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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-03-26

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Censure Motion
  • [02] Athens Keeps Clear Distances
  • [03] Agreement on Pay Hikes
  • [04] Lending in Greece Hit Red
  • [05] Papoulias-Alavanos Meeting
  • [06] Financial Aid to Palestine
  • [07] Iraq: 54 People Killed in Clashes
  • [08] Labor Law Specialist Testifying
  • [09] Iran 5.3 Quake
  • [10] Oil Rises
  • [11] Norwegian Building Collapsed

  • [01] Submitted by PASOK against the Government

    Censure Motion

    26 Mar 2008 09:52:00 (Last updated: 26 Mar 2008 18:09:59)

    Sources: 105.8 NA-PA

    Political wrangling is running high after the censure motion against the Government submitted Wednesday morning by PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) President George Papandreou. The debate on the no-confidence motion opened on Wednesday noon and is expected to run through at midnight on Friday with a vote of confidence. Tabling the motion in the House Plenum, George Papandreou lashed out at the government policy, drawing his attention to the pension system, as well as the planned reforms on DEKOs (Public Utilities and Enterprises). Acting on behalf of the Government, Culture Minister Michael Liapis accepted the motion, underlining that it would give the Government the opportunity to unveil its huge work and the major reforms planned to be implemented. Head of the SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) parliamentary group Alekos Alavanos hailed Papandreous initiative. KKE (Greek Communist Party), on the other hand, blamed both PASOK and SYRIZA for trying to steal the limelight practicing a spurious opposition. Scheduled for Wednesday, the roll call vote of the social security bill was rescheduled for coming Tuesday. LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) chairman George Karatzaferis argued that the motion of censure "serves the Karamanlis administration." Furthermore, another issue pending is SYRIZAs call for a referendum on the social security. However, it will be debated after the bill is put to vote.

    Criticism and Hints

    The debate on the motion of censure submitted by the Socialist leader against the Prime Minister and his government opened shortly after 1500 hours.

    George Papandreou stressed that six months after the elections the Conservative Government betrayed the trust of the Greek people, undermined the fundamental right to dignified pensions and sold off the very last state assets in the false name of reform.

    Representing Government, Culture Minister Michael Liapis accepted the motion.

    "I have to thank PASOK for submitted a motion of censure, for it gives the Government a unique opportunity to promote its huge work and major reforms," underlined Liapis. He also noted that PASOKs move means to outdo SYRIZAs call for a referendum.

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos welcomed the motion, terming it as a sign of confusion on the part of PASOK.

    "It is a gift by PASOK so that we can make the Greek citizen familiar with our huge work," commented Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia. Deputy Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros underlined that the Government is entering the debate to elaborate yet again on its reform work and the implementation of the entire spectrum of its pledges.

    At the same time, head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group Alekos Alavanos hailed PASOKs decision to submit a motion of censure as a positive initiative, for it is in accordance with his partys rationale and allows unions to go on with the industrial actions against the pension bill. "We [SYRIZA] do not compete against such initiatives. We believe in a joint opposition campaign to block the bill," stressed he.

    The Greek Communist Party (KKE), on the other hand, blasted PASOK and SYRIZA for being involved in an impression game.

    Alavanos: "Any Initiative Is Positive"

    SYRIZA President, Alekos Alavanos called on citizens to cooperate for the collection of millions of signatures aimed to achieve the holding of referendum on social security draft bill. He also encouraged employees to continue industrial mobilizations in protest against reforms in social security system.

    In a press interview today, Mr. Alavanos stressed that during the last period SYRIZA party shifted focus on three levels: firstly to activate the societys reactions against the draft bill, secondly to highlight the content of the draft bill and thirdly to promote the SYRIZA party alternative proposals for solution of social security issue. He also welcomed PASOK censure motion against the government, underlining that any initiative, within SYRIZA party rational, is positive as it allows more time for Parliament debate and continuation of industrial mobilizations.

    In an intervention during the press interview today, SYRIZA deputy, Panagiotis Lafazanis described as monstrosity the social security draft bill, underlining that it demolishes social security rights of employees and stressed the need for continuation of mobilizations.

