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

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Britain Goes to the Polls
  • [02] Explosions in New York
  • [03] Bishops Reject Eirinaios
  • [04] Trousers Betray Napoleon's Death Secret
  • [05] PM at Public Order Ministry
  • [06] Tourist Craft Runs Aground
  • [07] New Attacks in Baghdad
  • [08] IMF Delegation to Athens
  • [09] Freeing of Markets Necessary
  • [10] Lorry-Bomb Found in Grozny

  • [01] Blair leads in the polls Britain Goes to the Polls

    05 May 2005 10:10:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: BBC, Reuters, FNA

    The new prime minister and parliament of Great Britain is today to be elected by 44.2 million voters, who have been going to the polls since 09:00 (Greek time). The polls close at midnight, and the first results are expected an hour and a half later, although the full picture of the winner will emerge early on Friday. British voters are asked to decide on 645 constituencies in the House of Commons, while at least 324 seats are needed for a party to gain a majority and govern for the next five years. Polls give a comfortable lead to Tony Blairs Labour Party, although their power is expected to be reduced in comparison with the previous elections, while the biggest enemy is voter apathy. The current prime minister will vote in his Sedgefield constituency, Conservative leader Michael Howard in Folkestone and Hythe and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy in Ross and Skye.

    How Britain Votes

    The elections are conducted according to written and traditional rules which have developed over centuries of parliamentary custom, with the main feature being good faith regarding identity.

    A right to vote is held by British and Northern Irish nationals and nationals of Commonwealth countries residing permanently in the United Kingdom who are over the age of 18 and on the electoral register.

    In contrast with continental Europe, the ballot paper is not put in an envelope, it is simply folded after the choice of candidate is made, and put into the ballot box. Moreover, there are no national identity cards in Britain, so the right to vote is exercised on the show of the document send by the returning officer to each voter.

    Britain is divided into constituencies, where in order to be elected, the local MP simply has to win a simple majority, meaning a greater number of votes than his nearest rival.

    The combination of constituencies and the first-past-the-post system could lead a party to power despite the fact that it has come second in the number of votes nationwide, which is what happened in 1951 and 1974.

    Polls Indicate Victory for Blair

    After two sweeping victories (1997 and 2001), the polls show that Blair will be the first Labour leader in the history of Britain to win a third consecutive term, although his lead is expected to be reduced.

    Four polls published today in British newspapers give the current PM three to six points over the Opposition Conservative Party led by Michael Howard.

    According to a poll in the Times, Labour is expected to get 37.9% and the Conservatives 31.7%. The other three polls give Labour between 36% and 38% and the Conservatives 32 to 33%.

    Before being dissolves, Parliament was made up of 410 Labour seats, 164 Conservative and 54 Liberal Democrats.

    Furthermore, the Scottish National Party had five MPs, Welsh party Plaid Cymru four, the Democratic Unionists of Northern Ireland seven and the Ulster Unionists five.

    Voter Turnout

    An important factor in shaping the final result is voter turnout, which in the last elections (2001) was 59%, the lowest since 1918.

    The Central Election Commission hopes that the postal vote system will contribute to an increase in participation, although serious reservations are expressed about the validity of postal votes.

    Speaking at a Press conference on Wednesday evening, the British prime minister asked not to be punished for the war in Iraq. "Of course, there was disagreement over Iraq. But who do the people trust on the economy, on investments in public services, on the countrys interests? I believe we have a good record here," he said.

    Tory leader Michael Howard stressed that his party will take action for the priorities and real problems of the people and open "a chapter of hope" for Britain.

    Finally, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy predicted that his party would do well and noted that "it would be much better," if the Labour majority were reduced with new Liberal MPs.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Election Campaign Escalates

    [02] No casualties or injuries Explosions in New York

    05 May 2005 11:55:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: CNN

    Two small explosions took place outside the British Consulate in New York, reported CNN, citing a police spokesperson. According to the authorities there were no injuries. The explosions took place at 03:35 local time (10:35 Greek time) and special police forces are investigating to determine the causes of the explosions, which caused windows in the 21-storey building and a car parked nearby to break.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [03] Senior priests do not recognize Eirinaios Bishops Reject Eirinaios

    05 May 2005 11:53:00 (Last updated: 05 May 2005 12:40:54)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The atmosphere is weighing heavily in the Patriarchy of Jerusalem. In a letter sent a short while ago, eleven Metropolitan Bishops and twenty-three archimandrites, all members of the Holy Sepulchre community, declare that they no longer recognize Eirinaios as Patriarch, and that they are cutting off all contact with him. In fact, seven of the undersigned clerics are members of the Holy Synod, to which Patriarch Eirinaios is likely to make changes before the end of the day. In their letter, the clerics blame Eirinaios for the crisis that has arisen in the Patriarchy of Jerusalem and call for him to either resign or be removed. So far, there has been no official reaction from Fanari, while circles in Jerusalem estimate that the letter will further accelerate the developments in the Holy Land.

