|Monday, 19 March 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-10
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Pakistani Airstrike Kills 42 MilitantsSaturday, 10 April 2010 15:36
At least 42 militants were killed in an airstrike mounted by the Pakistani army in northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, local officials said. The airstrike targeted a meeting of Lashkar-e-Islam, an Islamist group blamed for attacking NATO supply convoys, in the remote Tirah valley of Khyber tribal district.
Source: ANA/MPA News item: 35281
 A.Samaras Blasts the Government, Sends Intra-Party MessageSaturday, 10 April 2010 13:37
Addressing a ND pre-congress event in Larissa, central Greece, main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras showed the ND officials who hurt the party the way out. "They have no place in the party. I will not apologise for them," argued Antonis Samaras. The ND President unleashed a new attack on the government's financial choices, slamming the Prime Minister for turning a deficit crisis into a borrowing one. Samaras stressed, among others, that it should be made clear whether the IMF is eligible to ask Athens to take additional measures and whether the support mechanism requires a unanimous EU decision to come to life.
Greece has plunged into a borrowing impasse and PASOK is the only one to put the blame on, said Antonis Samaras while delivering his speech at his party's pre-congress even in the city of Larissa.
He also said a stern message to all those ND officials who hurt the party, arguing that they have no place in it. He also said that he is not a judge, but a politician with a crystal clear mandate to cleanse the party.
"In October 2009, the Greek economy suffered a deficit crisis. Such was the case in the majority EU nations and especially those sharing the European single currency. Greece was not the exception [...] PASOK with its unbelievable blunders, its procrastination, its amateurism and inconsistency, turned the deficit crisis into a borrowing crisis, which is much worse. PASOK managed in a few months to convert the deficit crisis into a unique, only in Greece, and very heavy state borrowing crisis," claimed Antonis Samaras.
He then shifted his attention to the EU announcement on a safety net and noted that his party did not celebrate. Instead, it suggested restraint because things are still hazy, as several questions remain unanswered.
Samaras also blamed the big deficit on the ND government, for, as he said, it failed to do anything in its power from the very beginning, to control the huge deficits and the immense borrowing it inherited from its PASOK predecessors.
The ND President then went on to unveil his intentions with regard to the party officials who hurt the party during the ND governance. "I am a politician, not a judge. I was elected president by 800,000 party members. My election was accompanied with a crystal clear mandate to change everything. Let the people of ND know that I listened to their mandate and that I will do whatever I deem as ethically correct, politically necessary and realistically inevitable. Those who hurt the party have no place in it. They have no place in our path to the future."
Source: NET, ANA/MPA News item: 35279
 Kyrgyzstan Mourns Its VictimsSaturday, 10 April 2010 12:50
Kyrgyzstan's self-proclaimed interim government has called for a two-day mourning in the memory of the 79 people who perished in the clashes with the government forces. About 7,000 people gathered Saturday to attend a mass funeral. About 15 caskets draped in the red-and-yellow Kyrgyz flag were brought to an outdoor memorial complex. The funeral was also attended by representatives of the interim government.
"The Regime Became the Enemy of the People"
"The regime became the enemy of the people when it opened fired on its people," said Roza Otunbayeva, further adding that her interim government would do anything in its power to ensure a fair regime.
Omurbek Tekebayev , who is responsible for the constitutional reform, pledged that they would build a true democracy, otherwise the souls of the victims would never forgive them.
Death Toll Amounts to 79
The deadly uprising has taken a heavy toll on Kyrgyzstan leaving 79 people dead in its wake, said the interim Health Minister, since another three people succumbed to their injuries late on Friday.
The deadly clashes broke out on Wednesday between thousands of anti-government demonstrators and the government forces when the latter opened fire to avert the demonstrators from taking over the government's seat in the Kyrgyz capital.
Clashes spread throughout the country forcing President Bakiyev to flee the capital and find shelter in his hometown in the south of the country.
The opposition formed an interim government whose head Roza Otunbayeva urged the toppled president to step down and leave the country. Bakiyev, on his part, refused to quit.
Source: ANA/MPA, Reuters News item: 35278
 Industrial Actions EscalateSaturday, 10 April 2010 11:05
Trade unions are to hold new street protests and strikes, opposing the government's economic and income policy. ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Service Trade Unions) has invited public servants to go out on a strike on 22 April and join a street protest on 27 April to protest against the new tax bill and the wage cuts. GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) is also considering staging a 24-hour strike probably in late April. It is highly likely that Greece's two leading trade unions will decide to coordinate their stance holding a joint strike. Trade unions affiliated with PAME (All Workers Militant Front) have scheduled a 48-hour strike for 20 and 21 April.
