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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-16
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From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 George Papandreou: "We Defend Our National Interests"Friday, 16 April 2010 14:10
Addressing the House on Friday, the Prime Minister touched on national affairs. George Papandreou underlined that the only dispute with Ankara to be resolved is the continental self. Communist leader Aleka Papariga expressed her concerns over Greece's national affairs, arguing that after the Imia incidence, NATO ratifies the disputes raised by Turkey.
"Figments of Imagination"
"You are nourishing worries and associate everything in a manner befitting a conspiracy-like reasoning, and of course, these are the stereotypes you usually employ when dealing with national affairs"
"Press reports referring to the division of the Aegean at the 25th meridian or to Greece's commitment to support Kosovo's independence and the use of FYROM as a US protectorate are nothing by figments of imagination," Papandreou replied to Aleka Papariga.
"If you wish to believe them, you are building your policy upon false information," added he.
In her question, Aleka Papariga cited press reports on the division of the Aegean. She also cited a document issued by the US chief of the NATO air base in Izmir, whereby the Aegean is a grey zone. She then referred to positions that believe that the talks on the Greek-Turkish disputes include more than the issue of the continental shelf.
Papariga expressed her party's concern, arguing that the press reports were not all wrong.
"Ever since 1996, our national sovereign rights have been under dispute. The EU does not associate our rights and the Aegean border with Turkey's EU bid. There is the deal brokered because Simitis and Demirel. We know that Turkey believe that some Greek islands are not covered by the continental shelf and NATO keeps excluding those islands from its drills," commented Papariga.
"You are trying to cover up the issue by dividing the Aegean, something that will have an adverse effect on the islands' defence. We do not suggest a war, problems can be resolved. However, the acute rivalry in the area and the fact that NATO recognizes the grey zones that Turkey recognizes make us feel concerned. There are no agreements in the modern worlds that do not lead to new rounds of wars," noted the Greek Communist leader.
In response, George Papandreou said: "You have adopted a position whereby the Imia isle is officially disputed for petty party expediencies. There is no such a thing. Greece does not recognize that. Imia is a Greek isle. Of course, various issues are referred to the Hague and that's why we suggest referring to the Hague," and urged Papariga to cease nourishing phobias and concerns based on false and groundless information.
The Prime Minister also said that his government requested the US chief of the NATO air base in Izmir to recall the document regarding the Aegean which he finally did. He then went on to add that Greece is working on to have Europe pledge to accept the Balkan nations in the EU in 2014.
"With regard to the FYROM name dispute and the Cyprus issue, we have set the red lines and we ought to promote the said issues to all the nations and to our bilateral talks. In every trip and meeting, we promote the above positions and despite the tough financial conditions, we know how to defend our national interests," stressed George Papandreou.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35511
 Teachers' Associations Consider Going on Strike amidst ExamsFriday, 16 April 2010 15:40
Primary and secondary school teachers decided to hold a 24-hour strike on 4 May, reacting to the Education bill. At the same time, the federation of the secondary school teachers will suggest industrial actions as of 14 May, the opening day of the nationwide exams for admission to tertiary education. The final decision will be taken at a meeting scheduled for 6 May.
Source: NET, ANA News item: 35517
 Two Terror Suspects Referred to MagistrateFriday, 16 April 2010 11:55
Two suspected members of guerrilla group Revolutionary Struggle Christoforos Kortesis and Evangelos Stathopoulos were referred Friday to the magistrate. In the meantime, police are still searching door to door to track down the group's hideout. All evidence collected from Konstantinos Gournas' car is being examined at forensic labs.
Politicians, Businessmen and Journalists Targeted
High-profile politicians, businessmen and journalists had been targeted by the terrorists evidence collected from Gournas' car suggested. Among the evidence were notes including information on their targets' residence and place of work.
Inside the car, which has been termed as a "movable hideout", some 120,000 euros was found. It is believed that the money probably came from burglaries.
The two guns found in the car have never been used in a previous act of terror, while the five hard discs are still being examined.
Source: NET News item: 35506
 Volcanic Ash Creates Chaos in Europe's AirportsFriday, 16 April 2010 08:36
About 17,000 flights were expected to be canceled on Friday because of the dangers posed by volcanic ash from Iceland, aviation officials said. Airports in Britain, France, Germany, and across Europe were closed until at least Saturday.
"I would think Europe was probably experiencing its greatest disruption to air travel since 9/11," said a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, Britain's aviation regulator.
"In terms of closure of airspace, this is worse than after 9/11. The disruption is probably larger than anything we've probably seen."
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York, U.S. airspace was closed for three days and European airlines were forced to halt all transatlantic services.
Vulcanologists say the ash could cause problems to air traffic for up to six months if the eruption continues, but even if it is short-lived the financial impact on airlines could be significant.
The fallout hit airlines' shares on Friday with Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Berlin, Air France-KLM, Iberia and Ryanair down between 1.3 and 2.2 percent.
The International Air Transport Association said only days ago that airlines were just coming out of recession.
Source: Reuters News item: 35493
 Eurogroup: "Ready if Necessary"Friday, 16 April 2010 15:54
Legal processes for approving aid to Greece, should it be needed, are progressing satisfactorily in all eurozone member states, Eurogroup President and Luxembourg Finance Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday.
