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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-05-30

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] A Loud "Non"
  • [02] Jerusalem Suffragan
  • [03] Social Security at the Focus
  • [04] Unlocking the Secrets of Chronic Fatigue
  • [05] Fierce Mobilisation
  • [06] The Samina Trial
  • [07] Pope Opens Towards Orthodoxy
  • [08] Fatal Attacks
  • [09] Sweepstake for Hariri's Son
  • [10] European Press Comments on "Non"
  • [11] In Hospital Due to a Gas Cylinder Leak
  • [12] Holy Synod Convenes Over Suffragan

  • [01] The French Say No to the EU Constitution A Loud "Non"

    29 May 2005 23:01:00 (Last updated: 30 May 2005 09:21:50)

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The miracle that Jacques Chirac had hoped for did not happen. The predictions of the latest opinion polls were confirmed, and the overwhelming majority of the French citizens rejected the European Constitutional Treaty in the clearest way. According to the final results, announced by the Ministry of the Interior, the "no" vote took 54.87%, against 45.13% for "yes". The result of the referendum has caused a domino effect in France and Europe. In a televised message, French President Jacques Chirac stated that he respects and values the French peoples opinion which was expressed democratically. He noted that France will continue to hold its own positions and commitments towards the European Union. Mr Chirac added that he will support the French positions, taking into account the message sent by the French citizens, at the EU Summit Meeting. He concluded that in the coming days he will announce his decisions over the government and its future actions.

    Domino Reactions

    In France

    Right-wing extremist Jean Marie Le Pen asks for Presidential and Parliamentary elections the soonest possible. "The Yes supporters have been defeated and based on the spirit of democracy are called to resign," he said while commenting on the result of the French referendum.

    Commenting on the result of the French referendum, First Secretary of the Socialist Party Francois Hollande harshly criticized Jacques Chirac and his government. He noted that today the French, even if done at the wrong time, expressed their anger against a government that did not pay attention to the problems that they face.

    "The rejection of the Constitutional Treaty is a rejection of todays government," he said, and underlined that Jacques Chirac cannot offer a political future and hope, even if he went forth with a reshuffle.

    From his part, President of the French governing party UMP Nicolas Sarkozy, noted that the government should listen to the demands made by the citizens through their votes and review its policy.

    In Europe

    British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw expressed his sadness over the result of the French referendum. As he noted, the consequences from the French "No" are broader for Europe. He added that in the upcoming Summit Meeting, in June, they have to investigate what kind of Europe they want, taking into consideration the need of countering unemployment, improvement of education and quality of life.

    The Dutch Prime Minister asked of the Dutch people to make their own choice, regardless of the French peoples decision. Jean Peter Balkenende noted that the French result gives one more reason to the citizens of the Netherlands to vote for the European Constitutional Treaty in the Dutch referendum on Wednesday.

    From his part, German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder stated that the French "No" has "taken the whole Constitutional process a step backwards but it is not the end."

    President of the Commission, Jose Barroso expressed his grief over the vote of a country that for the past fifty years has been a driving force in the EU. He noted that the judgment of the French citizens deserves all of our respect and we should get involved in the result in order to analyze the results of the total of ratification proceeding in all of the countries.

    From his part, President of the EU and Prime Minister of Luxemburg, Jean Claude Juncker underlined that the result should not affect the ratification proceedings of the Treaty by the rest of the EU member states.

    President of the European Socialist Party, Paul Rasmussen said the May 29, 2005 "is a very sad day for France and Europe." He added that the rumors over the death of the European Constitution are extreme, since, as he made clear, the French "No will not mean the end of the ratification proceedings.

    Former President of the Commission, Romano Pronti was very disappointed with the result of the French referendum.

    In Greece

    The verdict of the French people, as with every people, is respected," stated PM Kostas Karamanlis, adding that the "no" vote on the European Constitution from the French "is a development of concern to us all." At the same time, the PM noted that the progress of European fulfilment has never been pointless, concluding "our aim remains the promotion of European unification. The procedures for it to be ratified by other member states must proceed normally, with no postponement."

