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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-01-10

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Alert and Measures
  • [02] Slight Improvement for Sharon
  • [03] Tehran Defiant Once Again
  • [04] Tea, Football and the Stonehenge
  • [05] Positive Review
  • [06] Dialogue on Constitutional Review
  • [07] Greek National Printing Office Modernised
  • [08] Unrelated Quakes
  • [09] River Evros Subsides
  • [10] Further Boost on Reforms
  • [11] Investment in Greek Tobacco Industry

  • [01] Over the Spread of Avian Influenza in Turkey Alert and Measures

    10 Jan 2006 18:03:00 (Last updated: 10 Jan 2006 20:48:47)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET, ANA, Reuters, AFP

    Europe is closely watching the radical increase of avian influenza cases on humans in neighbouring Turkey. Confirmed cases have reached 15, but new centres of infection make their appearance and suspicious cases are recorded. Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan called on citizens to remain calm and reassured that measures are taken to limit the spread of the deadly virus. Both the European Union and the World Health Organisation are on high alert and take measures to effectively deal with avian influenza. Greek health authorities are also on alert, while measures are taken along the borders and in airports.

    Under Control, Supports Erdogan

    Turkish health authorities have confirmed that 15 people so far have been infected by the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. 60 more, including 30 children, are hospitalised around Turkey with suspicious symptoms.

    The last case was located in the central province of Sivas.

    However, according to a Health Ministry announcement today, none of these people is in critical condition.

    At the same time, three quarters in Istanbul have been placed under quarantine after locating poultry infected with the H5N1 lethal strain.

    The Turkish Prime Minister asked media to stop creating a climate of panic and reassured the crisis is under control.

    "The situation is under control and we will continue to closely monitor it. Those who have tested positive to bird flu are not in critical condition and there is no issue of danger for the time being," stressed Erdogan.

    In the meantime, Turkish authorities have culled 306,000 poultry since late December in 15 Turkish provinces where the avian influenza has been detected, as per a Turkish Health Ministry release on the matter.

    Experts' Fears

    What has raised concerns is a possible mutation, which would allow the virus to spread from human to human.

    Although according to the WHO there has been no evidence so far to back such allegation, experts think it is a matter of time before the virus mutates.

    This could happen if someone infected by regular flu catches the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.

    According to epidemiologists, if it would happen it would increase the chances of having a new mutated virus that could be transmitted with a simple sneeze.

    Concerns in Europe

    Such an eventuality has set Europe and all Turkey's neighbouring countries on alert and forced them to take intensive precautionary measures.

    Italy, Russia and the United Kingdom have suggested their citizens to avoid travelling in Turkey, especially in the provinces where the disease has been detected.

    In Bulgaria, experts have been dispatches to border stations, while the Health Ministry will hand out 50,000 special leaflets to inform the population on the disease, especially in east Bulgaria, which is considered a threatened area because of migratory geese and other birds.

    In Romania, authorities increased safety measures and checks in border stations and airports, especially for travellers to and from Turkey, while they asked the World Health Organisation to send a group of experts to the country and help them to better deal with potential consequences.

    Germany is also taking measures, increasing customs checks on people coming from Turkey. The German Federal Research Office for Contagious Diseases and the Robert Koch medical foundation in Berlin warned of an increased danger in spreading bird flu from Turkey to Germany due to the great circulation of travellers between the two countries.

    Strict Checks in Greece

    Strict checks are also performed at all entry points from Turkey to Greece.

    The measures are taken as part of the EU's action plan, which was adopted in the Fall of 2004.

    Deputy Government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros stressed, "All measures in the context of this action plan have been taken," and added, 'The EU does not feel there is a need to impose or implement new measures. There is full coordination between competent Ministries and the Prime Minister is being informed."

    Rural Development and Food Minister Evangelos Basiakos was also reassuring over the bird flu cases in Turkey and stressed there is no need to worry, since all necessary precautionary measures have been taken in Greece, always according to the European Union's provisions and the Action Plan.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC:Turkey bird flu spreads further

    CNN:Turkish imams join bird flu fight

    Related News:

    Greece Takes Precautionary Measures

    New Avian Flu Case in Turkey

    Greek Health Authorities on Alert

    Avian Flu Raises Concern in Turkey

    [02] In a Critical But Stable Condition Slight Improvement for Sharon

    10 Jan 2006 19:09:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: BBC-HAARETZ

    Ariel Sharon is showing small signs of improvement, as his attending physicians confirmed the Israeli Prime Minister managed to move his right hand and left shoulder more than before. However, he is still in a critical but stable condition. In the meantime, doctors continue to reduce anaesthetic drugs to bring him out of the induced coma, while recording his reactions, said a Hadassah Hospital spokesperson. This process is expected to last for several more days.

