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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-02-24

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Trial on Prison Break in Progress
  • [02] Dispute on Lift of Card Cell-Phone Anonymity
  • [03] High Alert on Global Economy
  • [04] Checks on Fuel and Food Prices
  • [05] PASOK Asks Debate on Security

  • [01] Trial on Prison Break in Progress

    The trial on the prison break continues with the testimonies of prison staff at the Piraeus Magistrate's Court. Those testifying are five prison staff, including the outside guard and the helicopter pilot; they are accused of participating in the escape of convicted felon Vassilis Paleokostas and Albanian convict Alket Rizaj. Earlier, the trial was interrupted temporarily as the defence appealed for annulment of the charges, a request that was rejected by the court. In parallel, it was decided that the bank accounts of the prison staff suspected of being bribed should open and their houses searched.

    Their trial began late Monday evening amid reactions by the defendants, who did not have time to be briefed on the brief, and with the relatives' protests, protesting over the arrests.

    The police are investigating intentional security flaws to find the answer on the two convicts' easy escape, as there was information about their imminent escape, which however was ignored.

    However, it appears that many knew that Paleokostas and Rizaj were planning to escape; however, their breakway was not only averted but took place unperturbed.

    As per information, the top guard of the third wing, where the to convicts were kept appears to be saying that on 18/2 he was informed by V.L. guard that he received an anonymous call, according to which Paleokostas and Rizaj were going to escape. He went to Korydallos, where the director came when the prison closed at 20:00 and a search was conducted in the third wing. The question remains why no additional measures were taken as there was a similar warning during the 2006 escape. No measures were also taken to separate the two convicts in the prison yard. The guard argues that they were together as there was no other space to be kept separate.

    It appears that the specific wing served as their passport to escape from the prison because they were in direct contact in the prison yard and only at the isolation yard there were not any cables preventing a helicopter from landing. Additionally, the roof of the next building was low for an aerial ladder to be thrown. At the same time, the manhunt to arrest the two convicts continues.

    Eight prison employees at Korydallos prison had been suspended for the prison break, while the bank accounts of those employees suspected to have been bribed will open and their houses searched.

    Meanwhile, the government is promoting a stricter legal framework for the operation of prisons. The government spokesman reiterated that the two convicts' venture succeeded because the prison system is corrupt.

    Sources: , 105.8

    Relative articles: Crucial questions and trials in a charged climate

    Wrangling on cell phones anonymity

    News item: 19359

    [02] Dispute on Lift of Card Cell-Phone Anonymity


    The government's decision to abolish anonymity to card cell-phone owners has sparked wrangling and social reactions. From his side, Transport Minister Evripidis Stylianidis pointed out on Tuesday that the number of card cell-phone owners today had been estimated to 13.5 million. They will have to submit their personal data in a transitional period for about two years. He also added that the market and cell phone owners would not be taken by surprise. The abolishment of anonymity is already being implemented in many European countries and a bill is required in order to be implemented in Greece.

    Important changes in the cell-phone market are expected to follow from its implementation in Greece. The lifting of anonymity is already being implemented in other 11 European countries. The relative EU directive expires on 15 March. The 13.5 million card cell-phone owners will have to submit their personal data only to mobile phone companies, even if they had purchased their sim cards from kiosks.

    Sources: - 105.8-NA/PA

    News item: 19340

    [03] High Alert on Global Economy


    The President of the World Bank has asked from Western Europe not to withdraw capital from Eastern Europe, but on the contrary to help its neighbours.

    And although the threat for the expansion of unemployment dominates Europe with Nokia announcing about 1,000 job cuts, European markets opened with losses. American GM, the biggest car company all over the world until now is overcharged and is about to close. Its distressful financial situation is causing turbulence in Europe, due to the cases of Opel and Saab. Industrial orders in the eurozone recorded a 5.2% drop per month in December 2008 and 6.4% drop in the Europe of 27. In the USA, Dow Jones recorded its biggest drop in the last 12 years, with analysts attributing it to lack of confidence despite announcements from the White House on stabilization and offers for new working positions.

    Unemployment in Europe

    60,000 Volkswagen employees have stated they are in the antechamber of unemployment. "We have not other choice. We will be forced to work for fewer hours, hoping not loose our jobs," said an employee of Europe's biggest car company.

    Geneal Motors is on the verge to close and as per a publication by DV, due to this development, Opel in Germany and Saab in Sweden, which are GM subsidiaries are also in danger.

    For this reason the PM of North Rhine Westfalia, where most Opel units are located visited Detroit in an attempt to check with the Americans' intentions and on the hope to find a solution.

    After his meeting with GM and Opel President there were some positive messages, as no decisions to close their factories and sack employees had been taken.

    Within the next six weeks, General Motors is expected to announce the plans of its administration as to whether it will slash working positions in Europe.

    Germany's Opel will be forced to contribute to the sanisation programme of GM as this is a precondition for the American car industry to receive state aid in the USA.

    The decisions will be taken in the USA and GM needs about US$30 billion to survive. Working days have been slashed by three per week, while this policy is already being implemented with the production lines of BMW, Mercedes and Audi in Germany.

    The same policy has extended to G. Britain, where the working hours of journalists have also been slashed. The Financial Times and the Guardian admit that nobody is exempted from the threat of 3.5 million unemployed until the end of 2009 in Britain.

    A British police report warns for eruption of anger in London, where Americans, Asians and European leaders of G20 are meeting on 2 April.

    The CNN reminds that French employees are staging fresh rallies on 19 March. Nokia has announced new restructuring measures that will result in the slashing of about 1,000 working positions.

