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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Vavilis in Athens
  • [02] Expulsion of Giorgos Floridis
  • [03] Fastest Robot in the World
  • [04] Cooperation by Health Defence Ministries
  • [05] Livestock Confiscated
  • [06] "Orange" Government in the Ukraine
  • [07] Zarqawi's Associate Arrested
  • [08] Ehud Olmert Received Order
  • [09] Dynamic Growth
  • [10] Plans Finalised in the Next Four Years
  • [11] Stephanos Stratigos Passed Away
  • [12] Baby Infected with Hepatitis C
  • [13] H5N1 Hits Scotland
  • [14] The Pork-Chop Burglar
  • [15] Dispute over Student Poster
  • [16] Visit to Green Line
  • [17] Abolishment of Civil Mobilisation

  • [01] He Flew in from the Italian Capital Vavilis in Athens

    06 Apr 2006 14:53:00 (Last updated: 06 Apr 2006 18:16:36)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The Olympic Airlines plane carrying Apostolos Vavilis from Rome arrived at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport shortly after 13:00 CET. "The man with the thousand faces" was escorted by a panel of three Greek police officers, who travelled to the Italian capital for the transfer. Vavilis immediately boarded on a Greek Police vehicle and was taken to the Attica Police Directorate in a police escort to undergo the relevant police procedures. In the afternoon, he appeared before the Athens Magistrate Prosecutor for the case relating to the 7-year sentence for drug trafficking, passed by the court of Volos in 1997. Vavilis will spend the night at the Attica Police Directorate. On Monday morning, he will be taken to the Police Court for the forged papers he used and from there to Examiner for the rest of the charges brought against him, while he will be then taken to Korydallos prison.

    Dressed in a monks frock and without wearing any handcuffs, Vavilis refused to make statements before boarding on the plane and only wished "Happy Easter."

    In Greece, Vavilis will have to answer for a series of felonies and misdemeanors over his actions in Greece, Italy and Israel. He is charged with:

    Violation of State secrets, pertaining to his relation to Israeli secret services Fraud Forgery and use of forged documents Direct complicity to money embezzlement through the establishment of the non-profit association Magna Grecia. It is noted that Vavilis, in association with retired Greek Police officer Giannis Triantafyllakis, received large amounts of money by Greek businessmen on the pretence of representing the Patriarchate.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Vavilis en Route to Greece

    [02] Developments in PASOK Expulsion of Giorgos Floridis

    06 Apr 2006 23:07:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET 105.8, NET, ANA

    On Thursday night, President of PASOK George Papandreou requested and received Giorgos Floridis resignation from the Parliamentary Groups Steering Body. As per an announcement by the partys Press office "the positions voiced by Giorgos Floridis, the steerer of the Economic Affairs Sector of the Parliamentary Committee, on the dismissals system in Sweden are personal views, which created misinterpretations and do not represent PASOKs positions. Personal positions can be voiced but the members participating in the partys bodies ought to operate in a coordinated manner."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [03] Fastest Robot in the World

    06 Apr 2006 16:39:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: New Scientist

    It may look small but its abilities are many. RunBot is a two-legged robot, which has the ability to run faster than any other robot and is a creation of German and Scottish scientists. RunBotc can run at a speed of 3.5 leg-lengths per second, leaving behind MITs Spring Flamingo, which is four times taller but runs with 1.4 leg-lengths per second. The robot operates with a simple programme which mimics the neurons and reflexes of humans and animals. "We wanted to show that a very simple system with a simple neuronal controller could walk in a natural manner and fast," said Florentin W&#246;rg&#246;tter, from the University of G&#246;ttingen in Germany, who together with scientists from the universities of Glasgow and Sterling, in Scotland, created Runbot.

    Based on Reflexes

    RunBots operation is relatively simple. When one of its legs touches the ground the opposite leg swings forward resulting in the robot to lose its balance. The knee of the swinging leg automatically bends until a sensor on the hip makes it straighten out and step on the ground. Once the leg walks on the ground the procedure restarts.

    As Dr W&#246;rg&#246;tter said, most of the robots that walk do not operate like this, but in more complex ways.

