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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-05-08

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] "Grey" Provocations
  • [02] No New Measures
  • [03] Iran's Proposals to Bush
  • [04] Robust Economic Growth
  • [05] New Statements on Karahasan's Nomination
  • [06] Weak Quake on Zakynthos
  • [07] Armed Robbery in Agioi Anargyroi
  • [08] Blair Refused to Step Down
  • [09] Preconditions for Dialogue
  • [10] Eurobank Bought Out a Turkish Bank
  • [11] Last-Moment Defeat for PAOK
  • [12] First Step by Olympiacos
  • [13] Power Show-off by Panathinaikos
  • [14] Aris in the Lead
  • [15] Olympians Visit President of the Republic

  • [01] Message of Brotherhood "Grey" Provocations

    08 May 2006 18:13:00 (Last updated: 08 May 2006 22:08:26)

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    Incidents mounted by members of right-wing Grey Wolves marred the mass officiated Monday Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the historic basilica of Agios Ioannis in Pergamon, Turkey. Two street protests were staged outside the church and in the streets of Pergamon by members of the Grey Wolves and the Turkish Labour Party, who chanted insulting slogans against Bartholomew. The Ecumenical Patriarchate will keep delivering the message of love, said Bartholomew in his address. Six Turkish Opposition parties had also voiced their objection to the mass, demanding a ban on the mass. In the meantime, Turkey expressed its disagreement with France and Canadas decision to describe the massacre of the Armenians in the WWI as"genocide."

    [02] Press Conference by G. Alogoskoufis No New Measures

    08 May 2006 14:41:00 (Last updated: 08 May 2006 20:33:24)

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA

    During a Press conference on Monday, Minister of Economy and Finance eased concerns that the Stability and Growth Programme will be executed. Mr Giorgos Alogoskoufis stressed that great progress has been achieved in the economy during the previous years and that the moderate fiscal policy will continue in an even more moderate way, as weight will be given to restricting expenses by the Public Sector, while there will be continuing efforts for preventing and combating tax evasion. In addition, he noted that "now, we need to focus on the goals for 2006," underlining that the cuts in tax rates for natural figures will be legislated; an amendment that will be implemented as of 2007. Commenting on the data of the Commissions report, which indicated that the deficit will be higher than the Greek Governments predictions and the growth rate of economy lower, he said that the Commissions data are more conservative on growth and deficits. In addition, he noted that the Commission has not taken into account the data of the 2007 Budget, which will be publicised on November of next year. In the Press conference, Mr Alogoskoufis spoke about the Governments initiatives for compiling a special programme for the unemployed in areas affected by high unemployment rates.

    "Commission's Forecasts are Conservative"

    The Minister of Economy stressed that the Government remains focused on its goal of decreasing the deficit below 2.6% for 2006. As he said, "we will not allow the deficit to be above 3% for the coming years. The effort has to be maintained, however, some years are needed for Greece to have a balanced budget," added Mr Alogoskoufis.

    In addition, Mr Alogoskoufis stated that the implementation of additional measures for the deficit is not necessary and that the planning for cuts in tax rates for natural figures as of 2007 has not changed.

    He also referred to the special programme examined by the Government concerning the support of the unemployed in regions with a high unemployment rate. "Effective social support is needed for the unemployed. Moreover, he referred to the fact that the Government is implementing measures for the decrease of unemployment, such as the promotion of training programmes, programmes by the investment law or the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) programmes.

    Commenting on the Commissions spring report, he described its predictions on the deficit and growth as conservative, noting that the data is speaking of a 2.6% deficit in 2006, while he predicted that Greece will exit the surveillance procedure in the spring of 2007.

    Mr Alogoskoufis confirmed that two Letters of Intent have been submitted by Greek businessmen for the construction of two cruise ships in Neorion Shipyard, Syros, while he said that VAT will not be imposed for the purchase of a first house. In addiction, he stressed that there is no fear or reason to worry over an extended crisis in oil.

    Regarding the social security issue, Mr Alogoskoufis said that he is expecting for everyone to demonstrate responsibility and leave aside party conveniences and distraction efforts.

