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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-07

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Reforms Underway
  • [02] On their Ancestors' Footsteps
  • [03] "Bible of Unreliability"
  • [04] ND in the Lead
  • [05] Koronias in Parliament Thursday
  • [06] Priority to Unemployment
  • [07] 23-year-old Dead in University Theatre
  • [08] Series of Blasts in Holy City of India
  • [09] Searching for Mladic
  • [10] Fatah Decisions Revoked
  • [11] High-Tech Investments in Romania
  • [12] New Facts about H5N1
  • [13] Cypriot President in Athens
  • [14] Unification of Dodecanese Anniversary
  • [15] Bakoyannis-Gul Meeting

  • [01] Two Years of ND Governing Reforms Underway

    07 Mar 2006 15:30:00 (Last updated: 07 Mar 2006 17:08:10)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET

    During the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Prime Minister went over the Governments achievements on the occasion of the two-year anniversary since ND was elected to power. Mr Karamanlis stressed reforms will continue at an even more intense pace and referred to future goals. The Prime Minister said changes in DEKOs (public enterprises) are of vital importance and underlined the necessity of public-private partnerships and the purgation of public finances through absolute transparency. Mr Karamanlis thanked citizens for having faith in the Government and voiced the belief that Greece can win battles at all fronts, while stressing reforms are underway.

    Next Goals

    Mr Karamanlis stressed the order ND got from the citizens has set the Government's new goals. He also added the word he gave the citizens stands to the fullest.

    "On 7 March 2004, Greece turned the page and decided to proceed with reforms," stressed the PM, adding the Cabinet reviewed the work done so far and set the Government's next steps.

    Going on, he referred to changes and reforms, which as he stressed would continue at an even quicker pace, while he focused on DEKOs, public-private partnerships, the Land Register, the National Land Use Plan, the deregulation of the energy market, decentralisations and the fight against corruption and tax evasion.

    At the same time, he referred to the Government's actions towards reinforcing businesses, combating unemployment and reestablishing the State.

    The Prime Minister also said there are weaknesses, but underlined a lot has been done in a short period of time and positive results have already started to show.

    As an example, he referred to the decrease of fiscal deficit, high growth rates, reduction of unemployment and increase of tourism, while noting the Government is accelerating its work to apply its programme. Lastly, Mr Karamanlis thanked the Greek citizens for their support and underlined the Government has invested in results and not temporary impressions.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Cabinet Account

    [02] The Family that Walks on All Fours On their Ancestors' Footsteps

    07 Mar 2006 17:47:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: AFP - The Times

    A group of scientists that visited a remote rural area in western Turkey were met with an unexpected discovery. Five members of a Kurdish family have spent their lives walking on all fours, just like our ancestors seven million years ago! Out of the five siblings, aged between 18 and 34, only two have walked upright sometimes, while the other three have never been able to do so. The reason for this is a rare genetic abnormality. The scientists agree that they have come face-to-face with an extraordinary window on our past, which may be able to offer invaluable clues on the progress of human evolution. However, they seem to disagree on the exact reasons that may be responsible for this unusual case observed in these five people.

    Window on Our Past

    The story of the unbelievable life led by the five siblings was published Tuesday in the British Times, while it is also the subject of a BBC documentary, scheduled to air on 17 March.

    All five siblings are mentally retarded and suffer from a brain abnormality, known as cerebellar ataxia, which is accompanied by imbalance, while they also have problems with language. They walk using their palms like heels, with their fingers angled up from the ground. Two of them occasionally manage a form of two-footed walking, while all five can stand up, but only for a short time, with both knees and head flexed. Scientists believe this may be the way early humans moved, allowing them to protect their fingers for the more delicate and dextrous manoeuvres, so critical in the evolution of Man.

    However, the scientific community is divided when it comes to how they ended up walking on all fours. Some claim that genetic faults have caused the siblings to regress in this form of "backward evolution," while other scientists argue that their genes have triggered brain damage that has allowed them to develop this unique form of movement.

    Nicholas Humphrey, Evolutionary Psychologist at the London School of Economics, who has visited the family when the documentary was being filmed, believes that their parents, who are themselves closely related, passed down a unique combination of genes. When these combined with external and internal parameters, it resulted in the siblings reverting to an instinctive form of behaviour encoded deep in the brain, but abandoned in the course of evolution. On the other hand, Uner Tan, a Professor of Physiology at Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey, who first brought the family (which has another 13 children) to the attention of scientists, argues that the reasons are purely genetic.

