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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-05-12

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Indictment for DEKA
  • [02] New Spring for ERT
  • [03] Robot Clones
  • [04] Benefits to Former MPs
  • [05] Panagiotis Fourlas Indicted
  • [06] Heavy Fine for Aegean Sun
  • [07] Airborne Adventure
  • [08] Blast Near School in Indian Kashmir
  • [09] No End to Attacks
  • [10] State by State Yes Victory
  • [11] Ocalan Trial "Unfair"
  • [12] Greece Convicted over Olympic Airways
  • [13] Two Matchdays for PAOK and Panionios
  • [14] Michalis Genitsaris Passes Away
  • [15] What Women Want
  • [16] Suspension for Kougias

  • [01] Government lays political blame on PASOK Indictment for DEKA

    12 May 2005 14:34:00 (Last updated: 12 May 2005 23:09:16)

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8

    The chairman and the members of the administrative council of the Public Moveable Assets Organisation (DEKA) have been indicted with charges of the degree of felony, relating to the case of buying shares during the 2000 pre-election period. The case in question regards the buying and selling of shares in state businesses, such as OTE (telecommunications), Hellenic Petroleum, the National and Commercial Banks "DEKAs acts have no relation whatsoever with the unfavourable financial developments of 1999-2000," stressed PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanasakis. He called on the government not to attempt to take political advantage of the case, and on Greek Justice to rise to its duties.

    Statements from Athanasakis and Evert

    Referring to the issue, PASOKs Press spokesman Nikos Athanasakis stated: "the question regards the buying and selling of shares in major state businesses, between the Greek public sector and the purely state company DEKA SA, as part of constitutionally permitted and legal political decisions. The Public Sector was not harmed in any way. And more than this, it cannot be blamed on honest personnel."

    At the same time, Mr Athanasakis calls on ND not to take political advantage of the case.

    According to Mr Athanasakis, both the governments spokesman and the government "know very well that DEKAs actions, for which personnel stand accused, have no relation whatsoever to the financial developments of 1999-2000."

    "The connection attempted by the government is taking place simple to take advantage of the justifiably negative feelings of those who lost money at that time on the Stock Market, by creating scapegoats," repeated Mr Athanasakis, adding that at a political level, ND was able to put all process in motion in Parliament."

    In conclusion he stated: "They did not do so, and yet again they are trying to hide behind Justice, even by trying to predecide its rulings. As for the general matter of the Stock Exchange, let them go back to the preelection of 2000 and look at the Stock Exchange. They should do so before returning to hypocrisies like that of today."

    Former President of ND Miltiadis Evert has submitted a report into the matter.

    In a written statement, among other things, Mr Evert notes "DEKA totally departed from the purpose for which it was founded, in order to serve political interests, deceiving the people regarding the national economy and the state of the Stock Exchange. After the elections, it sold the shares which it had bought before the elections, causing the General Share Index to fall and the shares to devalue."

    The former president of ND described Mr Athanasakis statements as morally unacceptable and stressed that it highlights the lack of respect towards the Constitution and the laws of the country. At the same time, he advises "Mr Athanasakis, and all those who heard the statement, to keep their cool."

    Konstantinos Mitsotakis described the indictment decision as "correct" after his meeting with the Prime Minister.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [02] Panagopoulos' Statements for the Company's Future New Spring for ERT

    12 May 2005 15:44:00 (Last updated: 12 May 2005 22:57:13)

    By Anna Kourti

    In his first wide-scale official Press conference, ERTs Chairman Christos Panagopoulos announced a new Spring for the public radio-television. The ERT board made some important decisions to face problems that have built up, purge and improve the companys financial state, as well as its image to the public. In the Press Conference held today, ERT S.A.s chairman stressed that "the company will proceed with the exploitation of its real estate, will use new technologies to produce services and digital programmes and will take steps towards commercial activities that are combined to its aim." We are getting out in the market stressed Mr Panagopoulos and we are aiming at a new Spring for public radio-television.

    Aiming at Technology and Culture

    ERT is turning a new financial leaf, aiming to put an end to the damage caused over the last 15 years, amounting to over 119 million euros.

    ERTs administration considers that among other things, the following will contribute to solving the financial problem:

    Making use of the companys vast real estate by leasing, a process already started in collaboration with the Commercial Bank Solving the problem of managing the companys finances, with better handling of personnel A positive result that will bring the use of new activities and technology

    Regarding the licence fee, which according to data is the lowest in the whole of Europe as a percentage of per capita GDP, and which is the main source of income for the company, the Chairman of ERT stated that the government would receivbe a proposal on increasing the fee so that it could put new plans into action and strengthen the fluidity of the company, which has suffered damage over the last 15 years.

    ERTs daughter company New Cable Television, in which ERT owns 100% of the shares, will contribute to the financial renewal of the company.

