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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-05-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] On Alert over the Economy
  • [02] Burning Fuel Prices
  • [03] Optimism over Economy
  • [04] Inter-Balkan Summit in Thessaloniki
  • [05] Diplomacy Key to Iranian Crisis
  • [06] Financial Aid for Brucellosis
  • [07] Proposals on Universities Ready
  • [08] Riankour Case Reopens
  • [09] New Nationalisations in Bolivia
  • [10] Berlusconi Resigned
  • [11] New Partnerships with Arab World
  • [12] Lifesaving Blood Test
  • [13] Conference on Fast Internet
  • [14] Full-Scale Interview by Pangalos

  • [01] Greek PM's Speech at SETE Assembly On Alert over the Economy

    02 May 2006 21:29:00

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8 - ANA

    Speaking at the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) General Assembly, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis referred to the negative situation for both the global and the Greek economy, due to the crisis in Iran and the continual rise in oil prices. Karamanlis pointed out that the international environment is being burdened by new uncertainties; however, the Greek Government will achieve its targets, since it has made realistic evaluations and is proceeding with caution, drawing up a new energy policy at a fast rate. "We are on alert, but we are not troubled as far as our targets are concerned," noted the PM, adding that the soaring international fuel prices are pressuring the European, Western and developing economies.

    Independence from Oil

    Referring to the new energy policy followed by the Government in order to free the Greek economy from oil, the PM noted the following priorities:

    Deregulating the energy market Exploiting biofuel and renewable energy sources Expanding the use of natural gas Curbing dependence on oil Saving energy Promoting major public works that would render Greece an international energy hub

    Focusing on the Future of Tourism

    In his short account of the activities in the tourism sector over the last two years since the elections, the PM underlined that Greece has now acquired a composite tourism policy, with planning, strategy and specific targets. In addition, the formation of the Ministry of Tourism has demonstrated the Governments interest in tourist affairs.

    As per Karamanlis, the main priorities of the new Governance include boosting businesses, promoting tourism with contemporary marketing, redefining tourism in every growth sector and enriching the sector with new forms of tourism.

    As for investments, the PM noted that some 480 investment plans have been submitted for tourism infrastructure works and more than half, amounting to 560 million euros, have been approved.

    Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia voiced the belief that Greek tourism will be many steps ahead of 2004 in the next few years.

    She also added that the Ministry has prioritised the targets that have to be achieved and is proceeding with its plans, so as to make Greece a top tourist destination in Europe all year round.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Burning Fuel Prices

    Optimism over Economy

    [02] New Rise in Oil Prices Burning Fuel Prices

    02 May 2006 18:54:00 (Last updated: 02 May 2006 21:58:03)

    Sources: NET - ANA

    The oil prices continued their upward spiral on Tuesday. The price of American crude for May deliveries rose to $74.20 per barrel at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon. Moreover, the price of Brent recorded an all-time high, reaching $74.95 per barrel. Fuel stations are now selling fuel for over $1 euro per litre in Greece. All the more consumers are turning to natural gas due to the rises in oil prices and the analysts estimates of the price reaching $100 per barrel. Over the last few days, the number of applications for natural gas has skyrocketed in Greece.

    Oil Becomes Thorny Subject

    The average price for unleaded fuel in Greece has increased significantly compared to last week. As per the latest price checks by the Ministry of Development, the average price rose to 1.039 euros per litre, up by 2.26% since the last check.

    In addition, the average price for heating oil reached 0.647 euros per litre, as opposed to 0.635 euros last week.

    Since the beginning of 2004, the price for unleaded fuel has increased by 42%, while Brent has shot up by 132%.

    The Economy Ministry is closely monitoring the developments, since the budget only allowed for $63 per barrel. Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, however, clarified that the Greek economy is resilient and the high growth rates would continue in 2006.

    According to the Bank of Greece, a 10%-rise in oil prices would increase inflation by 0.23% and would reduce the growth rate by 0.15% until 2007.

    But how will Greece achieve a 3.8% growth rate, when it will be 2% in the rest of Europe? Through increasing private consumption, private investments, the public investments programme, exports, revenues and constructions, and by curbing public expenditure.

    However, the alarm has sounded for households, since new interest rate rises are expected. Approximately 89% of the new home loans will be burdened immediately, since they were taken out on floating interest rates. Some 200,000 households are paying over 40% of their monthly income in installments, while 7.9% of the loans cannot be repaid within three months.