    KKE has expressed its satisfaction over the result of the referendum in France

    In an announcement, the Communist Party state that the French people did not succumb to the pressures, threats and ideological terrorism of the imperialist bodies and their allies. It adds that "No" is an example of indiscipline and defiance to the European Unions barbarity, and an important example of exaltation and reinforcement of the peoples fights.

    "With the "no" vote, French workers mark the exhaustion and end of managing policies that took politics away from facing serious social problems," claimed the chairman of ADEDY, Spyros Papaspyros, hailing the result of the referendum.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Oui or Non?

    [02] Metropolitan Bishop Kornilios of Petra Jerusalem Suffragan

    30 May 2005 12:46:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Metropolitan Bishop Kornilios of Petra has been elected as suffragan of the Patriarchy of Jerusalem by the Holy Synod, so that he may oversee the procedure of electing a new Patriarch. Kornilios was also elected as suffragan after the death of Patriarch Diodoros. Two of the four Synod members who follow Eirinaios participated in the Holy Synod. These two are Metropolitan Bishop Iakovos of Skythoupoli and Archimandrite Panaretos.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Holy Synod Convenes Over Suffragan

    [03] Karamanlis-Alogoskoufis Meeting in Maximos Mansion Social Security at the Focus

    30 May 2005 12:35:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Minister of Economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis expressed the certainty that within 15 days a solution will be given to the social security issue of the banks Emporiki and Agricultural. At the same time, the negotiations between the Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) and the Union of Greek Banks reached a dead end once again, while they will be repeated on coming Monday. Moreover, the bank employees announced a 48-hour strike on coming Monday and Tuesday, protesting the planned legislative reform in the social security of the branch. In the meeting between Mr Karamanlis and Mr Alogoskoufis the developments in OTE were also discussed, after an agreement of the administration and the employees over voluntary redundancy.

    "Consensual Agreement" in OTE

    Upon his exit from Maximos Mansion, Mr Alogoskoufis described the development in the OTE agreement as important, and added that there are many pending issues, such as the social security of banks and the necessary reforms in the economy.

    Furthermore, the Minister stated that the cost of the agreement will be make known when the full arrangement is presented and the government has all the data, while answering to the criticism by PASOK, that the cost of voluntary redundancy will be paid by the citizens, the Minister stated that the cost over voluntary redundancy of the OTE employees has been transferred from the previous governments to the Public Sector.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Complaints Against Redundancy

    [04] Close to the Discovery of a Diagnostic Test Unlocking the Secrets of Chronic Fatigue

    30 May 2005 12:08:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: BBC

    A new research by the University of Glasgow seems to be on the road for the diagnosis and treatment of the chronic fatigue syndrome. The syndrome has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a neurological disease, which regardless of age, affects people including children. In Great Britain, it has been calculated that 0.2-0.4% of the population is affected by chronic fatigue syndrome, with women being the majority of the patients. CFSs symptoms are an intense tiredness of the muscles, while there has been no clear method of a diagnosis or treatment. However, researchers of the University of Glasgow observed a common genetic activity between the people that suffer from the syndrome and hope that this will lead to a new diagnostic test, which will result in its effective counter.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Reactions in West Attica against effluent tip Fierce Mobilisation

    30 May 2005 11:18:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Western Attica is simmering with anger, after the announcement from the Ministry of Public Works that it is planning to transport treated effluents from Psytalleia to the rubbish tip in Ano Liosia and to Petroupoli. Residents are currently gathering outside the Ministry building, while on Tuesday a committee chaired by Prefect Aristeidis Arkoudaris will meet with Mr Souflias. At the same time, the Prefectural Council of Western Attica warns that it will appeal to the Supreme Administration Court (SAC) and the European Court, if the Ministry goes ahead with its plans. Speaking on NET 105.8, Deputy Minister Themistoklis Xanthopoulos called on the residents to wait for the Ministrys final decision, while the mayor of Petropoli, Stefanos Vlachos, requested that alternative proposals be examined, as the chosen site is very close to houses and Petra Theatre.

