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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-13
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Radical Changes in EducationTuesday, 13 April 2010 17:24
The education bill discussed in an inner cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou is to bring about radical changes in education. The minimum pass for admission to tertiary education will be abolished as of this year, said Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, further adding that it was a pre-election pledge coming true. The new bill also aspires to lay down rules governing the teachers' work regime. It also provides, among others, for the establishment of internship programs that allow individuals to complete their teacher preparation coursework.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35372
 Weekend Raid in Pakistan Killed Dozens of CiviliansTuesday, 13 April 2010 16:13
Up to 71 civilians were killed in a weekend strike by Pakistani forces near the border with Afghanistan. However, officials of the Pakistani army kept arguing that the victims were rebels. Pakistan has mounted the offensive in the above area against the militants who survived the military operations held last year.
There were no militants said a local tribal chief, just a house of a local whose three sons are in the army.
On Saturday, Pakistani jets raided the house. When the villagers went to recover the bodies from the ruins, the jets attacked anew, eye witnesses were quoted as saying.
There are shelters in the village used by the civilians to defend themselves from the militants, said another local.
The local governor agreed that the majority of those killed where civilians, apologized on behalf of the government and expressed his sorrow over the loss.
Source: Reuters, ANA/MPA News item: 35367
 ESIEA Offices Taken OverTuesday, 13 April 2010 15:01
The building housing the offices of the Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA) took over by about 60 people. They raided the offices while the Union's board was holding a meeting and held ESIEA head Panos Sobolos and board members Enni Magiassi and Christos Kyritsis captive for quite some time. They were let go a few minutes later. They protested for the arrest of the six terror suspects. Police has rushed to the site, while negotiations are under way to solve the problem.
News item: 35366
 New Round of Industrial ActionsTuesday, 13 April 2010 14:45
Lawyers and taxi owners have announced a new round of industrial actions reacting to the new tax bill. Lawyers will be on strike until Thursday, taxi owners will go out on a strike on Wednesday and Thursday, while there will be no transport services from 11am to 5pm on Thursday.
ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Service Trade Unions) has called for a 24-hour strike on 22 April. ADEDY offered its backing to the struggle carried out by several unions and associations against the anti-labour measures taken by the government. News item: 35363
 Greek Premier Calls for CoordinationTuesday, 13 April 2010 14:40
Greek Premier George Papandreou expressed his satisfaction over the developments in economy. He stressed that Greece gave tough battles to restore its credibility and requested coordination among his ministers lest there should be misunderstandings and rumours that favour speculators. On Tuesday, issue of 6-month and 12-month bonds with a view to earning 1.2 billion euros was covered. Interest rates, however, rose higher compared to previous auctions, proving that investors are still wary of the Greek economy. Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou expressed his satisfaction over the European support mechanism and reiterated that Greece has not asked the mechanism be activated.
George Papandreou termed the support mechanism as a safety net that will allow the Greek government to go on with its work. He stressed, though, that the government will keep working hard for the economy's recovery.
The Greek Premier urged his ministers to coordinate their actions, noting, at the same time, that the ministers are not analysts and commentators and leave that to the journalists.
He then went on to claim that his government will proceed with radical changes in the state operation with timelines in every sector.
Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou claimed that the government should take credit for the agreement on the support mechanism, arguing it resulted from the government's tough work to restore the country's credibility.
In the meantime, Theodoros Pangalos, vice president of the government, appeared confident that Greece will finally manage to overcome its problems.
He also stressed that no additional measures are required and defended the permanent working status in the public sector.
He did not rule out anything with regard to the employees of services that will either merge or be abolished.
Finally, Pangalos dismissed scenarios speaking of co-governance and lashed out at the Karamanlis administration. News item: 35362
 Terror Investigation in Full SwingTuesday, 13 April 2010 12:36
The police investigation to track down the hideout and the arsenal of the Greek guerrilla group, Revolutionary Army, is in full swing. The evidence authorities have collected has directed investigations into several directions, while more arrests are expected.
The arrest warrants for more than three suspects have already been issued, while the hideout is believed to be somewhere near the districts of Nea Filadelfia, Nea Ionia and Perissos.
Labros Fountas was proved to be a key suspect to the investigations
Authorities found in his house and confiscated:
* A black full face hood
* Three leaflets with instructions on breathing mask filters
*A piece of paper entitled "There is no need for much talking" with the fingertips of other two suspects on it
Telephone interceptions proved that Fountas was associated with suspects Maziotis, Gournas, Nikitopoulo, as well as with other people who are unknown to the authorities investigating the case.
Related news: Charges Pressed against Six Arrestees News item: 35357
 Greek Premier's Interview with Vima PaperTuesday, 13 April 2010 12:36
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou reiterated that he is open to any form of cooperation with the Left, despite the harsh criticism he has come in for. In his interview with Vima paper, he underlined that he and main opposition leader Antonis Samaras enjoy excellent relations. However, Papandreou blasted the latter for covering the choices of former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, whose policy, as Papandreou claimed, led the country to its worst crisis.
