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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-24

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Continue With Reforms
  • [02] Bakoyannis-Bush Meeting
  • [03] Belarus Faces Penalties
  • [04] France in Political Crisis
  • [05] Criminal Proceedings for Hostage Situation
  • [06] Greek Boxer Passed Away
  • [07] Student Parade in Athens
  • [08] Explosion at French University
  • [09] Endless Violence
  • [10] Conclusions of the Brussels Summit
  • [11] Collective Actions Escalate
  • [12] License to Own a Dog!

  • [01] Stated Karamanlis after the Summit Continue With Reforms

    24 Mar 2006 15:00:00 (Last updated: 24 Mar 2006 22:00:28)

    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis referred to the course of Greek Economy and to the major issues of European completion, as well as to bilateral relations, thus revealing the positions of the Greek Government, as they were formed after the EU Summit and the Premiers contacts. While giving a Press Conference, Mr Karamanlis clarified that the ambitious plan of reforms is being implemented as normal and without any changes. Fiscal purgation is an issue of top priority and needs to be solved "once and for all," underlined Karamanlis, while referring to Olympic Airlines he stated a new company, freed from the burdens of the past, needs to be established. Furthermore, he classified the issue of unemployment among the young as major, yet he distanced himself from the de Villepin law, saying that it provides no solutions.

    Focus on the Interests of the Greeks

    As for his meeting with the FYROM Premier, Vlado Buckovski, at the request of the latter, he noted that the Greek stance regarding FYROMs European course is firm, aimed at peace and stability in the area. However, he did stress certain criteria need to be met, including the issue of the name.

    When asked on his meeting with the FYROM leader, Mr Karamanlis stated that the Greek-FYROM ties are at a satisfactory level, noting that in terms of economy, Greece is its key investor and commercial partner and described the meeting as a chance for both leaders to be open about the unresolved issues between the two countries.

    "The political cost does not constitute a criterion for our politics," stressed the Prime Minister, noting the aim of the Government programme is reforms that "serve the interests of the Greeks," reforms that will take place based on social sensitivity and Justice.

    Meanwhile, the Premier said the reduction of unemployment has started to show, a fact indicating Greece is on the right track.

    Referring to DEKOs (public enterprises), Mr Karamanlis said the Government will not back down, clarifying they are trying hard to deal with the issues of mismanagement.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Positive Approach

    Employment and the Future of Europe

    [02] Bakoyannis-Bush Meeting

    24 Mar 2006 19:41:00 (Last updated: 24 Mar 2006 23:12:41)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ANA

    After his brief meeting with Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis on the occasion of the Greek Independence Day, US President George W. Bush praised Greeces role in establishing Democracy and freedom, hailed Greece as a "symbol of Democracy," and referred to the common battles the USA and Greece fought to restore Democracy in Afghanistan. Furthermore, he praised the instrumental role of the Greek Government in the 2004 Olympic Games. The US President was particularly courteous towards Mrs Bakoyannis, underlining the close ties between the two families (Bush-Mitsotakis), while he pointed out that appointing women to the post of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a wise thing to do.

    Visit to New York

    On her part, Mrs Bakoyannis argued, "It is very important that the USA honours Greece and the Greek revolution, and through the Greek revolution honours the values and principles this revolution served. This was also the content of my talks with President Bush, namely recognising Greece as a symbol, as a country that honours democratic values and civilisation. Apart from being the birthplace of Democracy, it is also an example of a modern European country, acting as a model of democracy for an entire region."

    Her meeting with Mr Bush concluded her visit to Washington, and she is flying Saturday to New York, where she is due to meet with the U.N. mediator for the FYROM issue Matthew Nimetz at 5pm (Greek local time). Mrs Bakoyannis will then attend the official mass dedicated to the Greek Independence Day at the Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation in Manhattan. On Saturday, she will also attend the reception given by the Greek Consul General in New York on the occasion of the Greek Independence Day.

    On Monday, Mrs Bakoyannis will participate in the meeting of the UN Security Council and then meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Bakoyannis-Rice Meeting

    [03] Sanctions by the EU and USA Belarus Faces Penalties

    24 Mar 2006 19:01:00 (Last updated: 24 Mar 2006 21:42:03)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The 25 EU bloc decided to impose sanctions on Belarus, due to the rigging phenomena in the recent presidential elections, when Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected President. Austrian FM Ursula Plassnik stated that the bloc will take restrictive measures against those responsible for the violation of international electoral standards, without, however, providing more details. Diplomatic sources cited that the 25 EU leaders are considering extending the travel ban against those accused of rigging the elections. Under no circumstances will financial sanctions be applied, though. White House press spokesman Scott McClellan praised the EUs stance, announcing that the USA is to apply travel restrictions and financial sanctions on Belarusian top-ranking officials.

    They Condemned Police Crackdown

    Both Mrs Plassnik and Mr McClellan condemned the police crackdown against opposition supporters in Belarus. Following the breaking-up of the five-day long protest against President Lukashenko, police arrested some 200 people, who are to be referred to justice.

