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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-02-02

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Briefing on Wiretapping Case
  • [02] Wiretapping Ring
  • [03] Arrests over Brutal Beating
  • [04] Vaccine Against H5N1
  • [05] Jesus to Court
  • [06] Marovic's Contacts in Greece
  • [07] Heavy and Hazardous in Private Sector
  • [08] Changes in New Constructions
  • [09] Deadly Explosions in Ossetia
  • [10] ETA-Marked Bomb
  • [11] Iran to the IAEA
  • [12] Green School Week 2006
  • [13] Energy Channel to the West
  • [14] Panagiotopoulos Arapoglou Meeting
  • [15] Economy Minister's Full-Scale Interview
  • [16] Xanthi Takes A Step in Karaiskakis
  • [17] Another H5N1 Victim
  • [18] Unsuitable Creta Farm Meat

  • [01] By a "Phantom Software" Briefing on Wiretapping Case

    02 Feb 2006 14:41:00 (Last updated: 02 Feb 2006 23:44:16)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The Ministers of State, Public Order and Justice gave on Thursday noon an emergency Press Conference on the issue of the wiretapping ring intercepting top politicians mobile conversations, in order to further elaborate on the way the wiretapping ring functioned. As per the Minister of State Thodoris Roussopoulos, national security is of outmost importance and underlined that the interceptions conducted by unknown individuals shortly before the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and probably continued until March 2005, when the case was brought to light. A string of thorough and in-depth investigations were immediately put forth by the relevant authorities and lawsuits were lodged against unknown perpetrators, while Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras briefed the President of the Hellenic Republic and the political leaders on the issue. In an announcement, Vodafone, whose mobile phones were bugged, noted that all evidence has been placed in the hands of Justice and relevant authorities.

    To Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency

    Mr Roussopoulos pointed out that immediately after the briefing, Parliaments Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency will convene to discuss the issue raised. The case was brought to light when Vodafone mobile company was swamped with complaints by its clients over problems with the services provided. A routine inspection carried out by Vodafone on its software surfaced that the companys software had been tampered with and that an illegal one had been installed.

    "On March 10, 2005, Managing Director of Vodafone/Panafon Greece Giorgos Koronias requested he be met with Giannis Angelou, head of the Prime Ministers political office, to brief him on an issue of outmost importance. The meeting was held at 20:00pm on that day before Public Order Minister Mr Voulgarakis," argued Mr Roussopoulos.

    Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis explained that the ring intercepted some 100 mobile phones through 14 to 16 pre-paid card phones, which recorded the conversations. Vodafone immediately isolated the software the ring had been using, thus ending the interceptions.

    President of the Independent Telecommunications Authority Andreas Labrinopoulos gave a Press Conference underlining that the mobile company implicated will be immediately called to testify to determine whether responsibility rests on it.

    Backbreaking Investigations

    Then, upon the Prime Ministers order, the Ministry of Public Order launched a year-long in-depth investigation to locate the mobile phone holders, who have been calling from the pre-paid card phones. The results yielded by the investigation showed that they thought the telephone numbers they were calling belonged to third parties. Mr Voulgarakis explained that this happened, because when someone stops using a particular telephone number, mobile companies give the number to another client.

    It should be noted that the pre-paid phone cards used operated on aerials located in Lycabettus, Mavili Square, Pyrgos Athinon and Lefkos Stavros clinic, while it was impossible for the interceptions to be tracked down. The gadgets used by the wiretapping ring were activated between June and August 2004.

    On his part, Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras argued that he was briefed in March 2005 on the issue by Managing Director of Vodafone Greece Giorgos Koronias in a meeting they had before Supreme Court Prosecutor Dimitris Linos.

    Mr Papaligouras asked Mr Linos carry out a preliminary investigation, which was assigned to Athens First Instance Prosecution Head Dimitris Papangelopoulos, due to the seriousness of the case.