    So that natural movement is given to RunBot, Dr W&#246;rg&#246;tters team based its studies on biology, the nervous system and reflexes. RunBot operates reflexively when on leg steps on the ground.

    For the time being, the robot can walk circularly around a room and is connected by a boom from the centre of the room. However, Dr W&#246;rg&#246;tter and his team are planning to create a RunBot that stands on its own.

    Speaking to New Scientist, Russ Tedrake from Robot Locomotion Group of MIT University said that RunBot shows the power of robotics based on biological systems. Actually he described the result as fascinating.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Speedy robot legs it to break record

    [04] Joint Actions in the Health Department Cooperation by Health Defence Ministries

    06 Apr 2006 21:42:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: ANA

    A series of joint actions by the Ministries of Health and Defence were at the focus of the meeting held by Dimitris Avramopoulos and Evangelos Meimarakis on Thursday. The two Ministers decided on the formation of a committee that will work on the new programme of joint actions in the health department, for the materialisation of the Government programme. The results of the committee will be announced by the two Ministers during their second meeting, in a months time, at the Ministry of National Defence. Moreover, the Ministers of Health and Defence explained that the specific programme will provide for better health services, better social policy for the benefit of Greek society and Greek citizens. It is noted that the Armed Forces has assumed the total of air transport of patients, while ships of the fleet are visiting border islands and providing health services to their residents. In the materialisation plan of the Governments programme, the units will be staffed with extra military doctors who are doing their military service.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Livestock Confiscated

    06 Apr 2006 12:30:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET, NET Radio 105.8

    Veterinarians of the Piraeus Prefecture confiscated livestock from Hungary, Romania and Greece on Thursday morning in Rentis market for not having an incision in the diaphragm, as provided by legislation, to inspect their intestines. As per the veterinarians, this omission does not mean the meat was bad for consumption. In particular, authorities confiscated 213 lambs and goats, weighing 2,190kg in total. According to the Piraeus Prefecture, over 15 tonnes of bad meat, fish and dairy products were confiscated in March alone. The Prefecture has increased market inspections in view of Easter.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] Former Allies Agreed "Orange" Government in the Ukraine

    06 Apr 2006 19:01:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A coalition of three parties will govern the Ukraine, following an agreement by the former allies in the "Orange Revolution." The party of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko decided for a coalition government to be formed with his former allies, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the Socialists. As per the final results of the elections, Viktor Yanukovich came first by 32%, followed by President Yushchenkos party 15%, the Socialist Party 8% and the Communist Party 3.3%.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    RIA Novosti: Our Ukraine approves coalition talks with Tymoshenko, Socialists

    Reuters: Ukraine president opts for Orange coalition

    [07] Violence Continues in Iraq Zarqawi's Associate Arrested

    06 Apr 2006 16:54:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: Washington Post

    The US army announced the arrest of one of al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's associates. The arrestee is Muhammad al-Ubaydi, a former senior intelligence official under Saddam Hussein, believed to have close ties with Zarqawi. As per the US military announcement, Muhammad al-Ubaydi was arrested by Iraqi forces at the southern part of Baghdad on 7 March and is considered the main suspect in the kidnapping of 57-year-old Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena in February 2005. Sgrena's hostage situation had become widely known when an Italian intelligence officer escorting her to freedom was shot and killed by U.S. forces.

    Meanwhile, another bloody attack occurred in Iraq on Thursday. At least 15 people lost their lives and 30 more were injured when a booby-trapped car exploded in Najaf.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Washington Post: US says Iraqi militant behind kidnapping caught

    [08] Discussions on New Israeli Government Ehud Olmert Received Order

    06 Apr 2006 17:36:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Interim Prime Minister of Israel and winner of the recent elections Ehud Olmert officially received an order to form Government, following a meeting with President of the country Moshe Katsav. As per the Israeli legislature, the head of Kadima has 28 days to form the new Israeli Government, which is expected to be composed of five parties, while he can ask for a 14-day extension if discussions fail. Mr Olmerts centrist party won 29 out of the 120 seats in Knesset and is estimated that he will form a coalition Government with Amir Peretzs Labour Party (19 MPs), Shas (12 MPs), Pensioners Party (7 MPs) and United Torah Judaism (6 MPs). In this case, he will have majority by 73 seats in Knesset. The participation of ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu (11 MPs) and Meretz (5 MPs) is still being questioned.