    Through the New Cable Television, ERT will make us of the Internet, digital technology, ERTs rich archive, DVDs and text messages, as well as a small amount of the companys real estate.

    At the same time, there is a plan to enter the digital age, by creating new digital pilot programmes, to be broadcast freely.

    A new era is also dawning for TV magazine Radiotileorasi, which will appear in a new format on 27 May, together with two DVDs from ERTs rich archive.

    At the same time, the cultural sector is to be promoted, as the Thessaloniki Song Festival is to be revived, ERTs choirs and Music Bands will be made use of and programmes related to Art and Theatre will be created.

    Mr Panagopoulos predicted that the results would be clear in a year.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] When Technology Copies Biology Robot Clones

    12 May 2005 12:55:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    A group of American researchers aspires to create a new generation of robots that will be able to reproduce themselves. The first steps have already been taken and their aim is to design a robot that will consist of hundreds of identical parts, which will have the ability to self-repair, technically evolve themselves or even build small robotic assistants, when they need them. For the time being, they have created a draft of their grandiose idea. We are talking about a robotic system consisting of just three of four mobile cubes. Each of the cubes comes with a small computer code carrying a blueprint for the layout of the robot, electrical contacts to let it communicate with its neighbours, and magnets to let them stick together. Having the ability to move and turn, in a little more than a minute, a simple three-cube robot can make a copy of itself.

    The Applications of the Invention

    These new copies will be able to make new copies of themselves. As research head Hod Lipson said, the present model is nothing but a toy demonstration of the idea. He went on to add that the invention will offer great services to space exploring because of its ability to self-repair. Space applications clearly come to mind. If you're sending a robot to one of Jupiter's moons, and the robot breaks, then the mission is over," said Dr Lipson. "So you would like to have a robotic system that can adapt, or to repair itself, remotely. So that would be one clear application." As per Lipson, the new robots could also be used in mines and nuclear facilities.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Range of reactions Benefits to Former MPs

    12 May 2005 20:03:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    Reactions have arisen with the unanimous decision by the Plenary Session of Parliament to grant a monthly benefit of 3000 euros for the next two years to former MPs who were freelance professionals and were not reelected on 7 March 2004. The benefit will be paid to those who did not stand as candidates owing to the incompatibility of their profession with their position as MP. In a written statement, the former President of the Hellenic Republic, Konstantinos Stefanopoulos speaks of a decision provoking the public. Konstantinos Mitsotakis also stated his opposition. The move regards about 60-65 former MPs.

    Those who Do Not Qualify

    The Speaker of Parliament, Anna Psarouda-Benaki, stated that the decision regards between 60 and 65 former MPs, who will receive a monthly payment to assist reinsertion into their professional sphere, while they will also be provided with the health cover of current MPs.

    Those who qualify are MPs who closed lawyers offices, surgeries, commercial enterprises, etc, in order to comply with the new Constitutional dictate that there can be no incompatibility between professional and parliamentary spheres.

    The health cover will not be provided to former MPs who have pension rights as MPs or who have full pension rights from a major national insurance fund, as well as those who following their failure to be reelected can return to the civil service.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [05] Over faulty fire engines Panagiotis Fourlas Indicted

    12 May 2005 17:22:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    By order of the Athens Council of Misdemeanours, the former Chief of the Fire Service and current General Secretary of Civil Protection Panagiotis Fourlas, along with two former deputies, Achilleas Kontogiorgos and Anastasios Galanopoulos, as well as the Director for the City of Athens, Stelios Stefanidis and the Director of Technical Applications Giorgos Papageorgiou face indictment. All five face charges relating to the fact that although they were aware of the manufacturing problems with fire engines, they did not return them to the manufacturer as they should have. One of the faulty fire engines killed firemen Andreas Bosinas and Panagiotis Skourtis in July 1999, during an operation to extinguish a fire in the Voula district.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [06] By decision of Mercantile Marine Ministry Heavy Fine for Aegean Sun

    12 May 2005 15:59:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    The Ministry of Mercantile Marine has imposed a fine of 5 million 200 thousand euros for rule violations and inadequate safety precautions on the shipping company that owns the vehicle carrier Aegean Sun, which illegally approached the port of Ammochostos in Occupied Cyprus. In accordance with the ministerial decision, the fine serves as a warning to any other Greek shipping company that allows a ship to sail into any port in Occupied Cyprus. In the meantime, the captain of the Aegean Sun, Stathis Stylianos, who was before the court today on charges of rule violation and inadequate safety precautions on board the ship, received an adjournment until September. Besides this, the captain has been charged with inadeuqte certification and illegal approach of a Turkish occupied port, while shipowner Kostas Agapitos also faces charges relating to the case.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [07] On board an Air France plane Airborne Adventure

