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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-03-09
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Two Earthquakes Hit Northern EviaTuesday, 09 March 2010 08:21
Two weak earthquakes measuring 4.0 and 4.3 on the Richter scale were recorded in the early hours of Tuesday off the coast of northern Evia. Although felt in Attica, none of them caused any damage. Seismologists are monitoring the phenomenon.
The first quake occurred at 4.01 am, some 100km NW of Athens. A slightly stronger earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale followed an hour later in the sea area between the islands of Evia and Skopelos.
Source: NET 105.8 News item: 34128
 Landslides Kill Scores in UgandaWednesday, 03 March 2010 08:40
Soldiers and villagers in eastern Uganda hacked at mounds of thick mud with picks and hoes on Wednesday in a desperate bid to find more survivors from a landslide that killed at least 300 people.
Waves of mud and rocks swept down the steep mountainside late on Monday night after seven hours of rain and engulfed the village of Nametsi, burying houses, people and livestock.
The hooves of a dead cow poked through the wet mud, villagers tentatively lifted blankets to see if the dead beneath were relatives and an old lady sobbed over her husband's body.
Some carried away corpses on makeshift stretchers and others stood and gazed at the swathe of mud hundreds of meters wide that plowed through the village and surrounding banana fields.
The hamlets cling to isolated mountainsides with no proper road access, making rescue efforts difficult. It is a two-hour trek from the main road to reach Nametsi, making it very difficult to get earth moving equipment there.
Tarsis Kabwegyere, Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, told Reuters on Tuesday evening that 80 bodies had been recovered, but hundreds more people were missing.
The government said three villages with more than 3,000 residents were badly hit and mudslides were feared in five other districts experiencing deluges.
Parts of Uganda and neighboring Kenya have had sustained rainfall over much of the past two months, which is usually a dry period between rainy seasons, and floods are already plaguing large areas.
Local political David Wakikoona told Reuters on Tuesday villagers had said some 100 to 150 people were at a trading center in one hamlet when huge rocks slid down the hillside.
He said only eight people were known to have survived so far and the final death toll would probably be over 100.
In Nametsi, residents clambered over crumpled corrugated iron sheets and large wooden polls embedded in the mud -- all that remained of their homes.
Source: Reuters News item: 33966
 Joe Biden Visits IsraelTuesday, 09 March 2010 12:14
Promoting peace talks in the Middle East and Iran's nuclear aspirations are running high on the agenda of US Vice President Joe Biden's contacts in Israel. In his meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, the latter told him that imposing moral sanctions on Iran, including its expulsion from the UN, were no less important than taking economic measures.
Biden Pushes for Middle East Peace Talks
As for the Middle East standoff, the highest-ranking member of President Barack Obama's administration is expected to push Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume peace talks to help the two sides overcome the mistrust between them.
However, a few hours before his arrival, the climate was burdened following Israel's decision to approve the setting up of 112 new houses in the West Bank.
News item: 34134
 News strikes and demonstrationsTuesday, 09 March 2010 15:16
Reacting to the measures announced by the Greek government, employees are staging new strikes and demonstrations. Tax offices remained closed on Tuesday, while judicial workers staged a work stoppage from 12:00 till noon. Landfills will remain closed until Thursday. GSEE and ADEDY have scheduled a 24-hour nationwide strike for Thursday, as well as a demonstration in central Athens. Furthermore, petrol station owners announced they will go out on a 24-hour strike on 18 March.
A survey carried out by GPO on behalf of MEGA private television suggested that 59.3% of the respondent gave a negative rating to the measures, while 65.3% of them termed them as unfair. The same survey showed that the ruling party of PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) enjoys a 10.7% lead over the main opposition New Democracy party.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 34148
 Fuel Price Sky HighTuesday, 09 March 2010 14:55
Government crews are carrying out inspections to avert illicit profiteering following repeated and unjustifiable rises in fuel prices in the last days. Pan-Hellenic Federation of Gas Station Owners has threatened to begin mobilizations, underlining that the Federation has repeatedly called for a meeting with Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou in the last weeks but has been never set. "Exorbitant fuel prices show that speculators robbing people are the big business cartels controlling import, refinery and wholesale of fuel as well as the government's taxation attack" says GCP announcement.
Mixed crews comprised of experts from three ministries ( Finance, Energy and Economics) started inspections early on Tuesday. They take samples to check fuel adulteration at the mobile KEDAK labs.
Unjustifiable rises in fuel prices have been recorded recently. Fuel in some petrol stations went up over 12 cents although increase in special tax justified up to 8 cents rise per liter. A 2% rise in VAT as of March, 15 may lead to new illicit profiteering with a further 5 cents rise.
According to Price Observatory range of fuel price in Athens and Thessaloniki is as follows:
Áthens Unleaded 95+: 1,227 - 1,507 Unleaded 100: 1,329-1,749
Regional Highest price Unleaded 95+: Ámorgos : 1,582 Highest Unleaded 100 : Rethymno : 1,759
There is no question so far about imposition of ceiling on fuel prices as inspections continue and will give a clear picture of the fuel market. Gas-station owners are planning a strike on March, 18 in protest against use of cash registers unless two terms are met . They maintain that cash registers should be used in connection with a system reading inflow and outflow of fuel in their tanks. Federation of gas station owners will hold a meeting on March, 21 to decided on their further mobilizations.
Source: NET, ÁNA News item: 34145
 Britain Needs Fiscal TighteningTuesday, 09 March 2010 09:44
Britain needs to tighten fiscal policy by about 20 billion pounds more than currently pencilled into government plans by 2013/14, accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a report on Tuesday.
Chancellor Alistair Darling is set to deliver his final pre-election budget later this month, and is under pressure from markets to set out how he would reduce Britain's record budget deficit if Labour wins an election due by June.
PwC's report pointed to some progress since its last economic outlook before Darling's December pre-budget report, when it saw the need for 26 billion pounds of tightening.
But PwC said Britain's finance ministry was still too optimistic about a return to growth helping to reduce the deficit. PwC sees growth of 1 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2011, versus Treasury forecasts of 1-1.5 percent and 3.25-3.75 percent.
"Our projections are based on a more cautious view of medium-term growth potential than the Treasury," said John Hawksworth, head of macroeconomics at PwC.
Neither Labour nor the oConservatives -- who have a modest lead in opinion polls -- have spelled out what mix of tax rises and spending cuts they would use to balance the budget.
Source: Reuters News item: 34130