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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-02

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Raises in Loans
  • [02] ECB Raises Interest Rates
  • [03] Treaty on Nuclear Weapons
  • [04] Shielding Measures for Road Accidents
  • [05] The City of God
  • [06] New Article on Wiretaps
  • [07] Harsh Criticism from Crete
  • [08] D. Bakoyannis on Balkan Tour
  • [09] Commotion in GSEE Building
  • [10] 210 Million for Small-Medium Businesses
  • [11] Change of Guard in Police Fire Service
  • [12] Zagoritis Benaki Meeting
  • [13] Tension at the Bank of Greece

  • [01] ECB's Rate of Interest at 2.5% Raises in Loans

    02 Mar 2006 21:18:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Eight out of ten borrowers, who have received a loan with a variable interest rate, will pay more, following the raise of the European Central Banks key rates of interest, by 0.25%, to 2.50%. Loans with a fixed interest rate will not be affected, while minimum added charges in consumer credit and zero in credit cards, which already have high interest rates, are foreseen. The raise is the second one in the last trimester and the new interest rate the highest of the previous three years, while the ECBs decision was expected by international markets, especially after the increase in retail sales in Germany announced on Tuesday. Moreover, analysts and banking experts considered that interest rates hiking up to 3%, which entails more expensive loans, are quite likely, depending on the economic developments in Europe.

    The Added Charges

    The raise of the ECBs key interest rates affects previous loans with a variable rate, as well as forthcoming ones.

    For example, the installments for a 20-year loan of 150,000 euros with an 4.25% interest rate will be increased to 929 from 909, with the monthly added charges coming up to 20 euros and annual at 475.

    For a 200,000-euro loan with a 4.25% interest rate, the installments from 1,211 euros are raised to 1,238. Thus, the annual added charges will be 633 euros, with the monthly installment increased by 27 euros.

    In an announcement, the Agricultural Bank of Greece noted that interest rates for farmers will not be increased, regardless of the ECBs decision.

    Analysts Foresee New Raise

    The inflation is a barometer for decisions by the ECB.

    As its President Jean-Claude Trichet said in a Press conference, growth in the Eurozone is strengthened and inflationary dangers persisting. However, Mr Trichet said that rates of interest remain in low levels, monetary policy is "hospitable" and inflation will remain above the banks target (2%) in the coming months.

    Moreover, the President of the ECB estimated that growth in the Eurozone will continue. In particular, an increase of the GDP is foreseen by 1.9% to 2.4%, while 1.6% to 2.8% in 2007.

    As per most estimations, the ECB will increase key interest rate to 3% by the end of the year, a fact that entails the increase of borrowers added charges with geometrical progress.

    For example, a monthly instalment for a 15-year loan of 100,000 with a 4.25% variable interest rate is 752 euros, while it will form at 790 euros if the interest rate becomes 5% and at 817 in the case that the rate of interest reaches 5.5%.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    C: Euro rates up on inflation fears

    Die Welt: EZB erhoht Leitzins

    Reuters: ECB lifts rates to 3-yr high, market braces for more

    El Pais: El BCE eleva los tipos al 2,5% y deja las puertas abiertas a nuevas subidas

    Related News:

    ECB Raises Interest Rates

    [02] Home Loans to Increase ECB Raises Interest Rates

    02 Mar 2006 13:34:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The acceleration of economic growth and the danger of increasing inflation prompted the European Central Bank, whose board convened in Frankfurt on Thursday, to raise its interest rates by 0.25%. The new increase, following that of last December, would cause the cost of money and the cost of home loans with floating interest rate to hike. Following the new rise, the interest rate for the euro currency is to stand at 2.50%, as opposed to the current interest rate of 2,25%. ECB President Jean Claude Trichet is expected to give a Press Conference at 14:30 CET regarding the European Central Banks decision.

