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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-07-03

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Dramatic Developments
  • [02] ECB: Fresh Rise of Interest Rates
  • [03] Heavy Penalties for the Extrajudicial Ring
  • [04] FYROM Intransigence
  • [05] Arms Depot in Sofia Explodes
  • [06] Cooperation on Environment
  • [07] Th. Anastasiades Sues D. Oikonomou
  • [08] Child Soldiers in Afghanistan
  • [09] Surging Oil Prices
  • [10] Fishing Boat Runs Aground off Samos
  • [11] Meeting on the 2008-10 Reform Programme
  • [12] Makrygiannis Testifies on Wednesday
  • [13] World Conference on Modern Greek Studies
  • [14] Tensions Run High

  • [01] In the Siemens Case

    Dramatic Developments

    03 Ιουλ 2008 14:23:0 (Last updated: 03 Ιουλ 2008 18:46:5)

    Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ANA/MPA

    The ongoing revelations on the Siemens scandal have caused turbulence in the political scene. PASOK has called the prime minister to ask for Mr Liapis resignation. At the same time, on Thursday Eleftherotypia newspaper and ALTER TV station released a hotel document that reports that the reservation of the room, where Mr Liapis had stayed, was made by Siemens.Meanwhile, Culture Minister Michael Liapis intends to file a lawsuit against daily Eleftherotypia for its press reports regarding his trip to Germany. The paper, as well as ALTER private television, released a hotel document proving that it was Siemens that booked Liapis room. The Culture Minister assured anew that he himself organized his trip and paid for his expenses. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed that the Government has no copies of the travel documents and relies on the Ministers word. In the meantime, Magistrate Nikos Zagorianos, who is to carry out the main body of the investigation, was given the brief on the Siemens scandal, which has not ceased upsetting in Greeces political world.

    New Assurances by Liapis

    Rumours, documents and information keep fuelling the political row over the Siemens scandal.

    Paper Eleftherotypia and ALTER private television released a letter by the Westin Leipzig Hotel in Germany. The letter read that Siemens booked a room for Michael Liapis from 16 to 17 June in 2005 and that the expenses were paid by two different credit cards.

    The Culture Minister, on the other hand, after his phone contact with Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, assured the latter anew that he himself organized the trip to Germany and paid for his expenses and that everything else that may have taken place, it took place without him taking any notice.

    Roussopoulos also underlined that he does not question Michael Liapis, for he has been present in the nations political life for more than 30 years. He then went on to claim that the Minister was not requested hand over his travel receipts.

    Drilled whether the Government intends to take administrative actions against Siemens, Roussopoulos said that it is the Special Control Directorate that will search for tax violations and money laundering as soon as the investigation comes to an end.

    As for whether Siemens will keep taking part in tenders, Roussopoulos argued that the Government does nothing more than defining the Parliament regulations.

    Liapis is expected to lodge a lawsuit against paper Eleftherotypia, accusing it of character defamation and false accusations.

    Asked whether Liapis will take legal actions against Siemens and the hotel, the Government spokesman said he has no knowledge on the matter.

    Asked whether allowances could be made for those objecting Justices work, Roussopoulos said that they can make allowances for those who ignore its operation and those who wish to create other impressions.

    PASOK: "All Contracts Should Be Publicized"

    At the same time, PASOK, through Maria Damanaki, called on Mr Michalis Liapis to publicize evidence about his trip to Germany and all the contracts that the Culture Ministry had signed with Siemens.

    Ms Damanaki reported that the electronic equipment and the guiding system that should have been delivered by Siemens last April had not been delivered yet, adding that the company had already received 3.5 million euros, a sum that corresponds to 40% of the project.

    In parallel, PASOKs Parliamentary spokesman Christos Papoutsis called on the prime minister to make his decisions and shed light to the truth, adding that Justice and the government had been exposed.

    In parallel, KKE (Communist Party of Greece) Secretary General Aleka Papariga wondered what had happened to the 100 million euros Siemens donated to Greek political parties.

