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

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] National Issues Raised
  • [02] Gagging the Free Press
  • [03] Money Causes Heart Attacks
  • [04] Real Threat from Nuclear Weapons
  • [05] Second Quake in Crete
  • [06] Summer Time for Petrol Stations
  • [07] Ship Ready to Leave
  • [08] Gas Explosion in Pakistan
  • [09] Continuing Clashes
  • [10] Barnier Optimistic
  • [11] Spa au Chocolat
  • [12] Mr Greenpeace Dies
  • [13] Italian Report on Calipari's Death
  • [14] Fears of N. Korean Nuclear Test

  • [01] US dep. Asst Sec of State in Athens National Issues Raised

    03 May 2005 12:01:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET 105.8, ANA

    Greek-Turkish relations and Cyprus were the focal point of the meeting on Tuesday morning between Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis at Maximos Mansion. The two men discussed the PMs pending visit to the US on 20 May. Besides this, American deputy Assistant Secretary of State Laura Kennedy is in Athens, having arrived from Ankara as part of her tour of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. On Thursday, she is expected to visit Lefkosia.

    Investigative Tour

    According to information, the tour by the American deputy Assistant Secretary of State is of an investigative nature, and the next moves of the UN Secretary General regading a solution to the Cyprus problem will depend on her results.

    Cypriot president Tassos Papadopoulos stated that the tour by the American official does not constitute a new initiative on the Cyprus problem.

    At the same time, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw repeated his countrys support for the Annan Plan, and stressed that it is the only realistic base for a solution to the Cyprus problem, and that it must gain the support of the majority of each community.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [02] It must no longer go unpunished Gagging the Free Press

    03 May 2005 12:19:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    In certain places, a free Press seems like a utopia. Every year, dozens of reporters die in the line of duty. Most of them die in cold-blooded murders, while eight out of ten killers go unpunished. In 2004 alone, 53 reporters were killed and a further 107 were imprisoned, as stated in a report from the organisation Reporters Without Borders, in the context of todays international Press Freedom Day. The World Press Association states: " It must no longer go unpunished." The most dangerous region of the world for reporters remains the Middle East, while China and Cuba continue to come first with the most imprisoned journalists.

    Danger Spot in Middle East

    In their annual report for 2004, the organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns as "terminators" of Press Freedom 34 politicians from 30 countries, the majority of them heads of state and governments.

    To mark the occasion of the 15th international Press Freedom Day and at the same time the 20th anniversary since the founding of RSF, the organisation has released a special map, on which the countries where the situation regarding the right to free expression is considered "very difficult" are marked in red. These countries include: Cuba, Libya, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Turkmenistan, China, North Korea, Nepal, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

    The most dangerous region in the world remains the Middle East, where literally reporters risk their lives on a daily basis. In 2004, 21 reporters were killed there, of those 19 in Iraq. In fact, owing to the climate of insecurity, the number of foreign correspondents in Baghdad is greatly reduced. There are now frequent abductions of journalists. French reporter Florence Aubenas and her driver have been held hostage since 5 January, while another three Romanians were abducted at the end of March.

    Furthermore, in Saudi Arabia, a reporter with British network BBC was killed, while a Palestinian journalist was murdered in the Gaza Strip.

    A very significant problem is that in many countries there are still laws in force which restrict Media independence, RSF claims. In 2004, 27 reports (almost half of them in Iran) were imprisoned on charges of "slander," "insulting the head of state," "insulting Islam" or "spreading false news." Also in the list with the worst regimes for Press freedom are Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Tunisia. In fact, as the report states, in Iran "certain reporters have been put in isolation, without going through a trial and without being allowed contact with lawyers. Others have been subjected to torture to make them confess." However, the sad record of imprisoned reporters is held by China with 27, followed by Cuba with 22. RSF calls for their immediate, unconditional release.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [03] Research by American scientists Money Causes Heart Attacks

    03 May 2005 11:47:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: Reuters, Medicine Journal

    A new factor has come to further widen inequalities between western and developing societies. According to a study by American researchers from the University of Harvard, cardiovascular diseases, which are a serious problem in developed countries, will develop into a major threat for residents of the so-called Third World, as their financial situation improves. The researchers studied factors such as height and weight, as well as elements that play a major role in cardiovascular diseases (eg blood pressure and cholesterol) from a hundred countries. As they note, developing countries are one step before obesity, bad physical condition and heart diseases which are already prevalent in countries such as the US and Great Britain. "Cardiovascular disease risks are expected to systematically shift to low-income and middle-income countries and, together with the persistent burden of infectious diseases, further increase global health inequalities," stress the researchers.