    However, the crew that filmed BBCs documentary, entitled "The Family that Walks on All Fours," says they were very moved by this familys tremendous warmth and humanity.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    Times: Walking on all fours with the ancestors

    [03] PASOK's Harsh Criticism on ND "Bible of Unreliability"

    07 Mar 2006 17:12:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    PASOK Secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou and Parliamentary Group Secretary Dimitris Reppas launched a full-scale attack on ND, on the occasion of the two-year anniversary since it was elected to power. At the same time, they presented the new "Bible of Unreliability," which numbers 156 pages and depicts "the lies and populism of New Democracy before the elections."

    Reversal of Political Climate

    "The political climate has changed as a result of a deep social process, which revealed the policies of New Democracy and the positive actions of PASOK and its President," stressed Mrs Xenogiannakopoulou, while presenting the Bible. "The last two years and two lost years for Greece and the people," she noted.

    "The face of a right, one-sided and authoritarian policy was revealed during these two years," continued Xenogianakopoulou, "and this policy has affected the many and benefited the few, blinking to the powerful and hindering the country's growth."

    PASOK Parliamentary Group Secretary Dimitris Reppas moved on the same wavelength, stressing the Government is on a course of gradual defeat, which will be completed in the next elections. He also noted the present Government has more past than future.

    Mr Reppas also spoke of two years of destructive policy for Greece's interests, adding the Government is not evaluated based on the lies of its words but on the truth of its works.

    At the same time, he accused the Government of dividing the citizens, destroying social cohesion and imposing regimental politics, as it identifies itself with the institutions and the State, like it did with the wiretapping scandal and the "Kapodistrias Project."

    The "Bible of Unreliability" will be presented on 10 March at all prefecture capitals, while members of PASOK's Political Council will be taking part in relevant Press Conferences, noted Mrs Xenogiannakopoulou.

    Roussopoulos Answered Back

    State Minister and Government spokesperson Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed while commenting on the presentation of the "Bible of Unreliability":

    "After twenty years of governing, they left behind nothing but big problems. And now they accuse us of not having solved all these huge problems. PASOK excelled and continues to do so at what the people call "black propaganda." The Government of New Democracy continues to deal with problems. It provides solutions after putting a lot of work in them, following a strategic plan and always standing by the side of Greek citizens. By the side of Greek citizens, who can tell the truth from lies."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] According to the Latest Opinion Poll ND in the Lead

    07 Mar 2006 15:16:00 (Last updated: 07 Mar 2006 17:45:57)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    According to MRBs latest opinion poll for newspaper "Eleftheros Typos", New Democracy has a 1.1% lead over PASOK in the intention to vote. 48.6% of those who participated in the poll view Kostas Karamanlis is viewed as the most suitable Prime Minister over 34.1% who are in favour of George Papandreou. Regarding the intention to vote, ND gathers a percentage of 36, PASOK 34.9%, KKE 7.2%, SYN 3.3% and LAOS 4.8%. 58.7% believe New Democracy will win the upcoming elections, as opposed to PASOKs 34.1%. Furthermore, 42.4% evaluate the Governments course so far as positive, while 56.6% think it is negative.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Koronias in Parliament Thursday

    07 Mar 2006 18:18:00

    By Betty Savourdou


    The supplementary memorandum, which Vodafone submitted to the Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) on Tuesday afternoon, is expected to provide answers to technical matters, which arose from Giorgos Koronias testimony to the ADAE. On Thursday, Giorgos Koronias is expected to appear before the Parliaments Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency to provide answers on all the wiretapping questions.

    Pending Hearing

    According to high-ranking Vodafone executive, Mr Koronias, who is feverishly preparing for this hearing, is willing to give straight answers to all questions.

    In fact, he estimated, Opposition Parliamentarians would ask him to provide the exact dates the software was located and the exact dates he briefed the Government on the matter.

