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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-02-24

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] ND Elects Secretary
  • [02] Election Time at ND
  • [03] Red Fog Covers Attica
  • [04] State of Emergency in Philippines
  • [05] Docked due to Bad Weather
  • [06] Fire in Athenian Bank
  • [07] Burning Inferno in Bangladesh

  • [01] Central Committee Convention ND Elects Secretary

    24 Feb 2006 11:14:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    ND Central Committees voting session for the election of a new secretary is underway, following Vangelis Meimarakis appointment to the Defence Ministry. The nominees are Lefteris Zagoritis and Katerina Papakosta. The proceedings opened with a speech given by Greek PM and party President Kostas Karamanlis, who referred to the Governments priorities, stressing that the aim is to create a better state that would support every Greek citizen, as well as the countrys economic and growth prospects. Referring to the maritime employees collective actions, the PM noted that their rights and demands are being respected; however, they cannot harm the economy and society. In an emotional climate, Mr Karamanlis thanked Mr Meimarakis, who took the stand next and declared that he will always be present in all of NDs crucial battles. The new secretary is expected to be announced at 3:00pm.

    Unwavering Reforms Policy

    Mr Karamanlis sent a general message during his speech at the Central Committee.

    "Greece has escaped from the inaction and stagnation of the past. It has escaped from the political timidity that kept it in the lower echelons of the EU," stressed the PM, who also referred to the current government policies.

    At the same time, he spoke of the six axes of the Government policy. He made a special mention of further promoting the reforms in the Economy, Education, Health, reestablishment of the State, the purgation of public finances, the reinforced presence in the Balkans, the SE Mediterranean and the EU, the dialogue with the citizens, and the clear separation of the party, the State and the Government.

    "The extreme positions in demands and behaviours are a challenge for society as whole and for every well-governed republic," stressed the PM, while he reiterated that the Governments pre-election pledges apply to the fullest.

    "Our strength is based on the relationship of trust with the citizens and everyones duty to implement our programme, to make the party accessible to society," underlined Mr Karamanlis. Upon concluding, he thanked the outgoing secretary, stressing that the voting session constitutes an expression of democracy.

    Taking the stand next, outgoing secretary and current Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis gave a short account of his term, saying, "We succeeded in uniting the party with society and create a wide social alliance that made ND the governing party."

    At the same time, Mr Meimarakis stressed that ND fully supports the reforms, adding that the party is standing by the Government and stressing that the roles of the party, state and Government will continue to be distinct.

    Reactions from the Opposition

    PASOK secretary Marilizaa Xenogiannakopoulou spoke of medieval times in the labour market and authoritarian policies that negatively affect the rights of the many. She further added that an alternative path exists, the one proposed by her party.

    In an announcement commenting on the PMs speech, KKE mentioned, "The provocative profits of the industrialist, bankers, ship-owners and big merchants, whose interests are being served by ND, constitute extreme positions."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [02] For the New Secretary Election Time at ND

    24 Feb 2006 07:10:00 (Last updated: 24 Feb 2006 11:38:39)

    New Democracys Central Committee is convening on Friday, chaired by Greek PM and party President Kostas Karamanlis, in order to elect its new secretary. The MPs nominated to succeed Vangelis Meimarakis, who was appointed Defence Minister after the recent Government reshuffle, are Lefteris Zagoritis and Katerina Papakosta. The proceedings will commence with a speech by Mr Karamanlis, who stressed that the Government aims at creating a better state that would support every Greek citizen, while he also referred to the reforms being promoted, focusing on the Economy, Education and reestablishment of the State. On concluding, he thanked outgoing secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, who took the stand next. Later on, the 561 members of the Central Committee will elect their new secretary in a secret ballot. Upon arriving at the convention, Mr Zagoritis declared on TV station NET that he was stress-free, while Ms Papakosta noted that she will be submitting a proposal, whereby nominees will be allowed to address the members prior to the electoral process, since this is not provided for in the current memorandum of association. The name of the new secretary is expected to be announced around 3pm.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Preparations by ND Candidate Secretaries

