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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-01-25

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Cold and Frost
  • [02] Frost Prompts Alertness
  • [03] Survival Tips for the Frost
  • [04] Snowfall Creates Problems in Athens
  • [05] Bourboulia's Extradition Postponed
  • [06] Ski Instructor in Trouble
  • [07] Heating Benefit for Citizens
  • [08] Second Draw for Greece
  • [09] Flavio is Officially History
  • [10] Mind-Reading Media Player
  • [11] Arsons in Athens

  • [01] Proceed with Caution Cold and Frost

    25 Jan 2006 16:52:00 (Last updated: 25 Jan 2006 23:11:51)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Most of the areas of Greece are covered in snow. Speaking at an event hosted by the women of New Democracy on Wednesday night, PM Kostas Karamanlis stressed that there was prevision, briefing, alertness and constant mobilisation, while he added that delays were noted in very few cases and minimal local problems were created. In an announcement, the General Secretariat of the Civil Protections Authority urged drivers and pedestrians to proceed with caution over the next 24 hours due to the HNMS (Hellenic National Meteorological Service) forecasts for very low temperatures and frost. Vehicles are moving with difficulty, while some 340 mountainous villages, mainly in Arcadia, Achaia, Evia, Trikala, Karditsa, Larissa, Pilio, Evritania and Crete, remain snowbound. The power supply on the islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca is expected to be reinstated, after the problem that occurred three days ago. Power cuts are also recorded in mountainous villages in Karpenisi, Evia (where the snow has reached 2m), Livadia, Agrafa and Karditsa. In Attica, most problems are located in Varnavas. All trucks are banned from travelling on the Patras-Corinth-Athens-Thessaloniki and the Corinth-Tripoli national highways from 9pm tonight until 8am on Thursday, while, depending on the weather condition, the ban may be extended until 12 noon. The only exceptions are roadside assistance vehicles, trucks carrying salt and vegetables, freezer trucks, as well as road tankers transferring dairy products, so as to avoid incidents of profiteering in the market, and fuel trucks. For the rest of the roads, the bans will apply depending on the weather conditions in each area. Vehicles are moving freely on both the inbound and outbound lanes at Tempi, while snow chains are necessary for most parts of the national and regional roads, as well as suburbs in NE Attica. There are no traffic problems on the Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki national highway, while the Traffic Police urged drivers to be extremely cautious from the 71km to the 95km, along Martino, due to a blizzard in the area. Furthermore, in Schimatari, from Ritsona to Martino, where most of the problems are located, the authorities are giving a battle to keep the traffic moving. The ships are docked in the ports of Piraeus and Rafina. The Rio-Antirrio and Kyllini-Zakynthos-Cephalonia ferries are departing, while only closed ships depart from Kavala. Finally, flights were cancelled at Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport, as well as other local airports.

    Alertness and Mobilisation

    During an event hosted by the Womens Secretariat of New Democracy, PM Kostas Karamanlis started off his speech by voicing his sympathy towards the citizens who are suffering because of the bad weather.

    "It is a phenomenon that does not happen often so extensively and so intensely," said the PM, adding, "The State has implemented the necessary measures and there was prevision, briefing, alertness and constant mobilisation. All the ministries and all the agencies were in constant contact and coordination so as to minimise the problems, deal with them as soon as possible and limit their consequences."

    He also added, "However, some events that could not have been avoided occurred; unfortunate incidents and failures that made things difficult at times." Furthermore, Mr Karamanlis clarified that delays were noted in very few cases and minimal local problems were created.

    The PM acknowledged the hard task undertaken by those working under such adverse conditions, while he thanked all the people in the public sector, the prefectures and local self-governments, the Greek Police, the Fire Department, the Port Authority, the PPC (Public Power Corporation) and the Armed Forces, as well as the volunteers, for the efforts they are making to combat the problems.

    Finally, he finished this subject by underlining that the State will remain on alert.

    Power Gradually Reinstated in Cephalonia-Ithaca

    Most of the problems with the power supply are encountered in Cephalonia, Ithaca Evia and Vranavas. The PPC power plant in Aliveri stopped operating this morning due to a network failure, causing power cuts in southern Evia and some settlements on the island of Andros. However, the Power Corp announced that the energy produced is enough to cover the increased demand, while the Aliveri units will be up and running by the end of the day.

