|Saturday, 24 February 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-05-16
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Sakis Rouvas Ready for the ESC Final!News
Just a few hours before the big ESC final, suspense is culminating. Greek pop icon Sakis Rouvas, who was drawn to appear 8th on the stage, has stolen the limelight, as his stunning performance and his song "This Is Our Night" wowed the ESC fans that had packed the Olimpinski stadium!
Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Lithuania, Albania, Moldova, Denmark, Estonia and Norway. The Cypriot entry "Firefly" performed by teenager Christina Metaxa failed to earn a place in the big final.
The 25 finalists also include France, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Armenia, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Malta, Germany, Turkey, Romania, United Kingdom, Finland, Spain and Israel, which will kick off the ESC final at 1000 hours this night.
The Aussies Go for Sakis Rouvas
Were Australia to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, they would vote for Sakis Rouvas!
This is what we can gather from the Australian Press reports on the 54th ESC final to be held in Moscow. The Australians have been lured by the Greek entry because: a) the lyrics of Sakis' songs were written by Australians Craig Porteils and Cameron Giles-Webb, b) hundreds of Greek national live in the oceanic nation, and c) the Greek star's performance was hailed as really good.
However, the media in Australia have given their positive rating to the UK song, dismissing the Eurovision Song Contest as a grotesque show, which is why it has turned so successful.
Even Australian lyrics writer Craig Porteils has spoken of "Euro-rubbish" that lure the audience. "It is not a music contest. It is a game," said Porteils.
Source: NET, ANA/MPA
News item: 22409
 K. Karamanlis Visited the New Acropolis MuseumPrime-minister K. Karamanlis paid a visit to the new Acropolis Museum to inspect progress of last works prior to its inauguration on June, 20. Culture Minister Antonis Samaras was the guide of the Prime-minister's tour of the impressive new museum's sites.
The Culture Minister received the Prime-minister at the beginning of Dionisios Aeropagitis pedestrian street and walked to the entrance of the museum opposite the holy hill where he was welcomed by the head of the Museum, professor Dimitris Patermalis. The architectural design predisposes the modern concept of its construction as the visitor can see in its foundations the remains of 7 and 12 centuries settlements while going up to the next floors one can see the impressive Parthenon marbles at the height of the holy hill which stands exactly opposite. The inauguration of the new museum is an event of global cultural interest as major television networks have expressed interest in broadcasting it.
News item: 22407
 K. Karamanlis: āFinancial Crisis Catalyst for New ReformsāNews
Growth in the Eurozone shrank to -2.5% with German economy recording its worst picture in the post war era. In Greece growth has significantly dropped while thers is high concern over an explosion in the number of bounced checks, in April. The governor of the Bank of Greece, G. Probopoulos called once again for the necessity of public investments and combat of the huge tax evasion.Prime-minister K. Karamanlis announced reforms in institutions, state, education and economy during the Ministers' Council meeting.
From Bolos, the governor of the Bank of Greece stressed that "Greek economy could overcome present problems and revive development under certain preconditions". Mr. Probopoulos also asked : Combat of huge tax evasion Substantial reduction of excessive public expenses & Improvement of effectiveness of state expenses with the establishment of numerical limits on expenditures.
News item: 22405
 Gazprom-DESFA Agreement on South Stream SignedThe agreement for the construction of South Stream gas pipeline between Gazprom and Italy-Greece-Serbia-Bulgaria gas companies was officially signed in the city of Sotsi, on the Black Sea coast. Attending the event were Russian Prime-minister Vladimir Putin and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi as it is a joint project of Russian Gazprom and Italian ENI. The Basic Cooperation Agreement for the construction of the South Stream pipeline in Greek territory was signed in the presence of Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis who flew to Sotsi. The agreement was signed by Gazprom chief advisor Alexei Miller and DESFA president and chief advisor Nikolaos Mavromatis and Panagiotis Kanelopoulos respectively.
During his talks with Greek Development Minister, Vladimir Putin asked him to convey his greetings to the Greek Prime-minister K. Karamanlis and expressed his satisfaction for Greece's participation in the project. The agreement for the setting up of the Greek-Russian company, which will undertake the construction and exploitation of the part of the South Stream pipeline crossing Greek territory, was signed in Sotsi in the presence of Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis. Gazprom signed relevant agreement with Bulgaria, Serbia and Italian ENI. A meeting of Russia and Italy Premiers with Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis and representatives of the other countries followed the signing of the agreements. In his statement, Mr. Hatzidakis said that Greece has already drawn the technical design for the project which will cover 700 km in Greek territory. It was agreed that DESFA -Gazprom joint company would have its headquarters in Greece and most likely in Athens. The pipeline would cross the Black Sea at 2.000m depth and from there to the city of Barna, in Bulgaria and from there its north part will reach Austria after crossing Serbia while its south part will extend to Greece and Italy. Extension of DEPA-Gazprom agreement for Greece's gas supply, expiring in 2016, was also brought up. The south stream pipeline is not included in EU priorities and the Greek and Russian sides have an equal participation in this investment said Mr. Hatzidakis.
