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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-03-19

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Greek PM: "Greece Did What It Had to Do"
  • [02] Europe Split over Aid Package to Greece
  • [03] Acupuncture May Spread Infections
  • [04] Papandreou-Hristofias Meeting
  • [05] The Oscar Curse Hits Again
  • [06] Family Tragedy in Brilissia
  • [07] Explosion at "Hrisi Avgi" Offices
  • [08] Israel Struck Six Targets in Gaza Strip
  • [09] Tied the Knot with His Pillow!

  • [01] Greek PM: "Greece Did What It Had to Do"

    Friday, 19 March 2010 16:38

    While Europe remains split over an aid package for Greece, in Athens the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed that Greece did what it had to do and that it was about time Europe took its decisions. The Finance Minister did not rule out anything. Sounding on the same page, the government spokesman said that Greece is as close to and as far away from the International Monetary Fund as ever. He then went on to underline that Greece will try to convince its EU partners that it deserves the EU aid.

    A week prior to the crucial EU summit, George Papandreou, after his talks with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, sent a message to the EU.

    "Greece did what it had to do and the other side of this agreement is Europe's determination to support the single currency union and not just Greece. It is Europe's time. We will discuss this challenge in a few days' time and in fact on a rather symbolic day for Greece, because it coincides with our national holiday," stressed the Greek Premier.

    The Greek government has not ruled out turning to the International Monetary Fund, without, however, associating that choice with Europe's stance.

    "We are as close to and as far away from the IMF as we have always been. Our priority is to gain the EU's political backing. We are considering, though, all possibilities, and, of course, it is our 'sacred' obligation towards economy and the Greek people's finances to protect their income by having reduced borrowing costs," commented government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis. He further added, "What we will be doing until the 25 and 26 March Summit is to convince our EU partners that we deserve their support."

    In the meantime, Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sahinides dismissed press reports whereby the mint is producing drachmas, the currency used in Greece before the country adopted the single currency.

    Opposition leader Antonis Samaras blasted the government for its pre-election pledges, arguing there was money.

    Papoulias-Papariga Meeting

    The financial developments topped the meeting held between the President of the Hellenic Republic and the Greek Communist leader.

    "Whether we receive aid from the EU or from the IMF, the consequences will be rather tough," commented Aleka Papariga, further adding that the Greek case has been caught in between controversies within the EU and in the fight between the euro currency and the dollar.

    "The leading forces found the chance to use the Greek case to settle their issues," added Aleka Papariga.

    Wrangling in Parliament

    Tensions ran high in Parliament with the Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou exchanging fire with Giorgos Karatzaferis and Alexis Tsipras.

    "We have to do something for our own problems. We ourselves should solve our problems. We should really solve them on our own and not sweep them under the rug. The people's sacrifice has to yield results," said he.

    Giorgos Papakonstantinou underscored that Greece usually comes in for criticism that hurts its already tarnished credibility even more.

    LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) head Giorgos Karatzaferis stressed that whatever Europe has given to Greece it has taken it back.

    He then put down the rise in bond yields to the ongoing discussions and not to the possibility of an IMF support and pointed out that defeatism does no good.

    SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) Alexis Tsipras, on his part, blamed the government for lacking a negotiating strategy and for making one mistake after the other.

    "Do you really want to commit that crime? The Prime Minister said we want to have the gun loaded on the table and yesterday he shot his foot. As a result the bond yields rose and the stock market plummeted. Where is the success of the Prime Minister's trips?" commented Alexis Tsipras.

    The LAOS head met with former Prime Minister and honorary ND president Konstantinos Mitsotakis and proposed the political leaders meet in the presence of the former prime ministers.

    "The country is experiencing its worst crisis after the restoration of Democracy. It would be a good idea for the political leaders to meet with the three former prime ministers. We must all together tackle the crisis and shape a bailout," concluded he.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 34527

    [02] Europe Split over Aid Package to Greece

    Friday, 19 March 2010 15:15

    The EU appears to be split over aid package for Greece. The European Union's monetary affairs chief urged the bloc's leaders to agree on a standby aid package for Greece at the 25 March summit. In the meantime, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso stressed that the eurozone nations, including Germany, were ready to assist Greece if it petitioned for aid, without ruling out, however, assistance from the International Monetary Fund. Germany, the Netherlands and Finland reacted positively to a possible IMF support.

