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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-05-19

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Dispute in Parliament
  • [02] Citizens Come First
  • [03] Attack by G. Papandreou
  • [04] Rehn Sends Message to Turkey
  • [05] 18yo Died of Misdiagnosis
  • [06] Day of Remembrance
  • [07] New IKA General Secretary
  • [08] Bulent Ecevit in ICU
  • [09] Deadly Clashes in Afghanistan
  • [10] Hamas Forces Clash with Police
  • [11] Public-Private Partnerships
  • [12] Without Time Pressure

  • [01] Over the Pakistanis' Abductions Dispute in Parliament

    19 May 2006 15:35:00 (Last updated: 19 May 2006 21:54:34)

    Sources: NET - ANA

    Voices were raised on Friday morning in Greek Parliament during a discussion prompted by an interpolation filed by the President of SYN (Coalition of the Left), Alekos Alavanos, over the case with the abduction of the Pakistanis. Public Order Minister Byron Polydoras claimed that according to the evidence, the 176 Pakistanis were abducted by their compatriots. On the other hand, Alavanos accused the Government of "racial mentality and an effort to cover the international parastate."

    Wrangling in Parliament

    "I want to reassure the Body that the NIS (National Intelligence Service) did not commit anything illegal. They were not involved in the abduction and the detention of the Pakistanis," noted Polydoras in his first speech, while he then referred to the statements made by Giorgos Voulgarakis and Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras to the Parliaments Institutions and Transparency Committee

    Polydoras spoke of "the Pakistani community engaging in the sport of abductions and kidnappings," while he mentioned 15 similar cases that have taken place from 2003 until today, noting that the evidence is available for everyone

    "With its stance, the Government is demonstrating that it is not only covering, but was also a part of the case," answered Alavanos, saying that the matter is not just a difference of opinion between SYN and the Government, but a complete rift in the issue of democracy.

    "There is a difference of opinion between the Government and the justice sector. The judicial report presented a different view to the Governments version, which even their loyal supporters do not believe," stressed the President of SYN.

    Furthermore, he repeated his proposal for the formation of an investigative committee, urging PASOK MPs to sign up in order to fill the required number. He also asked the Minister to clarify whether the matter has been discussed between the Greek and British FMs, so as to be concealed.

    "We are not arguing with the justice sector, which we trust. The judicial report speaks of a crime, but it exonerated the six NIS employees alleged to be the perpetrators," responded Polydoras. Moreover, referring to Alavanos proposal for the investigative committee, he noted, "provided a judicial investigation is underway, we will not preempt it with the case of the investigative committee."

    "Mud-slinging against NIS officials and the elected Government does not demonstrate political ethos," underlined Polydoras, prompting reactions from Alavanos, who spoke of "lies and racial mentality."

    Finally, answering to Alavanos questions about a discussion between the Greek and British government on the matter, he mentioned, "I dont know. And even if I knew, I wouldnt say anything. The rest lies in you critical political ability."

    Referring to the matter, alternate Government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros stressed that Polydoras voiced the Governments views on the matter of the alleged Pakistani abductions in Parliament.

    As per Antonaros, the Government respects the independent operation of the justice sector and is awaiting the completion of judicial investigation.

    The PM Is Shunning the Battle

    PASOK spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis accused PM Kostas Karamanlis of shunning the battle, as he did not attend Fridays session in Parliament.

    Referring to the Public Order Ministers statements, Athanasakis described them as unconvincing and unacceptable, adding that his effort to shift the blame to the disputes among Pakistanis cannot be accepted.

    He also described his approach as racist, which, as he noted, cannot from the basis for discussion.

    At the same time, he criticised the Government for evoking the judicial investigation and, repeated that former Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis lied and cannot remain at his post as Culture Minister, attributing the responsibility to the PM.

    Referring to SYNs proposals for the formation of an investigative committee, Athanasakis mentioned that PASOK was looking into the proposal.

    Finally, PASOKs spokesperson accused the Government of changing its mind over the investigative committee matter, as in the past it had said that it would accept the formation of a committee.