    Inequality in Health

    The research team concentrated on the Body Mass Index (BMI), a factor (the weight quotient divided by the square of the height), which estimates the amount of fat in the human body and is a widely accepting measuring system.

    "We examined the cross-sectional relationship between mean population blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index and three socioeconomic variables: national income, average share of household expenditure spent on food, and proportion of population in urban areas," wrote the scientists in their study, which is published in Medicine scientific journal.

    According to the results, the increase in income brought a reduction in income spent on food. Buying cheaper food, according to the study, resulted in an increase in weight and cholesterol.

    Furthermore, the increase in the BMI and cholesterol peaked with a specific income and then went down, while it was especially high as the population proportion increased.

    "If a similar upward shift in the income-BMI relationship occurs globally, overweight and obesity will play an even larger role in disease burden in developing countries, because these countries will be on an even higher income trajectory," the researchers cautioned.

    According to World Health Organisation data, developing countries are moving quickly to a Western-style diet high in fat and salt.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [04] UN treaty reformation raised Real Threat from Nuclear Weapons

    03 May 2005 10:38:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: BBC Greek, NET

    The UN international conference on reshaping the 1970 Treaty regarding the control of nuclear weapons started in New York on Monday. As the Secretary General of the Organisation Kofi Annan stressed in his opening speech, the threat of uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons is very real. On Monday, 40,000 people from around the world made their presence felt in the demonstration against nuclear weapons which was held in New York. There were also messages against the war in Iraq, as well as slogans against the US president in the march. Among the demonstrators were the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cities which in 1945 were struck by nuclear weapons. The UN conference will continue until 27 May.

    "We are all Responsible"

    "In our interconnected world, a threat to one is a threat to all, and we all share responsibility for each others security. And this is especially the case regarding nuclear weapons. The responsibility to reduce the nuclear threat weighs on us all," stated Kofi Annan.

    US Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker stated that the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran will be the two great obstacles to achieving agreement on nuclear weapons.

    The size of the threat from the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons was stressed from the conference podium by Robert McNamara, veteran US politician and Defence Secretary in the John Kennedy government at the start of the 60s. According to the treaty, if one country halts its nuclear programme and accepts inspections in its nuclear installations, it will be allowed to have nuclear power that exclusively covers its energy needs.

    Anger at the US

    "No nation, no group or organisation should be allowed to test and build nuclear weapons. They should all be banned," underlined Hiroshimas mayor, Tantatoshi Akiba.

    Anger was expressed by anti-nuclear organisations at the fact that the Bush government rejected the treaty banning nuclear testing, and that the US have left the treaty on anti-ballistic missiles.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [05] No reports of damage Second Quake in Crete

    03 May 2005 07:53:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    A new instance of seismic activity, the second in the last twenty-four hours, has rocked Crete. As announced by the Geodynamic Institute of the National Athens Observatory, the quake was recorded at half past midnight and was of a 4.5 Richter magnitude. The epicentre of the earthquake was located in the sea area north of the Prefecture of Heraklion, 280 kilometres south of Athens. So far, there have been no reports of damage.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Seismic Activity in Heraklion

    [06] Half hour longer Summer Time for Petrol Stations

    03 May 2005 13:05:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    The opening hours for petrol stations are increasing by half an hour as the summer timetable begins. This means that until the end of September, petrol stations will be open from 06:00 to 22:30.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [07] Inspection completed Ship Ready to Leave