    The preliminary investigation completed yesterday and Mr Diotis lodged lawsuits for breaching the secrecy of telecommunications.

    Furthermore, an interrogation was ordered to be conducted, while the appointment of the Examiner to handle the case is set for tomorrow.

    The mobile conversations of the Prime Minister and his wife, the Foreign Affairs Minister, the Athens Mayor, as well as the conversations of the leaderships of the Ministries of National Defence, Public Order, Foreign Affairs and Mercantile Marine, are included among those intercepted. Moreover, the mobile phones of former National Defence Minister Giannos Papantoniou and businessmen of Arab descent were also at the foresight of the wiretapping ring.

    Shortly after the Press Conference was concluded, the list with the names of the holders whose mobile conversations had been intercepted was handed out to the reporters.

    When questioned on the issue, Mr Papantoniou described the matter as "an extremely bizarre case," underscored that PASOK demands it be cleared out and justice be done, while he said he viewed the fact that he had not been informed that his mobile conversations had been intercepted as highly unacceptable.

    Reactions

    The revelation of the case prompted the immediate reaction on the part of the Opposition parties. PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanasakis accused the government of being unable to protect the citizens and locate the perpetrators, while he said that it failed to take a transparent course of actions, since it did not inform the Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy. He also argued that it should have informed PASOK, given the fact that a top-ranking PASOK official was under surveillance.

    Furthermore, he described the case as the "tip of an opacity iceberg," and blamed the government for having handled the case in a rather irresponsible fashion.

    "PASOK demands the full unravelling of the case," underscored Mr Athanasakis. "Karamanlis government cannot guarantee the citizens safety and no one can trust it," concluded Mr Athanasakis.

    Answering, Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos noted, "The Government has handled and is handling this great issue within an institutional context and with the imperative seriousness. The citizens will judge."

    Commenting on the case, KKE secretary general Aleka Papariga spoke of a cell of a broader ring keeping parties, governments and movements under surveillance and estimated that those who carried out the interceptions intended to create the preconditions so as to strike a blow to the radical movement and collect data for the war waged between countries, governments and business trusts.

    SYN President Alekos Alavanos requested the whole case be unravelled and called on the government to name the people and the companies implicated in the ring.

    Announcement by Vodafone

    Shortly after the Press conference, Vice President and Managing Director of Vodafone-Panafon Giorgos Koronias made the following statement:

    "Immediately after detecting the existence of wiretapping telecommunication software we proceeded in its removal, and as it was our duty immediately informed the State. Following, we placed ourselves to the discrepancy of Justice, as well as all the available evidence and the know-how for investigating the case. All us working in Vodafone-Panafon, as our ethos and professional consistency dictates us to, remain strictly focused on the principles of legality, strictly focused on our customers service and defending the interests of our shareholders and our employees. This serious case is investigated by Justice and all necessary information has been given to the relevant authorities."

    On their part, mobile phone companies Cosmote and Tim stated, following an investigation and close examinations of their systems that they concluded that no incident of violating confidentially of communications was detected.

    Related News:

    Wiretapping Ring

    [02] Emergency Press Conference Wiretapping Ring

    02 Feb 2006 12:08:00 (Last updated: 02 Feb 2006 15:11:30)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: Newspaper "Ta Nea"

    According to revelations in newspaper "Ta Nea," a wiretapping ring was intercepting top politicians mobile phone conversations and the case has now been referred to Justice. As per the paper, law enforcement agencies tracked down a wiretapping ring, which systematically intercepted mobile conversations of top politicians, like Petros Molyviatis, PASOK members that had handled crucial issues in the past, like Giannos Papantoniou, as well as of many government officials, foreign businessmen of mainly Arab origin and figures of public life. In fact, according to information, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis mobile phone was also included in the long list of wiretapping. The paper further added that the Greek Police handled the matter with absolute secrecy, while the Prime Minister has been informed and Justice is expected to take action in the coming days. Ministers of Public Order G. Voulgarakis, of Justice A. Papaligouras and of the State T. Roussopoulos will give a Press Conference today at 13:00 (CET) on the issue of "national security."

