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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-03-06
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Journalists Hold 24-Hour StrikeThursday, 04 March 2010 18:26
The Executive Board of the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) lashed out at the measures announced by the Greek government, calling for their abolishment as they blatantly affect crucial labour rights.
Therefore, ESHEA called a 24-hour strike on Friday protesting wages cuts. Ertonline will not be updated, as its journalists will join the strike called.
News item: 34046
 G.Petalotis: "ThThursday, 04 March 2010 15:33
The decisions taken by the Greek government will definitely bear fruit, stressed Thursday government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis. He then added that the government is making huge efforts to get the country out of its debt crisis and problem the conservative ruling bequeathed. Main opposition New Democracy party will vote against the bill on the financial measures, argued ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos. KKE urged people to revolt, while LAOS took a favourable stance.
"We Are Working on Finding Solutions"
Asked to comment on Rehn's statements with Corriere della Sera, he said that the government took painfully decisions with seriousness. "We are aware of the roots of Greece's financial crisis. We never concealed the problem. We made it public and we are now working on finding solutions."
"The Measures Will Lead to Worse Recession"
ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos underlined that the measures taken by the government will sink Greece deeper in recession and blamed the Prime Minister for slow response and ineffectiveness. He also called on him to comment on the package of 23 growth-improving measures proposed by Antonis Samaras.
"ND paid its dues on 4 October," argued Panagiotopoulos. He claimed, however, that the country's current financial situation should be blamed on PASOK.
He then went on to maintain that the last months were of pivotal importance and that Greece wasted time, due to PASOK's indecisiveness, slow response and inconsistency.
News item: 34039
 Greek PM Visits Berlin on FridayThursday, 04 March 2010 12:58
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is due in Berlin on Friday to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He will then fly to Paris to meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy. Papandreou's bags include the new package of measures his government announced to fix Greece's fiscal problems. 'Europe has to shoulder its responsibilities," stressed Papandreou on Wednesday. He further warned that unless there is essential EU political support, Greece will not rule out to resort to the International Monetary Fund.
News item: 34028
 New Measures Spark Parliament WranglingThursday, 04 March 2010 10:34
The additional measures announced by the Greek government to fix the country's fiscal problems triggered an acrimonious wrangling in Parliament, which hold a sitting to discuss main opposition New Democracy party's proposal for a law to grant favourable conditions to ailing enterprises. The bill on the new measures will be discussed in Parliament on Thursday and will be voted the following day. The measures are permanent and will last for as long as the country is under the excessive deficit procedure. The cuts in public sector wages have nothing to do with the pensions which will be frozen. A cabinet meeting has been scheduled for Thursday evening.
Wrangling in Parliament
ND deputy Nikos Dendias dismissed the additional measures announced as useless and anti-labour, incapable of giving prospects. Instead, he added, they mean to push the nation to recession.
"When the country's survival is at risk, differences in ideologies should be set aside" Andreas Loverdos
KKE (Greek Communist Party) spokesman Angelos Tzekis spoke of hypocrisy and predicted that the measures will be adopted in the private sector, as well.
LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) cadre Makis Vorides welcomed the measures, speaking of national need to safeguard lending, while SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) parliamentarian Fotis Kouvelis branded them as tough measures.
Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos stressed that the government stepped up the harshest measures. When the country's survival is at risk, differences in ideologies should be set aside, added he.
News item: 34024
 Strikes and DemonstrationsThursday, 04 March 2010 08:25
Protesting the tough measures announced by the government, Greeks decided to escalate their reactions. About 100 members of PAME (All Workers Militant Front) have blocked the entrance of the building housing the Finance Ministry. PAME is also planning to stage protests in several other cities. The ADEDY public sector union is staging a demonstration in central Athens at 6pm on Thursday. ADEDY and GSEE will hold work stoppages on Friday. Unions are considering rescheduling the 24-hour strike they had initially called on 16 March and hold it in the coming week. Primary school teachers will go out on strike on Friday. The board of the secondary school teachers association is currently meeting to discuss their participating in Friday's strike.
