|Tuesday, 16 January 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-01-29
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 ND Offers Its Backing to Former PMFriday, 29 January 2010 14:37
Tensions are running high between PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and ND (New Democracy) shortly before the parliamentary inquiry in the Siemens case opens. The opposition party of ND offered its full backing to former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis with regard to the latter's letter to former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos. ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos blasted the government for the accusations against the former Prime Minister. Panos Panagiotopoulos accused the government of trying to create false impressions, further stressing, "No one can question Kostas Karamanlis' integrity and ethos," repeating the ND president's claims. Government officials, on the other hand, wondered what lied behind Panagiotopoulos' statement, since, as they claimed, no PASOK official had referred to the former Prime Minister's name.
Panagiotopoulos-Samaras: "K. Karamanlis' Ethos Cannot Be Questioned"
"Haven't some circles - and I am not referring to the ND officials but to the PASOK ones - been tired of trying to create false impressions and question the integrity and ethos of a major leader, the former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis?" said ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos.
"No ND official questions Kostas Karamanlis' integrity, ethos and contribution, as the party's president has already said."
Panos Panagiotopoulos (ND spokesman)
He then went on to argue that if some media isolate phrases or misinterpret and twist them, this is not ND's fault. He also reiterated that the letter in question was a typical one, one of the thousands that had been sent from Kostas Karamanlis' office to thousands of recipients.
Panagiotopoulos added that ND has nothing to be afraid of and that the inquiry into the Siemens case should also touch on the contracts agreed, "Because those who gave money to a certain direction, did not give them for charity, but to get something back."
"They'd better quit communicative ploys and orchestrated hits," said he, reiterating that the Siemens contracts with the public sector were signed during the Socialist rule, with a member of the ruling party having confessed to receiving money and depositing to its party.
Source: NET, ANA/MPA News item: 32629
 President of the Republic Holds Consecutive MeetingsFriday, 29 January 2010 12:31
The President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, held consecutive meetings with opposition leader Antonis Samaras, Governor of the Bank of Greece Giorgos Provopoulos, EU Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas and SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) Alexis Tsipras.
Exiting the meeting with the President, opposition leader Antonis Samaras said: "I was given the chance today to express our respect to the President of the Republic for his contribution to the country and its institutions. I also conveyed him our heartfelt wishes for a successful second term. The New Democracy party was the first to propose a second term for Karolos Papoulias."
In the meantime, KKE (Greek Communist Party) reiterated its intention to cast blank votes in the voting for the election of the President of the Republic.
KKE made it clear that its stance has nothing to do with Karolos Papoulias, but with the political system and the role of the President, who, under the Constitution, has to fall in line with the anti-labour laws and circulars.
Meeting with the BoG Gorvernor
"The ball is in our court. Success is up to us," stressed Giorgos Provopoulos in his meeting with Karolos Papoulias. "Before saying something gloomy, let us say something lightly encouraging, since over the last days, the bond markets are pressing the Greek bonds. It appears that our creditors think we have to move much faster and more decisively and that is reflected on the fact that spreads have entered our daily vocabulary.
Of course, I am optimistic because I watched the Prime Minister resting everybody assured in Davos that he is determined to address the matter."
Meeting with Stavros Dimas
The National Park of Prespes in northern Greece, the climate change after the Copenhagen Summit were the topics brought up in the meeting held between the President of the Hellenic Republic and the outgoing EU Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas. Papoulias congratulated him on his good job as a Commissioner and on his courage to tackle the automakers.
Exiting the meeting, Dimas claimed: "We should depend on the Copenhagen conclusions so that we can have a legally binding agreement within 2010 in Mexico, an agreement capable of addressing the climate change. It is true that our country is in the middle of a crisis and that all of us have to do our best to survive this crisis. And we have the ability to do so."
Meeting with Alexis Tsipras
In his meeting with Karolos Papoulias, Alexis Tsipras voiced his concern over the economical and political developments, saying that the country is dragged by the profiteering markets and is being treated as a guinea pig by the EU. He then expressed his party's respect to the President of the Republic and said it would not propose another candidate for the Presidency.
Source: ANA/MPA, NET 105.8 News item: 32622
 Trial on A. Grigoropoulos Murder SuspendedFriday, 29 January 2010 10:36
Trial of special guards Epaminondas Korkonea and Basilis Saraliotis charged with murder of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos on December,6, 2008 was suspended on Friday. The trial has been postponed for Wednesday, February, 3, 2010. Court procedures could not continue on Friday as Prosecutor in charge of the case Basiliki Blahou could not attend hearings as her husband suddenly died during a professional trip to China. Lamia prosecutor Haralambos Lakafosis substituted Mrs. Blahou and announced the sad news.
