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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-30

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] "Europe for the Citizens"
  • [02] EPP Congress in Rome
  • [03] CPE Constitutional
  • [04] ADAE Reinspects Vodafone
  • [05] Clash Over OTE
  • [06] Criminal Proceedings against AGB
  • [07] French Job Law to Court
  • [08] US Journalist Freed
  • [09] Yoga Sessions in Art Galleries

  • [01] Karamanlis' Speech at the EPP "Europe for the Citizens"

    30 Mar 2006 20:24:00 (Last updated: 30 Mar 2006 23:52:44)

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Europe is faced with a crisis of trust and not of institutions, this is why we need to build a strong Union of Citizens and not States, stressed Greek Premier Kostas Karamanlis, while speaking at the 17th regular convention of the European Peoples Party in Rome. The convention coincides with the 30th anniversary since the EPPs foundation. The Greek Prime Minister underlined the European Economy needs to become the most competitive in the world, while stressing it takes collective social response to face terrorism and foreign enemies. This, as he noted, does not mean compromises regarding human rights and political freedoms. As for the foreign front, Mr Karamanlis said the EU is in a position to vouch for the respect of its external borders and territorial integrity.

    Citizens' Trust is Vital

    Konstantinos Karamanlis also referred to the challenges faced by the EU, noting they have reached a turning point. "Europe needs to come closer to its citizens. The crisis we are faced with is not an institutional crisis. It is a crisis of trust. We need to restore the citizens' trust and effectively deal with their worries." He further added, "The challenge we are faced with is not to build a strong union of States, but a strong union of Citizens."

    The Prime Minister went on to say, "We need to find a proper balance between solidarity and individuality with a rationalistic distribution of responsibilities."

    With regard to the challenges of globalisation, Kostas Karamanlis underlined they require a targeted answer, since "the common aim is to make Europe the most competitive Economy in the world." In the process, "Growth, productivity and competitiveness should walk side by side with the creation of new job openings and opportunities for employment, social cohesion, better living conditions for all citizens and guarantees for the protection of the environment. Such a Europe would certainly live up to its citizens' expectations and concerns," stated the Greek Premier.

    Lastly, he underlined that citizens would not feel alienated from the European vision, following transparent processes and giving opportunities to everyone to actively participate in forming and applying policies.

    Karamanlis' Meetings

    The situation in the Balkans, Turkey's European course and expatriates' problems topped the discussion between Kostas Karamanlis and his Serbian counterpart, V. Kostunica, Austrian Chancellor W. Schussel and Georgian Premier M. Saakashvili.

    The meeting with Mr Kostunica mainly focused on the Kosovar issue, the state union of Serbia-Montenegro (in view of May's referendum) and the Greek investments in the country.

    The talks between the Greek Premier and the Austrian Chancellor were targeted on the Cypriot issue, for which Mr Karamanlis agreed to inform Mr Schussel on the developments, on Turkey's European course and on the Chancellor's careful steps regarding the European Constitutional Treaty.

    Georgian Prime Minister M. Saakashvili and Kostas Karamanlis talked about the problems of expatriates in Chalka, the situation in the area and the cooperation on Euro-Atlantic structures.

    Bakoyannis-Samaras Handshake

    On the sidelines of the 17th EPP Convention, Dora Bakoyannis exchanged a handshake with Antonis Samaras. This was the first time in 14 years (since both sides had clashed) the current Foreign Minister and the current ND European Parliamentarian shook hands and held a brief talk. As per those present, the Foreign Minister took the initiative to shake hands with Mr Samaras, who wished her good luck in her new post.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    EPP Congress in Rome

    [02] EPP Congress in Rome

    30 Mar 2006 14:46:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA-ΝΕΤ

    The two-day talks of the 17th European Peoples Party (EPP) Congress commenced Thursday in Rome, Italy. The keynote political manifestation of the EPPs priorities regarding issues puzzling the EU, a string of resolutions, as well as amendments on the partys articles of association, are to top the agenda of the congress.

    This years congress coincides with the 30th anniversary of the founding of the EPP and aims to elect president, vice-presidents, secretary general and treasurer.

    Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis is attending the Congress, escorted by FM Dora Bakoyannis, Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis and several ND officials. Some 15 EU Premiers are also taking part in, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, President of the European Commission Jos&#233; Manuel Barroso, as well as other European Commission members, including EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. On the sidelines of the congress, Mr Karamanlis will hold talks with both his Austrian counterpart and Georgian President Mr Saakashvili.

