|Saturday, 23 January 2021|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-07-16
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Parliament Turns PageFriday, 16 July 2010 14:37
New Parliament regulation brings significant reforms in its operation. The Speaker of the House, Philippos Petsalnikos said reforms would upgrade the role of the Parliament, improve operation and effectiveness of modern parlamentarianism to the benefit of the citizens and rebuild credibility of politicians and politics. The Parliament turns page said Ph. Petsalnikos in his speech and stressed: "â¦the Parliament must be continuously projected as the body of substantial deliberations and exchange of views in order to deal with the problems of the Greek people in the best and more effective way".
The proposal for reforms in the Parliament regulation will be mainly based on the principals of transparency and meritocracy.
To meet the above principals there is proposal for change in procedures for submission of draft-bills, establishing obligatory stage of public deliberation before submission of a draft-bill. From so on each draft-bill will be accompanied by a report on the public deliberation and report on the impacts of the regulation.
Debate on a draft-bill will be held in two stages by the competent Parliament Committee. Members of the Committee will have the right to submit questions, propose improvements, submit proposals to the competent Minister through the head of the Committee. All special permanent committees will have the same rights provided the draft-bill is related to its competency.
To strengthen transparency in Parliamentary procedures there is proposal for generalization of open committee and subcommittees' meetings and time limit for submission of draft-bills till Thursday evening and amendments till Friday at noon to prevent abuse of regulations and surprise legislative measures.
Strengthen Parliament's Role
To prevent intransparency phenomena, the inspection role of the Parliament will be strengthened, mainly in the sector of state expenses. A Special Permanent Committee for Armament programs and Contracts will be set up , which will examine and monitor the implementation of armament programs and contracts for defense material.
The significant innovation is a regulation providing for the Committee's briefing prior to the signing of contracts over 20 million euros.
New regulations upgrade the competences of the Institutions and Transparency Committee which will have the authority to audit civil servants and judicial officials while the Parliament Plenum will hold debate on its report. A Special Permanent Committee for the monitoring of developments in the Social Security system will be set up.
Limit Deputies' Immunity
A most significant reform is limit of deputy immunity which will be lifted for any cases not linked with the political activity of a deputy. In other words deputy immunity will not cover any actions of a deputy that have no relation to his political activity.
Politicians' Source of Income Posted in the Internet
Another significant move to boost transparency is the posting in the Internet of politicians' source of income so people can check their financial situation at any time. The Speaker of House has proposed posting of source of income for judicial officials, journalists and senior state officials.
Cuts in Parliament Expenses
The Parliament actively participating in the country's exit from the financial crisis has cut expenses and it is foreseen that expenses will be down 24 million euros more than provided by 2010 budget.
News item: 38545
 Drug Traders' Ring DismantledFriday, 16 July 2010 16:56
The Drug Combat Squad in cooperation with Special Inspection Agency and Port Authority dismantled an international drug traders' ring smuggling into Greece a large amount of cocaine from Latin America . At a marina on the island of Lefkada, authorities spotted a sailing boat carrying 88kg of cocaine. The captain of the boat, a polish national and two Greeks, who went to collect the narcotics were arrested. A total of 8 members of the gang have been arrested while police continue investigations to clear the case.
Sources: ÍÅÔ 105.8
News item: 38549
 Prosecutor's Intervention on L. Rakintzis DenouncementsFriday, 16 July 2010 15:13
Supreme Court Prosecutor Roussos Papadakis has ordered a preliminary investigation triggered by Public Administration General Inspector Leandros Rakintzis hints about corruption in the judicial sector during his speech at the Parliament Institutions and Transparency Committee. Mr. Rakintzis will give a statement next week while he will be asked ground his denouncement within the frame of the investigation conducted by the Prosecutor's Office. Among others in his speech in the Parliament, Mr. Rakitzis had said: " there are some verdicts which I can not explain despite my experience" and posed the question "have Parliament members seen any prominent person stand trial after the pile of denouncements".
"There are only exemptions", he had said.