Eurozone ministers Sunday made an offer of up to E30 billion in bilateral loans to heavily-indebted Greece, which will be combined with extra loans from the International Monetary Fund.
But the markets have continued to pressure Greece because of concerns that legal proceedings in some countries could hinder the ability of the Eurozone countries to give aid.
"Almost all has been said," on Greece, Juncker told reporters in Madrid after a meeting of finance ministers here Friday. But he stressed that Greece has not asked for aid yet.
Juncker said legal proceedings in all of the Eurozone countries are "proceeding satisfactorily."
Source: MarketNews.com News item: 35518
 Pension Bill to Be Submitted before MayFriday, 16 April 2010 15:21
The pension bill will be submitted to Parliament before the crucial EU test in May and after it has been assessed by the European Commission, said Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos after a cabinet meeting, where he unveiled the key provisions of the bill. The key changes have to do the retirement age and the merging of pension funds.
Reactions by Opposition Parties-GSEE
Main opposition New Democracy party blasted the government for clumsy communicative handlings, while KKE (Greek Communist Party) spoke of a crime against the working class.
"Mr Loverdos is wrapping up the devastating planning carried out by the PASOK and ND governments ever since 1990. The government, having accepted the directives by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, cynically violates even the EU treaties whereby the member-states shape their social policy.
The public pension system is being undermined. The pensions and the security rights are being chopped off. The pension cuts, if they take effect, could stand at 30%. Much more years of work will be required for much less pensions," read an announcement issued by SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left).
GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) head Giannis Panagopoulos blasted the policy suggested by EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn and the neo-liberals of the EU.
Panagopoulos noted that it was the policy suggested by Olli Rehn and the EU neo-liberals that brought Greece and Europe to such a lousy situation. The private sector does not generate deficits, its employees are not paid well and insurance is lame, added he.
Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 35515
 Greek PM: "Greece Won't Default"Friday, 16 April 2010 15:08
The Greek Prime Minister rest Friday the House assured that default is not an issue for Greece. "We are fighting our battle for the country and we won't let it sink," stressed George Papandreou, further noting he would shield Greece and the low-income earners from default. Papandreou blasted the main opposition New Democracy party, arguing that it was them who led Greece to its current situation and were ND to be in power, Greece would have already resorted to the International Monetary Fund. SYN (Coalition of the Radical Left) head Alexis Tsipras accused the Prime Minister of lacking consensus to ask for IMF's help. "The IMF gun has fired on the Prime Minister's hands," commented opposition leader Antonis Samaras.
Tensions Flare Up
A possible activation of the support mechanism, a move that gives the International Monetary Fund a say in Greece's economy, has triggered strong reactions by the opposition parties.
A day after Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou sent a letter seeking talks with the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on a multi-year economic program that could be backed by financial aid if it were to ask for it, tensions ran high between the Prime Minister and SYN head Alexis Tsipras.
It is the IMF's involvement in the aid that forced Alexis Tsipras to branded the previous day as humiliating for Greece and Europe, since, as he claimed, Greece is on its way to tear apart the social contract signed achieved after the restoration of democracy in the country and to go under the IMF custody.
"It is beyond my comprehension, because you are giving the impression that your choice is the exception to the rule. Today you proved yourself wrong, but it was you who brought up the IMF option up first. Simitis [former Prime Minister] was the first to mention it last year and Karatzaferis repeated it in the House as a bluff. Yet, I cannot realize what kind of bluff is this when it is us who sink the country. I do not wish to hold you accountable for the IMF option or for the outcome of mistakes that led us to that option. What it certain is that you cannot impose such measures without the people's consent," said Tsipras.
"Never have we celebrated for the agreement on the EU support mechanism. But the EU has decided to give its backing to Greece, to stand by it - and this resulted from our efforts. Without this process, Greece would definitely resort to the International Monetary Fund and you would ask me: Where are your socialistic reflexes?" answered the Prime Minister.
George Papandreou also lashed out at ND, blasting the main opposition party for it was its economic policy that led the country to the current situation.
"Let us not fool ourselves: the International Monetary Fund has already been involved in the process. It is the excessive deficit process, to which we have been led twice by ND. But what does IMF involvement not mean? It does not mean that the country has defaulted. We can still borrow, but the assessment and approval goes through the IMF. The mechanism also means that we will not be left to sink, as many had predicted. And that risk was the result of the specific policy of the previous five-years," Papandreou said.
"You have crossed the red lines. I cannot tell whether you have realized the consequences of your actions, but you are getting a definite divorce you're your history and the powers supporting you. The people of PASOK will react to these choices," estimated Tsipras.
Samaras: "The Gun Has Fired on the PM's Hands"
Replying to the attack unleashed by George Papandreou, ND President Antonis Samaras expressed his party's firm stance against the IMF involvement, urging the Prime Minister to shoulder his on his hands. Mr Papandreou has forgotten that both the IMF and the Central European Bank are ruled by socialists. New Democracy has been and still is against the IMF involvement. The Prime Minister had better shoulder his responsibilities and stop looking for an alibi," stressed Samaras.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35514
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