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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-04-03

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Deal Struck over Contract
  • [02] NBG Spreads its Wings
  • [03] Dialogue for TV Ratings
  • [04] Dispute over Education
  • [05] Technical Directors to ADAE
  • [06] Multi-Fatality Blast in Baghdad
  • [07] Thefts of Medicines
  • [08] Third Round for Kosovo
  • [09] Sell Your Soul on the Internet
  • [10] Kalousis' Hearing on Wednesday
  • [11] Reinforcing Military Hospitals
  • [12] Ongoing Protests over Fertilisers Industry
  • [13] Standing by the Flood Victims
  • [14] Aggeletos Kanas Released

  • [01] Employers and Employees Agree Deal Struck over Contract

    03 Apr 2006 19:08:00 (Last updated: 03 Apr 2006 23:39:14)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A deal was struck for the new collective work contract, following the sixth consecutive meeting between employers and employees. The new contract will have a two-year duration, and total raises of 10.9%, while the minimum wage will increase by 2.9% (including back payments for previous months) and by a further 2.9% as of 1 September. In addition, an extra raise of 5.1% is provided for as of 1 May 2007. Based on this new agreement, the minimum wage will increase to 658 euros, as opposed to the current 591 euros, while day wages will be set at 29.45 euros, compared to 26.41 euros currently. The new contact will be signed on Wednesday at 12 noon. GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) President Christos Polyzogopoulos spoke of tough negotiations and a fair compromise, while SEV (Federation of Greek Industries) President Odysseas Kyriakopoulos termed the contract satisfactory, since the raises exceed the current inflation rate. Earlier, PAME (All Workers Militant Front) representative, Giorgos Mavrikos, had departed from the meeting, describing the dialogue as a "class-based compromise." The deal was welcomed by PASOK, while KKE and SYN spoke of a deception.

    They Shook on It

    Kyriakopoulos pointed out that the industrialists pledged to cover the burden of the agreed raises through investments and an increase in productivity. At the same time he described the increases as "the greatest in the EU15," while he spoke of "an optimistic message for the future."

    The President of ESEE (National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce), Dimitris Armenakis, said it was "a positive message towards society," adding that the agreement constitutes a significant step towards the convergence of salaries to those of the EU. "Fortunately, composed views and visionary reasoning prevailed," said the President of GSEVEE (general Confederation of Small and Medium Sized Businesses), Dimitris Asimakopoulos.

    On the part of the employees, Polyzogopoulos underlined that the negotiations were extremely tough, amid unfavourable conditions created by the Governments revenue policy and other interventions, including the banks. "The agreement compensates the employees incomes for the loss suffered by inflation and a part of the increase in productivity," concluded the President of GSEE.

    The Confederations general secretary, Kostas Poupakis, termed the new contact as "the best possible result," adding that it was now time for the State to fulfil its pre-lection pledges.

    The left-wing trade unions voiced their opposition to the content of the new contract. Apart from Mavrikos, who departed while urging employees to stage a strike on 13 April, alternate GSEE President Alekos Kalyvis claimed that the agreement falls short of the needs and capabilities of the unions, while underlining that he would ask the Confederations board not to sign the contact and proceed with collective actions.

    Political Reactions

    "PASOK welcomes todays agreement between social partners, as it constitutes a lesson for the arrogance of the Minister of Economy and Finance, who rushed to announce by fax of raises below the inflation rate for the public sector," declared PASOKs section head for Economy, Vaso Papandreou.

    KKE and SYN voiced their opposition to the employer-employee agreement.

    In its announcement, KKE spoke of "disgraceful raises," urging the employees to react on 13 April, while it criticised the GSEE of "not negotiating based on contemporary needs and the right of employees for meaningful raises." At the same time, the party claimed that the employers only care for increasing their extreme profits and described the Government as a "shaper of the anti-labour agreement."