Sources: ÍÅÔ 105.8 News item: 38546
 Quake 5.1 off Island of KosFriday, 16 July 2010 12:26
An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale was recorded at 11:11 on Friday. The epicenter of the quake was at 160km depth south west of the island of Kos. No damages have been reported but the tremor was felt as far the island of Crete.
Source: ÍÅÔ News item: 38541
 Russia: Gazprom Cuts down Exports to BelarusMonday, 21 June 2010 12:10
Russian President Dmitri Mentventev threatened to reduce Gazprom natural gas to Belarus pressing its neigbour to pay its debt. In the same line was Gazprom head Alexei Miller statement to Ria Novosti news agency: "Natural gas exports will be cut down daily depending on amount of debt".
On its part Belarus proposed to pay its debt-mounting to 192 million dollars according to Gazprom-in products such as cars, machinery and armament.
Mentventev did not agree with the proposal.
Efforts to reach a peaceful solution continue while some additional problems arise such as transport of natural gas through other pipeline so Russia can continue supplying its EU clients through Ukraine and Poland. Russia believes that the problem was created because Belarus has been paying 150$/1000 cubic meters instead of 174$/1000 cubic meters based on its contract with Gazprom. Apart from these developments, Gazprom has decided to expand its activities infiltrating in Asian markets after drop in exports to EU. Russian vice-president, competent on Energy and Natural Resources, Igor Setsin has announced the company's new orientation.
Sources: ÁNA-ÌPA, French, Reuters
News item: 37868
 Heat Wave Hit Italy & BalkansFriday, 16 July 2010 15:56
A hit wave has hit the Balkans and Italy. Italy's civil protection agency Friday placed 18 cities including Rome and Milan on maximum alert as the country experienced a major heat wave. The Health Ministry opened a citizens' hotline as the heat wave was set to peak on Saturday. Temperatures soared in the Balkans and competent authorities have been placed on the alert to deal with any problems may emerge.
Italy on Alert
Italy's competent authorities are on the alert to deal with heat wave.On Wednesday, Italy's civil protection department issued its highest "level 3" heat warning for six cities but 19 of the country's 27 cities are expected to be on full alert as the heat wave is set to peak on Saturday. Italy's Meteorological Agency says that temperatures at the weekend will be 5 degrees higher than usual and in conditions of humidity making the situation worse.
The Health Ministry opened a citizens' hotline to help people cope with the heat and offer advice on preventive care for special groups of people.
High Temperatures in the Balkans
Temperatures also soared in the Balkans and authorities are on the alert to cope with the problems.
Temperatures in many regions in Serbia reached 36C, in FYROM 38C.
In some parts of Croatia temperatures reached 39C .
In Slovenia temperatures range at 35 C while officials from the Ombudsman Office on citizens' rights are carrying out inspections in hospitals, prisons to see whether patients and prisoners are protected from heat. News item: 38547
 Developments in the Banking SectorFriday, 16 July 2010 13:23
Piraeus Bank proposal to take over 77% of Agriculture Bank and 34% of Post Bank shares for the sum of 701 million euros has given rise to a number of questions and reactions. The government is studying the offer and its decisions will be in line with public interest was the Finance Minister first comment while employees in the two banks responded with a 24-hour strike. In the meantime, Finance Minister will meet with the chief of the Agriculture Bank Theodoros Pantelakis to discuss the latest developments and later will meet with the head of the Bank of Greece George Provopoulos. LAOS president, George Karatzaferis underlined the need for bank mergers. At the beginning of next week the Finance Ministry is expected to appoint advisors to assess State participation in the domestic banking system and particularly the Post and Agriculture banks.
Competent sectors say that there would be submission of proposals including the best moves concerning participation of the State in the banking sector.For example there may be proposals in each case for merger, sale of part of shares, sale of all package of State shares or international bid. It is believed that the whole procedure may conclude in September.
SOURCES: ÁNA-ÌPA, ÍÅÔ, ÍÅÔ 1058
Related Question: ÐPiraeus Bank Proposes to Take over ATE & Post Banks
News item: 38544