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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-05-27

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Cheap Internet for Students
  • [02] Tragic Memories Relived
  • [03] Downloading Human Brains
  • [04] Charged with Extra Bacon and Cheese!
  • [05] Public Administration on the Agenda
  • [06] New Penal Code in Turkey
  • [07] Germany Votes for Euroconstitution
  • [08] Various Reactions Over OTE Agreement
  • [09] Increase in Cotton Funds
  • [10] Guilty Metabolism
  • [11] Stadiums Open to Students
  • [12] "Zero Tolerance"

  • [01] Cheap Internet for Students

    27 May 2005 21:46:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    From Thessaloniki, where he spoke at the 50th anniversary of the Aristoteleio University Polytechnic School, the Prime Minister announced that from the following school year the top student of each year in every school, as well as the students who were the first to pass in each school will have free ADSL access on the Internet. The PM underlined the need to immediately cover the "digital gap" that separates Greece from the more developed countries in the world and went on to announce a series of initiatives in cooperation with OTE for a significant reduction in ADSL access prices. In particular, all undergraduate and postgraduate students in universities and technological institutions will have a 5-euro discount (the current price is approximately 36 euros). What is more, companies providing Internet services and SEPE (Federation of Hellenic Information Technology & Communications Enterprises) have agreed with OTE to offer students a special product for quick Internet access in a significantly reduced price. So, the entire service will be offered at the price of 15 euros, as opposed to the current price which rises to 85 euros.

    Stability and Flexibility

    Furthermore, the PM said the bill for the evaluation in higher education is a fundamental structural change. "It is the necessary precondition to acquire a truly modern and qualitative tertiary education, to have higher education institutions competitive in Europe and the rest of the world, to justify the efforts of our youth and the sacrifices of their parents to offer them education."

    Mr Karamanlis further underlined that the education system needs to acquire stability, flexibility of adjusting to the always changing facts and of corresponding to the demands of modern times.

    In the morning, Mr Karamanlis spoke at the National School of Judges, from where he sent a message for zero tolerance to extra-judicial networks and corruption "phenomena that cast their shadow upon the prestige of Justice and do not belong in modern Greece."

    Important People and Protests

    Members of the government, parliamentarians from all political parties, representatives of the religious and military leadership, as well as a large crowd attended the ceremony for the Polytechnic School's 50th anniversary.

    Before the beggining of the ceremony, students from Thessaloniki held a protest outside the Music Hall. Holding banners that read "Government and EU decisions will remain on paper - We claim a single higher education," students from Thessaloniki demonstrated against the evaluation bill and after handing out leaflets with their demands to passers-by, they left.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [02] Samina Trial Continues on Monday Tragic Memories Relived

    27 May 2005 12:29:00 (Last updated: 27 May 2005 18:43:23)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Tragic memories from the shipwreck of Express Samina, in September 2000 in Paros are being relived in the Three-Member Appellate Court in Piraeus, where the nine accused for the multi-fatality tragedy that cost the lives of 81 people, passengers and crewmembers, are being tried. Shortly before the beginning of the trial on Friday, unionists of the Panhellenic Mercantile Marine Engineers Union (PEMEN) tried to enter the room and were driven out by police forces. The trial was adjourned today, after the roll-call of witnesses and will continue on Monday, when the indictment bill will be announced. However, the eventuality of transferring the trial to the Athens Appellate Court is being investigated, due to the many problems created from the unsuitability of the Court rooms, which were found insufficient for such an important trial.

    The Accused and the Charges

    According to the brief and the last bill of indictment, Express Samina had departed from the port of Piraeus on the evening of September 26, 2000 en route to the islands of Paros, Naxos, Ikaria, Samos and Patmos, with 427 passengers 61 Greek crewmembers aboard, and without having the necessary rescue means, while its certificates stated that is was borderline navigable.

    The accused are Captain Vasilis Giannakis, Lieutenant Anastasios Psichogios who face felony charges, while the crewmembers First Engineer Gerasimos Skadarelis, radio operator Dimitris Tsouras and deckhand Panagiotis Kasdalis face misdemeanor charges. Also two members of the shipping company and an inspector of the Mercantile Marine Ministry will also be tried by the Three-Member Felony Court of Appeals.

