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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-03-20
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Pope's Letter of Apology Disappoints Irish VicitmsSaturday, 20 March 2010 18:34
Irish victims of clerical child sexual abuse are deeply disappointed by Pope Benedict's letter of apology as it fails to address the role of senior church leaders, a group representing victims said on Saturday.
"My first response was deep disappointment in the letter," said Maeve Lewis, executive director of victims group One in Four. "We feel the letter falls far short of addressing the concerns of the victims," Lewis told Reuters.
She said the pope's letter focused too narrowly on lower-rank Irish priests without recognizing the responsibility of the Vatican and senior Irish clerics for protecting offenders and dealing with victims.
"There is nothing in this letter to suggest that any new vision of leadership in the Catholic church exists," Lewis said.
The letter also does not refer to the resignation of the head of the church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, which victims' groups have demanded, she added.
"It is evident from the Pastoral Letter that Pope Benedict is deeply dismayed by what he refers to as 'sinful and criminal acts and the way the Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them,'" Brady said in his address which went through the papal letter.
Source: Reuters News item: 34562
 Bomb Blast outside the Alien's DivisionSaturday, 20 March 2010 17:38
A bomb went off on Saturday evening outside the building housing the Alien's Division of the Greek Police. The blast caused minor damage to nearby shops. In the meantime, another bomb blast was reported in the early hours of Saturday outside the house of the vice president of the Greek-Pakistani community and board member of the immigrants forum.
Earlier, there had been a call to Eleftherotypia paper and ALTER private television warning of a bomb blast at police department housed in the same building with the Alien's Division.
Prior to the warning call, the guard outside the building had taken notice of a suspect object. Upon approaching it, he realized it was an explosive device. He informed the authorities immediately. The explosive devise was a time bomb placed inside a box.
Bomb experts and members of the antiterrorist squad rushed to investigate the site.
No organization has yet claimed responsibility.
Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 34560
 Walkouts from the GSEE CongressSaturday, 20 March 2010 12:56
The parties affiliated with KKE (Greek Communist Party) and SYN (Coalition of the Radical Left) walked out of the 34th GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour ) congress taking place in Halkidiki, northern Greece. However, the two parties will take part in the vote for the election of the new GSEE board on Sunday.
The financial crisis, the government measures, the taxation system and the pension systems are running high on the agenda of the GSEE congress. "We will sign a national collective work contract irrespective of claims by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, " stressed GSEE head Giannis Panagopoulos.
Source: NET, ANA/MPA News item: 34556
 Greek PM: "Sacrifices Will Yield Results"Saturday, 20 March 2010 11:54
The latest financial developments and the EU aid to Greece are running high on the agenda of the PASOK's National Council which is holding a three-day conference on Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Prime Minister George Papandreou made it clear that bankruptcy is out of the question, nor is Greece going to be kicked out of the eurozone.
The developments in the economy field are they key topic of the conference of the National Council of the ruling party taking place in Thessaloniki.
G. Papandreou: "Saving the Country is the Key Goal"
"Today, history meets hope," stressed the Greek Prime Minister from the podium of PASOK's National Council conference, resting everybody assured yet again that Greece is not going to go bankrupt.
"Today is a momentum turning point like ones that appear every 30 to 40 years," added Papandreou.
He also argued that saving the country is the key goal and a prerequisite so that both the government and PASOK can serve the Greek people's interests.
George Papandreou blasted main opposition New Democracy for its policy and blamed it for leaving the country on the verge of collapse.
"We won't be intimidated by the hardships and we will do everything it is required, no matter how harsh and painful it may be, no matter the personal cost it may inflict upon me"
He called the austerity measures taken by his government as urgent, further adding that the ruling party is struggling today so that Greece can have the ability to take decisions on its own and dictate its own future.
"However," the Prime Minister underlined, "the conditions we are living in are not smooth; they are war-like conditions and therefore our decisions have to be tough."
Papandreou also said that had the measures not been taken, the consequences would have been unbearable and neither salaries nor pension could be paid. "We took the decisions we had to take and that's why we are addressing the crisis. We have the potentials and the choices to escape today's deadlock. Greece has a strong and determined government that is doing all its necessary," added he.
The Greek Premier spoke of an unprecedented attack Greece came in for, stressing that the problem does not only affect Greece but the whole single currency union, as well. He reiterated that Greece will solve its problems on its own and it will pay its dues and that the only thing it has asked for is political support against speculators.
He then shifted his attention to PASOK's contribution to Greece's progress, as well as to several of his weaknesses and wrong choices.
His vision, as he said, is to have lay down solid foundations for a new and fairer Greece, a Greece that will never reach the point it has plunged.
On the opening day of the conference, the party's leading officials stressed that the government has to speed up its work regarding growth.
PASOK secretary S. Xynides stressed that the party's National Council is taking place at a particularly crucial and decisive moment, since, as he explained, Greece has to escape a bankruptcy swirl.
"PASOK itself has set high standards"
Xynides underlined that the Greek, European and world crisis has two parameters: the country's fiscal derailment and the speculators' attack.