    In relation to the 10 proposals announced by PASOK, he described the action as positive, underlining that there was no proposal on finding funds for supporting the system. On the acquisition of Turkish Tekfenbank by Eurobank, he stated that it is very positive that Greek businesses are taking up initiatives in the wider region of southeast Europe.

    Reactions over Alogoskoufis' Announcements

    "Pressed by his policy that is marring the Economy and striking a blow to the citizens, Mr Alogoskoufis has applied himself to fiscal alchemies, ignoring the consequences they could have on the countrys prospects," stated PASOK section head for Economy Vaso Papandreou, commenting on the Economy Ministers statements. In the regular revenues

    "The Government is trying to create a climate of optimism, distorting the figures, and at the same time it is working on cover-up solutions employing unheard-of tricks. The political crime of "fiscal inventory" is a crime that will keep haunting the Karamanlis administration, no matter how many tricks they will make up," she added.

    "Once again, the Main Opposition proved unable to learn from its mistakes. Its officials are distorting, even to date, the figures of the Budget, as they did when they were in power. Fortunately, they cannot hurt the country now," announced the Economy Ministry, commenting on Ms Papandreous statements.

    SYN also voiced its objection to the Economy Minister. In its announcement, SYN underlined that the EUs forecasts confirmed that, in the context of the unacceptable EU supervision, the Government would be called on to step up additional permanent measures to keep the deficit below 3%.

    Related News:

    Robust Economic Growth

    [03] Crucial Meeting Iran's Proposals to Bush

    08 May 2006 20:31:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: Reuters - BBC - ΝΕΤ

    Shortly before the plenary session of the UN Security Council convenes Tuesday to decide on possible sanctions against Tehran, the Iranian President is trying to buy some time off with a surprise move. In particular, via the Swiss ambassador to the Iranian capital, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to send a letter to the US President, proposing new solutions to ease off the crisis. The Swiss Embassy, which represents US interests in Iran, confirmed it received the letter, yet it did not say when it would be delivered to Washington. At the same time, Tehran is still threatening to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if the USA keeps applying pressure over its programme. Furthermore, the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are meeting Monday in New York in a drive to strike a deal over a resolution text on Irans nuclear programme. The German Foreign Minister and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union Javier Solana will also attend the meeting.

    Solutions to Ease off the Crisis

    Iranian Government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said that Mahmoud Ahmadinejads letter to George Bush proposes "new solutions" aiming to deflate the crisis and goes into the causes of the problems.

    It should be noted, that no Iranian President has called for an official contact with a US leader ever since the two countries broke off their diplomatic ties in 1980.

    So far, the Iranian leadership has repeatedly ruled out any direct talks with the USA, arguing that Washington is not ready to address Iran as an equal interlocutor.

    Larijani: "Don't Sidestep the IAEA"

    However, following their objections to any sanctions against Tehran, the stance Russia and China will take is to play an instrumental role.

    Russia, on the one hand, is expected to demand any reference to Charter 7 be omitted from the draft resolution, fearing such a possibility would pave the way for military actions against Tehran, Russian ambassador to London Yury Fedotov was quoted as saying.

    In the meantime, while having a phone conversation late on Sunday in the light of Mondays crucial meeting in New York, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela Merkel favoured a Security Council resolution that would force Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

    Furthermore, British PM Tony Blairs statement, according to which even the thought of using nuclear weapons against Tehran would be insane, has very much cooled off the worries of the international community.

    Irans chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, in turn, called on the international community not to sidestep the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    On Tuesday morning, Ali Larijani will be in Athens to hold talks with Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Ahmadinejad sends letter to Bush

    Financial Times: China opposes core of Wests resolution on Iran

    Related News:

    Crucial Meeting Over Iran

    Related Links:


    UN Security Council

    [04] European Commission's Spring Report Robust Economic Growth

    08 May 2006 16:22:00

    Greeces fiscal deficit is forecast to fall to 3% of GDP, while economic growth is projected to be quite robust, edging to 3.5% of GDP in 2006, reported the Commission spring economic forecasts. The European Commissions spring economic forecasts noted that Greece ranks among the countries with the most vibrant economic growth, meaning that new jobs will be created and wages will be on a slight upward path. It is the first time since 2004 that the European Commission projects Greeces fiscal deficit will not exceed the limits set by the Maastricht Treaty. The forecasts on Greeces economic growth for 2006 are higher than those released in fall and the fourth higher in the euro area.