    [03] Between the US and India Treaty on Nuclear Weapons

    02 Mar 2006 20:41:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush signed a landmark treaty, on a non-military level, during the first official visit by the latter in New Delhi. As it is foreseen, India will set under international surveillance 14 out of 22 nuclear reactors, while Washington will give New Delhi the know-how, in order to proceed with its nuclear programme for peaceful purposes, which, however, will be open to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. In an announcement, head of the IAEA Mohammed ElBaradei described the treaty as "a landmark," adding that it will terminate Indias nuclear isolation, as it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and will have great energy benefits. The treaty was also hailed by French President Jacques Chirac, speaking of progress in the establishing orders of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and against global heating. Moreover, the bet for Mr Bush is to ratify the treaty in Congress in order for its implementation.

    Read the story on other sources:

    Le Monde: George Bush obtient en Inde un "accord historique" de cooperation nucleaire civile

    Reuters: U.N. watchdog welcomes US-India nuclear deal

    The Australian: Bush seals Indian nuclear deal

    Die Welt: USA und Indien schlieen Nuklearabkommen

    Related News:

    Deadly Blast in Karachi

    [04] Shielding Measures for Road Accidents

    02 Mar 2006 20:14:00

    A few hours before the outing of city centres citizens for the three-day weekend of the Carnival and Clean Monday, the Ministry of Public Works announced an integrated programme with actions and interventions for the increase of road safety in Greece, with a budget of approximately 90 million euros. The number of radars on roads will increase, speed limits will change according to normal traffic conditions and the lighting of roads will be electronically checked, among others. At the same time, the informal meeting of EU Transport Ministers, which concluded today in Austria, decided on the organisation of a joint European informative campaign on road safety in all national road networks of EU Member-States.

    Focused on Deadly Parts of Roads

    As the Public Works Minister noted, the lighting of roads will decrease road accidents by 25-65%, since it is a well-known fact that accidents during nighttime are quadruple in relation to daytime.

    An electronic system will check in which parts road lights are not lit. The performance of the system will be tested on the road from Katerini to Evzonoi.

    In the summertime, radars and cameras on the national roads will expand and are aimed at continuously checking 400 dangerous parts in a year.

    Moreover, speed limits change. What is enforced currently is abolished in action, since it is far from reality. However, the new limits foresee the legal speed of 120km/hour.

    In the first stage, road safety will be reinforced where the most lives are lost: the northern axis of Crete, the Corinthian Gulf, Antirrio to Ioannina, Maliakos Gulf and Thessaloniki to Strymonas. Emphasis will be given to the junctions on these roads.

    However, during 2001-2005, a decrease of casualties in road accidents was recorded by 27% as Greek Transport Minister Michael Liapis stated to his community counterparts, which he briefed on the progress made by Greece in the department of road safety.

    [05] A 250-Million-Dollar Investment! The City of God

    02 Mar 2006 12:31:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Associated Press

    In 1998 he sold Dominos Pizza and decided to devote himself to doing good deeds and preaching Gods word. And, since he managed to make his brandname famous throughout the world, why shouldnt he manage to breathe life to his ambitious plan to found a divine city? Yes, your hearing isnt playing tricks on you! It dawned on tycoon Thomas S. Monaghan to found Ave Maria, a city only for Gods people, governed according to strict Roman Catholic principles, with no place for shenanigans!

    Ave Maria in Florida

    Drugstores in Ave Maria will not be selling condoms, nor will there be clinics performing abortions and news stands selling pornographic magazines.

    The city will stretch for 5,000 acres, enjoying a town centre resembling those in European cities and a central cathedral with the largest crucifix in the USA, nearly 20m tall!

    In the city of God, those interested may purchase the houses of their dreams with no difficulties standing in their way.

    Things, however, are not rosy for those considering setting up a business in Ave Maria, since Gods servant Thomas Monagham and Barron Collier Co, the company to undertake construction works, control all commercial real estate in the town.

    Voices of Protest

    Ave Maria and the like-named Roman Catholic University are to open their gates in the year to come, some 25 miles east of Naples, SW Florida, should everything work out as planned, because activists of civil liberties threaten to file lawsuits.

    "If they attempt to do what he apparently wants to do, the people of Naples and Collier County, Florida, are in for a whole series of legal and constitutional problems and a lot of litigation indefinitely into the future," warned Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

    Florida Governor Jeb Bush is trying to strike a balance between the two conflicting parties.