    Over 100 Victims

    As per the paper, over 100 people fell victims of the wiretapping ring, while there are only rumours regarding who lies behind this case. Police sources supported they do not know the perpetrators and hoped Justice would solve the riddle. The article also reads that Government sources linked the issue with a new delay in reshuffling, which the Prime Minister had announced a few days ago.

    The case was brought to light when a mobile telephony company official found out, about a year ago, that many text messages sent by company clients never reached their destination. Foreign experts, who looked into the case, discovered that the company's software had been tampered with, thus establishing a modern wiretapping system.

    According to NET's information, the case started unraveling shortly before the Athens Olympic Games, while government members filled the first complaints to Supreme Court Prosecutor Dimitris Linos in April 2005. First Instance Prosecution head Dimitris Papangelopoulos undertook the investigation and witnesses were examined under absolute secrecy.

    Officials of the mobile company implicated in the network did not comment the article and any statements would probably be made after the end of the Press Conference.

    "The Wicked Are Few But Capable"

    Commenting on the article, Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) president Nikitas Alexandridis stressed on NET radio 105.8 that "the state has to develop new mechanisms to protect the users of telecommunications," adding, "The wicked are few but very capable" and the state has to take measures to protect itself and its citizens.

    "We will be briefed and then follow the letter of the law," stressed ADAE (Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy) vice president Vasilis Koutris on NET radio 105.8.

    Newspaper editor Pantelis Kapsis said on NET radio 105.8 that this is a rather serious case, underlining the ring had also tapped the Prime Minister's mobile phone. He also stressed the case was made known to the Government almost one year ago.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Identified by the Victim and Eyewitnesses Arrests over Brutal Beating

    02 Feb 2006 21:36:00 (Last updated: 02 Feb 2006 22:57:29)

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA

    On Thursday night, two men, who reportedly participated in the brutal beating of GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos, were arrested by the police and will be taken to the Prosecutor tomorrow. The arrestees are a 28-year-old and a 40-year-old, who as per the authorities, belong to the anarchist movement. The two men were identified by their fingerprints found on Mr Polyzogopoulos vehicle, while, as per information, they were also identified by the victim and eyewitnesses.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Polyzogopoulos Released from Hospital

    [04] First Test Results Positive Vaccine Against H5N1

    02 Feb 2006 11:45:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Scientists keep their hopes up for effectively dealing with the bird flu virus, after successfully testing a new vaccine on mice in the USA. After the first encouraging results, experts are preparing to clinically test the vaccine on people. If the tests on humans prove successful, then it would be easy, based on modern technologies, to produce millions of vaccines in minimum time. In such a case, health authorities will acquire a valuable weapon against a possible H5N1 pandemic.

    The conventional vaccines, which currently need six months to be produced, are developed by injecting a slightly altered virus into fertilised hens' eggs.

    Contrary to this traditional vaccine development process, scientists at the US Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta did not use hen's eggs, but a virus causing common cold, which was genetically modified to produce hemagglutinin type 5 (H5HA), component of the H5N1 influenza virus.

    They then vaccinated mice, which developed immunity to various forms of the virus, strains of which have been isolated since 2003.

    Dr Suryaprakash Sambhara, of the CDC, underlined that if the vaccine proved effective on humans, it could be produced in larger quantities and in shorter time, in relation to other vaccines that take six-months' time to develop.