    On behalf of SYN, Panagiotis Lafazanis described the agreement as a "deception for the hundreds of thousands of low-income earners in Greece," while he predicted that the agreed raises "would dwindle away in the next two years due to the wave of high prices." Finally, he accused the Government of employing extreme anti-labour policies, the industrialists of intransigence and GSEEs leadership of compromising.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Crucial Talks

    [02] Purchase of Turkish Bank NBG Spreads its Wings

    03 Apr 2006 18:24:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET

    A major bank deal is changing the map of financial institutions in the Balkans. During a joint Press conference in Athens on Monday afternoon, the National Bank of Greece announced the purchase of 46% of Turkish bank Finansbank. The amount to be paid out by NGB comes to 2.3 billion euros and constitutes the largest foreign investment ever by a Greek bank. A major banking corporation will be formed after this latest development, numbering 1,000 branches and some 10 million customers in the two countries. "The NGB aims at acquiring the absolute majority, i.e. at least 50.01% of the Turkish bank," declared the Governor of the National Bank of Greece, Takis Arapoglou. Finansbank is the fifth largest bank in Turkey, with 219 branches all over the country. It runs operations in ten countries in total, while it recorded an 80% increase in profits in the last year.

    Corporate Profiles

    The National Bank of Greece heads the strongest financial group in the country, while it boasts a dynamic profile internationally, particularly in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. It has the largest network of branches in Greece, with 570 units and over 1300 ATMs. Following recent acquisitions in the Balkans, the Groups network abroad includes 290 units.

    Finansbank started operations on 27 October 1987. It has 221 branches across Turkey, as well as in another nine countries around the world (Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Romania, Ireland and Bahrain). The bank was founded by H&#252;sn&#252; &#214;zye&#287;in, one of the neighbouring countrys leading bankers.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Read the story on other sources:

    National Bank of Greece

    Finansbank

    Related News:

    NBG Enters Turkey's Market

    [03] Dialogue for TV Ratings

    03 Apr 2006 15:46:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    On Monday, State Minister and Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos noted that the matter of the TV ratings will be publicly discussed in order to institute a proper legal framework that would secure the operation, auditing and greater credibility of ratings, in collaboration with the State and relevant bodies. As per Roussopoulos, the States Legal Advisor has been asked to offer his opinion as to whether AGB (the company currently measuring the TV ratings in Greece) fulfils all the criteria for being listed in the register of businesses for radio and television market research. The State Ministers proposals include the formation of a civil non-profit organisation that would check the validity of the ratings.

    State to Act as Auditor

    Specifically, the civil non-profit organisation, which will be made up of relevant professional and social bodies, would check the validity and legality of the ratings, either at it own initiative or following a complaint. As per Roussopoulos, one representative from each holder of a licence for operating a radio or TV station, as well as one representative from each newspaper or magazine owner would be able participate in the organisation.

    In order to audit the ratings results, the organisation would then form three audit committees to inspect the TV ratings, radio ratings and newspaper/magazine circulations.

    Answering to another question, Roussopoulos mentioned that if AGB is stricken from the registry, then it would not be able to undertake public contracts. In addition, asked to comment on the role of AGB following the formation of the organisation in question, he underlined, "As the Government sees it, and based on the practices of all the advanced European societies, the matters of ratings and journalistic ethics follow the concept of self-regulation."

    "The role of the State is to act as an auditor, so the aim of the proposed organisation would be auditory, while the ratings could be measured by any company," he added.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    AGB at the Focus

    [04] Fruitless Meeting Dispute over Education

    03 Apr 2006 20:11:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET 105.8

    The university professors decided to proceed with an ongoing strike as of 1 May, following the futile meeting on Monday with Education Minister Marietta Giannakou. On her part, Ms Giannakou declared, "The States foremost duty lies with Public Universities," clarifying that the operation of private, non-profit institutions would be governed by strict terms and conditions. In the meantime, university students throughout Greece will proceed to vote on Wednesday in order to elect their representatives at the various associations executive boards.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Cross-Examination for Wiretaps Technical Directors to ADAE

    03 Apr 2006 21:36:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: NET

    The Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) is continuing its investigation into the wiretapping case with the cross-examination of the heads of Vodafone and Ericssons technical departments. On Tuesday, Vodafones Technology Director, Nikos Mastorakis, and Ericssons Technical Department Director, Christos Xanthopoulos, will appear at ADAE, accompanied by two associates each, while the Authoritys members will seek convincing answers and clarifications over technical matters. According to information, the lists of the tapped mobile phones will be crosschecked during the examination. In the meantime, the up-until-now unidentified informant sent a fourth letter to the lawyer of Tsalikidis family, Themistoklis Sofos, revealing his identity and asking for a meeting. After meeting with him and assessing the information, Sofos will probably ask the Prosecutor handling the case, Ioannis Diotis, to call him as a witness.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    "The NIS Did Not Tap Phones"

