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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-05-16
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 The Main Pillars Energy at the Focus16 May 2006 16:02:00 (Last updated: 16 May 2006 22:44:49)
Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA
On Tuesday, the Cabinet met to discuss energy policy issues. In his speech at the Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister referred to the necessity of creating a new institutional context for deregulating the energy market, expanding the use of natural gas, encouraging bioculture and production of bioenergy. Kostas Karamanlis described the blow-up of international oil prices as unprecedented, stating that the specific development negatively affects world economy and mainly the execution of Stage budgets and deficits. On his part, Minister of Development Dimitris Sioufas referring to the price rise in black gold noted that the Government reinforced all authorities and bodies, so that fuel prices are maintained at the same level. In addition, the Minister estimated that investments in the energy sector will exceed 4.5 billion euros in 2006-2010. Following a proposal by Minister of Transport and Communications Michael Liapis, the Cabinet decided on the formation of a group presided by Dimitris Sioufas, which will investigate the event of allowing diesel-run vehicles in Athens and Thessaloniki. Mr Liapis also proposed the deregulation of the electricity market and the use of electrical powered Means of Public Transport.
Greece Becoming an Energy Hub
Referring to the energy issue, the Prime Minister underlined that it received new dimensions, due to the developments in Iran and repeated Athens position for seeking a diplomatic solution in the crisis caused by Tehrans nuclear programme.
In addition, Mr Karamanlis noted that the country is promoting great energy works and reforms, turning Greece into an energy hub in the sectors of oil, natural gas and electricity.
The Prime Minister stated that great investments in the energy sector will create new employment positions in the coming years.
Closing his speech, Mr Karamanlis noted that from the time that the Government took up power, it successfully faced many important difficulties, mainly presented in distributing electricity production, which had run its course.
The Main Pillars
As Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stated, he briefed the Cabinet and Kostas Karamanlis on the materialisation of the new energy policy, the results of the initiatives taken by the Ministry, as well as the programming of the next season.
The Minister noted that investments totaling to 4.5 billion euros are expected and will importantly contribute to regional development, which is the aim of the Governments economic and developmental policy, as well as creating thousands of new employment positions.
As per Mr Sioufas, the countrys energy policy has two main pillars:
The first concerns:
Deregulation of internal electricity and natural gas markets, expansion of the natural gas network, utilisation of national energy resources, such as lignite, promotion of a large-scale investment in renewable sources, as well as policies promoting energy conservation programmes. The second direction concerns the plan that will turn Greece into a modern international transport centre in the sectors of natural gas, electricity and oil.
As per the Minister, the new legislative initiatives include:
A bill for licensing Renewable Energy Sources utilisation the new legislative context for the research and utilisation of hydrocarbons and the integration to Community Directives for the energy efficiency of buildings, as well as the codification of mining and quarries; legislatures for utilising the countrys natural resources.
Translated by Eirene Nisiriou
 The EU3 Offer Iran a Nuclear Reactor EU Nuclear Offer to Iran16 May 2006 18:42:00
By Tina Valaoura
Sources: Reuters - ANA
On Monday, the European Union extended an offer to Iran for nuclear collaboration, in an effort to defuse the crisis. The negotiators of the UN Security Councils five permanent members will review the package of the EU measures in London on Friday. However, on Tuesday, European diplomats revealed part of the content of the package, saying that France, Germany and Great Britain the EU3 with technical nuclear know-how are planning to offer Iran a nuclear reactor in exchange for the country freezing its uranium enrichment programme.
Tehran's Acceptance a Surprise
The story was made public by Reuters, citing anonymous European diplomats, who claimed that the political directors from the EU3 and the office of EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana would discuss the offer of a light-water nuclear reactor with US, Russian and Chinese counterparts in London on Friday. It should be noted that the reactors in question are more difficult to use for weapons purposes than heavy-water plants.