    "While the governor does not personally believe in abortion or pornography, the town, and any restrictions they may place on businesses choosing to locate there, must comply with the laws and constitution of the state and federal governments," Russell Schweiss, a spokesman for the governor, said Tuesday.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] By US Diplomat New Article on Wiretaps

    02 Mar 2006 15:44:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    According to Greek newspaper "Eleftherotypia" on Thursday, US diplomat John Brady Kiesling published an article in "The Nation" magazine, voicing his opinion that the US Embassy to Athens is behind the wiretapping scandal. Mr Kiesling noted the wiretaps were taking place through four base stations, the centre of which was the US Embassy, and is certain the US intelligence agencies are behind the wiretaps. Questioned on the article, deputy government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros said the Government informed Justice and the Greek people about all evidence in its hands and stressed, "The US diplomat in question was never employed by the Greek Government and therefore there is no reason to take a stand on the matter." PASOK Parliamentarian Evangelos Venizelos and SYN President Alekos Alavanos requested to be briefed on the matter.

    It is noted that Kiesling became known to the wider public, when he resigned for the US Diplomatic Corps in 2003, while serving as political councilor to the US Embassy in Athens, protesting for the war in Iraq.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [07] Harsh Criticism from Crete

    02 Mar 2006 14:54:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET, NET Radio 105.8

    PASOK President George Papandreou, who is on a tour in Lasithi, Crete, launched a new attack against the Government on Thursday. While opening his speech at the Siteia Agricultural Co-ops Union, Mr Papandreou said that after two years of governing, ND revealed its true face and despite fat pre-electoral words, it invested in cheap labour. Referring to the "Kapodistrias Project," he said PASOK wants powerful municipalities and strong citizens and opposes NDs policy "which can only cause problems," while accusing the Government of wanting powerless municipalities and weak people so as to serve political purposes.

    Parliament Discussion Over Economy

    He also said his party offered consensus and dialogue over matters of Public Administration, foreign policy and corruption, but the Government did not cooperate.

    "We do not trust this Government. We trust the Greek people," stressed Mr Papandreou, noting regional Greece "is the victim of inventory" and accusing the Government of having abandoned the farmers.

    Meanwhile, with a letter to Parliament Speaker Anna Benaki Psarouda, Mr Papandreou requested for a discussion over the Economy. He supported that economic developments are not only alarming, they also have negative consequences on social peace and cohesion.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Papandreou Attacked the Government

    [08] D. Bakoyannis on Balkan Tour

    02 Mar 2006 13:49:00 (Last updated: 02 Mar 2006 23:36:00)

    Sources: NET, NET Radio 105.8

    Dora Bakoyannis is holding discussions with the political leaderships of the western Balkans, on developments in the area that have entered a crucial period, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated, who is on a tour in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. In Sarajevo and Belgrade, Mrs Bakoyannis declared that Greece, a country with an important economic and investment presence in the Balkans, is seeking the strengthening of stability and peace in the area, that is why it is supporting every effort, prospect and solution that will contribute towards that direction. On Friday morning, she will arrive in Pristina and on Saturday, Dora Bakoyannis will travel to Vienna, where she will meet with her counterpart and President of the Council of the European Union, Ursula Plassnik, and UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari to inform them on the results of her contacts. Actually, Montenegros Parliament approved a referendum vote for the independence of democracy by the Confederation with Serbia on May 21.

    Meeting with Boris Tadic

    Following his meeting with Mrs Bakoyannis, President of Serbia Boris Tadic voiced his countrys willingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and added that this cooperation will result towards the good of his country, since it will open its European prospect.

    Concerning the future of Kosovo, Mr Tadic supported the choice of partition and repeated the Serbian view on maintaining territorial integrity and securing the rights of Kosovo Serbs and protecting Serb monuments.

    On Kosovos new Prime Minister Agim Ceku, who was a former UCK leader, Mr Tadic, voicing his reservations and said, "It is not useful for so many generals to exist in politics," and noted that the Serbian side does not judge Albanian choices and will not negotiate with anyone.