    12 May 2005 21:24:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Reuters

    An Air France aeroplane was forced by the American authorities to change direction after information that among the passengers was a person whose name was included in the list of people who are forbidden to set foot on American soil (no fly list). The aeroplane was on flight 332 and was to have landed at Logan Airport in Boston at 19:30 GMT (21:30 Greek time). Finally, a short while ago it landed at Bangor International Airport in Maine. The FBI have arrested the suspect passenger.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] 50 Injured Blast Near School in Indian Kashmir

    12 May 2005 14:30:00

    By Anna Kourti

    At least 50 people were injured, including 20 students, after a bomb exploded near a school in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir. According to security forces, Islamite separatist guerrillas most probably launched the attack. The bomb was targeted against a security forces vehicle traveling at a low speed near the Tindeil Biskow male high school in Srinagar. "At least 50 people, including 20 students, were injured by the blast," said a police spokesperson. This is the second attack in Srinagar in just two days. The separatist revolt which started in 1989 in Indian-administered Kashmir has resulted in the death of thousands of people.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [09] Violence in Iraq Never Ends No End to Attacks

    12 May 2005 13:10:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: ANA - BBC

    A booby trapped car exploded on Thursday morning in a frequented market place near a mosque, eastern Baghdad. 17 people were killed to the blast and 67 were injured, while many stalls were destroyed. According to authorities, an investigation is being held to find out whether the blast was caused by a suicide-bomber or not. What is more, during various militant assaults in the Iraqi capital and Samarra, six Iraqis lost their lives, including a major-general and a Police colonel. In Kirkuk, a police officer was injured when a booby trapped car, parked at the corner of the street, exploded while an Iraqi Police patrol car was passing by. As per brigadier Yandgtar Abdullah, the car exploded with a remote control. In the meantime, during an operation against guerrillas, two marines lost their lives when their armoured vehicle fell on a landmine in northwest Iraq, near the Syrian borders.

    Succumbed to Their Wounds

    Six Itraqis were killed, including an Iraqi army general and a Police colonel, after guerrilla assaults in the Iraqi capital and Samarra.

    "Major-General Iyad Imad Mahdi was fatally injured at 07:15 local time, while exiting his home in the Jihad quarter, western Baghdad, by armed insurgents who opened fire against him," stated an Internal Affairs Ministry source. The major-general succumbed to his wounds while being taken to the Yarmouk hospital.

    The gunmen managed to escape in a car. Major-General Iyad Imad Mahdi was the head of the Iraqi Defense Ministry Chamber of Operations.

    An hour later, armed guerrillas shot and killed Police colonel Fadhel Muhammad Mumbarak, who worked at the Internal Affairs Ministry. The Colonel was exiting his house in the Al Amin quarter when he was attacked. He was shot many times and as a result succumbed to his wounds while being taken to the Kidi hospital.

    In Samarra, 125km north of Baghdad, two soldiers and two civilians lost their lives in two different attacks. The soldiers died when a bomb exploded at a checkpoint.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] In Germany's lower House of Parliament State by State Yes Victory

    12 May 2005 15:55:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA, BBC

    The German lower house of Parliament (the Bundestag) has ratified the European Constitution by an overwhelming majority. In fact, of the total of 594, the Bundestag approved the European Constitution with 569 votes in favour and 23 against, with two abstentions, thereby greatly exceeding the requisite two-thirds majority. The European Constitution is also expected to be approved by the Upper House (Bundesrat) in the scheduled round of voting on 27 May, two days before the crucial referendum is held in France. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had called on MPs to approve the European Constitution, stressing that thanks to the "historic" constitution, as he called it, the EU will be "better able to take decisions, more democratic and closer to citizens." In fact, the German Chancellor expressed the desire that Germanys "yes" vote should set an example.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [11] Ocalan Trial "Unfair"

    12 May 2005 11:37:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The decision of the International Court for Human Rights, which said the Abdullah Ocalan trial was "unfair", is expected to cause problems to Ankara in view of negotiation talks with the European Union, which will open on October 3. In particular, with 11 votes in favour, the Court ruled that the Kurdish leader was not tried by an independent and neutral court in 1999 and now applies pressure to Ankara for trying the case again. "Turkey will do what is has to do," said the Turkish government spokesperson, thus implying that they are ready to try the Kurdish leader again. Furthermore, the vice president of the governing party, Dengir Mir Mehmet F&#305;rat, said that Ankara will respect the principles of the Rule of Law and will have to commit itself to amend its laws before trying Ocalan again. It should be noted that Ocalan has been sentenced for life for his leading role in the long lasting revolution of the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, which caused the death of at least 30,000 people in the 80s and 90s.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] Adjudicated the European Court Greece Convicted over Olympic Airways

