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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-07-28

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Fire Receding
  • [02] Flaming Nightmare
  • [03] Unification Free of Sanctions
  • [04] Flights Will not Be Disrupted
  • [05] Rules for Civil Servants
  • [06] New Security Alert in London
  • [07] Monopoly Will Be Safeguarded
  • [08] Panathinaikos to Sign up Nilsson
  • [09] CL and UEFA Draws
  • [10] Tobacco Advertising Ban
  • [11] Inauguration at Olympic Clinic
  • [12] Tour Athens on a Bus

  • [01] Next 24 Hours Crucial Fire Receding

    28 Jul 2005 19:53:00 (Last updated: 28 Jul 2005 23:46:39)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: 105.8

    Yet another Attican pine forest has burnt down to the ground. Dozens of people watched their homes being destroyed by the flames. According to rough estimates, 60 houses were destroyed. Speaking from the Fire Departments Operation Centre, the Prime Minister announced that he gave orders for the immediate and full recording of all damages and the compensation of those afflicted. Since this morning, firefighters, both on the ground and in the air, have been making giant efforts to combat the fire fronts. Due to the strong winds, renewed outbreaks of fire are continuously being recorded in Kallitechnoupoli, Neos Voutzas and Pikermi. However, in the most part, the fire fronts seem to be gradually receding. In addition, Marathonos Avenue was reopened in the afternoon. The Fire Department announced that there is no danger of the fires spreading; however, they are not completely under control. According to the General Secretary of the Civil Protection Authority, Panagiotis Fourlas, the firefighting planes and helicopters stopped all flights after sunset, while the ground units, as well as soldiers, will be patrolling the areas throughout the night to control any new outbreaks. The first estimates speak of arson, while two young men who were being detained at the Nea Makri police station as suspects, have been released. Furthermore, eight people are being hospitalised with minor injuries, while a total of 20 people were wounded. In the afternoon, as a precaution, traffic on all streets leading to Ymittos, Penteli and Egaleo was stopped.

    Immediate Compensation

    Speaking from the Fire Departments Operation Centre in Chalandri, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis gave orders for the immediate and full recording of all damages and the compensation of those afflicted, stressing, "All the forest areas that were burnt down will be reforested immediately." Furthermore, the PM thanked the firefighters, police officers, the Armed Forces, the Local Self-Government bodies, the volunteers and the citizens for their huge efforts.

    Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, Fire Department Chief Christos Smetis, and the leader of the Fire Departments Operation Centre briefed Mr Karamanlis on the progress of all fire extinguishing operations.

    Meanwhile, the Public Order Minister also briefed the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, on the situation and told him that he will keep him posted on all the developments.

    A meeting will take place on Friday at 8:30am in Maximos Mansion, presided by the PM, to assess the damages caused by the fire in Rafina. The Ministers of Development, Public Order and Interior will also be attending the meeting.

    Fears for New Outbreaks

    The mayor of Spata, Thanassis Tountas, declared on NET 105.8 that the fire which broke out on the borders of Spata has fully receded, however, he expressed fears of new outbreaks during the night, because of the strong winds.

    Strong firefighting forces, assisted by 300 soldiers, will be patrolling Kallitechnoupoli, Neos Voutzas and Pikermi throughout the night, as there are fears of new outbreaks due to the strong winds.

    The burning nightmare commenced in Rafina a little after 10am with three fronts. The strong winds spread the fire towards Neos Voutzas, Kallitechnoupoli and the villages of Agia Triada, Agia Kyriaki and Artemida.

    The firefighters job was extremely difficult, as the fire kept changing directions because of the winds, while the main priority of the firefighting forces was to save human lives.

    No Camps Were Threatened

    Two people have been transferring to Sismanoglio Hospital and one to the General Hospital, all suffering from burns, while a person suffering from respiratory problem was transferred to KAT Hospital and a firefighter to Nea Makri Health Centre.

    The hospitals have been on alert all day, while two mobile EKAV (National Centre for Immediate Assistance) units, four ambulances and three motorcycles are still on site.

    At around 3pm, the fire started approaching the childrens hospital Dau Penteli, so the children were transferred to safe areas as a precaution. All the children are well and they will spend the night at the two childrens hospital in Athens, Dromokaitio Hospital and the Pallini Primary School.

    The childrens camps that are operating in the area are also on alert. Although the safety of the children was not threatened, the camps are ready to be evacuated in case of danger. Those staying at the camp for people with disabilities were transferred as a precaution.

