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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-06-02
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Greek PM: "Major Changes Must Be Made Now"Wednesday, 02 June 2010 16:31
Chairing an inner cabinet meeting on denationalizations, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed, "the major changes must be made now," further underlining that the government should give its backing to the low-income earners and the middle class. Papandreou blasted the leaks, stressing that the ministers will have to answer to the Greek Ombudsman for the malfunctioning in the public administration.
George Papandreou argued that PASOK's landslide election victory has to be exploited and the current financial turmoil should be turned into an opportunity to promote the necessary changes that will put an end to chronic problems plaguing the country.
Along with the implementation of the tough measures taken, the government, continued the Prime Minister has to offer its backing to the poor and the middle class offering sound services.
The Greek Premier also claimed that among the issue to be brought up at the forthcoming cabinet meetings, the ministers will be called on to answer to the remarks of the Greek Ombudsman on the malfunctioning of the public administration.
Shifting his attention to press leaks, George Papandreou underlined that the decisions taken and support the government's work has to be protected.
"We have undertaken," continued Mr Papandreou, "to serve the country and its people, the public interest, as well as to protect our policy's credibility."
Source: NET, ANA News item: 37217
 Radical Developments in Siemens CaseWednesday, 02 June 2010 15:41
Developments in the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal have been radical. The committee investigating the case had Wednesday a rather stormy session. Businessman Marios Katsikas, who is the allegedly recipient of a controversial email sent March 2008 ordering money be deposited to the bank account of a "cabinet man" according to the official translation testified before the committee. In his statements, the businessman denied knowing Siemens chief in Greece Mihalis Christoforakos. However, a new document has implicated Mr Katsikas with Siemens. In the meantime, a PASOK deputy provided the committee with an e-mail sent by Antonis Samaras' relative Evangelos Sekeris to Mr Samaras. Sekeris, who was working for Siemens, asked the ND head to put in a good word for him to Mihallis Christoforakos. The ND President reacted strongly.
Tensions Run High
Tension ran high during the sitting of the committee investigating the Siemens scandal over the conditions under which an e-mail sent implicating a former Conservative minister leaked.
Both the ND and SYRIZA deputies blasted the chairman of the committee, Sifis Valyrakis, for his handlings that undermine the committee's credibility. They then denied that the controversial e-mail was included in the brief.
The ND deputies have strongly insisted that the controversial document do not relate to any minister of the Karamanlis administrator and that the phrase "give the balance of the 50 percent deposit for the cabinet man" was a mistranslation by the Foreign Ministry.
In his testimony, businessman Marios Katsikas said that the money found in his bank account in Geneva was given to him for the purchase of a real estate on behalf of Mr Papadogiannakis. The money was returned to him since the two men failed to reach an agreement.
Petalotis: "We Shouldn't Jump to Conclusions"
"We should not jump to conclusions because they may not be true," commented government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis when asked to give his opinion on the latest developments in the Siemens case.
He then stressed that the work of the parliamentary committees should not be hampered with speculations, misunderstandings and leaks that cast clouds.
"Therefore, we should be careful in our estimations and deal the operation of the committees with seriousness," added Petalotis. News item: 37212
 Greek Activists ReturnWednesday, 02 June 2010 13:10
Air-Force C-130 aircraft is taking off at 15:00 from Elefsina airport to fly back Greek nationals expected to be released by Israeli authorities.Earlier Foreign Ministry general secretary Ioannis Zeppos met with Israeli ambassador to Athens and handed protest appeal requesting freeing of Greek nationals. He also reminding of the Israeli Foreign Minister's assurances about Greek nationals release without any terms.
Foreign Ministry Gen. Sec Meeting with Israeli Ambassador
After his meeting with Israeli ambassador to Athens Ali Yiahia, Foreign Ministry general secretary said: "I once again underlined we were expecting the immediate release of Greek nationals detained in Israel and their return to Athens" Mr. Zepos repeated Greece's request for protection and health care of Greek citizens and conveyed protests of some detainees of "being maltreated during their arrest"
Mr. Zepos also told the Israeli ambassador that an Air-force jet was ready to take off to fly Greek nationals back when Israeli authorities give green light.
The Israeli ambassador said he expected to have a response till noon and promised to brief Greek authorities the soonest.
Mr. Zepos also underlined Prime-minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou earlier contacts with Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman for the freeing of Greek nationals without any terms.
Source: NET, ANA-ÌPA
Related News: First Six Greeks Arrive from Israel
News item: 37204
 Cabinet Meeting on Mergers & PrivatizationsWednesday, 02 June 2010 11:04
Prime-minister George Papandreou chairs informal Cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning focused on privatizations mergers and issues related to National Health System. The government's plan, in the field of privatizations, centers on development of state assets by competitive foreign investors and the State maintaining its participation in infrastructures and organizations created and eveloped with tax payers money.
Ministers for Finance, George Papakonstantinou, Economics, Competitiveness and Marine, Louka Katseli, Environment, Energy and Global Warming, Tina Birbili, Infrastructure, Transport and Network Dimitris Reppas and Culture and Tourism Pavlos Geroulanos are giving a press interview on privatizations and management of state assets at the Finance Ministry premises.
