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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-05-14
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Fund Aiming to Cement Banking System in GreeceFriday, 14 May 2010 17:44
The Finance Minister and the Governor of the Bank of Greece announced the setting-up of a fund aiming to shield the domestic fiscal system. of the 110 billion euros of the EU-IMF support mechanism, some 10 billion euros will be channeled into the said fund. In the meantime, the Finance Minister is working to have home loans restructured. Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos said he would revise pension cuts in case his Ministry's goals are met.
Giorgos Papakonstantinou and Giorgos Provopoulos discussed the setting-up of the fund that aims to cement Greece's banking system, as well as to pave the way for the new environment the financial crisis is creating.
The extra funding of the banks speaks volumes of the fact that the government is taking cruel measures against the people and in favour of the bankers, said the announcements issued by the Greek left parties.
Source: NET, ANA/MPA
News item: 36555
 Crackdown on Tax EvasionFriday, 14 May 2010 17:06
A day after the names of tax-dodging doctors were released, the Finance Ministry said that it as many as 150,000 cases of employees who declared less profits than the real ones were revealed. Furthermore, another 28,000 employees did not even file a tax return. The Finance Ministry argued that the crosschecks and inspections will go on.
Crosschecks Yield Results
The Finance Ministry has declared war against tax evasion with its agencies surfacing new cases on a daily basis.
The crosschecks showed that about 150,000 employees included in their tax returns less annual taxable income than the one declared by their employers. The total amount of the non-declared income exceeds 205 million euros.
Furthermore, about 28,000 employees did not even file a tax return in 2008 and 2009. The total amount of money which was not included in tax returns stood at 507 million euros.
In the meantime, stiff fines will be imposed on doctors who failed to give receipts, failed to record patients in the patients' book, did not issue despatch orders and refused to present accounts books.
Of the 151 doctors, two declared annual profits of 1,000 euros, while 33 declared less than 10,000 euros.
Source: NET, NET 105.8
News item: 36552
 Kallikratis Plan Submitted to ParliamentFriday, 14 May 2010 16:56
Interior Minister Giannis Raggousis submitted Friday government's ambitious plan to redraw administrative boundaries at a local level known as "Kallikratis." The plan is expected to be voted before the end of May.
The plan aspires to reduce the existing 1,034 municipalities to 325, hoping to earn about 1.2 billion euros.
* Under the new plan, prefects are to be replaced by 12 Regions.
* The forthcoming municipal and regional elections will be held on 7 November. The runoff has been scheduled for 14 November.
* The expenditure of the municipalities and the regions will undergo checks by the Court of Audit.
* Tenure will be five-year-long, while the municipal and regional elections will coincide with the elections for the European Parliament.
Despite welcoming the philosophy behind the Kallikratis plan, the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) and the Union of Prefectural Administrations of Greece (ENAE) remain wary of critical points with regard to the plan's operation.
KEDKE said it would study the bill and its amendments before taking its final decisions.
The ENAE head and Messinia Prefect Dimitris Drakos said:
"We were surprised to learn that the Interior Minister submitted the Kallikratis plan catching us off guard, despite the fact that we are in talks with the competent Secretary General to prepare the deliberations which are due to commence next week. We invited the Interior Minister to attend our congress and to listen to our positions, but he did not even send a representative of his. We sent our congress' conclusions to the Minister, requesting his cooperation, but we receive no answer.
We sent a new letter to the Minister dealing with the financial affairs relating to the plan to redraw administrative boundaries at a local level, but heard nothing of him.
It appears that this is how the Interior Minister defines the notion of 'co-shaping' for which both he and the government pledged. This development is nothing but an insult to ENAE and its positions."
Source: NET 105.8, ANA News item: 36550
 Protecting Marine EnvironmentFriday, 14 May 2010 16:26
''Trash travels: from our hands to the sea, around the globe, and through time'' is the title of the Report released by the US-based Ocean Conservancy containing the results of the 2009 International Coastal Cleanup campaign. The report of this activity, which HELMEPA coordinates every year in Greece, provides the only global snapshot of the marine litter problem.
In total, 500,000 volunteers in 108 countries around the world collected 3.4 million kg of litter from 23,861 km of beaches as well as lake and river shores. It is worth noting that:
· 60% of litter items collected during voluntary cleanups were non-reusable, such as plastic bottles and cups.
· 336 marine animals, including 138 birds, were found trapped in marine litter, mainly fishing line and nets. 120 of these were still alive and were released by the volunteers.
· Half a million plates, forks, knives and spoons - enough to provide a complete set of dinnerware to over 100,000 people, were disposed of on beaches.
· Volunteers found 58,881 bottles of oil/lube, which is the amount that would be used to change the oil in nearly 12,000 mid-sized cars.
Oceans play an important role for the health of the entire planet - including ours. Irrespective of how close to the coast we live, we are all connected to the oceans and every thing we need is connected to them - from the air we breathe to the food we consume.
Marine litter is one of the most widespread pollution problems, with plastics constituting three quarters of total litter items floating on the ocean surface and traveling long distances over many years. Even when these break down to smaller particles, plastics in the marine environment have impacts on ecosystems, wildlife and coastal economies. The increase of litter in the oceans worldwide constitutes a worrying trend: beaches are covered with cigarette ends, sea turtles mistake plastic bags for food while fish and other marine species get entangled and die in discarded fishing gear.
