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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-01-10

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Opposition: No Change
  • [02] Change of Guard in Ministries
  • [03] Papandreou's Contacts with Farmers
  • [04] Monitors to Supervise Gas Flow
  • [05] UN Resolutions & Israeli Bombs

  • [01] Opposition: No Change

    The opposition agrees that the government does not intend to proceed with changes. PASOK (Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement) stresses that when the ND party took over Greece was in a better condition, adding that soon when its steps down Greece will be at the depression door. KKE (Communist Party of Greece) Secretary General Aleka Papariga believes that Mr Karamanlis went on with the government reshuffle to gain political time. SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) appears certain that the same policy will continue in all sectors. LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) sees a change of ministers without any change of policy.

    The government and the prime minister have been in power for four and a half years and are judged by its work strictly by the civilians and not by the PM's intentions, said PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papakonstantinou today, stressing that when the ND party took over Greece was in a better condition, adding that soon when it steps down Greece will be at the depression door.

    He added that the civilians believe that the government should step down, adding that the new government cannot convince that it can hold more. Moreover, he added that the PM had not made any new proposals and showed no intention on proposing any serious breakthroughs on any issue.

    The PASOK spokesman agreed with the PM's phrase that the collision lies between responsibility and irresponsibility.

    You are irresponsible when you do other than what you preach, not assuming your responsibilities. You are responsible when you are since, have vision for Greece and abide your commitments.

    "Nobody has been surprised by PASOK spokesman's verbosity today. Besides, nobody expects from PASOK anymore to abandon hot air and utter a responsible political speech with specific and realistic proposals for Greece and the Greeks' presence and future", replied the government spokesman.

    KKE, from its side, refuses to offer the government credit of time.

    "The government proceeds with a reshuffle each time it wishes to give the impression to the people that it will change its policy. We believe that Mr Karamanlis wishes to gain time - I do not know when it will declare elections - but it wishes to gain time, perhaps it wishes to be credited time until the people tests the new government. Thus, we will not offer the government any credit of time for even half a second," stressed KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga.

    SYN reported that although the ministers might change the government policy remains the same.

    "One day after the government reshuffle, Mr Karamanlis has confirmed that it will continue the same policy with the same state-budget, the same conception and logic. However, this is the policy that has led us to today's financial crisis and deadlock", commented SYN spokesman Panagiotis Skourletis.

    LAOS commented on the government reshuffle in an ironic way."Messrs Alogoskoufis, Liapis and Folias are bench players, while Dora, Souflias and Varvitsiotis family will play in the game. Days of felicity for Greece. Benefits, upgrading, work, reduction of interest rates, return of interest rates, end of strikes and protest rallies, investments, tax cuts and settling of national pending issues to the benefit of Greece. Is it true? End of interval, time for work."

    News item: 17498

    [02] Change of Guard in Ministries

    The new ministers and deputy ministers assumed their duties shortly after the swearing-in ceremony. In a really charged atmosphere, outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis stepped down. Evrypides Stylianides was succeeded by the new Education Ministry, Aris Spiliotopoulos. New Culture Minister Antonis Samaras called on all former Culture Ministers to contribute their experience. Happy for heading the Justice Ministry for 15 months, outgoing Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis was succeeded by Nikos Dendias, who vowed to continue the work of the predecessor.

    Ministry of Finance

    The change of guard at the Ministry of Finance was held in a charged atmosphere.New Minister Giannis Papathanasiou claimed that 2009 will be a touch year, while he outlined the key points of his financial policy.

    Moved, outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis congratulated the new Minister, touched on the excellent cooperation he had with him and advised him to always have in mind that when it comes to the financial policy, others spend and other pays the cost.

    Ministry of Development

    Improving the citizens' everyday life by controlling cartel, boosting small and medium sized enterprises, undertaking energy initiatives and enhancing research and technology are the topnotch priorities of the new Development Minister Mr Hatzidakis, as he stressed while taking over the Development Minister.

    "I leave my post feeling proud and with no feelings of bitterness, because I was given the chance to serve my country from the posts of Deputy Finance Minister and Development Minister," stressed outgoing Minister Christos Folias. He voiced his gratitude to the Prime Minister, arguing he will remain a soldier, by Karamanlis' side.

    Ministry of Rural Development

    New Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis called for cooperation and dialogue with the farmers, noting that he will pursue meetings with their representatives.

    Listing his Ministry's priorities, he ranked viable rural development, environment protections, innovation and product competition as his keynote priorities.

    Outgoing Rural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos thanked the Prime Minister for the opportunity he offered him to serve Greece's agricultural sector, further congratulating Kostas Karamanlis on appointing Sotiris Hatzidakis to the post.