    ADAE Reinspects Vodafone

    [06] Car Bomb Explodes Close to Mosque Multi-Fatality Blast in Baghdad

    03 Apr 2006 19:58:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Ten people were killed and 30 were injured in a car bomb blast recorded close to a Shiite mosque northeast of Baghdad, as per Interior Ministry sources. The car bomb exploded at the same time as worshippers were leaving the mosque after evening prayer. The car was parked close to the al-Shroofi mosque in the Shaab district.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] From 20 Pharmacies in Athens Thefts of Medicines

    03 Apr 2006 19:23:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    In the last four months, robbers have been targeting pricy medicines, as they have broken into 20 pharmacies throughout Athens. In a Press conference on Monday, pharmacists voiced their certainty that the culprits are part of an organised ring that experts drugs abroad, earning 80 times more than the original price. Alternatively, they believe that the drugs are also being sold over the Internet. As per the President of the Pharmaceutical Association of Attica, Kostas Lourados, the drugs being stolen are very expensive and are mainly used by cancer patients, as well as blood pressure and heart patients, while the retail prices exceed 10 euros per box. As he explained, the robbers have never stolen sedatives or chemical drugs, but only specific categories.

    The thefts have been reported to the relevant authorities, and it is believed that the culprits first visit the pharmacies as customers to check out the place and establish whether it is monitored by a closed TV circuit or if there is an alarm. Usually, as per Lourados, they enter through auxiliary entrances, by digging though a wall or through the roof.

    Asked whether he had any clues as to who is behind this unusual case, the President spoke of dealers of stolen goods, who may also be exporters, since he believes that there are masterminds behind the operation, telling the robbers which drugs to steal.

    It is estimated that the damages suffered by the pharmacies so far are between 25,000 and 100,000 euros.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Negotiations Start in Vienna Today Third Round for Kosovo

    03 Apr 2006 11:28:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The diplomatic delegations of Pristina and Belgrade will be meeting for the third time in Vienna on Monday to participate in negotiation talks over Kosovo's regime. The third round of talks will focus on decentralising powers in Kosovo and on the proposal of the main negotiator and UN special envoy Marti Ahtisaari, which includes a plan to reorganize local administration and was distributed to both sides last week. The two delegations will continue their talks on decentralisation, funding and cooperation of Kosovo's Serbian municipalities, i.e their link and cooperation with Belgrade. Both sides will be called to clarify the legal basis for decentralisation, funding and connection between municipalities. The first reactions to the proposal's content were negative from both parties.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [09] Sell Your Soul on the Internet

    03 Apr 2006 15:20:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The decision of a 24-year-old man to sell his soul on the Internet has caused a stir in Hong Kong. The South China Morning Star revealed the unheard-of incident, saying the auction was postponed just a few hours after the listing, as such a venture would not be feasible. However, 59 buyers managed to state their interest for as long as the offer was on air. The young man told the newspaper he did no longer need his soul and wanted to offer it to someone who would actually do something with it. In fact, if the auction went on, he would send the buyer photos and souvenirs, so that he would get to know great moments of his life. And all of the above for only 85 bucks!

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Kalousis' Hearing on Wednesday

    03 Apr 2006 19:03:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    The hearing of former Judge Evangelos Kalousis, who is remanded in custody charged with violation of duty, is expected to commence on Wednesday before the 3rd Three-Member Court of Appeals. The hearing was scheduled to take place on Monday, however, the Court adjourned the session until Wednesday, as the previous cases had run late. The hearing pertains to Kalousis handling of a drugs case in 2001, when he was an Examiner. He had then ruled with the relevant Prosecutor that the young couple implicated in the case should be remanded in custody, but later on he decided to alter the womans sentence to two monthly appearances in his office. Kalousis did not attend the hearing on Monday, but he will have to sit in the dock in two days time, as recommended by the Judge.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Reinforcing Military Hospitals

    03 Apr 2006 19:03:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    While visiting the Athens Military Hospitals, Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis announced the hiring of professional soldiers to cover the needs of understaffed military hospitals. He thus voiced the Governments determination to improve the living conditions of the Armed Forces personnel by dealing with problems relating to their healthcare. Joined by deputy ministers Vasilis Michaloliakos and Giannis Labropoulos, Mr Meimarakis successively visited 410 General Military Hospital, 251 General Airforce Hospital and Athens Navy Hospital, where he was informed on employees problems, as well as on their mission and potential.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] For the Thessaloniki Phosphoric Fertilisers SA Ongoing Protests over Fertilisers Industry

