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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-07-13
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Labour Issue at Maximos Mansion Asking for Consent13 Jul 2005 16:31:00 (Last updated: 13 Jul 2005 19:35:56)
By Vagelis Theodorou
The government will be clarifying its stance and the timeframe for the legislative reforms that are expected to alter the countrys labour regime soon. And while the margins of finding a mutually acceptable solution are closing, Mr Panagiotopoulos discussed the details of the bill with the Greek PM and the Economy Minister on Wednesday morning and extended an invitation to GSEE for a last round of deliberations. The changes to labour relations cannot be one-sided, stressed Giorgos Alogoskoufis, while the Development Minister clarified that the Government never intended to institute executive rights, while he noted that the overtime regime has to change. According to information, they also reviewed the possibility of Mr Kostas Karamanlis announcing the government initiatives himself. On his part, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos asked for meaningful dialogue with a specific agenda and an adequate timeframe. In addition, he warned of disputes if the Government proceeds with the reforms, while he also presented an opinion poll with the views of employees. The Opposition parties reacted intensely.
No Issue of Executive Rights
Upon exiting Maximos Mansion, Mr Panagiotopoulos extended a new invitation to GSEE to participate in dialogue. The GSEE leadership should not disrupt this climate of consent, underlined the Minister, while he added that the Government is determined to go ahead, aiming at reducing unemployment and protecting the employees.
While speaking to the reporters, Mr Panagiotopoulos mentioned For as long as I am at the Ministry, no such matter [executive rights] will be instituted.. Meanwhile, he noted that the Government aims at achieving peaceful coexistence between employees and employers, while he criticised GSEEs refusal to participate in dialogue, stressing that an agreement between social partners is needed, before proceeding with any changes.
The employees have nothing to fear, declared the Minister, who also added, The efforts made by some to spread fear will be in vain.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Employment Ministrys secretary, Dimitris Kontos, is briefing the Economic and Social Committee on the developments concerning the labour issue and the Governments intentions.
GSEE Invites the Employers
GSEE was, is and will always be in favour of social dialogue; but a dialogue with specific content, a clear agenda and proposals from all sides on every matter, responded Christos Polyzogopoulos.
In the meantime, the presidium of GSEE will be meeting with the employer federations (SEV, GSEVEE and ESEE) on Thursday afternoon, to discuss the labour issue.
In addition, the President of GSEE presented an opinion poll by Metron Analysis, which was conducted on behalf of the Confederation, and according to which the majority of employees are in favour of dialogue with their employers over the labour issue. On the other hand, they are against flexible working hours and reducing the cost of overtime.
Specifically, 45.6% wished for the labour issues to be discussed in the context of collective bargaining, while 54.2% and 53.5% said No to flexible working hours and reducing the cost of overtime respectively.
War of Statements
Some people, with extreme views, are shooting in the air, commented NDs secretary Vangelis Meimarakis concerning the executive rights.
PASOKs spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis declared that the so-called reforms are at the expense of society, the economy and in favour of a few. Earlier, PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos spoke of neo-liberal and neo-authoritarian views, while he called on the Government to respect the institution of collective bargaining and let the social partners discuss the matter.
SYNs President Alekos Alavanos wondered, Is ND the one governing the country or SEVs administration, which has become an enemy of the Greek people? while he described the 8-hour working day a bastion of the social state in the EU and Greece.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 Red Blow With Konstantinou-Toure13 Jul 2005 20:01:00 (Last updated: 13 Jul 2005 21:13:42)
By Dimitris Alexopoulos
As of the new football season, Michalis Konstantinou and Yaya Toure will be playing for Olympiacos. The two footballers signed a three-year contract with the Piraeus team. With these two transfers, Olympiacos acquires a new kind of strength both in centre play and offence, two key-spots where they clearly lacked players last year. Regarding the 22-year-old half from the Ivory Coast, he arrived in Athens at dawn and successfully passed his medical tests, while in the afternoon his visited the Clubs offices to sign his new contract. A while later, Olympiacos successfully completed the transfer of Cypriot offender Michalis Konstantinou and fans went wild with enthusiasm. You can easily understand what will happen tomorrow in the official presentation of newly acquired players at 13:30 at Pure Red (Karaiskakis Stadium) in the presence of Sokratis Kokkalis.
Olympiacos FC announces the official transfer of international half Yaya Toure. The football player has signed a contract for three years.
Immediately after, the Club posted the following announcement: Olympiacos FC announces the acquisition of international Cypriot offender Michalis Konstantinou. The football player has signed a contract for three years.