    As per the European Commissions forecasts, Greeces debt ratio is expected to stand at 105% of GDP in 2006 to further fall to 102.1% in 2007. Greeces debt ratio amounted to 81.5% in 1981-2001, 110.7% in 2002, 107.8% in 2003 and 108.5% in 2004.

    The European Commission also forecast that inflation in Greece will edge to 3.3% both in 2006 and 2007, while unemployment will reach 9.5% in 2006 to be further reduced to 9.1% in 2007.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] Karahasan: "I am Greek" New Statements on Karahasan's Nomination

    08 May 2006 16:10:00 (Last updated: 08 May 2006 19:10:58)

    Sources: NET-ANA-Eleftherotipia

    The wrangling over G&#252;lbeyaz Karahasans nomination for the Drama-Kavala-Xanthi Prefecture continued. In her interview with daily Eleftherotipia , Karahasan stated, "I am Greek and Muslim in faith. I was born and brought up in Greece and I attended a Greek University. I believe in a modern society that stands no discriminations. A society that appreciates and respects everyones opinions." "All Greek citizens have the right to vote and run for. This right is unquestionable and no one but a perfidious can question my point," claimed Deputy Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, when asked to comment on the issue.

    "I Never Questioned her Greek Nationality"

    In his new statements, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Kalantzis underlined he never questioned Ms Karahasans Greek nationality, while he clarified he is quite certain that she will stand by his side at the 25 March celebrations if elected.

    He forecast, thought, that the pro-PASOK ballot in the area will lose the elections and that Ms Karahasan will be present in the capacity of the opposition leader.

    Secretary General of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace District Mihalis Angelopoulos, in turn, said her nomination sparked off no reactions in Thrace and went on to state that the two religious communities co-exist in harmony.

    "All Greek citizens have the right to vote and run for," commented Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis.

    The issue of discriminations is out of the question, pointed out Education Minister Marietta Giannakou, while speaking on NET television station, PASOK MP Milena Apostolaki referred to the political symbolism of George Papandreous choice.

    Commenting on the same issue, Archbishop Christodoulos stated, "The election results will prove whether this was a wise choice or not."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] No Reports of Damage Weak Quake on Zakynthos

    08 May 2006 14:17:00

    Seismologists appeared reassuring over the weak quake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, which occurred 245km south of Zakynthos, at 10:34. No damage was reported to the police. As per the Geodynamics Institute of the Athens Observatory, the epicentre of the quake was located in the same area as the previous ones. The scientists stated that the quake is the normal development of aftershock activity. In addition, they stated that the phenomenon is subsiding and reassured the islands residents that there is no reason to worry, as there will be more similar quakes in the coming months.

    [07] Robbers Snatched Some 170,000 Euros Armed Robbery in Agioi Anargyroi

    08 May 2006 14:09:00

    Sources: ANA

    According to police evidence so far, the loot from the armed robbery, which occurred around 09:30 CET at an IKA (Social Insurance Foundation) branch in Agioi Anargyroi, rises to 170,000 dollars. As per the Police, two men followed a guard en route to deliver a moneybag at the branch's second floor. While the guard was giving the bag to the treasurer, the robbers forced everyone to get on the ground at gunpoint, snatched the moneybag and ordered the treasurer to open the vault. Threatening to toss a grenade, they took the loot and escaped on foot. An armed IKA guard run after the two men and even fired once to frighten them, but they did not stop. The robbers originally tried to escape on a stolen motorbike parked outside, but they eventually escaped on foot. The Police have launched a manhunt to track them down and arrest them.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [08] Blair Refused to Step Down

    08 May 2006 17:25:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ΝΕΤ-ANA-Reuters-BBC

    Despite the fierce infighting triggered off by the defeat Labour Party sustained in the recent local elections, Tony Blair refused to give a timetable for his departure from office, arguing it would paralyse the Government work. On Sunday, some 50 Labour MPs circulated a draft letter calling on the British Premier to name a date for his departure, as a sign of shouldering responsibility for the heavy defeat. Aspiring successor Finance Minister Gordon Brown was claimed to have instigated the move, which was described as a "plot" by top-ranking Labour officials. Gordon Brown, in turn, denied his involvement in the issue. In his interview, Tony Blair took a firm stance and underlined that he is ready to move on with the reforms, also reiterating he will not seek a fourth term.