No public transport on Friday
The 24-hour strike public transport employees scheduled for Friday will cause major inconvenience in commuters.
There will be no bus, trolley, metro and suburban railway services on Friday
Demonstrations in Thessaloniki
Being on a 24-hour strike, hospital staff in Thessaloniki took over Thursday the building housing the offices the public sector pension fund.
Later on Thursday, PAME is staging a demonstration outside the Macedonia-Thrace Secretariat General.
News item: 34017
 Strong Reactions by Opposition PartiesWednesday, 03 March 2010 14:49
Opposition parties reacted fiercely to the additional measures announced by the Greek government. Awaiting the Conservatives' response, the Left spoke of cynicism and called on the people to react to the attack which will go on unless it is crashed against a strong opposing movement. The LAOS head spoke of sacrifices that will save Greece.
KKE Urges People to Take to the Streets
The Greek Communist Party urged the people to take to the street and force the government to take back its brutal measures that mean to lead the people to poverty.
"The blizzard the Greek Communist Party had spoken about is underway. The war the government and the EU have waged against the people, in collaboration with ND and LAOS, means to benefit the rich both in Greece and in Europe. All the peoples of the EU are under this attack," read the announcement issued by KKE.
The KKE Announcement Read
"The working class has the responsibility and the duty to turn their back on the terrorist dilemmas posed and the lies said by the government and the EU. They have to revolt. Patriotism amounts to the struggle against poverty.
Everyone should take to the streets to fight against the new brutal taxes on the VAT rates and fuels, the drastic cut in wages and pensions. To fight against the slaughtering of the Easter and Christmas bonuses. It is a lie that the new measures will be applied only to the public sector. The goal is to have them cut for good both in the private and the public sector. We have to stop the demolition of the social security system, the release in firings and the abolition of the collective work contracts, measures they have already drafted and are to be part of the new hit wave.
The measures will deliver a crushing blow to the working class, therefore, all the low-income earners will have to join their forces and say "no" to sacrifices for the rich. The measures will not be temporary and they will not be the last ones. The attack is ongoing and it is meant to become even harsher unless there is a strong and fighting popular front.
The people have to counter-attack to stop them. The people have to demand real rises in wages, pensions and income. The unemployed should be protected. The privileges of the businessmen must be abolished. All the anti-labour laws must be abolished.
The people have to have trust in itself. They have to trust KKE. It has to abandon the parties that favour the rich and the EU and to build its own anti-monopoly alliance and fight to smash the anti-labour policy."
G. Karatzaferis: "We
"All the years that followed the restoration of Democracy in 1977, we were taking care of the Greeks but we abandoned Greece. Today, at the moment of crisis, we have to take care of Greece, putting the Greek on test. Rulers and people, unionists and other members of the country's public life did not live up to their expectations. There were moments when we failed to live up to major and crucial for Greece turning points. We will sweat, we will shed tears, we will bleed, but Greece will be saved. We have to save it.
Each one's patriotism has to sidestep personal benefits with the view to restoring Greece's brutally tarnished reputation. We ought it to our history and to the generations to come.
LAOS will take a stand on each measure separately in Parliament. Until then, we have to claim our personal responsibilities so that we can serve social peace," said commented Giorgos Karatzaferis.
Al. Tsipras: "Gr
SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) head Alexis Tsipras said: "To
News item: 33990
 G. Papandreou: "DiWednesday, 03 March 2010 12:39
Prime-minister G. Papandreou awaits for EU reaction after decision for implementation of measures to purge Greece's economy while addressing the Ministers' Council he underlined that we have taken difficult measures to meet financial circumstances.
G. Papandreou: It'
Specifically, in his speech to the Ministers' Council, Mr. Papandreou said among other that it is Europe high time. We have assumed our responsibilities and taken measures to meet circumstances so we expect Europe to follow suit. He also underlined scenario for reference to IMF was open unless there is concrete political support and guarantees by EU bodies.