And if the 22-year-old footballer from the Ivory Coast, who was transferred from Ukrainian Metalurg Donetsk for 1,200,000 euros, was Trod Sollieds personal choice, the transfer of Konstantinou was the Presidents gift to Red fans.
Sokratis Kokkalis showed once more that apart from a President he is also a fan and this is why he brought a great offender in Olympiacos, who will surely help the team achieve the goals set for Greece and abroad.
Mr Kokkalis finalised Konstantinous transfer last night on the phone, when he ensured his acquisition in no time.
What remains to be seen is the atmosphere that will prevail in the open training on Friday and the reactions from both teams fans (Olympiacos and Panathinaikos) in the Championship premiere, when the two teams will play against each other.
However, news from Panathinaikos fans speak of emotions of rage and disappointment by the former offenders stance, who made them fill Leoforos in 2001 just to see control the ball.
The Cypriot offender, who played in Iraklis FC from 1997 to 2001 and in Panathinaikos from 2001 until now has already played in 215 matches in A National, while he only needs to score five more times to enter the club of scorers who have exceeded 100 goals in the A National Championship. He has played 41 times in Europe and has scored 13 goals (25 participations and 9 goals in the Champions League), while he has 49 participations and 23 goas in the Greek Cup. He has won one Championship title and one Cup title with Panathinaikos (the double last year).
Translated by Sofia Soulioti
 Measures Against Terrorism in Brussels Big Brother in Europe13 Jul 2005 18:04:00 (Last updated: 13 Jul 2005 22:53:13)
By Annita Paschalinou
The British Presidency is pressuring the EU to immediately implement stricter measures against terrorism, while EU Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers are holding an emergency Summit in Brussels. British Home Secretary announced the British intentions, asking for closer monitoring of telecommunications, landline - mobile telephony and Internet, and feature biometric data on identity cards. Mr Charles said he would try to persuade his counterparts to immediately apply these measures, but in order for such a thing to happen, the European Parliaments approval has to be bypassed. The measures proposed by the British, who have already ensured the support of France, Sweden and Ireland, have triggered intense reactions even by EU legal advisers, who said there should be a legal framework that will respect human freedoms. Dutch Kathalijne Buitenweg stressed that the British presidency should not make a full of the European Parliament, because we too are interested in the safety of our citizens.
Mobile Phones and Internet
Earlier, however, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced that the legal framework for the collection of telecommunications information will be announced in September.
This week, stressed Barroso, we will adopt a proposal for the cross-border, judicial and police cooperation, while later in the summer we will adopt proposals for storing and trading explosives.
Homeland Secretary Mr Charles announced Britains intentions regarding antiterrorist policy measures that should be taken. As he said, he will try to convince his European counterparts to agree to the following:
Mobile telephony companies and Internet Service Providers will be obliged to store telephone or electronic data from one to three years. In Europe, the relevant time does not exceed three months. This, stressed the British, who have ensured the support of France, Ireland and Sweden, will allow intelligence agencies and the police to know faster where, when and to whom was a call made or an email sent. However, the Commission thinks that such archives should be stored for one year at the most, so that companies can bear the cost.
To adopt common standards for the introduction of biometric data on ID cards. To cooperate closer for tracking stolen explosives and better protect infrastructure, like transportation systems. Papaligouras Intervention at the Summit
In his intervention at the emergency Summit, Greek Justice Minister A. Papaligouras voiced the countrys solidarity to the war against terrorism. A terrorist hit against any of the EU Member-States is a hit against all 25 of us, stressed Anastasis Papaligouras, suggesting dealing with the issue in a political way.Democratic Europe owes the people its own political answer to the contemporary plague of terrorism, he underlined.
"The Reasons Will be Evaluated"
The Government spokesperson also referred to the issue of recording phone calls, SMS and emails, which the British presidency proposed and was today discussed in Brussels.
During the Councils discussion all reasons which the British presidency has referred to in its proposal will be evaluated and a relevant decision will be made, stressed T. Roussopoulos noting that the general principle is always applied and any decision will be made based on certain facts.
Reasons are always evaluated. Mr Voulgarakis will make the relevant decision based on his judgment, he added.
T. Roussopoulos noted that during the Olympic Games some measures had been taken in the context of law and order, which are not in effect today. For this reason, he added, nobody can tell what decision Mr Voulgarakis will make.
Reactions in Greece
PASOK, KKE and SYN issued announcements referring to the measures to be taken by the EU against terrorism.
Fighting terrorism cannot happen with precautionary wars nor with precautionary attacks against citizens rights, said PASOK spokesperson N. Athanasakis.
The dilemma security or limitation of rights is hypocritical, fake and imperialistic, underlined KKE in its announcement.
