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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-08

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] New Cogent Evidence
  • [02] Consent over Social Security
  • [03] Adverse Weather Subsides
  • [04] Avian Flu in Domestic Bird
  • [05] New State of Affairs for Cyprus
  • [06] Greece-Czech Republic Collaboration
  • [07] Harsh Criticism by G. Papandreou
  • [08] Iran Won't Back Down
  • [09] Alogoskoufis-Garganas Meeting
  • [10] Bourboulia Recalls her Release Claim
  • [11] Spoilt Foods Confiscated
  • [12] Women's Pride and Social Prejudice
  • [13] Additional Responsibilities for Koronias

  • [01] In ADAE's Draft Report New Cogent Evidence

    08 Mar 2006 20:44:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    The draft report the Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) submitted to Parliament surfaced more evidence on the phone-tapping scandal. As it was revealed, the phone-tapping was being conducted from three different centres. Furthermore, Ericsson and Vodafone failed to yield the bugged numbers, while it was found that the illegal software had the capacity to locate the area where the bugged number was. In the meantime, George Koronias, who assumed added duties, is to testify to the Parliaments Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency.

    Details about the Interceptions

    The third centre from where phones were bugged is located in Kifissos and it was revealed on February 11, 2005, while its being upgraded. It was also revealed that some 67 numbers were under surveillance form that centre. The illegal software was automatically destroyed after the Kifissos centre was upgraded.

    After installing the illegal software, the buggers tested it to make sure the system runs, without its being located. Therefore, they initially had a "shadow" phone bug one of their owns, and after they were certain, they proceeded with the interceptions.

    The illegal software had been installed manually to a digital centre, and then "worked" its way through the other two centres via a line used by Vodafone. Furthermore, the interceptors entered the system more than once, upgrading the quality of the surveillance. In fact, they even managed to locate the geographical position of the bugged numbers. Tests had also been preceded in that field, as well.

    The ADAE report also confirmed that Vodafone has not yet yielded all the evidence the ADAE had requested.

    Awaiting Koronias' Testimony

    Vodafone announced Wednesday that Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Greece George Koronias will assume added duties, just one day before he is scheduled to testify to the Parliaments Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency. As per the announcement, Mr Koronias is appointed Director of Business Development for the Balkan and Eastern European Region. This role is in addition to his responsibilities in Greece and for the Vodafone business in Albania.

    His testimony scheduled for Thursday is much anticipated. George Koronias has worked on at least 100 hypothetical questions, his closest associates have drawn up. He has also decided start answering the questions without making any introductory remarks.

    As per NETs information, he is expected to argue that he acted based upon legitimacy, while regarding the removal of the illegal software, he is believed to claim that this fell in line with Vodafone.

    As for the list with the bugged numbers, Mr Koronias will reveal that it was Ericsson that compiled the list and that little did Vodafone know of its content, before the list was given to the Government.

    With regard to the Tsalikidis case, he will not withhold that Tsalikidis, as well as several other top-ranking officials, had access to Vodafones system, yet he is expected to clarify that only three high-ranking Ericsson officials were aware of the codes that activated the illegal software.

    [02] Dialogue to Commence Promptly Consent over Social Security

    08 Mar 2006 15:08:00 (Last updated: 08 Mar 2006 20:23:06)

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105.8

    After meeting on Wednesday, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis decided on the formation of a committee that will review the Greek social security system, so as to commence initial talks to locate the problems. The committee will be made up of 15 people, while all the social bodies that are members of the Economic and Social Council (OKE) will be represented. In addition, it will be headed by a mutually acceptable person. It was also decided that the dialogue is to commence immediately, however the changes will be implemented in the next four years.

    Long-lasting Dialogue

    As noted by Mr Alogoskoufis after the meeting, the dialogue aims at shaping the broadest possible political and social consent, which, however, will demand time, beyond of the current Governments term in office.

    The Economy Minister also stressed the dialogue will be long-lasting, so as to set all the parameters of the system, determine the nature of the problems and approve the proportionate studies that have been undertaken, or any others that will ensue. "So, solid foundations will be laid, on which to base consent," stressed Mr Alogoskoufis. He also mentioned that great injustices between professionals and social groups, as well as among different generations, are recorded in the existing status quo.

