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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-02-14

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] New Cabinet Formation
  • [02] Tsalikidis' Phone Calls to Prosecutor
  • [03] Cupid's Pitfalls
  • [04] Nurse, There's an Eye in my Glass!
  • [05] K. Simitis Criticised Government
  • [06] Greece-NATO Collaboration
  • [07] Cross-Examination Over Wiretaps
  • [08] Snowy Weather, Volume III
  • [09] "We Want the Truth"
  • [10] Weak Tremor in India
  • [11] "Shut Down Guantanamo Bay"
  • [12] Bloody Attacks
  • [13] Intervention and Contacts by UN and EU
  • [14] Gradual Changes in Social Security
  • [15] Rivaldo Earned Olympiakos the Win
  • [16] Tested Negative to Avian Flu
  • [17] "Alertness not Panic"
  • [18] Galinovic in Panathinaikos until 2008

  • [01] New Faces and Transfers New Cabinet Formation

    14 Feb 2006 13:28:00 (Last updated: 14 Feb 2006 17:54:52)

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The Government spokesperson announced the new cabinet on Tuesday. Dora Bakoyiannis is placed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ND Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis in the Ministry of Defence. Savvas Tsitouridis was appointed in the Ministry of Employment and Dimitris Avramopoulos from the Ministry of Tourism to the Ministry of Health. Mrs Fani Palli Petralia took up Mr Avramopoulos seat. Giorgos Voulgarakis is moved from the Ministry of Public Order to the Ministry of Culture. His place is taken up by Viron Polidoras and Giorgos Kalantzis was appointed Minister of Macedonia-Thrace. Mr Roussopoulos announced that Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Molyviatis met with the Prime Minister a few days ago and voiced his desire to retire from public life after 50 years of constant presence. Moreover, Mr Roussopoulos announced that Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis "honouring the long political contribution and Parliamentary experience of Giannis Kefalogiannis appointed him to the position of Special Advisor to the Prime Minister." Tonight at 20:15 the Prime Minister will deliver a public statement on the occasion of the cabinets reshuffle.

    The formation of the new cabinet following the reshuffle and announced by Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos is as follows:

    PRIME MINISTER Kostas Karamanlis

    MINISTRY FOR THE INTERIOR, PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND DECENTRALISATION Minister: Prokopis Pavlopoulos Deputy Minister: Apostolos Andreoulakos Deputy Minister: Athanasios Nakos

    MINISTRY OF ECONOMY AND FINANCE Minister: Giorgos Alogoskoufis Deputy Minister: Christos Folias Deputy Minister: Antonis Bezas Deputy Minister: Petros Doukas

    MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS Minister: Dora Bakoyiannis Deputy Minister: Giannis Valinakis Deputy Minister: Evripidis Stylianidis Deputy Minister: Thodoros Kassimis

    MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENCE Minister: Evangelos Meimarakis Deputy Minister: Vasilis Michaloliakos Deputy Minister: Ioannis Lambropoulos

    MINISTRY OF DEVELOPMENT Minister: Dimitris Sioufas Deputy Minister: Anastasios Neratzis Deputy Minister: Giannia Papathanasiou

    MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, PHYSICAL PLANNING & SOCIAL PROTECTION Minister: Giorgos Souflias Deputy Minister: Stavros Kalogiannis Deputy Minister: Themistoklis Xanthopoulos

    MINISTRY OF NATIONAL EDUCATION & RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS Minister: Marietta Giannakou Deputy Minister: Giorgos Kalos Deputy Minister: Spyros Taliadouros

    MINISTRY OF EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL PROTECTION Minister: Savvas Tsitouridis Deputy Minister: Gerasimos Giakoumatos

    MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL PROTECTION Minister: Dimitris Avramopoulos Deputy Minister: Athanasios Giannopoulos Deputy Minister: Giorgos Konstantopoulos

    MINISTRY OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND FOOD Minister: Evangelos Basiakos Deputy Minister: Alexandros Kontos

    MINISTRY OF JUSTICE Minister: Anastasis Papaligouras

    MINISTRY OF CULTURE Minister: Giorgos Voulgarakis Deputy Minister: Giorgos Orfanos


    MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ORDER Minister: Viron Polidoras

    MINISTRY OF MERCANTILE MARINE Minister: Manolis Kefalogiannis

    MINISTRY OF TOURISM Minister: Fani Palli-Petralia

    MINISTRY OF MACEDONIA-THRACE Minister: Giorgos Kalantzis

    MINISTRY FOR THE AEGEN AND ISLAND POLICY Minister: Aristotelis Pavlidis



    The Prime Minister respected Petros Molyviatis desire to withdraw from political life, said Mr Roussopoulos and added that he was assigned by Kostas Karamanlis to publicly thank Mr Molyviatis for the close cooperation they had long enjoyed, as well as his contribution to the Government by successfully serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs in particularly crucial times and in a rather difficult atmosphere.

    Petros Molyviatis himself announced his decision to retire, thanking the Prime Minister for his faith in him and wished luck in his work.

    Mr Molyviatis also thanked his associates who "worked pretty hard to succeed the few or the many we accompliced," while he referred to those who supported and proved his appreciation to him. "It is the best reward for someone who strives to do his duty," Mr Molyviatis argued obviously moved.

    Mr Roussopoulos claimed that the Prime Minister contacted Dora Bakogianni and congratulated her on her successful work in the Municipality of Athens and called on her to participate in the new cabinet, assigning her the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a quite crucial time for Greece.

    Mrs Bakogianni assured the Prime Minister that she will put her hear and soul into reinforcing the governments work.

    As soon as she was informed of her new post, the new Foreign Affairs Minister said, "I will do my best to live up to expectations, and serve the country, the government and the party, in a period marked by major international changes," and added, "Greece is at the threshold of major challenges, which I am sure it can live up to."

    It is one of the leading Ministries and my choosing is a great honour and responsibility, stressed Mr Meimarakis, shortly after he was assigned the post of the Defence Minister.

    "What eases off my feelings right now is the fact that, on the one hand I am called on to abandon the post of the partys secretary, and on the other hand I succeed Spilios, a rather honest man and a friend who has contributed a lot," he also added.

    On his part, Nikitas Kaklamanis thanked the Prime Minister and his associates, arguing, "I leave richer in feelings."

    "I wish to thank the people who used to stop me on the street gave me strength to carry on with my work by either agreeing or disagreeing. Should you stand by Mr Avramopoulos, he is to prove equally successful. Mr Avramopoulos is a really good colleague. I myself will help him," added Mr Kaklamanis, who is to run for Athens Mayor sponsored by ND.

    His contentment for taking the reigns of the Health Ministry voiced former Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    After thanking the Prime Minister, Mr Avramopoulos noted that the Ministry of Health is a pivotal institution and he assured he is ready to breathe a new impetus so as to turn it into the spearhead of the governments social policy.

    The Prime Minister contacted personally all the newcomers, as well as the outgoing ministers and deputy ministers and thanked them for their contribution.

    Opposition Parties Comment on Reshuffle

    PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanasakis argued that Mr Karamanlis is using the cabinet reshuffle to buy his administration more time. He also pointed out that under no circumstances will todays reshuffle cover up Mr Karamanlis responsibilities.

    When questioned whether this reshuffle is to lead the country to elections, Mr Athanasakis answered, "The governments clock has already started ticking anticlockwise."

    "The antipopulist policy is not reshuffled, it is overturned by an organised popular counterattack, instead," read a KKE announcement. As per KKE, "the changes in the cabinet aim to make the realisation of plutocracys strategic choices more effective and to speed up the reforms and antipopulist measures."

    SYN President Alekos Alavanos argued that the cards were shuffled with marked ones and noted that the reshuffle would have been meaningful had the government changed its policy and confronted the major issues of unemployment, high prices and democratic liberties.

    [02] Tsalikidis' Phone Calls to Prosecutor

    14 Feb 2006 18:49:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    The lawyer representing the Tsalikidis family, Themis Sofos, submitted new evidence to Prosecutor Ioannis Diotis regarding Kostas Tsalikidis text messages. The evidence refers to the SMS the deceased received from the company and the messages he sent from his four mobile phones. The lawyer submitted a list including Tsalikidis last phone calls and as it turned out, the deceased had received a call shortly before his death probably coming from Vodafones telephone centre. Meanwhile, the Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy is cross-examining Vodafone and Ericsson technicians at Vodafones headquarters in Chalandri over the wiretapping scandal.