Defense and prosecution stressed that at this stage of proceedings the trial had to continue under the same composition of judges or else start trial proceedings from the beginning under different composition of judges. The trial was suspended last Friday when Alexandros Grigoropoulos mother, Vergine Tsalikian -first witness in the case- testified
Source: ÁNA-ĚPA News item: 32615
 G. Papandreou: "We will Solve our Problems Alone"Friday, 29 January 2010 10:30
Prime-minister G. Papandreou is to have a series of contacts with political and economic leaders in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday. Mr. Papandreou accompanied by Finnace Minister G. Papakonstantinou will take part at "round table talks" with participation of prominent foreign press journalists. Earlier, in an interview with Italian daily "Il Sole 24 Ore", Mr. Papandreou stressed "Europe must realize that what is happening in Greece at the moment could happen to another country tomorrow". In his fresh statements European Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia made clear that there is no bail out problem for Greece and will not leave the Eurozone.
J. Almunia: "No Plan B for Greece"
"Greece will not default. In the euro area, default does not exist", stressed EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in an interview with Bloomberg television channel. In response to relevant question Almunia said EU has no plan B for Greece, deficit will not lead to default. He stressed there is only plan A concerning fiscal purging.
G. Papandreou: "We will solve our problems alone"
Earlier, in an interview with Italian daily "Il Sole 24 Ore", Mr. Papandreou stressed "Europe must realize that what is happening in Greece at the moment could happen to another country tomorrow" "Our European partners must realize that these are common problems in a period of huge difficulties in world economy. Today it is happening to Greece but it could happen to another country tomorrow". He made clear that Greece did not expect financial aid and he had asked no country for a bailout.
"My government has stated that we solve our problems alone" underlining that the government has already put in force measures for radical reforms that will bring deficit down to under 3% in the next three years. The Greek prime minister on Thursday said that Greece was the victim of speculators attacking a "weak link" in the eurozone and repeated denials that his government had sought financing from China.
Sources: Reuters - ÁNA - ĚPA
Related articles:Greek government bonds yields hit record high News item: 32613
 Agriculture Minister Meets FarmersFriday, 29 January 2010 10:24
On Friday, at 19:30, Agriculture Minister K. Batzelis will have a new meeting with farmers' Hanhellenic Coordination Committee representing 14 blockades.Mrs. Batzelis is expected to present the timetable for implementation of measures aimed to strengthen farmers' income. Not attending the meeting are farmers at Nikaia blockade who also abstain from meeting organized by their colleagues in Malgara. But their representatives will take part in Panhellenic conference on Saturday, organized by the Promahonas blockade. From Davos, on Thursday, the Prime-minister ruled out possibility of financing farmers with national resources.
"Farmers have lost their credibility towards governments and PASOK government is called to win this challenge", said K. Batzelis in Komotini meeting
Agriculture Minister is to give a press interview after her meeting with representatives of Rodopi prefecture Farmers' Coordinating Body while she will meet with members of the Farmers' Panhellenic Coordination Body at 19:30. Representatives of farmers from northern Greece and Thessaly road blocks are to attend meeting in Malgara, in Thessaloniki. The meeting is to start at 12:30 and farmers plan to asses the situation an formulate a common action plan. The representative of Malgara farmers blockade Kostas Anestidis described today's meeting as preliminary and underlined that farmers a framework of demands today. Mr. Anestidis said that final decisions will be reached on Saturday during the second meeting held by representatives of Promahona farmers. "Final decisions will be sent to the Agriculture Minister , we will reach final decisions together".
Members of the Coordination Committee from Non Aligned Farmers Unions -blocking Promahona border crossing- are to attend Malgara meeting. Committee member Stergios Litos described Friday's meeting as preliminary and representatives of Macedonia and Thessaly farmers blockades will formulate the framework of their demands. He added that final decisions will be reached on Saturday at Aggistro Serres meeting and will be sent to Mrs. Batzelis. In the meantime, farmers closed Promahonas border crossing at noon , after being open all night. Kerdillia junction on Egnatia highway remains closed since Thursday afternoon while Serres-Kavala old national road is open.
Representatives of farmers from Nikaia blockade met with K. Gerakoudis, general secretary of Thessaly Prefecture Office. They presented the farmers' demands and claimed that there was communication effort to attribute rises in price of products to framers' mobilizations. Mrs. Gerakoudis called on farmers to attend dialogue with the government and stressed that the government has both the willingness and time to discuss their demands.
Source: ÍĹÔ 105.8 - ÍĹÔ - ÁNA-ĚPA
News item: 32612
 Haiti: Rescue Operations Drawing to an EndThursday, 21 January 2010 09:44
Yesterday's strong aftershock measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale spread panic to the already quake-hit Haitians, without causing, however, fresh damage, neither did it dishearten the rescue workers from searching for survivors in the rubble. In the meantime, security concerns seem to have been eased, while the US troops in the area are to be beefed up with another 4000 marines. Earlier, the Brazilian police had managed to arrest some of the 4000 inmates who broke free after the earthquake. However, the US presence in the area keeps arousing reactions, with the Venezuelan President blasting Washington for imperialism. Nine days after the earthquake, small miracles in the rubble keep taking place.