    Regarding company clarifications, the ADAE is expected to reach a decision by the end of the week on the fine to be imposed. The ADAE is also likely to decide on technical inspections at Vodafones facilities in Kifissos and Paiania, from where the wiretaps were taking place.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Katsikeas Testifies on Wiretaps

    [06] Tsitouridis-OAED Meeting Priority to Unemployment

    07 Mar 2006 16:18:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET

    The meeting on Monday between Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis and the OAED (Greek Manpower Employment Organisation) administration focused on combating unemployment, especially among women and the younger population. Other matters that were discussed in the meeting, which forms part of Mr Tsitouridis contacts with agencies that fall under the Employment Ministrys jurisdiction, included the amount of the employment bonuses and the upgrading of OAEDs intermediary role in finding employment, as well as the amount of money that will be made available for this purpose. Finally, Mr Tsitouridis refuted articles in todays Press, whereby talks over the social security issue will commence in the coming week.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] 23-year-old Dead in University Theatre

    07 Mar 2006 13:06:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    A 23-year-old man was found dead in one of the Patras University theatres early on Tuesday morning by a University employee. According to the coroner, the young man bore no lesions, while the exact causes of his death have not been confirmed yet. However, according to the coroner's first estimations, the young man died somewhere between Sunday noon and Monday morning.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [08] Series of Blasts in Holy City of India

    07 Mar 2006 17:14:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: Reuters

    A series of explosions rocked the Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi, at the state of Uttar Pradesh, resulting in the death of 15 people and the injury of dozens. The first strong bomb explosion occurred in one of the citys most important Hindu temples. According to witnesses, many pilgrims were in the temple at the time. A little while later, another two explosions ensued in one of the citys main railway stations.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: 'Blasts' rock Indian temple town

    [09] New Intelligence Searching for Mladic

    07 Mar 2006 12:32:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Serbian authorities have gathered new intelligence, hoping that it will lead to fugitive general Ratko Mladics arrest, Ljajic, president of Serbias National Council on co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), told Associated Press. He then added that they are to wait for yet another month to assess the results yielded, while he estimated that Mladics arrest will have a domino effect. Ljajic also claimed that, apart from Mladic, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, former Serbian police general Vlastimir Djordjevic, former president of Slavonia Goran Hadzic, former member of the crisis management task force in Kraina Stojan Zupljanin, and general Zdravko Tolimir, are also charged with war crimes and are still on the loose.

    The Russian authorities announced that they have no information on Djordjevic and we [Serbia} are entitled to ask for his extradition, in case he is arrested, Ljajic was quoted as saying.

    Finally, he noted that Serbia has no intelligence on the whereabouts of Karadzic, and Zupljanin.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [10] Abbas' Powers Reduced Fatah Decisions Revoked

    07 Mar 2006 11:27:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: BBC, ANA

    Hamas parliamentarians voted in favour of revoking all laws passed by the previous Fatah-led Parliament, as well as the legislation giving more powers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In particular, 64 MPs voted in favour of the revoke, while some six abstained from the session. There were no votes against. Earlier, Fatahs MPs had walked out from the Parliament chamber in protest. In the meantime, while addressing the Arab parties in Damascus, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal declared that should Israel want peace, it has to pull out from the Palestinian territories. Meshaal underlined that Hamas wishes to handle the new situation with a new spirit and that they wish to put an end to the bloodshed. He added, though, that they would quit neither their fight nor their power. On its part, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz pointed out that no Hamas official would be immune, in case the militant group claims responsibility for the attacks against Israel, including Ismail Haniyeh, who is running for the post of Prime Minister. "The moment Hamas chooses the path of terror, there is no question here of political or non-political (leadership). This would be a terrorist leadership, and therefore none of its members would be immune," Mofaz said.

    Tension and Walkout

    Hamas decision to revoke all laws passed by the former Fatah-led Parliament has struck a blow to the potential of forming a government of national unity. During Mondays first session of the new Palestinian Parliament, tension ran high between Hamas and Fatah, resulting in Fatah MPs walking out. "This is a protest about this meeting," Fatah MP Nabil Shaath said after the walkout, adding that they would return after agreement was reached with Hamas on a new system, which made it worthwhile for his party to be part of parliament.

    Furthermore, Fatah MPs underscored that Hamas had no right to abolish the decisions taken by the former Parliament.

    "They [Hamas] are thirsty for power, and they can do what they want since they have a majority, but must do it according to the law," Mr Ahmed told reporters.

    On his part, Hamas member Mahmoud Zahhar argued that each time they tried to present an important point Azzam al-Ahmed kept butting in.

    Hamas Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniya, on the other hand, claimed that the heated debate proved the vitality of the Palestinian democracy.