    Questions over Tsalikidis-Vodafone Relationship

    Messages from Kostas Tsalikidis' Mobile Phone

    2/2/2005 21:36 "Keep walking. I'm always by your side if you need me. Call me whenever you feel like it."

    3/2/2005 12:01 "Hello darling

    Regarding Kostas Tsalikidis' last calls and SMS, his family paid too much attention to the ones Tsalikidis received early February from other Vodafone executives, at a time when authorities believe the relationship between Tsalikidis and Vodafone was on the wrong track. Judging from the four devices Sofos handed over to Mr Diotis, Tsalikidis apparently used only one of them, while it was surprising that the deceased also had a TIM number, but the SIM card has not been recovered yet.

    Mr Sofos told reporters that Tsalikidis' last incoming call was from Vodafone telephone centre, while his last outgoing call was to a Cosmote number no longer in use.

    According to Mr Sofos, there are messages in Tsalikidis' phone, which strictly concern technical matters to be investigated and messages from Vodafone executives, two of whom had participated in a meeting on 8 March 2005, one day before Kostas Tsalikidis died.

    Mr Diotis is about to call all senders of those messages to testify. He will also check the telephone centres of Tsalikidis' last incoming calls, while he will perform an autopsy within the week at Tsalikidis' apartment in Kolonos.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Cross-Examination Over Wiretaps

    [03] Be Aware of Dating Websites and E-Cards Cupid's Pitfalls

    14 Feb 2006 16:52:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Those who choose to search for the love of their life on the Internet had better be extra cautious. They should bear in mind that there are also those who are on the look-out to catch na&#239;ve Internet-users on their snare. The fraudsters do not wish to steal someones heart, but to relieve users of their money. Dating websites and chat rooms are the most popular tactics with the fraudsters, while Valentine e-cards make the perfect baits.

    According to security company Internet Security Systems, online dating has met with a meteoric rise, probably meaning that malicious hackers have created such sites to deceive as many as possible. Therefore, in view of February 14, the British Trade Committee has issued a directive urging users to be cautious.

    Chat rooms are the most usual cyber venues where deception drives flourish. The method is pretty simple. They persuade their victims that there is some kind of love affair going on, win their trust and usually ask for an amount of money for the meeting to take place. The money changes hands, yet the meeting never happens.

    There are also e-ways. Emails with unsolicited attachments including viruses, like the I-Love-You bug, or e-cards, are used as a Trojan Horse driving users to fake websites just to allow fraudsters to gain access to credit cards or bank accounts.

    Therefore, security experts have sounded the alarm and warned: be aware if an unknown fan sends you an email. It might be your bank account that attracted him of her and not your charming looks.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Nurse Personally Pulls Pranks Nurse, There's an Eye in my Glass!

    14 Feb 2006 12:22:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is called to investigate a peculiar case of breach of duty, as to conclude what exactly happened in a series of incidents caused by a nurse from Newcastle. 53-year-old Christine Mitchelson is accused of improper behaviour by patients and co-workers in the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

    In particular, she is accused of placing a patients glass eye into a cola glass, slapped another one, painted a face on a patients hernia, while she also made racist comments to her co-workers. And the list goes on. She is also accused of misconduct, as she incorrectly recorded information or did not record patients condition, encouraging other nurses to do the same, while she gave a double dosage of insulin than predicted to a diabetic.

    Her actions were made known on February 2004 when an employee decided to complain. The hospitals administration began investigations revealing that her "career" in pranks started in 2012. In total 12 complaints were made against her.