Miracles Proving Time Wrong
Haitian authorities urged the survivors to search for shelter outside the capital, however, a BBC correspondent said that aid has not reached several towns on the outskirts.
So far, the rescue workers have succeeded in pulling 121 people to safety out of the rubble. However, nine days after the earthquake, the chances of finding survivors are dwindling, with the search operation drawing to an end.
Miracles, however, continued.
On Wednesday, the rescue workers managed to recover alive a 22-day-old infant, a 25-year-old woman and two children.
Hugo Chavez Lashes Out
At the same time, Hugo Chavez kept accusing the USA of trying to conquer Haiti and called on Washington to dispatch doctors and not troops.
The US government is using this humanitarian tragedy to military conquer Haiti, said the Venezuelan President, further adding that Cuba has sent more doctors in Haiti than the USA.
Source: Reuters - BBC News item: 32228
 Obama to Unveil Reforms in SecurityTuesday, 05 January 2010 09:03
US President Barack Obama is expected to announce reforms after his meeting with officials assigned to review security following the failed bomb attempt on the airliner bound to Detroit on December, 25. Reforms will aim to improve watch-listing system as well as ability to thwart future attempts to carry out terrorist attacks according to an Obama administration official said. There is also report about infiltration of a third person to an official dinner hosted by Barrack Obama at the end of November. According to New York Times there was murder threat against US President Obama during his inauguration ceremony. UN Secretary General supports British initiative for the holding of conference on terrorism in Yemen.
The administration is on the defensive after intelligence failures allowed a Nigerian with alleged links to Yemen-based al Qaeda operatives to board a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam on December 25. The man is accused of trying to blow up the plane with explosives hidden in his underwear. U.S. spy agencies and the State Department had information about the suspect, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, but never connected the dots that might have put him on a no-fly list.
A spokesman for British Prime-minister Gordon Brown said that all information about 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, collected during his studies in London 2005-2008, had been sent to US authorities.
The US re-opened its embassy in Yemen on Tuesday, following what it called successful counter-terrorism operations by government security forces on Monday north of the capital. The embassy had closed on Sunday in response to what it had said were al-Qaeda threats. The British and French embassies have resumed operations but remain closed to the public.
Sources: Reuters, French, ÁNA-ĚPA
BBC: US steps up flight security lists
News item: 31524
 Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Failed AttackTuesday, 29 December 2009 18:50
Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack on Christmas Day in the Detroit bound Delta Airlines plane carrying 290 passengers on board. In his first intervention after the failed attack by the 23yo wealthy Nigerian man, US President Barrack Obama announced additional security measures at US airports. President Barrack Obama has ordered review of the nation's terror watch-list system and of its air safety regulations.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, has claimed responsibility for Friday's attempted bombing of a Delta Airlines plane as it approached Detroit. The organization has released a photograph of the 23yo Nigerian in a website and described how it trained and instructed the Nigerian man to hide the explosives in his underwear. This would be the first time Yemen Al Qaeda affiliate has carried out an attack outside its region. The Nigerian man, who is in Michigan prison, has said that there are many more like him prepared to carry out such attacks and ready to sacrifice their lives.
Obama Orders Stricter Security Measures
In his first intervention after the failed bomb attack by the 23yo wealthy Nigerian man US President Barrack Obama announced additional security measures at US airports, which are already causing long delays at airports. President Barrack Obama has ordered review of the nation's terror watch-list system and of its air safety regulations. The US had not lifted the 2-year US visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, suspect of Delta Airlines failed attack although his father had informed US authorities about his son's activities and links with Al Qaeda.
Source: NET News item: 31319
 Possible Accomplice of Nigerian BomberMonday, 28 December 2009 11:43
Dutch police are investigating the possibility that an accomplice may have helped the 23yo Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up on Christmas Day a Northwest Airlines aircraft on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. In the meantime, intelligence services have focused investigations in Yemen following the bomber's allegations that he was trained in Yemen by Al Qaeda as well as a message of the organization posted on the internet. Security measures have been strengthened at European and US airports while "New York Times" newspaper writes that the US has opened a third front against Al Qaeda by secretly sending special troops to Yemen to combat terrorism.
The family of the Nigerian man who tried to blow up a U.S. passenger airliner said on Monday they had lost contact with him while he was studying abroad and reported his disappearance to security agencies two months ago. In a statement to Nigerian media, the Mutallab family said: "His father, having become concerned about his disappearance and stoppage of communication while schooling abroad, reported the matter to Nigerian security agencies about two months ago and to some foreign security agencies about a month and a half ago." It said the fact that he had ended communication with his family was "completely out of character and a very recent development."
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was charged with trying to blow up Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.
Abdulmutallab, 23yo is the son of a respected banker, he is from a privileged background in Africa's most populous country, he attended British High School in Tongo and next University College London , Mechanical engineering department till June , 2008. He boarded a KLM flight to Amsterdam from Lagos on his way to Detroit.
News item: 31250