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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-09-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Open Matters to ND's Central Committee23 Σεπ 2008 15:37:00 (Last updated: 23 Σεπ 2008 17:55:38)
Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA
The sitting of the ruling partys Central Committee on Fridays has become the reference for intra-party talks in the Conservative party, as well as for domestic criticism. Dismissing scenarios calling for a cabinet reshuffle or snap elections, the Prime Ministers associates have shifted their attention to highlighting real political issues and have got the messages emerged from the recent polls. National Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis said that all open matters the government faces should be discussed at the session of the partys Central Committee. The Finance Minister, who has come in for heavy domestic criticism, reiterated that his work is based on the four-year vision, further arguing that the governments policy will be vindicated by the developments.
Meimarakis: Correction Moves Required
In his statements after the Inner cabinet meeting, Meimarakis spoke of procedural affairs that are up to the Prime Minister to decide, while he said that all open matters should be discussed at the partys Central Committee, so that intra-party rivalry can come to an end and the government along with the party can move on with a new programme.
Commenting on the way his interview with ANT1 private television was interpreted, the National Defence Minister stressed that a well-meaning self-criticism cannot be mistaken for fires or anything else. The Minister had said, inter allia, "I am not indispensable, and I believe that no minister is."
"Being able to highlight any omissions is among ones obligations, as well as submitting proposals," he added.
Meimarakis then went on to underline that any cabinet reshuffle is out of the question for the time being, because, as he explained, it would mean an institutional intervention that relates to the governments operation, which, as he said, is well-operated.
Asked to comment on the National Defence Ministers statements, Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos argued that everyone is free to express themselves. He also added that he had earlier met with Meimarakis at Maximos Mansion, the Prime Ministers official residence.
PASOK: Criticism on Society-Economy
In his interview with Reuters, Socialist leader George Papandreou called anew for snap elections, stressing, however, that the ruling conservatives should first sort out a series of scandals.
"It appears that the system is about to collapse. In any case, the people of Greece are aware that they cannot wait for a solution to their problems by Mr Karamanlis and his government," argued Socialist spokesman Christos Papoutsis, when asked to comment on the climate within the ruling party.
In the meantime, scenarios speaking of a coalition between the Socialists and SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) have once again come at the forefront.
SYRIZA top-ranking official Alekos Alavanos reiterated that the democratic opposition parties ought to raise a series of joint matters and blasted the Socialists for closing the door to a coalition.
 Inner Cabinet Meeting at Maximos MansionEyes Fixed on Economy
23 Σεπ 2008 13:45:00 (Last updated: 23 Σεπ 2008 16:53:57)
Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ANA/MPA
Chaired by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, the Inner Cabinet meeting discussed the global financial crisis and the developments brought about by the US rescue plan. Financial Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis reiterated that the crisis impact on Greece had been a minor one and that the country enjoyed a stable financial system.
Briefing the Inner Cabinet, Alogoskoufis stressed there had been important developments in the USA, forcing the US administration to step up measures with a view to restoring confidence in the global financial market.
In Europe, he said, repercussions were minor ones. What matters the most, he added, is to help maintain confidence in the global financial system.
In Greece problems were much more limited, further arguing that the Greek financial system is stable. The government has now shifted its attention to how Greece will suffer the slightest possible impact on real economy lest growth and the increasing employment rate should be suspended, claimed he.
He then went on to maintain that the campaign targeting to scale down the implications brought on by global inflation should go on unhindered, because it would mean a great deal to households and civilians.
Translated by Areti Christou
Inner Cabinet Meeting
 MPs Testify on Vatopedi Case23 Σεπ 2008 13:15:00 (Last updated: 23 Σεπ 2008 15:51:32)
Conservative deputy Athinaios Florinis is testifying to Appellate Prosecutor Eleni Sotiropoulou, who is investigating the Vatopedi Monastery scandal.
Earlier SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) deputy Evangelia Amanatidou-Paschalidou testified to Appellate Prosecutor Mr Koliousis who has also been assigned to investigate the scandal. Exiting the Prosecutors office, she told journalists that the case is purely political, also terming the decision that has to be taken to put an end to the scandal as a "political" one. She then went on to add that her party had submitted a bill and would submit a second one, requesting the acts giving the Church a tax exempt and decrees issued by the Byzantine emperors be abolished. "Monasteries have been robbing Greece of its wealth for over a thousand years using decrees issued by the Byzantine emperors. It cant be happening," said the SYRIZA deputy.
She further added that SYRIZA had asked for a committee of inquiry, stressing that the Socialist party should realize that the case dated back to 1998. Amanatidou-Paschalidou called the way the Monastery acquired nearly 25,000 square metres around Vistonida Lake suspicious, demanding those held accountable be punished.
 School Shooting Shocks Finland23 Σεπ 2008 11:48:00
A student shot dead nine people at a school in western Finland on Tuesday before shooting himself, in the countrys second school shooting in less than a year, local media and authorities said. The gunman was still alive but wounded and in hospital, authorities said.
"A cold-blooded shooter entered the building with an automatic pistol and started cutting down students," said Jukka Forsberg, a maintenance man at the vocational school in the town of Kauhajoki.
Local authorities said students and staff had been evacuated from the school, where a fire broke out but was later extinguished.
"Several are dead," said Kauhajoki Mayor Antti Rantakokko. "The situation is over now."
The school, which calls itself the "Kauhajoki School of Hospitality", had 150 students and 40 teachers as of 2005, according to the official website.