    Mrs Mitchelson, a mother of three, denied accusations, citing health reasons and did not give explanations to the relevant committee, while in an interview to a newspaper described the complaints as false and coming from people she considered as "friends." She tried to give explanations over her actions, saying that the glass eye was handled with clean hands, as hygiene always comes first, and placed it in a glass nobody used, while everyone laughed, even its owner. On the work of art painted on the hernia, she said that she tried to explain something on paper, but did not try use it as a canvas in any case. As if this misunderstanding was not enough, she is now unemployed since no one trusts her. What can we say, it seems that the British do not have a great sense of humour.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] From Thessaloniki K. Simitis Criticised Government

    14 Feb 2006 00:35:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis made a full frontal attack to ND. Speaking at a citizens movement against globalisation, European unification and Greeces role, he accused the Government of following a conservative policy leading Greece into regression. Referring to the wiretaps case, he said that the Government operated as a viewer and appeared weak when defending itself and the citizens. "The Government has faced and is facing the wiretaps issue as a viewer. It refers to judicial procedures, which it announced that they will not bear any results." Referring to the announcements of the Prime Minister, Mr Simitis noted that the Government and its officials are insufficient, since necessary institutions exist the Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE), the Hellenic Data Protection Agency (DPA) and the Telecommunications Authority but were not used when they should have, but afterwards.

    "Country is Regressing"

    Mr Simitis referred to the course of the economy, saying that the country has regressed in the previous two years. "The rate of the development has decreased in comparison to 1996-2004. New Democracy was contradicted in its prediction of achieving a 5% development rate and the current one is lower than ever, is due to works and programmes which had been designed by PASOK, by a large part," underlined the former PM. Moreover, he stated that the development rate has decreased, as have the funds of public investments, while the absorbance rate of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) has decreased. He underlined that "ND under the shield of re-establishing the State led to regression. It brought back the clientele notion and the consideration that the State is a mechanism of party interests."

    In closing, referring to the course of the European Union he stated that we need a strong EU in order to overcome the crisis and the problems. Mr Simitis noted, "With more effective and democratic institutions, which will convince the people of Europe, we can implement a full plan and exit the crisis of stagnation, ineffectiveness and unreliability."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] The Relevant Committee Ratified the Protocol Greece-NATO Collaboration

    13 Feb 2006 23:24:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The Parliaments Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs ratified the collaboration protocol between Greece and NATO with regard to NATOs operations. The ruling partys parliamentarians voted in favour of the protocol, while all the opposition parliamentarians voted against, speaking of infringement of Greeces sovereign rights. Answering to questions raised by the opposition parliamentarians, Deputy Defence Minister Giannis Labropoulos assured that Greece has not given up on her right to veto whenever its interests are not met.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] New Evidence to Prosecutor over the Suicide Cross-Examination Over Wiretaps

    14 Feb 2006 12:56:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Since early noon, the Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy is cross-examining Vodafone and Ericsson technicians at Vodafone's headquarters in Chalandri over the wiretapping scandal. After meeting with the presidents of the two independent authorities on telecommunications and with distinguished academics at Maximos Mansion on Monday, the Prime Minister underlined the Government's decision to shield the State and citizens. Meanwhile, lawyer Themis Sofos is expected to submit new evidence to the Prosecutor regarding Kostas Tsalikidis' suicide case.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [08] Cold and Snowfall Throughout Greece Snowy Weather, Volume III

    14 Feb 2006 10:59:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    In Greece, snowy weather made its third appearance in less than a month with a sudden decrease of temperature, snowfall in mountainous regions and gale-force winds. The phenomena are more intense in central and western Macedonia, Thessaly and mainland Greece, where snow has been falling as of this morning and the use snow chains is necessary for vehicles moving in the provincial road network of the Prefectures of Drama, Pella, Chalkidiki, Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, Karditsa, Trikala and Evrytania. Euboea has been affected most by the bad weather, with dense snowfall, while the use of snow chains is necessary mainly around the villages situated in Mt Dirfi. Moreover, traffic of private and heavy vehicles has been banned from Stavros to Agia Sofia and from Agios Athanasios to Glyfada.

    Snowfall in Attica

    For the third time, snow has been falling in Attica as well, mainly in the northern regions, making the use of snow chains imperative in Parnitha Avenue from the 19th km to the Casino, the old National Road Elefsina-Thiva from the 25th to the 30th km and the provincial road Villion to Villia.

    Snow has been lightly falling in Agios Merkourios, Dervenochoria, Penteli and Dionysos Avenue towards Agios Petros.