    Captain Vasilis Giannakis faces felony charges of manslaughter, bodily harm, breaches of sea transport security and causing a shipwreck while First Officer Giorgos Triantafillos and First Engineer Gerasimos Skadarelis of manslaughter and causing a shipwreck.

    Radio operator Dimitris Tsouras faces charges of abandoning a sinking ship, without the consent of the Captain, while the inspector of the Mercantile Marine Ministry of issuing false certificates.

    The President of Piraeus Three-Member Felony Court of Appeals is Nikos Leontis and Judges Mr Kontos and Mrs Tsoutsani. Vasilis Lambropoulos and Charalabos Thanelas are Alternate Judges. The Prosecutor is Panagiotis Brakoumatsos and Alternate Prosecutor Aristidis Fragiadakis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [03] Onto Supercomputers Downloading Human Brains

    27 May 2005 17:57:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    The predictions of a British futurologist for the second half of the 21st century seem to have stemmed from a science fiction novel. Ian Pearson, head of the Futurology Division in British Telecom, is paid by the telecommunications colossus to imagine tomorrow and this is exactly what he does. As per his latest estimations, for which he took into consideration how fast present technology is moving, the evolution of computers by 2050 will have been so advanced that it will be feasible to download the contents of a human brain onto a supercomputer. What? You may wonder Well, these are his predictions, while he went even further to stress that the point is not to built a computer with adequate power and speed, but to replicate human consciousness.

    Machines With Emotions

    "Its realistic to say that by 2050 humans will be able to download the contents of their brains onto a machine and therefore death would no longer be a problem, at least not for their careers," said Pearson in an interview for The Observer. However, he clarified that this technology might be expensive enough to remain the preserve of the rich for a decade or two more. "If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine," he said and went on to underline that this is not a joke. "We are very serious about it. Sony's new PlayStation 3 computer games console is 35 times as powerful as the model it replaced, and in terms of processing it is one percent as powerful as a human brain. As you can understand, 45 years is a hell of a long time in terms of technology."

    Then, what's the next step. The aim is emotions, what Isaak Asimov was thinking when he wrote "I, Robot" in 1950. "Consciousness is just another sense, effectively, and that's what we're trying to design on a computer," underlined Pearson. "Not everyone agrees, but it's my conclusion that it's possible to make a conscious computer with superhuman levels of intelligence before 2020." This could eventually involve such things as aeroplanes being programmed to be even more terrified of crashing than their passengers, meaning they would do whatever possible to stay airborne.

    One of the "primary reasons" for such work would be to give computers emotions, Pearson said. "If I'm on an aeroplane I want the computer to be more terrified of crashing than I am so it does everything to stay in the air until it's supposed to be on the ground." Well, if his predictions will be verified remains to be seen. But just think that in his time, even Jules Verne was considered to live in his own fantasy world.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [04] Charged with Extra Bacon and Cheese!

    27 May 2005 16:22:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    An elderly woman got on 911s nerves, and sadly did not get her way. So what if is she is 86 years old? Justice is blind and more so in the case of Dorothy Densmore. Her persistence for the local pizza delivery boys to be arrested, because they refused to serve her, resulted to the woman ending up behind bars.

    She managed all of the above on her own, and after 20 enraged telephone calls in 30 minutes to 911, in order to complain that her pizza was not getting delivered. She demanded the punishment of the culprits and said that they called her a "crazy old coot." The policemen that answered the calls explained that they cannot do anything about that, and told her not call again, a warning that she completely and utterly ignored.

    After a while, the policemen arrived in the area, but not to arrest the pizza boys, but the woman, on the accusation of misuse of 911. The policeman that tried to accomplish the mission faced some difficulties, since Mrs Densmore did not have the slightest intent to get arrested.

    The policeman entered the apartment and the tiny but pissed-off elderly woman attacked him and caused some scratches, a bite on his arm and a bruised shinbone. After the incident he added the charge of resistance to authority to the brief, and led her to the police station where she spend the night.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Asks the President of PASOK Public Administration on the Agenda

    27 May 2005 14:43:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    President of PASOK George Papandreou asked for a daily agenda discussion in Parliament, presided by the leaders of the parties, on the subject matter of the "fall" of Public Administration. In a relative letter to President of Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki, the leader of the Opposition writes "a huge gap in the programmed commitments of the governments and its actions" in relation to the re-establishment of the state, on the basis of principles and ethics, meritocracy, democracy and transparency. According to Mr Papandreou "the so-called re-establishment has been coincided by the government and the Prime Minister with partisanship and nepotism. The government is trying to conquer the Public Administration with petty politics and not the general interest." On Wednesday June 8, the Parliament has programmed a daily agenda discussion for the economy, which was asked by the government.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] Approved by the Parliament New Penal Code in Turkey

