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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-29

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Total Solar Eclipse
  • [02] Regional Growth in Parliament
  • [03] Kadima Won the Elections
  • [04] Explosion at Car Centre
  • [05] Bloody Attack in Afghanistan
  • [06] A "Historic" Day
  • [07] Violent Clashes in Turkey
  • [08] Banking Dispute Culminates
  • [09] New Cases in India

  • [01] The Moon on the Sun's Path Total Solar Eclipse

    29 Mar 2006 08:36:00 (Last updated: 29 Mar 2006 14:04:40)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Greece experienced a unique natural phenomenon on Wednesday 29 March from 11:30 CET to 14:30 CET. The Earth, the Moon and the Sun aligned, thus causing a total solar eclipse, the first of the new millennium. Kastelorizo, Greece, which has been packed with scientists and tourists, was the unique place in the world where the phenomenon was 100% visible. The solar eclipse was partial in Athens and Thessaloniki, where visibility reached 84% and 75% respectively, while it reached its peak at 12:47 CET. The phenomenon has triggered international interest, and scientists, amateurs, astronomers and many tourists have packed the island of Kastelorizo to better observe it in its totality. The next solar eclipse will occur in Europe after 82 years. Experts warned that those wishing to observe the phenomenon should wear special glasses, because seeing the eclipse with a naked eye could be health hazardous.

    The totality of the eclipse lasted for three minutes alone, from 12:52 CET to 12:55 CET.

    At that very moment, the moon completely blocked the sun, and the suns glorious corona (the outer part of the sun's atmosphere) was revealed.

    Meanwhile, the temperature significantly dropped by 5-6 degrees, humidity decreased, the wind was blowing stronger, while the stars shone brighter and planets Venus and Mercury were clearly visible from the earth.

    Greek scientists stationed at four Greek cities will study the consequences of the solar eclipse on the atmosphere and the sea surface.

    The Greek audience was able to see the eclipse through a satellite link with the help of Greek television satellite Hellas Sat.

    Meanwhile, a video wall has been placed at Suntagma Square, where the people will be able to watch the totality of the solar eclipse from Kastelorizo.

    You can also experience the phenomenon live on the Internet at the following adreesses:, and

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [02] Discussion on the Daily Agenda Regional Growth in Parliament

    29 Mar 2006 06:40:00 (Last updated: 29 Mar 2006 14:09:10)

    Sources: NET, NET Radio 105.8

    Following the Prime Minister's request, the Parliament is holding a discussion at this hour over regional growth. In his opening speech, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis underlined, "The Government is trying to ameliorate Greece by accelerating the growth rate and setting transparent goals over ventures and actions in regional Greece." The Greek Premier spoke of seven major works, six in regional Greece, which will cost 4.3 billion euros, thus referring to Egnatia Odos, the Malliakos gulf, Patras and the Thessaloniki metro system. He also noted the total cost of infrastructure works around Greece exceeds 14 billion euros. Meanwhile, Mr Karamanlis criticised the previous Governments for delays in delivering the works, thus leading to endless amendments. On his part, PASOK President George Papandreou accused the Government of not living up to its pre-electoral commitments on meritocracy and transparency. Referring to the Government's economic policy, he stressed that wrong choices burden Greek citizens, while he also criticised the amendment on banks' social security. The discussion is held under the shadow of the latest clash between the Government and the Main Opposition over the wiretapping scandal.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Olmert Appeals for Negotiations Kadima Won the Elections

    29 Mar 2006 07:22:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA, Reuters, BBC

    Kadima, the party of outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has won the elections in Israel. With 99.5% of the votes counted for, Kadima has ensured 21.8% of the votes and 28 seats in Parliament, with the Labour Party coming second with 15.1% and 20 seats. Shas follows with 13 seats, Yisrael Beitenu with 12 and right-wing Likud with 11 seats. However, only 62.3% of citizens cast their votes, the lowest percentage in the electoral history of the country. Olmert stated he is ready to negotiate and finally determine the borders with the Palestinians. However, he warned that if peace negotiations remain stagnant, then Israel would proceed with unilaterally determining the borders. Meanwhile, he repeated Israels demand to break up armed Palestinian groups, appealing for peace in the wider area.

