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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-30

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek PM to Meet with President of the Republic
  • [02] Pension Bill to Be Introduced Next Week
  • [03] Waste Management Problems to Be Solved by the End of 2010
  • [04] Strikes and Demonstrations on May Day
  • [05] Awaiting Finalization of Measures to Activate EU-IMF Rescue Mechanism
  • [06] Greek PM: The Nation's Survival Is a Red Line
  • [07] Oil Slick Reaches Mississippi Delta
  • [08] Investigation of Goldman Sachs-March against Banks in NY

  • [01] Greek PM to Meet with President of the Republic

    Friday, 30 April 2010 15:35

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will meet with the President of the Republic as soon as the negotiations on the bailout package wrap up. In a telephone contact between the two men, the Prime Minister proposed Karolos Papoulias call a meeting at political leaders' level. The two men discussed the said proposal before Papoulias' meeting with main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, who asked to meet with the President of the Republic to discuss the current situation. "We are experience tough times that require critical decisions for the present and the future and for the sake of social cohesion. I would like to share my thoughts with you," Samaras told the President of the Republic. The President, on his part, admitted that the situation is tough and critical and urged everyone to fight the battle.

    Focusing on Economy

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias welcomed Friday noon the opposition leader, Antonis Samaras.

    "We should, with the exception of no one including myself because I participated in several governments, confess to our mistakes," underlined Karolos Papoulias, who called for sensitivity to the weak who are called on to pay the price.

    Karolos Papoulias praised Portugal's leaders who sidestepped their differences and joint forces to resolve their financial problems.

    Source: NET, ANA/MPA News item: 36099

    [02] Pension Bill to Be Introduced Next Week

    Friday, 30 April 2010 15:23

    Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos assured the GSEVEE (Hellenic Confederation of Professional Craftsmen and Merchants) head that the pension bill will be introduced to the social partners in the coming week. Andreas Loverdos stressed that the Ministry's programme remained the same and dismissed rumours whereby certain provisions will be sped up. The GSEVEE head argued that the abolishment of the 13th and 14th wage and the pension cuts are "a bullet straight to the market's heart."

    The pension bill's provisions will not be sped up, pledged the Employment Minister, stressing, at the same time, that the EU and IMF experts keep pushing on that.

    With regard to the 13th and 14th wage, Loverdos noted that it is up to the Finance Ministry.

    GSEVEE head Dimitris Asimakopoulos, on his part, voiced his objections to the cuts in benefits and bonuses, because such a move would equal to recession and dismissals.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 36098

    [03] Waste Management Problems to Be Solved by the End of 2010

    Friday, 30 April 2010 14:34

    Briefing Parliament's environment committee, Environment Minister Tina Birbili termed waste management as a fiscal bomb that could have Greece sanctioned with fines amounting to even 4 billion euros per year. The minister assured the committee that the national planning on waste management will have been revised by the end of 2010.

    Tina Birbili said that in order to have waste reduced and to promote recycling, local governments and citizens will be asked to pay depending on their wastes.

    To achieve the above goal, local governments will be given financial incentives to improve the use of source segregated waste.

    Source: NET 105.8, ANA News item: 36095

    [04] Strikes and Demonstrations on May Day

    Friday, 30 April 2010 12:16

    Two separate demonstrations will be held in central Athens to mark the May Day. Greece's two major umbrella unions, GSEE and ADEDY, have invited employees to join in the demonstration scheduled for 11am on Saturday at Klafthmonos Square. PAME (All Workers Militant Front) will stage a separate demonstration at Syntagma Square. There will be changes in public transport services. Ships will remain docked, while there will be no train services.

    Source: NET News item: 36092

    [05] Awaiting Finalization of Measures to Activate EU-IMF Rescue Mechanism

    Friday, 30 April 2010 10:38

    The final draft of the three-year plan is expected to be announced in the next days in order to activate the joint EU-IMF fiscal rescue mechanism.Few days before the announcement of the measures, the Prime-minister asked trade unions and business group leaders to support the national effort to exit the country from the financial crisis. Trade unions GSEE and ADEDY forecast strong reactions if scenarios of painful measures are confirmed. Reports say that Troika experts have asked for a rise in value-added-tax (VAT) rates, the scrapping of bonuses amounting to two extra months pay in both public and private sectors or at least cuts on the basis of a ceiling, double lay off limit and the acceptance of collective contracts pay freeze with the aim to 10% cut in state debt within two years.

