|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-06-27
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 ‚Cold War‚ Between Iran-USAIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad told U.S. President Obama to avoid interfering in Iran's affairs. The Iranian President reiterated he is willing to enter talks with the USA, yet, he stressed there are no favourable conditions for that. In a drive to defuse the crisis, Iran's election watchdog the Guardians Council suggested the setting up of a commit to re-assess the elections results. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi turned out the proposal.
The deeper the gap between hardliners and reformists in Iran it gets, the greater the distance between Washington and Tehran it grows.
Barack Obama praised the bravery of the Iranian people who took to the streets and protested the outcome of the recent presidential election, branding the violence exercised on them as outrageous.
"We are surprised at Mr. Obama," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in remarks to judiciary officials broadcast on state television. "Didn't he say that he was after change? Why did he interfere?"
"They keep saying that they want to hold talks with Iran ... but is this the correct way? Definitely, they have made a mistake," Ahmadinejad said.
Source: NET, ANA/MPA
News item: 24156
 World Mourns Jackson, Yet Questions Over His Death RemainNews
All around the world, fans are mourning the loss of pop icon Michael Jackson, who died Thursday after reportedly suffering a cardiac arrest in his Los Angeles home. With the results of the autopsy not coming out some time soon, rumours on what killed him are running high. Yet, this is how things are when celebs pass away so unexpectedly.
It goes without saying that his sold-out comeback world tour will be cancelled and hundreds of thousands of his fan will get their money back. Many say that ‚Wacko Jacko‚ succumbed to the pressure of a world tour. His remains were given late on Friday to his family, while information on his funeral has been sketchy.
Michael Jackson's ex-wife and Elvis Presley's daughter Liza Marie Presley said in her blog Jackson had been contemplating death for some time and even compared himself to her father. She mentioned in her blog about Jackson's emotional outburst at a time "I am afraid that I am going to end up like [Elvis Presley], the way he did."
Touching on her marriage with the pop icon, she said it was an unusual relationship between two unusual people and that he loved her as much as he could love anyone.
Undoubtedly, Michael Jackson will join the pantheon of those artists who marked their world music. History can only tell whether he was just a commercial artist or his image will manage to survive time. His songs, however, including Bad, Thriller, Dangerous and Dirty Diana, will remain forever etched on everyone's memory.
US President Barack Obama said he was an impressive artist, a music icon, while he did not miss stressing on Jackson's personal tragedies that worn him out.
The US Congress observed a minute of silence in his honour, while both Democrats and Republicans referred to his talent in the most glowing terms.
Even the Vatican joined the outpouring of grief. An article on its newspaper read ‚But Is He Really Dead?‚ stressing he has assumed mythological dimensions, and ranking among the rock icon, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. The paper also touched on the plastic surgeries Michael Jackson had undergone, terming them as a personal and not racial re-determination.
Nickolas Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni expressed her sorrow over the fact that world medial focused from time to time more on his personal life and his health instead of what he really was: a great talent. Egyptian tycoon and Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed said he will erect a monument in Jackson's honour in Harrods.
Source: NET 105.8
News item: 24155
 Security in Europe at the FocusWith the participation of more than 50 Foreign Ministers, Corfu is hosting two separate summits at the weekend. On Saturday afternoon the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) is holding a sitting for the first time after the war in Georgia, while Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is chairing Sunday an informal meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Matters pertaining to EU security, Iran and the founding of trust between East and West will top the summits. The Greek Foreign Minister will also hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the two summits.
The NATO-Russia Council is viewed as a pivotal political moment for the relations between East and West and for Greece, as well.
The 29 Foreign Ministers of the North-Atlantic Alliance and Russia, who are holding a meeting for the first time since the war in Georgia last August, are willing to commit themselves to an agenda on issues pertaining to security within Europe.
Before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, the 29 Foreign Ministers will go after an agenda, with a view to giving answers to standoffs, including Afghanistan, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against terrorism and the anti-missile shield.
Both sides are willing to be involved in a constructive dialogue. However, thorny issues are expected to raise tensions.
All sides have proved they think of NRC as an excellent venue to process positions, as well as express their disagreements.
In the meantime, the Greek Foreign Minister is expected to have important meetings on the sidelines of the summits.
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis is meeting with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, while he is to address the OECD summit on Sunday. Dora Bakoyannis met with her counterparts from Germany and Britain, while she is also expected to hold talks with the NATO Secretary General.
After her meeting with the German Foreign Minister, Bakoyannis expressed her satisfaction over the fact that the majority of the OECD members accepted the invitation for the Corfu summit, noting her will for ‚an open and honest discussion on security matters.‚
The German Foreign Minister, on his part, congratulated his Greek counterpart for her courage to organize the meeting, which he termed as necessary, since there are several issues still open.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA
News item: 24154
 Papandreou's Contacts in BelgradeFollowing his consecutives meetings with Serbian President Boris Tadic and Interior Mnister Ivica Dadic, Greek Socialist leader George Papandreou urged the Socialist powers to strengthen their voice in the Balkans and Europe and shape a road map capable of giving answers to the deadlocks of the financial crisis.