    27 May 2005 17:24:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    On Friday, the Turkish Parliament ratified a new revised penal code, a necessity for opening negotiation talks for Turkey's accession to the European Union on October 3. Originally, the code was to be implemented on April 1, but that never happened and the code had to be withdrawn because of imposing restrictions to the media. The new penal code has to be signed by president Sezer before being implemented on June 1. In a total of 550 parliamentarians, 346 voted in favour of the new penal code and only three voted against.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] Euroconstitution Voted by Parliament Germany Votes for Euroconstitution

    27 May 2005 14:30:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Today, with an overwhelming majority, the German Upper House ratified the Euroconstitution in a voting session, presided by former President of France Valery Giscard dEstaing. The former President and architect of the Constitution, and President of the Constituent Congress which drafted it, attended the voting in the German Upper House. He sent out a last plea to the French voters to support the European Constitution in the May 29 referendum, since the opinion polls clearly indicate that "no" vote will prevail. However, Giscard went a step further and stated that if the French voters reject the European Constitution on Sundays referendum, there is no other choice than for another referendum to take place in France. "We will not recommence our plan. It is very difficult to do so and there is no political will for such an option. All the countries that will not ratify the Constitution will have vote again," stated Giscard DEstaing to television station LCI. The Euroconstitution had been ratified by the Lower House on May 12.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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    Final Pleas by Chirac

    [08] Various Reactions Over OTE Agreement

    27 May 2005 19:16:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: ANA - NET - NET Radio 105.8

    In a conference held in Thessaloniki, OTE unionists harshly criticized the way PASOK handled the issue of the agreement between the administration and the employees of OTE. At the same time, PASOK president George Papandreou accused the Government of not being "capable of proceeding with significant reforms" and asked them to publicize all details concerning the agreement, while he indirectly disapproved of PASOK unionists working in OTE who signed the deal. In the meantime, deputy government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros repeated the Governments satisfaction and clarified that the revocation of the permanent working status will not affect civil servants, only those wishing to be hired under the new OTE regime. "OTEs example regarding the voluntary redundancy plan and the revocation of the permanent working status will be followed by other DEKOs (public enterprises which are classed as public services and utilities) as well," stressed Minister of Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis.

    Various Views in PASOK

    The agreement for the voluntary redundancy plan was the focus of the Friday meeting between G. Papandreou and PASOK's financial staff in view of the scheduled discussion in Parliament over the Economy.

    "On a daily basis, the Government proves it is not capable of proceeding with serious reforms and regarding OTE in particular, we have important questions that need to be answered in full detail," stressed the Opposition president in statements, underlining that the most important issue for his party is the great cost of the OTE agreement changes and especially the transfer of this cost at the expense of workers.

    At the same time, Mr Papandreou indirectly disapproved of PASOK unionists working in OTE who signed the deal and answering a relevant question said: "I state the principles we follow as a Movement, onto which we hold firmly."

    Former Parliament Speaker, Apostolos Kaklamanis, stressed that if the Government tries to pass a law in Parliament for the privatization of OTE and the agreement between administration and workers, the EU will surely react as there will be problems of unconstitutionality.

    Answering, Greek Commissioner Stavros Dimas underlined there will be no problem with the European Union because OTE's administration has already held two meetings with competent authorities, during which the choices in question were approved.

    Unionists Stand Divided

    In the meantime, the agreement with the Vourloumis administration and mainly the revocation of the permanent working status has divided OTE workers, while tension escalated on Friday at the 30th conference of OTE workers held in Thessaloniki.

    "The movement of unionists has the experience and the abilities to face problems and whoever underestimates us will find themselves facing unpleasant surprises," said OME-OTE president Giorgos Panagopoulos answering criticism for signing the agreement.

    New Democracy representative, parliamentarian Marios Salmas, underlined that workers in OTE will be protected, while PASOK representative Evangelos Venizelos stressed that the cost of the voluntary redundancy plan must not be transferred to society through the budget.

    During Mr Venizelos' speech, a unionist caused tension when speaking to PASOK's parliamentarian said that "PASKE should take a stand and not fool people."

