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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-05-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] ‚Pledges Amount to Hypocrisy‚
  • [02] More Swine Flu Cases Confirmed Worldwide
  • [03] Greek President's Speech in Finland
  • [04] Greek President Calls for Transparency
  • [05] Wrangling in the Wake of Vote

  • [01] ‚Pledges Amount to Hypocrisy‚

    Addressing the 17th Regular Assembly of SETE (Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises) held at the Athens Music Hall on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis termed the months to come as crucial. "Recognizing the financial and social importance of tourism, the government is doing anything in its power to support it. I dare say that it has offered more than it has offered to any other sector," noted Karamanlis. "The goal is to maintain and enhance the potential of Greece's tourism product. Let's consider and work with a view to turning the global crisis into a national opportunity," underlined he.

    Referring to the parties involved in the tourism business, he said that in a time of a global financial storm, bringing prices down would be to their benefit.

    Unveiling the government's measures to tackle the crisis that hit the tourism sector, Karamanlis argued that full answers to the needs and demands each sector raises cannot be given. "Unilateral policies would trigger side-effects and thrown things off balance," said Karamanlis.

    Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos, in his speech, said it is a sound policy that will play an instrumental role in keeping the Greek tourism competitive amidst a feeling of global insecurity. "This tough year, the government is doing its best to back the Greek tourism industry, taking pioneering steps in many matters compared to its rivals." Markopoulos then went on to stress that things are getting better despite the poor performance of the first days.

    PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) deputy and section head for tourism Angela Gerekou maintained that the establishment of the Tourism Ministry was a wise step. He noted, however, that both its jurisdictions and funds are limited. He also blasted this year's tourism campaign, which she dismissed as arid, providing confusing messages.

    News item: 21892

    [02] More Swine Flu Cases Confirmed Worldwide

    News

    Dozens of new cases are being added up to the list with A flu cases, without the number of deaths being increased significantly. So far, as many as 1,124 cases have been confirmed in 21 countries, says the World Health Organization. The Organization has also warned of a new swine flu epidemic, as soon as winter sets in the southern hemisphere. The ban on pork imports imposed by some nations has sparked reactions. The European Union dismissed Russia's ban on pork imports from Spain, Canada and Britain as unjustified.

    64 New Cases Were Confirmed in Mexico

    64 new swine flu cases were confirmed in Mexico, rising the number of the infected to 840, said the country's Health Minister. The death toll remains the same, namely 26 victims, he added. The epidemic reached its peak between 23 and 28 April in Mexico, while the last death was reported on 29 April, said the Health Minister, further claiming that the majority of the victims, who lived in the capital city and its outskirts, aged between 20 and 39.

    Mexico is seriously considering partially raising the measures it took, with the USA appearing skeptic over the seriousness of the threat. However, experts have urged authorities not to loosen up, as the fear a new epidemic in the southern hemisphere as soon as the winter sets in. The World Health Organization has ordered millions of anti-virus medicines to send to 72 countries, as it expects swine flu cases to rise.

    Spain Reported 73 Swine Flu Cases

    The number of confirmed swine flu cases in Spain rose to 73, while the suspected cases went down from 63 to 56, said the country's Health Ministry, while the

    Of the people infected, only two are still in hospital, while all evidence has shown that its symptoms are mild enough and that the patients respond to the medication.

    Almost all cases are associated with people who recently returned from Mexico, added the Spanish Health Ministry.

    The second European nation to have been hit by the swine flu is Britain with 18 confirmed cases according to the World Health Organization and 27 cases according to authorities in London.

    Source: NET, ANA/MPA, AFP Related news: Swine Flu Alert

    News item: 21890

    [03] Greek President's Speech in Finland

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, who is on an official visit to Helsinki, addressed his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen at the official dinner held in the Finnish capital.

    "Our nations are situated on the two tips of Europe, however, their bonds are many and essential. Our tough struggles to safeguard national identity and independence, the coexistence with the sea, the love for culture, the commitment to democratic values, as well as the common path as members of the same European family and the shared vision of the future of the EU bridge the geographical distance between us," said Papoulias.

    "The love of the Finnish poets, scholars, as well as the love of the people of Finland for the Greek culture has established a tradition of philhellenism in your country. The university seats of Greek and classical studies, the distinguished professors, as well as 25 associations of ‚Finnish-Greek Friendship,' contribute to the tightening of our cultural relations. Being a truck and volleyball athlete, I would like to praise your country's achievements in world sports and the great performances of your athletes, performances that are coupled with ethos. The friendship and understanding the two nations enjoy is also strengthened by the hundreds of Finnish tourists who visit Greece every years, as well as the great number of Greek visitors who wish to get a close view of this beautiful country and its culture," continued Papoulias.

    Finally, the Greek President said, "We share the same concerns with regard to world security, the EU's stabilizing role, the financial growth and climate change. The overexploitation of natural resources and the viable development have raised major challenges. The world is experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis. I hope the ordeal the present situation is causing to all of us will prompt us consider the teaching for human-oriented financial and development policies."

