety, said an Interior Ministry official, however, the exact numbers of the injured, as well as that of the people staying at the building, still remains unknown. Rescue workers are doing everything in their power to rescue those buried beneath the rubble, while several pilgrims are willingly offering their help. As per security forces officials, most of the victims come from Egypt, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.

    Nearly a million of pilgrims have already gathered in Mecca to attend the five-day pilgrimage scheduled to start on Sunday, while authorities estimate that more than 2.5 million Muslims are to attend this years festivities.

    Islams holiest city has repeatedly mourned over the death of dozens of pilgrims. In 2004, around 250 people were killed in a stampede.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Reuters: Saudi says at least 15 die in haj hostel collapse

    CNN: 15 dead in Mecca hotel collapse

    BBC: Pilgrim hostel collapses in Mecca

    Telegraph: At least 15 die in Mecca building collapse

    [08] Suicide Attack in Kerbala Violence Escalates Against the Shias

    05 Jan 2006 13:09:00 (Last updated: 05 Jan 2006 22:04:30)

    By Tina Valaoura

    Another day of lament and grief in Iraq. After a suicide bomber spread death during a Shia funeral in Miqdadiya, the sacred town of Kerbala became a new target of attacks. The suicide bombing occurred at 10:00 local time at a much-frequented road between two Shia mosques, thus killing 60 people and injuring 80 more. According to the local Police Force, the overwhelming majority of victims were pilgrims and merchants, as there is an open-air market in the area. The incident brought back tragic memories from March 2004, when a series of attacks at the citys central mosques cost the lives of 85 people.

    Blast Spreads Death in Ramadi

    Violence outbreaks were also reported in other regions. A suicide attack occurred against a police recruitment centre in Ramadi, 110km west of Baghdad

    As per the US army, a suicide bomber detonated at 10:55 local time near a pottery factory that served as a recruitment centre. More than 1,000 candidates, aged 20 to 35, had gathered at the entrance of the centre shortly before the attack. As per information, the blast killed at least 50 people and some further 70.

    Four Iraqi police officers were killed and further four were injured, when gunmen attacked two patrols near Baquba, 60km northeast of Baghdad. A top-ranking police officer is among the victims.

    In the Iraqi capital, a roadside bomb claimed the lives of five US troops. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani warned those who think that the attacks are to create a gap between the Iraqi religious groups, destabilise the political process and avert the Iraqis from forming a government of national unity, will fail.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Bombing kills 50 at Iraqi shrine

    Related News:

    Blood-Bathed Funeral

    [09] Last-Moment Defeat for Olympiacos

    05 Jan 2006 22:56:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    They stood up to the reigning European Champions, yet Olympiacos failed to celebrate a great victory in Israel, since they suffered a 101-95 defeat by Maccabi Tel Aviv on match day nine for Euroleagues Group B. Olympiacoss players also missed a grand chance to secure their advance to the next round. This was the fifth defeat the Greek team met in Europe. The score per period: 29-26, 51-45, 79-68, 101-95.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [10] Two Children Died in Turkey Coincidental Symptoms?

    05 Jan 2006 11:24:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA, Reuters, Associated Press

    The World Health Organisation could be counting for the two first deaths from bird flu outside China and southeastern Asia. We are talking about two children in Turkey, who had consumed poultry infected with H5N1 and then died. The first victim, a 14-year-old boy, breathed his last on Sunday at the city hospital in Van. Doctors had originally said he died of pneumonia, but changed their statements today, stressing he was most probably infected with the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. His 15-year-old sister, who was also hospitalised with the same symptoms, died early in the morning. Now doctors are closely monitoring the third child of the tragic family, who is also hospitalised showing signs of bird flu infection.

    The children were living in a village in Dogubayazit near the borders with Iran and working in a poultry farm, where they consumed infected meat.

    Governor of Van Niyazi Tanilir told CNN Turk that two more people (one in critical condition) have been infected and remain in hospital.

    Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag did not wish to elaborate on the boys death. He only said another suspicious case is monitored and tried to appear reassuring. "We dont expect a pandemic or anything like that in Turkey, but there is a real risk for people who are in close contact with fowl," he said and added that samples have been sent to the WHO and to specialised British labs.

    However, the World Health Organisation sounded the alarm, because if cases are confirmed as the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the deaths would mark a major shift westwards to the edge of Europe. "This is not the start of the pandemic. The start of the pandemic starts when there is human to human transfer, confirmed and sustained," said Dr. David Nabarro, senior coordinator for avian influenza at the United Nations.

    The H5N1 strain has been found in migratory birds in Turkey, Russia, Romania and Croatia, but no human case has been recorded so far than in Asian countries, where some 70 people have lost their lives since 2003.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC-Turkey diagnoses human bird flu

    Reuters-Second Turkish child dies from bird flu

    Independent - Second teenager dies in Turkey bird flu outbreak

    [11] Dog You Say? You're Hired!

    05 Jan 2006 12:59:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A Chinese human resources company added a new and highly original skill in its add for new job openings. Apart from degrees, prior experience and all the rest, Jilin Jiangshan requested all applicants were born in the Year of Dog! According to the company spokesperson, this original decision was made because 2006 is the year of the Dog and because of the special qualities that people born to this sign tend to demonstrate, like loyalty, honesty and devotion. "We believe that people born in dog years are born with some good characteristics such as loyalty and honesty," Mr Dong, personnel manager and himself a dog, told The Associated Press. Although the Chinese legislation forbids discrimination in employment and the company has been heavily criticised, those born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982 and 1994 (years of the Dog) are high likely to get a job!

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources: Chinese firm accused of bias for hiring only those born in 'dog year'

    [12] Scotland Yard: "Kate Come Home"

    05 Jan 2006 19:04:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Scotland Yard called upon Kate Moss to answer questions on photos of her using cocaine. The controversial photos had been published on tabloid press a long time ago. So, Kate Moss has no choice but to return home to be interrogated. The 31-year-old supermodel, who is feverishly battling to restore her image, which was tarnished when her addiction to cocaine became a common secret, is living in the USA. The revelation of this dark side of her life made by British tabloid Daily Mirror forced Moss to unemployment, since her contracts with great fashion and cosmetics houses were cancelled. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur stated that returning to Britain to be interrogated would be to her benefit. He further added that cocaine use in the fashion world and in the showbiz has elevated to an extremely worrying trend.

    Translated by Areti Christou

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