 Kefalogiannis Gets Suspended Imprisonment23 Σεπ 2008 14:01:00 (Last updated: 23 Σεπ 2008 15:45:27)
Sources: ΝΕT-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ANA/MPA
Former Conservative MP Giannis Kefalogiannis was sentenced to a 12-month suspended term, after found guilty of attempted abetting and inciting police officers to perjury. Special Crimes Task Force officials had accused him of asking them to alter their deposition against a cannabis grower so that he could be acquitted. Kefalogiannis dismissed accusations, putting them down to a plot against him. The Prime Ministers office announced that Kefalogiannis would abstain from his duty as the PMs advisor until the probe was completed.
The sentence against former Conservative MP and Prime Ministers advisor Giannis Kefalogiannis has left the Prime Minister exposed, said a Socialist spokesman G. Papakonstantinou. He further noted that the belated decision to have him stripped of his duties as the PMs advisor does nothing but to confirm the Governments hypocrisy.
Asked to comment on the Kefalogiannis imprisonment, head of SYRIZAs parliamentary group Alekos Alavanos argued that if high protection in Crete was lifted, crackdown on crime would be much easier.
Translated by Areti Christou
 Papoulias-Napolitano Meeting23 Σεπ 2008 12:37:00
Sources: NET, ANA-MPA
President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias warmly welcomed his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano at the Presidential Mansion on Tuesday.
Papoulias thanked the Italian dead of state for the return of a fragment of the Parthenon frieze from Palermo, a gesture which, as he said, was of pivotal importance at a time when Greece was seeking the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum.
He also referred to the aspirations for the operation of a Greek Archaeological School in Rome. The two men touched on the developments in the Cyprus row and the Balkans and underlined the need to have the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty completed before the European Parliament elections in 2009.
Napolitano reminded that he had met with Papoulias the previous year on Kefalonia island, where the two Presidents attended a memorial in honor of those who fought against Nazism, and stressed the excellent relations between the two countries that go far back in history.
 G. Papandreou Called for Early ElectionsEconomy PASOK's Top Priority
23 Σεπ 2008 11:36:00
PASOK is planning its policy placing priority on social agenda and state budget. In the meantime, recent political developments were discussed during yesterdays meeting of PASOK party Political Council, chaired by George Papandreou. He stressed that it was not time for hard work and not for celebrations after the positive results of opinion polls. In an interview with Reuters, PASOK President repeated that his party was ready for early general elections but only once the ruling ND party has sorted out a series of scandals. Mr. Papandreou is flying to NY today to attend Socialist International conference. Shortly prior to his departure, he will meet at 12:30 with Italys President Giorgio Napolitano, who is paying an official visit to Greece.
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
 Created Problems in Market SupplyCustoms Officers' Strike
23 Σεπ 2008 10:46:00
Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΑNA-ΜPA
Customs officers open-ended strike in protest against the removal of a special account that provided them with an additional monthly income has created serious problems in market supply and long queues of lorries at customs stations nationwide. If strike mobilizations continue the first shortages will be recorded in fuel and food items.
During strike mobilization, customs stations will operate with skeleton personnel who will only carry out inspections on imports and exports of perishable products, live stock and fuel for hospitals and means of public transport. Skeleton personnel will also deal with smuggling cases. Imports and exports of products have frozen at northern Greece border posts while perishable goods (fruit, vegetables, meat, fish) are in danger of going bad.
Increased is demand for fuel at Thessaloniki gas stations as motorists fear fuel shortages in the event customs officers 48-hour open-ended strike continues. The president of Northern Greece Customs Officers Federation Petros Kardakos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency that first shortages in fuel and food will start emerging on Wednesday while he stressed that the majority of Northern Greece customs officers are participating in the strike.
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
 Russia Dissatisfied over New OECD Kosovo Mission Head23 Σεπ 2008 10:23:00
The Russian Foreign Ministry voiced Monday its objections to the new head of the OECD mission in Kosovo, Werner Almhofer of Austria. The Finnish OECD Presidency picked him defying Serbias objections, read the announcement. According to Russian Foreign Ministry, that decision might make Kosovos Serbs question the OECD mission, perplex the drive to restore balance in the area and undermine the missions legitimacy.
Translated by Areti Christou
 Losses in Asian Trading23 Σεπ 2008 09:53:00
Asias largest markets opened slightly down on Tuesday, with investors questioning the effectiveness of the financial rescue plan. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 2.68 percent. In Singapore, markets were down by 2 percent, in Sydney by 2.01 percent, in Seoul by 1.48%. A national bank holiday in Japan has kept Nikkey closed. The US administration started Monday negotiating the $700 billion financial rescue plan with the Congress. Investors, however, appear sceptic over the plans effectiveness. Therefore, Wall Street reported 3.27 percent losses.
 Focused on World Economic CrisisInner Cabinet Meeting
23 Σεπ 2008 11:04:00
Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105.8
Prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis chairs an Inner Cabinet meeting at the Maximos Mansion this morning focused on world economic crisis and evaluation of measures to support low-income class groups. The climate in international markets remains explosive since US President decision to inject $700 billions bail out debt ridden banks resulted in further devaluation of the American currency nearly 1.5 against the euro and new surge in crude oil prices reaching $130 per barrel at the NY market on Monday. This morning, however, crude oil transactions in Asian markets have dropped to $107.40 per barrel while shares in Asian markets are suffering losses up to 2.7%. Losses are also being recorded in more European stock markets.
Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis
Meeting on Economy