    As for KKE parliamentarian Angelos Tzekis and SYN representative Nikos Pavlidis, they were against the agreement because it revokes the permanent working status and changes labour relations.

    Speaking on NET Radio 105.8, GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos underlined that the Confederation has the obligation to react to the eventuality of financially burdening society and other workers outside OTE.

    "Permanent Working Status Not Affected"

    During the regular briefing of political reporters, deputy government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros clarified that for employees already working in OTE there is no case of revoking the permanent working status.

    Answering a question who will pay the high cost for the voluntary redundancy plan, Mr Antonaros underlined that what is important "is the total benefit for OTE, its employees, Greek Economy and society," while he accused former PASOK governments of including OTE and DEI social insurance costs to the national budget.

    Lastly, the deputy government spokesperson said there will be no objections from the Commission, underlining that OTE's administration had contacted the Commission in the past and will continue talks in the present.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Day After for OTE

    [09] Increase in Cotton Funds

    27 May 2005 18:01:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: NET 105.8- ANA

    The funds that 80,000 Greek cotton growers will receive are bigger than the initial estimations, since the relative European Union committee fully accepted the cotton producing data that the Ministry of Rural Development sent. As Minister of Rural Development, Evangelos Basiakos stated, the income of the cotton growers is increased, since they will receive 0.11 euros per kilo for the quantities given until December 15, 2004, and 0.15 euros per kilo given after that date. In total, Greece will receive 727 million euros of cotton funds for 2004. "The governments choices in the issue of protecting the cotton growers income have been justified, which has importantly risen, and the handling of the audits," stated the Minister.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [10] Guilty Metabolism

    27 May 2005 14:34:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: Reuters- Nature

    Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque is formed in arteries leading to their blockage. It is one of the most common diseases of the cardiovascular system and the primary cause of death around the world and Greece. How can the phenomenon of non-smokers, with low levels of cholesterol being in danger of strokes and heart attacks, be explained? It is quite possibly due to the "bad" metabolism, as it is called, of the arteries walls, as years go by, stated American scientists who studied genetically modified rats with blocked arteries, hoping that the research would provide nutritional advice that would safeguard the body from the disease.

    Key is Sufficient Intake of Fatty Acids

    The research was conducted by the scientific group of the Washington University School of Medicine, in St Louis Missouri, U.S. and the results were published in magazine Nature.

    The conclusion they reached was that the presence of high cholesterol is the usual suspect of atherosclerosis. The reduction of cholesterol by dieting does not always guarantee guarding against heart conditions. "We can say that the majority of the people that suffer heart disease have low levels of cholesterol and this is indicated in the above findings," stated endocrinologist Clay Semenkovich, a professor of the School of Medicine.

    Studying the rats, we concluded that the disrupted metabolism in the cells of the arteries fires a process that contributes to the creation of atherosclerosis. If we are able to modify the metabolism then we can prevent and possibly cure the disease, he added.

    How is the metabolism disrupted? One of the causes is the insufficient intake of fatty acid in our daily diet, state the scientists. "Were very interested in the potential for nutritionally modifying these processes with specific fats in order to see if we can cure atherosclerosis," ended Mr Semenkovich, who with his team is focusing the research towards that direction. Until the answer is found, we remind you that fatty fish, soya oil, green leafy vegetables and walnuts are excellent sources of fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] Stadiums Open to Students

    27 May 2005 15:59:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    Once again 2,000 6th grade students from 60 schools around Attica, 120 teachers and 100 volunteers had the chance to meet with Greek Olympians but to also see the 2004 Olympic Game stadiums, during their visit to the Galatsi Olympic Gymnasium. In the context of the program "Open Stadium-The Celebration of the Olympic Spirit Continues," by the Ministry of Culture, the General Secretariat of Olympic Utilization in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Greek Gymnastics Association, thousands of students were informed by Greek sportsmen and women in order to choose a suitable sport. The event was attended by Alternate Minister of Culture Fani Palli-Petralia, Minister of Education Marietta Giannakou and Deputy Minister of Culture Giorgos Orfanos.

