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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-06

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] A Snail's Pace Return
  • [02] Iran at the IAEA
  • [03] Two Years in Power
  • [04] Greek President on Kos
  • [05] Robberies in Attica
  • [06] Milan Babic Committed Suicide
  • [07] Report on Abuse in Iraqi Prisons
  • [08] New Victims of Religious Hatred
  • [09] A First for the Palestinian Parliament
  • [10] Coordination and Efficiency
  • [11] Olympiacos Storms Ahead
  • [12] WHO Issues Warnings

  • [01] Ths Ships Docked A Snail's Pace Return

    06 Mar 2006 17:41:00 (Last updated: 06 Mar 2006 22:18:15)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The excursionists of the Carnival-Ash Monday long weekend were extremely inconvenienced on the return trip. Long queues started being formed from early on Monday afternoon in Kakia Skala, the Corinth Isthmus, Maliakos, and the Patras and Malgara tolls. Although the Traffic Police implemented added measures, these were not enough to facilitate the great numbers of cars returning to the urban centres, after one of the most massive getaways of the last few years. An extra inbound lane was made available to traffic on the Athens-Corinth Highway, starting from Kakia Skala, so all outbound traffic was redirected to the old national highway. In addition, traffic restrictions applied for all trucks over 1.5 tonnes on the inbound lanes. The excursionists were also hindered by the weather, since it started worsening from the West with rainfalls and strong winds. As a result, the ships remained docked in most of the ports. Finally, the 24-hour strike that was scheduled by airport security personnel was ruled illegal and excessive by the Piraeus First Instance Court.

    Rainy Trip Back

    Due to the strong winds, reaching 8 on the Beaufort scale locally, no ships were allowed to sail from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina to islands of the central, southeastern and northern Aegean. In addition, no high-speed dolphins departed from Volos to Sporades. Finally, the ships remained docked at the ferry ports of Zakynthos-Kyllini and Igoumenitsa-Corfu, while only closed ships performed routes in the Argosaronic Gulf.

    The OSE train stations and KTEL bus depots were quite busy. Extra carriages were added to many of the trains, while the bus routes were doubled.

    No disruptions with the flight schedules were reported. In addition, the 24-hour strike that was scheduled by airport security personnel as of 11pm Monday was ruled illegal and excessive by the Piraeus First Instance Court, after the appeal filed by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority. The employees announced they will be deciding on future collective actions on Tuesday.

    Although, the weather was excellent for the most part of the three-day weekend, it started worsening with rainfalls and strong northern winds. As per the meteorologists, the weather conditions will become even more adverse late on Monday, while they are not expected to improve before the end of the week.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Celebrating Ash Monday

    [02] May Be Referred to the UN Iran at the IAEA

    06 Mar 2006 16:30:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A crucial International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting is underway to decide the possibility of referring the Iranian nuclear file to the UN Security Council. Speaking at the start of the proceedings, IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei urged Tehran and the Western leaders to continue talks, voicing the hope that a solution to the Iranian uranium enrichment programme could be found by the end of the week. The uranium enrichment programme has proven a thorny matter, as the Western countries fear that it aims at constructing nuclear weapons, a fact that Iran denies, claiming that its objective is to produce energy for peaceful purposes. It is believed that the crucial meeting will last for a few days, while ElBaradeis proposals will be discussed either Tuesday or Wednesday. In the meantime, TIME magazine claims that the USA will present to the Security Council Iranian plans for the construction of a nuclear bomb.

    Uranium Enrichment: A Thorny Matter

    As per analysts, the IAEA will probably decide to refer Tehran to the Security Council, which in turn will impose political and economic sanctions.

    The IAEA talks are considered extremely complicated. Besides, the three-year negotiations between Tehran and the EU3 (Great Britain, France and Germany), as well as the recent talks with Russia, proved futile. Iran resumed its uranium enrichment programme in January, after suspending it for two years, while in its previous meeting (4 February), the International Agency asked that all nuclear works stop.

    Commenting on the uranium enrichment, Mr ElBaradei stressed that its consequences to world peace could be detrimental, noting that there is international consent on the gravity of the matter.