    Political Parties Express their Support

    Earlier, the PM, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and PASOKs secretary, Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou visited the area of Rafina.

    PASOKs secretary expressed her support and solidarity towards the firefighters, as well as the Local Self-Government and the inhabitants of the afflicted areas.

    KKEs General Secretary Aleka Papariga asked that the lower-income families, who witnessed their homes perish, be compensated first, while she stressed, "This demonstrates that since the ground and the buildings are commodities, then fires will be set to make them more expensive."

    SYNs representative Giannis Tolios pointed out that the fire in Rafina demonstrates the serious problems concerning forest protection, since the government policies basically encourage arsonists.

    Fires all over Greece

    The fire in Rafina was not the only one that broke out in Greece on Thursday.

    Three fires broke out in Ioannina: one in a pine forest in Agia Parakevi, Konitsa; one in a pine forest in Vovousa; and a third in Bizani, close to the Vrelli Museum.

    Fires also broke out in Aridea, Konitsa, Tymbaki (Iraklio) and Psachna (Evia).

    Finally, a fire broke out in Elefsina at 21:30. The fire was burning through an archaeological site and a pine forest, but is now under control.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Flaming Nightmare

    [02] Fire Towards Drafi Flaming Nightmare

    28 Jul 2005 14:10:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    The big fire with many fronts, which broke out early this morning in Rafina and has already destroyed pine forests, many houses and shops, seems to be under control. The fire continues to threaten inhabited areas, blazing through the southern villages of Perivolaki, Agia Kyriaki and Agia Triada, while the fire on Agia Kyriaki hill is under control. Houses are on fire in Kallitechnoupoli, which was evacuated, while a new front is currently heading towards Drafi, Penteli. The Children Hospital in Penteli was evacuated due to a fire that broke out in the abandoned buildings of the hospital. 60 fire engines with 180 firemen on board, 100 firemen on foot, 8 fire aircrafts, 6 helicopters and 20 water carriers from neighbouring municipalities are already on site, trying to control the fire. However, it is very difficult to put out the big fire, because of the gales blowing in the area, which reach 7 on the Beauford scale. The Traffic police has employed traffic adjustments. Local authorities and residents speak of arson. What is more, the Civil Protection Authority issued a fire warning for today and tomorrow, as very strong winds will be blowing in most areas of the country. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Order have been on site since noon to monitor the situation from up close.

    Minor Injuries

    Authorities urge citizens to avoid movement. DEI (Hellenic Public Power Corporation) is to proceed with periodic power cuts in the region.

    Two people suffering from minor burns have been transferred to Georgios Gennimatas and KAT hospitals, two others with respiratory problems have been taken to KAT and Amalia Fleming hospitals, while a firefighter also suffering from minor burns has been hospitalised in the Medical Centre in Nea Makri.

    Inhabited areas have already been evacuated, while the children in Agia Triadas camps as well as the children from Rafinas orphanage have been transferred to a safe place.

    At 3pm the Children Hospital in Penteli, north of Attica, was evacuated due to a fire that broke out in the abandoned buildings of the hospital with the children being transferred to Aglaia Kyriakou Children Hospital, to Agia Sophia, to the Dromokaiteio hospital and to the 4rth Primary School in Pallini. Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis is on the site to monitor the situation.

    Traffic Adjustments

    The Traffic police has employed traffic adjustments with a view to facilitating the firefighters work in the region. Marathonos Avenue is blocked to Neos Voutzas, as well as the road leading frm Rafina to Athens. The road leading to Rafinas port is open.

    Thick plumes of smoke have even reached the "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport and as a result, landings and takeoffs are held only on the eastern runway. As it was announced, the two young men who had previously been held in Nea Makris police station, were set free.

    Karamanlis Postponed the Dinner

    Secretary of PASOKs National Council Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou and PASOK parliamentarian Nikos Salagiannis have been on the site since noon.

    It is noted that because of the devastating fire, the Prime Minister postponed his dinner with ND Parliamentarians of the Recess Section of Parliament.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Big Fire in Rafina

    [03] Aiming at Combating Smuggling Unification Free of Sanctions

    28 Jul 2005 17:14:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ANA - NET - NET 105.8

    Consumers will continue buying heating oil without being burdened with extra tax. This was decided today in a meeting held between Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Rural Development Minister Evagelos Basiakos, all accompanied by their Deputy Ministers. As it was announced, the government will first fully register the heating oil consumers and then it will proceed with promoting the tax unification in heating oil and fuel for all stages of fuel trading. Mr Alogoskoufis and Mr Sioufas spoke of an instrumental structural reform that fights smuggling and facilitates consumers. They also pointed out that the new system is fair and it would not burden the consumers.