"The entire society is aware that it bears the hallmarks of ND," noted Xynides while commenting on the first parameter. "The ND government deprived the country of certain things," claimed the PASOK secretary, adding that it left Greece with no resources, face and time.
'You have not been inactive, Mr Samaras, you have been fatal," said Xynides, arguing that the main opposition party has to apologize to the people of Greece for the country's fiscal collapse and for deserting the battle, "because Mr Karamanlis was not bored, but he got scared."
"Some wondered whether PASOK will lose its soul. We are saying that PASOK will put its soul in it," said the PASOK secretary. News item: 34548
 Improvised Explosive Devise BlastsSaturday, 20 March 2010 11:21
A bomb went off in the early hours of Saturday at the entrance of a block of flat where the vice president of the Greek-Pakistani community and board member of the immigrants forum lives. There had been a warning call some 20 minutes before the blast.
The blast caused damaged to the façade and to a car parked in the area. The antiterrorist squad is investigating the case.
Source: ANA/MPA News item: 34547
 Opposition Leader's Proposal for an "Open Party"Saturday, 20 March 2010 11:06
Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras unveiled his vision for the party at the pre-congressional procedures taking place in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Warmly welcomed at the hall hosting the procedures, Antonis Samaras suggested 13 changes in the party's organizational structure.
Samaras also recommended the introduction of institutions favouring "eDemocracy" in all levels.
"Low-Incomes the Cut-off Line"
Antonis Samaras blasted the government for the new austerity measures it took while addressing the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) 34th Congress taking place in Halkidiki, northern Greece. He branded them as "painful" and "ineffective." He also blamed all the political forces for the maintenance of a "bankrupt model", and his own party for "succumbing to the temptation of administrative 'governmentalism'" because, although it had not created that model, ND was to blame for not daring to change it when it had the opportunity to do so. He also noted that Greece is not going to go bankrupt because it has potentials and future.
The ND leader called on the government to take measures capable of boosting the market, "lest the economy should collapse and the society should fall apart." He then went on to argue that the sacrifice required by the government is meant to create greater depression and result in even tougher measures.
Visit to Halkidiki
"Halkidiki is a place blessed with the beauty and scent of perfection and we have to help the place developed more both in Greece and beyond. The problems of the flood-stricken have to be resolved. The road network has to be addressed and the prefecture's tourism potentials be taken advantage of. We should also focus on dams and competitive agriculture. Halkidiki could be turned into a heaven of development," said Antonis Samaras News item: 34546
 Cabin Crew Strike Keeps British Airways Planes GroundedSaturday, 20 March 2010 10:56
British Airways said on Saturday emergency plans to handle a three-day cabin crew strike were working well as opponents sought to use the dispute to embarrass the Labour government weeks before an election.
The walkout over pay and jobs which began at midnight will disrupt travel for thousands of passengers after talks between the Unite union -- the Labour party's biggest single financial backer -- and management collapsed.
A further four-day strike is planned later this month.
BA, which plans to fly more than 60 percent of passengers this weekend -- some 49,000 people a day -- despite cancelling many of its scheduled flights, said its biggest ever contingency plan was going well.
"Our main aim this week has been to give customers as much information as early as possible so that they take up one of the options we have offered them," a spokesman said.
Unite said the strike had received strong support from crew.
"The severity of the disruption will get worse day by day as crews from overseas come back and then don't come back out," a spokesman said.
A Reuters witness at London Heathrow's Terminal 5, the airport's main hub for BA flights, said contingency plans appeared to be working as there were only a few people queuing for information about the strike.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for both sides to resolve their differences without delay, as political opponents sought to capitalize from Unite's link with his Labour party.
The prospect of the first national rail strike for 16 years added to the government's problems after signal workers voted for industrial action on Friday, although peace talks were due to be held next week.
Labour has strong union ties that go back to its foundation in 1900. The political director of Unite, Britain's largest union, is Brown's former spokesman.
Source: REUTERS News item: 34545
 Sectarian Violence in Nigeria Leaves Scores of DeadMonday, 08 March 2010 11:05
Hundreds of lives have perished in a sectarian violence surge in Nigeria. The clashes between Muslims and Christians have claimed at least 500 people, with tens of women and children being among the dead. The latest attacks are said to have been reprisals for the January killings.
Army on Standby
The violence erupted near the city of Jos in Nigeria at the weekend have raised alarm in the country.
Two months after clashes in the same region in between the Muslim north and the Christian south, sectarian violence returned.
Eye witnesses said that Muslim Hausa-Fulani herders from surrounding hills attacked at about 3 a.m. shooting into the air before cutting those who came out of their homes with machetes.
In an area often marred by sectarian violence, most of the victims were women and children.
The police chief said authorities had no choice but to advise people to remain calm, as the government is intensifying its efforts to protect their lives and properties.
Source: Reuters, ANA/MPA
BBC: Nigeria ethnic violence 'leaves hundreds dead'
News item: 34089