    03 May 2005 10:30:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA, NET

    The Norwegian ship Baner is ready to set sail for Portugal, after Port Authority officials completed the inspection. The ship had dropped anchor yesterday near the port of Pylos, as it had sent out a special signal to the shipping company, which was understood as a probable hijacking. However, the captain stated that there had been no hijacking and that he had himself sent the wrong message to the firm, owing to a malfunction in the radio-communications system. This unfortunate mistake mobilized the Greek authorities. Implementing the "commercial ship hijacking plan" approximately 30 men from the Port Authority special task force climbed onto the Norwegian boat and began investigations, which lasted for over an hour. After the necessary explanations by the captain of the Baner, which is carrying 19 foreign sailors, the special forces left, while the local Port Authority refused the ship permission to sail until it provided the necessary documents showing that the radio-communications system had been repaired.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] Sixteen dead Gas Explosion in Pakistan

    03 May 2005 09:59:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    At least 16 people were killed and more than 10 were injured in Lahore in eastern Pakistan, when three buildings collapsed following the explosion of gas canisters. However, eyewitnesses express fears that other people may still be trapped in the rubble. The building complex that collapsed housed shops and flats. So far, the causes of the explosions have no0t been determined, but the authorities have ruled out the possibility of sabotage.

    No Security Measures Taken

    The residents who managed to get out of the building in time stated that there were about 40 people living in the flats, and that most of them were in bed when the explosion took place.

    One of the neighbours told reporters that they had repeatedly protested to the authorities about the dangers of a shop selling gas canisters, but no measures had been taken.

    In Lahore, it is quite normal for shops selling gas cylinders to be located in residential complexes.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [09] 12 Zarqawi rebels dead Continuing Clashes

    03 May 2005 08:08:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA

    Twelve insurgents, members of the organisation headed by Jordanian Abu Musab al Zarqawi, were killed yesterday in an operation conducted by the coalition forces near the city of Al Kaim, on the borders with Syria. Nine of them were killed when the soldiers located a suspicious lorry, whose passengers opened fire on them. During the operation, another man was injured, along with a six-year-old girl and six multinational force soldiers. The other three insurgents lost their lives in an air raid against a basement, where the suspect lorry had earlier parked and collected a load. In the area of the incident, the authorities found falsified documents, foreign currency and other objects connecting the group of insurgents to al Zarqawis organisation. In the meantime, one American soldier with the 1st Support Regiment was killed when a home-made explosive device blew up at Baghdad International Airport. Another soldier was injured. The bomb had been placed by the side of the road and exploded as the two soldiers vehicle passed.

    Contact Lost with Two Aircraft

    At the same time, at 9pm (Greek time), the US military announced that it had lost contact with two Hornet FA-18 aircraft which were flying in Iraqi airspace. As spokesman Nick Minecci told the French News Agency, "there were no signs of enemy attack," when contact was lost with the crews. NBC television network reported last night that the two aeroplanes had collided, but the US military spokesman was not able to confirm this.

    Annan Shaken

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that he was shaken by the attacks over the last weekend in Iraq, with the dozens of people, civilians and security forces, left dead.

    "The Secretary General condemns these tactics, for which there can be no excuse," stated Kofi Annans spokesman today at the United Nations headquarters in New York, adding that Annan hopes that the Iraqis would continue to reform their country after a period of tyranny and war.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [10] Taking polls seriously Barnier Optimistic

    03 May 2005 09:41:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier expressed his optimism that the "yes" vote would ultimately win in the 29 May referendum on the European Constitution, although he did keep some reservations. "We must face all the polls with concern. I take them seriously, whether in favour of yes or in favour of no," he stated, speaking to journalists as part of his visit to Washington. "The French are concerned and at the same time interested. They know that a united Europe is the right idea. They want to understand what this Constitution is useful for," stressed Mr Barnier, adding that he was sure that "after this public discussion they will approve" the text of the Constitution.

    Over the last few days in France, a steady climb in favour of the "yes" vote has been observed, in contrast with last month, when the "no" vote maintained a steady lead. Yesterday a further four polls showed that the "yes" is gaining ground. In two of them it was in the lead, while in the others it was increasing.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [11] Spa au Chocolat