    [02] From Nimitz New Proposal

    Athens Keeps Clear Distances

    26 Mar 2008 14:22:00 (Last updated: 26 Mar 2008 18:31:17)

    Sources: - 105.8-NA/PA

    UN special envoy, Mathew Nimetz presented a new proposal on FYROM name issue to Greece and Skopje ambassadors during their NY meeting, on Tuesday. Greek Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyiannis briefed Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and the Inner Cabinet this morning. Bakoyianni said that the new proposal is far from Greeces targets and repeated that Greece will not consent to Skopjes admission to NATO alliance unless a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue is reached. In parallel, she did not rule out further Nimetz proposals on FYROM name issue as negotiations continue. Within the next 48 hours, Bakoyiannis will brief the President of the Republic and political party leaders on the new development.

    As per information, the new proposal UN envoy Matthew Nimetz put on the table is "Democracy of Macedonia-Skopje," which, as he told journalists, it has a geographical dimension and constitutes a fair compromise.

    Asked whether the Greek government was taken aback by Nimetz fresh proposal, Deputy Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed that the Government has been closely monitoring the case and that it is well-prepared.

    Addressing the House, Socialist MP Theodoros Pangalos described Nimetzs proposal as a proposal of dual name, and requested the Government make it clear whether it still pursues a name for all uses.

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos assured that the Karamanlis administration will defend Greeces national rights and that it will not go back on its pledges towards the Greek people.

    LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) head George Karatzaferis said that the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is the biggest problem, and agreed with Pangalos, who called on the Government to clarify whether it is still after a single name.

    In the meantime, FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski will meet on Wednesday evening to reflect on the fresh Nimetz proposal. So far, there has been no reaction to the proposal by the FYROM leaders.

    Related News:

    Nimetz Unveils New Proposal

    [03] Rises Will Be Given in 3 Installments

    Agreement on Pay Hikes

    26 Mar 2008 14:47:00 (Last updated: 26 Mar 2008 16:43:59)

    Sources: - 105.8-ANA/MPA

    Employers and employees agreed on the amount of pay hikes to be given to the private sector. The agreement provides for a two-year contract foreseen wage rises to be given in three installments. The hikes will exceed inflation, both sides claimed. Therefore, minimum wages will rise from 657 euros to 740 euros. The All Workers Militant Front (PAME) walked out of the meeting, dismissing the agreement as a despicable bargain at the expense of the employees.

    Satisfaction over Pay Hikes

    Both parties appeared satisfied with the agreement.

    GSEE head Giannis Panagopoulos spoke of a "good deal," also noting that the hikes foreseen are above inflation and that the agreement was the result of a socially loaded climate.

    GSEE general secretary Kostas Poupakis stated that the agreement portrays the best possible feasible objectives.

    Federation of Greek Industries chairman Dimitris Daskalopoulos spoke of a two-year contract of labour peace, General Confederation of Small and Medium Sized Business head Dimitris Asimakopoulos termed it as the best one struck over the last years, while National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce President Dimitris Armenakis noted that the need for calmness in market prevailed.

    Representatives of left parties in the labour unions opposed their disagreement. Alekos Kalyvis, deputy GSEE chairman, spoke of a "dreadful mistake," and PAME representative Mr Perros levelled it as a "lame bargain."

    The labour agreement will be approved by the Plenary Session of the GSEE Board, which will convene in the days to come. In the meantime, Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia sent Wednesday a letter to the social partners, urging them to include the provisions favouring working mothers in the labour agreement.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Poverty Fund to Be Launched

    Lending in Greece Hit Red

    26 Mar 2008 18:10:00

    By Andreas Roditis

    Sources:

    Lending in Greece has assumed alarming dimensions, as more than 250,000 households owe more than 100 billion euros in loans and credit cards. The high inflation rate blamed on the adverse world economic circumstances and its implications on the households has gravely spooked the Government. The Poverty Fund, which aspires to support some two million citizens bordering on poverty, will be launched in the days to come. As per information, households earning really low income will reap the benefits of the Poverty Fund.