    Reserved Optimism

    Sharon has escaped danger, said one of his anaesthesiologists, Dr Yoram Weiss.

    "More metaphorically speaking, we have backed off five yards from the edge of the cliff," he said. However, he underlined it is too soon to be evaluating the present neurological improvement.

    Dr Weiss was also reserved over the Israeli PM's overall recovery, saying, "We need to be patient," and avoiding any predictions, stressed, "We are no prophets."

    Sharon's two sons are constantly by his side. In fact, it was reported than when they spoke to him he seemed to respond, as his blood pressure increased at the time.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Tehran Resumes Nuclear Research Tehran Defiant Once Again

    10 Jan 2006 16:40:00 (Last updated: 10 Jan 2006 19:16:04)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Following a two-year hiatus from research, and defying pressure applied by the international community, which threatens to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council, Iran is to resume nuclear research. Head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran Mohammad Saeedi announced that seals were removed from the nuclear plant at Natanz, and that research on nuclear fuels are to resume within the day. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokeswoman Melissa Fleming confirmed the removal of the UN seals. Spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Cristina Gallach, voiced the European Unions grave concern, while the USA, Russia, France and Great Britain condemn Tehrans initiative.

    Stormy Reactions

    Mrs Gallach argued that the EU is working on its response to Irans decision, since the resumption of the nuclear research "outright relates to uranium enrichment," and it constitutes violation of the Paris Agreement.

    White House spokesman Scot McLellan threatened to refer Iran to the UN Security Council, while chief U.S. representative to the IAEA, Gregory L. Schulte claimed, "Iran has chosen the path of conflict [] and has shown its disdain for international concerns and its rejection of international diplomacy."

    Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov called on Tehran to comply with its obligations and noted that Moscow falls in line with its European partners (Germany, Britain and France).

    French President Jacques Chirac made it clear that he recognises Iran and North Koreas right to use nuclear power for peace purposes, however, he maintained that the international community has no option but to safeguard the commitments the two countries have made.

    Britain also condemned Irans initiative. UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw stated that this decision is a mere violation of the resolutions taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Paris agreement Iran signed with Britain, France and Germany in November 2004.

    As per analysts, referring Tehran to the UN Security Council is most likely, since imposing economic or military sanctions is probably out of the picture because of the high oil prices and the continuing violence in Iraq.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Iran breaks seals at nuclear site

    Frankfurter Allgemeine: Iran nimmt Kernforschung wieder auf

    Le Monde: L'Iran a leve les scelles sur des centres de recherche nucleaire

    CNN: West slams Iran nuclear moves

    Related Links:


    [04] Tea, Football and the Stonehenge

    10 Jan 2006 16:23:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    What's in a cup of tea, Alice in Wonderland, double-deckers and the Stonehenge monument? Except for the fact they are all English, they are also among the 12 national icons that sum up the essence of Englishness, according to an online British government poll. According to the programme head, the aim was to make British citizens elevate the symbols of their culture, enjoy their cultural heritage and have a positive view of their culture. The Department of Culture, Media and Sports designed a website where all English citizens are invited to vote for any typical English icon. 12 such national icons have been recorded for the time being, but the aim is to add 25 icons every trimester in 2006.

    The Original List Includes:

    Stonehenge: the neolithic stone circle in south-western England. Punch and Judy: the traditional seaside puppet show. The SS Empire Windrush: brought the first wave of Caribbean immigrants. Holbein's portrait of King Henry VIII. A cup of tea. The FA Cup. Alice in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll's children's book. The Routemaster. The King James Bible: published in 1611, the most famous English translation. The Angel of the North: Antony Gormley's famous winged statue in north-east England. The Spitfire. Jerusalem: based on a poem by William Blake, revitalised by England cricket fans during last year's Ashes series against Australia. - Sapa-AFP


    Some 40,000 Britons have visited the website so far, voting for the black cabs in London, the pubs, Mini cars, red telephone booths and fish and French fries.

    However, this programme, which might expand in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, has been criticised. One of the most famous British historians, Dr David Starkey, told the Sun this programme is an ultimate effort to create something that is not there. As opposed to Scotland, Wales and Ireland, where nationalism is based on culture, the UK is nothing like that. English nationalism is merely based on the English's wish to come first and best. Starkey added some of the English icons are not even English, like tea, which comes from India, Henry the VIII, who was Welch, and Holbein, who was born in Germany.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    IOL: A cuppa really is as English as it comes

    Reuters: FA Cup and Alice - the essence of Englishness

    [05] High Expectations from PASOK Positive Review

    10 Jan 2006 15:57:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    During PASOK's Steering Committee meeting in Parliament, G. Papandreou spoke of a positive review of the Parliamentarian Group's presence and action in 2005. As he underlined, the Greek people has high expectations of PASOK, whose responsibilities become greater and greater. Referring to the upcoming municipal elections, he said they constitute a bet of renewal and new perspective for PASOK, which he is certain will win.

