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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-05-11
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Britain: Awaiting Lib Dems to DecideTuesday, 11 May 2010 15:16
In Britain, both the Tories and Labour are flirting with the Lib Dems, despite information whereby Cameron and Clegg had reached an agreement. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he intended to step aside to ease a center-left coalition. The Tory leader, David Cameron, said it is time the Lib Dems made it clear whether they intended to take part in a government coalition, while Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg said talks had reached a "critical and final phase."
Cameron: "Decision Time for the Lib Dems"
Conservative leader David Cameron said his proposal for the creation of a stable government was open and reasonable.
It is decision time for the Lib Dems, Cameron told journalists outside his residence. He added he hoped they would make the correct decision that would give Britain a strong and stable government.
"Critical and Final Phase"
Shortly afterwards, Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg revealed the talks had entered a "critical and final phase," underlining ""I am as impatient as anybody else to get on with this, to resolve matters one way or another."
Source: ANA/MPA, Reuters, BBC News item: 36433
 New Pension System UnveiledTuesday, 11 May 2010 14:30
The new pension bill which was approved Monday by the cabinet envisages to radical structural changes. The main changes of the new system include the introduction of a basic pension, guaranteed by the state, totaling 360 euros, the introduction of a retributive pension based on paid contributions and the working time which will begin operating from 2018, offering incentives for longer stay at work. "Unless there was an intervention in the pension system, there would be no pensions in the coming years," commented the Employment Minister while unveiling the bill.
The main changes of the new system include: introduction of a basic pension, guaranteed by the state, totaling 360 euros. Introduction of a retributive pension based on paid contributions and the working time which will begin operating from 2018, offering incentives for longer stay at work. The new system aims to raise the real average retirement age from 61.4 years currently to 63.5 by 2015, prohibiting all voluntary retirement programs and imposing penalties for early retirement.
It also envisages that all civil servants will be included in the IKA system from 2013, introducing a single management agency for pension funds' reserves, integrating social insurance agencies and separating the healthcare from the pension system.
The bill will be debated along with the social partners, while it has to be voted by June.
Greece's major umbrella unions, GSEE and ADEDY, are meeting to determine their future stance.
Source: NET, ANA/MPA News item: 36430
 Seisides Remanded in CustodyTuesday, 11 May 2010 14:26
After testifying to the magistrate, Simos Seisides, who is believed to be a member of a gang known as "the robbers in black", is detained. Seisides denied all charges and filed a lawsuit against the police officer who opened fire at him and injured him.
He Denies Charges
Seisides, who has been charged with attempted homicide and unlawful possession of guns, denied all charges against him while testifying before the magistrate, who visited him at hospital.
According to his attorney, Seisides argued that he had no involvement in the robbery and did not open fire at the police officer.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36428
 Olli Rehn Sounds the Alarm for France - ItalyTuesday, 11 May 2010 10:25
EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn urged Portugal, Spain, France and Italy to step up their budget consolidation efforts. In his interviews with Les Echos and Tagesspiegel papers, Olli Rehn sounded the alarm and said that the EU Finance Minister will hold a meeting on 18 May to discuss the measures Spain and Portugal should take to consolidate their budget.
Rehn Wants France & Italy to Step up Efforts
There are other words that also have to step up their budget consolidation efforts, said the EU Commissioner while referring to Italy and France.
Touching on Italy, he argued that it has not adopted a wide recovery programme. Italy's debt is rather high and therefore it has to intensify its efforts, added he.
Shifting his attention to France, he advised the French to speed up their stabilization measures.
Commenting on Portugal and Spain, he admitted they were targeted by speculators.
Christine Lagarde: "Aid Package Saved Europe from Disaster"
The rescue package for ailing eurozone economies rescued Europe from a disaster, argued French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. In her interview with Les Echos paper, Christine Lagarde spoke of a "historic turning point," further noting that all public officials had in mind the fear of a disaster.
"All the symptoms that had preceded the crisis of autumn 2008, just before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, reappeared. It's undeniable," she said, referring to the failure of the Wall Street giant in September 2008.
"It is not just an emergency mechanism. There is a determination to reinvent the European model. We have to find the rules that will keep us from such crises in the future," added she.
Source: ANA/MPA News item: 36420
 Roussopoulos Testifies on Vatopedi CaseTuesday, 11 May 2010 09:54
Former minister Theodoros Roussopoulos testified Tuesday to the inquiry committee investigating the Vatopedi scandal. Roussopoulos denied his involvement in the case. Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou will also appear before the committee to explain why he rejected an opinion for the return of the real estate to the state.
Former ministers Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Giorgos Voulgarakis also testified to the committee.
Source: NET 105.8 News item: 36419
 Stock Market Reports Minor LossesTuesday, 11 May 2010 09:37
Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Tuesday on the Athens Stock Exchange, after stocks jumped back strongly Monday. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told CNN that the problem is not only Greek, but also global. Greece was put to a severe test, said the Prime Minister, further underlining that really tough measures were taken so as to reverse the situation in the Greek economy and make it viable.
In the meantime, the Greek government will petition for the first tranche of the loans to be given to Greece.
The petition relates to 14.4 billion euros, which will be paid in the coming week.
Greek Stock Market Reports Minor Losses
Following yesterday's upward spiraling, equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Tuesday on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The basic share price index down 0.98 percent, standing at 1,769.98 points at 11:15 am, and turnover at 28.046 million euros.
Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest gains in Food, up 2.11 percent; and Commerce, up 0.69 percent.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36418
 Philippines: Early Results Give Aquino the LeadTuesday, 11 May 2010 09:09
Early results from the Philippines presidential election have given frontrunner Benigno Aquino a strong lead over his rival. The son of former President Corazon Aquino has garnered 40.2% as opposed to former President Joseph Estrada who has landed second place receiving 25%. It should be noted that turnout in the Philippines amounted to 75%.
Source: ANA, CNN News item: 36416
 Tornado Kills 5 in OklahomaTuesday, 11 May 2010 08:38
Officials in Oklahoma say five people have been killed in an outbreak of violent weather that dropped tornadoes across parts of the Southern Plains. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jerry Lojka said two people were killed in Oklahoma City and three were killed in Cleveland County to the south of the city.
The agency did not have any additional details, including how the people died.
Officials reported that at least 58 others suffered injuries throughout Oklahoma in the daylong onslaught. Two of the injuries were critical.
Source: The Associated Press News item: 36415
 Cabinet Okays Pension BillMonday, 10 May 2010 20:17
The cabinet gave thumbs up for the pension bill that aspires to bring about radical changes in the social security system. Unveiling the bill, the Employment Minister underlined, "Unless there was an intervention in the pension system, there would be no pensions in the coming years." The pension bill provides of the merger of the pension funs, re-introduces the LAFKA levy on pensions exceeding 1,400 euros and revises the list with the hazardous occupations. It also means to put a end to early retirement.
Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos spoke of pivotal structural changes that had been a necessity for decades.
"These changes," said he, mean to rescue pensions and medical care, rescue the national economy and pave the way for assessments favourable to Greece."
Commenting on the new pension bill, Conservative deputy and section head for employment Ioannis Vroutsis stressed: "Those waiting for fair and effective pension reforms were proved wrong. There is no trust in the suggested measures."
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) issued an announcement reading: "The problems plaguing the social security system originated from the exploitation of the pension funds in favour of the enterprises, not from the low wages and pensions. They originated from the policy of the urban political parties that serve the interests of the monopolies."
"We have no doubt that the government is delivering the final blow to free social security in favour of the private one," commented SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) spokesman Paul Klavdianos. News item: 36410