The Greek Premier dismissed claims whereby LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) is flirting with the ruling party, arguing that LAOS just realized how things really are.
Touching on national affairs, he noted he has embarked on a new approach and cooperation campaign with Turkey and expressed his conviction that there could be a breakthrough in the FYROM name dispute.
The Prime Minister called the forthcoming local elections a historical and political landmark, further adding that greatest administrative reform ever made in Greece in the last decades would take effect for the first time.
Reactions by KKE and SYN
KKE (Greek Communist Party) replied that their party is a communistic one and not just leftist, therefore the Prime Minister's reference does not apply to them.
SYN (Coalition of the Radical Left) said there has never been such a great distance between the government's policy and SYN. They also said that the Premier's comment means to serve communicative expediencies with a view to luring leftist voters.
Source: NET 105.8, To Vima News item: 35359
 Nuclear Security Summits Sends Soothing SignalsTuesday, 13 April 2010 10:09
47 world leaders and representatives of international organizations are taking part in a two-day summit on nuclear security, the biggest gathering of foreign leaders the US President has hosted since 1945. The first breakthrough arrived at the summit has to do with Ukraine, which said it would eradicate its reserves in high uranium enrichments until 2012. It also said it would modify its nuclear plants so that they can operate on low uranium enrichment. France won't his country's nuclear weapons because of the dangers and threats in the world, said President Nicolas Sarkozy in his interview, while the USA and China agreed to work together on Iranian nuclear sanctions.
"I cannot jeopardize the security and safety of my country. And I could not give up nuclear weapons if I wasn't sure the world was a stable and safe place," said the French President in his interview with CBS television on the sidelines of the summit taking place in Washington.
US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao agreed to work together on Iranian nuclear sanctions.
"The two presidents agreed the two delegations should work together on a sanctions resolution in New York," said Jeff Bader, Obama's senior director for Asia on the National Security Council.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy also touched on Iran's nuclear aspirations and claimed that patience has its limits, underlining that sanctioning Iran is a matters of days or weeks. News item: 35347
 Debate on Tax Bill Sparks off TensionTuesday, 13 April 2010 10:07
The Plenum of the Greek House started Tuesday discussing the new tax bill. The Finance Ministry termed it as a major reform built upon tax justice. The opposition parties, on the other hand, said it lacked boldness and failed to promote growth. Tensions ran high between Theodoros Pangalos, vice president of the government, and KKE (Greek Communist Party) deputy Angelos Tzekis, when the latter spoke of money laundering when commenting on capital repatriation.
Low Tax Criteria for Pensioners
The discussion of the tax bill commenced after the latest amendments made by the Finance Minister, Giorgos Papakonstantinou. The amendments set out stricter criteria for the asset holders.
The tax criteria will be applied to pensioners, as well. However, they are to be decreased by 30% for pensioners above 65 years of age. Other amendments mean to alleviate the burden on low-income earners.
Tensions ran high between Theodoros Pangalos and KKE deputy Angelos Tzekis when the latter said that the tax bill promotes money laundering. Pangalos spoke of an unbearable insult, noting that the Greek Communist Party is the only political party that does not wish to be audited.
Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou blamed the lame financial situation on the main opposition New Democracy party, further adding that those who mean to vote against the bill will be completely exposed.
Touching on the tax bill, he stressed it means to change every aspect of the tax system and to lay the foundations for a fairer and more effective system.
Shifting to the issue of borrowing, he underlined that Greece has asked for the activation of the support mechanism and that the country's goal is to keep borrowing from the world markets.
ND deputy Manolis Kefalogiannis said the tax bill is to kill entrepreneurism and attacks the middle class and its income.
Source: NET, NET 105.8
News item: 35346
 Glacier Breaks off Causing Tsunami Wave in PeruTuesday, 13 April 2010 09:34
A 23-metre high tsunami wave was caused after a huge glacier broke off into a lake in Peru. The incident occurred near the town of Carhuaz and the tsunami wave killed at least three people. Investigators have said the ice block from the Hualcan glacier measured 500m by 200m.
Authorities evacuated the nearby regions, fearing more glaciers could break off.
In 1970, near Carhuaz, an earthquake caused glaciers and rocks to break off destroying a whole city and killing more than 20,000 people.
Source: Reuters News item: 35342
 Cabinet Discusses Education BillTuesday, 13 April 2010 08:32
A Greek inner cabinet meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister, discussed Tuesday the Education bill which aspires to lay down rules governing the teachers' work regime. According to information, the bill provides, among others, for the establishment of internship programs that allow individuals to complete their teacher preparation coursework.
The bill will also introduce assessment criteria for the teaching work, while transfers will start taking place based on the vacancies.
Additionally, it aspires to put an end to the chaotic tertiary education and revise the operating license of the colleges given by the previous government.
In the meantime, the deans of the Technical and Agricultural Universities expressed their objections to the Presidential Decree whereby Greece's recognizes the working rights of college graduates.
Source: NET 105.8 News item: 35340