News item: 22404
 Obama Broke his Promise to End GuantanamoUS President Barack Obama has revived the system of Guantanamo military trials for foreign terrorism suspects, breaking his pre-election campaign promise to suspend military tribunals. Although Mr. Obama announced reforms which would restore the commissions as a legitimate forum for prosecution and bring them in line with the rule of law many are angry at the new announcement and say Mr Obama has broken a promise to end the controversial tribunals set up by the Bush administration.
Mr Obama has also ordered changes to the system, banning evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogations, including waterboarding.The use of hearsay evidence will be limited and the detainees will get greater leeway to choose their own military counsel.In a written statement, Mr Obama says his approach is "the best way" to protect America while upholding its deeply held values. Barrack Obama had promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by 2010.The prison was set up in 2002 at a US base on the south-eastern tip of Cuba to house foreign prisoners in the so-called US 'war on terrorism' that Mr. Bush declared after the hijacked plane attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.There are now 240 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay.It is believed that 18 prisoners are to face military tribunals. It is not clear how many of those remaining will face the new military commission system.It is also unclear whether any of the detainees will be tried in US courts, or indeed, how many may never go on trial. Human rights groups and military defense lawyers are stunned by what they see as a betrayal maintaining that suspected terrorists should be tried in the criminal court system. Reaction voices believe that none of the changes that Obama's administration are proposing could make military commissions valid or could give them the legitimacy necessary during trials of individuals who are suspected of terrorist crimes. The decision to restart the military commissions does not give any hints about whether the Obama Administration is sticking to its self-imposed deadline for closing Guantanamo Bay by January. Meanwhile an Algerian-born prisoner has arrived in France, after being released by the US after seven years' detention at Guantanamo Bay. France is the first EU member state to agree to receive a former Guantanamo prisoner following Washington's request.
News item: 22403
 UK Undersecretary Steps Down amid Expenses ScandalUK scandal over unjustifiable expenses claims involving deputies of both parties is taking large dimensions with new evidence coming to light every day. British Justice undersecretary Shahid Malik has stepped down pending an inquiry into claims about his expenses. He is the first member of Gordon Brown government who steps down after revelations made by the "Daily Telegraph" newspaper.
The Daily Telegraph alleges he claimed the maximum amount allowable £66.000 over three years - on his second home in London - while he paid a rent of £100 a week on his main family home. Mr. Malik insists he did not breach the ministerial code and he was "pleased" to have the chance to clear his name. Less than an hour before he announced he was stepping down, Mr Malik went on the offensive to claim endless media stories about expenses were in danger of "decimating" democracy. Mr. Malik is not the only MP involved, the expenses scandal- including MPs' of both parties- has grown over the past week as " Daily Telegraph", which has had access to details of lawmakers' claims, has printed them on the front page. The «Daily Telegraph» has led both parties into a difficult situation after revelations that lawmakers' claimed expenses for pool cleaning, cutting of grass, installing chandeliers, purchase of high definition televisions. Revelations have angered British voters, particularly during a period Britain is hit by a grave recession. On their part, Labour and Conservative parties' deputies are speeding to return excessive claims.
News item: 22401
 Positive Growth - Concern over Bounced ChecksNews
Growth in Greece continued in positive territory in the first quarter this year despite pressures by the global financial crisis. Although the impacts of the global financial crisis have led to significant drop in GDP, it was recorded at 0.3% meaning that the Greek economy has not entered recession yet compared against the majority of Eurozone group states whose growth stands at negative territory.
Despite continuing global financial crisis and liquidity shortage Greece's economic growth was recorded at 0.3% in the first quarter this year compared to EU and Eurozone member states whose growth shrank 2.5%. Drop in exports and investments has influenced negatively Greece's development. The chief of the Agricultural Bank Dimitris Miliakos said "Greece's economy shrank less compared to Europe". On his part the governor of the Bank of Greece G. Probopoulos believes that Greece's recovery depends on a series of reforms in the public sector, boost of public investments, combat of tax evasion which he describes as "huge". Mr. Probopoulos also proposed substantial and effective measures for the reduction of state expenditures with the establishment of numerical limits. Eurostat According to Eurostat report growth rate in Greece dropped 0.4% to 2.2% in the last quarter in 2008 while for the same period Eurozone growth had a larger drop to -4.6%. Comparing the above data we gather that Greece's economy is more resistant. Reports at the beginning of June and July will indicate the rate of growth in the next quarters, however, indexes recording the climate in the market and consumers indicate drop in GDP continues in the second half in 2009. Bounced checks On its part, the government's economic staff is highly concerned over the surging number of bounced checks circulating in the market, which is one of the main characteristics of the economic slump affecting businesses and individuals.
News item: 22385