    PM Asks for Support

    Austerity measures are the bridge to pass to big reforms, stressed the Prime-minister in his speech at the session of PASOK Political Council. The majority of its members, however, objected to their adoption.

    In his meeting with social partners Mr. Papandreou called for support to save the country.

    Production and social partners should supplement their forces agreed the president of the Economic and Social Committee president Hristos Polyzogopoulos.

    SEB and GSEBEE business group leaders spoke of a national effort but GSEBEE president objected to rise in VAD rate.

    Commenting, GSEE leader said he realized the difficult situation of the country but could not understand unilateral and unfair policies while ADEDY leader said salary earners, pensioners and the unemployed would give their battle against living in squalor in the streets.

    Opposition Reactions

    ND leader, Antonis Samaras described as dramatic the country's situation in his speech at the Economist conference and attributed responsibility to the government for the borrowing crisis.

    Mr. Samaras asked for an extraordinary meeting with the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias due to the emergency situation.

    The difficult situation of the economy due to domestic long-term structural and managerial weaknesses and the impact of the world financial crisis has dramatically worsened due to the actrions and omissions of the PASOK government, said ND deputy H. Staikouras , responsible for his party's economic sector.

    GCP announcement writes:

    "The new package-guillotine is neither temporary nor unique. The barbarian measures will be successive today to cut down state deficit and state debt and in a short time to prevent them from rising. The development they speak about do not concern the needs of people but the strengthening of monopolies, in other words ones responsible for the financial crisis.

    SYRIZA president Alexis Tsipras warned that measures jeopardize over 60 years conquests and called people to draw red lines.

    LAOS president George Karatzaferis asked for a more effective government formation.

    Spreads Drop

    Spread on 10-year Greek state bonds fell today amid expectations for finalization of fiscal rescue plan in the next days.

    Ten -year state bond fell to 640 basis points on Friday from 765 basis points on Thursday.

    Vice-president of Greek bankers in London, Notis Mytarakis expressed high concern over the rise in interest rate in Greece's borrowing in his speech at the Economist conference.

    He said additional measures to reduce expenses are not enough to exit from the crisis but should be supplemented by incentives to attract investments.

    He, however, dropped hints against markets, speaking of over-reaction against Greece despite the fact that several countries are facing similar problems.

    Athens Stock Market is recording slight gains and European markets are moving in positive territory.

    Barroso : Greece will Take all Necessary Measures

    The European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso expressed certainty Greece will take all necessary measures to deal with the crisis.

    "Greek authorities have stated in very clear terms that they will take all measures needed to correct fiscal imbalances," Barroso told reporters during his visit to Beijing. Greek authorities are making "solid and rapid progress to correct imbalances and added that Greece's case is a strong reminder that we are all inter-dependable.

    Greece bail out will prevent spillover. J. . Barroso

    The EU president also stressed that debt restructuring was not on the cards in Greece and was not an option anywhere in the euro zone.

    Barroso said he had discussed Greece's troubles with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and added that China remained confident in the euro currency. He also said Chinese leaders "never mentioned" any possible aid for Athens.

    In an interview with German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt, Barroso objected to introduction of clause for possibility of expulsion of a state from euro region.

    Eurogroup Conference at the Weekend

    Euro region Finance Minister may hold a tele-conference on Greece at the weekend

    Prevent Spillover - Record High Unemployment in Spain

    French President Nikola Sarkozy will meet with senior Ministers on Saturday to discuss the Greek rescue plan and the financial situation in the market.

    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called on Thursday for the creation of a European credit rating agency doubting the credibility of US agencies.

    National Statistics Institute (Ine) announced that unemployment rate in Spain touched 20.5% going above the symbolic 20% limit.

    Spanish finance Minister Elena Salgado said that Spain's state debt is under control and Spain would not need to borrow. Spain's program to cut down state deficit is in progress and will achieve its target according to Spain's Finance Minister

    European Investment Bank president warned about possibility of permanent high unemployment in Europe in his speech at the Economist conference.

    The financial crisis in Greece could derail recovery of world economy said the governor of Canada Central Bank.

