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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-09-11
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Tax Bill Given Thumbs Up11 Σεπ 2008 12:21:00 (Last updated: 11 Σεπ 2008 15:40:35)
Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8
The 2nd Recess Section of the Greek House voted for the new tax draft-bill. PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) had requested article 14 pertaining to young freelancers by brought to a roll-call vote. Tensions, however, also ran high, although Finance Minister amended late on Wednesday the provision with regard to the 10,500 euro tax relief for freelancers up to 30 years old. Strongly opposing the initial provision, Conservative lawmaker Giannis Manolis said he would give a positive vote to the draft-bill following the amendments, offered his full backing to Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, yet he stressed that the Conservative cadres are not merely soldiers like those of PASOK. Expressing his frustration with politics and staying true to his proposal, whereby lawmakers should retire after two terms, he argued that he had no intention of seeking another term in the next elections.
Conservative MP Mihalis Mihaloliakos, who had requested the controversial provision be either revised or repealed, made it plain that the lawmakers who distance themselves are not after harming the party. They want the ruling party to stamp out corruption through political means instead, he added.
In the meantime, the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce requested the implementation of the draft-bill be either repealed or suspended, dismissing it as a surprise move at the expense of the commerce world.
Conservative MP Vassilis Mihaloliakos argued Thursday that the Finance Minister should revise the amendment in question and either improve it or withdraw it. Withdrawing, he added, a controversial article is not a political retreat but an act of political courage that leads to the partys redemption.
Giorgos Alogoskoufis, on his part, stressed there would be no other changes because a study had to precede them. Any remarks and improvements would be submitted as provisions to other draft-bills as long as they were studies, concluded the Finance Minister.
Speaking on NET radio station, Conservative deputy Simos Kedikoglou maintained that had the tax system been better, tax measures would have been much fairer.
Giannis Manolis then took the stand to argue that he would vote for the draft-bill after the amendments promised by Alogoskoufis. He then went on to say that he fully backed Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, further adding that the Conservative MPs are not merely soldiers like those of PASOK.
In the meantime, the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce requested the implementation of the draft-bill be either repealed or suspended, dismissing it as a surprise move at the expense of traders.
Tax Draft-Bill Sparks Wrangling
 On the Vatopedi Property ScandalTensions Run High
11 Σεπ 2008 08:55:00 (Last updated: 11 Σεπ 2008 15:48:54)
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8
The developments regarding the property scandal implicating the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos have sparked an acrimonious political wrangling. Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said in Parliament that all administrative activities pertaining to the exchange of land between the state and the Monastery would be suspended until the probe was over. "As soon the probe is over, we will examine the findings and act accordingly," Alogoskoufis added. PASOKs (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) parliamentary spokesman Evangelos Venizelos dismissed the suspension of the administrative activities as meaningless, because the exchange of land had already been signed.
Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis strongly reacted to head of Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) Giorgos Karatzaferis, who claimed in Parliament that the Ministers wife had received a payment of 300,000 euros for acting as a notary in the controversial exchange of land between the state and the Monastery. Voulgarakis spoke of a concerted defamation campaign against him, through monstrous lies, arguing that the money was paid to Notarys Association. The property scandal has also upset the opposition parties, as PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) is at loggerheads with (Coalition of the Radical Left), following Alekos Alavanos call for a sworn administrative committee since 1995.
Former Deputy Agricultural Minister Evangelos Basiakos denied signing any exchange of land between the state and the Monastery in question.
The government awaits the outcome of the probe underway and then it will decide on the moves to safeguard public property, commented Giorgos Alogoskoufis.
Speaking on NET radio station, Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas stressed that neither the Finance Ministry nor he himself decided on the exchange of land with the Vatopedi Monastery.
When business activities raise obstacles in the Governments way, such activities should be suspended, Conservative deputy Ntinos Ntinopoulos told NET radio station, further adding that sometimes politicians should have the guts to step down.
Translated by Areti Christou
 In Press Interview in ITFTsipras Called for Early Elections
11 Σεπ 2008 16:48:00
In a press interview within the frame of 73rd International Thessaloniki Fair, SYN party president, Alexis Tsipras called for early elections, describing ND party government as dangerous. He said that Prime-minister, Kostas Karamanlis can neither convince himself, accusing him of having passed from "zero tolerance" to "unlimited tolerance, cover up and complicity". In reference to the Batopedi property scandal, Mr. Tsipras said that the government has turned into a "Real Estate Office" and Ministers to "real estate agents". He added that the Batopedi case dates back to 1999 during PASOK ruling this is why the main opposition party can not play the role of prosecutor and accuser. He spoke of "holy silence" since the SYN party has brought on the issue since 1999 adding that PASOK Ministers must be brought to trial along with ND Ministers.