    Implementation of the Plan

    The plan for creating a database of heating oil consumers will be implemented gradually.

    Initially, from 15 October 2005 until 30 April 2006, the special heating oil consumption tax will remain as current.

    All the distribution stages for heating oil, including delivery to the final consumer, will be accompanied by an invoice, which will contain all the information about the client (name, address, tax number, ID number, phone number, surface area of building)

    The distribution companies, the resellers and the fuel station owners will be required to submit detailed lists of their clients and suppliers to the General Secretariat of Information Systems every two months. In areas with less than 3,000 inhabitants, the list could be submitted to the local tax offices instead. The individual consumers will have to attach the invoices for the purchase of heating oil in their annual tax declarations.

    With regard to apartment blocks, separate tax numbers will be issued, while the board of each building will be required to submit a simple declaration for the purchase of oil to the relevant tax office every March. The declaration will include the information of the supplier, while the relevant invoices will have to be attached.

    The issuing of false sales invoices will constitute a crime, while companies found issuing such invoices will have their licences invoked and face heavy fines. Meanwhile, any consumers accepting false invoices will also be held liable.

    As of May 2006, the special taxes for heating oil and fuel will be unified, with the exception of the final consumers, who will continue to purchase cheap heating oil, ie special tax of 21 euros per litre.

    Once the information is recorded in the database, all heating oil consumers will receive a special electronic heating oil card, which will be used for all transactions during delivery.

    The card will contain the name of the consumer (individual, apartment block, farmer, tax number and address) as well as details of previous purchases. The cards will be updated in portable e-units, which will be mounted on all fuel tracks, at the time of purchase.

    The Economy Ministry will then crosscheck the data on the database with the data on the e-cards.

    Meanwhile, the installation of an electronic system to monitor fuel distribution, from the importation of crude oil to the final consumer, is also being considered.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Strike Deemed Illegal and Excessive Flights Will not Be Disrupted

    28 Jul 2005 22:51:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NA, 105.8

    The flights of all airlines will be performed as normal on Friday, since the Athens One-Member First Instance Court deemed the collective actions of Civil Aviation Authority employees as illegal and excessive. The employees are demanding financial and institutional reforms, while they also posed the issue of flight safety. In an announcement issued by the Federation of Civil Aviation Authority Associations it is mentioned that by referring the strike to Justice, the management of the Authority "demonstrates, on the one hand, how it perceives the issues concerning flight and passenger safety and, on the other, how it faces the employees, who are making huge efforts to ensure that the citizens are safe." Despite the cancellation of Fridays strike, the Federations steering committee decided to continue its collective actions, while it called on all employees to prepare for a fight.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Interior Ministry Issues Code of Conduct Rules for Civil Servants

    28 Jul 2005 15:30:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The Greek Interior Ministry has drawn up a code of conduct for public sector employees, while two of the main ethics rules include decency and respect towards the citizens. Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos and the Greek Ombudsman Giorgos Kaminis presented the "Civil Servants Code of Conduct Guide" today at a Press conference. Among other things, the Guide bans smoking and use of mobile phones in the offices and reception areas. "We have to state the obvious. Responsibility, integrity, politeness and adherence to the principles," stated Mr Andreoulakos, while he added, "No matter how many infrastructures we establish - and efforts towards such direction have been made in the past - and no matter how much money we spend, the results will not be significant if we dont change our mentality." On his part, Mr Kaminis said that a vicious circle of suspiciousness and distrust exists between public administration and the citizens, while he stressed that public sector employees have been typecast. "With this project, we are restating the obvious, which, obviously, is not being implemented," declared the Greek Ombudsman, who added, "I hope that this project will be the beginning of an effort towards changes."

    No Talking, Eating or Smoking!

    The Guide promises that the series of images that have been haunting citizens transactions with public services will soon be a thing of the past.

    Computers are to be used solely for work purposes and not for solitaire or other popular games! Furthermore, radios are banned and music is only allowed if it is broadcast by a central system.

    Smoking is also banned, while mobile phones have to be switches to silent mode. Civil Servants ought to greet people with a smile and behave politely. They should be well groomed and not nibble on snacks while serving citizens.

    Furthermore, they should perform their duties quickly and effectively. They should not invoke technical difficulties and should not be influenced by their political beliefs.