    "There is universal recognition that the Iran issue has serious implications for international security. Everyone understands that escalation is not going to help a situation that is highly, highly volatile in the Middle East," underlined the head of the IAEA.

    Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani warned that if Iran is referred to the UN, it would proceed with industrial-scale uranium enrichment, a fact that could lead to the construction of a nuclear bomb.

    At the same time, as per an article in TIME magazine, the USA will submit to the Security Council, which is convening this week, plans that resemble early US atomic bombs, taken from the personal PC of an Iranian engineer.

    An article that appeared in the New York Times on 13 November 2005 also referred to evidence in question, which the USA already presented to some of its IAEA partners last October. However, American officials have not clarified yet how they got hold of the PC in 2004.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    The Time: Iranian Bombshell?

    Le Monde: L'AIEA evoque un possible volet militaire du nucleaire iranien

    The Guardian: ElBaradei hopeful over Iran solution

    Jerusalem Post: US to present Iran evidence to UNSC

    Related News:

    Tehran Threatens Once Again

    Related Links:


    [03] Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday Two Years in Power

    06 Mar 2006 20:07:00

    Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis will give an account of the Governments achievements over the last two years, during the Cabinet meeting Tuesday, on the occasion of the two-year anniversary since ND won the general elections. At the same time, Mr Karamanlis will set the Governments targets and priorities, stressing that the necessary reforms for the State and the Economy will continue, and NDs pre-election pledges will be fulfilled before the end of the partys term in office. In addition, he will ask his ministers to precipitate the government ventures, so as to reap the results of the various policies underway soon. On the other hand, PASOK will harshly criticise the last two years of NDs governance. In a Press conference, the partys National Council secretary, Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, and the secretary of the partys parliamentary team, Dimitris Reppas, will present the "bible of unreliability", containing all the things that the Government has not done in the last 24 months.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] For the Unification of the Dodecanese Greek President on Kos

    06 Mar 2006 19:58:00

    The President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, spent Ash Monday on the island of Kos, the birthplace of Hippocrates. The President arrived at the Dodecanese to attend the celebrations for the 58th anniversary since the unification of the islands to Greece. Mr Papoulias was warmly greeted by the islanders, while he also visited the Asklipio monument, where he watched a re-enactment of the Hippocratic Oath, an event hosted in his honour. The Greek President is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Valinakis, while he was welcomed at the islands airport by the Minister for the Aegean and Island Policy, Aristotelis Pavlidis, MPs Kostas Skandalidis and Giannis Paraskevas, Prefect Giannis Maheridis and other local dignitaries.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Two People Fell Victims Robberies in Attica

    06 Mar 2006 12:54:00

    Sources: ANA

    Two robberies, one against a taxi driver and another against a 66-year-old woman, were reported in Attica on Monday morning. The first one took place at 5:35am in Kallithea, on the intersection of Tsaldari and Agias Lavras Streets, when two unknown perpetrators, who had boarded the taxi as customers, stabbed the driver with in the neck and leg, robbed him of 100 euros and fled the scene. The taxi driver was transferred and admitted to Ippokratio Hospital. Ten minutes later, three unknown perpetrators broke into a house in Avlona, tied up the 66-year-old owner, took some money and a mobile phone and disappeared. Before leaving, the robbers cut off the phone line. The woman managed to untie herself and alerted the neighbours, who in turn called the police.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] Key Ally of Slobodan Milosevic Milan Babic Committed Suicide

    06 Mar 2006 15:21:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA - BBC

    Milan Babic, former Croatian Serb leader and President of the self-declared Krajina Serb Republic, was found dead Sunday in Scheveningen Prison, The Hague. Babic had been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment by the International Court, after pleading guilty to persecuting the non-Serb population in Croatias Krajina region from 1991 to 1995. He was one of the key prosecution witnesses in providing critical information about Belgrades involvement in Krajina. In addition, he testified against Milosevic, as well as against another one of his political allies, Milan Martic, more recently. On Monday, he was scheduled to be questioned by Martics lawyers, while the prosecution had already listed him as a witness for more trials that were to follow, including the one against nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj. The International Court considered Babic one of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevics closest allies.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Ex-Milosevic ally kills himself