    Feverish Discussions

    The leader of Kadima had stated that he wished for Government to be formed as soon as possible. On Wednsday, in a Press conference he revealed that he held secret discussions with Mr Peretz, whilst describing Labour as "an important social partner."

    As Mr Olmert stated, his aim is for the formation of a powerful coalition, which will materialise his plan on determining the borders of Israel by 2010.

    The official contacts on the formation of Government will begin on Sunday, while Kadima will assume 10 ministries. Among the officials of the party, which was founded by Ariel Sharon, and are expected to be appointed to ministries are former Prime Minister Shimon Peres and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni.

    As per the scenario, six ministries will be taken up by Labour, three by Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu, two by the Pensioners Party and one by Torah.

    As Israeli newspapers reported, Mr Peretz will take up the Ministry of Defence, while the Economy Ministry will be appointed to a Kadima official. Moreover, a battle is taking place for the Education Ministry, which the Labour wants and Ariel Sharon has promised to a close associate.

    It is noted that Mr Olmert took over the leadership of Kadima following Ariel Sharons stroke on 4 January.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    Ha'aretz: Katsav invites Olmert to form next government

    Le Monde: Le president Katsav confie a Ehoud Olmert la charge de former un gouvernement

    USA Today: Olmert formally chosen Israeli prime minister

    [09] Boosted by Greek Economy Dynamic Growth

    06 Apr 2006 16:28:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The Government is putting emphasis to dialogue on social security, because the maximum possible political and social consensus needs to be achieved, stressed Economy Minister G. Alogoskoufis, speaking at the Economist convention. Dialogue, noted Alogoskoufis, will have to be long-term and all aspects should be examined, while he underlined that reforms on social security will be realized within the next four years. "Our reform programme will continue in the coming years, by taking maximum advantage of opportunities to make Greece the "heart of dynamic growth," underlined Giorgos Alogoskoufis. Meanwhile, he underlined the Governments main priority is mild fiscal adjustment aiming at reducing public debt and deficits.

    "Reforms Were Successful"

    Referring to the increase of the Greek average income per head, he said it reached 77.1% in 2005 (75.4% in previous years) and should rise to 80% in 2007. As per Mr Alogoskoufis the profits of listed companies, exports and tourism also increased.

    As a result of the above mentioned developments, employment increased by 1.3% and unemployment dropped below 10% for the first time.

    He also said the growth rate of the Greek Economy increased to 3.7% in 2005, despite sharp increases in oil prices and the Eurozone's economic stagnancy.

    "Reforms were successful and fiscal adjustment continues. There results did not occur by themselves," noted the Minister.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Plans Finalised in the Next Four Years

    06 Apr 2006 13:25:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis met with PM Kostas Karamanlis on Thursday to brief him on economic policy issues and on the results of Wednesdays Biministerial meeting on DEKOs (public utilities and enterprises). As Mr Alogoskoufis stressed, the Governments firm will is to implement the reforms which have already been planned and will be finalised in the next four years. He also voiced the hope that DEKO managements and employees will come to an agreement before the end of the month, so that political intervention wont be necessary. "We follow a policy of uplifting the Economy and dealing with the problems we have inherited," stressed Mr Alogoskoufis, adding that the Governments aim is to first deal with fiscal deficits and then proceed with the second round of tax reforms for the low-salaried and low-pensioners. Earlier, the Economy Minister met with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, with whom he discussed the possibility of tax motives to expand the Renewed Energy Sources.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] Funeral Service on Saturday Morning Stephanos Stratigos Passed Away