    As for Cephalonia, extra PPC crews are expected to arrive on the island today, including a fully-equipped contractor crew. Some 50 PPC employees have been on the island since yesterday. Efforts to provide power with temporary solutions are being made, since the repair of the high-voltage lines and the pylons, which fell due to the bad weather, will take a few days. Three 2.5MW generators have already been transferred to the island and extra voltage will come from Lefkada via an underwater cable, while a similar effort will be attempted tomorrow, this time from Zakynthos. In addition, Cephalonias wind energy park (7MW) will probably start operating as of this afternoon. In the meantime, this afternoon, a ship will carry material for the construction of two high-voltage pylons, to repair the damages on the northern part of the island.

    In Varnavas, the power has been reinstated to two-thirds of the settlement. Referring to the rumours about the resignation of the Director of the PPCs Attica Region, due to the delays in fixing the problem, PPCs Managing Director D. Maniatakis mentioned today that the main thing is to repair the damages. Moreover, power cuts were recorded today in several islands of the Aegean (Ikaria, Lesvos, Naxos, Lemnos, Serifos, Timos), on mountainous regions of Central Greece (Volos, Karditsa, Karpenisi) and in Attica (Nea Makri, Legraina, Fokaia).

    As per the PPCs announcement, "The fleeting power cuts in some areas of the country, which are basically due to unforeseen and unexpected failures of the overhead distribution network, are being reinstated as soon as possible. It also added, "Despite the extreme weather conditions, the performance of the network nationwide is considered satisfactory, since, apart from Cephalonia, most of the failures that occurred this morning have been reinstated, while any local problems are immediately countered by local crews."

    The Situation in Athens and Piraeus

    By decision of Athens Prefect Giannis Sgouros and at the recommendation of the regional education director of Attica, all schools of all levels in the Municipalities and Communities of Attica will remain closed on Thursday as well. In addition, all Universities and Technological Institutions will also remain closed.

    In Attica, the metro, and the electric and suburban railways will operate on a 24-hour basis today as well, in order to facilitate the passengers and especially those heading to and from the airport. Trolley and ETHEL buses are operating as normal in the centre of Athens; however the local bus services in Maroussi, Iraklio, Kifisia, the northern suburbs and the mountainous regions are not operating. The Municipality of Athens civic centres are open for the homeless.

    By decision of Piraeus Prefect Giannis Michas, all the schools, the University and the Technological Institutes in the Prefecture will remain closed on Thursday as well. In the meantime, no problems have been recorded in the Prefecture of Piraeus, apart from small parts of the regional road to Troizinia, which were immediately fixed. Snow ploughs have been placed at key locations, mainly in front of the entrances to major Piraeus hospitals and main roads, as soon as the weather started worsening, while the Prefecture vehicles are ready.

    The homeless have found shelter at the Prefecture of Piraeus Apollon Hall, which, along with the KEP buildings and the Prefectorial Councils hall, has been equipped with basic necessity goods. Yesterday, a prefect panel visited the earthquake-stricken compound in Nikaia, where they distributed heaters, clothing, blankets and food to the residents.

    The Greek PM was briefed on the situation during a Cabinet meeting in Maximos Mansion. The Development Minister noted that the distribution of oil is continuing without problems, while during the meeting, it was decided that all competent bodies will be on alert and provide assistance to the citizens for the next 24 hours as well, since renewed problems may surface due to the low temperatures and the frost.

    The disruptions with the flight schedules continued today as well, since the whole country is still affected by the adverse weather conditions. Up until 13:00, the following flights were cancelled: Olympic Airways from Athens to Alexandroupoli, Santorini, Kos, Chios, Samos, Kavala, Milos and Geneva. In addition, the flights Lemnos-Mytilini, Siteia-Preveza, and Thessaloniki to Lemnos, Mytilini and Rhodes were also cancelled.

    The Aegean Airlines flights departed as per normal today, apart from a few delays, while some of the flights were merged.

    All the services at the Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport operate as per normal, despite the few delays this morning, as technicians were trying to defrost the planes.

    With regard to the public transport in Attica, OASA announced that all the bus routes are running, apart from those heading towards the northern suburbs.

    The Ministry of Health sent emergency aid to the gypsies in Aspropyrgos, so that they could deal with the extreme weather conditions. The aid included the distribution of blankets to 250 families at the Nea Zoi camp. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Greek Red Cross, it also distributed food and bread for the next four days.

    Since the beginning of the week, social workers from the National Social Solidarity Centre (EKKA) were locating homeless, in collaboration with the relevant Municipality of Athens services, and transferring them to special municipal halls, where they were offered food and a warm place to stay. Some of them were also transferred temporarily to EKKAs guesthouses. The Centre will continue its activities until the weather conditions subside.

