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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-03-07

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] A Year's Appraisal
  • [02] Redeployment of Syrian Troops
  • [03] "Big Brother" to Watch Over Excursions
  • [04] Transfers, Dismissals and Warrants
  • [05] Turkey Signs Protocol
  • [06] Greek Basketball War II
  • [07] WHO Sounds Alarm on Acrylamide
  • [08] Egg with a Tail!
  • [09] Dimitris Paxinos Reelected
  • [10] Athens-Tel Aviv Support Eirinaios

  • [01] Broad-ranging Press Conference for PM A Year's Appraisal

    07 Mar 2005 14:10:00 (Last updated: 07 Mar 2005 21:20:58)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Prime Minister Mr Kostas Karamanlis is expected to refer to all major issues, putting especial emphasis on the Economy, in the Press conference he will hold tomorrow evening for foreign correspondents, in the context of the first anniversary of NDs election to office. This afternoon, Minister of State Theodoros Rousopoulos described the results of NDs first year in office as positive, noting that the governments pledges have started to be implemented, and will be kept in full until the end of the four-year term. At the same time, he stressed that structural reforms in the economy and the public sector are proceeding. String reactions came from the Opposition to government policy. "They made promises that have not been kept, and disappoint people," stated the President of PASOK, George Papandreou. "ND as government has learnt the words unemployment, austerity, expense," stressed SYNs President Alekos Alavanos.

    "Consistency and Responsibility"

    "The government implemented policies consistently and responsibly, based on principles and values and in the context of the obligations it had assumed," stressed Thodoros Roussopoulos, while he also noted that during its first year in office, the government proceeded with immediate regulations for compounded interest rates and contract workers, it implemented a new tax law, a new development law and the main shareholder law, and it abolished LAFKA contributions and the mathematical formula for public works contractors.

    Meanwhile, in his interview to the newspaper Eleftheros Typos, Nikitas Kaklamanis described a possible reshuffling as a new defensive political move.

    "In my opinion, a defensive move would be for the PM to send 2-3 ministers who have not responded to the expectations home," mentioned the Health Minister, underlining that such a message would be loud and effective.

    Karamanlis Meets with Papariga

    In the meantime, during his meeting with Aleka Papariga at Maximos Mansion, the Prime Minister repeated the governments long-standing position regarding the division of the Kosovo Plain and the annexation of territory by neighbouring countries, which he also stated during his recent tour of the Western Balkans.

    The General Secretary of the KKE asked the PM to stand by Greeces position that the Kosovo Plain belongs to Serbia, as she stated that changes along the borders could trigger chain reactions in Western Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus. She also called on the government not to accept pressure from the US or the EU.

    On her way out of Maximos Mansion, Mrs Papariga underlined that UN resolution 1244/99 should be implemented. The resolution in question states that Kosovo belongs to Serbia. She also noted that Greece has a responsibility as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, as she underlined that important decisions could be made during Greeces presidency.

    Mrs Papariga stated that the Prime Minister had reiterated the positions that he publicly expressed during his tour of the Balkans, and stressed that the Greek government should not accept pressure from the US and some countries in the EU, who want to see Kosovo become independent, noting that the UN resolution has not been tried out in practice, adding that it was late in being implemented, in an effort to avoid implementing its provisions.

    Finally, the General Secretary of the KKE said that she did not discuss matters of domestic policy with Mr Karamanlis, as the Kosovo question is extremely important, both for the Balkans and for Greece.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [02] Redeployment of Syrian Troops

    07 Mar 2005 20:44:00 (Last updated: 07 Mar 2005 22:58:42)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET, BBC, ANA

    The President of Syria and Lebanon, who met in Damascus in order to decide on the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, reached a historic agreement on Monday. It was decided that the Syrian troops will withdraw to eastern Lebanon by the end of March, however, there was no agreement concerning their full withdrawal. The first moves of military redeployment have already commenced in Damascus, while the two presidents declared that they respect the international treaties and decisions on the issue of troops. The withdrawal will take place in two stages. Initially, the Syrian troops will move eastwards, toward the Bekaa Valley, and then they will be repositioned along the Syrian borders.

    USA Asks for Immediate Withdrawal

    However, the USA and the EU are asking for a specific time frame, as they believe that the withdrawal of Syrian forces has to be concluded prior to the parliamentary elections in May.

    In a joint announcement made during the meeting, it was noted that the number of Syrian troops and time they will remain in Bekaa would be agreed on a month after their initial redeployment, while it was added that negotiations will follow concerning their permanent withdrawal.

    The Lebanese Presidents spokesperson said that Emile Lahoud thanked Syria for their assistance in Lebanon following the Civil War (1975-1900), while he mentioned their continuing collaboration and the significance of a common position between the two countries regarding the handling of challenges.