    In fact, he added the particular vaccine protects the human organism against new viruses and further medication to protect the immune system is not required.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: GM aid for pandemic flu vaccine

    [05] Atheist Sued Priest Over Jesus Jesus to Court

    02 Feb 2006 09:09:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    An Italian atheist brought the Church before Justice asking for proof whether Jesus Christ actually existed. This original case is tried in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, as Luigi Cascioli sued Father Enrico Righi for writing an article in the local ecclesiastical newspaper denouncing Cascioli for questioning Christ's historical existence. According to the lawsuit, the priest violated the Italian legislation because he had no proof Jesus actually existed, while Cascioli questions the legitimacy of the Christian Gospels, supporting Christianity relies on purely anecdotal evidence.

    Cascioli and Righi were classmates some 60 years ago at the Theological School. In his young years, Cascioli wanted to become a priest, but later drifted away from the Church and became a militant atheist.

    The 72-year-old atheist has written many books on the subject, including "The Fable of Christ," which supports that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of "substitution of persons." However, Father Righi did not appear in court and sufficed to say, "If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    he Tartan: Italian courts to try

    TVNZ: Jesus goes on trial in Italian court

    [06] President of Serbia and Montenegro's Contacts Marovic's Contacts in Greece

    02 Feb 2006 14:07:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The impending referendum to be held in Montenegro on its state union with Serbia, the countrys European prospects and the future Kosovo regime topped the meetings held between President of Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic and President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias and Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. Upon exiting the meeting, Mr Karamanlis reiterated that Greece staunchly favours the European prospects of the western Balkans, underlined that the imminent referendum should be conducted in terms of democracy and enjoy everyones respect, while, referring to Kosovo, he advised self-reservation, modesty and negotiations held in a climate of mutual understanding. On his part, Mr Parovic described the discussion as friendly and thanked the European Union for the role it played with regard to the state union, adding that independently of the referendum, the ties between Serbia and Montenegro should remain close. On the issue of Kosovo, Mr Marovic underscored that the solution provided should by no means be unilateral and pointed out that the Mladic case, the Serb general wanted by the International War Tribunal, must not halt his countrys European future.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Asked the President of SYN Heavy and Hazardous in Private Sector

    02 Feb 2006 21:10:00

    Sources: ANA

    President of SYN Alekos Alavanos asked for the expansion of heavy and hazardous occupations to the Public Sector, speaking at an event organised by SYNs Labour Policy Sector. Mr Alavanos said that since 1951, when a series of sectors and Private Sector occupations were described as heavy and hazardous, not a lot has been made towards implementing measures for securing employees health. As he added, since then, many occupations have ceased to exist, while new occupations emerged, which constituted to the appearance of new occupational diseases (IT, electromagnetic radiation, mobile telephony etc). "It is a serious contradiction when employees in the same sector, with the same occupation are insured as civil servants and their occupations are not described as heavy and hazardous, while co-workers with the same occupation belonging to IKA are being incorporated to heavy and hazardous occupations and receiving pensions five years earlier," he said.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [08] Permits Will be Issued in 40 Days Changes in New Constructions

    02 Feb 2006 19:56:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET

    An arrangement of the Public Works bill, which will be submitted to Parliament within the month, on construction permits will bring forth changes in the connections of new constructions with general interest networks. Aimed at ending indefinite connections, the new arrangement foresees that the temporary connection to general interest networks will be restricted to a year and an autopsy by Urban Planning is mandatory for its continuation. In the meantime, changes in the issuing of construction permits are foreseen. In particular, all supporting documents of the application form will be submitted within 10 days and the remarks of the services will be made in 20 days. If the file is complete, permits will be issued within 40 days. If the file is not completed within 3 months it will be returned. Changes will be made in the construction of semi-open spaces, as well as parking spaces at apartment buildings, which when closed down will be added to the construction factors.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] Unclear Information over the Injured Deadly Explosions in Ossetia

    02 Feb 2006 22:53:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Two persons lost their lives and at least five injured in three explosions in gaming parlours at the town of Vladikavkaz, in northern Ossetia. As per hospital sources the dead by the explosions are two, while five persons are being hospitalised. However, RIA Novosti news agency quoting the local Health Ministry reported that the injured are 14.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [10] No Reported Injuries ETA-Marked Bomb