    [02] Karamanlis' Speech on Local-Gov't Citizens Come First

    19 May 2006 12:06:00 (Last updated: 19 May 2006 23:06:28)

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis presented the Governments aims for balancing growth throughout the country and improving the essence of Democracy through Self-Government institutions, while speaking at the international convention entitled "Self-Government: A Body of Democracy, and a Lever of Social Changes and Growth." The proceedings of the convention opened on Friday morning in Delphi, Greece. In his speech, Karamanlis pointed out that strengthening Self-Government, and encouraging citizen participation in public affairs and decision- making constitute the main preconditions for growth in Greece. At the same time, he underlined that Self-Government has to become the main institution that would stand by the citizens, noting that people and their contemporary needs are the quintessence of the Governments policy.

    Government Open to Dialogue

    Referring to the Constitutional review, he said that the Government is open to dialogue and specifically aims at decentralisation and reinforcing Self-Government.

    The PM further noted that the Government aims at increasing funds for and safeguarding Self-Government, so that it would cope with its contemporary needs. Moreover, he referred to the Governments interventions in the Self-Government sector up until today, noting that the debts have been settled, the states liabilities, which had been retained, are being returned, while he underlined that the Prefectures have doubled their funds since 2004.

    Referring to the private-public partnerships, a matter that will be discussed during the convention, Karamanlis spoke of a great reform, noting, however, that the specific process cannot annul the States obligation to financially support all Self-Government sectors.

    Commenting on the PMs speech, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) stressed, "The contemporary needs of plutocracy guide the policies of New Democracy and PASOK on the issue of Self-Government. For employees, changing the interrelations in the area of Self-Government, at the expense of New Democracy and PASOK, is a one-way street."

    The convention is being organised by the Institute of Research and Political Strategy for Growth and Governance, in collaboration with KEDKE (Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Attica) and the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, and under the aegis of Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [03] Attack by G. Papandreou

    19 May 2006 22:00:00 (Last updated: 19 May 2006 23:26:19)

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8

    On Friday, in Naxos, President of PASOK attacked the Government and the Prime Minister anew. George Papandreou spoke of "two years of contradictions," and of policies taking from the majority and giving to the minority. Referring to Gul Karahasans candidacy, he accused ND of a conservative policy, as opposed to PASOK, which is protecting the Greek citizens, either Christian or Muslim. On Saturday noon, in Santorini, the President of PASOK will visit Akrotiri Archaeological Sight and the Association of Thiraika Products, where he will meet and discuss with the administration, employees and farmers.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Tour of the Aegean Islands

    [04] On Protocol and Reforms Rehn Sends Message to Turkey

    19 May 2006 16:01:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    On Friday, in Brussels, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn sent a strict message to Turkey and called on Ankara to fully implement the protocol for the Customs Union with the ten new Member-States, including Cyprus, a commitment, which, as he said, it accepted in the start of accession talks between the EU and Turkey. In the meeting held with the head of the accession negotiations of the European Union and Turkey, Ali Babacan, the EU Commissioner asked Turkey to speed up the procedure of reforms.

    [05] Parents File Complaint 18yo Died of Misdiagnosis

    19 May 2006 14:54:00

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    An 18-year-old girl passed away in Kavala Hospital in the early hours of Friday morning due to appendicitis complications. The relatives are accusing the doctors at Drama Hospital of successive errors and irresponsibility, as the girl had initially been admitted to that hospital, complaining of abdominal pains. As per the relatives, the doctors at Drama Hospital diagnosed food poisoning on two occasions and sent the 18-year-old home. A private doctor later diagnosed appendicitis, but it was too late.

    Vassiliki Georgiou, 18, was complaining of abdominal pains since last Thursday. On Sunday, the pain was unbearable, so she was taken to Drama Hospital. The doctors, however, initially spoke of food poisoning and sent the girl home.

    The pain was not subsiding, though, so the girl was taken to hospital again on Thursday morning. As per the father, Christos Georgiou, the doctors once again said it was food poisoning and told them to go home.

    In the afternoon, the parents called a private doctor, who said that the girl had to be admitted to hospital urgently, as she was suffering of acute appendicitis.