    The Syrian troops invaded Lebanon in 1976, during the Civic War, as part of the Peace Corps, and have remained in the country since then. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, declared that following the shift of his countrys military forces, the two countries would have completed their obligations as per Resolution 1559 of the UNs Security Council.

    In the aforementioned resolution, it is noted that foreign forces will have to withdraw from Lebanon, while they will also have to disarm their Lebanese armed groups.

    However, the USA does not seem to share the same view, as they continue pressuring Syria, describing Assads promise as "inadequate". As per the State Departments spokesperson, "We have not heard the words immediate and complete withdrawal,"

    On the other hand, the pro-Syrian Lebanese group Hezbollah, announced that it sees Western interference and called for a "massive popular gathering" in support of Syria on Tuesday.

    Satisfaction from Jordan and Saudi Arabia

    The developments were received very well by Saudi Arabia and Jordan, both of which expressed the hope that they will form the beginning for the creation of a peaceful climate in Lebanon. However, Saudi Arabia is still asking for the complete withdrawal of Syrian forces in the near future.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Syria Plans Withdrawal

    [03] As per an Education Ministry Circular "Big Brother" to Watch Over Excursions

    07 Mar 2005 19:12:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: ANA

    The Deputy Minister of Education, Giorgos Kalos, sent a circular today to all Greek schools, concerning school excursions, in the context of implementing immediate measures for the safety of students and teachers. As per the circular, whenever a school excursion is planned, the Ministries of Public Order, Mercantile Marine, Transport and Tourism will have to receive detailed itineraries, which will appear on a special electronic board that will list the school, destination, departure and arrival dates, type of transport, number of students, details of person in charge and accompanying teachers, as well as the travel agent organising the trip.

    Relevant Ministries and Prefectures to be Notified

    Following this, the relevant ministries will implement all the necessary measures in order to secure the safety of the school excursion. Specifically, the Traffic Police will be constantly monitoring the roads on which students will be traveling, while strict safety regulations will be followed on all roads, as well as sea and air ports. Furthermore, all vehicles that will be used will undergo inspection prior to departure.

    In addition, all vehicles will have to post a large, legible sign, "School Excursion Name of School", while all the areas where students will be staying, eating or visiting will also undergo strict inspections.

    Moreover, the Regional and Prefecture Local Governments of all final destinations will be notified, in order to prepare for receiving the students and teachers, based on the number of excursionists.

    Finally, a special ministerial decision, which aims to modernize the existing regulations concerning school excursions and activities, will be issued by the end of this school year and will be effective as of the next school term.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Giosakis Files Application for Release Transfers, Dismissals and Warrants

    07 Mar 2005 16:25:00 (Last updated: 07 Mar 2005 19:41:18)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET 105.8 - NET

    The clean up in the area of Justice is continuing with the transfer of 50 judges, while another seven of their colleagues were referred to the plenary session of the Supreme Court, facing dismissal. Furthermore, Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis, who is being remanded in custody, is expected to appear before the Supreme Court Assistant Prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas within the next few days, while today, Giosakis filed an application for release. Meanwhile, the criminal investigation into the president of the First Instance Judges, Evngelos Kalousis, who has been referred for dismissal from the force, is expected to be concluded by the end of the week. In the meantime, the Athens Prosecutions Office brought criminal proceedings for embezzlement against Nikos Papadimas, the former financial manager of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and a fugitive from justice. At the same time, criminal proceedings were also brought against his wife, Ekaterini, for legalizing proceeds from illegal activities. Furthermore, arrest warrants were issued for both of them.

    Judges' Finances Targeted

    The Piraeus Misdemeanor Court will discuss the former Archimandrites application for release in the next few days.

    Furthermore, the pre-emptive transfers of 50 judges are also expected within the next few days.

    Most of them, as well as the seven Piraeus and Athens judges who have already been referred to the Supreme Courts plenary session for dismissal, are allegedly involved in the extrajudicial network, with most of the cases revolving around Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis.

    In the meantime, criminal proceedings were also brought against a First Instance Prosecutor for failing to submit a Declaration of Assets Financial Audit (Pothen Esxhes). The aforementioned justice officer works at a regional court and she has also been accused of being involved in a drug case. In addition, on 21 May, the Supreme Courts Chief Justice will propose to the Supreme Court the temporary suspension of five judges, who are accused of failing to submit Declarations of Assets Financial Audits, as well as the temporary suspension of Assistant Prosecutor Nikos Athanasopoulos, who is under investigation for serious disciplinary offences.