    Problems in Regional Greece

    It is extremely cold in Thessaloniki, but the snow started melting, since the sun had come out in the afternoon. There are no problems with the traffic flow in the centre of the city; however snow chains are needed for vehicles travelling towards Lagada. By decision of the Prefecture, all the schools will open on Thursday.

    The adverse weather conditions in Fthiotida seem to be subsiding, while snow ploughs belonging to the Prefecture and the local municipalities opened up many of the roads leading to snowbound villages. Power cuts were recorded in the Municipalities of Sperchiada, Agios Georgios and Ahios Konstantninos.

    On the other hand, Evia and Viotia are still at the mercy of the extreme weather conditions. Snow chains are needed on the national highway along Martino. In addition, a convoy of hundreds of trucks that were stranded in Maliakos started moving past Martino after 12 noon. The general secretary of the Civic Protection Authority, Panagiotis Fourlas, visited the area today in order to assess the situation and deal with the problems.

    Vehicles were allowed to travel without snow chains on the roads of Lamia, towards Domokos and Amfissa, after 2pm. In addition, forest rangers banned hunting in the Prefecture, as well as the Prefectures of Viotia and Evritania.

    The temperature in Lamia at noon was -3 degrees Celsius, while towards the West and in Domokos it had dropped to -12. In Evritania, the temperature was at -15 in the afternoon. The conditions have weakened, but the snowfalls continue. A total of 13 villages remain snowbound.

    In Evia, the citizens are experiencing blizzards since this morning, while 48 villages are snowbound. Snow chains are necessary for vehicles travelling on the Chalkida-Aidipsos road, from the 20km to the 84km, as well as from Thiva to Chalkida.

    This morning, municipal crews found 79-year-old Stavros Malerdos, who was living alone in Martino, Lokrida, dead. The man was a quadriplegic and was assisted by municipal workers in the context of the programme Home Assistance. At the time, the temperature in the area was -5.

    It should also be noted that after 12 hours, a snow plough managed to open the road from Makarkomi to Rovoliari so that the body of 75-year-old Konstantinos Platsaras could be transferred. The man died yesterday, as he was doing some chores in his backyard, where the snow had reached one metre.

    Fifteen villages remain snowbound in the mountainous regions of Achaia, while vehicles need snow chains. However, the situation seems to be improving, as it was sunny in Patras this afternoon.

    Thirty-three villages in mountainous Arcadia have been snowed-in, while snow chains are needed on all parts of the regional road network. Power cuts were recorded yesterday in mountainous Gortynia and Kynouria, but the problems were fixed early in the morning.

    The temperature in Florina remains at -12, while snow chains are needed on all of the Prefectures regional roads. In addition, the morning KTEL routes to Thessaloniki and Kozani were cancelled.

    It is freezing cold in Kozani and Grevena, where the temperatures were -11 and -9 respectively, while snow chains are necessary throughout the mountainous road network.

    Low temperatures were also recorded in Alexandroupoli, where it snowed throughout the night. At noon, the temperature was -5 in the city and -9 in the region. No ships sailed for Samothraki for the third day running due to the strong gales, while all schools remained closed.

    The weather conditions seem to be subsiding in Xanthi. The traffic flow on Egantia Odos is normal, while the entire regional road network is open.

    In the northern Aegean, it has been snowing on Lesvos, while a blizzard is raging on Lemnos. All ships remain docked for the third day running.

    The Ioannina airport opened again today at 11am, after having closed for two days. The snowfalls are continuing on the mountainous regions of the Prefecture, but they are not that heavy, while it was sunny in the town of Ioannina in the afternoon, although the temperature ranged between -4 and -6.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Frost Prompts Alertness

    Survival Tips for the Frost

    Bitter Frost

    [02] Frost Prompts Alertness

    25 Jan 2006 14:25:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The bitter cold affecting Greece topped the meeting of the Cabinet. As per government spokesman Thodoros Roussopoulos, trucks, apart from those carrying milk and vegetables, will be banned form travelling on the national highways from 6pm to 6am. With regard to the problems reported so far, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos underlined that the states authorities are battling to deal with them, noting that the rather sharp temperatures along with the frost expected in the coming 24-hour period leave no room for complacence. Public Works Minister Giorgos Siouflias pointed out that the countrys authorities are giving a battle to confront the problems and went on to say that the Ministrys authorities have applied themselves to keeping the national highways and Athens main roads open. He further added that nearly 10,000 tonnes of salt have been used on the national highway network and some 2,000 tonnes on the main road arteries of the Greek capital, since the latter fall under the Ministrys jurisdiction. Mr Souflias also said that crews have focused their attention on the areas of Malakasa, Martino and Tempi, while he urged Greeks not to overstep the happy medium, since, as he argued, situations like those experienced in Tempi, where the road closed, happen elsewhere, noting that it was just an unfortunate moment. On his part, Development Minister Mr Sioufas asked for understanding and claimed that efforts to deal with the problems are non-stop. Mr Sioufas maintained that the states authorities are on readiness and alert and step up measures whenever problems present themselves. He then went on to underscore that there is a close cooperation between the Civil Protection Authority and the Prefectures throughout Greece.