    [07] Amnesty International Speaks of Gross Dereliction Report on Abuse in Iraqi Prisons

    06 Mar 2006 14:28:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET - ANA

    An Amnesty International report, made public Monday, speaks of systematic violations of human rights in Iraqi prisons. According to the organisation, thousands of people were detained without charge or trial in Iraq after March 2003, when the allied forces invaded and took over the country. It also adds, "Many cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees held in facilities controlled by the Iraqi authorities have been reported since the handover of power in June 2004." In the report, entitled, "Beyond Abu Ghraib: Detention and Torture in Iraq", Amnesty International records that 14,000 detainees were being held in four main detention centres and many smaller military centres throughout Iraq. At the same time, it notes that some of the prisoners were held for more than two years without charge, while others were released without explanation or apology or reparation, after months in detention. The 48-page report concludes by saying, "The picture that is emerging is one in which the Iraqi authorities are systematically violating the rights of detainees in breach of guarantees contained both in Iraqi legislation and in international law and standards."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Amnesty says Iraq abuses continue

    [08] Four Killed in Hawija New Victims of Religious Hatred

    06 Mar 2006 13:17:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA - AFP

    The list of bigoted crimes is Iraq is getting longer, as three Shiites and one Sunni leader were killed in attacks launched by Islamist extremists in the town of Hawija. The first incident took place when gunmen opened fire in restaurant Abdullah, killing three Shiites from Basra who were working there. The tragic coincidence was that the three employees usually spent the night in Kirkuk, but decided not to travel for safety reasons, after seeing some pamphlets that urged rebels to kill Shiites, Arabs and Turkmen. A little while later in the same town, Sunni Sheikh Tarekh Abdallah Ibrahim al-Obaidi, of the powerful Obaidi tribe, was killed in a roadside bomb explosion. Many notable people have been killed in the same town lately, prompting officials from Hawija to declare war against the Takfiris (Islamist extremists).

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] Many MPs Absent A First for the Palestinian Parliament

    06 Mar 2006 13:48:00 (Last updated: 06 Mar 2006 15:38:35)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA - Reuters - AFP

    On Monday, the new Palestinian Parliament began its first working session since the 25 January elections, won by Hamas, in Ramallah, West Bank. Hamas received 74 out of the 132 seats, while President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah party received 45. However, some problems arose, since most of the 54 MPs from the Gaza Strip, including Ismail Haniya, who was assigned with the task of forming the next Palestinian Government, took part in the session via video-link, as Israel did not allow them to travel to Ramallah. At the same time, 12 of the elected MPs of the Islamist group could not make it, as they are held in Israeli prisons. As a sign of support, their colleagues placed their photographs on the empty seats. A little while later, the Fatah MPs walked out of parliament, after Hamas decided to put the issue of the presidents enhanced authority on the agenda.

    Meshaal Is Optimistic

    Earlier, in an interview to Reuters, Hamas political leader, Khaled Meshaal, declared that he is not concerned over the threats from the Wets of cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority, noting that he could secure money from other donors in order to form a government.

    "So far the results from our Arab, Islamic and international tour is encouraging. We will be informed of the numbers soon." Meshaal said.

    Meshaal, who lives in exile in Damascus, gave the interview at the end of a three-day visit to Moscow at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Referring to the visit to Moscow, Hamas leader declared that the talks achieved an international breakthrough, adding that Hamas will examine closely the Russians advice.

    Nonetheless, Meshaal repeated an offer for a long-term truce in return for an Israeli withdrawal from lands it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

    Finally, on Monday, the Israeli army arrested four Palestinian militants, members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is linked to Fatah, during an operation in the village Beit Rima, Ramallah.