    Meanwhile, the investigation into the President of First Instance Judges, Leonidas Stathis, who has also been referred for dismissal, is intensifying, since the special appellate examiners, Messrs Sideris and Fiorakis, are probing into older cases that had been handled by Stathis, when he was serving at the Thessaloniki First Instance Court.

    In addition, Evangelos Kalousis will be called to provide explanations on the charges against him on Wednesday. According to sources, the Supreme Courts Assistant Prosecutor is concluding his investigation and will ask for criminal proceedings to be brought against him for money laundering, bribery and submitting false documents.

    The Supreme Court is also investigating another 20 cases whereby people accused of drug trafficking were released, while police officers and doctors were also allegedly involved in the same cases.

    At the same time, First Instance Prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis appeared before the Supreme Courts Prosecutor, Dimitris Linos, today and asked for protection, while he claimed that he asked for the release of drug trafficking defender Giannis Kalamiotis following an order by the Appeals Prosecutions, as he allegedly was a police informer.

    Furthermore, journalists covering church reports have been testifying before the Prosecutor, in the context of a preliminary investigation into the activities of wanted Apostolos Vavilis. The investigation is being conducted by the Athens Public Prosecutions Office, while church reporter Nikos Garantziotis, who works for radio station NET 105.8, testified before the Prosecutor for three hours.

    The second round of the Bar Association elections across the country, for the election of a new President for a three-year term, concluded today.

    The final results are expected later tonight.

    Dimtris Paxinos and Dimitris Vervesos are battling out for the position of President of the Athens Bar Association.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Wave of Preemptive Transfers

    [05] Gul assures EU Turkey Signs Protocol

    07 Mar 2005 14:15:00 (Last updated: 07 Mar 2005 21:51:33)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Ankara is essentially taking the first step towards Turkey recognizing the Republic of Cyprus, as the Foreign Minister of Turkey Abdullah Gul assured the Commissioner for EU Enlargement, Olli Rehn, that Turkey will sign the protocol extending customs affiliation with the 10 new Member-States of the European Union, including Cyprus, before 3 October. After his talks with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Rehn stated that Turkey had agreed to sign the protocol, stressing that he had received assurances from Mr Gul, that it would be signed a long time before the date to start negotiations. He also added that the EU will prepare the negotiation framework at the end of June.

    First Target: Implementation of Reforms

    In fact, Mr Rehn noted that Turkey has a long way to go yet, as there is a need for it to implement political reforms that have been voted into law before accession negotiations start with the European Union. At the same time, he underlined that there is still much more to be done to stamp out torture, widen cultural rights and the rights of women, to protect non-Muslim minorities and improve the situation for trade unions.

    "It is very important to keep the momentum in legal, political and increasingly economic reforms," stated the European Commissioner.

    Mr Gul stated that the government remains pledged to implement reforms. "The reforms will continue. There is no end to the improvement. Its not only that the reforms must go through Parliament, their implementation is important."

    "Turkey Has to Sign"

    "Turkey has an obligation to sign the EU customs union enlargement protocol before the commencement of accession talks," declared the Cypriot Republics representative, Kypros Chrysostomidis, commenting on the EU Troikas contacts in Ankara.

    In fact, referring to sources, according to which the EU and Turkey have allegedly reached an agreement concerning the signing, and Ankaras one-sided statement that the Community acquits are not being implemented in the occupied territories, the representative said that he cannot comprehend such a one-sided statement.

    "What is paramount in the treaty is that the implementation of the Community acquits is being postponed due to the existing situation in the occupied section of Cyprus and as per the Councils decision it will spread to that part once there is a solution and a reunification," added Mr Chrysostomidis.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] Greek Basketball War II

    07 Mar 2005 17:08:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    The Greek teams participating in the round of 16 for Basketballs ULEB Cup will settle any unfinished business from their first games tomorrow Tuesday. The interest will focus in the game that will take place in Kozani between Maroussi and Makedonikos, where both teams will fight for the one and only ticket to the quarterfinals. Maroussi, however, has a small edge, following their victory in Athens last Tuesday by 92-89. The Greek rematch will commence at 21:30 and both teams have no absentees from their lineups. Earlier, at 18:45, PAOK will play in Lithuania against Lietuvos Rytas, the team that defeated Aris in the round of 32. PAOK, which won the first game with a small margin of 74-71 following Gagaloudis three-pointer right on the last second, is hoping for yet another victory and a place in the quarterfinals. The Greek teams coach, Branislav Prelevic, however, will have to fight for a win without key players Mulaomerovic, Maglos and Bashminov.

