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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-05-07
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Britain: Election Returns No MajorityFriday, 07 May 2010 16:57
Britain's opposition Conservatives said Friday they would try to form a government with the smaller Liberal Democrats after winning the most seats in the closest parliamentary election in a generation.
While the center-right Conservatives failed to gain an outright majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, creating the first "hung parliament" since 1974, they were comfortably ahead of the ruling center-left Labour party, in power for 13 years.
Conservative leader David Cameron said Britain needed a government to reassure jittery markets that it was serious about tackling the deficit, which exceeds 11 percent of national output.
He said he was prepared to explore the possibility of running a minority government, but that he would make a coalition offer to the centrist Lib Dems, the third force in British politics.
Speaking earlier outside his Downing Street residence, Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats should take time to try to reach an agreement on forming a government.
Brown said he would speak to the Lib Dems if those talks proved unsuccessful, and stressed his support for electoral reform, a key Lib Dem demand.
Cameron, a 43-year-old former public relations executive, has said his party would make deeper and faster spending cuts than Labour, which has been in power since 1997.
Any new government faces the daunting and potentially unpopular task of bringing down a record budget deficit of 163 billion pounds ($239 billion) for fiscal 2009/10.
Cameron described it as the worst inheritance faced by any incoming government for at least 60 years.
Bookmakers saw a better than one-in-three chance of another British election this year, a scenario that would be likely to spook the markets further.
In a see-saw day for markets, sterling pared losses against the dollar after Cameron held out the prospect of talks with other parties.
With results in 637 constituencies declared, the Conservatives were on 301 seats, followed by Labour on 255 and the centrist Lib Dems on 54.
The lack of an outright winner able to command 326 votes in the House of Commons brings smaller parties into play.
News item: 36319
 Inflation Stands at 4.8% in AprilFriday, 07 May 2010 16:34
Inflation stood at 4.8% in April, as opposed to 3.9% in March, said the Greek Statistical Agency. The rise in inflation was blamed on the readjustment of the VAT rates and the rises in fuel prices.
CPI Goes Up
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) posted a rise of 4.8% in April 2010 as compared to April 2009.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in April 2010, as compared to April 2009, increased by 4.8%. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 1.0%.
The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in April 2010, as compared to April 2009, increased by 4.7%. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 1.1%.
Commenting on the rise in inflation, Conservative deputy and section head for economy Christos Staikouras said: "The tax measures recently taken have an adverse influence on real economy, since, coupled with the limited income policy, they are trimming incomes, drying the market out, paralyzing the society's psychology and boosting inflationary pressures."
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36314
 Debate on Support Mechanism Raises TensionsFriday, 07 May 2010 15:25
Tensions ran high on Friday when Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou rephrased the bill on the support mechanism for Greece voted Thursday. Under the new provision, the borrowing agreements between Greece and the EU and the IMF will take effect as soon as they are signed. The Finance Minister explained that the amendment in question was demanded by the EU and was promptly promoted so that the aid pledged to Greece could be unlocked immediately.
The Greek left parties, KKE and SYRIZA, blasted the government for parliamentary coup, claiming that the vote held on Thursday was invalid, since agreements should be submitted to Parliament to be ratified.
"The government's move to submit and vote a last-minute amendment which authorizes the Finance Minister to sign agreements with the EU and the IMF without putting them to vote in Parliament is an insult not to the House but to the people," read an announcement issued by the Greek Communist Party (KKE).
SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left) head Alexis Tsipras commented: "This is a very serious development that ridiculous the institutions. The House Plenum debated and voted Thursday. However, yesterday's procedures come across as a briefing. Do you really wish to proceed to consensus through successive parliamentary coups? Are we going to have a political leaders' council with no agenda? Without knowing what the House has voted for?"
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36306
 Sirinides Charged with New FeloniesFriday, 07 May 2010 15:15
Aris Sirinides, who was arrested along with notorious robber Simeon Seisides, apologized Friday. He had been charged with unlawful possession of firearms. Sirinides was also charged with attempted homicide, after the DNA tests showed he was the gunman who attacked riot police bus in July 2009. Sirinides, on the other hand, denied his involvement in the above attack, claiming he wasn't in Athens at that time.
