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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-02-16

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Train Derails in Serres
  • [02] Train Tragedy in Serres
  • [03] Europe's Future
  • [04] DJ Dumped on Air
  • [05] UN: "Try Them or Release Them"
  • [06] Banks on Strike
  • [07] Controlled Explosion at MEGA
  • [08] Residences Evacuated in Birmingham
  • [09] Abu Ghraim Images Prompt Repulsion
  • [10] Dispute over Iran Escalates
  • [11] Decrease of Taxation as of 2007
  • [12] Negotiations Reached Dead End
  • [13] Do Opposites Attract?

  • [01] Truck's Driver and a Female Passenger Killed Train Derails in Serres

    16 Feb 2006 22:09:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    A tragic accident that occurred shortly after 2pm between the train stations of Serres and Lefkothea, 500m off the village of Chrysso, northern Greece, claimed two lives and injured some 18 passengers. The dead are the trucks driver, 41, and a female passenger on the train, 23. The accident occurred when the Intercity train 70 carrying 101 passengers en route from Piraeus to Alexandroupolis collided with a truck. As per witnesses, the truck attempted to illegally cross the track and got stuck. The collision was strong and caused four carriages to derail in a rather inaccessible area that gave a really hard time to the rescue crews that rushed to the scene to pull the passengers to safety.

    In an Inaccessible Area

    The Ministries of Public Order, Transports, Health and National Defence, immediately applied themselves to a coordinated course of action. Emergency services rushed into the tragedy scene, while Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Kalantzis, who also visited the area, argued that the states response was prompt, since ambulances arrived in the scene within 10 minutes and all the injured were transferred to the Serres hospital in half an hour.

    Speaking on NET television network, the truck drivers wife described the tragic moments she experienced. She said the truck got stuck to the mud and failed to cross the track on time. Unlike her husband, she managed to escape seconds before the collision.

    The injured, two of whom have sustained serious injuries, were transferred to the Serres hospital.

    An OSE (Hellenic Railways Association) panel also hurried to the tragedy scene, while the passengers who were not injured boarded on buses to reach their destinations.

    The area where the accident occurred is rather inaccessible and the recent rainfalls had turned it into a mudflat, Serres Prefect Konstantinos Papapanagiotou told the Athens News Agency. He then went on to wonder how the truck managed to approach the area and tried to vertically cross the railway tracks.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Train Tragedy in Serres

    [02] Train Collided with Pick-Up Truck Train Tragedy in Serres

    16 Feb 2006 15:29:00 (Last updated: 16 Feb 2006 22:52:58)

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Two persons lost their lives and 18 injured, two of whom seriously, when a passenger train collided with a pick-up truck, which attempted to pass a crossing between the train stations of Serres and Lefkothea. The accident took place shortly after 2pm at an inaccessible area between the communities of Chryso, Neos Skopos, Pentapolis and Touba, near the town of Serres. The casualties are the driver of the truck and a female passenger of the train. The injured persons were taken to the Serres Hospital. In total, four carriages of the passenger train derailed by the strong collision. A Super Puma helicopter, the Fire Service, the police and EKAV immediately rushed to the scene. The Intercity 70, carrying 101 passengers, was en route from Piraeus to Alexandroupolis. Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Kalantzis is in the area.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [03] Greek Premier in Ireland Europe's Future

    16 Feb 2006 18:04:00 (Last updated: 16 Feb 2006 21:41:08)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET-ANA

    Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis visited today Dublin and held constructive talks with his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern. The Greek-Irish relations, the European Constitutional Treaty, the European Unions cohesion, as well as the EU enlargement in the Balkans, were the top issues on the agenda. The Greek Prime Minister hailed the collaboration of the two countries as effective and underlined that it may develop further. Shortly after his talks with the Irish Premier, Mr Karamanlis and the Greek delegation escorting him flew back to Athens.

    Excellent Relations

    Shortly after the meeting, Mr Karamanlis stated, "I had a really interesting meeting with the Irish Prime Minister. The bilateral relations between Ireland and Greece are excellent and we enjoy a pretty useful and effective collaboration in the international bodies we both participate in. And there are potentials and opportunities to broaden and develop this collaboration further. Therefore, we devoted a great part of our talks to that issue."