    Removal or Resignation

    The letter states that Patriarch Eirinaios is personally responsible for the situation in the Patriarchy, and makes accusations against him, saying that he is possessed by "a spirit of falsehood, ecclesiastic deception and devaluing and downgrading the Synod system."

    At the same time, the undersigned claim that the Patriarch harms the prestige of the Patriarchy and "is unable to carry out his duties as a person not basing himself on the norm, custom and the law," while they accuse him of being behind the sales and long-term rentals of land.

    As they stress, the "only way out" is for Eirinaios either to leave or be removed, and they call for a convocation of the Synod of Orthodox Churches to solve the problem.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [04] Not a case of murder Trousers Betray Napoleon's Death Secret

    05 May 2005 11:46:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: BBC

    He was indisputably one of the strongest historical figures. Still today General Napoleons death continues to spark a great deal of interest amongst historians and scientists. Napoleon died on 5 May 1821 at the age of 52 on the isle of St Helena in the south Atlantic, where he was exiled after his defeat at Waterloo. There have been many versions and theories surrounding his death, such as stomach cancer, murder, overzealous doctors and a drug overdose. However, until now, stomach cancer has been considered the most likely cause of death for Napoleon, and this is supported by the latest specialist findings. The solution to decades of studies on the subject has turned up in the clothes worn in exile by Napoleon Bonaparte. According to Swiss scientists, prior to his death, the great general had lost a lot of weight, which shows that he suffered from stomach cancer. They understood this by the simple method of measuring the trousers he wore when he arrived on St Helena and the waistline of the trousers he was wearing shortly before his death.

    Weight Loss Indicates Cancer

    The new research was carried out by a team from the anatomical pathology department of the University Hospital in Basel and the Institute of Medical History at the University of Zurich. They studied the 12 pairs of trousers worn by Napoleon in the six years he remained in exile on the island.

    The waistline of the largest pair of trousers was 110cm, while the waistline of the pair he wore at the end was 98cm, which shows that he lost a lot of weight. In the interests of accuracy, the scientists also studied the cases of a number of patients who suffer from stomach cancer. Over the last six months, all of them have lost between 11 and 15 kilos.

    Regarding the quantity of arsenic found in his hair, the Swiss researchers put it down to his love of wine, as at that time, winemakers used arsenic to dry out their casks.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [05] Briefing by Voulgarakis PM at Public Order Ministry

    05 May 2005 10:05:00 (Last updated: 05 May 2005 11:39:23)

    By Anna Kourti

    The Prime Minister started his series of visits to Ministries this morning by paying a visit to the Ministry of Public Order. "The people are and must feel safe. Our aim is to guarantee a modern, effective, transparent state at the service of the citizen," stated Mr Karamanlis, congratulating the Ministrys political leaders and the security forces on the safe organisation of the Olympic Games, and in general their work which has already had positive effects on citizens daily lives. In the meantime, Mr Kostas Karamanlis was briefed by Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis on issues relating to civil security. Overall government evaluation, correctional moves and future plans are high on the prime ministers agenda for his visits.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    New Facts for Agriculture

    Main Shareholder at Maximos Mansion

    Meeting Between Karamanlis and Sioufas

    [06] All 35 passengers safe and sound Tourist Craft Runs Aground

    05 May 2005 09:48:00

    By Anna Kourti

    All 35 British passengers on tourist craft Iphigenia Express have been taken safe and sound to Nidri by a Port Authority patrol boat and other craft. Their tourist craft ran aground on a reef southeast of Skorpio, Lefkada. The ship, which was on a tour of Ionian islands, stayed on the mapped reef until 09:00.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [07] 25 dead New Attacks in Baghdad

