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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-04-01
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 On Skopje Name IssueDiplomatic Thriller
01 Apr 2008 09:03:00
By Vivian Papastefanou
The Inner Cabinet is holding a meeting at 11:00 this morning, just 24-hours prior to the crucial NATO Summit meeting in Bucharest. The Prime-minister met at 09:30 with George Papandreou at the initiative of the PASOK president. After the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated "Greece is facing crucial deliberations. Even partners and allies are exercising pressure on Greece. Greece is receiving unfair treatment, adding that it is not time for criticism but time to strengthen Greeces voice in these crucial deliberations. The opposition leader told the Prime-minister that he was willing to fly to Skopje to further strengthen the countrys position as well as to indicate the common stand of the country. Mr. Papandreou also repeated that solution to the name issue is a compound name, including geographical term for all uses. In reference to Skopjes provocations, he condemned "any acts of extreme symbolism which offend our country and our national symbols", he added, however, that these acts do not express the majority of the neigbouring countrys people. In an interview with MEGA television channel last night, Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyianni underlined that exercising veto right is a "big and difficult decision, but necessary". As she said "NATOs door is open and Greece supports Skopjes Euro-Atlantic prospect but there must be a solution. A mutually acceptable name, including a geographical term for all uses". Mrs. Bakoyianni will meet with the President of the German Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee at 10:15 to discuss NATO Summit meeting with focus on its enlargement.
Skopje New Provocation
In the meantime, after an offensive alteration of the Greek flag a wide circulation Skopjan magazine has a picture of Prime-minister, Kostas Karamnlis in nazi uniform. The Foreign Minister described as unacceptable the new provocative act while FYROM Foreign Minister, Antonio Milososki condemned the offensive depiction of the Greek flag. US ambassador to Athens also spoke of an offensive move. In the meantime, several Washington scenarios, aimed to admit the neighbouring country into the NATO alliance, have come to light. In a telephone contact with the American ambassador to Athens, PASOK President, George Papandreou expressed both his and in general the countrys strong resentment, stemming from Washingtons stand on Skopke name issue. "Decisions for a countrys admission to NATO are based on the grounds on whether they meet terms and credentials set by the alliance" said the State Department. NATO alliance general secretary described as unforeseeable the outcome of the NATO Summit meeting regarding both prospect of Skopjes admission as well as future prospect for Ukraine and Georgias admission to the Euro-Atlantic alliance.
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
Deliberations ahead of Summit
 On Social Security BillHouse Debate on Referendum Call
01 Apr 2008 09:54:00
A House sitting has been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon on two separate calls for a referendum filed by PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), following the voting of the pension bill late on Monday. The debate will go on until Wednesday night when a roll call vote takes place. In the meantime, trade unions, which are still collecting signatures in favour of a referendum, are staging Wednesday a protest outside the Parliament building. Furthermore, the Athens and Piraeus lawyers keep abstaining from their duties, while those of Piraeus have scheduled new 24-hour strikes on 8 and 16 April. Finally, Bank of Greece employees are on a 24-hour strike.
Translated by Areti Christou
Over-voted Social Security Bill
 Turkey's Top Court to Hear Case against AKP01 Apr 2008 08:22:00
By Betty Savourdou
Sources: French News Agency,ÁNA-ĚPA
Turkish Constitutional Court decided on Monday to hear case to rule on whether the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party should be banned for anti-secular activity. The petition, all judges of the Constitutional Court unanimously decided they could hear, among others asks to bar from politics 71 party senior officials, including President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, was filed by the chief prosecutor of the Court of Appeals, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, on March 14. The EU has urged the Constitutional Court to take Turkeys interests into consideration when making its decision, warning that the case could hit Ankaras drive to join the bloc while EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said he saw no justification for banning the AKP.
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
 Somali Immigrants Drown off Yemen01 Apr 2008 11:35:00
At least 53 Somalis have drowned off the coast of Yemen while trying to cross from Somalia to the Arabian Peninsula country, a Yemeni official said on Tuesday. The captain of the vessel carrying about 145 migrants forced them to jump into the sea off Yemens southern province of Abyan to swim ashore, the provincial official told Reuters. About 92 survived and were sent to refugee camps, he said. Last week another 75 Somali migrants drowned in a similar incident. Many African migrants try to reach Yemen, which they see as a gateway to wealthier parts of the Middle East, and the West.
 Indian Athlete Skips Olympic Torch Relay01 Apr 2008 11:18:00
Sources: The Associated Press
Indias soccer captain has refused to carry the Olympic torch through the New Delhi later this month to protest Chinas crackdown on recent demonstrations in Tibet, a sports official said Tuesday.
Bhaichung Bhutia, among the first athletes to refuse to run with the torch, informed the Indian Olympic Association on Monday, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
"This is my way of standing by the people of Tibet and their struggle. I abhor violence in any form," The Times Of India quoted Bhutia as saying. The Olympic torch arrived in Beijing on Monday after demonstrations by a pro-Tibetan group during its passage through Greece. The flame headed Tuesday to Almaty, Kazakhstan, as part of its 85,100-mile global journey with protests expected in several major cities.
Tibetan exiles in India are highlighting their opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet with their own relay torch from May 15-25 in Dharmsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India.
 Pelosi Suggests Boycotting Opening Ceremony01 Apr 2008 09:39:00
US President George W. Bush should consider boycotting the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics because of the way China has handled unrest in Tibet, the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday.
"I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table," Pelosi said in an interview with ABCs "Good Morning America" to be aired on Tuesday. "I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do," she said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will not attend the opening ceremony. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has left open the possibility that he might not attend.
Asked about Pelosis suggestion, a White House spokeswoman said Bush views the Olympics as a sporting event and an important opportunity to support US athletes.
Read the story on other sources:
ABC News: Pelosi: President Should Consider Boycotting Olympics' Opening
 Obama: Only Necessary US Troops in Iraq01 Apr 2008 09:13:00
By Betty Savourdou
Sources: AFP, ANA/MPA
Democrat candidate Barack Obama said that should he be elected US President, he was going to leave troops at the US embassy in Iraq to protect diplomatic personnel. "We will have troops looking... after our embassy there. Which we do everywhere," Obama stressed in a Press conference in Manheim, Pennsylvania. He also argued that if elected, the pullout would conclude in 16 months time. "I would have a strike force in the region, perhaps in Iraq, perhaps outside of Iraq, so that we could take advantage of, or we could deal with potential problems that might take place in the region. Thats very different from saying that were going to have a permanent occupation in Iraq," stressed he.
He then went on to blast the Republican frontrunner, Senator McCain, who had said he would leave US combat forces in Iraq for 100 years. Responding to a journalists remark that McCain statements were symbolic, Obama insisted, claiming, "I m just quoting back what he said, unless you tell me that thats a misquote."
Translated by Areti Christou