    Mr Karamanlis also added, "The last time I visited Dublin, we celebrated the accession of ten new EU Member States. Today, after this great achievement, the EU has come up against new challenges of major importance. We reviewed these challenges and we discussed Europes future, the EU enlargement, as well as new ways to approach the European Constitutional Treaty."

    The Greek Premier further noted, "Achieving better growth conditions for our economies and creating new jobs will considerably contribute towards this direction. In this context, Mr Ahern and I reflected on the Lisbon strategy and we agreed that many more should be done to meet our goals."

    Finally, Mr Karamanlis claimed he briefed Mr Ahern on the Greek stance on both the regional and wider international issues, putting emphasis on the situation in the Balkans, Turkeys European prospects, and the issues of Cyprus and Middle East.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Warm Welcome in Berlin

    [04] DJ Dumped on Air

    16 Feb 2006 20:05:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A 29-year-old radio DJ from Great Britain must be really pissed off with St Valentine. Steffen La Touche wanted to make the best of the Valentines Day and proposed to his 31-year-old girlfriend while on air. Touche read out a love poem and popped the question as she sat in the studio. We still dont know whether he had lit candles and filled the studio with flowers to create an idyllic atmosphere. However, Natalie Tonner said a loud "no" and stormed out! Her refusal probably was a bolt from the blue for the young DJ since there was silence before listeners heard an unscheduled travel bulletin. Mr La Touche may have been unlucky in love, yet he proved a true pro, as he returned to the studio and joked with the listeners, saying, "I hope you have had a better Valentines Day than I have."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    icCoventry: Romeo DJ jilted on air

    [05] UN and European Parliament on Guantanamo UN: "Try Them or Release Them"

    16 Feb 2006 19:21:00 (Last updated: 16 Feb 2006 21:13:57)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A UN report blasted the USA for abusing the detainees at the Guantanamo base in Cuba, and called on it to try them as soon as possible or immediately release them. The 54-page report, which outlines the findings of five UN experts on human rights, read that the US administration has to transfer the 500 detainees to other US prisons before they are tried and until then the report called on the US to "refrain from tortures or inhuman and cruel treatment." The European Parliament also called for the Guantanamo base to be immediately closed down and demanded all detainees be brought to unbiased trials, underscoring that the fight against terrorism cannot be successful if human rights and civil liberties are not fully respected. White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the report, claiming that "dangerous terrorists" are held there and that the soldiers treat them "humane." He also called the report a "rehash of allegations," and concluded that the Al Qaeda terrorists are trained to spread groundless claims.

    UN Report on the Guantanamo Base

    The UN report was built upon interviews with former detainees, documents brought to light, lawyers testimonies, information the Mass Media surfaced, as well as a questionnaire filled in by the US government.

    As per the report, being held at the Gunatanamo base puts the physical and mental health of the inmates at serious risk.

    Excessive use of violence while transferring detainees and force-feed through the nose in cases of hunger strikes cause grave concern. Furthermore, based on footage confirmed by the testimonies of former prisoners, the report read that detainees were chained, forced to get naked and beaten up.

    The UN experts argued that the lack of any US-led inquiry into the case constitutes violation of the Human Rights Agreement and requested the UN be allowed full and free access to the Guantanamo premises, as well as to interview the prisoners.

    US ambassador to the UN Kevin Edward Moley pointed out that the report failed to take into consideration the evidence his country provided and that the UN officials declined to visit the Guantanamo base themselves.

    The UN officials requested in 2002 permission to visit the US-run base in Cuba, however, the USA invited only three, who refused to go, since their request to interview some inmates was dismissed.

    According to the US Pentagon, only the Red Cross International Committee has access to the detainees.

    It is worth noting that the Gitmo inmates have never been charged with allegations officially, neither have access to lawyers, while the Amnesty International, as well as several other human rights groups, have repeatedly demanded its being shut down.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    CNN: U.N.: Guantanamo detainees should be freed or tried

    Le Monde: Pour les Nations unies, les prisonniers de Guantanamo doivent etre ou juges ou "liberes immediatement"

    Al Jazeera: UN: Close down Guantanamo prison

    Taipei Times: US rebuffs detainee rights report

    Related Links:

    The White House

    European Parliament

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

    [06] OTOE Launches 2nd 24-Hour Strike Banks on Strike

    16 Feb 2006 19:12:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA

    The Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) has scheduled its second 24-hour nationwide strike for Friday, opposing to the Hellenic Banks Associations intention to abolish the collective working contracts. The bank federation has called on the bank employees to participate in a demonstration in the heart of Athens at 9am, before the Federations headquarters. A march will then follow towards the Ministry of Employment. OTOE has requested a meeting with new Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis to brief him on the crisis hampering the banking sector.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Bomb Hoax Controlled Explosion at MEGA