    06 Apr 2006 17:39:00

    On Thursday morning, Greek actor Stephanos Stratigos passed away aged 83. He breathed his last at Red Cross Hospital from a respiratory infection as per an announcement by doctors. Stephanos Stratigos was born in Athens, Greece, studied at the Royal Theatre Drama School and excelled in portraying dynamic heroes in film and theatre plays. The first time he stepped on stage was with the Vasilis Logothetidis theatre company, while he worked with many and notable actors. In 1963 he creates his own theatre company and gets involved with directing films and plays. The funeral service will take place on coming Saturday at 11am, while the burial will be made in the Church of Evangelistria in Peristeri.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] Not Transfused with Infected Blood Baby Infected with Hepatitis C

    06 Apr 2006 12:22:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: NET, NET Radio 105.8

    Health Authorities are looking into the case of an eight-month-old baby hospitalised in Ippokrateio Hospital, Thessaloniki, with hepatitis C. The baby boy suffering from hydrocephaly (an abnormality of the central nervous system) and other serious health problems underwent a brain surgery in Gennimatas Hospital when he was only 40 days old.

    Before and after the surgery, the baby was transfused with many units of blood from the Gennimatas, Ippokrateio and AHEPA hospitals, where he was hospitalised from time to time. Competent authorities launched an investigation to see whether the incident was due to transfused blood or some type of nosocomial (hospital acquired) infection. Blood donours including the baby's parents- tested negative to the virus. The fact made authorities exclude the possibility of infected blood transfusion.

    Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos confirmed the incident on Thursday morning. He was informed on the case from early on and was in constant contact with competent bodies in order to find answers. As per his statements, current indications show the infection was due to vertical transmission (hereditary reasons) or pathological causes.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [13] In a Wild Swan H5N1 Hits Scotland

    06 Apr 2006 19:10:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: BBC, ANA

    As confirmed by British officials on Thursday, the deadly strain H5N1 was detected in a wild swan found dead in Scotland. As per the BBC citing a spokesperson of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the tests on the swan sample were positive, confirming the first case of H5N1 in Great Britain. The tests were conducted by experts in the EU Reference Laboratory, in Weybridge, Surrey. The swan was found floating in the water on 29 March in the small fishing village of Cellardyke, Fife, in the eastern part of Scotland. The Prime Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair asked citizens to not fall victims to panic, reminding that the virus cannot be transmitted from humans to humans, but only in rare cases by immediate contact with the ill animal.

    A spokesperson for the Scottish Government confirmed that the swan was a carrier of the virus.

    Following the new case, Great Britain is the 13th European country affected by the most dangerous form of the virus, which is transmittable and has killed more than 100 persons in Asia since 2003.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Swan tests confirm deadly virus

    [14] The Pork-Chop Burglar

    06 Apr 2006 14:02:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    A resident in Glens Falls, New York, was faced with a strange intruder when he returned home from a night out. A man had broken into his apartment, cooked pork chops on the stove, ripped down the smoke alarm from the kitchen ceiling and had then fallen asleep in the bathroom. It wasnt hard to see the man was dead drunk! The resident called the Police, which arrested the drunk and apparently hungry 37-year-old intruder, who had fallen asleep before eating the chops. As was revealed, he was the former resident of the apartment and was probably somewhat confused from the booze. In fact, the current resident knew him, but only by his first name. According to Pop Star newspaper, the New York Police arrested the drunk man on the grounds of breaking and entering and theft.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [15] Dispute between Roussopoulos and Athanasakis Dispute over Student Poster

    06 Apr 2006 19:53:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: ANA, NET, NET 105.8

    Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos asked George Papandreou and PASOK to publicly apologise over a PASP poster for student elections, which depicts a green airplane crashing into two blue twin towers and the caption "I choose PASP because everything can happen." Mr Roussopoulos spoke of an unacceptable and undemocratic action and called on PASOK and Mr Papandreou personally, to condemn the act by the youth and destroy the poster. PASOK Press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis admitted that the poster was wrong, however, he accused the Government spokesperson of attempting to make up for the insults by DAP in Thessaloniki. "The despicable and insulting mottos against the PASOK President by DAP youth and the smile of happiness by the Minister of Culture cannot be compared and are not connected to a poster with a wrong message, which is obviously condemned," said Mr Athanasakis.

