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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-05-25
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Greek PM's Interview with Al JazeeraTuesday, 25 May 2010 16:44
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, in his interview with Al Jazeera, argued that his government had decided to change the country and attract major investments. Touching on the industrial actions and the street protests, he stressed he fully understood the workers' grievances. Asked to comment on tax evasion, he claimed, "Greece unfortunately lacked transparency. Bribery was practiced and money was lost. There was parasitic activitities instead of productive."
News item: 36895
 Stock Markets Suffer LossesTuesday, 25 May 2010 14:38
Financial companies and debt problems in Europe have dragged stocks down by up to 3%, with more EU governments announcing austerity measures. It is the largest fall the European market has witnessed in the past nine years.
The EU leaders have embarked on campaigns to attract investments in order to support growth in Europe. However, Spain's intervention to rescue Spanish lender CajaSur gave rise to concerns anew.
News item: 36884
 European Commission Experts Due in AthensTuesday, 25 May 2010 14:18
European Commission experts are due in Athens on Wednesday to discuss how to make the pension reform compatible with the memorandum of understanding. A European Commission spokesman confirmed that the EU sent Greece a letter to remind it to stick to the terms of a 110-billion euro bail-out deal. The Greek Employment Minister said Monday that the Troika, aka the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, are pushing Greek authorities to stiffen its draft pension reform.
Pushing for Harsher Measures
The Troika has urged Greece to put its pension reform into action in 2015 and have early retirement cut.
Attention has also been drawn to labour relations, with the European Commission insisting on abolishing the redundancy threshold and cutting dismissal compensations.
Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos said Monday that the European Commission is pushing for painful changes, including the implementation of the pension reform as of 2015 and not as of 2018 and ability for retirees to draw a full pension after 40 years of contributions. Loverdos underlined that the government will do anything in its power lest the above changes should come into being.
The new pension reform is expected to be put to vote in June.
EU on Letter
In the meantime, a European Commission spokesman confirmed that the European Union sent Greece a letter to remind it to stick to the terms of a 110-billion euro bail-out deal. He dismissed, however, suggestions the letter related to any shortcomings in Athens' adherence to the plan, but said the EU executive had to closely monitor Greece's implementation of the aid program.
Reactions by Opposition Parties
Commenting on the letter, the Greek Communist Party said: "The pressure the government claimed it has come in for is but a pretext that causes nothing but anger. The government along with the EU and the IMF has agreed on the pension reform that increased retirement age and decreases pensions. Their aim is to make the work force even cheaper as the businessmen have required."
Dimitris Stratoulis of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) stressed that the Troika has already gained the government's approval on the bail-out deal, whereby no one will be able to retire before reaching 60 years of age and after 40 years of contributions.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA, Reuters News item: 36886
 Austerity Measures in Europe - Barroso Criticizes GermanyTuesday, 25 May 2010 13:17
European governments are planning to announce austerity measures with cuts mounting to billion of euros. The IMF has advised Spain to proceed to urgent reforms to ease labour market while Britain's Treasury Secretary will announce 6.2 billion pounds cuts in expenditures. In the meantime Germany is to reduce its state budget till 2014 and Italy is expected to take measures in the same line. On his part, the President of the European Commission Jose manuel Barroso criticized Germany's handling of Greece's economic crisis.
Barroso Attacks Germany
"Greece altered its data. This is unacceptable. But Germany did not always act in accordance to the spirit of the Growth and Stability Plan", said Jose Manuel Barroso.
Barroso, in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, accused senior German politicians of falling short to defend the euro, whose problems started after the crisis broke out.
He said none of the important political parties in Germany had explained to citizens how Germany benefits from the single currency, for example through increased German exports to other EU member states."Germany was until now a big winner from the euro. I feel that more politicians in Germany should make that clear," said Barroso in the newspaper interview.