    In the meantime, the possibility of closing the tip indefinitely remains open, according to Mayor Nikos Papadimas of Ano Liosia. The residents accuse him of having signed an agreement on the transport of effluents into the area.

    Tensions rose on Saturday in the Prefectural Council, which met to discuss the matter, while on Friday evening in the Municipal Council of Ano Liosia, residents threw eggs at the Mayor.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Reactions Against Rubbish Tip

    [06] The Samina Trial

    30 May 2005 11:05:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: NET

    On Wednesday, in the Piraeus Naval Court, the trial of the nine defendants in the case of the sinking of the Samina Express will continue. It is expected that the civil appeals and those of the defence lawyers will be discussed. Today, the second day of proceedings, a confirmation of the conditions of civil appeal were heard, while the defendants were not present. After the brief had been read out, and as decided by the Ministry of Justice, the trial will continue next week in an Athens Appeals Court. Tension arose last Friday, as hundreds of relatives of the victims and witnesses could not enter the court room, as there was not enough space.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [07] In support of unity of the Churches Pope Opens Towards Orthodoxy

    30 May 2005 07:48:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: BBC, Reuters

    One his first trip outside of Rome, six weeks after his election, Pope Benedict XVI has visited Bari. There, he pledged to work hard towards unity between the divided Christian Churches. "I want to repeat my desire to work with all my strength to restore full and visible unity between the faithful of Jesus Christ," said the Pontiff, stressing again his pledge that he will try to heal the wounds of the schism between Christian denominations. Speaking to an open air congregation of about 200,000 of the faithful, the Pontiff described Bari as a meeting place for dialogue, emphasizing the meaning of reconciliation between the Vatican and the Orthodox Church. At the same time, he denounced excessive consumerism in the world and religious indifference, while he appealed to Catholics to keep Sunday as a spiritual day.

    Symbolic Visit.

    The choice of Bari is symbolic for the relations between the Christian Churches, as it is home to the relics of St Nicholas of Mytra, a bishop in Asia Minor in the 4th century, respected equally by Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

    "Here, in Bari, the city which keeps the relics of St Nicholas, a place of meeting and dialogue with our Christian brothers of the East, I repeat by intention to undertake the deep commitment to work with all my strength to reestablish unity between all faithful Christians," stressed the Pope.

    The Adriatic port has a long Orthodox tradition, while Benedict XVIs predecessor John Paul II described the city as "a bridge between West and East."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [08] 20 dead, 35 injured Fatal Attacks

    30 May 2005 08:51:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters

    Twenty five people lost their lives and a further 100 were injured in two suicide attacks in the town of Hilla, south of Baghdad. According to the Iraqi authorities, the first suicide bomber detonated the explosives amongst Iraqis who were waiting outside a medical centre to undergo examinations, in order to be recruited into the police force, while the second suicide bomber blew himself up amongst policemen who were demonstrating, demanding higher salaries. The explosions occurred at 09:00, local time, In the meantime, a former official of Saddam Hussein was arrested on Sunday in Baghdad by American-Iraqi forces.


    "The general who was arrested was a member of the intelligence service of the former regime and belonged to the Fedayin. He was the leader of several terrorist cells that are active in the Gazaliya district in western Baghdad, attacking the American forces with bombs and shells," stated the Multinational Forces, without releasing the name of the general.

