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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-02-04
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Testimonies on Siemens Case CommencesThursday, 04 February 2010 16:19
The first Supreme Court Vice President Ioannis Papanikolaou and journalists Tassos Teloglou and Aristea Bougatsou will open the cycle of testimonies before the parliamentary committee assigned to probe the Siemens case.
"The committee of inquiry will touch on magistrate Mr Zagorianos, since the charges against him is a tangible element that there has been a cover-up," said head of the committee Sifis Varilarakis.
SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) deputy and member of the committee on the Siemens case Dimitris Papadimoulis commented:
"We are after revealing the truth and not covering it up. I hope that our ND and PASOK colleagues at the committee will contribute to that end."
Source: NET 105.8, ANA News item: 32905
 Immigration Bill in ParliamentThursday, 04 February 2010 14:35
The draft-bill aspiring to give the Greek nationality to the legal immigrants leaving in Greece for several years, as well as to immigrants' children who have been born in Greece, is to be submitted to the House in the days to come. The draft-bill also gives legal immigrants voting rights for the forthcoming local governments.
Ragoussis-Samaras Meeting on Migration
Opposition leader Antonis Samaras reiterated his party's objections to the government's provisions with regard to the migration issues.
Antonis Samaras requested the migration draft-bill be disconnected from the forthcoming local government elections, while ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos stressed that the above changes are to turn Greece into Europe's loosest threshold.
Touching on the meeting held between the ND head and the Interior Minister, ND deputy and section head for domestic affairs Christos Zois said: "We urged the Minister and the government to take our objections into consideration, given the fact that what came forward as a draft bill open for deliberations cannot be widely accepted." He further added that ND will wait for the government's official stance.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA News item: 32888
 Farmers Remain at RoadblocksThursday, 04 February 2010 10:03
Protesting farmers remain at six roadblocks in central and northern Greece at the intersections of Nikea, Mikrothives, Kerdyllia and Chrysoupoli. The border crossings in northern Greece have opened up with the exemption of the Promachonas crossing at the border with Bulgaria. The farmers opened up the road late Wednesday night for a few hours to allow cars and trucks that had been blocked at the checkpoint since last Sunday to pass through before reclosing the checkpoint. In the meantime, several farmers' associations decided to leave their roadblocks urging their colleagues to not pay the power bills. Their tractors will remain Thursday on the national highway without obstructing traffic, though.
Source: NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 32865
 Closer Cooperation between Greece & IndiaThursday, 04 February 2010 08:23
Matters pertaining to financial cooperation in the fields of tourism, technology, green technology and culture topped the meeting held between the Greek Prime, George Papandreou, and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, where the Sustainable Development Summit is taking place. The Greek Premier invited his Indian counterpart to visit Greece.
"Greece's strong presence is always useful, let alone now that we are living through a tough national and economical crisis. India is a booming economy," stressed the Greek Premier.
"...I had the chance to agree with India's Prime Minister to establish closer cooperation and upgrade our relations..."
The two men agreed to upgrade the relations of the two nations and to establish a closer cooperation.
"I had the chance to agree with India's Prime Minister to establish closer cooperation and to upgrade our relations in the fields that will contribute to Greece's development."
Touching on the credit crisis, the two men agreed on a series of joint proposals with regard to the planet's financial future. The agreement is deemed important, since India has a weighty say in G-20.
Papandreou invited the Indian Prime Minister to visit Greece.
"It is an important moment. I had the chance to invite India's Prime Minister in Greece and he will soon visit us to be able to promote this important cooperation," stressed the Greek Prime Minister.
Papandreou will meet Friday with Sonia Gandhi, leader of the Congress Party. News item: 32861
 Greek PM: "Chances Are a National Need"Thursday, 04 February 2010 15:03
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who is visiting India, called the economy measures a "national necessity", stressing that the measures will be taken for those "who are not paying today but should be paying." A day after the European Commission okayed the Greek stability plan, International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn also offered his backing and appeared certain that the Greek government will do whatever needed to solve its financial problems. Greece's financial state topped a sitting of the European Central Bank, which kept interest rates at 1%.
"...None of us is happy with the hardships the country is going through..."
Outlining the tax draft-bill which is expected to be tabled in the coming week, the Greek Premier stressed that the low-income earners have to be protected and said that the measures to be taken are for those who "are not paying today but should be playing."
George Papandreou reiterated that the government is determined to proceed with the necessary changes before things for the Greek economy get even worse.
"None of us is happy with the hardships the country is going through," added he, further noting that the crisis should be turned into a chance.
"Today is a historic chance which we should make the best out of it. And these changes are to the benefit of the people," stressed he.
In his interview with a French radio station, International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared certain that the Greek government will take the necessary measures to solve the country's problems, further adding that if Greece asks for help, it will have it.
He described Greece's situation as really serious, yet he claimed that the country is not flirting on bankruptcy.
Petalotis: "An Inquiry in Economy Isn't Ruled Out"
Our intention is to live up to the really tough situation and proceed with the reforms and give a boost to growth, commented the government spokesman, Giorgos Petalotis, who reiterated that the stability plan will be fully observed because it can help the country to survive the crisis.