    At the same time, loans make up 38% of the GNP!

    The Crisis Puzzle

    An intricate web of geopolitical interests and objectives is hiding behind this new race in the price of black gold. Apart from the crisis with Iran, which is probably the tip of the iceberg, the puzzle is also made up of the sabotages of Iraqi oil producers, the abduction of oil company executives in Nigeria, the emerging industrial energy giants of China and India, and the games staged by profiteers in the international stock markets.

    The third oil crisis in history, following those of 1973 and 1979, is probably the most serious one, as the prices are not expected to drop back to $50-60 per barrel.

    The reason is because this time around, the crisis is not only due to the supply, but also the unprecedented soaring in international demand headed by China which increased by 1.9% in 2003 and by 3.7% in 2004.

    As per international analysts, if the supply continues to be disrupted in the long run, the prices might continue to rise. Starting from $80, they could even exceed $100.

    It took mankind 125 years to consume 1 trillion barrels of black gold. Currently, international reserves are estimated at about the same level, but with todays rates, they are expected to be depleted in less than 30 years.

    In an effort to avoid an energy shock, Europe has been long seeking alternative energy sources. Oil now covers just 37% of its needs, followed by natural gas with 24%, solid fuel (such as lignite) with 18%, nuclear energy with 15% and renewable energy sources with 6%.

    Greece continues to have the highest per capita oil consumption rate, but the introduction of natural gas in electric energy production and domestic heating is expected to significantly reduce the countrys dependence on imported oil.

    All the more people are turning to natural gas due to the rising oil prices. The great number of applications submitted to the Public Gas Corporation has resulted in one-year delays in the installation of natural gas from the time the contract is signed.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [03] Emphasis on Boosting Income Optimism over Economy

    02 May 2006 14:49:00 (Last updated: 02 May 2006 22:44:04)

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8 - ANA

    Upon exiting the Cabinet meeting, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis appeared optimistic over the Economys course, underlining that emphasis will be put on boosting incomes and employment. The Minister voiced his satisfaction over the course of the implementation of the budget and the results the Government policy has yielded with regard to growth. However, he acknowledged that the soaring oil prices and the expected rise in the interest rates by the European Central Bank are poising a threat to the Greek Economy. Furthermore, the Parliaments Standing Committee on Social and Economic affairs will convene on the social security issue on May 11.

    Promising Evidence

    Mr Alogoskoufis underscored that the Greek Economy in 2005 lived up to the planning made, growth rates amounted to 3.7%, while both deficit and unemployment decreased. The Minister further claimed that the Q1 results for 2006 are positive and noted that the evidence for both the Greek and global economy is also promising.

    Mr Alogoskoufis went on to say that the soaring oil prices and the havoc that has emerged, as well as the expected rise in the EU interest rates, pose a threat to the countrys Economy.

    Furthermore, he argued that the future of the income of the employees and pensioners alike is promising.

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos argued that growth rates rank above 3%, therefore, "our drive has started bearing fruit, so it will continue."

    When asked about profiteering phenomena, Mr Roussopoulos reminded that the Government is doing its best to stamp out profiteering. Questioned about the oil prices, he maintained, "The global economy has come up against two grave problems: oil prices and interest rates."

    Preparations for Elections

    On his part, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said he briefed the Cabinet on the preparations his Ministry has made with regard to the coming mayoral prefectoral elections.

    "We must be ready and we will be before summertime," argued Mr Pavlopoulos, noting that all procedures will have concluded by May.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Social Security in Parliament

    [04] Karamanlis-Erdogan Meeting on Thursday Inter-Balkan Summit in Thessaloniki

    02 May 2006 17:16:00

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8 - ANA

    On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis will meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the Inter-Balkan Cooperation Summit, which is commencing on Wednesday in Thessaloniki. In statements she made Tuesday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed that Greece, which currently holds the Inter-Balkan presidency, has made significant progress. In addition, the FM visited the offices of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in Perissos and briefed general secretary Aleka Papariga on national matters.

    Strengthening Regional Cooperation

    The Inter-Balkan Cooperation Summit will focus on all the developments in the area, with the main topic being the situation in Kosovo.

    As per Bakoyannis, the aim is to strengthen regional cooperation, which would greatly benefit the people of the area.