    [03] Ships Docked due to Winds Red Fog Covers Attica

    24 Feb 2006 10:07:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    A thick cloud of dust has covered the Attica Basin, while the visibility in many parts of Greece is low. In addition, sandstorms were recorded on the island of Crete. The ships remain docked in the ports of Piraeus and Rafina due to the strong southern winds reaching 9 on the Beaufort scale. Two ships en route to the Cyclades islands returned to Piraeus due to the extreme weather conditions. Furthermore, no ships are sailing from the port of Volos to the Sporades islands. The strong winds and the low cloud cover have also caused disruptions with many of the flights from the Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport to Rhodes, Corfu, Heraklion, Chania and Milos. In the meantime, Thursday nights rainfalls have caused problems in many parts of Attica, as roads and basements flooded, mainly in Kypseli and the northern suburbs. The road surface subsided on Pireos Street, close to the intersection with Petrou Ralli Street, while Eleftheriou Venizelou Street, Lykovrysi, and Sepolion Street, Sepolia, are closed also due to subsidence. The Fire Department received 15 calls to pump water from basements in the northern and western suburbs. According to the Hellenic National Meteorological Service, the winds are expected to die down on Friday afternoon, at which time the ships will be able to sail again.

    Adverse Weather Conditions in Macedonia

    It is raining heavily in Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas, where strong southern winds, reaching 8 on the Beaufort scale, are blowing. The same conditions are being recorded in the Aegean islands. Adverse weather conditions, including snowfalls on the mountainous regions, rain and gusty winds prevail in Central and Western Macedonia. It has been snowing on the mountainous regions of Florina, Kozani, Kastoria and Grevena since Friday morning, but snow chains are not necessary just yet. Rain and sleet are falling in western Macedonia, while the temperature ranges between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius.

    Visiting from Africa!

    A cloud of dust from Africa has settled over Attica since Friday morning. The meteorologists are attributing the phenomenon to the deep barometric low over the Ionian Sea, which was created early on Thursday in Tunisia. The strong winds blowing over the Sahara resulted in the creation of thick clouds of sand and dust. At the same time, as per the meteorologists, massive quantities of sand from the area whirled up. It is a mixture of humidity and granules of sand, which, depending on the cloud cover and barometric lows, could cause muddy rainfalls, while it also restricts visibility.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Following an Attempted Coup State of Emergency in Philippines

    24 Feb 2006 08:29:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Tension prevails in the Philippines after it was revealed that military officers participated in an attempted coup. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared a state of national emergency, while officers have been arrested on charges of planning to lead a military coup. Arroyo said she was taking action "because of the clear threat to the nation." At the same time, Opposition supporters are planning on staging a rally over Arroyos decision, however, the police banned all demonstrations, while the schools have been shut. The emergency rule allows arrests without warrants and an extension of detention without charge. Checkpoints have been erected around the capital, Manila, and soldiers have been sent to strengthen security around the presidential palace. Arroyos Chief of staff, Mike Defensor declared that the emergency rule will last as long as needed.

    Officers Interrogated

    Army chief Lt Gen Hermogenes Esperon announced that at least 16 lower-ranking are being interrogated over the plans to oust Arroyo.

    According to the Esperon, the officers have been detained since January, when the plot was uncovered, while the instigators of the failed July 2003 revolt against the President are considered the instigators. In addition, some of the officers that had been recruited to participate in the attempted coup backed down once they realised that communist rebels were participating as well.