    12 May 2005 13:01:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: 105.8, NA

    Today, the European Court convicted Greece for the state aid granted to Olympic Airways for the period 1998-2002. As per the ruling, the court decided that Greece did not implement the necessary measures to ensure the repayment of those funds, which were considered incompatible to the operation of the Common Market. Specifically, the Greek State was convicted for the non-repayment of 40 million euros, monies that were awarded for the voluntary retirement of company employees. According to the court, such initiatives do not constitute a fulfillment of the obligations of Member-States, concerning the search for state aid. As a result, the Court ruled that the Commissions appeal, ie Olympic Airways restructuring programme had not been implemented and some of the clauses of the approval decision had not been kept, was valid. Furthermore, it ruled that Greece violated its obligations by not implementing the necessary measures to seek for funds, which were considered illegal and incompatible to the Common Market. The European Commission expressed its content regarding the decision, also underlining that the Communitys executive body will be expecting Greeces immediate conformation with the decision.

    Privatization Will not Be Postponed

    In the meantime, as per sources, this development is considered positive for the Greek side, since no timeframe for the repayment will be set, while no fines will be imposed.

    According to the same sources, the Transport Ministry will be sending a non-paper to the European Commission, in which it is mentioned that the call for tender process underway for the privatization of Olympic Airways will be hindered, but not postponed, since the ruling pertains to the old company and not the new.

    Commenting the European Court's decision, government spokesperson Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed that the matter went so far because of the former government's neglect, adding that the decision is actually a conviction which doesn't honour PASOK governments nor Mr Simitis. He also underlined that the mistakes and omissions of the previous government actually wasted one billion euros.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [13] Two Matchdays for PAOK and Panionios

    12 May 2005 21:07:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    The Sports Court has ruled that PAOK and Panionios fans should lose two matchdays owing to the incidents created by their fans in last Sundays matches against Panathinaikos and Aris respectively. If this ruling is not challenged and changed in the Appeals Court, to which the teams have the right to recourse, the matches Panionios-Ergotelis and PAOK Egaleo will be held behind closed doors for the last matchday in the First Division, while the two FCs will play the second penalty match in the next season.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [14] Funeral on Friday Michalis Genitsaris Passes Away

    12 May 2005 18:17:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Great rebetika singer Michalis Genitsaris has passed away at the age of 88, suffering from a lung infection. His funeral will be held on Friday in Piraeus, and the funeral Mass will be sung at 16:00 in the Church of Aghia Sofia, Piraeus. Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis has expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. "Michalis Genitsaris genuinely served rebetika music all his life. His death is a great loss for Greek folk music, which as lost a genuine artist," said Mr Karamanlis.

    Michalis Genitsaris was born in 1917 in Aghia Sofia, Piraeus. He learned to play the bouzouki and the baglamas at a very young age, while he wrote a great number of songs.

    His first song was a great success. In 1935 he started to play the bouzouki and sing professionally. His songs have been performed by many great folk singers, such as Kazantzidis, Bithikotsis, Gavalas, Grey, Pagioumtzis, Dionysiou, Vitali, Alexiou, Dalaras, Glykeria, Mitsias, and others.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [15] To Be Happy What Women Want

    12 May 2005 15:34:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    One of the most frequent complaints you can hear from a man's lips to his wife or lover is that she doesnt know what it is that makes her happy. Well, the answer is finally here, as per German magazine Woman, which recently held a study in search of those clues that compose female happiness. According to the findings, the secret lies in friendship and health. 98% of the women asked, said they fly sky-high when these two fields of their lives prosper. Another factor that contributes to the improvement of personal bliss is a steady relationship or family. It is worth mentioning that 73% said they are happy with their lives. However, more than half of these women answered they would change quite a few things if they could start their lives all over again.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [16] Suspension for Kougias

    12 May 2005 14:27:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    The disciplinary board of the Athens Bar Association imposed a six-month suspension to A. Kougias for beating journalist G. Valianatos at Kolonaki square. Lawyer Alexis Kougias was disbarred for indecent behaviour and for braking the lawyers code. Shipowner Nikos Vernikos testified as an eye-witness, while the lawyer's request to postpone the disciplinary pursuit was rejected. In the meantime, the plenary session of the Supreme Court almost unanimously dismissed Athens Appellate Court deputy prosecutor Nikos Athanasopoulos for inadequacy to fulfill his duties because of morale absence, for the misdemeanors he committed, such as his interference to a group of justices who were bribed to issue favourable decisions regarding drug trafficking and for his interference to archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis' cases. As the hearing procedure began, Athanasopoulos asked for a postponed due to health reasons, which was accepted.

    Ilia Continues Testifying

    In the meantime, former examiner Antonia Ilia is testifying for the second day before Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas regarding her implication to the extra-judicial network.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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