    Accepting Defeat

    Earlier, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, whose party ranked fifth, admitted his defeat, stressing, "We have no doubt the Likud has suffered a tough blow." Netanyahu said the bad outcome of the elections was the result of the strict economic reforms he was forced to impose while being a Minister of Economy.

    "This situation will continue and the people will understand we had to proceed with such measures to save the country," concluder Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Palestinian Reactions

    The new Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, harshly reacted to the electoral result in Israel.

    Right after the results of the first exit polls were announced, Haniya warned that his Government would not accept unilateral actions from the new Israeli Government over determining definitive borders.

    "An Israeli Government not recognising the Palestinian people's legal rights will never achieve peace or settle anything in the area," stressed Haniya.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC:Israel victor sets out programme

    Jerousaem Post: After counting 99% of the votes, Kadima gets 28 seats

    Haaretz: Olmert, declaring victory, appeals to Abbas for peace talks

    Related News:

    As if Sharon was There

    Election Day in Israel

    [04] Six Cars Damaged Explosion at Car Centre

    29 Mar 2006 10:20:00

    Sources: ANA

    A blast, which occurred shortly before 02:00 on Wednesday morning at a car centre in Agia Varvara, caused serious damages at six used cars and at the building's fa&#231;ade. After the blast, police officers found a second explosive device, which did not go off and was neutralized by bomb technicians on site. On 4 March 2006, unknown men had tossed a grenade at the same car centre, causing extensive damages to cars. These facts have led the Police believe the attack was payback for personal differences.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Fourteen Dead and Four Injured Bloody Attack in Afghanistan

    29 Mar 2006 11:52:00 (Last updated: 29 Mar 2006 13:45:45)

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters, BBC, ANA

    Fourteen persons lost their lives, among whom two foreign soldiers, in a Taliban attack against US Forces, on Wednesday, in Afghanistan. As per an announcement by the US Army, three members of the US-led force and an Afghan soldier were injured. The Taliban reported that their forces attacked foreign soldiers in the southern province of Helmand, in Afghanistan. One out of the two foreign soldiers killed is an American. The US Army did not clarify the nationality of the second soldier, who lost his life in the attack by an important number of armed men. In 2005 approximately 60 American soldiers were killed, the biggest number since 2001, when the US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban and pursuit their leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Reuters: Taliban say Afghan offensive is on, 22 dead

    [06] The Biggest Protests in France A "Historic" Day

    29 Mar 2006 11:29:00 (Last updated: 29 Mar 2006 13:21:17)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA, Reuters

    On Tuesday, France lived through the biggest protests of the previous fifty years, as three million citizens throughout the country protested against the First Job Contract (CPE) for youths. As per the estimations of organisers, 700,000 persons participated in the protest in Paris, 250,000 in Marseilles, 70,000 in Nantes, 100,000 in Bordeaux and 60,000 in Lille. Unions described it as a historic day, while sending a joint letter to President Chirac asking for his personal intervention, so that the controversial law can be discussed in Parliament.

    Intraparty Disputes

    At the same time, Prime Minister De Villepin is not backing down, refusing to repeal the controversial law and underlining that "Democracy does not accept conditions and ultimatums."

    However, he added that he is ready for dialogue, which will be aimed at the reformation of the law.

    His stance has troubled many members of his party, as many accused his persistence is leading the Centre Right to a "collective suicide."

    Actually, the Minister for the Interior and the PMs intraparty opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy, visited the Square of Democracy unexpectedly on Tuesday night, at the time when violent clashes were taking place between young masked men and French police forces and once again asked for the suspension of CPE when speaking to journalists.

    The situation is descriptive by the fact that President Chirac cancelled a scheduled visit to Le Havre on Thursday, where he would inaugurate the new port, in order to stay in Paris.

    The verdict of the Constitutional Court is expected on Thursday, which was requested by the opposition so that the law can be declared as unconstitutional.

    Incidents and Arrests

    The police announced that since the beginning of the protests over the CPE approximately 2,500 persons involved in incidents have been arrested.