    She underwent surgery immediately and two hours later she was transferred to Kavala Hospital, as the ICU in Drama Hospital is not operating temporarily. The girl suffered three heart failures and eventually passed away at 5:45am.

    The girls family is now awaiting the results of the post-mortem, which will prove whether the doctors had misdiagnosed her.

    The head of Dramas General Hospital ordered a Sworn Administrative Inquiry to examine the causes of death. The results are expected to be released in 10 days.

    At the same time, the Health Ministry ordered the reopening of the ICU at Drama Hospital with the appointment of a doctor.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] Genocide of Greeks from Pontus Day of Remembrance

    19 May 2006 17:54:00

    Sources: NET

    On Friday, the national remembrance day of the genocide of Pontian Greeks was celebrated by laying wreaths, reciting poetry and singing traditional songs. Representatives of Pontian Associations once again called on Turkey to recognise the genocide, while they clashed with policemen during a scheduled visit to the Turkish Consulate to stick up a relevant petition. On the occasion of the celebration, 11 New Democracy and PASOK MPs proposed the establishment of keeping a one-minute silence in Parliament. On Sunday, Pontian Associations will hold remembrance celebrations, such as a memorial service in the Athens Cathedral, laying wreaths to the Unknown Soldier and will send a petition to the Turkish Embassy.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] Dimosthenis Mammonas Appointed New IKA General Secretary

    19 May 2006 13:03:00

    Sources: ANA

    Dr Dimosthenis Mammonas, lawyer, professor of European Law and a member of the European Councils Legal Service, was appointed new General Secretary of IKA (Social Security Institute). Commenting on the statements made by outgoing secretary Dimitris Kostopoulos on the Stock Exchange issue, alternate Government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros underlined that everything that happened during the controversial 2000 era is still pending before Justice. He confirmed, though, that the Government will submit all the evidence at hand to the justice sector, as opposed to what was happening in the past.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] In Critical Condition Bulent Ecevit in ICU

    19 May 2006 12:42:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: Reuters, ANA, AFP

    Bulent Ecevit, former Turkish Prime Minister, was hastily admitted to hospital in Ankara, after suffering cerebral haemorrhage. Shortly after midnight, he underwent surgery, which lasted for over two hours, reported television network NTV. Ecevit is hospitalised in induced coma in the ICU of GATA military hospital in Ankara and his condition is critical.

    The 81-year-old politician felt unwell after returning home Thursday night from the funeral of slain Council of State judge Mustafa Yucel, killed Wednesday by a Muslim fundamentalist gunman in an attack on the countrys top administrative court. Zeki Sezer, chairman of the small Democratic Left Party (DSP) of which Ecevit is the honorary chairman, told reporters outside the hospital that doctors said the operation was successful. "We are more hopeful now," than when Ecevit was brought in, Sezer said.

    Along with his political arch-rival, the conservative Suleyman Demirel, Ecevit, as chairman of the Republican Peoples Party, dominated the Turkish political scene for nearly four decades. He was in power during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, and again in 1999 when Turkeys most wanted man, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan was arrested in Kenya. He was swept from power in the November 2002 elections that brought the current Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party government to government. Ecevit, who started his career as a journalist, is also a well-known poet. He is married with no children.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [09] Deadly Clashes in Afghanistan

    18 May 2006 20:34:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - BBC

    Violence runs high once again in Afghanistan, where Taleban fighters are battling police in the southern regions of the country. According to the official figures, it is the insurgents that count more dead, while a US citizen and a Canadian female army officer are also listed among the victims. It is noted that it is the fiercest fighting rattling the country ever since the Taleban regime was ousted in 2001. In the countrys northern and eastern regions, which are NATO control, clashes are sporadic.

    Clashes and Bombing Attacks

    So far, as many as 87 insurgents, 15 Afghan police officers, a US national and a Canadian army officer have been reported dead.

    The battles between the insurgents and the Afghan security forces have been reduced to Helmand province where officials say 50 militants and 13 police died, and in Kandahar, where at least 25 militants died in two separate clashes.