    More than 800 representatives of the 68 EPP member parties and observers from 35 European countries are also expected to attend the Congress.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [03] Constitutional Body Ruled in Favour CPE Constitutional

    30 Mar 2006 21:25:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA, Reuters

    France's Constitutional Council approved the First Employment Contract (CPE), thus ruling in favour of its constitutionality without any reservations. As a result, all eyes have now turned to President Jacques Chirac, who is called to either ratify the new labour law on Friday or wait until the 10-day period, provided by the law, runs out. In the first case, political analysts believe students and trade unionists' rage will subside, while positive results in the decrease of unemployment will soon show. In the second case, there are fears that next Tuesday, when new protests have been scheduled, will be decisive both socially and politically, as reactions within the governing party (UMP) are expected to culminate.

    Another case is that Jacques Chirac could refer the law to Parliament for a second reading. However, that would require the Prime Minister's accordance.

    In this case, the predominating belief is that Villepin would not accept and rather resign.

    However, such a development would force Chirac to choose a new Prime Minister only one year before the elections and after such a major crisis.

    Due to the crisis, Villepin and Chirac's popularity is going downhill. As per an opinion poll published today, the Prime Minister's popularity dropped by seven points in a month, while Chirac's dropped by four.

    Meanwhile, 64% of the French (as opposed to 56% in February) do not trust the Prime Minister with "effectively handling France's major problems," while 61% of the French (as opposed to 56% in February) do not have faith in the President of the Republic for the same reason.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Surprise Inspection ADAE Reinspects Vodafone

    30 Mar 2006 17:13:00 (Last updated: 30 Mar 2006 18:18:13)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) continued its investigation into the wiretapping case by performing a surprise inspection at Vodafone's headquarters. An ADAE panel remained at the company's central facilities for some 6 hours, following new leads and gaps that arose from the investigation so far. The reason for the new check was Vodafone's third memo to ADAE, sent two days ago, as per which there was a fourth centre of interceptions, apart from the three in Kifissos and Peania. In fact, another ADAE panel visited Vodafone's facilities in Kifisos on the afternoon and will inspect the other centres of interceptions in due time. At the end of the coming week, ADAE will submit a draft report on the case to Parliament, while the final conclusions are due on early May.

    "Competent Ministers will provide satisfactory answers to all issues," stressed Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, answering reporters' questions.

    Meanwhile, asked whether the NIS had informed the Government on potential participation to legal or illegal interceptions, deputy government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros reassured the National Intelligence Service (NIS) is operating under the applied legislation.

    Mr Antonaros also repeated that the Government has submitted all related evidence to Justice, urging those who claim to know anything on the case to do the same.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Swords Crossed over Wiretaps

    [05] On the Occasion of the Vourloumis Proposal Clash Over OTE

    30 Mar 2006 18:02:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET, ANA

    OTE President and Managing Director Panagiotis Vourloumis proposal for privatizing the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation triggered reactions amongst employees. As per Mr Vourloumis, the need for full privatisation is urgent in order for OTE to survive in the new telecommunications environment. Deputy Government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros stressed there is no such issue, referring to Economy Minister G. Alogoskoufis recent statements and also added the Government is making such decisions on relevant affairs. As for PASOK, Parliamentarian Evangelos Venizelos asked the Government not to be so indifferent over OTEs future.

    OME-OTE (Federation of OTE Employees) described Mr Vourloumis' statements as unacceptable and slanderous.

    In its announcement, OME-OTE spoke of "extreme neo-liberal recipes, the implementation of which leads to the full dissolution of labour rights" and which should be repelled by employees in any possible way.

    On his part, PASOK Parliamentarian Evangelos Venizelos urged the Government not to be so indifferent over OTE's future, adding it ought to state its opinion on the Organisation's growth perspectives, which affect the telecommunications market.

    Commenting the statements of OTE's President, SYN member Dimitris Stratoulis stressed Mr Vourloumis is making use of the recent law on DEKOs to fully demolish labour relations and facilitate OTE's sell-out.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] For Two Felonies Criminal Proceedings against AGB

    30 Mar 2006 18:16:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ANA

    Athens First Instance Court Prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki brought criminal proceedings against AGB President Giannis Anastasakos, Director Manager Spyros Zavitsanos and shareholder Stavros Leoussis. The AGB officials are charged with false statements, fraud against the State, following a 42-page report the Prosecutor compiled at the end of the relevant inquiry. The brief passed on to the fifth Examiner assigned to carry out the interrogation.