    The State is fully prepared and is already facing problems caused by snowy weather no. 3.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] Mass Demonstration at the Heart of Beirut "We Want the Truth"

    14 Feb 2006 12:28:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters, BBC

    Thousands of Lebanese responded on Tuesday to Saad Hariri's appeal for mass participation in the protest for the first anniversary since the assassination of his father, former Premier Rafik Hariri. Patriotic anthems and verses of the Koran were heard along the Martyrs' Square in Beirut, while thousands of Lebanese held portraits of the former Prime Ministers and wore badges reading "We want the truth." The city centre was closed off, while thousands of people also gathered at the Christian quarter of Asrafiye in protest.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Reuters: Large Lebanese crowd marks Hariri's death

    BBC: Lebanon marks Hariri anniversary

    [10] Weak Tremor in India

    14 Feb 2006 08:56:00

    Sources: ANA

    An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale occurred on Tuesday morning in northeastern India causing panic to the areas residents. The US Meteorological Service announced that the epicentre of the quake was located in Sikkim and felt throughout Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, western Bengal and Meghalaya. So far there have been no reports over casualties or damage. Northeastern India is considered to be one of the earthquake-prone areas of the world according to seismologists.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] A UN Report on Prisons "Shut Down Guantanamo Bay"

    14 Feb 2006 07:51:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA, BBC, Reuters

    The Special Committee of the UN, formed to investigate the conditions of the detainment of prisoners, asked the US Government to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prisons, where suspects of terrorism are detained. As per the report compiled following an 18-month research and published yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, the five UN specialists reported that the detainment of suspects without a trial is a downright violation of basic rules of the law, as well as human rights. Moreover, they stated that force-feeding the prisoners and other interrogation techniques followed equal to torture.

    US State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack criticised the report, accusing it of being based on "hearsay": "Just because they decided not to take up the US government on the offer to go to Guantanamo Bay does not automatically give [them] the right to publish a report that is merely hearsay and not based on fact."

    The content of the report took an 18-month research ordered by the UN Human Rights Commission and based on interviews of former detainees, their families and lawyers.

    The UN team, which conducted the research, refused a US proposal to visit the base, where more than 500 prisoners have been detained after 11 September, because they did not allow them to talk with inmates. Only three members out of five were invited.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Guantanamo Bay inmates 'tortured'

    Related Links:

    [12] In the Iraqi Capital Bloody Attacks

    14 Feb 2006 10:45:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: AFP, ANA

    As a Foreign Ministry source announced, the director of the Iraqi police training centre Colonel Mahdi Mutlak was murdered by unknown gunmen on Monday night. Mutlak was murdered at his house in the district of Al-Dura, near the southern entry of the Iraqi capital. Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, two policemen were injured at the same area in a bomb attack, while another attack was performed wounding five civilians near the technology university. The Ministry of Defence announced that four bodies were found in different areas of Baghdad.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [13] On the Issue of Prophet Muhammad Cartoons Intervention and Contacts by UN and EU

    14 Feb 2006 07:08:00

    Sources: ANA, Reuters

    UN General Secretary Kofi Annan attributed responsibility to the Iranian and Syrian Governments, as well as other Governments that failed to protect foreign Embassies by mobs protesting over the publication of cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad, asking for the distribution of compensations over the damage they suffered. Mr Annan also held a meeting with the Syrian Ambassador to the UN Faysal Mekdad. At the same time, in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, the EU High Commissioner on Foreign Policy and Defence Javier Solana held a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Sinora, where they jointly examined a series of measures in order to avoid new attacks against the consulates of Denmark in Beirut, which had been torched in the beginning of the month. Mr Sinora briefed Mr Solana over the measures implemented by the Lebanese Government in order for such incidents to not reoccur. The two men also discussed the latest developments in Lebanon.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [14] Stressed G. Alogoskoufis Gradual Changes in Social Security

    14 Feb 2006 18:05:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Giorgos Alogoskoufis underlined the need to reform social security, clarifying changes will take place gradually and following a long dialogue with all implicated parties. The Economy Minister, who is in Brussels for ECOFINs meeting, estimated the European Commission will positively evaluate the Governments efforts to purge the Economy. He underlined 2005 was a year of significant changes for the Economy, State and markets in general. These reforms have started to pay off, stressed the Economy Minister, thus voicing his belief that results will be evident soon, both in the financial growth rates, as well as in employment and social cohesion.