    On the other hand, Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis described the social security issue as "the greatest challenge of the Greek Economy for the next few years." He also stressed that the aim is to establish "a socially just and economically effective long-lasting reform."

    As he announced, in this context, they will proceed with merging the funds, as provided for by the law enacted in 2002; stamping out tax evasion, which amounts to 25% of the funds revenues; and creating a central computer system, which will incorporate all the social security funds.

    The Government is expected to hold talks with the rest of the parties in the coming days, in order to find a mutually acceptable president for the Study of the Social Security System Committee and discuss their participation in it.

    Reactions by Parties and Unions

    The political parties and labour unions reacted immediately to the decisions made by the Employment and Economy Ministers.

    "The Government is deliberately creating a climate of insecurity regarding the social security issue, while it is undermining the rights of both the employees and pensioners," argued PASOK parliamentarian responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Health Evangelos Venizelos.

    He also pointed out that PASOK is ready to outline its own programme, based upon respect to the pains of the labour and the expectations of all the Greeks.

    KKE stressed that the long-lasting social dialogue announced constitutes a repetition of the well-known trap set by PASOK to cover the anti-labour and anti-social security measures it introduced in 2003.

    "None of the employees can be deceived. The new anti-social security storm is predetermined and will affect all the parts of the working classes, all the employment strata," it noted in its announcement, while it urged all the employees to participate in the 15 March strike.

    "NDs Government is aiming at commencing dialogue so as to terrorise the citizens over the supposed collapse of the social security system, in order to implement its predetermined choices for shrinking the social security more easily. This dialogue is pretence and does not concern us," was mentioned in the announcement issued by SYN, which also called the workers to join the nationwide labour strike on 15 March.

    Referring to the Governments proposals, the President of the GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour), Christos Polyzogopoulos, noted, "The GSEE has been and will be responsible and serious in every discussion that deals with supporting the social security system." However, he voiced reservations as to the extent to which the venture can advance, since, as he added, "No dialogue can produce positive results as long as negative social conditions exist, and naturally it will be difficult for us to participate in it."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Social Security Talks at the Focus

    [03] Sailing Ban Adverse Weather Subsides

    08 Mar 2006 18:35:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 105.8 - ANA

    Gloves, scarfs and caps, as well as snow chains, came to the fore once again, following the new wave of adverse weather that has been affecting Greece for two days. The severe weather conditions have started subsiding as of Wednesday, however, snow chains are necessary for those traveling in several areas of central and western Macedonia and in northern Attica, as well, while the gusty winds have prompted the authorities to issue a sailing ban. Although meteorologists forecast an improvement as of Thursday, this years winter has hit a record high, regarding the snowfalls, rainfalls and low temperatures.

    [04] In Albania, Near the Greek Borders Avian Flu in Domestic Bird

    08 Mar 2006 18:20:00 (Last updated: 08 Mar 2006 22:03:24)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET - ANA

    The first case of avian flu detected in a domestic chicken in the village of Cuke, Saranda, Albania, near the Greek borders, has given rise to concerns in Greece. Although the health authorities of the neighbouring country have implemented all the necessary measures to deal with the situation, there are fears that the disease might spread to other villages close to the Greek-Albanian borders. The Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food reacted immediately. In an urgent circular, Minister Evangelos Basiakos called on the relevant authorities to intensify all the necessary biosafety measures, as provided for by the Greek and EU legislation since October 2005. At the same time, Mr Basiakos stressed that the Greek veterinary authorities are handling the incident with calmness and alertness, and in full accordance and collaboration with the EUs Standing Veterinary Committee. Furthermore, added measures will be implemented if it is deemed necessary.

    The Measures

    As provided for by the Greek and EU action plan, all domestic poultry have to be kept indoors, under the supervision of the relevant local authorities.

    In addition, all vehicles crossing the Albanian borders to Greece have to be thoroughly disinfected, while this is also the case with passengers shoes.

    Similar measures will be implemented at all entry points (land or sea), while animal foodstuffs for personal consumption will be confiscated and destroyed.

    As NETs correspondent in Ioannina Giorgos Kyrousis reported, the precautionary measures have already come into force, while authorities at the Kakavia customs office have already started disinfected vehicles and people entering the country.