    16 Feb 2006 14:02:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    A phone call for a bomb at private TV network MEGA created havoc for about two hours around noon on Thursday. Specifically, an unknown person phoned the call centre at 11am and said that the bomb was going to explode, without mentioning any groups. As per the police, MEGAs administration notified them 55 minutes later and bomb squad technicians rushed to the scene, performed an initial search and sealed the building. The police officers then located a suspect package at the entrance to the car park and performed a controlled explosion at 1:30pm as a precaution. It was later discovered that the object was a sprinkler system and the phone call was a hoax.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] After the Location of A "Suspicious" Substance Residences Evacuated in Birmingham

    16 Feb 2006 13:31:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Reuters, SKY News

    The British police have evacuated residences in a Birmingham street, in the area of Bartley Green, after locating "suspicious" substance in a residence, in the context of an anti-terrorism operation. The story was broadcast by television network Sky News, as well as Reuters, which reported that the road has been blockaded by the police, while the bomb squad is arriving at the area. Further information has not been yet announced.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] Outcry for the Abu Ghraib Abuse Abu Ghraim Images Prompt Repulsion

    16 Feb 2006 18:32:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The new images depicting Iraqi detainees being abused by US soldiers an Australian TV network aired yesterday prompted the international outcry. The Iraqi government strongly condemned the abuse and insisted it never be repeated, adding that the US State Department and the US officials also condemn such practices. However, a State Department spokesman made a rather controversial statement, by arguing that the images should have never been brought to light, "not because there was anything to hide, but because we felt it was an invasion of the privacy of the people in the pictures". Iraqi Human Rights Minister Zuhair al-Chalabi requested the US-led forces hand some 14,000 Iraqi inmates held in US-run prisons over to the Iraqi government. In the meantime, the Iraqi Interior Minister ordered an inquiry into the existence of a death squad among the police officers targeting Shia members.

    Fierce Reactions

    Although the new Abu Ghraib abuse images never made the Iraqi headlines, most Arab television networks aired them and politicians and civilians expressed their repulsion.

    "It is a rather risky issue the Iranian government has to re-examine," claimed Mr Chalabi, adding that the images depict blatant violations of human rights no different from those committed by dictatorships.

    Shocked by the footage, Sunni political leader Adnan al-Dulaimi described it as "painful for every Iraqi." "Human rights should be safeguarded in prisons, even for criminals," noted al-Dulaimi.

    Furthermore, a radical Shia leader estimated that the broadcast of the photos is most likely to fan the flames against the foreign forces in Iraq.

    The Red Cross international committee spoke of violation of human rights, while US human rights groups are demanding a probe into the case be launched.

    Death Squad Probe

    At the same time, the claims by a US general, responsible for the training Iraqi police officers, that there is a death squad within the Iraqi police has caused serious turmoil.

    According to what General Joseph Peterson told Chicago Tribune daily, 22 Iraqi policemen were arrested in Baghdad in late January while on a mission to kill a Sunni

    The claims prompted the Iraqi Interior Minister to launch an investigation to learn more about the victim and the 22 policemen, and whether the policemen accused worked for the Interior Ministry.

    Sunni organizations have long accused Iraqi security forces for arresting and murdering Shias.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    SBS: Outrage Over New Abuse Images

    Die Welt: Neue Ermittlungen im Folterskandal gefordert

    Chicago Tribune: Death squad of Iraqi cops found, U.S. says

    Related News:

    No End to Horror

    [10] French FM Lashes Out Dispute over Iran Escalates

    16 Feb 2006 16:46:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Its been three days since Tehran resumed nuclear activity at the Natanz nuclear plant and the reactions of the international community over Irans nuclear programme are still raging. Speaking on French TV, French Foreign Affairs Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy argued that Tehrans nuclear activities are a far cry from being described as peaceful, adding, "No civilian nuclear programme can explain Irans nuclear programme. It is clandestine, no doubt about that." Tehran immediately responded to Blazys allegations. "I suggest Mr Blazy use a diplomatic tone and avoid increasing tension by making such statements," said Irans chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. Earlier, Larijani had underlined that his country does not wish to have a nuclear bomb, reminding that Iran abides by the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    China also voiced its concern over the situation, urging all implicating parties to diplomatically settle the crisis.