Finance undersecretary Marcos Bolaris told NET 105.8 that draft-bill on development would be tabled to the Parliament before summer adding that ESPA should run as fast as possible.
Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 37194
 Deportation of Flotilla Activists BeginsWednesday, 02 June 2010 10:02
Deportation of 250 activists arrested during a deadly raid on a Gaza bound aid flotilla has begun amid international outcry. They were transferring humanitarian aid to Gaza. International Amnesty has called for international inquiry into the deaths caused by the raid on the aid flotilla. Amnesty International's interim Secretary General, Claudio Cordone spoke of " lack of credible Israeli investigations into violations of human rights" and called for UN experts to carry out investigation into the events on May, 31 for full credibility and transparency.
"Beyond this tragedy, however, it is imperative that Israel lifts the blockade of Gaza without delay, as it is a form of collective punishment in contravention of international law and primarily affects the most vulnerable among the population", added International Amnesty General Secretary.
Israel on Wednesday began procedures for the deportation of "Freedom Flotilla" activists amid international pressure. All activists detained are expected to be freed in two days. Israeli radio says that about 120 activists, the majority Algerians and Indonesians will be transferred to borders with Jordan, some 60 Turks to Ben Gurion airport to fly back on a special flight. Another 70 Turks are still in jail. Aboard the six ships of "Freedom Flotilla" were 682 activists from 42 countries. Pierre Wettach, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation, said his group was checking on the condition and whereabouts of those wounded and those detained by Israeli authorities. Israel's decision to back down and release the detainees followed two days of mounting international criticism.
Greta Berlin of Free Gaza Movement said efforts to break Israeli blockade of Gaza will continue. She said a new flotilla bound to Gaza will leave in July. Israel said that it will not permit any aid ship to reach Gaza a region that has turned into a terrorist base threatening the heart of Israel.
Israeli Defense undersecretary said that it will not permit any aid ship to reach Gaza a region that has turned into a terrorist base threatening the heart of Israel.
World Condemns Deadly Raids
France has asked for credible investigation of events before speaking about sanctions and wants full implementation of Security Council declaration.
Nicaragua has suspended diplomatic relations with Israel in reaction to the deadly Israeli raid.
Following the Israeli raid, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today ordered the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to be opened .The Rafah crossing has been closed for years.
The White House expressed it grief for the loss of lives and called a briefing by Netanyahu government on the exact conditions of the raid.
Turkey, formerly a close ally of Israel, has been one of the states most vocal in its condemnation of the raid. Erdogan government has acused Tel-Aviv of state terrorism.
News item: 37193
 Japan's Premier ResignsWednesday, 02 June 2010 09:22
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his powerful ruling party No. 2 quit on Wednesday to try to boost the party's fortunes in an election next month, less than a year after sweeping to power with promises of change.
The political turmoil could delay efforts to thrash out plans set to be announced this month to cut the country's public debt, which stands at about 200 percent of GDP, and a strategy to engineer economic growth in an aging society.
But if, as many expect, fiscally conservative Finance Minister Naoto Kan takes the helm, that could raise the chances of bolder steps to rein in debt, including a pledge to consider raising the 5 percent sales tax.
Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) made history with a landslide election win last year, promising to change how Japan is governed after more than 50 years of cozy ties among bureaucrats, companies and lawmakers under the Liberal Democrats.
But after eight months of indecision and broken promises, the 63-year-old Hatoyama -- nicknamed "The Alien" for his quirky comments -- bowed to pressure from his party to quit ahead of an election for the upper house of parliament expected in July.
News item: 37188
 E-mail Translation DividesWednesday, 02 June 2010 08:40
Parliament Inquiry Committee investigating Siemens case has summoned Marios Katsikas, recipient of e-mail, sent in March, 2008 requesting deposit of a sum in the bank account of "a cabinet man". The content of the e-mail preoccupied the Inquiry Committee yesterday as also two faxes sent in the same date requesting deposit of $5.000 and $7.000 in the same bank account of the so called "cabinet man" were found. The e-mail written in English requests deposit of the sum in the account of the "cabinet man".
Parliament spokesman and member of the Inquiry Committee, Kostas Tzavaras said on Tuesday "the cabinet man" was not member of the Inner Cabinet but a carpenter making the cabinets in Mr. Katsikas apartment in the US.
ND deputies have raised question on whether Mr. Balirakis ( who referred to the e-mail) should remain in the Committee or not.
PASOK deputy, Panagiotis Rigas speaking on behalf of his party insisted that the issue needed further investigation and blamed the ND party for attempt of polarization.
Commenting on developments, GCP deputy Thanasis Pafilis said a race of blackmailing each other has started in the Inquiry Committee.
SYRIZA blamed the two large political parties of attempting to avert revelation of other "Mantelides" who received the large briberies.
Source: NET, NET 105.8
Related News: Tension in Siemens Inquiry Committee
News item: 37184