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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-01-18
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 5.2-Magnitude Quake Hits Central GreeceMonday, 18 January 2010 18:19
An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale jolted the area the town of Trikorfo, 160km west of Athens shortly before 6pm on Monday evening. Due to its magnitude, the quake was felt even in Athens and Patras. Residents of the wider region rushed out of their houses. No damage has been reported. Seismologist Akis Tselentis advised the residents of the quake-hit regions to avoid entering old buildings, adding that experts will be able to reach more solid conclusions after 20 hours.
Source: ANA/MPA News item: 32108
 "Crash Test" for Greek EconomyMonday, 18 January 2010 16:00
The Greek economy will top the Eurogroup and Ecofin sessions to be held Monday and Tuesday in Brussels. The Greek Finance Minister, Giorgos Papakonstantinou will outline the goals of the Greek financial plan and try to prove the accuracy of the figures to be released.
Papakonstantinou is expected to brief his counterparts on the Stability and Growth Pact submitted to the European Commission and which is expected to get thumbs up on 15-16 February.
In the meantime, Ecofin will also touch on the Greek statistical figures, while the EU body is to adopt conclusions based upon the European Commission report released on 8/1/2010 on Greece's fiscal statistical data for 2004-2008. The report was compiled upon Ecofin's request on 10 November 2009.
The recent European Commission report on eurozone released on 21 December 2009 will also be discussed at the Ecofin. The report in questions suggests that recession seems to be coming to an end, since growth rates within the eurozone turned positive again in the third quarter of 2009.
"DEUTSCHE BANK, in the most austere and assertive fashion, said that Greece's chances of going bankrupt are higher than Russia and Argentina's chances some 12 years ago. Mr Papakonstantinou's half-measures unfortunately do not offer an answer to the German bank's speculations," stressed LAOS (Popular Orthodox Party). News item: 32101
 Neighbourhood Policing Takes EffectMonday, 18 January 2010 13:32
The programme of neighbourhood policing took effect Monday in several Greek cities.
More than 100 police officers in Athens and another 100 in other cities will be patrolling neighbourhoods with a view to stamping out crime in collaboration with local councils.
The programme aims to deliver a crushing blow to crime in every neighbourhood of the nation. Police wants to get a close view of the problems plaguing Greece's neighbourhoods.
The police officers were specially trained so that they can cooperate with the citizens and sensitive social groups in the most effective manner. They will have a batch reading "neighbourhood police officer" on their uniform to stand out from the rest police officers.
The neighbourhood policing teams' duty will be to listen to citizens' concerns using police surgeries, local meetings, door-to-door enquiries and surveys.
The information people is expected to supply, alongside other consultation, will allow teams to identify the top priorities and to form a neighbourhood improvement plan.
They will also work with residents and partner agencies, such as the fire service and local councils, to reduce crime and find solutions for these community issues.
Source: NET, ANA/MPA
News item: 32085
 Farmers Erect Road Blocks in HighwaysMonday, 18 January 2010 10:17
Adamant on their demands, the farmers are escalating their protests, thus seriously disrupting traffic in several parts of the national and regional road network. Farmers said that the agricultural policy's future is shaky, while the Agricultural Development Minister argued that the farmers' problems are the government's top priority, however there are no available funds.
"The matter concerns the entire society, not just the state and the farmers," commented government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis.
He also stressed that bilateral talks cannot solve the matter, further adding that working groups are working on the eight suggested key pillars upon which major structural changes on production and trade will be built.
Additionally, the government spokesman underlined that the open dialogue is to culminate in 25 and 26 January.
Conservative MP Giorgos Kasapides offered his backing to the farmers' cause, underlined, however, that his party disagrees with the road blocks.
Kasapides called on the government to stop opposing the New Democracy party and start acting as a government, further underlining that generalizations do not solve problems.
"The EU policy the government is implementing serves the interests of bankers," commented KKE (Greek Communist Party).