    At the same time, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the cities of Herat and Ghazni. Apart from the suicide bombers, a US citizen participating in the training of the Afghan police was also killed.

    In the meantime, the Canadian Parliament decided to leave the 2,300 Canadian troops in the country for two more years, while Bulgaria approved the dispatch of further 70 soldiers.

    [10] Tension in the Palestinian Territory Hamas Forces Clash with Police

    19 May 2006 13:12:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA - BBC

    Four people were injured, including two police officers in an exchange of fire between Palestinians in Gaza, close to the police headquarters, around midnight. According to police sources, security forces loyal to Fatah were attacked by a new unit run by the Hamas-led government, which have recently been deployed around the streets of Gaza. The two officers were injured in the legs, but not seriously, as per Associated Press.

    Khaled Abu Hilal, spokesman of the Interior Ministry, rejected the allegations, saying that unknown gunmen opened fire on the two groups and speaking of "suspicious gunmen" who tried to instigate the clash. At the same time, he urged both sides to exercise self-restraint.

    It should be noted that the tension between the two sides has escalated, resulting in five people having been killed in recent clashes. On her part, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the rival factions pose "a very dangerous situation" that Palestinian leaders must confront.

    In the meantime, top Israeli officials held a secret unofficial meeting with high-ranking Palestinian officials loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, as per sources. Both sides are seeking common ground to prepare a summit between Abbas and Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, without including the Hamas-led Palestinian Government.

    Finally, Palestinian and European sources announced that Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri was caught at the Rafah crossing, between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, on Friday morning, with more than 600,000 euros hidden in his clothing, when the allowable amount is $2,000. Hamas gunmen raced to the Rafah crossing, which is guarded by Abbass presidential guard, raising fears of fresh Palestinian infighting, but no violent incidents were recorded.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] Proposals Worth 548 Mln Euros Filed Public-Private Partnerships

    19 May 2006 12:04:00

    Sources: ANA, NET

    Investment proposals worth a total of 548 million euros have been submitted to the Special Secretariat of Public-Private Partnerships, a few months after the relevant Bill was adopted. As per the Economy Minister, new investment proposals worth 300 million euros are expected to be submitted within the month regarding Education, the Public Sector, tourism and environment infrastructure, Health, Welfare and Justice.

    Better Quality and Lower Cost

    Economy Minister Alogoskoufis voiced his optimism that the reform linked to the Partnerships will play a determinative role in the evolution pf Greek economy and society in the coming years. "By utilising capitals, know-how and the drive of the private sector, we ensure better quality, lower cost and greater speed in completing ventures," noted Giorgos Alogoskoufis, thus providing yet another avenue for private investment capitals. In addition, significant know-how will be transferred from the private to the Public Sector, while the latter acquires yet another tool for making use of its real estate.

    The purpose of the Special Secretariat of Public-Private Partnerships is to support implicated bodies by providing logistic services, to monitor the course of ventures and their consequences on the state budget.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] 'No' to Strict Deadlines for Kosovo Without Time Pressure

    19 May 2006 17:47:00

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed that tight deadlines would not bring the desirable results on the issue with Kosovo, while speaking at the Council of Europe foreign ministers summit in Strasbourg. On Thursday night, Ms Bakoyannis met with the UNs special envoy, Marti Ahtisaari, and clarified to him that as a Balkan state, Greece can play an active role in settling the matter.

    After the end of the summit, the Foreign Minister referred to her meeting with Marti Ahtisaari, claiming that the findings demonstrate "we are far from reaching a decision."

    At the same time, she declared that Greek politics are focusing on the protection of minorities issues, asking the international community for an extension in order to find a solution that would not create problems in the stability of the wider region.

    On the sidelines of the summit, the Greek FM met with her counterparts from Russia, Sergei Lavrov; Ukraine, Boris Tarasyuk; Serbia-Montenegro, Vuk Draskovic; Bosnia-Herzegovina Mladen Ivanic; and Norway, Jonas Store.

    She also met with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, the new Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg; and the European Mediator, Nikiforos Diamandouros.

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