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

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Dramatic Rise of Death Toll
  • [02] Energy Certifications for Buildings
  • [03] European Help to Fire Hit Residents
  • [04] Oil Sets New Record
  • [05] Commercial Trucks and Road Tankers on Strike
  • [06] US Pullout from Iraq
  • [07] The Bus Driver's Funeral
  • [08] Summit on Food Crisis

  • [01] In Myanmar

    Dramatic Rise of Death Toll

    06 May 2008 10:55:00 (Last updated: 06 May 2008 18:11:10)

    Sources: ANA-MPA, BBC, Reuters, AP

    The death toll from Cyclone Nargis that wreaked havoc in Myanmar is believed to have reached 15,000, with the city of Bogale mourning as many as 10,000 people. The nations Foreign Minister Nyan Win said that another 30,000 had gone missing, while the victims could be much more, since authorities have not yet reached the isolated villages of the hardest-hit areas. The UN has said that hundreds of thousands of people have been left without clean water and shelter. World Vision humanitarian organisation, one of the few taking actions in Myanmar, has warned the long-term repercussions could be far worse than those the tsunami that ravaged the NE Asian nations in 2004 left in its wake. Myanmars leaders said they would accept international aid, a fact that according to foreign correspondents mirrors the scale of the disaster.

    Aid Distribution Viewed as Harsh

    UN crews have started visiting some of the hardest-hit areas, however, aid distribution is viewed as a major challenge for the crews and humanitarian bodies, since Myanmars already insufficient infrastructure has been severely damaged.

    Providing the homeless with shelter and clean water is a prime concern, commented a UN official, further underlining that the hardest of all is to reach the Irrawaddy delta, which took the brunt of the weekend storm.

    While the cyclone was in full swing, 67 vessels and some ferries in the Delta sank, and several ports were badly damaged. The power network went off, telecommunications paralyzed and irrigation pipelines were destroyed.

    Myth of Strong Military Junta Falls into Pieces

    The strong winds shattered the myth the junta was trying to build regarding its ability to lead the country to prosperity.

    Many survivors criticize the army for its delay to react. However last September military forces went down the streets and repressed protestations in Yangon streets staged by Buddhist monks effectively and quickly. This was not the case with the terrible disaster that plagued Myanmar.

    "The regime had the opportunity to send soldiers and win people. But it didntt. Where are the army forces and policemen? They were very quick and aggressive in the protestations last year", a retired public officer said.

    Even now the military regime seems to have overcome its "xenophobia" and announced that it will accept aid from abroad. But most of the 5 million resident of Yangon do not believe that such thing will ever take place.

    "They can not handle the situation on their own, but I am afraid that they will accept aid from the international community in the end", a Yangon citizen said.

    State Media show pictures of soldiers offering help to Buddhist churches and also of helicopters crammed with militants trying to remove trees from flooded areas.

    "They often give to our people the picture that our country can tackle catastrophes. This is the message they always sent abroad: we do not need help", a political analyzer who lives in Thailand since 1998 stated.

    "The myth that they are well prepared was fallen to pieces and this is going to have serious political consequences", he added. Meantime, Myanmar state TV broadcasted that the referendum for the hew constitution is being postponed until May 24 in 47 prefecture in Irrawaddy and Yangon areas which were hit by the cyclone.

    [02] Energy Certifications for Buildings

    06 May 2008 14:17:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8

    Selling or renting buildings above 50m2, both new and existing ones, should be accompanied with the issuance of a certification of their energy performance, foresaw an amendment the Greek Development Minister submitted to Parliament.

    The new measure is to take effect the soonest possible, said Christos Folias during the debate on the draft law.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [03] Near to 90 Billion Euro from the Solidarity Fund

    European Help to Fire Hit Residents

    06 May 2008 17:39:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8

    European Union approved today, Tuesday the provision of 89,7 billion euros to Greece from the EU Solidarity Fund for the coverage of the damages caused by fires in Greece last summer. What remains is the approval by the council of ministers which is expected to be completed in June. "The provision of this emergency funding by the EU is a positive progress in the governments effort to cope with the consequences of the 2007 destructive fires for the rebuilding of the fire afflicted areas," Deputy Minister of Economy Giannis Papathanasiou said.