    Reforms are Necessary

    Referring to the problems of competitiveness in most European economies, he stressed it is a consequence of introducing "new dynamic players," like India and China, to the international economic scene, and technological developments, which mainly focus on the USA.

    These developments, stressed the Minister, make promoting reforms imperative. At the same time, he underlined the need to reinforce the coordination of economic policies between Member-States and reinforce reforms, which as he noted, need to be supported by the proper macro-economic policy.

    Regarding the general economic situation in Europe, he said "it seems to be better in the long run, despite dangers from the international environment, mainly from oil prices and other imbalances in some of the EU's partners."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [15] Rivaldo Earned Olympiakos the Win

    13 Feb 2006 23:20:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Olympiakos left the Ano Liosia pitch with the three points in the bag, after scoring a 1-0 victory over Akratitos. Rivaldo was the sole scorer, yet it was a header and not a foul kick he scored with. Todays win maintained the six-point difference from AEK and helped Olympiakos to keep marching to the top without suffering any losses. The home side started off better and lost their greatest chance to take the lead as early as in the 14, when Nikopolidis saved his nets from Skoufalis. From that moment on, Olympiakos gradually took over and in the 68 Rivaldo headed the ball in Akratitos nets.

    Referee: Nikolaidis (Thessaloniki) Yellow Cards: Penia, Tzimopoulos-Konstantinou Red Cards: 36 Penia (2nd yellow card)

    AKRATITOS: Lyberopoulos, Apostolakis, Pagonis, Dieng, Badas (84 Macquet) Penia, Marinescu, Tzimopoulos, Skoufalis (73 Defrancesco), Sansing (61 Gustavo), Lendesman. OLYMPIAKOS: Nikopolidis, Mavrogenidis (36 Patsatzoglou), Georgatos, Schurrer, Anatolakis (73 Pantos), Stoltidis, Babagida (82 Dani), Okkas, Konstantinou, Rivaldo, Djordjevic.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [16] Two Patients with Avian Flu Symptoms Found Tested Negative to Avian Flu

    14 Feb 2006 11:20:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Greeces relevant authorities are on alert, following the confirmation of the 4th case of the deadly avian flu virus in Skyros. During the previous 24 hours, 16 cases of dead birds, mainly swans, wild ducks and kingfishers, were reported to Veterinary Services. Samples taken from the birds are being examined in special laboratories. In the meantime, the results on the initial tests on two persons, who had come into contact with dead birds and were hospitalised with flu-like symptoms, came out negative. The 15-year-old, who was preventively hospitalised in the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Thessaloniki was released today, while the test results of the 29-year-old hunter are encouraging. Relevant authorities have requested strict adherence to the protection measures. The European Union reassured that the measures implemented in Greece, Italy and Slovenia will prevent the spread of the virus to poultry bred in organised poultry units. In closing, a 23-year-old Indonesian man died by the avian flu in a Jakarta hospital, as announced by the Sanitation Authorities of the country, hiking up the total number of dead by the avian flu to 28.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Checks and Information

    [17] The Hellenic Veterinary Society Advises "Alertness not Panic"

    14 Feb 2006 14:00:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The thorough implementation of the instructions and precautionary measures could avert the spreading of the deadly avian flu virus from migratory birds to domestic poultry and then to humans in Greece. This is was the bottom line of the Press conference given by professors Spyros Kyriakis, Vasikis Kontos, President of the Hellenic Veterinary Medical Society Benjamin Albalas and President of the Congress Theodoros Ananiadis. "It was rather natural for the deadly virus, which has claimed some 88 lives across the world since its first outbreak, to reach Greece, since our country is a passage of migratory birds," commented the experts after the virus was detected on dead wild migratory birds. They explained, however, that the avian flu outbreak should prompt alertness and not panic. The international scientific community is fighting a battle against time to develop a vaccine capable of combating the deadly virus. The scientists also voiced their estimation that the vaccine will be ready before the H5N1 virus mutates and becomes human-to-human transmittable. Averting the spreading of the virus from migratory birds to domestic poultry is to play an instrumental role in the consequences that might affect public health and poultry-breeding output in Greece.