    02 Feb 2006 07:39:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA, El Mundo

    According to the Spanish police, Basque separatist group ETA is responsible for the explosion that occurred outside the central post office and near a police station in Bilbao at 22:50 (Spanish time). Luckily, no injuries were reported. The Police did not elaborate on the damages caused by the blast. The bomb had some 10-15 kg of explosives and had been placed in a bag with a piece of paper pinned on it, reading "Careful, bomb." One hour before the explosion, a young woman had called Gara newspaper, tipping them on the bomb, but did not clarify the hour of the blast. The police evacuated the building and secluded the area. The warning call reminded of separatist group ETA's tactics and hence led the Police believe the group lies behind the attack. ETA is considered responsible for the death of 850 people in the four decades of its activity.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] Emergency Meeting Over Nukes Iran to the IAEA

    02 Feb 2006 08:24:00 (Last updated: 02 Feb 2006 21:00:50)

    The issue of Tehrans nuclear programme has now fallen in the hands of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The 35 members of the UNs supervising authority met today, while the second meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, in Vienna, in a session considered determinative for Irans referral or not to the United Nations Security Council. Todays meeting did not reach an agreement, while tomorrow they will convene at 4pm Greek time, where they will begin discussions on the European decision plan. On its part, Iran stated to the IAEA that if the nuclear brief is referred to the UN Security Council its collaboration with the agency will be put under a test. Ali Larijani, chief negotiator of Irans nuclear issue in a written message to IAEA General Director Mohamed ElBaradei stated that his countrys government in such a case does not have an alternative but to suspend all voluntary measures and further collaboration with the Agency. "The surveillance of the International Agency will be restricted in a great degree and all peaceful nuclear activities, voluntary suspended, will be repeated without restriction," added Larijani in his message, a copy of which was sent to Reuters.

    Deadline until March

    On Monday, the five permanent members of the Security Council (China, Russia, USA, France and Great Britain), as well as Germany demanded the Iranian nuclear brief to handed over to the UN, while Tehran supported there is no legal basis for the referral and stressed the restart of the atomic research and development programme is an irreversible process.

    According to analysts, Irans referral to the Security Council would probably be postponed until March, while the IAEAs two-day meeting is expected to end with mere recommendations.

    The document of the six Western countries called on IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei to explain the measures to be taken by Iran, in order to reinstate trust on Tehrans nuclear programme to be exclusively for peaceful purposes.

    As the "six" explained, no decision by the Security Council will be taken before March, when the IAEA meeting will take place, while possible penalties against Tehran were not included in todays agenda.

    Russian Ambassador to the UN Andrei Denisov opposed penalties, warning that a probable imposing can turn against the international community, since Tehran will retaliate with cuts to oil and natural gas exports.

    Among others, the draft to be voted by the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency would ask Tehran to freeze uranium enrichment and other processes that could lead to the construction of nuclear weapons and allow the IAEA to run wider and more thorough checks in nuclear facilities

    It is noted that the Western countries claim that Iran is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, while Tehran announced that its aim is exclusively the production of electric energy. The commotion was stirred by Irans decision on 10 January to repeat its investigations on uranium enrichment, after a suspension of two and a half years and regardless of the IAEAs recommendations.

    Read the story on other sources:

    Reuters: UN watchdog set to send Iran to Security Council

    Le Monde: L'AIEA devrait saisir l'ONU sur le programme nucleaire iranien

    ZDF: Entscheidende IAEA-Sitzung

    The Australian: IAEA lists Iran's suspect nuclear work

    Related News:

    Tehran Will Not Back Down

    Iran Face-to-Face with the UN

    Related Links:

    IAEA

    [12] Focused on Biodiversity Green School Week 2006

    02 Feb 2006 18:04:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: Greenweek 2006

    This years competition for Green Week is focused on biodiversity and taking place in the context of the annual environmental conference and exhibition in Brussels from 30 May to 2 June 2006. The competition encourages youth from all EU Member-States and candidate countries to enrich their knowledge on environmental issues and express themselves artistically. The younger students can participate in the drawing and painting competition, while older students can submit short digital videos. The three best entries of every category will be invited to Brussels for the awards ceremony during Green Week. A collection of the best entries will be presented in the conference. The deadline for entry submission is 25 March 2006. For more information visit www.greenweek2006.eun.org.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    European Schoolnet

    Greenweek 2006

    [13] Development Minister's Discussions with Gazprom Energy Channel to the West

    02 Feb 2006 17:17:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The role of Greece in the energy sector of Europe and particularly the event of transporting Russian natural gas towards the Western capitals was investigated, among others, during the contacts of Minister of Development Dimitris Sioufas, the political leadership of the Ministry and the leadership of the Gas Supply and Transmission Company (DEPA) with President of Gazprom Alexei Miller, who arrived in Athens today. Mr Miller was welcomed by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis at Maximos Mansion for an "exceptionally useful" meeting as Mr Sioufas described it.

    In his statements, the Minister of Development described the contact as particularly positive and noted that representatives of the two sides, Gazprom, DEPA, Ministries of Development and Foreign Affairs, will begin procedures for the materialisation of issues discussed, i.e. the extension of an agreement for natural gas from Russia to Greece after 2016. As Mr Sioufas stated, the Russian side had stated its interest over chemical industry, particularly the phosphorus fertilisers department.

    On his part, the President of Gazprom reconfirmed the positive climate and voiced his interest of his group for participation in the oil pipeline Burgas Alexandroupolis. Mr Miller will stay in Greece for several days, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to arrive in Athens on Monday.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Gazprom President in Athens

    [14] With No Outcome Panagiotopoulos Arapoglou Meeting

    02 Feb 2006 17:02:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET

    The crisis raised in the sector of banks between the Federation of Bank Employees Unions and the Greek Banks Union was at the focus of the meeting between Minister of Employment Panos Panagiotopoulos and Governor of the National Bank of Greece Takis Arapoglou. The President categorically stated that the banks administrations will not enter negotiations with the Bank Employees Union, which has announced intense reactions to the issue. On his part, Minister of Employment Panos Panagiotopoulos noted, "The Government cannot pressure bankers." The Government made a plea to the OTOE and the Greek Banks Unions to find a solution on the issue of contracts. In the meantime, OTOE is staging a warning 24hour strike on Monday against the intention of the administration of six big banks to sign contracts with unions, without the consideration of the federation.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Economy Minister's Full-Scale Interview

    Banks to Go on Strike

    [15] Fiscal Policy and Social Security Topped the Inter Economy Minister's Full-Scale Interview

    02 Feb 2006 15:16:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    The course of Greek economy, the fiscal policy, as well as the social security issue, were the main topics Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis referred to in his interview with the Union of Foreign Press Correspondents in Greece. Mr Alogoskoufis argued that the settling of the social security issue is of pivotal importance for the countrys future and clarified that the dialogue will not start from scratch and that the government has no intention of taking any initiatives by the end of its term. Furthermore, he claimed that several studies have been conducted on the burdens to be brought about by the reforms on the social security and that the Economic and Social Council (OKE) was asked to assign a study on the social security, while he added that a Parliament Committee should also participate in.

    "The Government Doesn't Interfere"

    The Economy Minister asserted that no further steps are to be made unless the results yielded by the studies are unquestionable.

    Regarding the social security of the banking sector, he claimed that a serious preparation work was done in 2005 and that it will facilitate the further privatization plan on the banking sector.

    He also underlined that competition is the key to banks smooth operation and added that, apart from the Agricultural Bank, there are no other state-run banks waiting to be privatized.