    Kostas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet with Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the proceedings on Thursday. Their discussion will mainly focus on matters pertaining to cooperation between the countries of SE Europe, as well as bilateral matters.

    On the occasion of the statements against the Ecumenical Patriarch on Monday, Government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos and FM Dora Bakoyannis noted the need for Turkey to respect religious liberties, as one of the main preconditions in its accession course.

    The Greek PM is scheduled to depart for the Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki at 14:30 on Wednesday.

    As for Thessaloniki, everything is ready to welcome the prime ministers and foreign ministers of SE Europe, while strict security measures are in force. However, the citizens are not expected to be inconvenienced, since the ministers and state leaders will travel eastwards from the airport.

    Bakoyannis-Papariga Meeting

    Moreover, on Tuesday, the Greek FM met with KKE secretary Aleka Papariga in order to brief her on foreign policy matters and the developments in Iran.

    "We are in the middle of a diplomatic effort, which will be longwinded, and I am hoping and wishing for it to bear the results we are all anticipating. The Greek peoples will has been recorded and they wish for a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the current problem with Iran," declared Dora Bakoyannis after the meeting, adding that consent in Greeces diplomatic moves will eventually depend on the political parties.

    "We believe that irrespective of the conventional obligations that exist in Greece and have been approved by the governments successively, they should not be fulfilled if they lead to the flaring up of new wars," declared Papariga.

    The meeting formed part of the FMs series of discussions with Greek political leaders.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Proposed Papoulias from Bahrain Diplomacy Key to Iranian Crisis

    02 May 2006 19:28:00

    Sources: NET 105.8 - ANA

    Before visiting the National Museum of Bahrain, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, expressed fears that the crisis with Iran would be longwinded. However, he voiced his restrained optimism for a resolution to the problem. Specifically, the Greek President mentioned that we are facing a lengthy crisis, but appeared confident that the possibilities for diplomacy were endless, noting that all these possibilities have to be exhausted. He also noted that Greece opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons. "I am confident that no one wants to plunge the world into chaos; we will find a solution and we will overcome the crisis," underlined the President of the Hellenic Republic.

    At noon, Mr Papoulias toured the Formula 1 circuit, which was constructed over the last few years.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] From the Rural Development and Food Ministry Financial Aid for Brucellosis

    02 May 2006 19:22:00

    Sources: NET - ANA

    The three cases of brucellosis (also known as Rock fever or Undulant fever) spotted in Aspropyrgos have come under the microscope. The consumption of fresh cheese is considered the most probable cause of the disease. Scientists are noting the need to implement all the precautionary measures, while Prefectures have been supplied with the necessary equipment to vaccinate livestock in their regions. The Greek Rural Development and Food Ministry announced today that it was pledging 18 million euros from the state budget of all of the countrys local governments in order to continue the disinfection programme for livestock. This amount will also include indemnities to breeders for the compulsory slaughter of diseased animals and will secure the smooth operation of diagnostic laboratories.

    Deputy Minister Alexandros Kontos announced the amount of aid, after a meeting that took place in the Rural Development and Food Ministry on the subject of combating brucellosis in sheep and goats.

    At the same time, he added that a compulsory REV-1 vaccination programme for young animals, destined for reproduction, and older animals has been in effect from 2003 until today, aiming at uprooting the disease.

    As per Kontos, in the case of Western Attica, ten times more than the vaccines requested have been dispatched. Specifically, the Western Attica Local Government asked for 2,500 vaccines on 5/9/2005, while the Ministry sent 2,500 vaccines on 7/9/2005, 20,000 vaccines on 6/12/2005 and another 7,000 vaccines on 8/3/2006.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Findings Submitted to Minister Today Proposals on Universities Ready

    02 May 2006 12:32:00

    The findings of the National Education Council on the changes to the organisation and operation of universities are to be submitted on Tuesday to the Minister of Education. The 30-page report includes proposals aiming to put an end to the trend of eternal students, transfers and to establish the institution of University Ombudsman. The report is submitted in view of drawing up a new law on universities in June. The proposals include:

    University Ombudsman (to solve the differences of the university community). Right to be re-examined by a competent committee (for students who failed to pass an exam for the third). Sanctions to absent professors (and evaluation based on questionnaire). All students should vote in dean elections. Abolishment of a single course book. Introduction on managers in Universities.