    Thorough Preparation

    Mr Sioufas underlined that it is everyones conviction that Messrs Pavlopoulos, Voulgarakis and Souflias had prepared the states authorities pretty well, while, regarding the PPC (Greek Public Power Corporation), he claimed that the problems presented are instantly dealt with and he thanked the companys governing board, personnel and unionists.

    He then explained that the power network stretches for about 210,000km (five times the earths length) and said that the crews efforts are constant. As for Kefalonia, he argued that generators and special crews were dispatched to the island to fix the damage. He also mentioned that there is a close cooperation between the refineries and those involved in the fuel distribution to safeguard the markets smooth fuel supply.

    Mr Sioufas claimed that all the countrys Prefectures have received a circular urging them to heighten inspections to avert profiteering phenomena. Finally, the Development Minister said that yesterdays power consumption hit a record high standing at 3,600 MW as opposed to 3,250 last summer.

    Bill Drafted by the Economy Ministry

    The Cabinet also drew its attention to a bill drawn up by the Economy Ministry. The bill relates to the saling and re-lease of public sector real estate. Commenting on the bill, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis argued that the bill allows a capital and know-how transfer from the private sector aiming to make the best of the public sector assets. The bill, said the Economy Minister, will be presented in the coming week.

    Finally, when asked on the rise in the advance of the tax on enterprises, Mr Alogoskoufis maintained that it is matter of technical nature and does not constitute a new tax, noting that it makes the collection of taxes more effective. He also underscored that it does not at all affect the profits of enterprises, while it brings the country in line with the EU standards.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Survival Tips for the Frost

    Bitter Frost

    [03] Caution when Outdoors Survival Tips for the Frost

    25 Jan 2006 13:38:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Experts are warning of frost in the next few hours, due to the heavy snowfalls and the low temperatures, while they are advising the citizens to be extremely cautious when outdoors. Drivers should carry snow chains at all times and put them on the tires when necessary. They should drive off slowly, without accelerating, and they should avoid sudden moves and turns. In case they are snowed-in, they have to move their vehicle to the side of the road, place warning signs at an adequate distance from the car, so as to alert other drivers, and should contact the Traffic Police or Fire Department, giving their exact location.

    Pedestrians also have to be cautious when walking outside and avoid spots that have frozen over. Children and the elderly are in greater danger of falling on icy surfaces. All pedestrians have to: -wear proper footwear with non-skid soles -the hands have to move freely and not be placed in the pockets, so as to protect themselves in case of a fall. -they should avoid carrying heavy objects while walking on ice.

    It should be noted that falls on ice are quite sneaky and sometimes cannot be felt when the body is still warm. In every case, those who fall should ask for help.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Snow Creates Traffic Jams Snowfall Creates Problems in Athens

    25 Jan 2006 19:35:00 (Last updated: 25 Jan 2006 22:43:36)

    The heavy snowfall in Attica and the centre of Athens created many traffic problems in main roads of the capital. Vehicles travelling on Kifisias Avenue, from the Attiki Odos intersection and up, as well as on the Athens-Lamia national highway, from the Kifisias junction onwards, need snow chains. In addition, snow chains are needed on all the roads, but mainly in the northern suburbs, the Ymittos ring road, Kareas Street and Ilioupoli, while long queues were created on Wednesday night, as buses and cars that did not have snow chains were immobilised. The authorities are trying to remove the vehicles that have created problems, while the Traffic Police is diverting traffic at the parts where traffic jams are recorded. Hundreds of municipal and prefectorial snow ploughs will be clearing the roads throughout the night.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Cold and Frost

    [05] Citing Safety Reasons Bourboulia's Extradition Postponed

    25 Jan 2006 16:26:00 (Last updated: 25 Jan 2006 17:48:57)

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    During the hearing at the Paris Appellate Court of the Greek prosecution authorities petition for former Examiner Konstantina Bourboulias extradition to Greece, the defendant did not agree to her extradition. Bourboulia argued that her life is in danger, while he also submitted a threatening letter she had received. The French Court adjourned the hearing after the letter was submitted and scheduled to convene anew next Wednesday, in order to examine the case in depth.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Awaiting Extradition