It is time to stop using our seas as garbage dumps, to change our mentality and readjust our relation with the seas and the entire planet. Let's start systematically recycling and throwing our litter only in waste bins.
We may become part of the solution to this problem by participating in voluntary coastal cleanups, informing people around us and help towards the awakening of the local community in which we belong.
This year, the International Coastal Cleanup Day is on Saturday 25 September and HELMEPA in cooperation with Ocean Conservancy will coordinate for yet another year this initiative in Greece, mobilizing volunteers, children and adults, throughout the country. But we don't have to wait till September to show our sensitization. Let's start from now with the motto: "no plastics, no garbage in our seas and on the beaches!!"
News item: 36549
 Turkish PM's Historic Visit to AthensFriday, 14 May 2010 14:20
The Turkish Prime Minister's official visit to Athens is seen as an important step towards the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations. Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, the Prime Minister, George Papandreou, and the House Speaker. Later on, he will meet with opposition leader Antonis Samaras. Papandreou and Erdogan will chair Friday afternoon the inaugural session of the Greece-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. During the Turkish Premier's visit, about 21 agreements will be signed between the two sides.
Meeting with Karolos Papoulias
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose visit to Greece has a special political and business interest, is holding talks with Greece's state and political leadership.
Upon his arrival to the Greek capital, Erdogan met with the President of the Hellenic Republic and voiced his hope that his visit to Athens would kick off the upgrading of the Greek-Turkish relations.
"We are neighbours and we will remain as such. Therefore, we should be good neighbours," stressed Karolos Papoulias welcoming the Turkish Prime Minister. He then wished that Erdogan's visit to Greece would yield promising results and boost the friendship and cooperation of the two countries.
Erdogan expressed his conviction that his visit would prove really constructive.
"I arrived here escorted by 10 ministers. Our delegation numbers 320 people. Our businessmen will take part in a council of businessmen. That's why we believe that this visit is highly important," said the Turkish Premier.
Meeting with Papandreou
Shortly afterwards, Erdogan walked to Maximos Mansion to meet with the Greek Prime Minister. During their talks, George Papandreou touched on the historic importance of the visit.
Welcoming the Turkish head of government, Papandreou asked him about his meeting with the President of the Republic.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36544
 Explosion at Greek Court BuildingFriday, 14 May 2010 13:34
The unknown perpetrators who planted a bomb at the basement of a court building in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki wanted to leave victims behind. A man was injured and extensive damage was caused.
Sustaining leg injuries, the wounded man was rushed to the hospitals.
Shortly after the blast, anti-terrorist squad officials and bomb technicians entered the building to collect the remains of the explosive device and to search for evidence that could shed some light to the bomb hit.
An anonymous phone call to Eleftherotypia daily had preceded the hit.
Immediately after the tip-off, police cordoned off the area and started evacuating the building.
However, the bomb went off before all the people inside managed to evacuate it. This makes police to believe that the perpetrators wanted to leave victims behind, as well as that the hit is associated with the explosion at the top security prison in Athens. News item: 36545
 Bomb Hit outside Greek PrisonFriday, 14 May 2010 11:19
The anti-terrorist squad is leading the investigation into the blast outside a prison in Athens late on Thursday. A woman and a man sustained minor injuries, while extensive damage was caused to nearby stores and parked cars. The hit bears the hallmarks of the hit outside the Parliament building and the first terrorist attack of the Revolutionary Army outside the Evelpidon court building.
Anti-Terrorist Squad Leads Probe
A bomb hit outside the Korydallos prison, where the convicted members of a far-left group, November 17, and Nikos Maziotis are held, spooked the residents of the area.
Police do not think the letter Nikos Maziotis sent to a Greek daily warning that the armed struggle would go on was a mere coincidence.
After an anonymous phone call to Eleftherotypia daily and Alter television station, a bomb went off some 27 minutes later.
The blast injured two people who were rushed to the hospital.
Statements by Nikos Dendias
In his statements, ND deputy and section head for matters pertaining to civil protection Nikos Dendias underlined that the new bomb hit proved that breaking up terrorism is not an easy task and that it takes more than a few isolated successes of the Greek police.
The phenomenon, he added, is a complex one and is refueled by common crime, posing a serious threat to the society and our democracy.
Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 36539
 Opening Day for National Level ExamsFriday, 14 May 2010 08:42
The importance of self-education and lifelong learning, as well as the means through which they can be achieved, was the subject of the essay the candidates for admission to tertiary education were called on to develop. The national level exams will run through on 31 May.
Education Minister Visits High School in Argyroupoli
"I wish all students luck and may the results they will get match their dreams and efforts. Everybody knows that life is not reduced to a single moment. Life is full of opportunities for those who want and never let go" Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou
The subjects had been sent until 8.25am to the 1,080 exam centres throughout Greece.
The candidates were asked to discuss an extract by Alexandra Koroneou's book entitled "Education beyond School."
All went well on the opening day of the exams.
Visiting a high school in Argyroupoli, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou wished the students luck and thanked the teachers for their contribution to the preparation of the exams.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 36535