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Hamas MPs curtail Abbas' powers

    CNN: Election losers stage Palestinian parliament walkout

    Reuters: Israel says could target Hamas PM-designate Haniyeh

    Related News:

    A First for the Palestinian Parliament

    [11] Liapis-Nagy Meeting High-Tech Investments in Romania

    07 Mar 2006 17:18:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    The meeting between Greek Transport and Communications Minister Michael Liapis his Romanian counterpart, Information and Communications Minister Zolt Nagy, on Tuesday focused on Greek information and communications investments in Romania. The Greek side briefed the Romanian delegation on the preparatory proceedings for the upcoming e-government forum, which will take place in Athens this coming October. After the meeting, Mr Liapis referred to the Greek investments that are already taking place in Romania, while he accepted Mr Nagys invitation to visit the country. In the meantime, the current manager of the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, Dimitris Stamatis, was appointed general secretary of the Greek Ministry of Transport and Communications, replacing Giannis Golias, who resigned last week.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [12] Two Cats in Austria Recovered New Facts about H5N1

    07 Mar 2006 22:39:00

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) is on alert, as new facts about avian flu have come to light, after two cats in Austria, which had been infected by the H5N1 virus, recovered. The cats had not manifested any of the symptoms associated with the disease and the WHO believes that the virus may react differently on mammals. As per the scientists, the fact that the animals did not get sick may mean that the virus is adjusting to mammals, thus posing a greater risk for humans. At the same time, experiments have shown that cats can infect each other; however, there is still no evidence demonstrating that they can infect other species, and more so humans.

    Samples were taken from the pharynxes of the three mammals, which were being kept in an animal sanctuary in Graz, Austria. The three cats that had been infected by H5N1 had come into direct contact with sick birds, but they never manifested any symptoms of the disease. A subsequent test confirmed H5N1 in only one of the three samples, in a very low concentration. However, further tests will be conducted.

    In the meantime in Greece, two more swans infected with avian flu were found in Iraklitsa, Kavala, and Alykes, Thessaloniki. Samples were sent to London to determine whether they had been infected by the H5N1 strain. The experts, though, are stressing that as long as all the precautionary measures are being implemented, there are no reasons for concern, while they clarified that bird flu has not reached any domestic or industrially-bred poultry.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    C: Austria detects bird flu in cats

    Related News:

    WHO Issues Warnings

    [13] To Hold Talks with Greek Political Leaders Cypriot President in Athens

    07 Mar 2006 23:01:00

    On Wednesday, the President of the Cypriot Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos, who arrived in Athens Tuesday afternoon, will brief Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis on his recent talks in Geneva with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Mr Papadopoulos is also scheduled to meet with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, as well as the leaders of the opposition parties. The visit aims at better coordinating Athens and Nicosia on the issue with Cyprus, in view of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis meeting with her Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, on Friday. On Tuesday night, the Cypriot President attended a dinner reception hosted by Mr Papoulias.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Bakoyannis-Gul Meeting

    [14] Attended by the Greek President Unification of Dodecanese Anniversary

    07 Mar 2006 18:44:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET - ANA

    The anniversary celebrations for the 58 years since the unification of the Dodecanese Islands to Greece culminated Tuesday on Kos with a grand school and military parade before the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias. The President was warmly welcomed by the local authorities and the islanders. Speaking later at a luncheon hosted in his honour by the Prefect of the Dodecanese, Mr Papoulias stressed that struggles and sacrifices by the liberated Greeks, as well as the enslaved people of the Dodecanese preceded the unification of the islands to Greece. He added that those struggles "today remind us that Liberty and Independence are not self-evident, while they require contact alertness by all of us." On concluding, Mr Papoulias noted, "Today, we owe gratitude to all those who fought and died for freedom; gratitude that carries the obligation to continue united the joint effort for the progress and prosperity of our country [Greece]."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Greek President on Kos

    [15] On Friday in Vienna Bakoyannis-Gul Meeting

    07 Mar 2006 14:51:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    On the sidelines of the EU's Informal Council of Foreign Ministers, which will be held on 10 and 11 March in Salzburg, Austria, Mrs Bakoyannis will be meeting with her Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul. According to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Giorgos Koumoutsakos, the meeting, which will be probably held on Friday afternoon, would focus on the course of Greek-Turkish relations, on Turkey's European course and the Cypriot issue. Regarding the eventuality of inviting Gul to Athens, Mr Koumoutsakos said that according to the diplomatic practice, it's the Turkish FM's turn to visit Greece.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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