    However, he set the direct discussions with the Albanian side as a prerequisite for the development of negotiations.

    Mrs Bakoyannis repeated Greeces support of Serbia-Montenegros European course and noted that the Kosovo issue is faced by Athens in the context of an effort for maintaining peace and security in the area.

    She also voiced the need for a solution, which will be the result of an agreement by the two sides and added "history has proved that forced solutions are not viable."

    The Minister also met with the Foreign Minister of Serbia-Montenegro, Vuk Draskovic, and voiced Greeces support to the effort made by the country to overcome obstacles towards European structures.

    On his part, Mr Draskovic noted that his country should work in order to solve the problems obstructing its European prospects and repeated the need for the legal rights of Kosovo Serbs to be safeguarded.

    In the context of her contacts in Belgrade, Mrs Bakoyannis met with the President of Serbia-Montenegro Svetozar Marovic and with Serb Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.

    Extension of Cooperation with Bosnia-Herzegovina

    On Thursday, in Sarajevo, where the Minister started her Balkan tour, she noted the special importance to Greece of the situation in the Balkans and the European approach of the areas countries.

    "It is not random that I chose my first official bilateral contacts to be made in the area," said Mrs Bakoyannis following her meeting with Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic and added that there are opportunities for the extension of the bilateral economic cooperation.

    She also referred to the Greek program of financial aid for Bosnia-Herzegovina, which comes up to 35 million euros for the forthcoming two years. On the issue of visas, Mrs Bakoyannis noted that the importance of an unhindered contact between the areas students, academics and businessmen.

    On his part, Mr Ivanic voiced his satisfaction on Greeces support to his country, while he used cordial words on the decision of the Thessaloniki European Council on the European prospect of the western Balkans.

    Moreover, the two Foreign Ministers spoke of the growth prospects of an economic cooperation.

    [09] Unknown Men Torched Security Cameras Commotion in GSEE Building

    02 Mar 2006 19:06:00

    A group of 30 hooded men caused incidents in the centre of Athens when it started torching Traffic Police cameras. Before the polices intervention, the rioters threw molotov cocktails at the building of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE), on the junction of Alexandras and Patission Avenues, where they set fire to the buildings security cameras. Following the attack, ND Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis and the Secretary of NDs Union K. Kollias visited GSEE and met with its Presidency. After the meeting Mr Zagoritis denounced the attack and noted: "We stand by the employees, we honour the Unionist movement and its representatives [] the citizens security is our priority." In an announcement, GSEE attributed responsibility to the "in-charge bodies of the State, as they allow a small group of known-unknown persons to terrorise citizens" and noted that no force will terrorise the Confederation and force it to stop its battle "for the protection and securing of employees interests."

    [10] In the Area of Manufacturing and Tourism 210 Million for Small-Medium Businesses

    02 Mar 2006 13:09:00 (Last updated: 02 Mar 2006 22:01:59)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    According to Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias, small-medium sized businesses, active in the field of manufacturing and tourism, would receive two hundred and ten million euros through the 3rd Community Support Framework. The time limit starts on 15 March and ends on 15 July and proposals can be submitted to all bank branches. The project includes businesses, which employee up to 50 people and have an annual turnover of 10,000 to 10,000,000 euros. The total public spending, national and Community, for small-medium sized businesses was set at 210 million euros, 138.5 of which will be granted to reinforce manufacturing businesses and 71.5 to tourist businesses. The grant ranges between 43% and 50% of the investment plans total spending and the minimum participation has to be above 25%. This new project makes no distinction between new and old businesses and every investment plan could vary from equipment supply and facilities improvement to improving product quality.

    Banks Hold Complete Responsibility

    According to Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, the Government's main priority is to support small-medium sized businesses through reinforcements, the development law and tax reforms.

    The main feature of the notice, in relation to the previous two, is that banks hold the complete responsibility for the submission of investment plans, evaluation, approval or rejection and deposition of reinforcements, while the Public Sector would be supervising the entire process.

    Mr Alogoskoufis said the new contract notice ensures the faster and more complete service of interested parties, noting that more subsidy plans would follow regarding the Society of Information, the expansion of actions in urban areas and the reinforcement of private individuals for participation in Community Initiatives.