    Criticism over Economy and Constitution Review

    Regarding the Economy, Papandreou said it is not in a good state because of the Government's choices, which lead to recession and not development and supported major problems would emerge in 2006.

    In the meantime, commenting the PM's initiative to review the Constitution, he spoke of petty approach that would help Government elude the big dilemmas it cannot face.

    "The Government cannot deal with major problems and hence shifts attention by reviewing the Constitution," he underlined.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] Karamanlis Meets With Political Leaders Dialogue on Constitutional Review

    10 Jan 2006 15:55:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Greek Premier Kostas Karamanlis is to hold talks with the political parties and the Academic society on Constitutional Review. In the context of his meetings with the political leaders, Mr Karamanlis has already discussed the issue with SYN President Alekos Alavanos, he will meet with KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga at Maximos Mansion tomorrow, while he is scheduled to meet with PASOK leader George Papandreou on upcoming Monday. Furthermore, NDs Parliamentary Group is expected to discuss the issue in depth on upcoming Tuesday. Establishing non-government non-profit universities, environmental protection, transparency in the Public Sector and establishing a Constitutional Court, are the basic axes of the review, while the government has no intention of bringing up the issue of separation of the State and the Church, nor changes in the election of the President of the Republic or his responsibilities. In the meantime, PASOK and SYN unleashed severe criticism against the government.

    PASOK and SYN Unleash Criticism

    "When addressing Parliaments last session on the budget, the Prime Minister presented the framework of Constitutional reform, which is the most pivotal institutional intervention the new administration has applied itself to," argued Deputy Government Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, adding that Mr Karamanlis will make an in-depth reference to the issues the government wishes to include in Constitutional Review at the meeting of NDs Parliamentary Group.

    While addressing a meeting held by PASOKs co-ordinators, the partys leader, George Papandreou accused the government of making a cursory approach to the matter of the review "in order to break free from the great dilemmas and problems it has to deal with."

    The Main Opposition leader further underlined that the government is trying to swift the political agenda, for it cannot tackle the great problems puzzling Greece. Regarding PASOKs stance, Mr Papandreou announced the establishment of team works led by Theodoros Paggalos to submit certain proposals.

    SYN, on its part, blamed the government for forwarding a conservative review, so that Constitution balances the neo-liberal choices. SYN is to give a Press conference to elaborate on its stance, as soon as the Prime Minister completes his talks with the political leaders.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Briefing on Review

    [07] Cabinet Approved the Bill Greek National Printing Office Modernised

    10 Jan 2006 13:57:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Greek National Printing Office will be running on European standards, since the Cabinet gave on Tuesday the green light to the Bill on its reorganisation. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos pointed out that the public would enjoy free access to all issues of the Government Gazette (FEK) via the Internet, the National Printing Office Museum and Library are to be established, while the technicians and bookbinders will have the ability to teach those keen on their craft. As per Mr Pavlopoulos, the Bill, which is expected to be submitted to Parliament within January, aims to better serve the citizens, update the legislation in force and settle issues that surfaced following the 30-year implementation of the previous law, while the legislative initiative is an integral part of the efforts towards reorganising the State.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] In Kythira and Kefallonia Unrelated Quakes

    10 Jan 2006 12:40:00 (Last updated: 10 Jan 2006 16:12:14)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Seismologists are saying this mornings quake in the sea SW of Kefallonia and 300km from Athens, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale and recorded at 10:10 by the seismographs in Athens, Patras and Thessaloniki, was independent to Sundays quake. They described it as a weak tremor, which forms part of the normal seismic activity of the area and is unrelated to the Kythira quake. No damages were reported, while the seismologists declared that the islanders need not be concerned, since they are used to mild tremors. In addition, no aftershocks occurred, as announced by the Geophysics Laboratory at the University of Thessaloniki. It should be noted that another tremor, measuring 4.5, had been recorded in the same area last Saturday.

    In the meantime, the post-seismic activity in Kythira is developing smoothly, since no aftershocks were recorded throughout the night, as well as this morning, as per the scientists of the Geophysics Laboratory at the University of Thessaloniki.

