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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-02-09

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Swans Carrying Avian Flu?
  • [02] Swords Crossed in Parliament
  • [03] 2% Difference Between ND PASOK
  • [04] Reactions to Straw's Statements
  • [05] Accusations for Abduction
  • [06] Bomb Explosion in Istanbul
  • [07] Regulations on Frozen Bread Dough
  • [08] Premiere for Competition Committee
  • [09] Olympiacos Qualifies to the 4
  • [10] ERT's Musical Ensembles at Opera
  • [11] "How to Dismantle" the Grammys
  • [12] H5N1 in Africa
  • [13] OTOE: "Banks' Decision is Illegal"

  • [01] Suspicious Avian Flu Cases in Northern Greece Swans Carrying Avian Flu?

    09 Feb 2006 17:52:00 (Last updated: 09 Feb 2006 22:22:46)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Greek authorities are in a state of alert after three suspicious bird flu cases were traced in migratory swans in Stavros and Neoi Epivates, in Thessaloniki and Katerini respectively. Samples have been sent to Londons Community Report Lab to define whether we are talking about the deadly H5N1 strain and results should be announced in two to eight days, depending on the test method. Experts advised citizens to keep their cool, while the Ministries of Rural Development and Health reassured all necessary measures have been taken to protect Greek aviculture and urged people who come in contact with live or dead wild birds to take all necessary measures of personal hygiene and protection.

    Greek Authorities on Full Alert

    The Thessaloniki National Veterinary Laboratory performed tests on 52 swans, three of which tested positive to the H5 virus. In fact, according to Rural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos, the immediate tracking down of the suspicious cases is greatly due to the intense inspections held around Greece.

    Issuing an emergency circular, the Rural Development Ministry called Prefectures to increase biosafety measures and mobilize all veterinary personnel to prevent exposure of domestic poultry to wild birds. In short, biosafety measures include non-exposure of all poultry to the free environment, intensive disinfections of poultry breeding facilities, austere controls over poultry traffic and inform people who come in contact with birds.

    What is more, the Rural Development Ministry issued another circular to inform the Hellenic Centre for Infectious Diseases Control and other competent bodies on the case. At the same time, all EU competent agencies were also notified. According to Mr Basiakos, Veterinary Directorates are on full alert to apply the measures, while he noted that over 3,500 samples from around Greece have been tested over the past months.

    The Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity took immediate action and hospitals, health centres and public health bodies throughout the Greek territory will intensify applying regulations to effectively deal with the bird flu virus.

    At the same time, the Ministry called people who come in contact with live or dead wild birds (like hunters and volunteers in wild bird shelters) to take all necessary measures of personal hygiene and protection.

    Hospitals around Greece are performing emergency drills in case of an avian influenza pandemic. In fact, such a drill was successfully completed a few days ago in Thessaloniki.

    It should be noted that earlier today, at least four farms in northern and central Nigeria were placed under quarantine, after authorities traced the deadly H5 N1 strain of the avian influenza virus.

    "There will be no delay in financial assistance, covering sanitation needs and the implementation of added protection and prevention measures," stated Deputy Minister of Economy Petros Doukas.

    Related News:

    H5N1 in Africa

    [02] While Briefing on ECOFIN and Eurogroup Swords Crossed in Parliament

    09 Feb 2006 15:26:00 (Last updated: 09 Feb 2006 22:59:23)

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8

    The Government and the Opposition crossed swords once more in Parliament on Thursday, this time while Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis was informing Parliamentarians over the results of ECOFIN and Eurogroups recent meeting. The Economy Minister triggered the clash when he accused PASOK Economy Section Head Vaso Papandreou of undermining Greek Economy during her meetings with Community officials in Brussels. Mr Alogoskoufis said this was a major issue and called PASOK to provide explanations. Answering back, George Papandreou used a harsh language. In particular, the PASOK president accused the Government of dividing citizens in nationalists and lowlifes, thus revealing its old self. He also added that Vaso Papandreou and her associate Iraklis Polemarchakis are in Brussels to defend Greeces interests by making use of PASOKs prestige, which as he said will soon come to power. Mr Papandreou also crossed swords with the Speaker of Parliament when she asked him to recall his statements on "nationalists and lowlifes." Answering, Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos asked the Main Opposition leader to explain his statements.