    New Rural Development Minister Mihalis Papadopoulos vowed to not deviate from the agricultural policy, further claiming that they new leadership will keep fighting to protect the farmers' income.

    Ministry of Tourism

    Outgoing Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos focused on the bold measures, as he said, taken to boost the Greek tourism industry, stressing that tourism is the economy's oxygen.

    New Tourism Minister Konstantinos Markopoulos called on everyone to join forces and leave party expediencies behind.

    Ministry of Justice

    New Justice Minister Nikos Dendias succeeded outgoing Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis in a cordial climate.

    The outgoing Minister underlined that during his term, justice was led to calm waters, and wished his policy would go on.

    "Justice has been through major problems, however, problems were dealt with in a wise manner," said Hatzigakis.

    Nikos Dendias pledged to commit himself to his predecessor's work.

    Ministry of Education

    Reaching out to the young, new Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos assumed his duties."I take over in a crucial period. There is anger and indignation for expectations were proved wrong. The young have every right to question us. Questioning opens new horizons," stressed Spiliotopoulos and outlined his policy.

    Outgoing Education Minister Evrypides Stylianides voiced his conviction that Aris Spiliotopoulos will commit himself to the education reform. He then went on to refer to his work, underlining that it was a calm and productive period, since the majority of the people embraced the government's reforms.

    Ministry of Culture

    Culture Minister Antonis Samaras invited all former Culture Ministers to offer their experience.

    Outgoing Culture Minister Michael Liapis spoke of a 16-month term full of problems.

    Ministry of Interior

    At the Ministry of Interior, outgoing Deputy Minister Panagiotis Hinofotis referred to his resignation shortly after the killing of the 15-year-old boy, a resignation which was not accepted, as he said. He further added that the Greek Police should demonstrate zero tolerance to anyone causing problems to the citizens.

    New Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markogiannakis fully agreed with his predecessor.

    Ministry of National Affairs

    Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis termed outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas as a successful minister who made several friends at the Ministry.Bakoyannis welcomed Miltiades Varvitsiotis and offered him her full backing.

    Petros Doukas claimed it is everyone's duty to support the government, even the opposition parties, when it comes to foreign affairs.

    Varvitsiotis vowed to do anything in his power to live up to his obligations, further saying he was honoured to succeed Petros Doukas.

    Ministry of Health

    "Nothing is permanent in politics, what remains is our work," commented Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    Avramopoulos referred to the work of the outgoing Deputy Health Minister in the most glowing terms, arguing that he had been at the fore front of a really sensitive sector of the government policy for five years.

    Giorgos Konstantopoulos stressed that the Health Minister is a mentor, thanking him and his colleagues, as well as former Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis.

    Deputy Health Minister Marios Salmas thanked the Prime Minister for his trust, adding that in the health sector, no matter how much one does, more are constantly required.

    Ministry of Employment

    Employment Minister Fani Palli Petralia spoke of a new cabinet boosted with new faces. She termed 2009 as a touch year and underlined that the government's goal will be to protect employment and cement labour rights.

    The new Deputy Employment Minister thanked the Prime Minister for his trust.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA-MPA

    News item: 17486

    [03] Papandreou's Contacts with Farmers

    Socialist leader George Papandreou offered PASOK's backing to the farmers and their problems, during his visit to a rice procession unit in northern Greece. The new generation of farmers should be the spearhead for another development model, said Papandreou, further adding that they should be upgraded as professionals. Papandreou will address an event and hold talks with local PASOK officials.

    At noon, Mr Papandreou met with Serres Prefect Stefanos Fotiadis. The PASOK leader stated that the prefecture can produce agricultural products and exploit geothermal and other renewable sources of energy. Moreover, it can develop alternative tourism, rural tourism and spa tourism, stressing however that the capabilities of the prefecture remain unexploited.From his side, the Serres Prefect stated that the prefecture's top priority is to exploit the renewable sources of energy, stressing that a big effort is taking place to the direction of nuitritional agriculture.

    Mr Papandreou added that the problem should be dealt with, agreeing that nuitritional agriculture had been abandoned by PASOK governments, which had approved intensive agriculture.

    News item: 17479

    [04] Monitors to Supervise Gas Flow

    The European Union has finalized a deal on sending monitors to supervise supplies of Russian gas through Ukraine, raising hopes that millions of Europeans, mostly in the Balkans, would soon have their gas switched on again, two days after the Russian supplies flowing through Ukraine to the continent were shut off amid a dispute between Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's state-run gas company, Nafrogaz. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that the Russian side gave thumbs up for the deal, provided that Russian monitors would be included, a term Ukraine accepted. The EU monitors to be sent in Ukraine will be deployed in the key stations, where the Russian gas supplies Europe. However, the conflict between Moscow and Kiev still remain, since issues, including the natural gas prices for 2009, have yet to be addressed.