    Robert Bruce Zoellick Steps in

    The President of the World Bank Robert Bruce Zoellick told "Suddeutsche Zeitung" that if capital continues to be withdrawn from western Europe bank subsidiaries from eastern Europe, then European unity maybe threatened.

    The President of the World Bank requires from Western Europe not to withdraw capital from Eastern Europe, but on the contrary to help its neighbours, stressing that "it would be a real tragedy for Europe to be divided again." As per Mr Zoellick, some Banks in Western Europe have begun withdrawing capital from their subsidiaries in Eastern Europe.

    The answer, added Mr Zoellick, is not the withdrawal of money, but the re-financing of the region, because Eastern Europe, together with Russia, Ukraine and Turkey need US$120 billion for the banks' restructuring of the capital structure.

    Moreover, Mr Zoellick pointed out that the World Bank is looking for a solution in cooperation with the European Restructuring & Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund, foreseeing that the venture will not succeed if there is no help from Western Europe.

    The President of the World Bank explained that the most important capital for Eastern Europe come from 10 or 12 German, Austrian, Italian, Belgian and Swiss Banks, inviting the governments of these countries to continue encouraging Banks to finance their subsidiaries in Eastern Europe.

    Industrial Orders in the Euro zone Drop

    Industrial orders in the Euro zone recorded a 5.2% drop in December 2008 and 6.4% drop in Europe, as per the European Statistical Service. In November 2008, industrial orders recorded a 5.2% drop in the Euro zone and 5.1% in the EU.

    Among the EU member-states for which there is available data, 16 rose and four dropped. Industrial orders in Latvia rose by 5.8%, in Greece by 2.8% and in Spain by 0.9%. The biggest drop was recorded in Holland (-15.1%), followed by Hungary (-13%), Ireland (-12.2%) and Slovakia (-11.4%).

    Financial Drop and Hopes in the USA

    Dow Jones recorded its biggest drop in the last 12 year. Analysts attributed the drop to lack of confidence, despite White House announcements for stabilization and new working positions.

    Meanwhile, all are expecting to listen to Mr Barrack Obama's first address on the US. The target to reduce the deficit of three trillion dollars to the half has been described epical. Cuts from expenses in Iraq and the increase of taxation to the rich were the original announcements.

    News item: 19347

    [04] Checks on Fuel and Food Prices


    The Development Ministry will launch strict checks on all the oil market after unjustified increases were recorded on petrol at a time when oil prices in the international market are dropping and oil refinery prices also dropping. In parallel, regarding the surging prices in supermarkets, Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis called on enterprises to assume their responsibilities, stressing that he would not hesitate to invite consumers to a boycott.

    Warning for a Boycott

    The Development minister has announced that the ministry will carry out checks in the oil market as of next week to protect transparency in the sector. Mr Hatzidakis pointed out that enterprises and the market should assume their responsibilities to the consumers, stressing that he would not hesitate to invite consumers to boycott any product, which the service would judge it should be boycotted.

    At the same time, the price of unleaded oil continues to rise in the Greek market despite the drop of prices at an international level.

    While the price of oil has continued dropping for the seventh consecutive week, the price of unleaded oil rose again by 0.895 euro per litre.

    In the same period, oil refinery prices dropped by 3.9 cents per litre. Consumers had to pay and additional 4.5 cents per litre, imposed by the domestic network of distributing oil. The Greek market raised the price of unleaded oil by two cents the moment international oil prices rose in the beginning of the year.

    On the contrary, although the price of Brent dropped by 12.4% in a month, unleaded oil dropped by 5%.

    As of 1 March, trading companies will have to write price cuts on invoices, while supporting cuts will be abolished.

    As for oil refineries, they will have to inform the ministry on the charges they concern the safety deposits.

    However, radical changes will take place in the oil market with the conclusion of the competition committee. Tills will have to be established, and a complete system of inflow and outflow is the next measure the ministry is examining.


    KKE (Communist Party of Greece) described the minister's statement on boycotting products hypocritical, adding that the government and PASOK (Socialists) do not wish to take any measures in support of the employees.

    Finally, SYN (Coalition of the Left) reports that Mr Hatzidakis is unable to present any specific measures against profiteering by the cartel, which are dominating the Greek market.

    Sources: , 105.8, NA-PA

    News item: 19360

    [05] PASOK Asks Debate on Security

    In a letter to the House Speaker D. Sioufas, PASOK leader G. Papandreou asks for a Parliament debate on citizens' security. In the meantime, the government is drawing stricter measures for the operatin of prisons. Government spokesman E. Antonaros admitted the need for additional measures underlining that "this is what the government is doing".

    In his letter to the House Speaker D. Sioufas, the main opposition leader George Papandreou speaks of a generalized feeling of anomy in the country underlining that Hellas Police official data indicate that crime rate has dramatically increased. Mr. Papandreou speaks of dissolution of the state with security measures drawing scorn comments after the second escape of the same prisoners in a short period of time and still recent pictures of extensive violence in urban centers with destruction of private properties, violence against people and abolition of basic rights and democratic legality. In parallel, he maintained that terrorist practices are reviving and multiplying. PASOK leader attributes exclusive responsibility to the government for the dissolution and debasement of the state underlining that the government is unable to effectively deal with today's security crisis because it is the main responsible for these phenomena.

    Earlier during a PASOK party meeting focused on citizen-state-administration, George Papandreou maintained that regarding Security Forces issue, the government places priority on petty partisan expediencies against public interest and tries to cover up the lack of planning and effectiveness under hypothetical strictness. In the meantime, the government is drawing stricter measures on the operation of prisons. Government spokesman said: "the two prisoners managed to escape due to corruption in a large part of the system, proving that additional measures had to be taken and this is what the government is doing

    News item: 19330

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