    Harsh Language

    "In an orchestrated manner, Mr Alogoskoufis and ND MPs accused PASOK officials, Mrs Vaso Papandreou and Iraklis Polemarchis of undermining the Greek economy with my order. This was also repeated by Mr Roussopoulos. Sirs of ND you have revealed your old self and that your party has not changed. Nationalists and lowlifes do exist for you. Thus you are dividing the Greek people," stated the leader of the Main Opposition, noting that Mrs Papandreou and Mr Polemarchis defend our countrys interests in Brussels, utilising PASOKs prestige, which will soon be Government."

    When Mrs Benaki called on Mr Papandreou to revoke his statements, the President of PASOK answered: "You are not a spokesperson of the Government but the Speaker of Parliament."

    "I want to reassure you that neither the body nor the Speaker or the presidency operate for the Government or another party. They always operate exclusively for the support of dialogue and the maintenance of the enforced level of Parliament," was the answer of Parliaments Speaker, while Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas accused the President of PASOK of turning the country 40 years in the past.

    Fierce Reactions

    PASOK MPs spoke of a disorientating plan of the public opinion from the wiretappings case. Mr Floridis said that Mr Alogoskoufis permission is not needed in order for PASOK officials to visit community services, while Mr Makrypidis considered that Mr Alogoskoufis is responsible over the leak of false articles. Moreover, Mr Geitonas said that Mrs Papandreou has received permission by Parliament for an absence of leave abroad.

    ND MP Mr Kallioras stated that if all thats been said is true, then Mrs Papandreou should resign, while Mr Agorastos said that PASOK officials have proceeded to similar actions in the past. On his part, former Economy Minister Mr Christodoulakis spoke of "anti-national questions submitted by ND EU Parliamentarians during PASOK governance."

    KKE MP Mr Tzekis described the dispute as "shadowboxing" between ND and PASOK.

    On her part, Vaso Papandreou speaking to NET 105.8 stated that it is a usual practice of Commissioners to meet with opposition MPs of Member-States.

    [03] As per a VPRC Public Opinion Poll 2% Difference Between ND PASOK

    09 Feb 2006 15:00:00

    Sources: NET

    The governing party is on the lead by two units as opposed to the Main Opposition, as per a public opinion poll by VPRC for Skai radio station. On the question of "which party would you vote for" ND received 41.5%, PASOK 39.5%, KKE 8%, Synaspismos 3.5% and LAOS 5%. Kostas Karamanlis is more suitable for Prime Minister by 43% as opposed to 27% for George Papandreou. As per the opinion poll, which was conducted a few days following the revelation of the wiretappings case, 78% considered that it is a very important issue on a political level, while 80% believed that they are continuing. 40% estimated that Greek and foreign secret services are involved in the wiretappings, while 24% believed that they were made by foreign secret services, while 13% considered that the wiretappings were made by Greek secret services.

    On the question "which government can face the problems of the country better," 29% answered New Democracy, 19% PASOK and 37% none of the two.

    The opinion poll was conducted from 6 to 7 February by phone interviews to 948 persons.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] In Athens and Nicosia Reactions to Straw's Statements

    09 Feb 2006 13:11:00 (Last updated: 09 Feb 2006 20:52:18)

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: - 105.8 - NA

    Nicosia has sent as letter of complaint to the British Government over the recent statements by British FM Jack Straw, who launched a severe attack against the Cypriot Republic. Mr Straw stressed that Cyprus stance will eventually hinder the commencement of accession talks for Turkey and will lead to the recognition of the Turkish-part of Cyprus. Answering to a question posed by a conservative MP, the British FM stated that by following this path, the Cypriot Government is paving the way for something that they want to avoid, i.e. the recognition of Turkish Cyprus, since they will make is impossible for Turkey to start full negotiations. Asked to comment on these statements, Greek FM Petros Molyviatis declared that the Greek and Greek-Cypriot stances are known. "We are supporting a solution that would reunite the island and we are in favour of financial aid to the Turkish-Cypriots, provided the Cypriot principles on this matter are respected. If the Turkish-Cypriots are isolated, this is due to the occupation."

    "Unacceptable Hints"

    The Greek Foreign Ministrys spokesperson, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, declared that the Greek and Cypriot Governments clarified the course and stance on the issue with Cyprus. He also added that Greece is in favour of a fair, viable and efficient solution for reuniting the island and in favour of financial aid to the Turkish-Cypriot community.

    In addition, he noted that the situation and the problems in the Turkish-Cypriot side cannot be traced back to the victims of the invasion and the occupation.

    "Many questions arise with the way the Government of the United Kingdom approaches European legal order, European conditions, community acquis and relations with EU Member-States," noted PASOK Chief of Foreign Policy, Security and Defence Christos Papoutsis.

