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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-02-25

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Five Accused of Jailbreak Testify
  • [02] ADEDY 24-Hour Strike
  • [03] Obama: The USA will Revive
  • [04] Bill on Expatriate Greeks' Vote to be Rejected
  • [05] D. Bakoyianni-H.Clinton Meeting in US
  • [06] Strong Attack on the Economy

  • [01] Five Accused of Jailbreak Testify

    Society

    The trial of the four prison guards and the helicopter pilot facing charges of negligence for failing to stop Sunday's audacious carbon-copy prison escape by two notorious criminals, serial armed robber Vassilis Paleokostas and his Albanian accomplice Alket Rizai, continues on Wednesday at a Piraeus court. The attorneys of three of the four prison guards, Messrs Tsovolas and Karatzogiannis, resigned on Tuesday, claiming that they could not defend their clients after their petition to let them free was overruled. On Wednesday's sitting, fifteen witnesses, mostly prison guards, and the five defendants are expected to testify.

    In the meantime, a new prison director is expected to be picked on Friday, while authorities are investigating the prison security lapses, since the tip on their forthcoming escape was not taken into account.

    The Conservative administration spoke of corruption in the prison system, while Socialist leader George Papandreou called for an off-the-agenda debate on citizens' security, holding the administration responsible. The opposition parties also accused the government of vying to gain access to the citizens' personal data, on the occasion of the heralded abolition of the confidentiality of the card cell-phone holders.

    The government spokesman noted that the above measure had already taken effect in 11 European nations and rest everybody assured that the confidentiality of telecommunications would not be lifted.

    The head of the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission predicted that the implementation of the measure would come across practical and legal obstacles, while mobile operators termed it as impossible.

    Card cell-phone holders will given about two years to submit their personal data to the competent authorities, clarified Transport Minister Evrypides Stylianides.

    News item: 19391

    [02] ADEDY 24-Hour Strike

    Society

    Public sector union ADEDY 24-hour strike on Wednesday demanding support of Welfare Fund and salary increases above inflation rate affects a range of public services, operation of hospitals and air-transport. Many flights will be cancelled or delayed due to the three-hour work stoppage of Civil Aviation Employees. Grammar and high school teachers have also joined the strike. The main rally will be staged at 11:00, at Klathmonos Square.

    "Mass participation in the strike is the response to the government's effort to place all the burden on the workers, the unemployed and the pensioners. Employees in the Public sector are fighting against austerity policy, commercialization of social rights, degradation of social security and health treatment rights" says ADEDY announcement. "We will continue with protests," ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros said. "All the burden is on the workers, the unemployed and the pensioners, while those who are responsible for the crisis are being protected." State hospitals operate with skeleton staff and treat only emergency cases today. Technical inspection of cars expiring today is extended till Tuesday, 10, March, 2009.

    Flight Cancellations

    Olympic Airways passengers will face big problems today due cancellation of flights or changes in departure times when air traffic controllers walk out for three hours to join a 24-hour public sector strike in protest against pension reforms and low salaries. For information passengers can contact Olympic Airways 210 9666 666 and 801 1144 444. Aegean Airlines has also cancelled 17 flights and changed departure time for 23 flights.

    News item: 19387

    [03] Obama: The USA will Revive

    World -

    America-USA

    During his first speech before the Congress, US President Barrack Obama appealed to the Americans to view the financial crisis as a means of boosting ambition for the country's restructuring. Mr Obama said it's time to act boldly not just to revive the economy, but "to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity."

    "While the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater," he said. The president struck an optimistic tone, asserting that "we will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before." His speech lasted 52 minutes.

    He also said that the time of truth had come, adding it is time for all to take measures for our future, adding that sacrifices should be made so that the federal deficit should drop by 50% until the end of his term of office in 2013, as this year it may exceed $US1.5 trillion.

    The US president promised that America will be the first country worldwide with the biggest number of University graduates by 2020 and at the same time raise taxation for high incomes.

    He also said the country will invest to develop technology for green energy. In parallel, he called on the Congress to propose new rules for the Banking system and approve the new legal framework on gas emissions, which are responsible for the greenhouse effect.

    On Thursday, Mr Obama will present the new state-budget for 2010. At the same time, he stressed that contacts without a bid should be abolished, something which has cost the American public sector billions of dollars in the case of Iraq and the reform in armaments expenses. He reported that the Americans should not pay for armaments that date back to the Cold War and do not serve us anymore. The budget, he said, reflects the blunt reality of the crisis we have inherited.

    The consequences of this recession are there and can be seen everywhere, he said and invited the Americans not to concerned with their Bank deposits. He assured that the financial system would continue to operate, assuring that the Banks have enough money to boost consumption.

    Sources: AFP, NA-MPA

    News item: 19383

    [04] Bill on Expatriate Greeks' Vote to be Rejected

    Greece -

    Politics

    The opposition voted down the bill for the expatriate Greeks' vote at the Standing Committee on Tuesday. To pass, the bill should enjoy the majority of 2/3 of the MPs, with PASOK (Socialists) describing it scrappy. At the same time, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos accused the main opposition of refusing expatriate Greeks the right to vote. The government's proposal gives expatriate Greeks with a Greek nationality the right to vote, provided they are included in the municipal and electoral rolls of Greece. As per the bill, political parties should include at least three expatriate Greek candidates in the electoral tickets across Greece.