Papandreou said cooperation between Greece and Serbia is of strategic importance, and noted that the EU should not delay Serbia's European prospects, as it has taken many important steps forwards.
He then went on to stress that his party, either in opposition or in government, will be at the forefront of the campaign to have Serbia included in the European family, because Serbia deserves it.
In their statements, both the Serbian President and the Interior Minister thanked Papandreou for his backing to Serbia, expressing, at the same time, that Belgrade has committed itself in joining the EU.
On Sunday, Papandreou is due in Montenegro to chair a sitting of the Socialist International board. The topics to run high on the agenda include the financial crisis, climate change, illegal immigration, as well as the ties between the European Union and the Balkan nations.
Source: NET 105.8, ANA/MPA
News item: 24153
 5.1 Magnitude Tremor Hits SantoriniAn earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale hit late on Friday the Aegean island of Santorini, freaking both the island's residents and visitors out. The tremor occurred at 11.30pm NE off Santorini and some 225km SE of Athens.
There have been no reports of injuries or damage.
Appearing reassuring, seismologists are closely monitoring the area's seismic activity.
Two weaker tremors had preceded, while a 4.7 magnitude aftershock jolted the island about two hours later.
News item: 24152
 USA Passes Bill on Climate ChangeThe U.S. House of Representatives on Friday narrowly passed a climate change bill that would create a national system to cap greenhouse gas emissions and allow trade of such credits. Only eight Republicans joined Democrats in backing the measure. Prospects for Senate passage this year are uncertain.
Under the bill, the government would issue a declining number of permits to companies, which could sell them to each other as needed, and carbon emission would drop 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, from 2005 levels.
Supporters hail it as the first substantial national step to ease global warming. Republicans in Congress have attacked the legislation, saying it would increase consumer prices as companies are forced to switch to more expensive alternative fuels.
The federal "cap-and-trade" plan pre-empts any similar state scheme from 2012 to 2017, but leaves states the option of resuming trade of pollution credits after that date.
State leaders on Friday broadly supported the federal bill.
Laurie Burt, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, called the federal bill "an excellent start in the right direction" that gave states room to act if the national effort did not do a good job.
News item: 24151
 Emporiki Bank's Restructuring Plan Sparks ReactionsNews
The measures unveiled last Thursday by the board of the Emporiki Bank have gravely concerned the federation of the bank personnel, who scheduled a 24-hour strike for Monday. The bank employees argued that the cutting of 1500 jobs would strip their fund of about 350 million euros.
The Emporiki Bank board, on its part, said that targeted hiring is on the way, terming its business plan as the company only way to return to profits. The National Bank of Greece is also considering revising its business plan, due to the gloomy financial situation. The Group's plan will be discussed on Tuesday by the employees and the board.
The following two years are viewed as crucial for Emporiki Bank, as it will have to regain its profit by 2011 through trimming spending, branch re-planning and cutting 1500 jobs. The bank's decision to cut jobs and close 57 branches has created a feeling of insecurity.
The voluntary redundancy plan kicked off in 2007, while some 1600 people have been made redundant since then. About 7000 people are currently employed in the group, with most of them being women.
GSEE Calls Emporiki Bank's Unacceptable
The Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) strongly opposed Emporiki Bank's decision to shut down 57 branches and fire 1500 people through the voluntary redundancy plan.
‚It has been confirmed that the government's much-anticipated reforms mean dismissals, as well as problems to the operation and viability of the banks. The employees and the society are being called to pay for the outcome of the privatization programme in the banking sector.
The government pushed for provocative pension provisions in favour of the banks, which are demonstrating harsh anti-labour and anti-social behavior through dismissals.
We are demanding the Board of Emporiki Bank recall this unacceptable decision and the government shoulder its responsibilities and step in lest the plan should be implemented, as it is meant to be detrimental to the employees, the pension funds and national economy.‚
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA
Related news: Emporiki Bank Cuts Jobs
News item: 24138
 ELPE buys BP outlets in GreeceNews
Hellenic Petroleum has announced the acquisition of BP's retail fuel station network in Greece for 359 million euros, including a debt totaling 40 million euros.
Under the agreement, Hellenic Petroleum will acquire BP's 1,200 petrol stations, storage facilities and the commercial and industrial customers' sector. The deal excludes aviation fuel, lubricants and solar power activities which remain under the ownership of BP. Hellenic Petroleum said around 240 BP's workers would continue working while the remaining staff will continue working in BP's activities in Greece.
News item: 24135