    Rehn's Calls for a Decision

    Olli Rehn called on the 27 EU leaders to agree on a crystal clear aid package for Greece at the forthcoming EU summit.

    Underlining the importance of an agreement, Olli Rehn stressed that Greece's seeking IMF support could deliver a blow to the EU.

    It is important that the EU in the course of next week comes to a more specific conclusion, specific political conclusion about the European framework for coordinated and conditional action, if needed and required," EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said.

    He also maintained that Greece's fiscal problems clearly highlighted the need for a boosted coordination of the financial policy within the single currency union. Greece, he added, was in the middle of fixing its fiscal problems, however it had not yet overcome the problem.

    European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj, on his part, commented that Greece had done its share to meet its ambitious fiscal goals by the end of 2010. He in fact stressed that Athens made a huge and bold effort at a political level.

    Altafaj then went on to argue that the European Commission was paving the way for a political decision at the forthcoming European Council.

    Commenting on an possible IMF intervention, Altafaj noted that the European Commission is working alongside with the International Monetary Fund over Greece's problem, reminding that it was the European Commission that undertook the initiative to asked of its technical support.

    Barroso: Eurozone Nations Ready to Assist Greece

    In the meantime, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that the eurozone nations, including Germany, were ready to assist Greece if it petitioned for help. He estimated, though, that turning to the IMF was not a question of prestige.

    Speaking on France 24 television, the European Commission chief reminded that at the Eurogroup meeting, the eurozone Finance Ministers had said they were ready to assist Greece if the latter asked for it. Asked on Berlin's intentions, he stressed that Germany too was ready to offer aid to Greece in case it needed.

    Source: NET, ANA/MPA News item: 34521

    [03] Acupuncture May Spread Infections

    Friday, 19 March 2010 12:34


    Unsuspected patients undergoing acupuncture through the use of contaminated needles are running the risk of coming down with bacterial infections, hepatitis B and C and possibly even HIV, a new research has suggested.

    Researchers at the University of Hong Kong led by Patrick Woo sounded the alarm, claiming that the number of confirmed infections transmitted by acupuncture is but the tip of the iceberg and called for stricter regulation and accreditation requirements.

    Woo and his team underlined that acupuncture could prove rather risky as needles are inserted up to several centimeters beneath the skin. They also warned of a new syndrome, called acupuncture mycobacteriosis.

    "This is an infection caused by mycobacteria that rapidly grow around the acupuncture insertion point as a result of contaminated cotton wool swabs, towels and hot-pack covers. There is a long incubation period but the infection usually leads to large abscesses and ulcers," they wrote.

    "So far, more than 50 cases have been described globally. In most cases, bacteria were transmitted from the patient's skin flora or the environment because of inadequate skin disinfection before acupuncture," they added. News item: 34514

    [04] Papandreou-Hristofias Meeting

    Friday, 19 March 2010 11:58

    Prime-minister G. Papandreou meeting Cyprus President Dimitris Hristofias at Maximos mansion (government headquarters) centered on economy. In his statements, Mr. Papandreou said that it was Europe's high time to make decisions. "Greece did what it owed to do. It is Europe's time now ". Referring to Cyprus issue, he repeated Greece's firm support to a solution of Cyprus issue on the grounds of UN resolutions. He also announced a trip to Cyprus for contacts with political parties in the next days.

    On his part, Dimitris Hristofias stressed yprus support to Greece's positions in the forthcoming EU Summit meeting was self-evident.

    Source: 10.8 - News item: 34512

    [05] The Oscar Curse Hits Again

    Friday, 19 March 2010 10:51

    The Oscar curse appears to be delivering crushing blows mostly to the actresses who were awarded with it. The last victim was Sandra Bullock, who was tipped off her husband's love affair with a model.

    Best Actress Oscar Winner Sandra Bullock said he would not attend the premier of her movie, "The Blind Side," in London after she learned about her cheating hubby.

    Bullock, 45, told Warner Bros that due to unexpected personal reasons, she would not be able to travel abroad.

    Her announcement followed the release of the interview with In Touch magazine of a model from California, who claimed she had a love affair with Bullock's husband, when the famous actress was shooting the film that earned her the Oscar.