Mr. Tsipras predicted that elections will bring new political formations and ruled out any cooperation with PASOK party because it is part of the system and the crisis and not part of the solution. The solution is not a Center-left government but a Leftist government where the radical Left will have the leading role this is why the SYN party wants to cooperate with leftist parties which object to the concept of social-democracy, said A. Tsipras.
In response to fluctuations in SYN party percentage points indicated by gallops, Mr. Tsipras said that he places importance on two elements, first that 35% of respondents believe that SYN party exercises the most substantial opposition and has gained 20% of voters between 20-35 years-old. Regarding Aleka Papariga criticism against the SYN party, Mr. Tsipras said that she has broken inventiveness record with what she has said in the last six months, underlining that she has been losing left voters confidence and sawing the Left branch on which she herself is sitting on.
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
 ItalyStrict Measures to Combat Prostitution
11 Σεπ 2008 16:53:00
The Italian Cabinet approved a measure Thursday to outlaw street prostitution in an effort to dismantle prostitution rackets. Currently, prostitution is legal in Italy although the exploitation of prostitutes is a crime. Brothels were outlawed 50 years ago, pushing prostitutes onto the streets and making a common site of skimpily clad women on the edges of Italys major cities. Many of them are minors, and many are foreign victims of human trafficking. The bill approved Thursday by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconis Cabinet, would outlaw prostitution in public places, like streets and parks. It includes no ban on prostitutes operating behind closed doors. The bill needs final approval by Parliament to take effect. "We are trying to hit hard on the prostitution market by punishing street prostitution," said Mara Carfagna, the Equal Opportunities Minister. If the bill becomes law, prostitutes and clients will face up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to 3,000 with tougher penalties if the prostitutes are underage. Prostitutes acting under coercion by pimps will not face punishment under the measure. But some activists who work to get prostitutes off the streets said the measures would only make their efforts more difficult.
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
 The Euro Dropped11 Σεπ 2008 13:13:00
The euro dropped below 1.39 dollars to a new year low since September, 18, 2007 as investors refocused on sluggish economic prospects in the eurozone and favourable prospects on recovery of US economy. The European currency dropped for the second consecutive day following product growth prediction for the euro zone to 1.3% from the 1.7 % predicted in April. In Londons currency market, euro was at 1.3902 at noon while it had earlier dropped to 1.3893 from 1.3999 last night. The dollar advance against euro pushed crude oil prices down. Brent crude for October delivery contracts dropped to $97.85 per barrel while US crude dropped to $101.53
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
 Russia Wants Convincing Guarantees11 Σεπ 2008 13:06:00
Russia wants the United States and its European allies to provide convincing guarantees that a planned missile defence shield is not aimed against Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Thursday.
Lavrov, on a visit to Poland, also urged the West to recognise what he called "the new realities" in the Caucasus and follow Moscows example in recognising the independence of the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"We are open to serious negotiations (on the missile shield). If the United States and Poland are willing to guarantee that the European anti-missile base is not aimed at Russia, then we are ready to consider concrete proposals," Lavrov told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily in an interview.
"But we should talk about guarantees, not of cosmetic political gestures," he said.
Russia strongly opposes U.S. plans to establish an anti-missile shield in NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic, Moscows Soviet-era satellites, saying they upset the balance of power by undermining its own nuclear arsenal.
 Sarkozy's Son Ties the Knot11 Σεπ 2008 12:47:00
French President Nicolas Sarkozys 22-year-old son Jean, who has launched his own political career, married a member of the family that founded one of Frances biggest retailers on Wednesday.
Jean Sarkozy has become a household name in France since he played an important role in supporting and then abandoning the main centre-right partys candidate to succeed his father as mayor of the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.
A law student, the presidents second son has since been elected to the post of local councillor in his fathers former fiefdom and taken over the influential post of leader of the centre-right UMP party group in his regional council.
Jean Sarkozy told reporters he had married Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, whose family set up one of Frances biggest electronics retailers, Darty, at the town hall of Neuilly on Wednesday evening.
 Regular Meals Key to Good Health11 Σεπ 2008 12:02:00
Most people have the feeling that their eating habits affect their health. Researchers went a step further, proving that the frequency of meals is also important. People who do not have regular meals run a higher risk of developing the so-called "metabolic syndrome," a study carried out at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has suggested.
Metabolic syndrome is defined as a condition whereby multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes accumulate in one and the same individual. The syndrome causes abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, and glucose intolerance.
Monitoring as many as 4,000 people aged around 60, the Swedish researchers illustrated for the first time that the frequency of meals, irrespective of their content, affects the chances of developing metabolic syndrome. Irregular eating entails high health risks. Those who rarely ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, on average, a larger waist size and more blood lipid disorders than people whose diet included regular meals.
Translated by Areti Christou