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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-02-29

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Greek PM's Message to Skopje
  • [02] Wrangling over Education & Bloggers
  • [03] The Technician's Deposition
  • [04] Message of Humanity
  • [05] Weak Tremor Shakes Northern Greece
  • [06] Turkish Army Withdraws from N. Iraq
  • [07] Prince Harry on the Front Line in Afghanistan
  • [08] Las Vegas Clinic: Scandal with Syringes
  • [09] Technician Testifying

  • [01] New Round of Talks

    Greek PM's Message to Skopje

    29 Feb 2008 14:03:00 (Last updated: 29 Feb 2008 17:54:51)

    Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ANA/MPA

    Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis urged FYROM anew to give up on its adamant stance, while addressing an interpellation filed by head of the Orthodox Popular Rally (LAOS) George Karatzaferis. "Our will [Greeces] for a mutually acceptable solution and our stance no breakthrough-no invitation are crystal clear. Unless a breakthrough is reached, the neighbouring countrys aspirations to join NATO will be groundless," reiterated Kostas Karamanlis, further calling on the FYROM leaders to respond to the Greek Governments honest intentions. The LAOS leader, on his part, spoke of retreat and compromise and reiterated his call for a referendum on the matter. Karatzaferis stressed that there should be no state under the name Macedonia in Greeces border, for it would pose a potential threat. In the meantime, a new round of talks on the name dispute is currently underway in New York. UN envoy Matthew Nimetz met with Greek ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis. He will be meeting with the FYROM ambassador on Friday evening.

    "No Solution-No Invitation"

    Just a few hours prior to the talks in New York, Greece's Prime Minister sent a crystal clear message to FYROM, asserting that Greece would not back down on the name dispute.

    "No clean and viable solution can be built upon a name merely describing the neighbouring country's existing political system. Such a name is not composite and therefore it cannot be a solution," underlined Kostas Karamanlis. He further added that Greece is after a composite name.

    "The Greek Government's stance is firm. We are not aiming low. Instead! We are intensifying the pressure for a solution. The goal is a mutually acceptable solution built upon a composite name applied towards all. This has been the goal of the Security Council resolution, as well" noted he.

    While elaborating on Athens' red lines in the talks, Karamanlis argued: "Our will [Greece's] for a mutually acceptable solution is sincere. Our stance 'no breakthrough-no invitation' is crystal clear. Unless a breakthrough is reached, the neighbouring country's aspirations to join NATO will be groundless. That is because the principle of good neighbourly relations is a prerequisite for an alliance."

    Elaborating on his interpellation, George Karatzaferis underlined, "I will never accept the use of the term 'Macedonia' in the name of FYROM," wondering, "Why had we been arousing enthusiasm among the people to retreat? I see a retreat, a compromise."

    Answering back, Karamanlis claimed: "Patriotism is claiming the responsibilities stemming from the need to defend national causes and interests. This is our duty."

    PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) President George Papandreou also lambasted the Government for its foreign policy. Touching on the FYROM name dispute, Papandreou claimed it was the wrong handlings that led to the present situation, arguing that PASOK rejects a double name.

    The Greek Communist Party, on the other hand, issued a press release reading: "The Governments stance and PASOK's call for a veto fail disclose that it is their allies, the USA and the EU, that are exploiting the FYROM name row. The Greek people should not lose its bearing. It has to fight to veto NATO, the USA and the EU."

    The meeting that took place on Friday morning between UN envoy Matthew Nimetz and Greek ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis in New York signaled the new round of talks on the name row. Nimetz will be holding talks with FYROM's ambassador on Friday evening.

    It is the outcome of the talks that will determine whether a joined meeting is going to take place on Saturday. However, chances for a breakthrough are rather slim, due to FYROM's intransigent attitude.

    Reports leaked to the Press of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia suggested that FYROM intends to turn down all possible names included in Matthew Nimetz's proposal, sticking to its firm stance on a double name.

    Secretary General: Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, who is due on Monday in Athens to hold talks with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, is meeting Friday with US President George W. Bush to discuss NATO enlargement and FYROM's bid to earn NATO membership.

    At the same time, US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns offered Washington's full backing to Matthew Nimetz's drive, hoping that both side would accept his proposals.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Crucial Day for Skopje Issue

    [02] Prime Minister's Time

    Wrangling over Education & Bloggers

    29 Feb 2008 11:24:00 (Last updated: 29 Feb 2008 14:35:43)

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8

    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) President George Papandreou crossed swords in Parliament over the latters interpellation on the educational reform. The Prime Minister defended the framework law, noting that the reforms "will not be abandoned nor changed." The wrangling even touched on the bloggers issue, with the Socialist leader blasting the Government for penalising the Internet and the Greek Premier arguing, "Freedom is not a one-way concept, therefore there have to be laws to combat penal offences." Kostas Karamanlis also addressed the interpellations filed by the four opposition leaders on education, the looming privatization of the airports, Karamanlis tenure at the Ministry of Culture and the FYROM name dispute. Answering Papandreous question on education, he stressed, "Education has been and still is our [the Governments] keynote priority. As many as 1200 schools are being under construction throughout the country. Our goal is all schools to be supplied with textbooks from the very first day. We are building the smart school of the future." Papandreou, on the other hand, spoke of shortage of school books in several schools across the Attica Basin, also adding that there has been a reduction in the number of students.

    Meritocracy, transparency in the public sector and human rights are the Governments prime concerns, and Justice can unveil the truth and attribute responsibilities. That was the Prime Ministers answer to an interpellation on his tenure at the Culture Ministry.

    Referring to the Zahopoulos scandal, Kostas Karamanlis stressed that those to be held accountable will be referred to Justice, no matter their post. He also touched on the Governments drive to have the Ministries special accounts incorporated into the state budget and its intention to release the public sectors sponsorships and the hospitals budgets.