    When questioned on the upheaval created regarding the collective working contracts, he made it clear that the government has no intention of interfering with the collective negotiations between the employees and the employers and added that banks should function as private enterprises.

    Referring on the course of the countrys economy, he noted that the government inherited great fiscal deficits and extensive public spending from the previous governments. He mentioned that between 1993 and 2004 the number of the public sector employees rose by 25% (120,000 more) and that despite that rise, unemployment rates did not improve. He then went on to say that on January 2006 revenues posted a 17.8% rise, while VAT increased by 11%, thus proving that the governments efforts to raise revenues are bearing fruit.

    As for the fiscal policy, Mr Alogoskoufis maintained that he would be the happiest of all Greeks, if rises in wages could be larger. He also reminded that tax rates on natural persons will be decreased and reiterated that the government will decrease the deficit by 3%.

    Our objectives will come into effect and the grwoth rates will stand at 3.6% or 3.7%, while the predictions for 2007 are quite promising said Mr Alogoskoufis and finally stressed the improvement course prevailing over Europe will definitely help development in Greece.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [16] Xanthi Takes A Step in Karaiskakis

    02 Feb 2006 18:36:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Xanthi took a step towards qualifying to the semi-finals of the Greek Cup, earning the valuable score of 1-1 against Olympiacos, in a vacant Karaiskakis Stadium, due to punishment. In the first game for the semi-final stage of the event, the "red and whites" were mediocre, particularly in the second half and Xanthi managed to earn a positive result. Olympiacos took the lead with a foul kick by Rivaldo in the 20, but Labriakos in the 86 tied for Xanthi. The two teams will resolve their dispute in the repeat match in Xanthi on 9 February.

    Referee: Tsikinis (Messinia) Yellow cards: Stoltidis, Georgatos Barkoglou

    Lineups:

    OLYMPIACOS: Nikopolidis, Pantos (74 Patsatzoglou), Georgatos, Schurrer, Anatolakis, Stoltidis, Babaginda (63 Okkas), Maric (89 Castillo), Konstantinou, Rivaldo, Djordjevic.

    XANTHI: Pizanowksi, Torosidis, Papadimitriou, Zuela, Sikov, Antzas, Garpozis, Baykara (66 Chiquinho), Fliskas (79 Quintana), Labriakos, Barkoglou (56 Manso).

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [17] Another H5N1 Victim

    02 Feb 2006 08:55:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA, AFP

    According to a Health Ministry official, the death of a 15-year-old boy in Indonesia was due to the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. The test results from the Badung hospital on Java island, where the teenager was hospitalized, have been sent for crosschecking to a lab in Hong Kong, which is certified by the World Health Organisation. If the lab confirms the death was provoked by the bird flu virus, the death toll in Indonesia will have reached 15. The father of the child said there were poultry near their house, which were found dead shortly before the child developed symptoms of the disease. The H5N1 strain has cost the lives of at least 83 people since 2003, mainly in southeastern Asia and China.

    Good News from Hong Kong

    Meanwhile, the three people who are hospitalised in Hong Kong tested negative to the avian influenza. The three patients, two women and a man, had consumed and came in contact with poultry imported from the Guangdong province and probably infected with the deadly virus. According to the medical announcement, all three patients, who are still in quarantine, were given Tamiflu, as a measure of precaution.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [18] Preservatives Detected Above Allowed Limit Unsuitable Creta Farm Meat

    02 Feb 2006 18:16:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    A batch of Creta Farm bio turkey meat is recalled from the market, as the Food Inspection Authority (EFET) detected that it contained preservative sodium nitrite above the legislated allowed limit. In particular, it is produced by Greek company Creta Farm bio turkey, in a 310g package and expiration date 26/2/2006. EFET, following relevant inspections, informed the production company and asked for the immediate recall of the specific batch from the market. The procedure is in development and monitored by EFETs relevant service. The Food Inspection Authority advised consumers to avoid consumption of the specific product.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou


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