    He described the statements of the British Foreign Minister as "unacceptable" and added that the Cypriot Republic is a full Member-State of the European Union. Moreover, Mr Papoutsis criticised the Greek Government and called it "to abandon inaction and immobility."

    In the statements he made on Wednesday on TV station RIK, the Cypriot Governments spokesperson, Giorgos Lillikas, described Straws attack as unacceptable, provocative and coercive, while he urged him to retract some of his statements.

    Mr Lillikas also noted that Mr Straws statements distorted the truth and the facts, and they contained unacceptable hints and characterisations, as well as indirect blackmails.

    "Those who are working towards bisection are not members of any political force in Cyprus, and more so the Government, but those who support stances similar to Abdullah Guls and those who proceed with actions similar to Jack Straws," said the spokesperson.

    Moreover, answering to the British FMs statement that the Cypriot Government is trying to alienate itself from the Turkish-Cypriot community, terminate any contact with it and cut it off, without any aid towards its economic growth, Mr Lillikas stated, "The Government has demonstrated its financial support towards the Turkish-Cypriots, something Mr Straw is well aware of."

    Furthermore, he noted that the Foreign Minister will protest against Mr Straws statement that Spain, Italy and the Commissioner for Enlargement, Oli Rehn, hailed Turkeys recent proposals on a new way to approach the Cypriot issue.

    The spokesperson finally said that in reality, only Britain and the USA hailed the Turkish proposals, adding that Spain, Italy and Mr Rehn only hailed any type of initiative that would lead to the resolution of the issue with Cyprus.

    [05] Greek in the Hands of Foreign Secret Services Accusations for Abduction

    09 Feb 2006 12:51:00 (Last updated: 09 Feb 2006 21:34:47)

    Sources: NET

    A story that appeared today in weekly newspaper To Pontiki has caused a stir. According to the paper, Vassilis Katsikeas, a member of PASOKs Political Council, was abducted and questioned by secret services in Bulgaria, while he was visiting the country on business. In the meantime, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Giorgos Koumoutsakos noted "no complaint was filed to the Ministry over an arrest and questioning of a Greek citizen by secret services of third countries." It should be noted that Katsikeas is also the President of the Foundation for Mediterranean Collaboration and two of the foundations phone numbers are included in the wiretap list. One of the two belongs to Katsikeas wife and Vice President of the Foundation, Mrs Vicky Padazopoulou. In fact, Katsikeas lawyer, Antonis Vgontzas, filed a claim to investigate whether the abduction is linked to the wiretapping case. After his meeting with the Greek President, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis was asked to comment on the issue. Mr Molyviatis declared that the Greek diplomatic authorities have firm directions to assist Greek citizens abroad when needed and they have already been ordered to investigate the case.

    Katsikeas' Statements

    In particular, Vasilis Katsikeas confirmed the article and underlined that in July 2004, CIA agents took him to a small town outside Sofia against his will and without an arrest warrant, where he was interrogated for some 12 hours about 17 November terrorist group's actions. According to his lawyer, Vasilis Katsikeas had then suffered a heart attack.

    A few days later, when PASOK's Political Council member wished to return to Greece, he found out that Bulgarian authorities had banned him from exiting the country without any charges and he asked for the help of the Greek embassy to Sofia.

    Vasilis Katsikeas had also asked for the help of PASOK Palriamentarian Grigoris Niotis in his effort to get back home.

    On the occasion of Katsikeas' revelations, KKE accused the uncontrollable action of secret services, which violate people's democratic rights.

    "No Complaint was Filed"

    Commenting on todays article in relation to V. Katsikeas case, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Koumoutsakos stated: "Apart from statements made by the Foreign Ministry, it is underlined that a complaint was not filed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over an arrest, custody and questioning of any Greek citizen from secret services of third countries. The Greek diplomatic and consulate authorities in Bulgaria implementing, just like for any Greek citizen, firm directions, effectively assisted Mr Katsikeas in order for his return to the country, just as he and his family demanded citing health reasons."