Source: NET 105.8, NET, ANA/MPA
News item: 32078
 K. Papoulias- T. Erdogan MeetingMonday, 18 January 2010 14:28
The President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, who is in Abu Dhabi to attend World Future Energy Summit, met with Turkey's Prime-minister Tayip Erdogan on Monday morning. In their on camera talks, Mr. Papoulias said that the Greek Prime-minister will soon respond to his letter. On his part, Mr. Erdogan expressed his willingness to visit Athens soon.
Erdogan Plans to Visit Athens
Their private meeting lasted 40 minutes and according to reports there was a sincere exchange of views. Mr. Papoulias said that he would soon receive a reply letter by Prime-minister G. Papandreou. Mr. Erdogan expressed his intention to visit Athens soon.
Sources: ÍÅÔ, ÍÅÔ 105.8, ÁNA-ÌPA
News item: 32088
 KEDKE Meeting on "Kallikratis"Monday, 18 January 2010 11:30
Prime-minister, George Papandreou, in his speech at the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece regular annual meeting, underlined the government's willingness for radical reforms in the country's administration structure attempted within the framework of the "Kallikratis" plan.
Mr. Papandreou said that "Kallikratis" plan is included in the framework of reforms promoted to deal with fiscal problems and the financial crisis. The Prime-minister underlined the need for national consent and described KEDKE conference as a new start for the state and local administration. ND and SYN political parties leaders Antonis Samaras and Alexis Tsipras respectively will address the conference.
The Prime-minister described administrative reforms as necessary structural change for fiscal recovery and exit from the multi-sided crisis. He underlined that the basic target of the Kallikratis plan is the creation of strong and effective municipalities with significant responsibilities and resources as well as the creation of local administration districts. Mr. Papandreou called on local administration representatives to contribute to the dialogue stressing that the government's target is the biggest consent for the creation of an effective modern state which will operate with transparency and meritocracy.
Concluding, he added that a significant aspect of "Kallikratis" plan is participation of expatriates and legal immigrants in local administration issues to achieve social peace and cohesion. Leaders of political parties represented in the Parliament, ND A. Samaras, GCP A. Papariga, LAOS G. Karatzaferis and SYN A. Tsipras will address KEDKE conference .
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÍÅÔ
News item: 32080
 No to Talat's Proposals on the Cyprus IssueMonday, 18 January 2010 09:57
The latest developments in the Cyprus issue, as well as matters pertaining to the EU-Turkish relations, topped the meeting held Monday between Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias. Following the meeting, Papandreou offered his government's backing to Christofias' efforts for a solution to the Cyprus row built upon the UN resolutions and the EU values. He also announced the setting up of a group consisting of law experts assigned to better interpret all aspects of the Cyprus standoff. Later on Monday, Christofias held consecutive meetings with opposition leader Antonis Samaras, KKE head Aleka Papariga, LAOS President Giorgos Karatzaferis and SYRIZA head Alexis Tsipras.
Papandreou Invites Erdogan in Athens
The two leaders exchanged views on Turkey's EU prospects and decided on the setting up of a group of law experts to assist the Cypriot government.
George Papandreou rest President Christofias assured that Greece will keep offering its backing to the people of Cyprus in any possible manner, with a view to a fair, operational and viable solution with no timelines.
"We are backing the efforts for a solution built upon the EU resolutions and values. A solution capable of cementing the operational of the Cypriot state and its effective participation in the EU. A solution that will put an end to Turkey's military occupation" George Papandreou
Branding the proposals made by the Turkish-Cypriot side as negative and obsolete, the Greek head of government underlined that the talks can progress as long as they are based upon a decision for a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation with a single sovereignty and international personality.
With regard to the EU-Turkish relations, Papandreou said that Turkey has to commit itself to the EU criteria. He also said that his reply to the Turkish Premier will include an invitation to visit Athens.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 32076