However, Iran has made it clear that it would not be accepting any EU offers that require the country to give up its right to enrich uranium, a right that is also provided for in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The European diplomats said they would be very surprised if Iran accepted their offer, though they added that if rejected, it would be seen as confirmation that Tehrans nuclear programme does not solely aim at power generation for peaceful ends. After three years of investigation, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said it still cannot confirm that Irans nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, but has found no proof of a military programme.
The EU3 first proposed supporting Iran to develop light-water nuclear technology in 2005. Tehran had refused then, describing the European plan as vague. As per the same sources, though, the new proposal is expected to be more precise, provided Washington gives the green light for the concession of the reactor. No one, however, believes that it will ever be built because Tehran is expected to say no to the proposal.
China, though, which along with Russia opposes imposing sanctions on Iran in case it insists on its stance, welcomed the European package of measures.
Europe Calls On Iran
 Saying 'No' to Personal Politics16 May 2006 18:32:00
During his speech at the General Assembly of the Federation of Greek Industries (FGI) on Tuesday, PASOK President George Papandreou presented the seven pillars of his policy. After voicing the belief that he would win the next elections, he asked the businessmen to enter into a social contract with him. As he said the contract would boost the social state through deregulating the productive forces of society, as well as contribute towards combating corruption. As per Papandreou, he will not be exercising personal politics, but his sole criteria will be the survival and development of enterprises.
Dead-End Government Reforms
Moreover, the leader of the Opposition criticised the Government over its choices and tactics for the Economy.
In fact, Papandreou described the Governments reforms as "unfair, deadlocked and fragmentary," underlining that all social partners have to collaborate so that the economy can recover.
Finally, the leader of PASOK underlined that the unemployed should be protected with special revenue benefits through growth, regrouping and market entry programmes.
Change of Guard at FGI
 Hostage Released Favourable Outcome16 May 2006 16:23:00 (Last updated: 16 May 2006 22:41:14)
Sources: ANA - NET
The adventure of the Headmaster of Thessalonikis German School, Joachim Voegeding, who was kept hostage for 8 hours by Kostas Arabatzis, ended well. The abductor was a former businessman on a five-day leave from Kassavetia Prison, Volos. The hostage was released at 7pm in Oreokastro, while the perpetrator then headed towards Kassavetia Prison, where he turned himself in. Both Mr Voegeding and the Schools superintendent, Xenofontas Altidis, who had initially been abducted along with the Headmaster, but was released sooner, are fairing well. The motives of the abductor, who burst into the building armed, have not bee clarified yet, although according to initial information he asked for 5 million euros in ransom. Immediately after the abduction, the police launched a ground and aerial manhunt to locate and arrest the perpetrator.
Short Account of the Situation
The adventure of the two men started a little after 10am, when the perpetrator entered the School alleging that he had some financial matters to settle (his two children used to attend the school). He then headed towards the Headmasters office, where he asked for 5 million euros in ransom, threatening the men with a gun and explosives.
The German Consulate and the police were notified immediately, while the 550 pupils were ordered to evacuate the building.
Arabatzis forced the two men into a car and fled the scene, heading towards Thermi, where the car was located a few hours later empty.
A police manhunt was then launched, assisted by a police helicopter, while the Greek Ministry of Public Order released a photo of the escapee.
A Crisis Management Council, coordinated by Police Chief Anastasios Dimoschakis, was ordered at the Hellenic Police headquarters, while Public Order Minister Byron Polydoras was being kept informed of the developments.
The investigation in Thessaloniki was headed by the General Inspector of Northern Greece, Giorgos Andravizos.