    Apologies and Penalties by DAP

    In the meantime, in an announcement student organisation Thessaloniki DAP-NDFK apologised to the President of PASOK and the Minister of Culture over the insulting mottos.

    Moreover, it announced that the head of the organisation in Thessaloniki, Eirinaios Noulis was suspended for six months, while another 26 members of DAP-NDFK were cautioned.

    "We voice our opposition in all sincerity to everything that insults the institution and figure of the President of the Main Opposition and political youth," noted Mr Noulis.

    During a briefing of journalists, Mr Roussopoulos repeated that the mottos were an isolated act, which has been condemned by the Government and President of ONNED.

    On his part, PASOK Press spokesperson said that the reactions of Mr Roussopoulos are delayed, while accusing him of lying when he claimed that all that happened in Thessaloniki were an isolated case and reminded of similar mottos heard in other schools. In closing, Mr Athanasakis called on the Government spokesperson "to abandon the Berlusconian tactics," as he noted, and that "the youth of a big party cannot be educated in this manner."

    "If Mr Athanasakis has not been made aware yet, DAP already announced the penalties imposed to the 17 students responsible for the insulting motto against the President of PASOK. In fact, the Government immediately condemned their acts," answered Mr Roussopoulos and added "what did PASOK do for the PASP youth who advertised terrorism, demolishing the twin towers just like Bin Laden? How many were suspended or cautioned for the disrespect of victims and democratic citizens of the world. Is this what they mean by the new ethos?"

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Chain Reactions over Insulting Mottos

    [16] Made by Dora Bakoyannis Visit to Green Line

    06 Apr 2006 16:12:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The programme of Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis last day of her official visit to Cyprus was busy. On Thursday morning, she visited the camp of the Hellenic Forces Regiment on Cyprus (ELDYK), as well as holding consecutive meetings with former President of the Cypriot Republic Glafkos Kliridis and President of the Democratic Rally Party of Cyprus (DYSI) Nikos Anastasiadis before visiting the Green Line. Following the discussions, Mr Anastasiadis stated that the appointment of Dora Bakoyannis to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "creates new facts and opportunities," adding that they both agree that discussions on the Cypriot conflict should restart as soon as possible. On her part, Mrs Bakoyannis spoke of two optimistic messages, referring to the meeting of the President of the Cypriot Republic with the UN Secretary-General and the European Peoples Party (EPP) vote, with which the Greek-Cypriot positions are adopted, while noting the need for an joint effort so that the vision "for a unified, independent, European and prosperous Cyprus" to become a reality.

    Following, she met with Mayor of Nicosia Michalakis Zabelas, while in her short speech at the Mayoral Mansion of the town she voiced the wish for Nicosia to be soon unified, as it is the only partitioned capital in Europe.

    On his part, Mr Zabelas welcomed Mrs Bakoyannis and said "Hellenism will benefit by the new position of responsibility you have assumed."

    Following the meeting, she took a walk in the town and ended up at the guardhouse of the National Guard, where she saw the part of the zone which divides the free part of the Cypriot capital from the occupied.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    New Impetus for Cyprus Issue

    Joint Stance

    Cypriot Issue at Focus

    Bakoyannis in Cyprus

    [17] Requested by Aleka Papariga Abolishment of Civil Mobilisation

    06 Apr 2006 16:01:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    On Thursday, General Secretary of KKE Aleka Papariga requested the abolishment of civil mobilisation, following a meeting with a delegation of the Panhellenic Seamens Federation (PNO). The General Secretary noted that during the discussion on the issue, in Parliament, the Government will be judged, as will every other party. Mrs Aleka Papariga underlined the interest of her party "for the defence of labour rights, humane work conditions of wages, and pensions of all employees in shipping" and added "the pressure has to be put on, as 0.77 euros cannot be enforced for seamen." Moreover, she called on the Government to claim responsibility of the Greek Merchant Seamens Pension Fund (NAT), which appeared as bankrupt, without the employees being responsible. "Let them solve it between themselves," she added "which means that the Government and ship owners, who are the social partners." In closing, she underlined the need of facing the unemployment problem in shipping, at a time when the profitability of ship owners is very high.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou


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