    Schedule and Results

    PRELIMINARIES

    8 March - Rematches

    Charleroi (Belgium)-Pamesa Valencia (Spain) Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)-PAOK (Greece) 18:45 Makedonikos (Greece)-Maroussi (Greece) 21:30 Ventspils (Latvia)-Hemofarm (Serbia-Montenegro)

    GAME 1 RESULTS

    1 March First Game

    Charleroi (Belgium)-Pamesa Valencia (Spain) 78-86 PAOK (Greece)-Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania) 74-71 Maroussi (Greece)-Makedonikos (Greece) 89-92 Hemofarm (Serbia-Montenegro)-Ventspils (Latvia) 99-93

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] WHO Sounds Alarm on Acrylamide

    07 Mar 2005 14:12:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: Reuters

    The first time that the World Health Organisation looked at amounts of acrylamide in foods was in 2002, when Swedish researchers at the University of Stockholm presented a study that detected alarming levels of the dangerous, cancer-causing substances in fried potatoes, biscuits, and some types of bread. At that time, the WHO called for further research. Now the WHO is back with recommendations, calling on governments to put pressure on food industries in order to find ways to significantly reduce levels of the chemical substance in their products, owing to a probable risk to public health.

    Need for Preemptive Measures in Industry

    According to the WHO, the foods that need caution from consumers are fried foods, such as crisps, ready-fried and home cooked chips (French fries), products made from cereals, such as bread, and even coffee, which goes through a roasting process before reaching our cups.

    The announcement was made following a meeting of the joint Committee of WHO specialists and the UN Food and Agriculture delegates.

    "Consumption of foods with this contaminant at current levels of occurrence may be a public health concern," says the announcement, although it clarifies that there are currently no clear indications of the mechanism that makes acrylamide toxic, and it is likely to take many years before this is clarified.

    Acrylamide is a dangerous chemical substance which has been shown to cause cancer and mutations in rats, and it is formed when certain products, mainly of plant origin, of a high carbohydrate content and low in proteins, are subjected to high temperatures. Of course, the levels of the substance produced vary according to the heat and the cooking time. Consequently, the WHO stated that it cannot make recommendations regarding the safety of specific foods.

    Last year, checks were carried out on foods such as chips breakfast cereals, bread, crackers, biscuits, coffee, cocoa and various other snacks on the Greek market, and with the assistance of the General State Chemist Laboratory, it was found that the highest levels of acrylamide in the samples were significantly lower than those recorded in other countries.

    At the same time, helpful recommendations were made for consumers on how to prepare food safely at home:

    Avoid storing potatoes in low temperatures Make sure that starchy and fried products are a golden-brown colour and not dark brown Use low temperatures when frying, and check the reliability of thermometers on deep-fryers Check instructions on packaging

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] Egg with a Tail!

    07 Mar 2005 15:13:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    A Chinese chef in the city of Anyang in Henan Province found himself confronted with an unusual sight. An egg of normal size, the same as all others of its kind, if we dont consider the three-centimetre tail sticking out of one end! The news of the egg is published in the newspaper Dahe Daily, with no details regarding the exact origin of the egg, or the precise reasons why it has this extra feature. In any case, the chef, Mr Wang, stated that he has no intention of cooking it. Quite on the contrary, he will let it hatch and see what comes out. What can we say about the quirks of nature, which are usually the result of human intervention in ecological balance? We can wish Mr Wang good luck and tell him to be careful!

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [09] Head of the ABA for a Second Term Dimitris Paxinos Reelected

    07 Mar 2005 22:07:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Dimitris Paxinos was reelected President of the Athens Bar Association with the largest majority since the post-Junta years. Mr Paxinos received 67.02% of the votes, while his opponent Dimitris Vervesos received 32.98%. In Thessaloniki, with 100% of the votes already counted, Dimitris Garoufas received 55.97%, as opposed to Evangleos Gogakos who received 44.03%.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] "Unwanted" by Arab-speaking Orthodox Athens-Tel Aviv Support Eirinaios

    07 Mar 2005 17:48:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET 105.8

    The ruling of the Israeli First Instance Court, which is questioning Eirinaios election, has created "headaches" for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The case was tried without the Patriarchates knowledge; however, it has the right to file an appeal against the decision, since it is not final. In any case, as per Israeli diplomatic sources, Tel Aviv supports the Patriarch of Jerusalem, while according to the Greek Minister of State, Thodoros Roussopoulos, the Greek government will also offer its support to the extent that is needed. In the meantime, representatives of Arab-speaking Orthodox, who met yesterday to discuss the issue with the Patriarchate, asked for a meeting with the Palestinian Authority, while they decided not to invite Mr Eirinaios to any of their communities until they inform Palestinian President Abu Abbas of their stance. On the other hand, the Patriarch of Jerusalem has been in talks with his legal advisors since this morning, in order to decide on his next moves, following the Israeli Courts decision.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    New Twist in Eirinaios Saga


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