    On Tuesday, 488 persons were arrested in Paris and 299 in the rest of the country.

    A member of the polices special forces, for the suppression of riots, was seriously injured on the head and is hospitalised in Paris, while 31 vehicles were torched throughout France.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Mass Demonstrations in France

    [07] Between Policemen and Kurds Violent Clashes in Turkey

    29 Mar 2006 10:56:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters, ANA

    Approximately 35 persons, among whom 11 policemen were injured on Tuesday, in Turkey, when violent clashes broke out between policemen and Kurds who were attending the funeral of Kurdish militants. During the burial in Diyarbakir, 70 offices and other work places suffered damage, while a bank was torched and completely destroyed as per Security Services officials. The young Kurds threw Molotov cocktails, while the policemen used globs, tear gas and water canons, while making several arrests in an attempt to put the situation under control. However, the specific number of arrests was not made known. The clashes occurred during the funeral of 14 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who lost their lives during the weekend in military operations in the region of southeastern Turkey. Police and army forces were sent to Diyarbakir from neighbouring towns so that order could be restored. Clashes also occurred in the funeral of a militant in Adana, on the Turkish shores of the Mediterranean.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [08] Between ΟΤΟΕ and the Gov't over Mutual Fund Banking Dispute Culminates

    28 Mar 2006 14:37:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105.8 - ΑNA

    On Tuesday, the Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) staged a 24-hour strike, reacting to the Mutual Social Security Fund amendment, which was to be ratified in Parliament in the afternoon, but will be voted on Wednesday following a discussion. The bank employees, who termed the controversial amendment unconstitutional, submitted a memorandum stating their views to Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. Despite reactions by unionists and the Opposition, the Greek Government declared determined to advance the amendment. After meeting with Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis, Alogoskoufis stressed that the reforms will proceed as normal and according to the set timeframes, while referring to the banks social security amendment, he noted that the Government is implementing the law enacted last year.

    OTOE Asks for Amendment to Be Repealed

    The employees of Emporiki Bank gathered outside the banks headquarters on Tuesday morning, voicing fears that pension age limits would increase and pensions would decrease if they are incorporated into IKAs auxiliary fund and the new Social Security Fund.

    A little later, OTOEs leaders met with the Economy Minister and asked for the controversial amendment to be repealed, describing it as a forerunner of social security changes.

    At the same time, OTOE President Dimitris Tsoukalas asked for the laws providing for independent collective bargaining agreements between employees and departmental groups to come into effect.

    On the other hand, Alogoskoufis declared he had announced that the new legislative reform would complement the provision for the banks social security, while he repeated the Governments fixed stance in favour of collective bargaining agreements without the states intervention.

    OTOEs leaders also met with ND Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis on Tuesday.

    The Secretary declared that the Governments legislative intervention does not affect the rights of employees, but it paves the way for solving the problem, by respecting those rights.

    At the same time, he criticised PASOK, saying that it should seek for dead-ends in its errors and omissions.

    Mr Tsoukalas voiced a different opinion, mentioning that the law separates employees into two categories and affects all those hired before 1993.

    At the same time, he described the amendment submitted on Friday as anti-democratic.

    PASOKs coordinators repeated their partys opposition to Tuesdays session, noting that it is unconstitutional and expresses the Governments autocracy.

    KKE urged the banking employees to react immediately and with determination, while SYN claimed that the amendment robs the employees of the right to resort to Justice.

    OTOE staged a protest rally outside Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, at the time when the amendment will be discussed, while the board will decide on future collective actions on Wednesday.

    Related News:

    Banking Sector on Strike

    [09] Intensive Tests on Humans New Cases in India

    29 Mar 2006 11:37:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Indian health authorities are performing sweeping tests on humans, after locating new bird flu cases in poultry in western India, the third time in two months. Several bird flu cases were also located in poultry in Maharashtra and neighbouring Madhia Prades. Authorities suspect the birds are infected with the H5N1 deadly strain of the virus and samples have already been sent to labs for confirmation. 25,000 poultry will be culled in 200 villages in Maharashtra on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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