Giorgos Petalotis then blasted the former Conservative government of ND for the current economic situation and said that an inquiry into economy could even take place in case the House decides so.
He also claimed that each social group has to contribute to the country's drive to overcome the crisis.
KKE (Greek Communist Party) Aleka Papariga lashed out at the government, arguing that there should be no compromise in the fight waged on the pension system and the labour affairs.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA
News item: 32897
 Trade Unions Getting Ready for StrikesThursday, 04 February 2010 14:43
Trade unions decided to go out on strikes to protest against the measures announced by the Prime Minister and the pension reforms that are underway. Customs and revenue officers are on strike protesting against the cuts in their allowances. The revenues will also strike on 10 and 17 February, while the customs officers will be on strike from 16 to 18 February. The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) scheduled a 24-hour strike for 24 February and said it would walk out of the talks on the pension system. The Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Service Trade Unions (ADEDY) has called for a strike on 10 February. SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) Alexis Tsipras visited Thursday the ADEDY offices. He branded the measures heralded by the Prime Minister as unfair and exhausting. ADEDY head Spyros Papaspyros, on the other hand, said that under no circumstances should the pensioners and the unemployed pay the price.
Earlier the buildings housing the Finance Ministry in central Athens had been blocked by the Ministry's employees who have been on a 48-hour strike.
The Finance Ministry employees are protesting the freeze on public sector pay and cuts in some of the allowances.
Al. Tsipras: Measures Are Unfair and Exhausting
Alexis Tsipras dismissed the measures announced by the government as socially unfair, exhausting and ineffective, after meeting with the ADEDY board. He then noted that the government is urging everyone to a cycle of great blank sacrifices, pushing the society to gutter.
"It is not the crisis that really concerns us, but the fact that the crisis can be addressed with recipes much more painful than the crisis itself"
The SYRIZA head blasted the Prime Minister for deceiving the people of Greece with his pre-election pledges, further adding that a major social formation aiming to awaken the society is required to fight the conservative formation created by the government, the ND and LAOS.
He then went on to stress that the strike scheduled for coming Wednesday should clearly demonstrate that Greece cannot be Europe's guinea pig.
The ADEDY head, on his part, he objected the taking of unilateral and destabilizing measures, warning that society could be seriously crippled.
With regard to the increase in age retirement, Alexis Tsipras spoke of a deeply anti-social and inhumane.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 32890
 Greek Philosopher Kostas Axelos Passed AwayThursday, 04 February 2010 11:23
Noted Greek philosopher Kostas Axelos died in the early hours of Thursday in Paris at the age of 85. Born in Athens in 1924, he attended highschool at the French Institute and German School of Athens, and later enrolled in Law School to pursue law and economics studies, but became involved in politics with the onset of WWII and joined the Greek Resistance during the German and Italian occupation, and later in the Greek Civil War.
He was inspired by the writings of Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, Empedocles, Marx, Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky, and the poets Rimbaud, Rilke and Holderlin.
An organiser and journalist affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in 1941-1945, was arrested and condemned to death by the then government, but escaped after a fake 'execution' and incarceration in a camp, and in 1946 abandoned the communist party ranks.
At the end of 1945, with the help of then director of the French Institute in Athens Octave Merlier he boarded the legendary ship SS Mataroa to Paris. Shortly after his departure, he was sentenced to death in absentia.
In Paris, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, and from 1950-1957 he was a researcher in the philosophy department of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CRNS), where he wrote his dissertations, before moving on to the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.
He taught philosophy at the Sorbonne from 1962-1973, during which time he wrote his dissertation "Marx, pensure de lat technique ("Alienation, Praxis and Techne in the Thought of Karl Marx) attempting to provide an understanding of modern technology based on the thought of Heidegger and Marx, which was influential in the 1960's.
He was a collaborator, columnist and later editor of the pioneering, at the time, magazine "Arguments" (1956-1962), and founded and, since 1960, directed, in tandem with "Arguments", the philosophical series "Editions de Minuit", which also published most of his own books.
Axelos has written 24 books and a plethora of texts in French, Greek and German, which have been translated into 16 languages, with "Le Jeu du Monde" (Play of the World), being his most important book, which argues for a pre-ontological status of play.
In March 2009 he was made an honorary Doctor of Philosophy of Thessaloniki's Aristotle University (AUTH), which was his last visit to Greece.
The President of the Republic sent a letter expressing his sorrow over Axelos' death.
Papoulias' letter read: "Kostas Axelos had been a bold scholar and a fighter of ideas, opening new waves for the understanding of the world. An inspired teacher, his ethos and integrity taught us not to be afraid of intellectual clashes even with ourselves. I express my heartfelt sympathy to his family."
New Democracy President Antonis Samaras said:
"A great Greek passed away. Kostas Axelos had been a fighter and a scholar. A true fighter and a true scholar. His works, truly original and biting, enlightens the intellect beyond ideological walls."
Source: ANA/MPA News item: 32873