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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-02-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Rift over Setting up of Inquiry CommitteeTuesday, 23 February 2010 14:32
Ruling PASOK party proposal for the setting up of an Inquiry Committee to look into alteration of fiscal data for the period 2004-2009 has sparked a strong reaction by ND party. PASOK maintains that there are clear indications of political intervention in fiscal data for 2007-2009 and time of their release. The main opposition ND party spoke of political expediency and announced on Tuesday that it would submit its own proposal requesting inspection of fiscal data dating back to 1981. In the meantime, LAOS president G. Karatzaferis said that his party would not participate in the Inquiry Committee. PASOK Parliamentary Group, except for members of the Ministers' Council, have signed request for the setting up of the Inquiry Committee.
"...the government tells the true and requests the true..."
The government camp reject the proposal is a revanchist act , supporting that Greek people must learn the truth.
"We owe a response to Greek people and European partners on what has exactly happened and who is responsible for the situation", said government spokesman, G. Petalotis , and added: "Neither have we covered up, nor hidden anything , we tell the truth and request the truth".
G. Petalotis labeled the proposal "serious, moderate, in no way divisive and revanchist" and called the ND and all political parties to consent so to reverse the incredibility climate. The government spokesman did not rule out invitation of former Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, to Inquiry Committee hearings, underlining that such move is legal and workable.
ND Propose Inquiry Committee
ND party spokesman, Panos Panagiotopoulos said the government's proposal for investigation only on 2004-2009 period is an attack targeted against ruling PASOK party political opponents and is literally "an Inquiry Committee of political expediency and partisan bigotry". ND party will vote down PASOK proposal and submit its own proposal calling for investigation dating back from 1981.
LAOS president G. Karatzaferis announced that his party would not participate in the Committee, describing its setting up aimless since the case has been referred to the public prosecutor. He said that LAOS will not contribute in the two large parties efforts to completely downbase the country's political history in the last years. Alexis Tsipras president of SYRIZA Parliamentary Group spoke of cheap communication game.
News item: 33690
 Former OTE Chief N. Manasis Testifies on OTE-Siemens CaseTuesday, 23 February 2010 14:21
Parliament Inquiry Committee looking into Siemens black money case continue hearings. On Tuesday former OTE chief Nikos Manasis testified. He supported that he had achieved 50% discount on Siemens digital systems and was trying to cut 50% down OTE supplies within the controversial policy agreement with Siemens shortly before he was relieved from his post in OTE administration board.
At the opening of Tuesday's session, ND deputy Panos Kammenos said that he would ask for the arrest of former OTE chief Dimitris Papoulias on charges of false statement before the inquiry committee. Although Mr. Papoulias in his statement rejected any possibility of bribery among OTE senior officials in 1998, a Justice Ministry record refers to a bribery case.
It should be noted, however, that then Minister for Transport and Communications Tasos Mantelis had said that OTE had achieved good terms in deal for the purchase of digital systems.
Source: ÍÅÔ News item: 33689
 Technical Experts in Athens to Assess ReformsTuesday, 23 February 2010 09:11
A team of auditors from the EU Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, who arrived in Athens on Monday, are having contacts with government officials. They met with Bank of Greece officials late on Monday while they are discussing the course for the materialization of Growth and Stability Plan and major issues concerning incomes and expenses with George Zanias, president of Finance Ministry Economic Experts Council. In the meantime, Prime-minister, G. Papandreou will meet with Defense Minister E. Venizelos, State Minister H. Pamboukis and Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou.
"No decision has been reached for rise in VAT, new taxes on fuel and further cuts salaries repeated government spokesman G. Petalotis on Monday while he reassured that the government will make the best use of any loan it would get".
Speaking to Bloomberg, Bank of Greece governor G. Probopoulos said the government was prepared to take the structural measures and added that the markets were overreacting.
In the meantime, the German Finance Minister and the EU Commission rejected scenarios providing for Greece's bail out and asked for further details regarding Greece-Goldman Sachs agreement in 2001 for concealment of true state deficit.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÁNA - ÌPA Related Articles: EU Inspection Team in Athens-Reject Aid Scenarios News item: 33668
 Dozens Killed in Madeira FloodsSaturday, 20 February 2010 22:12
At least 38 people have been killed in floods and mudslides after torrential rains hit the Portuguese island of Madeira, local authorities say. Interior Minister Rui Pereira, who has also flown to the island, said Lisbon was considering declaring a state of emergency in the region. Madeira is a popular tourist destination.
Over sixty people were reported to have been taken to hospital for treatment on the Atlantic island while local authorities spoke of many others missing. It is not yet clear whether tourists are among the casualties.
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said he was absolutely saddened and shocked with the images, with the consequences of this calamity. He is expected to inspect the worst-affected areas and co-ordinate aid. "The problem requires a response on the national level," Interior Minister Rui Pereira was quoted as saying.
Sources: Reuters, ÁNA-ÌPA BBC: Madeira floods and mudslides kill 32 News item: 33577