    The Governments choice is to extend public-private partnerships for the construction of new airports and the upgrading of the existing ones, underlined the Prime Minister while addressing an interpellation on the privatization of airports filed by KKE general secretary Aleka Papariga.

    That position equals to privatization, claimed Papariga, further adding that private enterprises will be exploiting them for 35 years. Such a move will have an adverse influence on the YPA (Greek Civil Aviation Authority) personnel, which will belong to the provider. She then went on to express her concerns over Greeces national airspace.

    Kostas Karamanlis pledged to defend the rights of the airport and port personnel, as well as the national airspace, arguing that the alignment with the EU standard will upgrade Greek airports and create a single European airspace.

    [03] On the Zahopoulos Scandal

    The Technician's Deposition

    29 Feb 2008 14:26:00 (Last updated: 29 Feb 2008 14:59:30)

    Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8

    Indicated by the former Culture Ministry employee charged with extorting her superior Christos Zahopoulos as the person who intercepted the controversial DVD containing her intimate moments with Zahopoulos, the technician of Sunday paper Proto Thema testified Friday to magistrate Dimitris Ikonoumou, who is probing the extortion accusations. In particular, she allegedly claimed that the technician had intercepted the material of the DVD by copying its content while it was on during her visit to the papers offices. After his two-hour deposition, the technician, who has been working for Proto Thema publisher Themos Ananstasiadis TV show for six years, made no comments and denied any involvement.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Technician Testifying

    [04] Message of Humanity

    29 Feb 2008 15:30:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ANA/MPA

    On the occasion of the Rare Disease Day, President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias called for awareness on a major social problem plaguing thousands of people. Escorted by his spouse, Papoulias welcomed 120 members of the Greek Alliance of Rare Diseases at the Presidential Mansion. After saluting each one of his guests in person, the President of the Republic urged the big pharmaceutical industries to promote research with a view to manufacturing drugs capable of fighting rare diseases. "It is not only about profit, it is about solidarity to people, as well," said he.

    The Greek Alliance of Rare Diseases aims to extend the knowledge of the common areas of rare diseases, improve the quality of life and extend the lifespan of patients, and reinforce scientific and clinical research.

    Numbering as many as 8000, the rare diseases strike up to 10% of the EU population. In Greece, about 1,000,000 people have been recorded as suffering from rare diseases.

    Deputy Health Minister G. Papageorgiou also attended the event.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] Weak Tremor Shakes Northern Greece

    29 Feb 2008 13:52:00

    Sources: NET 105.8

    An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale hit early on Friday noon the town of Servia in the prefecture of Kozani, northern Greece. Although it was felt throughout the prefecture, there have been no reports of damage in built-up areas.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] Turkish Army Withdraws from N. Iraq

    29 Feb 2008 12:20:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    A portion of Turkish troops had returned to bases in Turkey, after completing their mission, however, no full withdrawal had begun, a top Turkish military source was quoted as saying, after the NTV channel reported that the major ground offensive against the Kurdish PKK rebels had come to an end. With nearly 10,000 soldiers having being deployed, the Turkish incursion commenced on 21 February. Turkey has said that 273 Kurdish rebels and 27 soldiers have been killed.

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Turkey 'pulls some Iraq troops'

    [07] British Army Concerned over Leaks

    Prince Harry on the Front Line in Afghanistan

    29 Feb 2008 12:10:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Britains Army heads are to decide whether Prince Harry can continue his deployment in Afghanistan after news broke of him on the front line against the Taliban. The leakage of news gave rise to fears that prince, Harry, who is third in line to the throne, could now become a prized target for the Taliban and other Islamist guerrillas. Harry is serving in Helmand Province since December while plans for his deployment to Iraq had been abandoned 7 months ago after Iraqi guerrilla threats to either attempt to murder or kidnap him. His deployment there was subject to a news blackout deal struck to preserve his safety, but it broke down after foreign media leaked the story. The head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt praised the UK medias "highly responsible attitude", but said he was disappointed foreign websites had decided to run the story. He added: "Now that the story is in the public domain, the chief of defence staff and I will take advice from the operational commanders about whether his deployment can continue."

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Army considers Harry deployment

    [08] Las Vegas Clinic: Scandal with Syringes

    29 Feb 2008 09:42:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    US health authorities are trying to contact with some 40.000 patients, who received anesthesia in a Las Vegas surgical center, to urge them to be tested for hepatitis C and HIV, possibly spread by reuse of syringes and vials of medication at the clinic. "Las Vegas Sun" newspaper says that 6 cases of hepatitis C have been diagnosed since January, a percentage triple than average in Las Vegas. South Nevada health officials revealed that 5 of the six patients had received anaesthesia on the same day at this clinic. The hospital staff admitted reusing of syringes saying that they followed instructions. It was the clinics practice to reuse syringes. Those in charge of the clinic did not explain why they reused syringes but said that some patients will be tested.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    [09] On DVD Case

    Technician Testifying

    29 Feb 2008 11:50:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The "Proto Thema" newspaper technician, who according to the 35 year old- defendant on the Zahopoulos case- recorded the content of DVD she herself had handed to the newspaper, is being interrogated this morning. During her yesterdays testimony to Prosecutor, Eleni Raikou, looking into economic management of former Culture Ministry general secretary, Hristos Zahopoulos, the 35 year-old woman, arrested since December, insisted that the Culture Ministry personnel recruitment test was illegal as meritocracy criteria were not considered.With regards Mr. Zahopoulos economic management she said she had no evidence, she, however, referred to a document on 650.000 euros financing to Athina Organization.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

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