    The Islamic Party, the main Sunni party in Iraq, announced on Monday that its leader Mokhsen Abdel Hamid and his three sons were arrested in the early hours of the morning in Baghdad. "Mokhsen Abdel Hamid was arrested at 04:00 in western Baghdad, along with his sons Yasser, Makdad and Asyad," stated Alaa Maki, member of the partys political office, without clarifying the reasons for the arrest. The American military has yet to confirm the arrest.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [09] He won all parliamentary seats in Beirut Sweepstake for Hariri's Son

    30 May 2005 07:35:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    An overwhelming victory in yesterdays general elections in the Lebanon, the first without the presence of Syrian troops in the country, for Saad Hariri, son of murdered former prime minister Rafik Hariri. As a member of the government stated, the Hariri ballot paper won all 19 seats in Beirut in the new 128 member Parliament. The general elections will continue on the next three Sundays, with voting in other areas of the Lebanon. In the second round next Sunday, elections will be held in the south, where there is a coalition between two Shiite parties, including Hezbollah, while political analysts expect that what was until now the Opposition will reap significant political rewards.

    Translated by Millie Williams

    Related News:

    Polls Open in Lebanon

    [10] Painful failure for Chirac European Press Comments on "Non"

    30 May 2005 11:20:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    According to the front pages of all the newspapers in France, the three letters of the French "non" in yesterdays referendum on the European Constitution translate into an enormous and painful failure, a political earthquake for President Jacques Chirac to begin with, but also for the political sphere in France. "It is obvious that this vote is an earthquake," and "firstly for domestic policy," writes Economy newspaper Tribune on its front page. "The country reminded Chirac that he hadnt learnt anything from the last elections, whether the regional of European elections last year," which he also lost. For the Parisien, "the 55% of the no vote is very large. The French have turned their backs on Chirac, but also on the majority of politicians (both on the right and on the left).

    French Press Expects Political Upheaval

    Leftwing newspaper Liberation reports scathingly against "a political class fed by ostriches, who for years have been making false statements, made up of notorious incompetents, one of whom is the current president."

    For the right-leaning Figaro, "the French people have realized their actual power, which bypasses the direction of European fulfillment and which with their choice consists of a compass for the destiny of 450 million citizens."

    On its front page, the International Herald Tribune, published in Paris, speaks of a "decisive rejection of the European Constitution," stressing that it consists of a personal defeat for Chirac.

    Finally, the Communist Partys newspaper Humanite has the title "55%: the people say NO to liberal Europe." "The way has opened to build a new Constitution jointly with the other peoples of Europe," underlines the newspaper.

    "Referendump" from the British Press

    "NO!" screams the conservative and anti-European Daily Mail, with fat, bold letters on its front page, adding "crisis for Blair, whilst the French give the kiss of death to a European super state." "Vive la France, vive la Republique, Vive la liberte!" concludes the main article in French, ending "what is important is that a grotesque and badly-written text has been buried."

    "The European Constitution Collapses" is the title on the equally conservative popular paper Daily Express.

    "NO: Europe plunges into upheavals as the French reject the European Constitution," stresses conservative Daily Telegraph on its front page, underlining that despite the huge propaganda in favour of the "yes" vote by the Media and all their political leaders, and the influence of Brussels, French voters remained unmoved in favour of "No". However, the newspaper estimates that this "No" is not likely to have any real consequences in Brussels.

    "The French no leaves the European Constitution in a wretched state," stresses the Financial Times. "If there is a question more important than the European Constitution, then it is financial reforms that are to come. Without these reforms, the EU is not likely to achieve any of its political goals, whatever its constitutional framework might be," the newspaper underlines.

    "Britain is ready to abandon its own referendum and hopes to have the help of its European partners to stop the progress of ratification," states the Guardian.

    Popular leftwing newspaper Daily Mirror stresses that "Blair is ready to abandon his plan for the European referendum, after the French no vote." Its front page title is "Referendump"

    German Press Sees Chirac Failure

    "Dominant Refusal", "the French say no to Europe", "A referendum in the form of an uprising" are some of the headlines with which German newspapers greet the results of the referendum on the European Constitution in France.

    "Popular anger at the consequences of open borders, low pay for Polish workers, the unstable situation in industry, cuts in employment and a government that watched the changes and did nothing were taken out on the Constitution," writes the Berliner Zeitung.