    The Guide also advises employees to avoid striking up friendships with people whose interests fall within their jurisdiction and not to accept gifts. In addition, discretion, altruism and responsibility constitute an integral part in forming a perfect image.

    Guide Rocks the Boat

    "We want to rock the boat in the public sector," claimed Mr Andreoulakos, while he added, "Civil servants, as well as every one of us, should change their mentality."

    "We are not setting new rules with his Guide, but we are putting together existing provisions and we are trying to explain the rules that regulate the behaviour of civil servants in simpler terms," underlined the Deputy Minister, who concluded by saying, "The report is trying to teach a new administrative philosophy. The majority of civil servants are productive. Citizens fund public administration via direct and indirect taxation, while we are here for the citizens."

    Referring to this new administrative philosophy, Mr Andreoulakos used the employees at Citizen Service Centres (KEP) as an example, as they perform their jobs in that spirit.

    Answering to a relevant question, Me Andreoulakos said that ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions) welcomed the effort.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [06] New Security Alert in London

    28 Jul 2005 23:27:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: Reuters

    Three weeks after the 7 July massacre and just days after the failed bombing attacks on 21 July, security alerts have become a part of everyday life in London. Late on Thursday night, the authorities evacuated an underground station and closed part of a main east-west line. A British Transport Police spokeswoman said Southwark station was closed and Jubilee Line services suspended between Waterloo in central London and Canary Wharf in the east London business district. However, the authorities released no further information about the evacuation.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Monopoly Will Be Safeguarded

    28 Jul 2005 16:18:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Sources: ANA

    The Minister of Economy and Finance, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, and the Deputy Minister of Sports, Giorgos Orfanos, visited the offices of OPAP SA, Greeces gaming company, where they were briefed on the progress of the companys denationalisation and its future plans. The Economy Minister stated his intention to do whatever is needed so that the Greek public sector safeguards OPAPs monopoly in the gaming industry. Mr Alogoskoufis also added that OPAPs contribution towards Greek sports and culture would continue to be significant in the years to come.

    Deputy Minister Congratulates OPAP

    The Deputy Sports Minister congratulated OPAP for its contribution towards the denationalisation of the Organisation, while he expressed his confidence in the companys future plans, as the management would become more effective.

    "I want to congratulate the management for the excellent way in which it handled the matter of the last capitalisation. The process reflects the healthy and transparent way by which OPAPA SA is being managed. The keen interest demonstrated by investors and the extensive dispersion of shares reflects the great trust of the investing public, which makes us as a Government proud. At the same time, they satisfy OPAPs management for the way it manages the money the Greek citizens entrust it with. OPAPs contribution towards Greek society has been great, by supporting sports and culture, and other activities, such as the fight against drugs, for which the company recently donated 1 million euros," Mr Orfanos stated.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Panathinaikos to Sign up Nilsson

    28 Jul 2005 15:35:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Swedish midfielder Mikael Nilsson was chosen by Alberto Malezani to cover Panathinaikos right flank. The 27-year-old footballer played with Southampton last year, while previously he belonged to Halmstads. Nilsson also plays for the Swedish National Team, while last year he participated in all the European Championship matches. Panathinaikso has not announced anything about the player yet, but according to sources, it has entered into negotiations and is close to sealing the deal.

    Was Considered in the Past

    The player is bound to Southampton, as he signed a three-year contract with the club last year. If Panathinaikos goes ahead with the transfer, then it would have to pay the sum of one million euros to the club. Nilsson was also considered as a transfer in January, but eventually Panathinaikos signed up Ezekiel Gonzales. If all goes well, the player will arrive in Athens on Friday in order to undergo the necessary medical check up and sign his new contract.

    The Swedish player was born on 24 July 1978, is 1.82m tall and weighs 75kg. Before signing up with Southampton (summer 2004), he played for Swedish Halmstads. He also plays for the Swedish National Team, while last year, in Portugal, he participated all of the EURO matches (against Bulgaria, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands) and was not shown a yellow card once.