Arabatzis was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in 1999 by the Thessaloniki Three-Member Court of Felony Appeals for the abduction and extortion of three Germans (two bankers and a businessman) in Kavala in 1995.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 In Athens Pakistani PM's Contacts16 May 2006 16:07:00 (Last updated: 16 May 2006 22:06:34)
Sources: NET 105.8, ANA
On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minster Shaukat Aziz, who is on an official visit in Athens since Monday, held consecutive meetings with Ministers. Mr Aziz met with Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis. The issues that topped the agenda of the meetings were the strengthening and development of bilateral economic and cultural relations. The meeting between Mr Aziz and Mr Voulgarakis focused on issues concerning common interests, such as culture. Specifically, views were exchanged and a substantial dialogue was made on ways of materialising bilateral educational agreements and the further cooperation between the two countries. The bilateral educational programme concerned the sectors of education, science, archives and libraries, culture, sports and youth, as well as archaeology. Mr Voulgrarakis conveyed an invitation to visit Greece to his Pakistani counterpart and jointly investigate these issues. In turn, Mr Aziz invited the Greek Minister to Pakistan.
Bilateral Relations on a Good Level
In his meeting with Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the Pakistani PM discussed the issue of Pakistani immigrants living in Greece.
In his meeting with Dora Bakoyannis, Mr Aziz referred to the excellent relations between Greece and Pakistan. Questioned on whether the Pakistani abduction issue was discussed, Mrs Bakoyannis replied negatively.
Earlier, in his statements on the issue, Mr Aziz stated that it is not to be discussed by Presidents or PMs, while asked to comment on the Prosecutions order for a relevant investigation he said that he has faith in the Greek Justice.
The Pakistani PM then met with Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and the two men exchanged views on the economic policies in the two countries and the EU. Mr Alogoskoufis analysed the Greek Governments strategy on developing the country and the wider SE European region, while Mr Azis briefed him on the initiatives of Pakistan with regard to denationalisations and structural reforms. The Economy Minister described Pakistan as "one of the dynamically developing economies of Asia."
At 16:00, Mr Aziz met with President of PASOK George Papandreou and discussed international matters, Iran and the developments in the region, as well as the developments in the Balkans. Mr Papandreou stated that there is willingness for developing closer relations with Pakistan and referred to the era of Alexander the Great, which was also stated by the Pakistani PM. In addition, he added that Greece currently has close relations with Pakistan, through the important community of Pakistanis working and living in Greece.
"I had the opportunity to discuss the Pakistani abduction issue and voiced our position in the procedure to follow," stated Mr Papandreou. Answering to a question over Mr Azizs view on the issue, Mr Papandreou said that he referred to the abductions and he hoped that the Greek Justice will attribute responsibilities. However, the President of PASOK did not wish to convey the views of the Pakistani PM.
In addition, he noted that there are prospects and an important future for the further development of relations between Greece and Pakistan in an economic and cultural level. Called on to answer to Press articles against PASOK, Mr Papandreou said that he does not wish to comment on issues already been commented on.
At 18:30 the Pakistani PM met with the Presidency of Pakistani organisations in Greece.
In the meantime, SYN President Alekos Alavanos posed a question to the Greek PM, so that he explains his position, since the Prosecutions investigation concluded that there were abductions and interrogations of Pakistanis, while the Government was insisting otherwise. Mr Alavanos requested that measures be implemented against those involved in the abductions and those who tried to mislead the public.
 Nine Children Slightly Injured School Bus Collision16 May 2006 09:38:00
Following the crash of a nursery school bus with a private vehicle, nine children were slightly injured and taken to Agia Sofia Hospital for precautionary reasons. The incident took place at 08:45 at the intersection of Zamanos and Xanthos Streets, in Glyfada. Following the collision the school bus overturned, however, without any of the passengers being seriously injured. The circumstances of the incident are being investigated by the Glyfada Traffic Police.
Translated by Eirene Nisiriou
 In Paleo Faliro and Abelokipoi Arson Attacks16 May 2006 08:12:00
On Tuesday dawn two arson attacks took place in Attica. At 03:45 unknown men placed a makeshift device composed of gas canisters at an Emporiki Bank ATM at 78 Amphithea Street, in Paleo Faliro. The explosion broke into a fire, which damaged the machine. At 04:30 the second attack took place with gas canisters at a sex shop at 7 Katechaki Avenue, in Abelokipoi, and caused damage to the store.
Translated by Eirene Nisiriou