    SYN (Coalition of the Left) reported that the government is making a desperate effort to whitewash the case.

    Related News:

    Tensions Run High

    [02] ECB: Fresh Rise of Interest Rates

    03 Ιουλ 2008 15:15:0

    Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ΑNA/ΜPA

    The ECB increased its benchmark rate by a quarter point to 4.25 percent, the highest since 2001. It is the first central bank within the Group of Seven to tighten monetary policy since financial markets seized up last August. The rise was expected as European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet had repeatedly reported that inflationary pressures in the eurozone should be dealt with. At the same time, several eurozone Finance ministers expressed their reservation over the increase of the euro rates, as that would slacken economic development. Meanwhile, Brent crude has been trading today at $US 146 per barrel, while US crude traded at $US145.

    Fresh Rise of Oil Prices

    Oil prices hit Thursday a new record high for the fifth time in the past six trading sessions, while the dollar currency lost ground due to the negative figures on the US labour market, the losses of Dow Jones and the larger than expected fall in the US crude oil stockpiles.

    At the same time, fears over a possible escalation in the row over Irans nuclear programme keep oils price high. US crude oil for August delivery was up $1.65 per barrel, standing at $145.22 on Thursday noon. Earlier, it had reached $145.25, hitting a new record high. Brent for August delivery amounted to $145.90, up by $1.65 per barrel. It had even risen to $146.34.

    The dollar currency also lost ground against the euro in the aftermath of a report which suggested that the US private sector approved job cuts. The expected rise in the interest rates by the European Central Bank will give the EU single currency an advantage, exerting new pressures on the US currency.

    Translated by John Crystallidis

    [03] To 3 of the 9 Defendants

    Heavy Penalties for the Extrajudicial Ring

    03 Ιουλ 2008 15:08:0

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA-MPA

    Accused of their implication in the extrajudicial ring, former judges Evangelos Kalousis and Konstantina Bourboulias were sent behind bars, following a court ruling. After a lengthy procedure that lasted for months, the court found seven of the nine defendants guilty. Kalousis was sentenced to a 20-year jail time and Bourboulia to a 12-year one. Lawyer Sakis Kehagioglou got a 6-year jail sentence.

    [04] FYROM Intransigence

    03 Ιουλ 2008 16:11:0

    Sources: ANA

    At a joint Press Conference with the Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Vienna, the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias referred to the FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) name issue. Earlier, the two men had held long talks. Expressing his sorrow over FYROMs hostile and intransigent stance against Greece, Mr Papoulias stressed that until now Greece had been met with FYROMs empty and hostile irredentism. He also reminded that the Interim Agreement, signed by him as Foreign minister speaks of a name mutually approved by both sides. He also stated that under those conditions, the Greek position presented by the Greek prime minister in Bucharest could not change. Regarding the entry of Western Balkan countries to the EU, the Greek President stated that Greece would keep its promise; while regarding Kosovo he commented that Greece had been monitoring the situation with great attention. Moreover, he said that Greece is one of the countries that had not recognized Kosovos independence yet, as it believes that small and careful steps should be made towards that direction.

    Translated by John Crystallidis

    [05] Arms Depot in Sofia Explodes

    03 Ιουλ 2008 16:37:0

    Sources: ANA-Reuters

    A series of powerful explosions rocked an arms disposal depot storing 1,500 tonnes of obsolete munitions outside Sofia on Thursday, injuring three people, shaking apartment blocks and panicking thousands. The authorities had to remove 1,700 people from their homes.

    The explosions followed a fire at the complex near the village of Chelopechene on the eastern edge of the Bulgarian capital, police and civil defence officials said.

    At the same time, Sofia International airport closed and will re-open later today.