SYN said NO to the generalized monitoring and limitation of human rights, noting that such measures undermine Democracy.
Translated by Sofia Soulioti
 Deprivation Syndrome for Jolie13 Jul 2005 14:06:00
By Tina Valaoura
He has been suffering from a nostalgia crisis, ever since Angelina Jolie had to fly around the world because of her business obligations. No, we are not talking about Brad Pitt, but about the American stars pet parrot, an African Grey, which managed to make his feelings loud and clear. He creates a fuss whenever possible and even went on a hunger strike, making the lives of the employees at the Amazon Rainforest Shop in West Hollywood, where Angelina left the parrot to promote her latest movie Mr & Mrs Smith, very difficult. A source said, Parrots are very clever animals and they are very aware of their surroundings. They do miss their owners and it can really ruffle their feathers to be away too long. As for the parrot in question, it is evident that he truly misses Angelina.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 Visit by Deputy Employment Minister Support for those Laid off at Triumph13 Jul 2005 14:52:00
By Vagelis Theodorou
Deputy Employment Minister Gerasimos Giakoumatos visited the employees working for the underwear company Triumph, in Nea Ionia, after being invited by their committee. Mr Giakoumatos confirmed that no one would stay unprotected, while he pledged that the Ministry would deal with each case individually. Meanwhile, he declared that measures would be implemented in an effort to facilitate them, such as freezing loan repayments to the Workers Housing Association and including them in OAEDs retirement programme. On 23 June, the company announced that it would be closing down part of its factorys production section in Greece and transferring it to a country with cheaper labour. The 256 employees were told that would have to go on compulsory holidays until 17 August and then the company would start paying their compensations. The 5-member employee committee is continuing its negotiations with the company, while they are expected to reach an agreement on the compensation packages by next week.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 By Paid Mercenaries Patriarchate Invaded13 Jul 2005 15:40:00 (Last updated: 13 Jul 2005 22:36:38)
By Despina Hristopoulou
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8 - ANA
Clashes between Arab citizens and members of the clergy were recorded this afternoon at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. As per the clerics who were in the Patriarchate at the time, the incidents started when Archimandrite Eirinaios Giakoumakis, a close associate of the former Patriarch of Jerusalem, and a group of 30-50 Arab Muslims broke open the doors and entered the building. As per their statements, they are attempting to overthrow the current regime, to the advantage of the former Patriarch. The invaders, who are allegedly paid mercenaries, clashed with members of the clergy guarding the entrance to the Patriarchates Secretariat. With the Israeli polices tolerance, they managed to take over the building. Serious damages were caused to the Patriarchate during the clashes, while a monk sustained injuries to his arm. At the moment, the General Consul in Jerusalem, Eleni Sourani, is talking with the Patriarchates legal advisors, Alexandros Lykourezos and Nikos Kaliouris, and the Jerusalem police commissioner. An Israeli police spokesperson declared that the invaders would leave the Patriarchate as soon as the former Patriarch pays them the money he promised them.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 Focus on Trading Hours13 Jul 2005 16:33:00
By Despina Hristopoulou
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8
The relevant parliamentary committee commenced discussions for the new trading hours on Wednesday morning, amid fierce disputes. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas repeated that the Government regulation would provide the opportunity to those who want to keep their stores open longer to do so, without suffering any consequences. Our aim is to boost the Greek economy. We will not give in to the coops and the interests and we are ignoring the temporary political cost, declared ND rapporteur Giorgos Kontogiannis. The regulation being promoted was requested by the large multinational stores, pointed out PASOK MP Christos Protopapas. On his part, KKE rapporteur Nikos Gatzis stressed that the rights of trade employees have to be safeguarded, while he noted that the trading hours have to remain at 48 hours per week. SYN MP Asimina Xirotiri was also against extending the trading hours, while she noted that the results would be contrary to those expected. In the meantime, Vangelis Meimarakis, who met with the presidium of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce, left open the possibility of technical improvements, which would not change the main content of the bill. The discussion will continue this afternoon.
Mr Sioufas noted that the Government intents to enact a law that would safeguard the employees, consumers and shop owners. As he mentioned, Greece is a European country and has to adopt a unified operational context in a contemporary market and not three different types of trading hours in the same act.
Mr Sioufas also noted that, based on PASOKs law, the large department stores operate between 69 and 72 hours per week, as opposed to 42-48 hours for the smaller shops.
As he stressed, the Government regulation would provide shop owners to stay open until 8pm on Saturday and 9pm on weekday if they wish to do so, without suffering any consequences. If the local trade unions manage to agree with everyone on amending the trading hours, it can do so, without the shop owners having to pay any fines, which was the case up until now, based on the prefecture decisions, said the Minister.