Reports say the Prime-minister had the Ministers' Council unreserved support. A senior government official spoke of contemplation among ministers who said that reactions are understandable. However, determination for the country's survival prevailed at the meeting.
We all realize the crucial circumstances said a member of the economic staff, admitting negative impact on the country's economic activity and price index, but he stressed that top priority is placed to restore borrowing ability.
The same circles stressed that Greece's efforts is a clear message to markets and the EU that the country has exhausted all limits concerning measures.
Prime-minister at Presidential Mansion
Leaving the Presidential Mansion after briefing the President of the Republic, the Prime-minister said additional measures to bring deficit down was a decision to exit the country from turmoil and not a selection
Sources: ÍÅÔ Relevant article: New Measures
News item: 33986
 Papandreou- Sarkozy Meeting on March, 7Wednesday, 03 March 2010 11:41
Prime-minister, George Papandreou will fly to Paris on March, 7 to meet French President Nikola Sarkozy. His visit to Paris is two after his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and few days before his meeting with US President Barrack Obama.
News item: 33980
 New Regulation for Double DevelopmentTuesday, 02 March 2010 13:58
Environment Minister, Tina Birbilis presented the new regulation for the development of Elaionas region to Athens mayor and representatives of Panthinaikos Football Club. The new regulation provides for an increase of the green zone by some 8 acres, abolition of municipal buildings included in previous plan as well as the basketball court while the mall is 17.500 m2 smaller. Finally, PAO football stadium in Alexandra Av. will be brought down and turned into park.
Revised plan for double Botanikos-Alexandra Av. development provides for smaller mall, abolition of basketball court and Athens Municipality multifunctional building. Mrs. Birbilis presented the plan today to representatives of interested sectors.
"...revised plan gives solution to a deadlock ..." Ôina Birbilis
Athens Mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis expressed satisfaction at the plan, adding that the Environment Minister showed political courage and realism so the vision for double development Botanikos- Alexandra Av. Could be materialized.
News item: 33929
 Chile: AtSunday, 28 February 2010 11:27
Chileans have begun counting the cost of the devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country in the early hours of Saturday (local time). Tens of strong aftershocks keep jolting Chile, forcing thousands of people to spend their nights outside their houses. At least 300 people perished in the earthquake, while several have been reported as wounded or missing. Another four people were killed in Juan Fernandez, since the first tidal waves that hit the countries coasts were 1.5 metres high. US authorities lifted the tsunami warning. Rescue workers in Chile are doing their best to pull survivors to safety. The international community said it is ready to extend a helpful hand.
In Concepcion, close to the epicentre, mayor Jacqueline van Rysselberghe said dozens of people were trapped in the collapsed apartment block. The earthquake caused extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure. Major disruptions in telecommunications, power and water supply have triggered several problems, while the airport near the Chilean capital remains closed.
In the meantime, more than 200 inmates in the city of Chillan, central Chile, escaped when a prison wall collapsed, prison sources were quoted as saying.
The lack of water and the power cuts led to clashes in a NW quarter of the Chilean capital. Authorities said the people living there got desperate because there was significant delay in transporting water.
The Chilean government requested countries willing to send aid following the earthquake not do anything before the country's authorities determine the priorities.
Both the Greek President, Karolos Papoulias, and the Prime Minister, George Papandreou expressed the Greek people's sorrow. The majority of the 5,000 Greeks living in Chile are far away from the earthquake's epicentre.
News item: 33840
 Portuguese Protest Austerity MeasuresThursday, 04 March 2010 09:14
Portuguese civil servants walk off their jobs on Thursday, hoping to close schools, courts and hospitals in a protest strike against austerity measures imposed by the Socialist government.
The strike could be the biggest in years in Portugal and will test the minority government, which has been pressed by financial markets to cut spending after Greece's fiscal crisis turned the focus on weak euro zone members.
Greece targeted civil servants, the rich and the church on Wednesday in a sweeping new 4.8 billion euro austerity programme designed to secure European help to tackle its crippling debt burden.