    [06] Ski Instructor in Trouble

    25 Jan 2006 14:26:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    An Austrian ski instructor, who aspired to let his students into the secrets of skiing off-piste, got into trouble. Brave Guenther Muehlenbach led his students to the edge of a snow-capped slope in Vorarlberg to explain the dangers they may come up against when crossing into the off-piste area. He didnt miss telling them that avalanches are the number one enemy. No sooner had he made his point, than a loud rumbling was heard and a huge mass of snow carried away the ski instructor. He was standing there talking to us when he disappeared in a cloud of snow, said one of his students, who rushed to call for help. To his fortune, the rescue crews made it to the site in good time and pulled him to safety. Hypothermia and a deep shock are the only rather painful souvenirs this mishap bequeathed Guenther.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Asked the President of PASOK Heating Benefit for Citizens

    25 Jan 2006 15:31:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ANA

    During his visit to the Municipality of Agia Varvara Friendship and Solidarity Centre, Western Attica, on Wednesday morning, PASOK President George Papandreou asked that the matter with the heating oil benefit be discussed in Parliament anew. Mr Papandreou accused the Government of procrastination on this issue, despite the fact that PASOK had proposed the initial discussion. At the same time, he criticised the Government of trying to create impressions and not dealing with the real problems of the people. During his visit to the Centre, Mr Papandreou was briefed on the efforts of the Local Self-Government in the area, while he stressed that once PASOK comes into power after the elections, he will provide the Local Self-Governments with the necessary capabilities, responsibilities and tools so that they can be close to the citizens. He also added, "I pledge to support your efforts."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Second Draw for Greece

    25 Jan 2006 21:18:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Despite the superhuman efforts by the Greek national teams goalkeepers to keep their nets goalless, it was not meant to be and Otto Rehhagels boys managed to draw twice, both times with one all, in the two friendly matches in Saudi Arabia. Today, playing against host Saudi Arabia, Greece took the lead in the 58, after a successful penalty kick by Thodoris Zagorakis, but the home team tied the score during added time with an amazing kick by Kalitz Aziz, thus handing the trophy to South Korea. In Greeces game, whichever team won by a two-goal difference would win the trophy, otherwise it would have been South Koreas chance to smile, which was what eventually happened. What is worth mentioning in todays match is Antonis Nikopolidis amazing triple save in the first half, as well as at least three excellent efforts by Stefanos Kotsolis to save his nets in the second half. Finally, Giorgos Karagounis was sent off in the 86 with a yellow-red card.

    Final Ranking

    1. South Korea 4 (2-1) 2. Greece 2 (2-2) - Saudi Arabia 2 (2-2) 4. Finland 1 (1-2)

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] Flavio is Officially History

    25 Jan 2006 17:06:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Flavio Conceicao is officially history for Panathinaikos. Today, in an austere announcement, the FC confirmed the rumours of the last few days and gave a bitter end to one of the most-publicised transfers of the last few years. The Brazilian eventually agreed to terminate his contract and be released, while it is unknown whether he has received any offers from other clubs. Conceicao holds the record for the second highest-paid player in the history of Panathinaikos, following Paulo Souza, but he did not manage to win the hearts of the fans or offer the club what was expected of him. The final solution was for both sides to consent to breaking the contract.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Mind-Reading Media Player

    25 Jan 2006 17:33:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Disney is working on developing a smart media-player, which can feel someones mood and adjust its programme accordingly. The device has special sensors and can record the owners body temperatures, breaths and pulse just by one touch. Based on those figures, the media player tries to understand what kind of music or videos its owner likes when his body temperature is low or high, or when his pulse is slower or faster and categorises each case. Then it makes its own proposals, thus detecting the owners mood every time. In case it cannot find what it wants in its memory, it searches for it on the Internet. If the owner rejects the proposals, then it makes a note of that and readjusts the profile. So, as time goes by, it gets to know its owner better and adjusts to his choices.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] In Nea Smyrni and Kypseli Arsons in Athens

    25 Jan 2006 12:43:00

    Two arsons were recorded on Tuesday night in Athens. In particular, unidentified individuals torched two motorbikes at 02:10am in Nea Smyrni. About four hours later, unknown individuals placed a makeshift bomb outside a Bank of Cyprus branch on 3 Fedriadon Street in Kypseli. The blast and the fire that broke out smashed the entrance of the bank. In the meantime, another fire broke out at 02:40am outside the Kamatero Police Station situated on 85 Fylis Avenue. The police put down the fire to a short-circuit on a PC. The fire was quickly put out before causing serious damage.

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