    05 May 2005 07:27:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters, ANA

    Twenty-five people lost their lives in attacks against the Iraqi security forces on Thursday morning in Baghdad. "Fifteen people were killed shortly after 08:00 in a suicide attack against an Iraqi army recruitment centre at the former airport of Mutana, in the centre of Baghdad," stated a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry. According to the same official, who wished to remain anonymous, the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber driving a car. The number of injured is not known. Earlier, nine policemen were killed in two separate attacks in eastern and western Baghdad. A policeman guarding the residence of a high-ranking Interior Ministry employee was killed and a further five citizens were injured in an attack with a car packed with explosives.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] Regarding the System of Public Expenditures IMF Delegation to Athens

    05 May 2005 12:29:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    A delegation of International Monetary Fund connoisseurs will be arriving to Athens today to offer their knowledge and expertise on the management of public expenditures, following an invitation of the Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. The aim of their visit is to improve the public expenditures management effectiveness, so as to have maximum benefits for the citizens, as per a government announcement regarding money waste. Officials will present the applied processes for the management of public expenditures, while the connoisseurs who will remain in Athens until May 18, will submit their proposals for the system's improvement. After leaving Greece, they foreign experts will also submit a report on how to limit expenditures.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [09] Cheap Energy Key to Success Freeing of Markets Necessary

    04 May 2005 20:20:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    The main points of the economic policy presented by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis during the OECD conference included the immediate implementation of structural changes, bold expenditure cuts and cleansing the public sector. He also pointed out the need to free the energy market and attract private investments in the sector. Actually, according to the OECD, cheap energy is the key to growth and investments, while it is a sector in which Greece will play a significant part, since it is becoming the energy crossroads of Europe. The main topic of the conference was globalization and any matters pertaining to this. "We reviewed the consequences of globalization on the economic prospects of the OECD countries, especially concerning exports, energy, prices of raw materials, disequilibrium of international trade and balance of payments," declared Mr Alogoskougis to the Greek and foreign reporters during the Press conference that followed the proceedings.

    Focus on Investments

    Summing up the discussion, the Minister declared that the two-day conference also focused on another four matters, namely the lack of investments in the energy sector; the need to implement structural changes; the Millennium Declaration for aid to the Third World; and the freeing of international trade.

    Regarding the lack of investments in the energy market, the Greek minister stressed "the need to focus on private sector investments, free the market and invest in energy infrastructure through private and public sector collaborations." He also underlined the need for greater stability and predictability of the regulations for energy pricing, as well as the best possible collaboration between oil producers and consumers worldwide.

    With regard to structural changes, Mr Alogoskoufis mentioned the recent changes in Greece, including tax reforms, the new investment law, the programme to curb public expenditures and privatisations.

    Concerning the Millennium Declaration, Mr Alogoskoufis declared that the aid to the Third World will reach 0.70% of the GDP until 2015, as opposed to 0.20% which is the case today.

    Finally, referring to the freeing of international trade, the Economy Minister stressed Greeces commitment to the target of freeing trade, but noted the need to proceed with caution, in order to avoid any negative outcomes.

    Asked to comment on the invasion of Chinese products in the European market, Mr Alogoskoufis said that the matter is being handled by the EU.

    In the meantime, an unofficial meeting of European Affairs minister from 17 EU Member-States commenced today in Lisbon. The meeting will focus on the fiscal prospects of the 2007-2013 period, while Greece is represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Valinakis and the general secretary of Investments and Growth of the Economy Ministry, Kostas Mousouroulis.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Fears of suicide attack Lorry-Bomb Found in Grozny

    05 May 2005 12:13:00

    By Anna Kourti

    The Russian security forces have found a lorry in Chechnya carrying 1200 kilos of explosives, thought to have been destined for suicide attacks. As General Ilya Sabalkin, spokesman for the headquarters of the Russian forces in the northern Caucasus, stated, "the lorry was found in the Grozny area, and according to information, a terrorsit attack was planned by rebel leaders Samil Basayev, Doku Umarov and Abdul Khalim Sadulayev, the alleged successor to Aslan Maskhadov. The lorry also contained forged passports." The lorry driver and another person travelling in it have been arrested. The Russian security forces expect Chechen rebel attacks around 9 May, anniversary of the victory against Nazi Germany, a national holiday for Russia.

    Translated by Millie Williams

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