    Bullock and Jesse James married in 2005. She had recently said that her professional success was due to her marital bliss.

    If the story proves real, Bullock will be added to the list of actors who saw their relationship falling apart after being awarded with the Oscar.

    The "Oscar curse" has so far hit Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon and Julia Roberts.

    Source: ANA/MPA News item: 34509

    [06] Family Tragedy in Brilissia

    Friday, 19 March 2010 10:07

    According to police report, double killing in Brilissia, Attica suburb is a family tragedy. Following autopsy in the site by police and forensic doctor, the 90yo man, who was found dead, had previously suffocated with a pillow over her head his bedridden 84yo wife and then stabbed himself to death with a knife. He had left a letter explaining the reasons of his action.

    The old aged couple were living with their daughter, who had taken her son to school when the incident occurred. When she returned she faced the tragedy. Police are conducting investigations.

    Source: NA-PA News item: 34504

    [07] Explosion at "Hrisi Avgi" Offices

    Friday, 19 March 2010 09:26

    A bomb exploded at Hrisi Avgi offices at 08:46 in Socratous St. No victims have been reported. Shortly before the explosion an unknown man made a telephone warning to "Eleftherotypia" newspaper to say that a bomb was to explode in 25 minutes. The unknown man asked for evacuation of the building, the hotel next to it and all Sokratus street. Police cordoned off the area and indeed the bomb exploded in 22 minutes causing material damage to the building.

    The bomb was placed in the corridor of the fifth floor and was set off by remote control. Socratus St. remains cordoned off.

    Source: NA-PA News item: 34501

    [08] Israel Struck Six Targets in Gaza Strip

    Friday, 19 March 2010 08:43

    Israeli aircraft struck at least six targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday a few hours after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave killed a Thai worker. Two civilians were wounded in one of Israeli attacks on smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt. The other targets included two open areas in Khan Younis and a metal foundry near Gaza City. In the meantime, Israeli Prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed "confidence-building steps" with Palestinians in a telephone call on Thursday with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Israeli government spokesman said.

    The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators are to meet in Moscow on Friday to discuss ways to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

    Tension Escalates

    An Israeli military spokesman confirmed six sites had been targeted among them a weapons manufacturing site. Israeli vice Prime Minister, Silvan Shalom had said on Thursday Israel would make a strong response to what was the first deadly rocket fire from Hamas-ruled Gaza at Israel in more than a year.

    Israel also sent a letter of complaint to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is due to visit Israel at the weekend, and the U.N. Security Council.

    A previously unknown group, Ansar al-Sunna, believed to share the hardline ideology of al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire at Israel, as well as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a wing of the mainstream Fatah movement.

    Israeli air strikes took place a few hours before a meeting of Quartet Middle East mediators in Moscow.

    Clinton-Netanyahu Telephone Contact

    A spokesman for Netanyahu in Jerusalem said in a telephone contact with Hillary Clinton, the Prime minister "clarified" his position in the wake of a dispute over extension of Israeli construction in east Jerusalem that strained relations between the U.S. and Israel during US vice-president Joe Biden visit to Israel last week.

    Netanyahu suggested to Clinton "trust-building steps" for Israel and the Palestinian Authority. "They discussed specific actions that might be taken to improve the atmosphere for progress toward peace," State department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters early today in Moscow, where Clinton is meeting with Russian leaders.

    The U.S. is reviewing Netanyahu's response, and the American envoy for Mideast peace, George Mitchell, will return to the region this weekend to confer with the Israeli leader and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Crowley said.

    Source: NA-PA, Reuters News item: 34498

    [09] Tied the Knot with His Pillow!

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:53

    A rather unusual way to get rid of bed-nagging for Lee Jin-gyu, a 28-year-old man from Korea, who married his pillow!

    Lee Jin-gyu's love for his pillow, which has an image of Fate Testarossa, from the magical girl anime series Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, is not something to just laugh at. Despite falling in love with his "beloved", his marriage was blessed in a special ceremony in front of a local priest. He even fitted it out with a wedding dress!

    Lee's friends said that his completely obsessed with the pillow and takes it everywhere. "They go out to the park of the funfair. Then when he goes out to eat, he takes it with him and gets it on its own seat," they added. News item: 34468

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