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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-14
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Papandreou-Samaras MeetingWednesday, 14 April 2010 17:30
The latest developments in the Greek economy will top the meeting to be held Wednesday evening between Prime Minister George Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras. Commenting on the meeting, the government spokesman said that consensus is a constant prerequisite and a constant challenge and that it is up to the opposition parties whether to accept it.
"It is us who had been saying before the real situation was revealed that consensus is required, because the hardships are huge. Therefore, it is up to the opposition parties to realize the extent of their responsibilities so that Greece can survive the financial crisis," commented the government spokesman.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35415
 World Market Exert Pressure on Greek EconomyWednesday, 14 April 2010 16:22
EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn will suggest at the informal Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings scheduled to take place in Madrid on Friday greater EU intervention in the drawing-up and implementation of the national budgets of the EU nations. In the meantime, the Greek economy is amidst strong market pressure, with the spreads of the 10-year bonds flirting with 400 points.
The pressure exerted on the Greek economy is growing stronger and strongers, with a leading economist of Fitch house predicting that Greece will finally resort to the support mechanism in 15 days the latest.
The Greek government's goal is to keep borrowing from the free market, said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis, further terming that Greece views the support mechanism as a safety net.
"We will try to borrow under the best possible terms," argued Petalotis, also adding that Greece will activate the support mechanism if needed.
Olli Rehn Calls for Greater Intervention
EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn focused on the first conclusions with regard to the Greek fiscal problems and unveiled several recommendations which will be raised at the Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings to be held in Madrid on Friday.
He highlighted the need for Brussels to both coordinate and monitor the fiscal policies of the eurozone nations, lest there should be such problems in the future.
He also suggested financial sanctions on eurozone nations who continually violate fiscal discipline.
Olli Rehn then sounded the alarm regarding Portugal's economy, terming the country's stability plan as ambitious. News item: 35410
 Great Losses for Morgan StanleyWednesday, 14 April 2010 12:37
Morgan Stanley has told investors that its $8.8 billion real-estate fund may lose nearly two-thirds of its money due to bad investments, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed fund documents.
But by mid-2009, the firm had already written down those losses, according to quarterly financial reports.
The $5.4 billion loss would be the biggest in the history of private equity real estate investing, according to the Journal.
Although Morgan Stanley declined to comment to Reuters, the Journal reported that the company told it that its real estate group has "a long-standing history of investing through many different business cycles over the past two decades."
News item: 35396
 World Markets still WaryWednesday, 14 April 2010 11:29
Following the first positive message from world markets on Tuesday, the Greek government is focusing now on the necessary structural changes and reforms. The denationalizations and the pension reform have been given priority, as they are to be discussed Thursday at the cabinet meeting. World markets are a bit nervous, with spreads having risen to 390 points. The Greek government's objective is to keep borrowing from the markets, stressed Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou, reiterating that Athens has not asked for the activation of the support mechanism.
Greek FinMin: "Borrowing from Markets Remains a Priority"
The Finance Minister, Giorgos Papakonstantinou reiterated that borrowing from the markets is the government's main objective.
Touching on the support mechanism for the Greek economy, he said it is a joint programme brokered by the European Commission, the Central European Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Papakonstantinou said there would be no further cuts in public wages.
Bigger EU-Intervention in National Budgets
EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn will suggest greater EU intervention in the drawing-up and implementation of the national budgets of the EU nations at the informal Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings scheduled to take place in Madrid on Friday.
The Finance Ministers of the countries sharing the single currency said the aid to be given to Greece could even amount to 90 billion euros in the years to come, read Wednesday a German paper.
The 30 billion euros agreed is nothing but the first step, read the newspaper, citing a German minister, since the final amount of money could be at least twice as high, said the same source.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35391
 Three Terror Suspects DetainedWednesday, 14 April 2010 11:00
The two of the three suspects charged with involvement in the guerrilla group Revolutionary Struggle refused to testify, while the third denied all accusations. The three arrestees who were referred Wednesday morning to the magistrate under tight security were remanded in custody. Police keeps searching for the group's weaponry, while all evidence found in their hideout are being closely examined. According to information, more suspects are to be arrested for their involvement in Revolutionary Struggle. The rest three suspects will testify on Thursday.
Maziotis and Roupa Refuse to Testify
Nikos Maziotis, his wife Panagiota Roupa and Sarantos Nikitopoulos were referred Wednesday morning to the magistrate under tight security.
They have been charge with participating in bomb attacks, participating in a terrorist group and attempted murder, illegal possession of explosives and guns, among other things.
Maziotis and his wife Panagiotia Roupa refused to testify lest they should give legal status to a process which they have branded as a political prosecution against them.
Nikitopoulos Denied Accusations
Sarantos Nikitopoulos denied all accusations, claiming that he is acquainted with defendants and he had been friends with Labros Fountas. He then stressed that a fingerprint of his found on an object in Fountas' house cannot implicate him in anything.
Evangelos Stathopoulos, Christoforos Kortesis and Konstantinos Gournas are to testify on Thursday.