    "The EU Enlargement towards the East gave the Europeans of the West the feeling that they were receiving an anonymous Leviathan, a dark power, widening without limits. The anger of those saying no is directed at that and not against a 500-page Constitution text," according to the Suddeutsche Zeitung.

    The German newspapers make especial mention of the personal failure of the President of France, Jacques Chirac, and the probable departure of Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin.

    "After the referendum, great changes await the domestic policy stage in France," according to Die Welt.

    Chirac to Blame, Says Spanish Press

    The European Constitution emerges "mortally wounded" from the French referendum, according to Spanish newspapers, many of which lay the blame on President Jacques Chirac for the defeat of the "yes" vote.

    "No to Chirac, no to the Constitution," is the headline in La Razon, while for El Mundo "the French no plunges Europe into the most serious crisis in its history." "The overwhelming no" leaves Europe in crisis and without a Constitution," according to ABC.

    The Spanish Press blames Jacques Chirac, "who would resign, if he had any dignity," according to El Mundo, which reports that the President of France showed that "he had neither the ability nor the political will to take France out of its stagnation."

    "With no real ability to govern, with no plan, guided by an obvious presidential narcissism, the President of France brought about a personal defeat, which essentially removes him from the chance of reelection," states ABC.

    "The European Union is without direction as of today," says the main article in El Pais. "Even if the Luxemburg presidency insists on keeping to the ratification timetable, its clear that without France we cannot continue, neither can we face the possibility of a make-over for the Constitution in order for there to be a revote in France. The crisis starting in France is a European crisis."

    "France, Europes steam engine, leaves the EU headed for the garage. Especially as, unlike Spain, the referendum was held after a fierce democratic dialogue and as the high rate of voter participation gives a strong legality to the result," writes the main article in El Mundo, under the headline "Frances selfish immobility, a drama for Europe."

    Translated by Millie Williams

    [11] In Hospital Due to a Gas Cylinder Leak

    29 May 2005 22:52:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: NET- NET 105.8

    More than ten people, adults and children were taken to the hospitals of Sotiria and Paidon with fainting spells, after a leak of an unknown gas cylinder, at Akadimia Platonos. Two of the people that were taken in Sotiria Hospital were released, while the rest will remain hospitalized for preventive reasons, since according to the doctors there is not concern over their health. The gas cylinder was picked up by a rag collector. A special service of the Fire Department was called at the area and the firemen transported the cylinder in a special refuge dump of the Athens Municipality, where it was picked up by a crew specialised in waste management.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] Throne Suffragan Will Emerge On Monday Holy Synod Convenes Over Suffragan

    29 May 2005 22:21:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The proceedings over the election of a new Patriarch in Jerusalem have started. On Monday, the Patriarchates Holy Synod will convene in order to choose a throne suffragan that will play a determinative part in the election of the new Patriarch. According to ecclesiastical sources from Jerusalem, the suffragans vote counts for two, regardless of an equal amount of votes, while he will have a substantial and major part during the pre-election period for the election of the new Patriarch.

    Possible Successors

    According to the Sunday edition of Eleftherotipia newspaper, the succession issue of the new Patriarch has been already discussed in Phanar. As per the newspaper, three names of leading clerics were discussed at the Panorthodox Synod. The newspaper stated that Mr Bartholomew approached Archbishop of Tirana Anastasios, without getting a positive answer, while proposals were heard about Thiva Metropolitan Bishop Ieronimos and Mesogaias Nikolaos. However, the Holy Sepulcher community made clear that they wish for a Patriarch to emerge from the Brotherhood, stating that a solution cannot come from external parties. According to the newspaper, three Bishops receive the great interest of Phanar. They are Thavoriou Metropolitan Bishop Theofilos, Gerason Theofanis and Konstantinis Aristarchos. Eleftherotipia adds that an old opponent of Eirinaios, Vostron Metropolitan Bishop Timotheos wants to enter the race for succession.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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