    At the same time, mechanics from the Prefecture of Piraeus are concluding their first inspections on buildings that suffered damages on the island, while relevant crews are assessing the damages in Laconia and Crete.

    School Building Organisation (OSK) panels commenced recording the damages on schools in Athens, which, as per their principals, manifested problems after the Kythira quake. A total of 24 schools have already been inspected.

    A major issue, however, has surfaced in Achaia, where 280 pupils are attending a school situated 35m from the Agia Triada rift. Last September, the Education Ministry had asked for the relocation of the school, but nothing was done.

    On the other hand, the inspection of public buildings in Attica is continuing, while inspections will also be performed on old buildings in the city centre.

    Finally, the Public Works Ministry announced that the measures that applied in previous earthquakes, i.e. free aid, low-income loans etc, will also be implemented for those affected by Sundays earthquake.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Mild Tremor in Kefallonia

    Recording Damages

    The Day After

    Quake Rattles Greece

    [09] Controlled Floods Bore Fruit River Evros Subsides

    10 Jan 2006 13:19:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The controlled floods caused on Monday by the relevant authorities of the Prefecture of Evros bore fruit. The rivers water level dropped 5cm below the safety limit (5.70m), while at Pythio measuring station it stood at 5.65m from 6.15m yesterday. The waters started subsiding after the controlled flood at the Pyhtio levee, as well as the opening of two dam gates at Pythios valley. However, the residents remain gravely concerned, since problems with the areas drinking water were reported and more than 5,740 hectares of cultivable land have been flooded. The relevant authorities of the Prefecture of Evros are still on high alert, since no one can forecast what the case will be when the snow in the north melts. Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Nikolaos Tsiartsionis visited the much-affected regions.

    Problems With Drinking Water

    At Pythio and Rigio, the flooded pumping stations have left nearly 620 residents without drinking water, while water tanks of the Municipality, Fire Service and army have undertaken the task to provide the residents with water.

    Furthermore, 1,350 hectares have been flooded in the areas of Lavara, Kissario, Amorio, 650 ha in Tychero and Thymaria, 200 ha in Psathades, Didymoticho, 1,000 ha in Pythio, 340 ha in Trigonou and further 1,000 ha elsewhere.

    The flood-stricken farmers are awaiting the compensations, which were given in record time following last years floods. The Rural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos announced that farmers should petition for compensations, which will be paid within three months the latest.

    During the night, a second levee at the part of Turkey broke and a large area was flooded. The Prefect of Evros, Nikos Zampounis, stated that he petitioned a claim asking for a meeting with the relevant authorities of Turkey and Bulgaria to better handle the situation and step up measures.

    Freezing cold and frost reported in the area proved a close ally, since they prevent the snows from melting down.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Efforts to Alleviate Situation in Evros

    [10] Moving to the Right Direction Further Boost on Reforms

    10 Jan 2006 17:06:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET

    Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis met with New Democracy honorary president Kostantinos Mitsotakis. In statements after the meeting, Me Mitsotakis stressed that the reforms promoted by the Government are on the right track, however more speed and decisiveness are required. Mr Alogoskoufis, on the other hand, stressed, "Mild fiscal adjustment and realisation of reforms are paying off" and constitute the main priorities of the Government's economic policy. In the meantime, the honorary president asked to establish a special tax on stock exchange revenues, in order to deal with profiteering games.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] New Factory for "Papastratos" Investment in Greek Tobacco Industry

    10 Jan 2006 15:10:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Papastratos Cigarette Company S.A, member of Philip Morris International, announced on Tuesday a 100-million-euro investment for the construction of a new, modern factory at Aspropyrgos, Attica. It is the largest foreign investment ever made in Greece, after the new development law came into force. Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas congratulated the company on its decision and underlined that this investment resulted from the new development law, which constitutes the states most aggressive initiative over the last 50 years. The Development Minister also claimed that the new law aims to back enterprises via legal and transparent procedures and to boost hi-tech investments in Greece.

    Constructed by 2008

    The new factory will be stretching form more than 4,000 hectares, and its construction, which is to commence within 2006, is expected to have finished by 2008. As soon the new facilities are constructed, output in Piraeus factory will be halted, while the decision of what it is to become of the land rests with Papastratos SA. Furthermore, the personnel at the new factory will amount to 800.

    Parent company Philip Morris International will finance the project, while the Greek state will participate offering some 20 million euros.

    As per the companys managing director, Laurent Boissart, the investment clears the way for Philip Morris International to expand its business ventures in Greece. At the same time, Mr Boisssart hailed the "positive and effective contribution" of the Greek Ministry of Development, as well as the relevant authorities and bodies.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related Links:

    Greek Ministry of Development

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