|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-08-18
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Suicide Attacks ahead of Afghan ElectionsNews
Violence has been increasing in Afghanistan and the security situation from Kabul to the provinces remains tense and fragile. On Tuesday morning two rockets hit institutional targets, the presidential palace and police headquarters without causing serious damage. A few hours later a suicide attack on a main road in the Afghan capital, Islamabad killed 7 civilians and wounded another 52. Shortly after a suicide bomber walked up to an Afghan National Army checkpoint and detonated his explosive vest, killing three soldiers and two civilians. In the meantime security forces captured Pakistani Taliban's top spokesman Maulvi Umar.
Several NATO troops and civilians were killed in a suicide car bombing in Kabul on Tuesday and other violence rocked the country just two days before presidential elections.
In the suicide bombing a military convoy had been attacked on the road leading east to Jalalabad killing seven civilians and wounding 50.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban have expressed in written their threat to attack polling stations during presidential and regional elections.
Some 17 million Afghans are expected to vote in a climate of fear which is most likely to have a negative impact on voters turn out. Mr. Karzai, who is running for re-election to a second five-year term, said that his principal goal is to bring peace and security to the country and has promised to double the size of the Afghan police and army by the end of his next term.
A disputed vote would make it harder to build a popularly accepted government that can halt the revival in recent years of the Taliban and their Islamic militant ally, al-Qaeda. Polls last week indicated that President Hamid Karzai may fail to win a majority, forcing him into a runoff with his closest challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
The violence has come despite efforts to secure the country, especially the restive south, so that voters can head out to the polling stations. But NATO forces said Tuesday they would suspend offensive operations on election day, deploying coalition and Afghan troops to protect voters, election monitors and polling stations.
News item: 25916
 Decision on New School Year Start Date on WednesdayLast Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 17:35
Education and Health Ministries hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide whether the new academic school year would start on September, 11. In the meantime supply of pneumokokus vaccine is being gradually restored. A 53yo French national, sixth serious H1N1 case in Greece, is being hospitalized in critical condition. Piraeus port authorities were placed on the alert on Tuesday morning when a cruiser with 23 passengers aboard showing new flu symptoms, called at Piraeus port.
Pandemic Committee Plenum will suggest whether new academic school year will start on September, 11 or opening date would be postponed for protection reasons. Health and Education Ministries are to take the final decision. In the meantime, daily instructions are given in private day care centers that opened yesterday.
Supply of pneumokokus vaccine is being gradually restored with 45.000 vaccines to be delivered to drug stores till the end of the week. There will be also sufficient amount of anti viral drugs till the end of August.
A 53yo French national, sixth serious H1N1 case in Greece, is being hospitalized at intensive care ward of Rio Hospital in critical condition.
Tests for a safe vaccine to fight H1N1 virus continue in Europe and the US but scientists warn that no vaccine guarantees zero risk.
Immediate was Piraeus port health officials mobilization when signal was received about 23 passengers aboard British cruiser showing new flu symptoms. Tests were negative.
News item: 25913
 EU Requests Clarifications on Farmers' CompensationsNews
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 17:44
The European Commission has requested the Rural Development Ministry to provide additional data on the ‚¨500 million package allocated to pay for farmers damage due to bad weather conditions as it is not convinced that the sum covered compensations and was not a state support. The Rural Development Ministry, however, announced that it regards technical clarifications, which would be sent within the deadlines (till the end of August) to show that compensations to Greek farmers were in accordance to European Community and National legislation.
It should be noted that the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development has requested clarifications and not EU Commissioner for Agriculture Mariann Fischer. The Greek government had anyway planned to send till the end of August the additional clarifications to lift all doubts that it regards compensations and not state support.
Rural Development Ministry sources believe that clarifications will satisfy community officials , maintaining that Greece would be neither referred to the European Court nor sanctions imposed for violation of Community regulations.
‚Defiance and disobedience to the EU, which promotes billions of euros in state supports to banks, industrialists, shipping magnates and large hotel owners, should be the response to the Commission's objections to this insignificant compensation to farmers‚, says GCP .
News item: 25910
 Accelerate Reforms PackageNews
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 17:52
Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou after his meeting with the Prime-minister at the Maximos Mansions announced continuation of structural reforms in a broad spectrum of economic sectors. Mr. Papathanasiou underlined that the global financial crisis surfaced chronic problems in the Greek economy and the government had to take all steps that had not been taken in the past decades. The economic staff are drawing the package of measures, providing for reduction of state deficit without additional taxation to salary earners and businesses, to be submitted to the European Commission in autumn.
Their talks focused on the framework of structural reforms in key sectors of the economy that the Prime-minister will present in his speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair. The Finance Minister stressed that the global financial crisis influenced Greece though the impacts were far lighter compared to other economies due to the measures the government had taken.
The government is determined to proceed to structural reforms to ensure permanent development and more and better paid job positions said Mr. Papathanasiou.
Mr.Papathanasiou, who discussed the framework of the Prime-minister's speech in Thessaloniki International Fair and the blueprint of the new state budget, stressed that it is high time to plan all necessary structural changes that had not been materialized in the past decades.
The Prime-minister is expected to make an extensive reference to the government's measures to deal with the global financial crisis and support of businesses and Greek market.
Talks also centered on state expenses and finances which show signs of reduction.
According to Mr. Papathanasiou statements imposition of new taxation particularly during recession period is not included in the government's plans.
News item: 25907