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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-20
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From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Probe into Siemens Scandal ContinuesTuesday, 20 April 2010 15:16
The inquiry committee set to investigate the Siemens scandal in Greece received the statement of Siemens Hellas CEO Panagiotis Xinis. Brokers who had been involved in the case also testified Tuesday. On Monday, yet another wrangling between the Conservative and Socialist lawmakers taking part in the committee broke out. In the meantime, Germany convicted two former Siemens executives over fraud.
A Munich court found two former Siemens managers guilty of breach of trust and abetting bribery for their roles in a corruption scandal that rocked the German engineering group.
Michael Kutschenreuter, former financial head of its telecoms unit and the most senior executive found guilty so far, was placed on probation for two years and fined 160,000 euros ($215,300), ruling judge Joachim Eckert said on Tuesday.
A second defendant, the former head of accounting at Siemens' telecoms unit, was placed on probation for 1-1/2 years and fined 40,000 euros.
Kutschenreuter, who now lives in Dubai, had admitted that he covered up slush funds and bribing practices of his employees.
According to the prosecution, the funds were used to bribe government officials and business contacts to win telecom contracts in Russia and Nigeria.
Siemens has identified around 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in dubious payments that changed hands between 2000 and 2006.
The trial of Kutschenreuter and his alleged accomplices could be the last in the case. Legal experts think the nearly 300 people still under investigation could get summary punishments.
Source: Reuters News item: 35651
 Education Bill Unveiled in ParliamentTuesday, 20 April 2010 12:41
Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou introduced Tuesday the key provisions of the education bill to the relevant Parliamentary committee. "We have to speak on behalf of the students and not on behalf of groups," commented the Education Minister. ND deputy and section head for education Eliza Vozenburg urged the Education Minister to submit the bill to Parliament after the exams for admission to tertiary education, fearing that industrial actions could be triggered.
"Name two reasons why teachers are protesting. Because they have not expressed their opinion on the bill," answered Anna Diamantopoulou.
Although the Conservatives of ND called for clarifications, they said they would vote for the provisions.
The Greek Communist Party (KKE), on the other hand, argued that the Education bill targets the parents' empty pockets.
LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) deputy Adonis Georgiadis opposed ND's proposal to have the bill submitted after the exam period, because, as he said, the state should not be held captive by union trades.
"We wouldn't be surprised if the government submitted the bill in the middle of the summer to sidestep the teachers' reactions," claimed SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) cadre Anastasios Kourakis.
Source: NET 105.8, NET News item: 35636
 Fewer Flights Cancelled at the Athens AirportTuesday, 20 April 2010 10:03
The condition at the Athens International Airport has improved, since fewer flights have been cancelled so far. Flights to Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Tirana, Bucharest and Prague have resumed, while Lufthansa flied to Munich and Frankfurt. As for the Macedonia airport in northern Greece, 36 departures and arrivals were cancelled late on Monday. However, hundreds of stranded travelled are coming back by car, train or boat. In the meantime, air traffic controllers decided to suspend the 48-hour strike they had called for Thursday and Friday.
Source: NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35629
 Strikes and DemonstrationsTuesday, 20 April 2010 09:31
Kiosks remained Tuesday closed, as the federation of kiosk owners called a 24-hour nationwide strike, protesting against both the rises in tobacco and the rest austerity measures taken by the government. Judicial workers will go out on a 48-hour strike as of Wednesday. ADEDY (Civil Servants' Confederation) has scheduled a nationwide strike for Thursday, while PAME (All Militants' Front) has called for a 48-hour strike for Wednesday and Thursday. In the meantime, air traffic controllers decided to call off their 48-hour strike for coming Thursday and Friday, lest there should be more inconvenience stored for travellers. University and school teachers' associations are also considering going out on a strike.
Source: NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35627
 Terror Group's Arms Cache LocatedTuesday, 20 April 2010 08:27
Yet another hideout of the guerrilla group Revolutionary Struggle was found on a fifth-floor apartment in Kypseli district, central Athens. The amount of guns and explosives found made police believe that it was the terror group's main arms cache. Police evacuated the tenants so as to collect all the evidence, which was transferred to the forensic labs.
New Arrests Ahead
Police believe that the new evidence could lead to new arrests.
Among the guns seized was one the terror group used at the hit on the EU embassy compound in January 2007.
The ballistic tests are expected to help police find fingerprints, as well as DNA samples of the people that used the guns in the hideout.
Official Announcements Are Expected
The apartment was leased in 2004 to the name Grivokostopoulos used by terror suspect Konstantinos Gournas.
The Greek police is to make official announcements within Tuesday.
Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 35624
 Suicide Bomb Hit Kills 7 in PakistanSunday, 18 April 2010 11:06
At least seven people were killed and another 26 were injured in a suicide car bomb hit in Kohat region, NW Pakistan, police said. A suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a police station barrier, a police officer said.
The attack came a day after suicide bombers in the same town targeted refugees awaiting food handouts, killing 41 people.
Source: ANA/MPA News item: 35560
 UK Polls Give Lib Dems the LeadSunday, 18 April 2010 10:45
Polls taken after the first TV debate put the Lib Dems up by as much as eight points, and their leader Nick Clegg said a "little door had opened".
Tory leader David Cameron said only his party could deliver "real change".
Both Labour and the Conservatives have turned their fire on the Lib Dems after Mr Clegg was widely regarded to have put in the best performance in the first of three TV prime ministerial debates.
A ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday, taken after the debate, put the Conservatives on 31%, the Lib Dems on 29% and Labour on 27%.
Source: BBC News item: 35558
 Flights Started ResumingTuesday, 20 April 2010 09:29
Flights have resumed taking off in northern Europe after five days of inactivity due to the spread of volcanic ash from Iceland. Several New York- bound flights reached Tuesday their destination, while several other have been scheduled to leave New York for Europe's airports. However, conditions up in the skies remain uncertain, with the British experts warning of a new ash cloud spreading from Iceland.
Flight Bans Lifted
The EU transport minister agreed Monday to divide the airspace into three categories: a no-go area; air corridors "with some contamination" where flying can take place under strict conditions; and open zones with no safety concerns.
The Dutch Transport Minister said his country would be the first to resume flight. He underlined, though, that in case things deteriorated again, there would be new cancellations.
Switzerland and Italy have resumed flights, as well, while France decided to open the airspace leading to Paris.
Germany's airspace will remain closed until 12.00 GMT.
The volcanic ash is unlikely to reach the Balkan are and Greece until 3am on Wednesday, with the exception of some regions in Albania, Serbia and Romania. News item: 35626
 Borrowing Cost Remains HighTuesday, 20 April 2010 14:06
Shortly before the talks between the Greek government and the experts of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the technical details of the support mechanism for Greece, the country borrowed 1.5 bill euros with high interest rates. "Our goal was to rescue economy and restore the country's credibility," said the Greek Finance Minister. He then said that the government would proceed with a new fiscal management plan. Markets are still wary of Greece, said Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos, after his meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias. He further stressed that European experts due in Greece and the support mechanism would have a positive influence on Greece.
Greek FinMin : "Support Mechanism Will Be Activated If Needed"
Giorgos Papakonstantinou underlined that the talks would be focused on the measures included in the three-year stability plan.
'There will not be a blank piece of paper," commented Papakonstantinou, further adding that no additional measures would be taken, since the ones already taken met Greece's goal to bring deficit down by 4% of GDP.
Touching on the timeline for the activation of the support mechanism in case Greece decides to do so, the Greek Finance Minister argued that the whole process would last one or three weeks.
"Several countries, including the Netherlands, have already started lending to Greece and the government will decide on the activation of the support mechanism if deemed necessary," added Papakonstantinou. He further stressed that the decision would depend on the borrowing conditions and the progress of the talks with the EU officials.
Drilled on the International Monetary Fund's role in the support mechanism for Greece, the Finance Minister said, "I am not one of those who either blast the IMF or get ecstatic with it," and blamed the rise in bond spreads on the hazy conditions with regard to the support mechanism and on the concerns over the medium-term potential of the public debt.
Provopoulos: "Support Mechanism Set to Restore Trust"
Giorgos Provopoulos, Governor of the Bank of Greece, hailed the fact that there is a support mechanism for the Greek economy.
He noted that the amount of money to be earmarked for Greece when needed and the participation of the three bodies (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) will help to restore Greece's credibility.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35644
 Greek FinMin to Give Press ConferenceTuesday, 20 April 2010 12:24
Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou is to give Tuesday a Press conference on the Greek economy. In the meantime, borrowing cost for Greece still remains high. Experts from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are due Wednesday in Athens to hold talks with the Greek officials on the technical details of the support mechanism for Greece. In the meantime, the Greek government is monitoring all the borrowing developments and evidence in order to weigh up on its future moves.
Source: NET News item: 35635
 Greek Actress Anna Kalouta Laid to RestTuesday, 20 April 2010 13:08
Greek prominent actress Anna Kalouta was laid Tuesday to rest. She passed away late on Saturday at the age of 92. Anna Kalouta's death marked the end of an era. Actress, leading star and a theatre owner, she was born in Athens in September 1918. After graduating from the Ionio School, she put her heart and soul into theatre. She also took up choreography and direction.
Source: NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35639
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