New Arrest Warrants Are Due
In the meantime, new arrest warrants for four people, including two women and two men, who are believed to have been involved in the guerrilla group, are due out.
Police are trying to track down a 32-year-old man who is believed to be a hard core member of the group. His fingertips have been found in Fountas' place. He has been known to the police for his participation in clashes in the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising in 1995, and his house in Abelokipi district was among the first to be searched.
The second suspect is a woman, 35, who has also participated in clashes at the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. Her fingerprints have been found on a hand-written document in Fountas' place.
Another woman, 31, wanted is one of the authors of the proclamations. She was arrested in the 1995 anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising and her fingerprints have also been found in Fountas' house, as well. News item: 35387
 Industrial Actions and DemonstrationsWednesday, 14 April 2010 10:16
The new tax bill submitted by the government was met with industrial actions and demonstrations. Taxi owners are on a 48 hour strike. They held a street protest Wednesday in central Athens. Lawyers will also be abstaining from work until Thursday, while POE-OTA staged a work stoppage from 11am to the end of shift. Transport services will be seriously disrupted on Thursday, as the employees have announced a work stoppage from 11am to 5pm.
Source: NET, NET 105.8
News item: 35385
 Greek PM: "Let Us Usher Greece in a New Era"Wednesday, 14 April 2010 09:49
Addressing the House which is debating a tax draft law, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou invited all political powers to usher Greece into a new era. George Papandreou appeared optimistic about the country's future, underlining that Greece will meet its goals. Opposition leader Antonis Samaras blasted the government arguing that its tax policy will plunge the Greek economy into a deeper recession and stressed that as soon as his party comes to power, it will change the law. SYN leader Alexis Tsipras also slammed the tax bill, claiming that it is the employees and the pensioners that will be weighed down once again. Tensions ran high between Conservative deputy Dora Bakoyannis and Socialist deputy Philippos Sahinides.
"I Urge You to Take a Responsible Stance"
"The bill is an answer to the irrational which gives the tax dodgers to be entitled to a solidarity benefit because the incomes they submit are below the tax relief," said the Prime Minister.
"Now, we can help have a more serious and fairer social policy. We are offering an answer to real problems, we are not sweeping the problems under the rug," added he.
"We always said that there was money and there is. The question was, where it went," said he. "Of course, there were problems. We have not denied it. However, the lack of responsibility should be blamed on ND," stressed the Prime Minister.
Commenting on the minority's stance against the government's austerity measures, George Papandreou noted that the main opposition party defended its government work.
"I urge all the political parties of the House. Join us to usher Greece into a new era. To prove that the political system can fix the mistakes of the past and to prove that we can live in a better country," concluded Papandreou.
SYN (Coalition of the Radical Left) head Alexis Tsipras blasted the government's option to resort to the International Monetary Fund, claiming that he doesn't have thee mandate to lead the country to choices that mean to smash social cohesion.
"We are sending a crystal clear message. From now on, there is going to be zero tolerance to tax evasion," said George Papandreou.
Antonis Samras: "We Are Pushing Economy to Recession"
Main Opposition New Democracy head Antonis Samaras blasted the tax bill as sloppy, unfair, meaning to push the Greek economy to recession. "Unless the current government changes it, the ND government will change it as soon as it comes to power," added he.
Samaras avoided, in view of his meeting with the Prime Minister, referring to the interest rates of the ten-year bonds. He put down, though, the increase in spreads to the fact that the markets are still wary of the effectiveness of the government's policy.
He called the bill unfair because, despite the slight tax reliefs, it takes them back through rises in indirect taxes, like the VAT rate and the fuel excise. News item: 35383
 6.9 Magnitude Quake Kills 400 in ChinaWednesday, 14 April 2010 08:23
The death toll from a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the western Chinese province of Qinghai has climbed to 400, while as many as 8,000 have been reported injured. Authorities fear that the death toll may rise, since several people have been trapped in the rubble. Rescue crews and troops have rushed to the area.
85% of Buildings Collapsed
The Chinese state television said that 85% of the buildings near the earthquake's epicenter were leveled.
Telecommunications have been seriously disrupted.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.9 temblor struck an area in southern Qinghai, near Tibet. The Chinese authorities, on the other hand, said it measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.
Strong Aftershocks Followed
The earthquake's epicenter was located some 375 km south-southeast of Golmud, a large city in Qinghai, at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), the USGS said.
Two aftershocks measuring 5.3 and 5.2 respectively followed.
A few hours before the 6.9-magnitude earthquake, a quake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale had hit the area.
The Tibet area is frequently hit by earthquakes, but because it is scarcely populated, they leave few victims in their wake.
Barroso, Merkel and the Pope Express Solidarity
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso proposed China receive EU aid to tackle the problems caused by the earthquake. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her sorrow over the devastating hit China suffered. In her consolidating letter sent to the Chinese Prime Minister, Merkel expressed her solidarity with the quake-stricken.
Pope Benedict urged mankind to express its solidarity with the quake victims.
Source: AFP, ANA News item: 35380