Charged with Attempted Homicide
Aris Sirinides, 34, had opened fire at a bus carrying riot police officers, without injuring anyone. He vanished into thin air, while being chased by the policemen.
During the escape, he dropped the surgery mask he was wearing. It was found later on by the police. It was from the surgery mask that police got DNA samples. The gun he used has not been found yet.
Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 36307
 Eurozone Leaders Hold MeetingFriday, 07 May 2010 14:38
The eurozone leaders are meeting Friday in Brussels to give thumbs up for the activation of the support mechanism for Greece. The Greek Prime Minister will attend the summit having in his bag the Greek House's approval of the first package of the austerity measures. Europeans, however, have started worrying that the crisis that hit Greece could spread elsewhere. Spreads of Greek bonds shot up again, while pressures on spreads of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian bonds are piling up. In the meantime, Berlin approved an emergency law to allow Germany to lend a massive â¬22.4bn over three years to Greece, as its contribution to the eurozone rescue plan for the Greek economy. The growing fear that the crisis could spread urged the US Finance Minister to call on his G7 counterparts to join a video conference.
G7 Hold Meeting
The Finance Ministers of the world's seven richest nations are to hold a meeting to discuss the Greek fiscal problems.
The G7 Finance Ministers will be briefed on the support mechanism the IMF and EU agreed on.
The White House said that President Barack Obama is constantly being briefed on the situation in Greece. The White House spokesman stressed that the US President had a telephone contact with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and welcomed Greece's ambitious reforms, as well as the support the IMF and the eurozone nations agreed on. He also argued that both President Obama and his Finance Minister have been in close contact with their EU counterparts for the last weeks.
In the meantime, the International Monetary Fund is to hold a sitting on Sunday to decide on the technical details with regard to the financial aid to be given to Greece.
Germany Says Yes
Germany approved an emergency law to allow Germany to lend a massive â¬22.4bn over three years to Greece, as its contribution to the eurozone rescue plan for the Greek economy.
The centre-right coalition led be German Chancellor Angela Merkel voted for the relevant law.
Prior to the voting, the German Finance Minister argued that the single currency, as well as the European ideal, has to be defended.
German lenders have pledged to contribute to the bailout package with 8 billion euros, added he.
Olli Rehn: A Bankruptcy Could Paralyze World Economy
Touching anew on a possible bankruptcy, EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said that if Greece went bankrupt, the world fiscal system would paralyze.
In his articled appeared in a Finnish magazine, the EU Commissioner compared the danger the Greek crisis has created to the domino effect that followed as soon as Lehman Brothers went under in 2008.
The world fiscal system paralysed leading to the biggest recession the world has ever met since the 1930s, said Rehn, further warning that consequences could be even harsher if Greece went bankrupt.
The European Commissioner also noted that the aid to Greece is not a gift but a loan with interest, also stressing that the bailout package would cement fiscal stability within Europe and would shield the European economy from default.
Fearing Domino Effect
Growing fears of a domino effect within the eurozone has spooked world markets, which dived on Friday. The spreads of the Greek bonds shot up again, while pressure on those of Spain, Portugal and Italy is piling up.
The Portuguese Prime Minister expressed his concern over Europe and the euro currency, shortly before the Brussels summit.
He also said that he was waiting for Europe's answer to the problem.
The EU President stressed that the eurozone leaders would have the opportunity to exchange views on the teachings derived from the crisis.
French Probe into Speculators
France would investigate the groundless rumours that mean to target Spain and Italy and will impose sanctions on the speculators, said the AMF President.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36301
 Bakoyannis: "I Followed My Conscience"Friday, 07 May 2010 14:32
Political developments have been radical after high-profile Conservative MP Dora Bakoyannis and another three Socialist deputies were kicked out of their parties' parliamentary group for violating the party line. Dora Bakoyannis, who was kicked out after giving a positive vote to the government's austerity measures, did not rule out creating a new political party. "In politics, no one can rule out anything," said she, further adding that political parties are not created by people but by societies. She also dropped hints at ND's stance on the crucial vote. In the meantime, former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis declined Friday to comment Antonis Samaras' decision to kick out Bakoyannis and offered his backing to the government's austerity measures.