News item: 35274
 Poland's President Killed in Plane CrashSaturday, 10 April 2010 11:01
Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, its central bank head and the country's military chief were among 96 people killed when their plane crashed in thick fog on its approach to a Russian airport on Saturday. President Kaczynski along with his wife, government officials were en route to commemorate Poles killed in mass murders in the town of Katyn under orders from Soviet leader Josef Stalin some 70 years ago.
The death of Kaczynski, who with his twin brother was a dominant force in Polish politics, brings political uncertainty. A presidential election had been due in October but now must be held within two months, according to the constitution.
The president's wife and several other high-ranking government officials were also aboard the aged Tupolev Tu-154 that plunged into a forest about two km (1.3 miles) from the airport in the western Russian city of Smolensk.
Pilot error was a possible reason for the crash, said Andrei Yevseyenkov, spokesman for the Smolensk local government. Local officials said the plane had clipped treetops on its way down.
"The political consequences will be long-term and possibly will change the entire future landscape of Polish politics," said Jacek Wasilewski, professor at the Higher School of Social Psychology in Warsaw.
Kaczynski, 59, was a one-time ally of Solidarity hero Lech Walesa and a co-founder of the rightist Law and Justice party with his brother. He resigned from the party when he became president in 2005 but continued to support it.
A party source said his twin Jaroslaw Kaczynski was not on board the plane that crashed.
While the president's role is largely symbolic, the holder can veto government legislation. Lech Kaczynski infuriated the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk several times by blocking legislation including health sector reform.
The speaker of the lower house of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, has been named acting president, as the constitution stipulates. Komorowski is also Tusk's presidential candidate in the centrist Civic Platform (PO) party.
The plane was one of two Tupolev TU-154M's in the Polish government fleet, both about 20 years old. Government officials had complained about the age of Poland's official fleet.
Russia's Emergencies Ministry said 96 people were aboard the government plane, including 88 members of a Polish delegation en route to commemorate Poles killed in mass murders in the town of Katyn under orders from Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1940.
Earlier reports had said 132 people were aboard. Smolensk regional governor Sergei Antufyev and Polish state news agency PAP said there were no survivors.
A Russian mission control official who had been present during conversations with the pilot told Reuters the pilot had ignored advice.
"The pilot was advised to fly to Moscow or Minsk because of heavy fog, but he still decided to land. No one should have been landing in that fog," he said, on condition his name was not published.
News item: 35273
 EU Officials Agreed on Rescue TermsSaturday, 10 April 2010 10:44
The Deputy Finance Ministers and central bankers of the 16 countries sharing the European single currency agreed on the terms of a possible financial rescue for Greece, said Reuter. Greece will be given either a two-year or three-year loan amounting to 25 billion euros with lower interest rates. The loan will be covered by Greece's bilateral loans with the other eurozone members and by the International Monetary Fund. The termed were fixed after the bond spread of the Greek ten-year bond fell to 386 basis units. In the meantime, however, Fitch Ratings cut Greece's credit rating to BBB-minus, its lowest investment-grade rating, and signalled further downgrades are possible.
"We Didn't Ask for Help"
Greece did not request the support mechanism agreed in Brussels on 25 March be activated, clarified the Greek government.
Greece has no intention of taking advantage of the support mechanism, commented Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou.
EU Offers Its Support
The EU nations are ready to intervene if the Greeks ask them to, stressed European Commission spokeswoman Amelia Tores, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Videoconference on the Greek Economy
A videoconference on the full determination of the support mechanism set up to aid the Greek economy has been scheduled to take place on Sunday among the eurozone Finance Minister, said a government source of the Spanish EU Presidency.
In the meantime, Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Ăngel Moratinos expressed his optimism that the eurozone members will be able to demonstrate their solidarity and prove to the speculators that the single currency union is strong and solid.
Criticism by Greek Opposition Parties
Opposition leader Antonis Samaras lashed out at the government and blasted its handlings. Antonis Samaras claimed that deficits were increased.
The support mechanism will come to life in the coming days, commented LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally). SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), on its part, warned that resorting to the International Monetary Fund if imminent and that the government is to be blamed for that.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, Reuters News item: 35272