    Wrangling has broken out between the government and the opposition at the Public Administration Committee on the occasion of PASOK's voting down of the Interior Ministry's bill on the expatriate Greeks' vote. On the basis of the Constitution (article 51), the bill that settles everything related to the electoral right from voters, who are not in the dominion "is voted by the majority of 2/3 (200) of the total number of MPs."

    PASOK's stance today sends a message to the future oppositions to behave similarly, stated Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. PASOK tells us that it its views are not accepted for the creation of "regions abroad" and for "epistolary vote", it will not vote through the bill, said Mr Pavlopoulos.

    Mr Pavlopoulos stressed that "the expatriate Greeks should know that whoever adopts this position does not wish to give them the right to vote." ND (Conservatives) speaker St. Keletsis said that the bill is the result of a dialogue and allows three expatriate Greeks to be included in the parties' electoral tickets across Greece.

    From PASOK's side, spokesman T. Hytiris said that the expatriate Greeks' vote is a very serious case, adding that the bill is scrappy.

    The government asks for concession and despite the opposition's objections it is tabling a bill that is transitional: "We shall test it to see if it works and then we shall go to something else?" wondered Mr Hytiris, who raised the issues of constitutionality, such as the question as to whether the principle of proportionality of vote is abided.

    I am afraid that the bill is just to impress and tell expatriate Greeks that the government is making a transitional effort for them to vote, said Mr Hytiris. KKE (Communist Party of Greece) speaker A. Skyllakos said that Greeks who had been living abroad for years and do not know the conditions in Greece cannot determine Greece's fate. "Imagine what will happen if some hundreds of thousands of people vote. Then the Greeks' real will would be affected," said Mr Skyllakos.

    SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) MP F. Kouvelis said he is voting against the bill, proposing to establish an institution of expatriate MPs and set up foreign constituencies. Additionally the number of expatriate Greek MPs should be subtracted from the overall number of MPs in Greece.

    Finally, LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) Ath. Plevris requested that the first position on ballot papers should be occupied by expatriate Greek candidate MPs and expressed his objection to epistolary vote.

    News item: 19380

    [05] D. Bakoyianni-H.Clinton Meeting in US

    Politics

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni will meet with her US counterpart Hillary Clinton in Washington, on Wednesday. Called to comment on the meeting, US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said: "US State Secretary looks forward to her meeting with her Greek counterpart. Greece is a significant US ally and there are a number of issues that she wants to discuss with the Greek Foreign Minister". In response to whether there were unresolved problems between the two countries Mr. Wood said: "There are many problems in the world which need Greece-US cooperation for peaceful results".

    During her yesterday's meetings with US President National Security advisor James Jones and Foreign Relation Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, talks focused on West - Russia relations, the situation in the ME, Greek-Turkish relations, prospects for resolution of Cyprus question, Turkey's role in procedure under the auspices of UN and FYROM name issue. The role of Greece's presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and renewal of OSCE delegation to Georgia were discussed during Mrs. Bakoyianni meeting with the US Congress Committee responsible for OSCE. On her part, Mrs. Bakoyianni underlined the need for abolition of visa requirement for Greek citizens visit to US and Greece's inclusion in Visa Waiver program.

    In an interview with NET, Mrs Bakoyianni described her meetings in Washington as very constructive and held in a friendly climate, adding that talks included issues of broad international interest, which certainly linked to Greece's OSCE presidency and will be certainly included in NATO's next Summit meeting, as well as issues of particular interest to Greece. Mrs. Bakoyianni is to meet with the president of the Parliament Nancy Pelozi and attend a speech by US President Barrack Obama addressed to a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

    Sources: 105.8 - NA-PA

    News item: 19377

    [06] Strong Attack on the Economy

    Politics

    The slashing of jobs and the problems in various sectors prove that the crisis has passed to the Greek economy. And to this there the government has no government plan and packet of measures, pointed out PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) President George Papandreou at his party's meeting today. Referring to the imminent EU Summit-Meeting Mr Papandreou reported that Mr Costas Karamanlis will attend the meeting without an agenda at a time when he should have raised a number of issues that concern especially Greece.

    Mr Karamanlis is to attend the EU Summit-Meeting without a national agenda, said Mr Papandreou, stressing that the prime minister should raise the following issues:

    1. The Stability and Development Pact should evolve given that the goal is developmental objectives and not more flexibility. 2. The Community's budget should increase. 3. Operational terms should be set for the European Central Bank. 4. A European bond with European funds should be issued. 5. The EU should take an initiative for south-eastern Europe and the Balkans.

    The prime minister should not agree with bilateral agreements and supervision, stressed PASOK's president. Europe should remember cohesion policies and issues such as tourism for Greece, just as other countries are focusing on car industries, said Mr Papandreou. He also criticized the government of only being interested in staying in power and is not concerned with the crisis in the EU.

    Mr Papandreou said that the global crisis has passed to Greece, adding that this evident from the problems in various sectors and the slashing of jobs. He pointed out that there is neither a plan to tackle the problem nor packet of measures like in the rest of the EU member-states.

    PASOK's president brought as an example the non-activation of "Karamanlis packet" on tourism and TEMPE's inefficiency. "They are promoting their financial policy through leakages", said Mr Papandreou, stressing that the state should come first and stop being extravagant and ineffective like today. The objective for Greece is to be credible to its citizens the market, the international markets and negotiations, said Mr Papandreou, putting an end to the question "who can represent Greece better in Europe internationally, who can claim policies of cohesion and development in the EU?"

    News item: 19398


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