    Cyprus Issue

    Karolos Papoulias also touched on the Cyprus row, commenting, "It is unacceptable for a European capital like Nicosia to be under the occupation of another country like Turkey that wishes to be part of the European family," adding that "we should make every effort to find a solution to the specific problem."

    News item: 21888

    [04] Greek President Calls for Transparency

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, who is on an official visit to Helsinki, intervened in the current domestic affairs. "I urge everyone to follow Finland's recipe. In other words, transparency in political life should be the keynote priority." In the meantime, his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen offered her full backing to matters pertaining to the Greek national affairs, including the Cyprus row.

    Karolos Papoulias' intervention came after been asked how Finland manages to have zero corruption. The Greek President said he had nothing more to add to what had been said by Tarja Halonen, who had noted "We are not saints. We are humans, too, and therefore we occasionally run up against difficulties that force us to courts."

    The Finnish President had also stressed, "There should be transparency everywhere. In other words, there should be easy access to information on matters pertaining to taxation or to the acquisition of permits or authorizations."

    At the Press conference, the Greek head of state was asked by a Finnish journalist about the rioting that broke out in Athens last year, the country's financial situation and about the fact that the Greek politicians are not that popular.

    Papoulias said, "Last December, we experienced a revolt of young people, who expressed their anger over the things they disagree with and make them suffer. I believe that when the youth revolts for the sake of things that do not suit us, then this is promising."

    The Greek President also added that the Greek political parties do not differ from the political parties of the European nations. "

    On the Cyprus Standoff and Turkey's EU Future

    Karolos Papoulias and Tarja Halonen, old acquaintances and friends since their terms as foreign ministers, discussed the global economic crisis, bilateral, international and European issues, and according to Papoulias they "shared the same positions".

    Both Papoulias and Halonen referred to issues concerning the Baltic and the greater Mediterranean region, with Halonen stating that "both countries have very interesting neighbours," stressing the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    She pointed out that it is "unacceptable for a European capital like Nicosia to be under the occupation of another country like Turkey that wishes to be part of the European family," adding that "we should make every effort to find a solution to the specific problem."

    President Halonen added that Finland is in favor of a process within the framework of the UN "to see how the Cyprus issue will be solved".

    She backed Turkey's accession into the European Union, adding that if Turkey works hard it can meet the necessary criteria for membership. "We know that some of the pending issues concern Cyprus but the country has a lot of work to do as regards its domestic issues, as well," Halonen said, referring to Turkey.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA

    News item: 21877

    [05] Wrangling in the Wake of Vote

    Tensions are running high in the wake of the secret vote held late on Monday in Parliament, where the proposal to indict former minister and current New Democracy deputy Aristotelis Pavlidis was turned down. The government said the matter was closed, stressing that the lawmakers voted at will, while government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros unleashed an attack on the main opposition party. On the other hand, PASOK's Political Council held a meeting, in which George Papandreou argued the government suffered a crushing blow, underlining that there has to be a shift in the governance model. In the meantime, the political parties are planning their next moves, since a new discussion on another matter pertaining to Pavlidis' activities is to be held on Thursday.

    The House Has Decided, Says the Government

    The government lashed out at the main opposition party, accusing it of maintaining scandal rumours with a view to undermine the country's political life, proving yet again it lacks policy.

    Asked whether the government was satisfied, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that just a constitutional procedure ran its course, further adding, "Should some wish to degrade the institutional operation of the state's bodies, they harm no one but themselves."

    He then argued that all lawmakers did their duty during the vote and that the said stance is absolutely respected by all the political parties.

    Drilled whether the outcome of the vote acquitted Pavlidis or closed the case, he reiterated that the whole process aimed at deciding whether there was enough evidence to indict a Parliament member or not. "The House decided that there was no evidence. It is crystal clear. Period," noted he.

    Shifting his attention to the second brief, he stressed, "PASOK has yet again proved that it lacks any policy and does not respect the institutions."

    Asked whether Pavlidis would be forced to quit, he reiterated what the parliamentary process was, adding, "Everything else is but a personal choice."

    ND deputy Giannis Manolis claimed that one of the blank ballots was his, as he had said he would. "The message was his moral conviction. I hope he will take that into consideration and step down," argued he.

    Papandreou's Criticism

    On his part, Socialist leader George Papandreou said that the government suffered a crushing blow, as Monday's vote revealed the Prime Minister's huge responsibilities.

    He also blasted Kostas Karamanlis for he missed the chance, because he did not had the guts and was not interested in transparency.

    After estimating that PASOK will assume power with the country being in a deep crisis, he underlined that restoring the people's trust in the state's institutions and guaranteeing well-governance would be his keynote priorities.

    KKE Says Yes to a Second Committee

    The Greek Communist Party (KKE) blasted the two major political parties. "This case also surfaced the chronic policy of cover-up and that the capital-aiding policy is the one that nourishes corruption."

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA Related news: Parliament Votes No to Pavlidis' Indictment

    News item: 21874


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