New Political Party Could Be Formed
Independent deputy Dora Bakoyannis is considering her next moves after being kicked out of main opposition New Democracy party.
Speaking on Real FM radio, the former Minister did not rule out creating a new political party.
Dora Bakoyannis revealed she had had a telephone contact with former Premier Kostas Karamanlis whom she briefed on her decision to vote in favour of the controversial bill. She then went on to drop hints at Antonis Samaras' stance.
Former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis declined to make any comments, whereas, as for ND head Antonis Samaras, the issue is over. Antonis Samaras only concern is to see the country leave the support mechanism as soon as possible, his aids said.
Commenting on the deputies who distanced themselves from the party line, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) said: "The MPs decision to distance themselves and any rumored changes in the urban political system are not going to determine the political developments. The latter are to be determined by the coalition of the working class with the people, the people's struggle to topple the anti-labour policy."
Source: NET, ANA/MPA
News item: 36305
 Bill on Public Sector Pensions in ParliamentFriday, 07 May 2010 14:30
Political developments in Greece have been radical after the House okayed Thursday evening the bill on the new package of austerity measures taken by the Greek government. On Friday, Parliament will hold a plenary session to vote the bill on public sector pensions. During Thursday's debate, tensions ran high, with the political leaders expressing contradictory opinions on the situation of the Greek economy.
When Bonuses to Be Given
Under the bill which will be put to vote Friday, only pensioners who are older than 60 years old and his pension does not exceed 2,500 euros will be entitled to benefits.
All eyes have now been fixed on the political leaders' council which convene on Monday under the chairmanship of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA
News item: 36299
 Irish Airports ReopenFriday, 07 May 2010 10:59
Ireland reopened its western airports Friday but warned that a 1,600-kilometer-long cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland was still lurking offshore. The Irish Aviation Authority, which ordered a half-dozen airports shut overnight, quickly reopened them once it became clear that the cloud was staying sufficiently far from Ireland's Atlantic coast â at least until the winds shift once again.
"While the northerly winds are keeping the bulk of the cloud out in the Atlantic, the increased size of the cloud continues to pose a risk especially if the winds change," the authority said in a statement.
"The restrictions were required as the increased level of recent volcanic activity has created a massive ash cloud stretching 1,000 miles long and 700 miles wide," it said.
Ireland's two major airlines, Ryanair and Aer Lingus, shifted services to Dublin Airport in the east and Cork Airport in the southwest during the early-morning shutdowns of other airports. Uncertain how long Shannon Airport in western Ireland would be shut, Aer Lingus opted to bus hundreds of U.S.-bound Aer Lingus passengers four hours east to fly from Dublin instead.
The Irish Aviation Authority said shifting winds, most recently coming from the north, had bundled recent days' erupted ash into a mammoth cloud that is growing both in width and height by the hour.
Source: The Associated Press News item: 36295
 Police Manhunt Is in Full Swing / Victims Laid to RestFriday, 07 May 2010 09:37
Police Manhunt Is in Full Swing / Victims Laid to Rest
The Footage Is Blurry
Page 1 of 2 The police manhunt to track down those who set a bank in central Athens on fire killing three workers is in full swing. Police are examining evidence collected by the CCTV footage and the eye witnesses' depositions. Friends, family and colleagues of Aggeliki Papathanasopoulou, 32, Vivi Zoulia, 35, two of the bank firebombing victims, bade Friday farewell to them. Some flowers and candles laid on the crime scene symbolize the sorrow and grief of the Greeks over their loss.
On Thursday night, residents of Egio, the hometown of Aggeliki Papathanasopoulou, gathered in a central square to both commemorate and protest her death.
In the meantime, Aggeliki Papathanasopoulou's Christos Karapanagiotis sent a letter to all media urging them to respect her memory and to avoid airing photos of her. He also urged them to not take pictures of her funeral.
News item: 36289