    In the Hands of the Athletes

    With the presence of Olympians and Champions of gymnastics, Dimosthenis Tabakos, Vlassis Maras, Vasileios Tsolakidis, the Youth Team of Rhythmic Gymnastics and the champions of the trampoline, the visitors of the Galatsi Olympic Gymnasium learned the secrets of artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline from the athletes. They also had the opportunity to remember the great moments through a video with excerpts from the Olympic and Paralympic Games of Athens.

    Message by the President of Republic

    The event was addressed by a message of President of Republic Karolos Papoulias underlining among others "having participated in sports from my teen years I consider that stadiums are the healthiest area for the growth of the spirit and body. From my experiences in sports, I personally won the persistence in achieving a goal, befriending a defeat, sharing and cooperating, using my capabilities and the will to try to overcome them. I am hopeful that the students that responded to todays event will be enchanted by the world that opens up in front of them, from the world of drug-free sportsmanship."

    In her address, Alternate Minister of Culture Fani Palli-Petralia underlined "a great effort has been made in order for the great heritage of the Olympic Games to be utilized by the whole of the Greek society," and added "the aim is for many more children to approach sports, in order for the next generation of athletes, champions and also fans to emerge.

    Speaking to the students she noted, "from the program Open Stadiums-The Celebration of the Olympic Spirit Continues" they have the opportunity to see the Olympic facilities from up close, get acquainted with the sports from the federations, the coaches, the Olympians and our champions."

    Youth will Continue the Celebration

    Following, Minister of Education Marietta Giannakou took the floor and noted "the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture will continue the effort in order to cultivate collectiveness and the common effort associated with personal effort and responsibility." In his speech, Deputy Minister Giorgos Orfanos underlined "we are continuing the effort to utilize the spirit of the Olympic Games and to send the message that the celebration continues with the participation of the youth."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] PM Condemned Corruption "Zero Tolerance"

    27 May 2005 12:46:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Today, the Prime Minister, speaking at the 10-year celebration of the National School of Judges in Thessalonica, announced the governments decisiveness to counter corruption and extra-judicial circuits. " The position of the government for zero tolerance to extra-judicial circuits, corruption and transaction is clear and nonnegotiable," stated Mr Karamanlis, and called on the new Judges to serve their profession with "faith and devotion without derogation and compromise," underlining that this in the end will be their recognition. The Prime Minister analyzed the aim of government policy in Justice, and made reference to the modernization of its function, the constant upgrade of its quality, the expedition of its work and the reinforcement of its independence.

    "Safeguarding Greek Justice"

    The PM noted that the corruption phenomena that overshadow Justice do not belong in modern Greece. "The majority of the judicial workers that honor the oath and institution cannot coincide with the exceptions."

    Mr Karamanlis analyzed the aims of the government policy in the Justice department, saying that they are the modernization of its function, the constant upgrade of its quality, the expedition of its work and the reinforcement of its independence.

    "We are safeguarding and institutionally supporting the Greek Justice in order to receive what it deserves: the prestige, respect and the peoples trust," he said and announced "we are working for a Justice that will be blameless and respectable to the conscience of all Greek citizens. A corrupt Judge does not belong and cannot exist in todays Justice."

    Continuing the PM said that the leadership of the Justice has began the rationalization process, and that the government is advancing the necessary legislative interventions. As he noted, the bill that was recently voted in Parliament is in accordance with the above.

    "We have safeguarded a series of specific measures targeted at radically countering corruption phenomena in the Justice department. The judicial and extra-judicial transactions should be exterminated, and there should be support to the honest and uncorrupted judicial workers that make up the overwhelming majority," he noted.

    Mr Karamanlis also made reference that the broader program of reformation of the correctional facilities has began yielding fruits.

    For the infrastructure in Justice, he said that the construction of six new modern Judicial Mansions are continuing and the studies for another seven have been completed, while information works in judicial services around the country have started, and the computerization of the penal records of the First Instance Prosecution in ten big cities is being materialized.

    In his speech Minister of Justice Anastasis Papaligouras said, among others, that the presence of the PM in the celebration "signals the governments concern to form a new generation of Greek judicial workers with high educational background and conscience, with substantial composition and uncorrupted character, capable of responding to unprecedented facts, to new demands and circumstances that the speedy changes of the modern world bring to the broader area of Justice."

    The celebration was attended, among others, by the leadership of the Justice, Thessalonica Mayor, Vasilis Papageorgopoulos and Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.

    Tonight, Mr Karamanlis will speak at the 50-year celebration of the Polytechnic School of Thessalonica.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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