    03 May 2005 10:37:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    How many times have you felt the need to escape form daily stress? Of course, some people turned to binges and ate a lot of chocolate, while others thought of massage, water therapy and beauty treatments. This seems to have inspired the proprietors of Four Seasons Hotel in Paris, who thought of an innovation, combining spa with the sweetest of temptations. No, the idea is not to offer sweets while you are in the hands of massage specialists, but instead, they pour chocolate all over your body! As they note, chocolate has anti-aging properties, and, especially, a dive into temptation in this way will not spoil your silhouette. "You know youre going to do yourself good and you wont have any regrets afterwards," said manager Isabelle Schlumberger, noting that the spa au chocolat equals a rejection of diet. The scrumptious programme, which lasts for 2 and a half hours at a cost of 295 euros, starts with a Chocolate and Cranberry Body Scrub, continues with a Toffee Chocolate Wrap and peaks with a Deep Chocolate Massage. So if your road takes you to the French capital and you want to relax, go and enjoy the most original spa and sink into real temptation.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [12] Mr Greenpeace Dies

    03 May 2005 13:26:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Greenpeace lost its co-founder and first chairman on Monday. Bob Hunter died at the age of 63, after a long battle against cancer. Hunter brought fire to the fight for the protection of the environment in 1971, when he worked as a journalist on the newspaper Vancouver Sun in Canada. At that time, he participated in a demonstration against the American nuclear testing off Alaska, on board the ship Greenpeace. Even though the ship did not manage to approach the testing area, the protest won publicity in the Media and sparked mass protests in Canada and the US. Two years later, Hunter became the first chairman of the organisation, and in this capacity he worked to stop whale-hunting. During the last years of his life, he worked as a journalist in Toronto, while recently Time Magazine proclaimed that he was one of the most important environmental activists of the 20th century. "More than anyone else, Bob Hunter invented Greenpeace," notes the organisation in a statement, describing the late Hunter as "a hero of the environmentalist movement."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [13] Italian Report on Calipari's Death

    03 May 2005 11:24:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    The inexperience of the American soldiers is highlighted as the main cause of the death from American fire of the Italian secret service agent Nicola Calipari in Iraq by the report from the Italian Foreign Ministry, which was published on Monday, a few hours after it was presented to the American Ambassador to Rome. At the same time, the report notes that Caliparis death was an accident. The Italian agent, who was described as a national hero at his funeral, was shot and killed on 4 March, while the car in which he was traveling along with former hostage reporter Sgrena was heading for Baghdad airport.

    Tension and Inexperience

    "It is likely that the tension owing to the conditions and probably a level of inexperience and pressure could have caused instinctive and uncontrolled reactions in certain soldiers," underlines the report.

    In the American report, it states that their Toyota approached the check-point at a speed of almost 85 kmph, and did not slow down, despite the warning shots and lights flashed by American soldiers.

    In the same report, Italian intelligence officials are criticized for not informing the American authorities of the operation to rescue Sgrena, the reporter for Il Manifesto who was held hostage for several weeks by insurgents.

    According to the Italian version of events, the speed of the car was not "an important factor," as the American troops did not warn drivers that there was a check-point at one curve in the road.

    Furthermore, the US version that the American troops had not been informed of the efforts to liberate the reporter is denied, although Italy admits that its agents had given no details of the operation.

    The Italian report is based on the testimony of the reporter and an Italian official who was in the same car on that day.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [14] Seoul dismisses reports Fears of N. Korean Nuclear Test

    03 May 2005 10:53:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA, CNN

    Proof that North Korea is preparing an "underground nuclear test" has been found by the US intelligence services, according to South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. As the newspaper reports, in Kilchu in the province of Nord Hamkyong, 350 km northeast of the capital Pyongyang, intense construction activity has been observed. "American and South Korean authorities have proof that a tunnel is being built, although they dont know what it could be used for," commented the representative of the Sputh Foreign Defence Ministry, Shin Hyun Don. In the report it states that the US and South Korean intelligence agencies are collaborating closely on the matter. According to a government souce cited by the newspaper, American spy satellites located cranes, lorries and other heavy machinery in the Kilchu region. "The US intelligence services concluded that North Korea can prepare a nuclear test in this area and gave the photographs and analysis to our services," added the source. However, South Korean Deputy Defence Minister Song Min Soon dismissed claims that Seoul had received such information.

    Not Just a Case for the US

    In any case, the nuclear activity in North Korea is a cause of great concern in the US, especially after the probable test of a short-range missi8le, said to have landed in the Japan sea.

    In reference to this, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that noone should doubt the abilities of the US to stop the North Koreans, although she added that this is not just an issue for these two countries.

    Translated by Millie Williams

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