    Source: , 105.8, NA-PA

    News item: 36087

    [06] Greek PM: The Nation's Survival Is a Red Line

    Friday, 30 April 2010 09:39

    The financial measures taken are a national duty, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou underlined Friday in Parliament, further underlining that the nation's survival is a red line and top priority. Papandreou described any attempt to associate the financial crisis with the country's national affairs as a casus belli, making it crystal clear that it is only the country's economy that is under surveillance. An informal cabinet meeting is taking place at Maximos Mansion. Earlier, the Prime Minister had chaired a sitting of the crisis management team.

    "Economy Is under Surveillance, not the National Affairs"

    Replying to a question on the Turkish Premier's forthcoming visit to Athens posed by LAOS (Popular Orthodox Party), George Papandreou noted that any attempt to associate the financial surveillance with the country's national affairs is a political casus belli, also adding that the country's borrowing ability is one thing and its national affairs another.

    Papandreou said the measures to be agreed with the EU and IMF officials are necessary for the country's survival and spoke of a patriotic duty whose cost will be fully claimed by his government.

    In the meantime, he denied that the Turkish Prime Minister will visit Thrace, in northern Greece, further adding that his visit to Greece is part of Greece's efforts to sooth relations with Turkey and broaden cooperation between the two sides.

    LAOS head Giorgos Karatzaferis underlined that the Turkish PM's visit to Athens could have been suspended for three months, since, as he claimed, it is not good period for Greece. He also stressed Turkey's constant provocative and aggressive behavior was also conducive to Greece's financial failure.

    Karatzaferis argued that Ankara's behavior does not demonstrate its will to develop a peaceful climate between the two countries, further stressing that a military drill that was cancelled earned Greece 4 million euros.

    "Financial Measures Are Patriotic Duty"

    Tensions ran high between George Papandreou and Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA head) over the government's decision to turn to the support mechanism and the measures it has already announced.

    The influence of the new measures on the National Health System triggered a stormy dialogue between the two men, with the Prime Minister underlining that when it comes to matters pertaining to the citizens' health rights, the government will make investments despite the hardships.

    He then went on to rest everyone assured that his government wants everyone's backing so that the country exits the surveillance process, which was imposed due to the disastrous policies of the previous governments, as soon as possible.

    Alexis Tsipras, on his part, urged the Prime Minister to say no to the country's demise and to call either a referendum or general elections, because the mandate he got was a different one.

    "IMF Isn't to Be Blamed for the National Health System"

    The Prime Minister maintained that it was PASOK that created the National Health System and his party feels sorry for the its crippling situation caused by the previous government's corruption.

    But, he added, the present situation cannot be blamed on the International Monetary Fund. Blaming the IMF is an easy alibi lest nothing should change, said Papandreou.

    The government's objective, argued the Greek Premier, is to bring about a real revolution in the health sector. "We could have better hospitals. The provocative spending and corruption are not the IMF's fault," commented he.

    George Papandreou then went on to note that his government means to revive welfare, give priority to the people's need and deliver a crushing blow to spending, corruption and profiteering.

    A.Tsipras: "The Government's Measures Are to Bring Destruction"

    SYRIZA head Alexis Tsipras, on the other hand, said the government has been taking a divorce from history and the mandate it earned in the recent elections for the past six months "trimming state aids, reducing operating costs and cutting wages. And you are saying that these are not the IMF choices?"

    "Have realized what we are going to do by taking measures that the country has not lived since WWII? We had been telling you for months to change course lest we should hit the iceberg. Now that we have hit the iceberg, we are suggesting we should fall to the sea," commented Tsipras.

    He then stressed that it is inappropriate for the government's vice-president to admit that it is not the government that set red lines. "Had he said that during Andreas Papandreou's rule, would he have kept him? Negotiations require claims. When did you say 'no'? Either call a referendum or elections."

    Referring to the government's allies - Giorgos Karatzaferis, Konstantinos Mitsotakis and SEV - Tsipras said, "They will not be respecting you for a long time. After you do the dirty work, you will mean nothing to them and they will kick you out."

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36082

    [07] Oil Slick Reaches Mississippi Delta

    Friday, 30 April 2010 09:04

    Oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico oozed into Louisiana's ecologically rich wetlands Friday as storms threatened to frustrate desperate protection efforts. The White House put a hold on any new offshore oil projects until the rig disaster that caused the spill is explained.