    In the meantime, the Ministry of Health is to announce a package of measures aiming at relieving the households weighed down by their debts to banks. The Ministry is planning to establish specialized agencies with a view to supporting households. These measures will be built upon those already implemented in other European nations.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] On the Social Security Issue

    Papoulias-Alavanos Meeting

    26 Mar 2008 15:45:00

    Sources: , 105.8, ANA

    Former SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) head Alekos Alavanos briefed President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on SYRIZAs positions on the social security and on the unconstitutionality of Articles 22, 25 and 17 in particular. Exiting the Presidential Mansion, Alavanos said he asked the President of the Republic to consider the issue within the framework of his authority. Asked whether he requested Papoulias refer the bill to a court, Alavanos stressed, "We [SYRIZA] are not giving constitutional law lessons to the President of the Republic. He knows the Constitution a lot better than us. We asked him to consider the issue within the framework of the Constitutions provisions, which, as you know, include the referral to court, as well."

    Answering to accusations made by the Government, whereby SYRIZA is trying to have the President of the Republic involved, Alavanos reminded the ruling partys stance on the 1997 constitutional revision, according to which the President of the Republic ought to have control over the unconstitutionality of the laws voted in Parliament.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] By Donor Nations

    Financial Aid to Palestine

    26 Mar 2008 18:35:00

    By Nasos Bratsos

    Sources: ANA, AFP

    Donor nations will hold an EU-sponsored meeting in Berlin on 26 June, aspiring to raise some 150 million euros to support Palestines police and judicial system. Of the 150 million euros, 50 will be earmarked for the reorganization of the Palestinian judicial system, and 100 for the Palestinian police.

    In the meantime, US President George W. Bush will be meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington on 24 April, after being officially invited by the US consul to Jerusalem.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] In Basra and Baghdad

    Iraq: 54 People Killed in Clashes

    26 Mar 2008 10:44:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NA - BBC

    Fighting between Iraqi security forces and members of the Mehdi Army militia in Basra has killed 40 people and wounded 200 since a major Iraqi military operation began on Tuesday, an Iraqi official told Reuters. It is unclear how many are militants, soldiers and civilians. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has given militants 72 hours to lay down their arms or face "severe penalties". In the meantime in the capital Baghad, a health official said 14 people were killed and more than 140 wounded in clashes in Sadr City. Health department official Ali Bustan said that at least eight people were killed and 70 wounded. "We are short of medical personnel because the American army does not allow doctors to come to Sadr City", he told Reuters.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Unrest spreads across Shia Iraq

    [08] Labor Law Specialist Testifying

    26 Mar 2008 10:16:00

    Sources: 105.8

    Labor law specialist, Hristos Nikolitsopoulos, charged with blackmail attempt, violation of personal data and involvement in suicide attempt in the Zahopoulos case is testifying today before the 5th special interrogator.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    [09] Iran 5.3 Quake

    26 Mar 2008 10:14:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters, NA-PA

    An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 shook a region in southwest Iran today but there were no immediate reports of any casualties, the official IRNA news agency reported. The quake struck in an area round the city of Dogonbadan, about 600 km south of the Iranian capital Tehran, according to Irans Geophysics Institute. Dogonbadan is situated near some big Iranian oil fields, however, there are no reports of damage to the oil facilities.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    [10] Oil Rises

    26 Mar 2008 09:32:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Oil rose in Asian electronic transactions today shortly before the weekly US government report on crude oil inventories. In Singapore, price of light crude for May delivery contracts rose 63 cents to $101.85 from 101.22 closing in NY yesterday. Also Brent rose 46 cents to $101.06. There might be a surprise regarding American strategic reserves and the market has shifted its focus on that" said an analyst for Mitsubishi Corp, in Tokyo. Oil analysts forecast this weeks government data to show increase in weekly U.S. crude oil stocks, up 1.8 million barrels and fall of gasoline stocks of up to 1.15 million barrels.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    [11] Six People Missing

    Norwegian Building Collapsed

    26 Mar 2008 09:12:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Six people are missing after the collapse at the arly hours this morning of a six-storey apartment building in Norways western coastal town of Aalesund while rescue operations are still in progress according to police. Local media reports said about 20 people lived in the building, which was built against a mountainside, and that several had been taken to hospital with minor injuries. Police have evacuated a n umber of nearby buildings fearing possible explosion of gas supply system. Many survivors believed it was an earthquake. Police declined to speculate on the cause of the collapse.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Building collapses in west Norway


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