|Saturday, 20 January 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-06-30
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Presidential Election Sparks DisputeThe forthcoming presidential election keeps political wrangling running high, as it has sparked snap elections scenarios. Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros blasted PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) for insulting the institutions. Antonaros slammed both the main opposition party and KKE (Greek Communist Party) for their stance on the matter and their calls for snap elections. PASOK, however, insists that the country needs a new mandate. "The country needs a government capable of giving answers to major problems," said PASOK President George Papandreou while wrapping up the Socialist International meeting in Montenegro. In the meantime, former Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis' proposal for cooperation between the Conservatives and the Socialists on the presidential elections has triggered a new round of talks. Touching on the presidential election, PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papakonstantinou said that the country needs a change of course in March at the latest and estimated that elections can take place much earlier.
Petty Party Expediencies behind Snap Elections Scenarios
"I don't know, but then I guess I know who is trying to have the country enter an informal pre-election period. What we are interested in and absorbs all our attention and energy is the government work, to push the country forward with initiatives that we are undertaking, with the necessary reforms and the measures we are taking to the benefit of the people," stressed government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros.
Asked whether the government intends to hold early elections lest the country should enter a prolonged pre-election period, Antonaros said that the question has been answered and that the government is producing work day in day out. "This has been the case on the eve of the European elections and we have no intention of reducing our efforts," claimed he.
PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) spokesman Giorgos Papakonstantinou, on his part, said that PASOK's moves depend on what it best for the country, and added that general election have to take place in March the latest.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA
Related news: Government Rules out Snap Election Scenarios
News item: 24265
 Changes in Pension System and Labour MarketNews
The government is considering introducing changes in the pension system and the labour market in autumn. Finance Minister Giannis Papathanasiou is working on structural and long-term measures, with a view to combating tax evasion and curtailing public spending. He heralded the separation of the Pension and Health agencies, the re-determination of heavy and arduous occupations, as well as measures against tax evasion.
"Our choice has been and still is to focus on curtailing public spending and stamping out tax evasion. However, the achievement of our goals amidst a difficult period requires tough decisions. Decisions built upon social justice and sensitivity towards the low-income earners," commented Giannis Papathanasiou.
Reactions by Opposition Parties"The structural measures the government are planning to take in the months to come is the continuation of its attack on labour rights," stressed the Greek Communist Party (KKE).
"The path of the so-called reforms is pushing the country to its financial demise. Unfortunately, we are still at the beginning of an unprecedented economic and social tragedy. The government and PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), despite its opposition cries, are ready to take new tax measures, trim pensions and destabilize markets and labour relations," commented Panagiotis Lafazanis, spokesman of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left).
Former Conservative Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis estimated that the deficit cannot fell below 3 percent in 2010 and forecast that Greece will ask for a new deadline."It is extremely difficult to make the deficit fall below 3 percent in 2010. We have to make effort to bring it down, yet it would not be good for the economy to push it below 3 percent. We have to ask for a deadline," said he.
News item: 24261
 Socialist International Meeting Wraps UpThe socialist family is shaping a progressive plan capable of giving solutions to the people's problem, at national, European and global level, stressed Greek Socialist leader and Socialist International head George Papandreou is his closing address. Papandreou suggested Monday that all Balkan nations join the EU by 2014, and underlined that Greece needs a government that respects the Greek people's wealth and money, giving solutions to major issues, including tackling the financial crisis, green energy, environment protection.
In his statements after the end of the Socialist International meeting, Papandreou commented: "The message that emerged from the Socialist International sitting in Montenegro is that the progressive and socialist powers can change the world."
He also noted, "the socialist family is after shaping a progressive plan for the whole world. The efforts to tackle the financial crisis and climate change lie at the foundations of the plan."
Source: NET, ANA/MPA
News item: 24256
 Jackson's Mother Wins Guardianship of His ChildrenMichael Jackson's mother Katherine on Monday won temporary guardianship of the late singer's children and control of his estate as a legal battle over his kids, money and belongings began to take shape.
Katherine Jackson won the first round in what could become a protracted fight over an estate estimated to be valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Attorney L. Londell McMillan, who said he was Katherine Jackson's legal counsel, issued a statement late on Monday saying the family was pleased with the judge's rulings. It is unclear if Jackson drew up a will before he died.
Questions about the singer's health prior to his death resurfaced Monday when Celebrity Website TMZ.com reported that Los Angeles County coroner officials returned to Jackson's rented home looking for more medication.
Four days after the singer's death from cardiac arrest, his father, Joe Jackson said the family was awaiting results of a second, private autopsy, and he expected to get details "real soon." He said funeral arrangements had not been made.
"We don't have a timeframe for that (the funeral) because I want to see how this autopsy is coming out," Jackson said after a family meeting at his home in suburban Los Angeles.
Two autopsies have been carried out on Jackson's body, one by the coroner's office and a second by a private pathologist. Speculation about what caused Jackson's heart to stop has centered on his prescription drug use, but toxicology tests are expected to take several more weeks.
The pop star died on Thursday at his rented Los Angeles home, days before kicking off a string of concerts in London that were designed to revive a career grounded by his 2005 trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.
News item: 24235