    Translated by Sofia Gartziou

    [04] World Oil Nears $ 121

    Oil Sets New Record

    06 May 2008 16:55:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8

    World oil reached a new record price near 121 dollars a barrel on Tuesday due to the new recession of dollar in contrast with Euro. Petrol prices hit new record. New Yorks main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, reached an all-time high of 120.93 dollars a barrel during Asian hours before dropping back in late afternoon trade when it was three cents lower at 119.94 dollars a barrel. Meantime unleaded petrol rose up to 2,63% in our country. The highest petrol prices were reported in Ioannina and Thesprotia.

    The new wild race of oil prices rise concerns in American consumers especially for unleaded petrol. In New York incidents of petrol stealing were reported.

    Brent North Sea crude for June delivery was 24 cents higher at 118.23 dollars a barrel, after settling at a record 117.99 dollars on Monday in London.

    The situation is Somalia is explosive as policemen opened fire and killed two protestors who were demonstrating for the rising food prices which have gone up 50% during the last days.

    Translated by Sofia Gartziou

    [05] Commercial Trucks and Road Tankers on Strike

    06 May 2008 13:33:00 (Last updated: 06 May 2008 14:14:40)

    By Alexandros Moz

    Sources: NET, ANA-MPA

    The strike actions of the owners of commercial trucks and road tankers have caused traffic jams, as they have parked their vehicles along the national highways. Traffic wardens have been deployed to facilitate drivers.

    The strikers demand an additional rise in fares beyond the agreed 5% threshold, due to the soaring operational costs sparked off by the skyrocketing oil prices. They also demand they free access to Greeces national road network on Fridays.

    Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, on the other hand, said the 5% rise applies to all and nothing more can be done for special professional categories.

    [06] US Pullout from Iraq

    06 May 2008 12:48:00

    By Alexandros Moz

    Sources: ANA-MPA-AFP

    About 3,500 US troops that had been deployed in Iraq to beef up the existing forces will withdraw from Iraq, the US military said. The soldiers of the 3rd infantry division will return to their base in Fort Benning in Georgia over the next several weeks.

    This return is part of the US plan pull out the 30,000 extra troops that were deployed last year to curb an increase in sectarian violence in Iraq. The decrease in the number of soldiers demonstrated that progress has been made in Iraq, commented a US army official.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] The Shooter Testifies on Wednesday

    The Bus Driver's Funeral

    06 May 2008 12:12:00 (Last updated: 06 May 2008 18:29:21)

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA-MPA

    The bus driver that was shot dead by a drug addict, who had escaped from a police car in Thessaloniki, was laid Tuesday to rest at his hometown.

    His colleagues staged a work stoppage to attend his funeral and protest his being murdered.

    In the meantime, the perpetrator will be testifying on Wednesday, while the police officers charged with releasing a prisoner by negligence will be referred to court the day after. The victims family has said it will take legal actions against the police officers.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] Summit on Food Crisis

    06 May 2008 11:23:00

    By Alexandros Moz

    Sources: REUTERS, ANA-MPA

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to attend the forthcoming Rome Summit armed with fresh ideas to address the global food crisis.

    "If not properly handled, this crisis could cascade into multiple crises affecting trade, development and even social and political security around the world," he told journalists while returning from a tour in African and European nations.

    He added that the task force the UN has set up to tackle the problem consists of the heads of the UN agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will hold its first session on coming Monday. The task force has been assigned to study the roots of the problem and propose solutions at the Rome Summit.

    Ban said that the international community has made great strides lately in addressing emergencies. He added, though, boosting agricultural development mostly in Africa and the hardest-hit areas is the major challenge. The life of hundreds of millions of people is under threat, he warned.

    Translated by Areti Christou

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