    The Austrian FM called on the Belarusian Government to free the arrestees and to respect the freedom of assembly, in view of the mass demonstration scheduled for Saturday in Minsk. Furthermore, Mrs Plassnik called on the EUs allies and mostly the countries neighbouring with Belarus to adopt a similar stance.

    Ukraine voiced its most "profound concern" over the police crackdown. In an announcement issued by the countrys Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kiev called on Belarus leadership to avoid using violence, while it pointed out that the groundless arrests of Ukrainian nationals run contrary to the friendly relations the two former Soviet republics enjoy.

    The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered a letter of protest to the Belarusian ambassador to Poland, arguing that a former diplomat and journalist from Poland were arrested and beaten up and demanding communication with them. A French journalist working for French paper Liberation was among the arrestees, while the visa of French PM and former Minister Jack Lang meant to travel to Minsk in view of the Saturday demonstration was revoked.

    In the meantime, Belarusian Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich assured that the scheduled demonstration will be staged, irrespective of Fridays police crackdown, and urged everyone to participate in.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    MSNBC: Amid protests, EU backs new Belarus sanctions

    Der Spiegel: USA planen Sanktionen gegen Wei?russland

    BBC: West to put sanctions on Belarus

    Related News:

    Arrests in Belarus

    [04] France in Political Crisis

    24 Mar 2006 18:25:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA-REUTERS

    The first meeting held between the French PM Dominique de Villepin with the union leaders on the withdrawal of the labour law ended in deadlock. The meeting failed to bear any fruit, since the leaders of the five major union trades were not successful in convincing the Government to withdraw the controversial law, which has triggered off extensive rioting. The unions, on their part, insist that the withdrawal of the law be the only possible answer to the current crisis. On Saturday morning, the French PM is to have a brief meeting with youth unions, upon the unions demand. Further collective actions and strikes have been scheduled for coming Tuesday.

    They Condemned Chirac's Statements

    Upon their arrival in the Matignon Mansion, the union leaders condemned the statements by French President Jacques Chirac, who argued that he CPE law must be implemented.

    Mr Chirac argued that the CPE law has to be implemented, yet the Government has to launch a "responsible dialogue" with the unions to discuss the ways of its implementation.

    When the Parliament passes a law, the law has to be implemented, claimed Mr Chirac, adding that the passing of the law does not mean that the Government cannot discuss various ways of its implementation.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: French labour law talks deadlock

    Lemonde:Les syndicats quittent Matignon sur un constat d'echec

    Liberation: Un pour douze, douze pour un

    Related News:

    Battlefield Paris

    [05] Brought Against P. Chatzidakis Criminal Proceedings for Hostage Situation

    24 Mar 2006 16:06:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET

    The Prosecutor brought criminal proceedings against 26-year-old Panagiotis Chatzidakis, who held three employees of the Castalia mental clinic hostage on Thursday for over three hours. Chatzidakis received a deadline for Monday to give his deposition, while he will be detained at the Attica Police Directorate until then. The prosecutor brought criminal proceedings against him for hostage taking and for illegal possession and use of weapons. Chatzidakis lawyer asked that his client should undergo mental evaluation, as the arrestee suffers from manic depression.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Hostages Released

    Hostage Situation in Athens

    [06] Greek Boxer Passed Away

    24 Mar 2006 12:42:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    21-year-old Greek boxer Dimitris Leivadas, who was hospitalised in coma since Saturday at the Patras University Hospital, after sustaining serious injuries at the city sports hall, passed away on Friday morning. The boxer had dropped unconscious shortly after the end of a boxing bout at "Tofalos" sports hall in Patras. The doctors on site gave first aid and Dimitris Leivadas was then admitted to hospital in coma. He was training for his first participation in the youth championship, scheduled for December. At the same sports hall another boxer from Patras, Thanasis Miliordos, had lost his life during a bout in December 2000.

    Gradual Deterioration

    After doctors performed all necessary tests, the young boxer was diagnosed with cerebral haematoma.

    The health condition of 21-year-old Dimitris Leivadas was gradually deteriorating since he was admitted to hospital and finally lost his life, despite doctors' efforts.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] Attended by Greek President Student Parade in Athens

    24 Mar 2006 10:51:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    For the first time ever, the official student parade for Greeces National Independence Day, 25 March, was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic. Karolos Papoulias stressed that the students provide a sense of optimism and hope for a better future, noting that the youths should be surrounded by love and trust, so as to reinforce their vision to change the world. On the other hand, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou pointed out the significance of the Greek Presidents attendance and the strong symbolism for the nations unity and the future. The parade started a little after 11am, after wreaths were laid at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. As always Kalavryta Lyceum headed the parade, hoisting the banner of the 1921 Greek Revolution. The primary schools followed, with the pupils dressed in traditional costumes, while another 11 high schools, 13 lyceums, the children of Special Olympics and scouts participated in the parade. Hundreds of Athenians gathered to watch, while the bus routes had been altered accordingly.