    An Israeli Army spokesperson confirmed the arrest of the four rebel fighters, who were being pursed. According to the same source, a gun found in the house was also confiscated.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Unofficial Defence Ministers' Meeting Coordination and Efficiency

    06 Mar 2006 20:10:00

    Sources: ANA - NET

    The EU defence ministers are meeting in Innsbruck, Austria, on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the further growth prospects of the European Safety and Defence Policy. During the first day of proceedings, the delegates reviewed ways for effectively dealing with natural disasters globally, as well as the recent EU missions, especially in the western Balkans. As declared by Greek Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis, the aim is to better coordinate the means and possibilities available in the EU, both at a political and a military level. Mr Meimarakis also noted that the EU is already conducting significant operations in Bosnia and FYROM, while in the future, it will activate the European Safety and Defence policies in Kosovo. According to the Minister, Greece considers that the EUs presence in the area will significantly contribute towards reinforcing peace, stability and the European prospects.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Olympiacos Storms Ahead

    05 Mar 2006 23:17:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    With a European feel and increased momentum, due to the recent successes at the Eurpoleague, Olympiacos swept away Makedonikos in Kozani with a score of 99-72. The game for round 18 of the Greek A1 basketball division was more of a dress rehearsal in view of the crucial match against Barcelona for Euroleagues Top 16. Olympiacos took an early lead, which it did not lose at any point of the game, and achieved an easy victory, since it dominated the court. The top scorers for the winner were Chatzis (18pts) and Zizic (14pts), while Karaboulas (19pts) and Charalambidis (14pts) did their best for Makedonikos, which remained at the bottom of the rankings. The score per period: 19-25, 28-55, 48-72, 72-99.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [12] Over the Spread of Avian Flu WHO Issues Warnings

    06 Mar 2006 12:39:00 (Last updated: 06 Mar 2006 19:39:51)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA - Reuters

    A three-day experts meeting over the quick spreading of avian flu globally, under the aegis of the World Health Organisation, commenced Monday in Geneva. However, the messages coming from there are not very reassuring. Speaking at the start of the meeting, Margaret Chan, WHO special advisor on avian influenza, described the spread of the disease as extremely rapid, while she stressed that the fear of a possible pandemic is still imminent. However, she noted that the people are not completely unprotected, since major collective efforts are being made to avoid such an outcome, with the most important step being the containment of the virus before its starts being transmitted to humans in a mutated form.

    Developed Countries Did not React

    Chan added that if this step fails, then efforts have to be made to contain the number of victims and avoid the financial disaster that will ensue.

    Some 30 epidemiologists, virologists and Health Ministry officials from countries have that have already been affected are participating in the meeting.

    The scientists are claiming that the virus keeps mutating and it may even become possible for it to be transmitted from humans to humans.

    In the meantime, in an interview published today in French newspaper Liberation , the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, said that the richer countries bear part of the blame of the disease spreading, as they refused to respond to the appeals for financial aid and solidarity in 2003.

    Reminding that avian flu first surfaced in Asia in 2003, Diouf underlined that the UN was trying in vain to warn the international community of the risks.

    "Developed countries thought that this was going on in Asia, that it was far away and that we were exaggerating the risks of the epidemic," Diouf was quoted as saying. They "only began to respond when the flu reached Turkey two years later," he added.

    Avian Flu in Poland

    The Polish Ministry of Agriculture announced its first avian flu cases on Monday, after a state lab confirmed that the two dead swans found last week in the northern city of Torun tested positive to the deadly H5N1 virus.

    Furthermore, a third case of bird flu was detected in a dead swan in westren Serbia.

    In the meantime, a pregnant woman and a 10-year-old boy, who were being hospitalised in Indonesia after having manifested avian flu symptoms, died. The unfortunate woman was living in central Jakarta and had come into contact with infected poultry, clarified a hospital spokesperson.

    The cause of the deaths will be confirmed after tests are performed at a local lab and samples are sent to WHOs lab in Hong Kong.

    In addition, the Austrian authorities announcement that the H5N1 virus has been detected in several cats in the southern region of Styria has raised concerns.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Poland in first bird flu outbreak

    Liberation: "Les Etats ont peche par manque de solidarite"

    Related News:

    New H5N1 Cases in Greece

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