    Vaccination and Results

    The first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus was reported in Hong Kong in 1997. During this outbreak, 18 people were infected and six of them died. Authorities in Hong Kong immediately proceeded with culling all the areas poultry to control the outbreak and avert the virus from being transmitted to humans.

    The virus hit again the same area in February 2003, thus prompting the Hong Kong authorities to vaccine all the areas poultry. Ever since, no other avian flu case have been recorded neither on domestic poultry nor on humans. China and Indonesia followed suite. However, Indonesia suffered H5N1 outbreaks.

    Pilot researches have shown that vaccination provides protection from the disease, yet it does not avert it. Therefore, the risk of a "silent" transmission among the bird population runs high. This find has prompted the EU to ban the vaccination against strains of the avian flu virus of high pathogenic form. Italy, which vaccinated the bird population in Lombardy following the extensive H7N1 outbreak during 1999-2000, is the only country the EU has exempted from that ban. However, a special test was developed to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA). The use of DIVA enabled the Italian veterinary authorities to put the situation under control and free the areas poultry output from the avian flu.

    The latest developments on the flu front and the diseases transmission pace in the wider area of NE Asia make the immediate culling of all the infected poultry an absolute imperative. So long as the DIVA test develops further, healthy poultry had better be vaccinated with the vaccine used in Hong Kong. Domestic poultry should remain under strict monitoring after their vaccination.

    With regard to people, high-risk groups, including poultry breeders, traders and veterinarians, should be immediately vaccinated at least against the common flu type. It is up to the local authorities to decide the number of people to be vaccinated, yet the sooner the vaccination starts the better.

    Should poultry output in the EU member states get hampered, vaccine stocks could be available. The annual vaccination against the flu should proceed regularly and be intensified if possible. The EU officials should be particularly preoccupied with the supply of vaccines for humans.

    In theory, should all necessary measures between Europe and SE Asian countries be implemented, a possible pandemic in Far East might not affect the EU citizens.

    None of the viruses that sparked off the three pandemics the 20th century witnessed caused an epizootic disease before it was transmitted to humans. In case, however, the virus keeps infecting people and so long as a human-to-human transmission becomes a reality, then authorities should take dynamic initiatives against the virus, under the instructions of the World Health Organisation. Everyone had better be ready to come up against the worst possible scenario. The international community has to start the output and distribution of vaccines both for birds and humans to make a potential pandemic as mild as possible. No doubt the financial toll is far more preferable than the toll on human lives.

    Measures for Farmers-Hunters

    At the sight of a dead or ill wild migratory bird, farmers and hunter should: Not touch it. Not allow their dogs play with a dead or ill bird. Immediately inform the relevant veterinary services or police.

    Biosafety Precautionary Measures

    Poultry kept outdoors should be penned and covered with a roof, while free ranging is banned, thus disallowing contact with wild poultry. Ducks and geese should be housed separately from chickens, chicks and other kinds of poultry. Security of protecting of animal feed production facilities, feed and water distributing systems and approach by wild poultry and other animals. Increased death rates, above normal, of domestic poultry or wild poultry call for the immediate briefing of veterinary authorities.

    Poultry-Breeding Units

    Wire fences at windows of poultry farms for obstructing the entry of wild poultry. Disinfecting panels at exit and entry points for vehicles and footwear of persons in the unit. Poultry should be observed daily by specialised personnel for the timely location of probable symptoms and the prevention and securing the control of the virus. Observance and alertness measures are implemented faithfully, as well as disinfections where needed. Samples are exclusively distributed by the Veterinary Directorates of Local Self Governments to veterinary laboratories.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [18] Galinovic in Panathinaikos until 2008

    14 Feb 2006 14:57:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Another contract has been renewed in Panathinaikos and as was expected since yesterday, Mario Galivonic has agreed to play for two more years. "The contract has been renewed for two years and this means the Croatian goalkeeper will keep playing for Panathinaikos until 2008," as was announced by the team's administration. However, no details on the player's financial gains were released.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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