Our aim is to boost the Greek economy. We will not give in to the coops and the interests and we are ignoring the temporary political cost, declared ND rapporteur Giorgos Kontogiannis.
On his part, PASOK MP Christos Protopapas pointed out, The regulation being promoted was requested by the large multinational stores, noting that the social agreement act has been abolished. Meanwhile, he accused the government of neo-conservative policies.
In the meantime, many Cretan traders, in the Prefectures of Heraklio, Lasithi and Chania, did not open their stores today, reacting to the new trading hours. This morning, the traders met in the main square and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the clauses of the bill relating to the trading hours.
However, despite the expectations of the Chania Trade Association, many stores did open, while larger chain stores and shops in tourist areas of the island operated as normal. According to the Associations President, Manolis Kavalarakis, who appeared disappointed from the participation in both the strike and the rally, 85% of the clothing and shoe stores and 70% of the other trade businesses remained closed.
The shops on the island of Mytilini also remained closed.
In the meantime, GSEVEE (General Confederation of Small and Medium Sized Businesses) postponed the symbolic blockades in Tempi, the Corinth Isthmus and the Rio-Antirrio Bridge until next Tuesday 19 July, while they are also preparing to lodge an appeal to the European Commission.
The Government is willing to discuss any technical proposals that can improve the bill for extended trading hours, without, however, altering the main content, noted Central Committee secretary Evangelos Meimarakis after his meeting with the presidium of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).
On his part, ESEEs President, Mr Armenakis, said that the Confederation agreed with extending the trading hours on weekdays, but not on Saturday.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
Unified, but not Binding
 Threatening Chemical Compound13 Jul 2005 13:31:00
By Tina Valaoura
Suspicions that hormone-disrupting substances in the environment may pose a threat to humans is not something new. However, scientists who have been researching the effects of the chemical substance bisphenol A, used in plastic bags among other things, are now focusing their attention on another similar chemical 4- nonylphenol, which can trigger breast cancer in mice.
American scientists from Texas and South Carolina undertook the research, which was published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, and are warning that long-term exposure to the substance may significantly increase the possibility of the disease being manifested. On the other hand, UK scientists appear more reserved. They described the results as interesting, however, they stressed that further research is needed, since the substances are found in very low concentrations in the environment and quite possibly they do not pose a threat to public health.
The substance 4-nonyphenol, which is used in insect repellents as well as industrial and domestic detergents, belongs to a category of chemical compounds called inhibitors of endocrinal hormones or environmental estrogens. When it enters the human body, it mimics the activity of female hormones, the well-known estrogens. Once it reaches the liver, it stimulates the production of another hormone, estriol. Both oestrogen and estriol have been linked with breast cancer.
Having these facts in mind, a group of researchers from the University of Texas in El Paso and Clemson University in South Carolina, headed by Dr William Baldwin, compared the effects of 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) and oestrogen in mice. After 32 weeks of observations, they discovered that many of the mice given 4-NP developed breast cancer, while mice given equivalent doses of oestrogen did not. The researchers admitted that the mechanism that produces this result is extremely complicated, however, they did not hesitate to express the belief that something similar could happen to humans.
Their colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic, though, insist that further proof is needed to draw safe conclusion on what may happen with humans. However, implementing measures and instituting legislation to reduce the use of the substance, as a prevention, is a matter that needs to be investigated.
 Bill on Working Hours in Parliament Searching for a Golden Mean13 Jul 2005 12:13:00
By Vicky Keleri
Sources: NET - NET 105,8
The reforms on labour relations were at the focus of the meeting that was held between Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos and Finance Minister Giorogos Alogoskoufis. Exiting the meeting, Giorgos Alogoskoufis highlighted the necessity for all social partners to agree on the changes regarding the labour relations and pointed out that partial decisions are out of the question. On his part, Mr Panagiotopoulos criticized GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) for its denial to participate in the dialogue on the new working-hour scheme and overtime payments. As for the objections raised by DAKE (Democratic Independent Workers Movement), Employment Minister said that DAKE has a claiming role and reacts to the executive rights. He further underlined that an agreement is a key priority to pave the way for the changes. Shortly after their meeting, the two Ministers met with the Greek PM at the Maximos Mansion. GSEE, on the other hand, claimed that cuts in overtime payments are expected to have a negative effect on the working class revenues benefiting the employers.
In response to yesterdays appeal by the Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos made an appeal for a dialogue based on a certain agenda.
Speaking on NET radio 105,8, ADEDY President Spiros Papaspirou said, The suggestions regarding the Private Sector are closely related to the developments in the Public Sector and can account for our participation in the collective actions.
Translated by Areti Christou