    [06] Kurdish Organisation Claimed Responsibility Bomb Explosion in Istanbul

    09 Feb 2006 17:04:00 (Last updated: 09 Feb 2006 23:17:01)

    A strong blast shook Istanbul on Thursday evening. An explosive device detonated in an Internet caf&#233; at the area of Bayrampasa, which resulted in the death of a 21-year-old man and 15 being injured. The young man, who was seriously injured, succumbed to his injuries. Among the injured are six policemen, as well as a 12-year-old boy, whose condition is critical. The police immediately closed off the area and ambulances rushed to transport the injured to nearby hospitals. Responsibility was claimed by the Kurdistan Liberation Hawks (TAK). As pro-Kurdish news agency Firat (FNA) reported, an unknown man called the agency and claimed responsibility for the organisation. Initially, the authorities attributed the explosion to a natural gas leak, however, chief of police Celalettin Cerrah confirmed that it was a bomb explosion. The caf&#233; is frequented by Turkish policemen, as the police headquarters are situated nearby. There is no speculation over the motives or the perpetrators, while the bomb squad is investigating the scene.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] A Bill by the Ministry of Development Regulations on Frozen Bread Dough

    09 Feb 2006 19:31:00

    Sources: NET

    A bill of the Ministry of Development is putting an end to the confusion, in relation to the origin and production way of bread, and at the same time sets conditions on bread production from frozen dough. From now on, the packaging has to include if the bread is derived from frozen dough, while an area measuring 52 square metres is needed for the sale of pre-baked bread within the store. Moreover, the term "fresh bread" should not be used for the product. The bill foresees strict penalties for offenders. The regulation caused the reaction of bakers, who claimed that this does not lead to a freeing of the market.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [08] First Celebratory Meeting Premiere for Competition Committee

    09 Feb 2006 16:15:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Minister of Development Dimitris Sioufas referred to the determinative role assumed by the Competition Committee, as an independent authority, in its first celebratory meeting on Thursday. The main issue of the meeting was the smooth operation of the market, in the context of a new competitive environment, while Mr Sioufas voiced the need of establishing rules for the growth of small and big businesses, as well as the protection of consumers. Moreover, he talked about the important role that the Competition Committee has to play for the smooth operation of the market, the establishment of trust between businesses, the introduction of new companies and innovations in the economy and the modernisation of Greek economic life. It is noted that with a regulation by the Ministry of Development for securing transparency, after the end of the three-year term, the members of the committee are not allowed to involve themselves in companies cases, handled during their term.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] Olympiacos Qualifies to the 4

    09 Feb 2006 18:36:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Olympiacos qualified to the 4 of the Greek Cup after its win against Xanthi 1-0. In a game that lacked goal opportunities, the "red and whites" were mediocre but hid Rivaldo up their sleeves. The Brazilian overcame the Gordian knot and scored the only goal of the game, earning Olympiacos the qualification. From now on, Olympiacos will have to face Larissa.

    Referee: Kasnaferis (Athens)

    Yellow cards: Antzas, Torosidis Bulut, Taralidis, Nikopolidis


    XANTHI: Pizanowski, Torosidis, Papadimitriou, Sikov (15 Paviot), Zuela, Antzas, Ricca, Manso, Quintana, Barkoglou (84 De Matia), Palaskas (46 Kazakis)

    OLYMPIACOS: Nikopolidis, Pantos, Bulut (63 Danny), Schurrer, Anatolakis, Taralidis (+90 Kostoulas), Okkas (63 Babaginda), Georgatos, Konstantinou, Rivaldo, Djordjevic.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [10] On 20 February ERT's Musical Ensembles at Opera

    09 Feb 2006 15:11:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    ERTs Musical Ensembles will perform works by Greek and foreign composers on Monday 20 February at the Greek National Opera. The Contemporary Music Orchestra of ERT will perform a melodic mosaic composed by modern Greek composers devout to the ideal of contemporary Greek art and older foreign composers. The first part will include works by Giorgos Despotidis, Nikos Xanthoulis, Vaggelis Kokkoris and Giorgos Zikogiannis. The second part of the concert will present works by Antonio Vivaldi, Mikis Theodorakis, Ploutarchos Reboutsikas and Pavlos Papadopoulos.

    ERTs Contemporary Music Orchestra will be directed by conductor Andreas Pylarinos. The soloists performing the works of Greek and foreign composers are Nikos Xanthoulis trumpet, Giorgos Zacharias violin, Dimitris Papaggelidis guitar, Giorgos Zikogiannis bass.

    Tickets are available at the Greek National Opera and the following telephone numbers: 210-3643.725 and 210-3612.461

    Ticket prices are 10 euros, 5 euros and 5 euros for students.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] U2 Dominated in the Grammys "How to Dismantle" the Grammys

    09 Feb 2006 14:09:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Veni Vidi Vici. In other words, U2 did it again! Despite their 22-yearlong career and long list of successes, they still have the energy of a prolonged youth and won all five Grammy awards they were nominated for. The Irish rock band dominated in this years 48th Grammy Awards ceremony and took it all, including Song of the Year for "Sometimes You Cant Make It on Your Own" and Album of the Year for "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." U2s haul takes their Grammy total to 21 awards, including eight in the last two years alone, while U2 are the sixth most awarded artists in the history of the Grammys. Receiving the awards, Bono thanked his late father, who was the inspiration for the album.