    His Career in Numbers

    2001 Halmstads 26 participations, 6 goals 2002 Halmstads 25, 5 2003 Halmstads 24, 3 2004 Halmstads 13, 2 2004/05 Southampton 16, 0

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] CL and UEFA Draws

    28 Jul 2005 13:53:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    Nyon, Switcherland, will host the draw for the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. The draw attracts the interest of Greek football fans, since Panathinaikos s opponent will be announced. The "green" have been linked up with historic football clubs, including Manchester United FC and Internazionale Milan. This means that Panathinaikos will not play against these teams. The draw for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup will be held two hours later.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [10] In Printed Media, Radio, Internet Tobacco Advertising Ban

    28 Jul 2005 12:40:00

    By Thanasis Karlos

    The European Commission announced that the tobacco advertising ban in the printed media, the radio and on the Internet is to come into effect in the EU Member-States as of July 31. The directive also prohibits tobacco companies sponsorship of cross-border cultural and sporting events. The relevant law was passed in 2003 and was adopted by all Member-States. Tobacco advertising on television has been banned in the EU since the early 1990s. As per the European Commission, 650,000 people die of smoking-related diseases in Europe every year.

    Cinemas Are Excluded

    Banning tobacco advertising is one of the most effective ways of reducing smoking. This Directive will save lives and reduce the number of Europeans who suffer from smoking-related illnesses, said the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos kyprianou.

    Despite the bans, advertising in cinemas and on billboards or using merchandising, including ashtrays or parasols therefore falls outside its scope. So too does tobacco sponsorship at events which are purely local, with participants coming from only one Member State.

    In 1998 the European Commission attempted to fully ban all forms of tobacco advertising and sponsorship. However, the European Court of Justice annulled the aforementioned directive in 2001 ruling that a full-scale ban went beyond the EUs powers.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] By Costas Karamanlis Inauguration at Olympic Clinic

    28 Jul 2005 14:37:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Greek PM Costas Karamanlis inaugurated on Thursday the polyclinic in the Olymbic Village in Thrakomakedones, north of Athens. The polyclinic was designed with a view to facilitating the residents of the Attica basin and especially those residing in the nearby regions. Its 5-day test operation is to offer departments, physiotherapies and clinical laboratories. Mr karamanlis stated that the polyclinic will be normally operating as soon as all Olympic Village s houses will be given to their beneficiaries. At the same time, the Greek PM described the polyclinic as a "valuable part of the Olympic Games heritance," and a "driving force towards growth." On his part, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said, "The bet is to breathe life into walls and provide everyone with proper medical care." The polyclinic is highly equipped and the medical care it offers is of high standards.

    Sophisticated Equipment and High Quality Care

    The polyclinic is the first Olympic project to be given to public use after the end of the Olympic and Paralymbic Games. The polyclinic constitutes a limited utility company.

    As soon as the Olympic Village houses are inhabited, the polyclinic will be normally operating in the context of primary medical care. It is expected to facilitate the residents with General Practitioners, Emergency Rooms, Hospital Units, a Paediatrician Department as well as a model patient registry system.

    "We aim at the patients benefit and the citizens interest," Mr Karamanlis stated and he underlined the governments willingness to boost the public nature of ESY (Greek National Health System) and to provide citizens with easy and equal access to updated and qualitative medical care.

    PASOK parliamentarian Evagelos Venizelos accused the government and the health Minister in particular of "Institutionally incomprehensible and politically irresponsible attitude." He also pointed out that another project realized by PASOK was inaugurated, while he blamed the government for delaying to make the most of the Olympic projects saying that their development will be realized after the end of 2012 London Games.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [12] OASA Bus Line Tours Athens' Monuments Tour Athens on a Bus

    28 Jul 2005 13:27:00 (Last updated: 28 Jul 2005 14:38:57)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Athens Sightseeing is the name of the new bus line introduced by OASA (Athens Urban Transport Organisation). The new bus line, under the number 400, will be touring 20 major monuments and museums of the Greek capital. The inaugural ceremony was held by Transport Minister Michael Liapis on Thursday morning. The circular bus lines terminal is the Greek National Archaeological Museum and it is to be operating from 7am to 9pm. The 400 will be running every 30 minutes, while the duration of the route is estimated to be ranging from 80 to 90 minutes. 20 stops are provided, while a recorded message both in Greek and in English will be announcing the stops. The fare is a 5-euro ticket and it will be offered on the buses only. The ticket is to have a 24-hour validation and it can be used for a countless number of transports with all means except for those heading for the Athens airport and Saronida, south Attica. The new bus line is designed with the view to facilitating foreign and Greek visitors to Athens. Its operation will be terminated at the end of September, while as of next summer the tour will be conducted with open double-deckers. In the meantime, Mr Liapis made it clear that the fares for urban buses are not to be increased until the end 2005.

    Translated by Areti Christou

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