    03 Apr 2006 18:06:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    The Board of the Phosphoric Fertilisers Industry SA, which convened in Athens along with employee representatives from the Thessaloniki and Kavala plants, decided on the formation of a 6-member committee that would submit proposals for the operation of the Thessaloniki plant until 19 April. Three of the committee members will be appointed by the administration and three by the employees. At noon on Monday, employees of the Industry blocked part of Syngrou Avenue in Athens for about an hour, reacting to the closing down of the business. SYN President Alekos Alavanos and KKE MP Elpida Pantelaki stood by the employees, who will decide on their future actions during a meeting in Thessaloniki on Tuesday.

    "Profitable Plant"

    Speaking at a rally outside the companys offices in Athens, the President of SYN underlined that the unity and determination of the employees at Thessaloniki Phosphoric Fertilisers Industry SA should constitute a lesson to all employees.

    Alekos Alavanos said that it would be unacceptable to close down the plant in Thessaloniki, which is an "industrial cemetery." As he pointed out, the plant is profitable, while it comes under the administration of banks that make "outrageous profits."

    He also added that the Phosphoric Fertilisers Industry would not be closing down, as no one will accept it because it is a matter concerning the whole of society.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Alavanos Over Thessaloniki Fertilisers

    [13] Papandreou Tours Evros Standing by the Flood Victims

    03 Apr 2006 17:47:00 (Last updated: 03 Apr 2006 22:58:38)

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: ANA - NET

    On Monday, during his visit to Evros riverside villages, which were affected by the recent floods, PASOK President George Papandreou accused the Government of delaying the anti-flood works. At the same time, Papandreou urged the PM to abandon his refuge at Maximos Mansion and deal with reality, while he asked the Government to implement measures so as to provide relief to the flood victims. At noon, PASOKs President visited Amorio, which is part of the Municipality of Orfeas in the Prefecture of Evros, where he voiced his support and repeated that he would back the Five-Year Reconstruction Programme for Evros. On the other hand, Evros Prefect Nikos Zambounidis, who briefed Papandreou on the situation following the recent floods, stressed, "The Prefectures Economy has suffered a terrible blow from the recent floods and the State should make brave decisions that would contribute towards leading the Prefecture out of this tragic dead-end it has reached." Answering to PASOKs President, Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos stressed, "In 2.5 years, the Government has pledged 10 million euros, while another 5 million are directly available, while, during PASOKs era, the same public works were announced, but stayed in the books."

    Wrangling in Parliament

    The anti-flooding protection of Evros constituted an excuse for a dispute in Parliament between Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and PASOK MPs, who had filed a relevant interpellation..

    The Minister accused PASOK of making no preparations, neither at a level of works and technical support not at a level of cross-border collaboration for the anti-flooding protection of the Prefecture.

    On the other hand, the Opposition MPs spoke of inexistent progress of works in the last two years and fire department measures to deal with the problems, while they asked for a state of emergency to be declared in the Prefecture.

    Pavlopoulos spoke of distortion of truth, while he described Papandreous visit to Evros as an effort to create impressions, adding, "He did not go there to solve any problems, but to play with the Media." At the same time he submitted detailed appendices outlining the programmes to restore the problems in Evros, amounting to 10 million euros, which were implemented in the last two years, while he focused on the need for Bulgaria to fulfil its obligations.

    "You are raising walls when you are saying that it is Bulgarias fault, since the country is cooperating with us," responded the PASOK MPs, while when the Minister was asked about how the problems of the farmers in the area will be dealt, he reassured that the compensations would be granted.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    PASOK Leader Tours Evros

    [14] Following Tsigaridas and Athanasaki Aggeletos Kanas Released

    03 Apr 2006 16:32:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Following Christos Tsigaridas and Eirene Athanaski, the Five-Member Court of Paroles accepted the appeal filed by Aggeletos Kanas for the suspension of the sentence imposed on him for participating in terrorist group ELA. The court decided to release the former head of the Community of Kimolos, banning him from leaving country and setting a 3,000-euro bail. In his appeal, Kanas mainly cited family reasons, as well as the fact that the courts issued contradictory rulings. It should be noted that Kanas had been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for participating in ELA, while he had been acquitted for other specific actions relating to the group.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis


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