    Intense rumours were circulating over the last few days over an imminent coup, on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary since the public revolt against Marcos in 1986.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    C: Emergency declared in Philippines

    CNN: State of emergency in Philippines

    Le Monde: Manifestations et coup d'Etat avorte malmenent la presidente philippine

    [05] Following the strike Docked due to Bad Weather

    24 Feb 2006 07:40:00 (Last updated: 24 Feb 2006 11:13:14)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Just one day after the maritime strike ended, the disruptions with the shipping routes continue. The ships remain docked in the ports of Piraeus and Rafina due to the gusty winds reaching 9 on the Beaufort scale in the Aegean Sea. In addition, no ships are sailing from the port of Volos to the Sporades islands, while the 3:00pm route to Alexandroupoli will be performed as normal. Two ships en route to the Cyclades islands returned to Piraeus due to the extreme weather conditions. In addition, the ship Agios Georgios, which was scheduled to perform the Kythnos Serifos Sifnos Milos Kimolos route, remains immobilised in the same port due to engine failure. The ship had initially sailed, but the problem arose almost immediately, so it was forced to return to the port for repairs.

    The maritime employees declared they were suspending their collective actions in order to regroup, while the Government reassured that talks will recommence once the situation settles. On Monday, Mercantile Marine Minister Manolis Kefalogiannis is expected to meet with the Panhellenic Seamens Federation once again.

    On the other hand, tension was stirred in Parliament last night, prompted by the extended maritime strike. SYN President Alekos Alavanos crossed swords with Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos. Mr Alavanos mentioned the statements made by a unionist who described the situation in the port of Piraeus as a "fascist occupation". Subsequently, the Government spokesperson spoke of an unacceptable stance.

    PASOK accused the Government of being unreliable, irresponsible and autocratic, while it distanced itself from the statements made by party MP Manolis Stratakis, who proposed the recruitment of ships under foreign flags.

    Finally, Aleka Papariga rejected the scenario of KKE instigating the strike.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Maritime Strike Ended

    [06] In Gyzi Fire in Athenian Bank

    24 Feb 2006 09:34:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: - 105.8 - ANA

    A fire broke out early on Friday morning at a National Bank branch in Gyzi, Athens. Initial information speaks of arson, while local residents claim that a strong explosion preceded the fire. According to the police officers handling the case, the perpetrators broke the storefront and ignited the fire by using some sort of flammable liquid, assisting it to spread quickly. However, no evidence pointing to arson or another cause has been recovered yet, so the investigations continue. Three cars and a motorbike, which were parked in front of the bank, were also destroyed by the fire. Fourteen firefighters in six fire engines rushed to the scene. The police and the Fire Department are conducting a preliminary inquiry.

    Arson Attacks in Thessaloniki

    In the meantime, arson attacks against three cars and one bank branch were recorded on Thursday night in Thessaloniki, while unknown perpetrators caused extensive damage to some local offices of New Democracy.

    According to the Fire Department, at about 12:30am, unknowns placed a homemade explosive device at the entrance of the National Bank branch on Vasileos Georgiou Street, while a fire ensued. The explosion caused damages to the front of the building, while the firefighters quickly put out the fire.

    At about the same time, a Motolov cocktail was thrown at the local offices of ND, on 18 Mouschounti Street, while the assailants quickly fled the scene.

    Meanwhile, the reasons for the attack against three parked cars in Ano Poli, Thessaloniki, during the night remain unclear. As per the Fire Department, the arsonists placed gas canisters under the cars, which were parked along Vizyinou Street, and ignited the fire using benzene.

    Two of the cars had diplomatic number plates, belonging to a Swedish national, while the third car belonged to a Greek. One of the cars was completely destroyed in the explosion, while, as per the Fire Department, the damages come to 35,000 euros.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] At Least 50 Killed, 70 Injured and 200 Missing Burning Inferno in Bangladesh

    24 Feb 2006 09:13:00

    By Vicky Ghionis

    A textiles factory in Bangladeshs port city of Chittagong was engulfed in flames late on Thursday night, resulting in the death of at least 50 people and the injury of another 70, many of whom are in critical condition. Some 500 workers were in the factory of K.T.S. Textile Mills, the biggest in the country, when the fire broke out, and the firefighters fear the death toll will rise, since 200 people are missing. According to the workers who managed to get out, the main gate of the factory was closed and as a result many of their colleagues, especially women, got trapped inside. The initial indications point to a short-circuit in the boiler.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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