    In the meantime, the Traffic Police is on alert, as quite a few citizens are expected to travel to the countryside on the occasion of the 25 March celebration. Traffic restrictions will apply on national highways for trucks over 1.5 tonnes from 4am to 9pm, in order to facilitate the excursionists.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] One Man Killed Explosion at French University

    24 Mar 2006 14:09:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: Reuters, AFP

    A powerful blast was reported early Friday at the University facilities in Mulhouse, eastern France near the French-German borders, killing one man and lightly injuring another. The Fire Brigade and rescue crews have rushed on site to free anyone who might have been trapped inside. Their task is extremely difficult because of the thick plumes of smoke that have covered the facilities. The reasons of the blast, which occurred at the ground flood of the three-storey Chemistry School, most probably in a lab, remain unknown, but authorities believe it was an accident. The building was abandoned by the 150 people who were inside at the time of the explosion and the surrounding area has been blocked off. It should be noted that the University was operating as normal, unlike other French universities, which are under occupation by students protesting over the First Employment Contract (CPE).

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [09] Endless Violence

    24 Mar 2006 13:11:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: Reuters

    Attacks and blasts continue to rock Iraq day and night. A bomb planted near the entrance of a Sunni mosque in Halis, northeast of Baghdad, exploded on Friday afternoon, killing five people and injuring 12 more. In another attack on Friday morning, four civilians lost their lives when armed men opened fire in a bakery and a policeman died when a bomb, the same armed men had planted, went off. What is more, two more police officers were killed in an ambush west of the country. Authorities also located the dead bodies of seven people, who had been shot on the head.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Fourteen dead in Baghdad violence

    [10] Conclusions of the Brussels Summit

    24 Mar 2006 17:45:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Curtailing unemployment by creating new jobs by 2007, boosting productivity, preparing for ageing populations via structural reforms, restoring consumer trust, as well as improving business and consumer confidence and launching a common energy market, are the key topics included in the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council. In the meantime, in the context of the so-called renewed corporate relations aiming at growth and employment, the European Council decided on the implementation of certain courses of action relating to education, training, boosting enterprises and creating new jobs.

    Reactions in Greece

    KKE and Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) voiced their objections to the suggested measures.

    "The EU spring Summit decided to precipitate and escalate the attack against the working class and the youths," read an announcement issued by KKE, adding, "in the altar of competitiveness, they are working on nightmarish labour relations for the youths."

    "The working class and the youths have found themselves in front of two choices, either to accept labour conditions resembling those in the middles ages or to fall in line with the class war, abandoning ND, PASOK and SYN, as well as the compromised unions, building up a popular resistance front disobeying the 'legitimacy' that safeguards the profits of the rich," concluded the announcement. "Year after year and summit after summit, the vision of social cohesion and social Europe keeps fading away. The Lisbon strategy is turning into a European kingpin imposing antipopulist measures at a national level. Five years later, the decisions on social cohesion, economic growth, full-time employment and eradication of unemployment, are nothing but declarations," stated the GSEE announcement.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related Links:

    Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council

    [11] By the Phosphate Fertilisers Staff Collective Actions Escalate

    24 Mar 2006 14:15:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Some 300 employees of the Thessaloniki Phosphate Fertilisers Industry closed down late on Thursday the Athens-Thessaloniki National Highway near the Tembi valley, demanding the plant immediately resume operation. The employees are of the opinion that the managements decision to reopen the plant does not safeguard their labour rights, blasted the company for mocking them and demanded the plant immediately resume operation and their jobs be safeguarded. On Friday, the employees staged a demonstration outside the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace and rallied at the heart of Thessaloniki. They have also scheduled to continue their demonstrations in Athens, requesting their demands be met.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Phosphate Fertilisers Resumes Operation

    [12] Exams for Dog Owners in Vienna License to Own a Dog!

    24 Mar 2006 13:16:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Soon enough, dog owners in Vienna will be undergoing tests, including oral and written exams. Those wishing to have an annual tax exemption and goodies for their four-legged pets, will have to pass a 2-hour exam to determine whether they are good enough to own a dog. The written exam includes difficult questions that only a true dog lover could answer. For instance, "When a dog wags its tail, is it happy, angry or bored?"

    Written and Oral Exams

    The practical part of the exam is tougher and requires a walk in the city. Examiners will be able to see with their own eyes if the candidates are aware of the role and duties of a dog owner.

    Among the aforementioned duties are to gag their dogs when using public transport and clean up their dogs' excrement from the streets.

    Those who pass the exams will be given an annual tax exemption of 43.60 euros and receive many goodies for their pets, like coupons to buy a leash, dogfood or doggy bags.

    Municipal authorities took the initiative after conducting a poll in Vienna in 2004. As per the opinion poll, 85% of the Viennese viewed licenses to own a god in a positive way.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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