    The British PM referred to Jack Straws dismissal from the post of Foreign Secretary and underscored he had held talks with him and that Straw agreed to step down from his post "at some point."

    Blair said Straw was the best person to tackle the "really, really, difficult" job of House of Lords reform and that he appointed him to the post upon the latters request.

    Blair further added that he had chosen Margaret Beckett to succeed Mr Straw because she was "an outstanding politician." "I have absolutely no doubt that the same policy articulated by Jack will not change one iota under Margaret," he said.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Blair in a Tight Spot

    [09] By GSEE ADEDY on Social Security Issue Preconditions for Dialogue

    08 May 2006 15:06:00 (Last updated: 08 May 2006 22:09:09)

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8

    The leaderships of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) and the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions (ADEDY) criticised the Government on the dialogue procedure over the social security issue. It is reminded that the dialogue will begin in the Economics and Social Committee, at Parliament, on Wednesday. In addition, they have announced strikes in the Public Sector, DEKOs and banks on Wednesday. The Presidencies requested that the proposals submitted for the reinforcement of social insurance, with special reference to the financial support of the system, be taken seriously.

    GSEE and ADEDY criticised the Government on the dialogue procedure, over the social security issue, beginning in the Economics and Social Committee, at Parliament, on Wednesday and are setting preconditions for their participation.

    In the GSEE Press Conference, President Christos Polyzogopolos requested the conduction of an actuarial study for determining the extent of problem, as well as a specific agenda for discussion.

    In particular, he requested the payment of public debt to IKA, the reinforcement of the funds financing, the lift of the seamens civil mobilisation and the support of open negotiations in banks and DEKOs.

    The unionists criticised the previous governments, which, as they said, failed to financially support the system, while returning to the issue of payments by profitable business to social security funds.

    In addition, Mr Polyzogopoulos described the dialogue promoted as "an excuse to conceal the confirmed weakness of the Government to submit a complete plan for facing the countrys social security problems mainly its financial support, on a long term basis."

    In an intervention, head of Democratic Independent Workers Movement (DAKE) and GSEE General Secretary Mr K. Poupakis supported the unionists participation in the dialogue, but criticised specific governmental choices concerning early retirement.

    In relation to the measures implemented for Naoussa, he spoke about a resignation from employment policies and accused the government of creating new pensioners instead of creating new employment positions.

    Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis also referred to the dialogue issue, noting that he expecting all bodies to demonstrate responsibility, which is needed for the discussion on the social security to proceed, leaving aside party conveniences.

    Speaking on NET 105.8 PASOK Secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou accused the Government of starting the dialogue, without keeping in line with its commitments to the social security funds.

    Member of SYNs Political Secretariat described the dialogue as ostensible and stated that the aim of the Government is the diminishment of employees social security rights.

    In closing, GSEE and ADEDY have announced strikes in the Public Sector, DEKOs and banks on Wednesday 10 May.

    Related News:

    Social Security Dialogue Begins

    Solidarity Benefit

    [10] Eurobank-Tekfen Holding Join Forces Eurobank Bought Out a Turkish Bank

    08 May 2006 12:51:00 (Last updated: 08 May 2006 22:09:37)

    Sources: ANA, NET

    Just a few weeks after the National Bank of Greece expanded its business in the neighbouring country, Eurobank announced Monday the buyout of Turkish bank Tekfen Holding. As per the relevant announcement, Eurobank Ergasias and Tekfen Holding (Tekfen Group) agreed to join forces in the Turkish bank market. As per the agreement, Eurobank EFG bought 70% of Tekfenfbank shares, including 100% of its subsidiary, Tekfen Leasing. Tekfen Group remains the strategic investor in Tekfenbank, holding the rest of the banks shares. The buyout will cost 260 million dollars, while the Banks net worth rises to 80 million dollars upon the completion of the buyout and the transfer of shares.