    The proposals of the National Education Council are to put an end to eternal students, who are estimated to 20% of the total student body.

    Another proposal is to abolish transfers from regional universities to Athens and Thessaloniki. Lastly, the Council has provided for the presentation of Universities on the Internet.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [08] Riankour Case Reopens

    02 May 2006 11:02:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    Fourteen years have gone by since the Riankour case, and Justice appears to agree with Polices estimations, according to which Maria Tsinteri and Anna of Riankour are the same person. The court dismissed the lawsuits Tsinteri had filed against paper To Vima and television network "Star" as groundless. The courts rulings read that the plaintiff was definitely involved in the case of the information given to police authorities in 1992, when a woman named Anna called police and spoke of an assault mounted by 17N against a judge.

    [09] Heralded President Evo Morales New Nationalisations in Bolivia

    02 May 2006 09:26:00 (Last updated: 02 May 2006 17:16:02)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Addressing Bolivians gathered at La Pazs square, Bolivian President Evo Morales heralded Monday a new wave of nationalisations, aiming to retake control of the countrys natural resources. Morales announced that the nationalisation of the oil sector has been on truck and gave the foreign companies a six-month deadline to either agree to new contracts of leave Bolivia. Morales, who was escorted by Bolivias Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera and Hydrocarbons minister Andres Soliz, was much applauded by the huge crowds that had packed the square. His speech ended with the playing of the countrys national anthem performed by a military band. However, this move has prompted reactions.

    Reactions by Companies, States and the EU

    Some 26 foreign companies, including Britains BG Group PLC and BP PLC, Brazils Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA, Frances Total SA and Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp, are to be affected by Bolivias move.

    Brazilian Energy Minister Silas Rondeau termed the Bolivian Presidents decision as hostile.

    A spokesman for Petrobras, one of the largest foreign investors in Bolivia, argued that analysts are examining Morales decision. He further added that Brazil would not be afflicted, since the natural gas supply will go on unhindered.

    On its part, Spain voiced its grave concerns over Bolivias move, while Spanish energy corporation Repsol argued it is too early to assess the decree.

    Being one of the main energy investors in Bolivia, Repsol officials said they had not yet received any official announcement.

    The Presidential decree demands all foreign companies either agree to new contracts within 180 days or leave the country.

    Morales has already sent soldiers to occupy gas field to make sure the output runs unhampered.

    In Madrid, Spains Foreign Ministry expressed "deep concern" about the decree to nationalize the hydrocarbons sector. The government hopes that in the 180 days period announced by the Bolivian President for foreign companies to regularize their current contracts, there is authentic negotiation and dialogue between the government and the different companies in which each others interests are respected," the ministry said in a statement. Spain also underlined that it would work alongside with the rest of the countries that have close ties with Bolivia to help settle the issue.

    European Commission spokesman Mr Leitenberg expressed the EUs concerns and stated that they hoped talks would precede such a move.

    However, the European Commission estimated that this decision would not pose a threat to the EUs energy funds, although this development is most likely to have an adverse effect on international markets.

    [10] Paving the Way for Prodi Berlusconi Resigned

    02 May 2006 17:12:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA - BBC

    The last act to the thriller for the succession of Italys power was written on Tuesday, as Silvio Berlusconi tendered in his resignation as Prime Minister, starting the countdown to the formation of a new government, headed by centre-left leader Romano Prodi. Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, whose term ends on 18 May, asked Berlusconi to remain as a caretaker PM, in order to oversee the change of guard at a governmental level.

    At the same time, Ciampi is being pressured into giving the order to Prodi to form the new government, rather than wait for his successor, since the race for the presidency is expected to develop into a new electoral thriller. According to correspondents and the Italian Media, former PM Massimo DAlema is considered the centre-lefts favourite choice. On the other hand, Berlusconi has mentioned Gianni Letta, a former undersecretary of state, as the centre-rights possible choice.

    In the meantime, while awaiting the decision of the President, Romano Prodi is continuing talks with his political allies over the formation of the new government. Prodi, who has served as President of the European Commission in the past, declared he wants to have the composition of the new government ready by 4 or 5 May, in case the current President decides to assign him with the formation of the new Italian government.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Investments in Saudi Arabia New Partnerships with Arab World

    02 May 2006 20:45:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas, who is accompanying Greek President Karolos Papoulias in his official visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, held constructive talks with major financial executives of the Arab world. As part of his contacts, Doukas met with representatives of Qatar Air and discussed the prospects of collaboration with Olympic Airlines at a business level. It should be noted that several Saudi Arabian businessmen expressed interest in investing in Greek constructions and shipping, while many Greek businessmen were interested in investing Saudi Arabia.