    On his part, Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias said banks would receive candidate investors' dossiers, evaluate them, reinforce the realization of the investment and check the investments. The Ministry, added Mr Folias, would preserve its supervising role, while small-medium sized businesses could file an appeal, in case their investment plans are rejected.

    "The Government Should Not Be Involved in Collective Bargaining Contracts"

    Answering a question on the Collective Bargaining Contracts, Mr Alogoskoufis stressed the Government should not and cannot be involved in collective negotiations. In particular, the Economy Minister said there should be dialogue, as foreseen by the law, and added the law provides for departmental contracts. "The Governmenr should not be involved nor intervene in negotiations. Besides, it is not foreseen by the law." Asked to comment on the bankers' denial to open talks with bank employees, he said there is a distinction of powers and Justice is independent. "We are not Justice, we are the Government," underlined Mr Alogoskoufis. Lastly, he noted the Government would proceed with talks with political parties and social partners, regarding banks' social security.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [11] New Chiefs Assumed Duties Change of Guard in Police Fire Service

    02 Mar 2006 18:47:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Today, the handing over ceremonies in the Greek Police and Fire Service, during which the new Chiefs, Anastasios Dimoschakis and Andreas Kois officially assumed their duties, took place in an emotionally charged climate. In the Ministry of Public Order and with the presence of Byron Polidoras, Mr Dimoschakis succeeded Giorgos Aggelakos and after thanking the Prime Minister and the Minister on his appointment, stated that the competence, honesty and professional adequacy are the criteria he will set for Police personnel. On his part, the outgoing Chief thanked former Public Order Ministers Giorgos Voulgarakis and Michalis Chrysochoidis, as well as the Force for their cooperation. In his speech, Mr Polidoras referred to the decision of the Greek Police, saying that they were made with hand on heart and between merited figures, while adding "our conscience is clear over our decisions." The Minister offered Mr Aggelakos a Mycenaean sword, while commemorative plaques were given by the Chiefs of the National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) and the Armed Forces leaderships.

    The emotion was evident in the Fire Service leadership, where Andreas Kois succeeded Christos Smetis with the presence of the Armed Forces leaderships and representatives of the political world. "I assume the leadership having full awareness of my duties and full knowledge of my responsibilities," said Mr Kois, thanking the Prime Minister and Mr Polidoras, while noting that the Fire Services aim is the defence of life, the citizens possessions and the securing of nature. The outgoing Chief thanked the former Public Order Minister and referred to his two-year term, paying special attention to the Athens Olympic Games. On his part, Mr Polidoras praised Mr Smetis contribution and stated that the Fire Service holds a high place in the Greek people.

    Related News:

    S. Syros Appointed Dep. Police Chief

    Change of Guard

    Related Links:

    Ministry of Public Order

    Fire Service

    [12] Contacts with State's Institutional Members Zagoritis Benaki Meeting

    02 Mar 2006 16:19:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Newly elected ND Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis held an official meeting with Speaker of Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki. The Speaker of Parliament congratulated Mr Zagoritis on his election, adding that the parties designate the level of discussions in the Parliament, since it is a Constitutional institution and is supported by it. "I count on the cooperation, yours and other parties, in order to have good understanding and conducting discussions in Parliament," concluded Mrs Benaki. On his part, Mr Zagoritis, after voicing his respect to the Speaker of Parliament, assured her over NDs cooperation and promised that his party will contribute to discussions in Parliament.

    [13] OTOE's Protest Demonstration Tension at the Bank of Greece

    02 Mar 2006 12:39:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    OTOE (Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions) and the union of employees at the Bank of Greece held a protest demonstration over Garganas decision to transfer the Banks two security employees, who did not prevent OTOEs presidium from entering his office on Monday. The two security employees had let OTOE enter Bank of Greece Governor Garganas office in order to protest over his statements regarding the abolition of collective departmental contracts. However, after a lot of pressure, the two employees were not fired but transferred. Based on the latest incidents, bank employees are determined to culminate their collective actions, following the work stoppage on Thursday.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti


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