Barroso also openly criticized the German government's handling of the Greek crisis, saying it had initially given the impression that it did not want to help Athens. "I would like the German leadership, whether in government or in opposition, whether at national or regional state level, to stand by Europe".
"The euro was neither conceived by Greece, Ireland or Spain. It was a French-German plan".
Source: ÁNA - ÌPA News item: 36878
 Tonight "OPA" Hopes to Qualify for Oslo Final!Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:52
First semi-final of 55th Eurovision Song Contest is being held tonight, at the Telenor Arena, in Oslo. Greece is participating with the song "OPA" performed by George Alkaios & Friends, and hopes to qualify for the ESC final to be held on Saturday, May, 29. Other countries competing in the first semi-final in order of act on stage are Moldova, Russia , Estonia, Slovakia, Finland, Latvia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Belgium, Malta, Albania, Portugal, FYROM, Belarus, Iceland. The first semi-final will be broadcast live at 22:00 by eurovision.ert.gr and NET.
News item: 36876
 President of the Republic Visits the AcropolisTuesday, 25 May 2010 11:16
The President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias visited the holy hill of Acropolis on Tuesday morning where Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Culture Ministry general secretary Lina Mendonis briefed him on the completion of the Acropolis restoration works. It took nine years for the completion of this titanic project, which placed Greece in the lead of restoration works.
Mr. Papoulias was briefed on the works in the northern part of the Parthenon, which consisted the major part of the restoration program in the holy hill.
In the meantime, some Acropolis employees on temporary contracts holding banners reading their requests and shouting slogans created a tense climate upon his arrival.
The employees workins under temporary contracts followed Mr. Papoulias up the Holy Hill and had a short meeting with the Minister for Culture.
"We are aware of your requests and trying to resolve them", said Mr. Geroulanos, while the President of the Republic asked them to send a text with their requests.
Source: ÍÅÔ105.8 News item: 36872
 Crucial Day for Developments in Batopedi CaseTuesday, 25 May 2010 09:40
Significant developments in the Batopedi case are expected during today's session of Parliament Inquiry Committee following the statement of Stamatina Mantelis, director of Agriculture Development Ministry Political Land Office. Deputies participating in the Committee are likely to propose extension of works to assess the content of Mrs. Mantelis statement.
New Circle of Confrontations
The former senior member of Agriculture Development Ministry maintained that she received strong pressures by political figures, involving Yiannis Aggelou, Thodoros Roussopoulos, Evangelos Basiakos and Alexandros, to accelerate procedures in the exchange of land case between the State and Batopedi Monastery.
Mrs. Mantelis also asked for the lift of secrecy of chief monks Efraim and Arsenios mobile and regular phones to confirm her allegations about their contacts on Batopedi case with high ranking officials in Karamanlis government.
Her statement, however, sparked a new circle of confrontations between the government and the ND party.
ND blamed the ruling PASOK party for having drawn a plan to incriminate the main opposition party while former Minister Alexandros Kontos, in an interview with private television channel SKAI attributed Mrs. Mantelis statement to pressures by the "old and grey PASOK".
On its part, LAOS proposes summoning former Prime-minister K. Karamanlis to testify.
Its announcement says:
"Mr. Karamanlis must make statements about: structured bonds, SIEMENS, the situation of the Economy and State deficit. First of all, however, he must give a statement about the Batopedi case.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8- ÁNA - ÌPA é News item: 36868
 Turkey: 16 Russian Tourists Killed and 25 Injured in Bus CrashTuesday, 25 May 2010 09:28
At least 16 Russian tourists were killed and 25 injured in a bus crash in the southwestern Turkish region of Antalya.
The bus veered off the road and fell into a river.
Rescuers and emergency services arrived at the scene of the accident to help survivors and transfer them to hospitals. Turkey mass media say that the driver fell asleep, although it has not been confirmed.
The driver and tour guide are among the dead."The process of establishing the identities of the victims and the injured has started.
Source: ÁNA-ÌPA, Reuters
News item: 36867