Portugal's unions say they have had years of worsening conditions as public pensions and other benefits were cut by the government, which this year froze public wages in its effort to win investor confidence by cutting the budget deficit.
"There is immense discontent which you can see in the way workers behave and that means there will be enormous turnout in the strike," said Manuel Carvalho da Silva, leader of the 725,000-strong General Confederation of Portuguese Workers.
The Iberian country of 10 million people is recovering from its worst economic downturn in decades and unemployment, at 10 percent, is the highest in a quarter of a century.
The strike, which comes on the heels of industrial action in Spain and Greece, raises pressure on the government just as it prepares a long-term budget plan to cut the budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2013.
Portuguese unions have threatened more strikes if the government extends the freeze on civil servant wages beyond this year -- something which has been under consideration.
Older news items: News item: 34019
 Triple Suicide Bomb Attack in BaqubaWednesday, 03 March 2010 10:22
Three suicide bomb attacks against two police stations and a hospital were carried out in quick succession in the northern city of Baquba , in Diyala province Wednesday, four days before national parliamentary elections in Iraq. At least 29 people were killed and more than 42 others wounded in the attacks. Two car bombers struck near police stations, while the third attacker approached a hospital on foot before detonating explosives.
Baqouba is a mixed Shiite-Sunni city and Diyala's provincial capital. Both the city and the province were flashpoints of the insurgency against security forces and US troops. Authorities had warned of a rise in violence from insurgents trying to disrupt the vote.
Older news items: News item: 33970
 Europe Hails New MeasuresThursday, 04 March 2010 14:27
Europe appeared satisfied with the new measures announced by the Greek government to fix its financial crisis, although Germans crossed the line yet again "suggesting" Greece sell off its islands.
Speaking on Corriere della Sera, EU Commissioner on Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn touched on the measures Greece took, stressing that the measures are enough for 2010, yet more will be needed for 2011 and 2012. He then added that the eurozone is willing to take coordinated measure to cement stability if necessary.
Olli Rehn's spokesman focused his attention to the ailing competitiveness of the Greek economy and predicted that the cuts in public wages will impact wages in the private sector.
Quoting Rehn's words, whereby there is nothing more anti-social and anti-competitive for a country than maintaining fiscal discrepancies, his spokesman argued that the measures announced by the Greek government will meet the targets mostly set for 2010. They will also enhance growth in the medium turn.
Asked to comment on the kind of aid the EU could give to Greece, Olli Rehn's spokesman just reiterated the conclusion of the EU Summit held on 11 February, whereby the EU state members are ready to undertake a coordinated and effective course of action if necessary.
The German Chancellor hailed the measures , however her imminent meeting with the Greek Prime Minister won't touch on a possible aid to Greece.
European Commission President JosÃ© Manuel Barroso promised the EU's solidarity with its member-states facing fiscal problems.
Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund welcomed the additional measures taken by Greece.
Despite welcoming the measures unveiled by the Greek government, the European Central Bank had is likely to rule out offering special aid to Athens.
The French Finance Minister estimated that the Greek government correctly assessed the situation and hailed the measures as strong and tangible.
Die Welt read that the head of Munich's Institute for Economic Research advised Greeks to leave the eurozone, because, if not, someone has to give them money. However, he added, it will cause upset in German. In the meantime, Greece should consider selling some of its uninhabited islands to cut its debt, according to political allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Government spokesman branded German press reports calling on Greece to sell its islands as "groundless."
News item: 34032
 President of the Republic Leads Solidarity Fund CampaignWednesday, 03 March 2010 15:44
President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias accepted House Speaker Filippos Petsalnikos' proposal to lead the campaign for the Solidarity Fund for the Greek economy. The President of the Republic congratulated Mr Petsalnikos on the latter's initiative and expressed his certainty that the Greek people will make it.
Special Account for the Paying of the Debt
Exiting the meeting, Filippos Petsalnikos stressed that Mr Papoulias' willingness to embrace the campaign strengthens the conviction that this venture is going to be crowned with success. "Because Greece does not only has tax evaders, but the overwhelming majority of the Greeks are people with values and love for their country," added he.