    Irans Foreign Affairs Minister Manuchehr Mottaki is to meet on coming Monday in Brussels with the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament, while an Iranian delegation is to travel to Moscow to discuss Russias proposal that Iranian uranium be enriched on Russian soil.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Le Monde: L'Iran rejette les accusations de la France sur son "programme nucleaire militaire clandestin"

    Jerusalem Post: France:Iran nuke program cover for military effort

    [11] Press Conference on Eurogroup and Ecofin Decrease of Taxation as of 2007

    16 Feb 2006 17:17:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Speaking at a Press conference over the results of the Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings, Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced the decrease of direct taxation, focused on tax rates on natural figures. Giorgos Alogoskoufis, after acknowledging that employees are burdened with taxes, announced that the decrease of tax rates and increase of taxation limits will begin as of 2007, noting that taxation procedures will be simplified. Moreover, he reminded that other reforms will be implemented, such as the social security of banks, the cooperation of the Public and private sector and the Special Inspection Body, which will inspect public expenditures. Moreover, he repeated the Governments pledge over the increase of the Pensioners Social Solidarity Supplement (EKAS) to 230 euros and the minimum pension for the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) to 330 euros as of 2008.

    On large property holding tax, the Ministry of Economy said that it will take all necessary decisions, in order for other owners to not be integrated in the above, following the increase of objective real estate prices.

    Towards that direction, previous objective prices will be taken into account or taxation limits readjusted.

    Moreover, the Minister gave details over the DEKOs circular, noting that the businesses, which have entered the Stock Exchange, do not belong to the Public Sector and do not file under the amendments over non-entries, even if they are lossmaking.

    Asked for Explanations from V. Papandreou

    Mr Alogoskoufis also referred to the issue of Vaso Papandreous meeting with EU Commissioner Joaqu&#237;n Almunia. The Minister of Economy asked the PASOK MP to give explanations over the meeting, adding that no one is given the legality of undermining the country abroad. Mr Alogoskoufis noted, "no one doubts that the Main Opposition should be briefed by community services and the latter should accept whoever they want, but the issue arose from the secretiveness of the meeting and the fact that the results were not announced by PASOK after the meeting," adding "there is an ethical issue." Moreover, he publicised previous announcements of ND, when it was the Main Opposition, and its members had met with European Commission delegates.

    Replying, Vaso Papandreou stated that self-humiliation for disorientating reasons has its limits and the Minister of Economy should finally realise it, accusing him of "trying to demonise a typical briefing meeting."

    [12] Over the New National Collective Work Contract Negotiations Reached Dead End

    16 Feb 2006 17:10:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    The negotiations between the unions with the Greek Federation of Industries (FGI) over the signing of a new National Collective Work Contract, reached a dead end once again. Employers organisations and the FGI are discussing salary and wage raises less than 3%, taking into account the average European inflation and a part of the productiveness increase, a fact which finds the GSEE leadership opposed. Following this new dead end, Mr Polyzogopoulos called on the Prime Minister to claim his responsibilities for the protection of the context of collective negotiations between unions and employers organisations. GSEE is orientated towards a strike, together with ADEDY, in the beginning of March

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [13] Speed Dating to Tell the Truth Do Opposites Attract?

    16 Feb 2006 12:45:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: BBC

    Most of us believe that we can guess whether we are compatible with another person within the first few minutes of meeting them. This is exactly what British scientists are trying to use in order to establish whether the informal rule that opposites attract applies in human relations. And in order to achieve this, they will perform a very original experiment that resembles speed dating.

    Speed Dating Experiment

    Do opposites really attract, or is it just a myth that has survived the passage of time?

    Prof Richard Wisemans research team from the University of Hertforshire is seeking an answer to this very question through a method employed by dating agencies.

    In the context of an international scientific festival that will takes place in Edinburgh in April, the team is looking for 200 volunteers in the mood for new acquaintances.

    The volunteers will be asked to complete a personality test and will then take part in a series of five-minute meetings with potential suitors. They will then have to tell the researchers how they rate the acquaintances they made.

    "This is the first time that speed dating has been used to assess the psychology of compatibility," said the head of the research.

    The international festival will take place in the Scottish capital between 5 and 16 April.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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