    In Riyadh, the Deputy Minister initially met with the heads of the Commerce and Industry Chamber, while the next day he held talks with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), while the proceedings were also attended by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.

    In the meeting with the representatives of the Chamber, both parties exchanged views on promoting Greek SMBs and industries in Saudi Arabia, while the Saudi Arabian side was interested in the construction and shipping sectors. Moreover, the SAGIA presented to the Greek delegation a plan for building a new state-of-the-art city north of Jeddah, which will bear the name of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah.

    In Doha, the capital of Qatar and the second stop of the Greek Presidents official tour, the Deputy Minister met with the organisers of the 2006 Asian Games, which will be hosted in the city, as well as businessmen. Sioufas described the meetings as "new avenues for collaboration".

    On Tuesday, Petros Doukas met with Bahrains Commerce and Industry Minister, as well as representatives of the countrys Commerce and Industry Chamber in Manama. The Greek businessmen were particularly interested in constructions, building materials, fisheries, food, and shipping connections with India and Pakistan.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [12] For Preventing Acute Ischemic Syndromes Lifesaving Blood Test

    02 May 2006 15:16:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA - MPA

    A simple blood test measuring the cholesterol levels in the red cells membranes could in future be able to predict the major risk associated with coronary diseases. As per Dimitris Tziakas, Assistant Professor of Cardiology at Democritus University of Thrace, who presented the relevant study at the 6th International Cardiology Convention in Thessaloniki, the cholesterol levels in the membranes of red cells significantly affect atheromatous plaque instability and, subsequently, the manifestation of acute coronary syndromes.

    The study has demonstrated that the cholesterol content of red cells in patients with coronary disease who have manifested acute coronary syndrome was significantly higher than in patients with stabilised angina. The study, which is still at a pilot stage, aims at clarifying whether the abovementioned indicator could play a major role in predicting acute ischemic syndromes. As per Professor Tziakas, if the case were proven, then the benefits to preventing acute ischemic syndromes would be great.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [13] Conference on Fast Internet

    02 May 2006 17:39:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ANA

    Broadband connection to the Internet is at the focus of the conference the National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) is organising in Athens. Transport Minister Michael Liapis underlined the need to establish healthy and fair competition and promote the deregulation of the Internet market. What is needed is policies that will attract investments and develop new technologies, argued Mr Liapis, further adding that the Greek market should be introduced into the digital era. During the conferences proceedings, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis message was read. In his message, Mr Karamanlis underscored that promoting broadband is a keynote objective for the present and future of every thriving society. In his opening speech, EETT President Professor Nikitas Alexandridis underlined that the conferences goal is to record the opinions of all the interested parties and to hold a constructive dialogue to better spread broadband to the wider area of the Mediterranean. OTE CEO Panagis Vourloumis, in turn, admitted that broadband in Greece ranks very low. The conference will also draw its attention to the role Greece can play as a focal point for telecommunications in the wider Mediterranean region.

    Related Links:

    National Telecommunications and Post Commission

    [14] In his Interview with "Ta Nea" Full-Scale Interview by Pangalos

    02 May 2006 13:36:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΤΑ ΝΕΑ

    The nominations for the coming mayoral and prefectoral elections, PASOKs domestic issues, as well as the Government policy, attracted PASOK PM Theodoros Pangalos attention in his interview with daily Ta Nea. Mr Pangalos favoured the nomination of top-ranking officials for Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, underlining that party officials should fall in line with the partys decisions, instead of launching a "personal policy." "I loathe adventurism," he said. Referring to his relations with PASOK leader George Papandreou, he argued he agrees with many of Papandreous opinions, noting that everyone should back the President, terming the claims of a "post-Papandreou era" as ridiculous and dismissing those who fail to hold back their personal aspirations. Mr Pangalos did not miss referring to PM Kostas Karamanlis, whom he blasted for lack of planning and idleness, while he predicted developments within ND.

    Translated by Areti Christou


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