    Crews in boats patrolled coastal marshes early Friday looking for areas where the oil has flowed in, the Coast Guard said.

    The National Weather Service predicted winds, high tides and waves through Sunday that could push oil deep into the inlets, ponds and lakes that line the boot of southeastern Louisiana. Seas of 6 to 7 feet were pushing tides several feet above normal toward the coast, compounded by thunderstorms expected in the area Friday.

    As the sun rose over Venice, dozens of boats, some carrying booms that will help hold back the oil, sat ready at Cypress Cove pier. Fishing guide Mike Dickinson, 56, was taking out some fishermen from Georgia in hopes of making money before more oil washes in.

    "We've been getting calls from customers concerned about the fishing, whether it's going to open," he said.

    The weather will keep crews from skimming oil off of the surface or burning it off for the next couple of days because of the weather, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

    Waves may also wash over booms strung out just off shorelines to stop the oil, said Tom McKenzie, a spokesman for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is hoping booms will keep oil off the Chandeleur Islands, part of a national wildlife refuge.

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    A top adviser to President Barack Obama said Friday that no new oil drilling would be allowed until authorities learn what caused the fiery April 20 explosion on the rig Deepwater Horizon. David Axelrod said on "Good Morning America" that "no additional drilling has been authorized and none will until we find out what has happened here." Obama recently lifted a drilling moratorium for many offshore areas, including the Atlantic and Gulf.

    Meanwhile, two Air Force C-130s were sent to Mississippi and awaited orders to start dumping chemicals on the oil spill.

    The Navy also sent equipment for the cleanup, and Pentagon officials were talking with the Department of Homeland Security to figure out what other help the military could give.

    The leak from a blown-out well a mile underwater is five times bigger than first believed. More than 200,000 gallons of oil a day are spewing from the site of the rig, which was operated by BP and owned by Transocean Ltd. It sank two days after the explosion.

    The Coast Guard is working with BP to deploy floating booms, skimmers and chemical dispersants, and has set controlled fires to burn the oil off the water's surface.

    Faint fingers of oily sheen began reaching the Mississippi River delta late Thursday, lapping the Louisiana shoreline in long, thin lines. Thicker oil was farther offshore. Officials have said they would do everything to keep the Mississippi River open to traffic.

    Source: The Associated Press News item: 36080

    [08] Investigation of Goldman Sachs-March against Banks in NY

    Friday, 30 April 2010 08:25

    See video

    US federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc. or some of its employees committed securities fraud in connection with its mortgage trading, says Wall Street Journal. In the meantime, thousands of workers marched and staged demonstrations in NY financial district demanding Wall Street big banks to pay for huge profits when middle-class Americans are facing serious economic problems.

    Investigating Securities Fraud in Connection with Mortgage Trading

    The investigation from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office, which is at a preliminary stage, stemmed from a referral from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC recently filed civil securities-fraud charges against the big Wall Street firm and a trader in its mortgage group.

    "Given the recent focus on the firm, we're not surprised by the report of an inquiry. We would cooperate fully with any request for information", said Goldman Sachs spokesman.

    A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment on whether an investigation on Goldman Sachs was being carried out.

    News of the action, however, is expected to escalate pressure on Goldman Sachs, two days after the blistering hearing by the US Senate of Goldman Sachs president Lloyd Blankfein and other executives.

    The criminal investigation conducted by prosecutors is based on different evidence to SEC referral, says Wall Street.

    Demonstration against Banks

    The demonstration in NY financial district was organized by union members and others who delivered a crisp message. The banners they were holding read "Wall Street: Never Again" l. "Financial Reform Now" , Claim back America-banks to pay, "take responsibility for the mess you made".

    One of the demonstrators said "big banks let all sink stopping granting loans", they are the people who ensured billions of dollars in bonuses for themselves.

    The demonstration was staged when Democrats were trying to promote draft-bill on Wall Street reforms and the US Senate was holding a hearing on Goldman Sachs.

    "The bottom line is Wall Street should pay to clean up the mess they made and Congress must enact strong Wall Street reform", says union member Richard Trumka in Huffington Post website.

    Source: , CNN, Wall Street Journal, APTN

    Also Read: WSJ: Criminal Probe Looks Into Goldman Trading News item: 36079


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