    Translated by John Crystallidis

    [06] Cooperation on Environment

    03 Ιουλ 2008 16:33:0 (Last updated: 03 Ιουλ 2008 18:24:3)

    The Presidents and Rectors of 12 big social and scientific bodies have signed a memorandum of cooperation for the protection and institutionalization of free spaces in the Attica basin. The memorandum was signed at the K. Palamas Cultural Centre of the Athens University. Athens-Piraeus Supra-Prefect Dina Bei, GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) President Giannis Panagopoulos, ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions) President Spyros Papaspyros, TEE President Giannis Alavanos, TEDKNA (Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of Attica) President Dimitris Kalogeropoulos, Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos, Piraeus Bar Association President Stelios Manousakis, Athens University Rector Christos Kittas, Athens Technical University Rector Kostas Moutzouris, Athens Geoponic University Rector Georgios Zervas, Athens Labour Centre alternate President Giannis Kallianos, and Piraeus Labour Centre President Petros Kyriakou signed the memorandum.

    Among others the memorandum foresees free spaces to be transformed to parks and free access to beaches be secured.

    Translated by John Crystallidis

    [07] Accusing Him of Power Abuse

    Th. Anastasiades Sues D. Oikonomou

    03 Ιουλ 2008 14:41:0

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA

    Editor of Proto Thema paper Themos Anastasiades lodged a lawsuit against second Magistrate Dimitris Oikonomou, who is investigating the Zahopoulos case, accusing him of power abuse. Anastasiades also withdrew a request of exemption against the second Magistrate. In his lawsuit, Anastasiades blasted Oikonomou for fabricating a felony against him, based on what journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos had told him. Anastasiades escorted Giannis Makrygiannis, a journalist working for paper Proto Thema to the Magistrate. Accused of participating in the breach of the personal data Act, Makrygiannis was given until Wednesday to testify.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Makrygiannis Testifies on Wednesday

    [08] Child Soldiers in Afghanistan

    03 Ιουλ 2008 13:57:0

    By Nasos Bratsos

    Sources: ANA, AFP

    The inhumane dimension of the use of children in gunbattles in Afghanistan was highlighted by UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy, who is on a five-day visit to the Asian country. The death of children in military operations, their being used by warring parties and the case of underage suicide bombers ran high on the agenda of the US Special Representative. In a Press conference, Coomaraswamy stressed that her goal is to inaugurate the monitoring and reporting mechanism pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 on grave violations committed against children in armed conflict. Expressing her grave concern over the attacks on schools, she added that they requested world powers re-consider their operations with a view to minimizing side-effects. She also said they urged all parties, and especially the anti-government ones, to step up measures against the use of children in the battlefield.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [09] Surging Oil Prices

    03 Ιουλ 2008 13:13:0

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Oil prices hit Thursday a new record high for the fifth time in the past six trading sessions, while the dollar currency lost ground due to the negative figures on the US labour market, the losses of Dow Jones and the larger than expected fall in the US crude oil stockpiles. At the same time, fears over a possible escalation in the row over Irans nuclear programme keep oils price high. US crude oil for August delivery was up $1.65 per barrel, standing at $145.22 on Thursday noon. Earlier, it had reached $145.25, hitting a new record high. Brent for August delivery amounted to $145.90, up by $1.65 per barrel. It had even risen to $146.34.

    The dollar currency also lost ground against the euro in the aftermath of a report which suggested that the US private sector approved job cuts. The expected rise in the interest rates by the European Central Bank will give the EU single currency an advantage, exerting new pressures on the US currency.

    Investors were also spooked by the figures released by the US Department of Energy, whereby the US crude stockpile went down by two million barrels.

    With regard to the row over Irans nuclear programme, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Wednesday that Tehran will soon give its response to a Western offer, aiming to talk Iran out of its nuclear aspirations.