    Strategic Planning

    The deal provides Tekfenbank will buy out the total of EFG Istanbul Securities, Eurobank's subsidiary in Turkey. The deal should be finalised in the third trimester of 2006.

    The relevant announcement reads that Tekfenbank offers a wide range of banking products and services in Turkey. The Bank has an effective and selective network of branches covering the country's prosperous regions, while its clientele mostly includes small-medium sized businesses. Tekfenbank also has retail-banking customers, which are mostly of a high financial profile.

    Tekfenbank's strategy for the future will focus on strengthening its presence in the field of small-medium sized businesses by attracting new customers through its 30-branch network and by expanding its banking products distribution network through the establishment of new branches.

    Eurobank's Estimations

    Eurobank EFG feels Turkey's Economy and banking system will rapidly grow in the coming years. Eurobank also thinks Tekfenbank is a solid foundation for entering the Turkish market, because it runs on state-of-the-art infrastructure and follows a carefully planned growth policy, which has contributed to the creation of a high-quality bank. What is more, Tekfen Group will remain a strategic investor even after Eurobank will have acquired 70% of its shares.

    The deal is in step with Eurobank EFG's policy to enter new markets through selective investments, thus aiming to add value to its stockholders through organic development.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] Last-Moment Defeat for PAOK

    08 May 2006 21:33:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    PAOK fought to achieve a surprise-win for the A1 Greek basketball playoffs, but failed to break Maroussis homecourt advantage. Panayotis Yannakis boys took a 1-0 lead defeating PAOK with 61-59, with Alexis Kyritsis saving Maroussi at the last moment. In case Maroussi scores a second win in Thessaloniki, they will advance to the semis. If not, they will host PAOK on coming Saturday at 19:00 (Greek local time). The score per period: 17-16, 27-28, 49-45, 61-5

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [12] First Step by Olympiacos

    08 May 2006 21:29:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Olympiacos literally dazzled AEK in their first encounter for the A1 Greek basketball playoffs, with the heavy 93-67 score dashing AEKs hopes to make it to the semis. If Olympiacos scores a second victory on Wednesdays match, they will advance to the semis. If not, Kazlauskas squad will host AEK at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on coming Saturday at 19:00 (Greek local time). The score per period: 18-12, 48-28, 75-49, 93-67.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [13] Power Show-off by Panathinaikos

    08 May 2006 21:16:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    After having finished off the Greek basketball season first, Panathinaikos demonstrated a power show-off over Panionios in their first encounter for the A1 Greek basketball playoffs. Zeljko Obradovics squad crushed Panionios with 86-69 at Galatsis Indoors Sports Hall and are to claim the victory that will send them straight to the semis on Wednesday at 21:00 (Greek local time). In case Panionios equalises the victories, the third and last game will be held on coming Saturday in Galatsi. The score per period: 24-17, 45-31, 67-53, 86-69.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [14] Aris in the Lead

    08 May 2006 19:01:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Aris enjoys a 1-0 lead over Panellinios for the Greek basketball playoffs. Taking full advantage of Mulaomerovic and Nadjfejis absences, Adrea Matsons boys scored a 70-63 victory over Panellinios, and if they also win on Wednesday, they will make it to the semis. If not, a third game in Thessaloniki will be played between the two on coming Saturday at 16:30 (Greek local time). The score per period: 15-12, 37-23, 54-34, 70-63.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [15] Olympians Visit President of the Republic

    08 May 2006 14:48:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    On Monday, the Presidency of the Greek Olympians Association (SOE) held a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, at the Presidential Mansion. The Association was represented by President Stelios Migiakis (Wrestling Olympian in Moscow) and members Tassos Papanastasiou (polo), Vangelis Patras (polo), Panagiotis Poikilidis (wrestling) and Giorgos Tzelilis (weightlifting). The President of the Republic wished good luck and strength to the new SEO Presidency and noted that they have a lot of work ahead of them, in view of the Beijing Olympic Games, "where you will play a very important role."

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