    [07] The Constitutional Council to Decide French Job Law to Court

    30 Mar 2006 15:01:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The French Constitutional Council is due to rule on the much controversial job laws constitutionality. Analysts estimated that the Council will rule the law constitutional, thus putting the ball in French President Jacques Chiracs court. Mr Chirac has to decide within 10 days whether to put the law in force or request the countrys Parliament hold a session anew. As per sources from the Presidential office, Mr Chiracs will take his stand on the issue "in the coming days," even today [Thursday], during his televised address to the French people. At the same time the deepening social deadlock remains, with PM Dominique de Villepin dismissing the claim to scrap the law, while the social outcry has stricken a heavy blow on the popularity of Mr de Villepin and the French President.

    Unrest Still Raging

    Following the nationwide strike and the mass protests held on Tuesday, the union leaders and the students have called the French people to join them to new collective actions and marches scheduled for April 4, the fifth since February 7.

    On his part, French PM de Villepin insisted on pushing the law through Parliament, inviting all the parties involved to a dialogue to discuss any amendments. In the meantime, the countrys Education Ministry urged the high school principals, whose schools have been taken over by students, to reopen the schools.

    Both the Opposition parties, which brought the issue to the Constitutional Council, and the key union trades, plead President Chirac to step in to try to ease off the crisis.

    The ruling of the Constitutional Councils appears to determine the developments on the issue. Mr Chirac may either immediately ratify the controversial law, or request the French Parliament hold a session to discuss it anew, while he can use the ten-day deadline provided by the countrys Constitution to introduce new talks between the Government, the union leaders and the students.

    However, all the union trades, as well as the university and high school organizations, have already dismissed de Villepins invitation to dialogue. As per an opinion poll conducted by French pollster IPSOS on behalf of paper Le Parisien, 62% of the French favours the withdrawal of the law, while 66% disagrees with the PMs stance.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Le Monde: Le role decisif du Conseil constitutionnel

    ZDF: Kippt die Arbeitsmarktreform?

    Financial Times: Chirac faces pressure to halt labour bill

    New York Times: Chirac may step in to try to resolve crisis over jobs law

    Related News:

    A "Historic" Day

    [08] Held Hostage Since January US Journalist Freed

    30 Mar 2006 15:48:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    US journalist Jill Carroll, who had been kept captive in Iraq since January 7, was set free. Tareq al-Hashem, leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, announced the release, while Iraqi police and Christian Science Monitor, the paper Jill Carroll worked for, confirmed the news. An Iraqi Interior Ministry source cited that the 28-year-old US journalist was transferred to the so-called Green Zone in central Baghdad. Carroll had been abducted by a group calling themselves "The Revenge Brigades," who threatened to kill her unless all female Iraqi detainees were set loose. The captors had attacked the car she was on, killing her translator. In early February, the journalist made a desperate plea via a video, requesting her captors demands be met.

    Glimmers of hope for the release of the 28-year-old hostage aroused last week, when two Canadians and a Briton were freed following a British-led army operation in Iraq.

    It is estimated that hundreds of Iraqis and more than 200 Westerners have been abducted over the last three years. Many of them have been released, and several other have been killed by the captors. Two Germans and two Kenyans are still held hostages.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Voice of America: US Hostage Jill Carroll Released in Iraq

    [09] Concentration and Meditation Yoga Sessions in Art Galleries

    30 Mar 2006 15:59:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Associated Press

    Art Galleries are thought of as places of concentration and meditation. They have now turned into ideal places to unwind. The US Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute decided to launch a blending of painting with yoga, offering an hour-long yoga session after a lecture on painting. "Yuga is really more than fitness," explained instructor Rachael Nickel and further added, "Its a spiritual tradition thats over 5,000 years old." This pretty unusually novel idea has also inspired the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in downtown Dallas. As per the director of the Crow Collection, art galleries are places for quiet contemplation, thus making yoga the perfect companion. In fact, some yoga classes take place in the Indian art gallery, connecting participants with the history of yoga.

    Related Links:

    Crow Collection of Asian Art

    Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

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