    [10] Crew Members Are in Sound Health

    Fishing Boat Runs Aground off Samos

    03 Ιουλ 2008 12:00:0

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8

    Turkey-registered fishing boat "LIKYA" with 15 crew members aboard ran aground off the Vareloudi Islet near Samos Island. All crew members are in sound health. The boat was then sailed to the Samos port, where it is to stay until experts have a look at it. No sea pollution has been reported in the area.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] Between Alogoskoufis and Commission

    Meeting on the 2008-10 Reform Programme

    03 Ιουλ 2008 11:14:0

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Greece has to submit to the European Commission the second 3-year reform package in the framework of the Lisbon strategy by 15 October. Discussing the 2008-2010 National Reform Programme with Commission reps, Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said that the first package witnessed a marked progress by all the EU nations and that the second reform package has set the same goals. The Greek Governments goals, argued Alogoskoufis, include boosting growth, employment and social cohesion, as well as enhancing policies on environment.

    Alogoskoufis noted that there is clear evidence that show a slowdown in the world economy, while others speak of a stagnant inflation.

    The Finance Minister went on to claim that Greece will not give up on fiscal consolidation and its reform programme, as well as on its bid to boost transparency and control spending. Furthermore, as part of its plan to encourage initiatives in favour of the low-income earners, the National Social Cohesion Fund will take effect in autumn.

    Finally, Alogoskoufis claimed that the growth rate of the Greek economy has been significantly high over the last years. Despite its slowdown, it remains the highest in the eurozone, he concluded.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [12] Makrygiannis Testifies on Wednesday

    03 Ιουλ 2008 11:24:0

    Giannis Makrygiannis, a journalist working for Proto Thema paper, appeared Thursday morning before the examiner to testify on the Zahopoulos scandal. He was given until coming Wednesday to testify upon his request. Apart from his lawyer, Makrygiannis was also escorted by editor Themos Anastasiades.

    [13] World Conference on Modern Greek Studies

    03 Ιουλ 2008 09:46:0

    Sources: ANA-MPA

    The First World Conference on Modern Greek Studies opens Thursday at the Athens Concert Hall with the participation of professors of Modern Greek studies from all over the world. An initiative of the Athens Mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis, the Conference is taking place at the Athens Concert Hall.

    Philologists, linguists, historians and translators have been invited to attend it, while Jacques Bouchard, Hans Eideneier, Vicente Fernandez Gonzales, Konstantinos Dimadis, Stathis Gourgouris, Dimitris Tziovas and Antonis Drakopoulos make up the scientific committee of the conference.

    The Conference will run through 5 July.

    The Conference in question ushers a cycle of congress sponsored by the City of Athens, under the title "Greece in the world," with a view to systematising the activities of all bodies, both in Greece and beyond, so that the Greek language and Greek culture can be safeguarded and spread, commented Athens Mayor Nikitas Kakamanis.

    The thematic pages to run high on the conferences agenda are: "Modern Greek Studies and Research," "Modern Greek Studies and the Internet," "Diaspora," Modern Greek Language among the Languages of the World," "Modern Greek Studies and Professional Opportunities."

    The Conference is co-sponsored by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, Culture, Tourism Development, the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the National Book Centre of Greece, which will take care of an exhibition outside the hall hosting the Conference, under the title "The Greek Literature in 40 Languages."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [14] G. Papandreou Sees Political-Judicial Diversion

    Tensions Run High

    03 Ιουλ 2008 11:31:0

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105.8

    While the political wrangling over the funding scandal involving Siemens is heating up, a new document on Michael Liapis trip to Germany appeared Thursday in the Press. Earlier, the Culture Minister had denied a press report that claimed he was the Greek Minister who travelled to Germany along with former CEO of Siemens Greece Michalis Christoforakos to attend the Greek national soccer team. Michael Liapis said he would take legal actions against paper Eleftherotypia, claiming a 2-million compensation. He said that he himself organised the trip and paid for his expenses, and that he has all the required documents proving his word. Elelftherotypia paper, on the other hand, read it released nothing but evidence, arguing that had the Minister released the document he claims he has, none of this would have happened. The Government appeared satisfied with the explanations given by the Liapis, while PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) President George Papandreou spoke of a political and judicial diversion, holding the Prime Minister and the top judges accountable for it.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Recourse to Justice


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