Speaking with journalists after his meeting with Karolos Papoulias, the House Speaker touched on his talks he had the other day with the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Giorgos Provopoulos. The two men decided to open a special account whose money will exclusively fund the paying of the debt. Anyone willing to deposit money to this account is welcomed.
Contribution to the Solidarity Fund will be voluntary, said the House Speaker. He, in fact, stressed, will deposit his Easter and leave bonuses.
News item: 33992
 Europe Welcomes Greek MeasuresWednesday, 03 March 2010 15:28
The world media were positive on the additional measures announced by the Greek government. Sounding on the same wavelength, the EU officials reiterated Europe's intention to stand by Greece's side. Germany said that the implementation of the measures will have a positive influence on the refunding of the Greek debt. Angela Merkel made it clear that in her coming meeting with the Greek Prime Minister does not mean the granting of aid to Greece.
Greece's ambitious plan to fix its fiscal problems has been on truck in the most credible manner, commented Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker. He then noted that apart from fiscal stability, the enhancement of the competitiveness of the Greek economy is equally important.
The Eurogroup head also underlined that the full implementation of the measures announced in combination with the promotion of necessary structural changes is of pivotal importance.
Wrapping up, Juncket confirmed that the eurozone nations are ready to take specific and combined measures if necessary to safeguard monetary stability within the currency union.
Addressing journalists at the Press centre of the European Commission, Barosso argued that the measures announced Wednesday confirmed the Greek government's commitment to bring down its fiscal deficit by 4% in 2010 and implement its ambitious plan to consolidate its fiscal reality.
The European Commission head then touched on the cuts in spending and the public sector, describing the above measure as really significant, since it is part of necessary reforms that will boost the Greek economy's competitiveness in the interest of the Greek people and the eurozone.
The European Commission, added Barosso, supports Greece in its effort and termed the additional measures as a strong indication of Greece's determination to stay committed to its pledges.
Angela Merkel hailed the new measures, announced Wednesday by the Greek government. It is a proper step, Merkel told Reuters.
The spokesman of the German House said that Germany welcomes the moves of the Greek government to take additional austerity measures. He added, though, that the above measures have to be implemented.
The visit of the Greek Prime Minister on Friday evening will prove the good German-Greek relations, commented the spokesman.
News item: 33991
 Greek PM Meets with Social Partners to Discuss the MeasuresWednesday, 03 March 2010 13:40
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou held Wednesday consecutive meetings with the boards of GSEE, ADEDY, GSEVEE and SEV after the meeting of the cabinet. Upon the release of the additional measures, trade unions heralded new demonstrations. Tension ran high in central Athens when pensioners who were marching broke the police blockage and made it to the presidential mansion at Maximos Mansion.
The Reactions of the Unionists
ADEDY head Spyros Papaspyros met with the Prime Minister and suggested practical measures capable of saving money. Exiting the meeting, Papaspyros stressed, "If we wish to support social cohesion and to have socially fair measures, we cannot trim wages and pensions, while leaving all the private and public system that cause the problem intact."
He also referred to the strike ADEDY has scheduled for 16 March and expressed his determination to tackle "a unilateral and unfair situation that is coupled with a miserable populism."
Spyros Papaspyros then requested a meeting between the government and ADEDY to discuss matters pertaining to the public administration and the wages.
The measures are unilateral and unfair and the suckers will keep paying, commented GSEE head Giannis Panagopoulos.
SEV Vice President Haris Kyriazis termed the measures as necessary that will make recession worse. Asked whether they are going to be implemented in the private sector, he said that the crisis has equally hot both the public and the private sector.
ESEE President Vassili Korkidis predicted a long-term recession and noted that wages in the private sector will not be reduced. The GSEVEE head Dimitris Asimakopoulos underlined that people are paying for the state's mistakes. He then urged the government to step up growth measures and boost production, otherwise economy will collapse.
News item: 33989