    The European Commission said that the first monitors arrived in Kiev.Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country is at the helm of the EU, claimed he hoped the crisis would defuse.

    In Moscow, Gazprom head Alexei Miller stressed that Russia will allow gas to flow again on Friday, provided that an official deal on the deployment of independent monitors to supervise gas flow to Ukraine is signed.

    However, the European Commission estimated that despite the immediate deployment of European monitors in Russia and Ukraine, it will take some time before the flow towards Europe through Ukraine is fully restored.

    News item: 17534

    [05] UN Resolutions & Israeli Bombs

    Israel continued pounding the Gaza Strip and especially Zeitun and Jabaliya districts in the north during the night. The Israeli army also pounded Rafah near the border with Egypt. At the same time, the UN Security Council approved a resolution on immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the region. Abstaining from the vote was the USA. As per the announcement, the ceasefire should be enforced immediately and be fully respected, leading to the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

    14 out of 15 UN Security Council member-states voted for the resolution. Condoleezza Rice abstained from the vote because she wanted to see the results of Egypt's mediating effort, adding in parallel that despite the abstention, she supports the essence of the text approved by the Security Council.

    Meanwhile, the Israeli Security Ministerial Council is holding an extraordinary meeting this morning to decide on its stance on the UN resolution. In parallel, it will co-assess the results of Amos Gilad's mission to Cairo. Mr Gilad, Ehud Barrack's political advisor, discussed the proposals on ceasefire processed by President Hosni Mubarak in cooperation with French President Nicola Sarkozy.

    Hamas, from its side, declared today "rage day", while the Israel police have deployed thousands of policemen at mosques. Chief Inspector Micky Rosenfeld stated "we have deployed thousands of men to maintain order in eastern Jerusalem. Only the Palestinians, who have Israeli identity cards and are over 50 can participate in the prayers in the Mosque Square, Islam's third holy spot. Women will be allowed access to the Square."

    The Israeli army has announced from its side that it will fully block the West Bank for 48 hours as of yesterday midnight.

    Night with Clashes

    During the night, 12 Palestinians, among whom six members of the same family, were killed from Israeli shelling. Also, local leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Paletine Fayez Sala was wounded in Jabaliya. The 12 dead include four of his children, his wife and her sister. The bombs destroyed the house of a Hamas top member in Abasan.

    Two women, a Ukranian and a Moroccan, who were married to Palestinians, also lost their life. Moroccan Rokaia Abu Natza, 55 was killed with two of her family's members, while the Ukrainian woman, wife of Palestinian doctor Albina al-Jaru was killed with her1.5-year-old son.

    Since the beginning of the Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip on 27 December, 774 Palestinians have lost their life, reports the AFP, which is based on Palestinian Hospital sources. Over 3,200 people have been wounded.

    As per Israeli sources, 10 Israeli soldiers and officers have lost their life since the beginning of the operations in Gaza Strip on 27 December. The above number includes an Israeli officer, who was killed in the northern part of the Gaza Strip from Palestinian fire. A soldier was also slightly injured in the above clashes.

    Earlier, an armoured vehicle unit soldier, as well as another officer had been killed.

    At the same time, Hamas criticized strongly UNRWA's decision to suspend its actions after an attack launched against it convoy near Erez, during which one of its drivers was killed and one more wounded. Hamas described UNRWA's decision absurd and unjustified, adding that UNRWA is obliged to protect war victims and not to abandon them.Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called on the Arabs on Thursday to fight by the Palestinians' side against Israel, reported the official Libyan News Agency Jana.

    Anti-war Rally to be Held Saturday

    Arab bodies, Trade Unions, organizations in Greece, the Alliance stop the war and peace movements are staging a new rally on 10 January. GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) issued an announcement saying that GSEEE, ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions), EKA (Athens Centre for Workers and Employees), the Athens-Piraeus supra-prefecture and peace movements are holding a protest rally for the massacre in the Gaza Strip at Syntagma Square on at 13:30 on 10-1-09.

    Greek Trade Unions, collective and social bodies, as well as the society are protesting, denouncing and reacting to the criminal genocide carried out by Israel's leadership in the Gaza Strip without disturbance. "We invite all employees and civilians to protest with us and demand an end to the criminal military operations against the Palestinian people and the withdrawal of troops from the Gaza Strip. The Gaza blockade should be lifted, and free rendering of humanitarian aid should be allowed. Palestinian should be liberated and the war criminals punished. Our country should not get involved in these military operations in any way,"they report.

    News item: 17514

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