    The other major award for Record of the Year landed in the hands of Green Day for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," thus confirming Grammys turn to rock music, even though pop and R&B entries dominated music charts in 2005.

    Pop diva Mariah Carey, who last won a Grammy in 1990, was also among the winners, as she claimed three of the eight R&B awards she was nominated for. However, she was denied the nights main awards despite a successful comeback. Mariahs awards came four years after she hit rock bottom. EMI broke her contract, she saw her singing and acting efforts fail and was admitted to hospital with exhaustion. However, she took revenge with her latest album "The Emancipation of Mimi," which has sold over 6 million copies worldwide, although American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson deprived her of the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance award.

    West triumphed with three awards in the rap music category for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album and Best Solo Rap Performance, while John Legend won three more, for Best New Artist, Best R&B Album and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

    British duo The Chemical Brothers were more than pleased, after winning Best Dance Recording for "Galvanize" and Best Electronic/Dance Album for "Push The Button."

    Although Sir Paul McCartney was nominated in three categories, he went home empty handed; an experience he shared with Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani.

    Well, see you all next year!

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] H5N1 Case in Nigeria H5N1 in Africa

    09 Feb 2006 11:18:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: Reuters, ANA, AP, AFP

    The deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus has infiltrated Africa. The disease was detected on dead poultry found at a chicken farm in Jaji in the northern state of Kaduna, Nigeria, and was confirmed after lab tests performed by the Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), based in Paris. The World Health Organisation did not hide its deep concern and asked African governments to stay alert, as an epidemic outbreak in the worlds poorest continent, where health systems and veterinarian infrastructure are highly insufficient, could turn into a serious threat to the world. According to the WHO, Nigerian authorities took immediate measures to cull poultry and disinfect dangerous areas, they placed the dangerous zone under quarantine and control poultry transport within the country, while officials look into other suspicious cases in Kano and Joss.

    On Alert

    Nigeria, which banned poultry imports two years ago from countries that have had bird flu outbreaks, has probably fell victim of poultry smuggling or migration of sick birds.

    No human case has been recorded so far, however such a development is very likely in a country where millions of people use poultry breeding as the main source of income.

    The Nigerian Agriculture Ministry announced a plan worth millions of dollars to deal with the deadly virus, which includes compensations for precautionary poultry culling. 46,000 chicken, geese and ostriches have been slaughtered so far, however, international Media broadcast that many villagers refuse to cooperate and as a result, large quantities of meat are sold to local markets without prior check.

    Meanwhile, high-ranking WHO officials do not hide fears the disease could have already crossed the borders to other countries unnoticed. "In Africa we have so many diseases, so many priorities, if it spreads in Africa it will be a nightmare," stressed an African WHO official.

    Neighbouring Benin has already proceeded with banning imports from Nigeria, while other countries have applied precautionary measures, like the Ivory Coast or Gabon, which presented an emergency plan just a few hours before Nigeria announced the case.

    "We are alert, but we are not panicking," said officials in Senegal and Ghana, stressing, "We have staff at ports of entry and they are well briefed. We are doing random surveys ... keeping an eye on wild birds that flock to the wetlands."

    A specialised WHO group is on alert at the Organisation's headquarters in Congo in case local governments ask for the WHO's contribution.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    The New York Times - Bird Flu Virus Is Confirmed in Africa

    USA Today - Bird flu emerges in Africa; experts fear continent vulnerable

    C - Deadly bird flu found in Africa - Nigeria announces measures to contain avian flu

    Related News:

    New H5N1 Outbreak Under Control

    [13] Claimed the Legal Advisers of the Federation OTOE: "Banks' Decision is Illegal"

    09 Feb 2006 15:16:00

    Sources: NET

    The legal advisers of the Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) considered that the decision of seven banks to not attend the dialogue for the signing of sectoral collective work contracts was illegal and unconstitutional. As per the Presidency of OTOE, similar attempts by foreign and Greek banks were made, which, however, failed. The aim of OTOE is to take all legal action in order to sign a collective contract, while the briefing of all bank employees is in its immediate plans. It is noted that the bank employees have announced a new 24hour strike for Friday 17 February.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Alavanos-OTOE Meeting

    Related Links:

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