    Furthermore, fresh foodstuffs travelers had with them were confiscated. Over the last three months, Greece has witnessed an increase in the laboratories conducting inspections and all relevant authorities have adequately staffed.

    In the coming days, panels of veterinarians are to visit the Greek villages near the Albanian borders to inform the residents on the precautionary measures they have to implement

    The EU Ready to Help

    EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou also referred to the incident, noting that the European Commission is ready to send a team of experts to Albania, provided the country asks so, which will provide technical support.

    The Commissioner also referred to the precautionary measures having been implemented by the Greek authorities, underlining that the situation is being reassessed, following the case in Albania.

    Finally, he noted that the implementation of restrictive measures on the part of the EU is not deemed necessary, since no poultry or poultry products are imported to the Union from Albania.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    New H5N1 Victim in China

    [05] Tassos Papadopoulos in Athens New State of Affairs for Cyprus

    08 Mar 2006 14:30:00 (Last updated: 08 Mar 2006 21:01:53)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis described the recent meeting between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, who is on an official visit in Athens, as a positive development for resuming the efforts to solve the issue with Cyprus. After the end of the meeting between Mr Karamanlis and Mr Papadopoulos in Maximos Mansion Wednesday, the Greek PM noted that the effort has to be made without tight deadlines or mediations, and after having taken into consideration the decisions of the UN and the new European project. "We cannot afford the luxury of a new failure," stated the PM. On his part, Mr Papadopoulos thanked Greece for its support towards a fair and viable solution for the issue with Cyprus, as well as its support in all the additional questions of procedure in the context of the EU and the UN.

    Coordination and Communication

    As noted by the Greek PM, he discussed extensively with Mr Papadopoulos the latest developments over the issue with Cyprus, while he added that it is up to Turkey to demonstrate the same spirit of cooperation.

    At the same time, Mr Karamanlis described the recent EU decisions with regard to financial aid to the Turkish-Cypriots are positive, noting that the Austrian Presidencys proposal included some points that are of great interest to the Republic of Cyprus.

    Finally, the PM said that they also discussed the matter of Turkeys obligations towards the EU, describing them as "crystal-clear" and pointing out that the Union is waiting for Ankara to implement them.

    Answering to a question regarding the Greek-Turkish sides strategy over the implementation of the customs union protocol by Turkey, Mr Papadopoulos underlined that the relevant European Commission report containing the progress made by Turkey so far will be made public around mid-2006. However, he repeated that Ankara has to fulfill its obligations towards the EU.

    Asked to comment on the US State Departments stance in favour of direct trade with the occupied territories, the Cypriot President said, "The Americans wrongly believe that they will achieve reunification via direct trade with the Turkish-Cypriots."

    Others who participated in the Maximos Mansion meeting included Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis, Deputy FM Giannis Valinakis and State Minister Theodoros Roussopoulos. After the meeting, the PM hosted a luncheon in honour of Mr Papadopoulos.

    Meetings with the Opposition Parties

    The developments on the Cyprus issue topped the meetings Mr Papadopoulos held in the evening with the leaders of the Opposition parties.

    "Cyprus accession to the EU has brought about new prospects, so long as all sides make the best of it and I also mean Turkeys obligations and the Turkish-Cypriots prospects, so that we find ourselves within the same family really soon," underlined PASOK leader George Papandreou after meeting with the Cypriot President.

    "What really interests us is settling the Cyprus issue based on the concept of a bizonal, biocommunal federation," argued KKE secretary general Aleka Papariga and added, "Its been two years since the referendum in Cyprus and the decision of the Greek-Cypriots to reject a plan that would lead to partition has gained ground."

    Finally, SYN President Alekos Alavanos stressed, "There have been really positive moves on the part of the Republic of Cyprus regarding resolving the issue within the UN, by making the best of the European acquits."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Papadopoulos at Presidential Mansion

    [06] Meimarakis' Formal Visit to Prague Greece-Czech Republic Collaboration

    08 Mar 2006 21:53:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: ΝΕΤ- ANA

    While paying Prague a formal visit, Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis discussed with his Czech counterpart Karel K&#252;hnl the widening of the collaboration the two countries enjoy in the defence sector. The two Ministers agreed that the Balkans can turn into an area of peace, stability and growth, while they voiced their joint conviction that the Balkan people can live in peace. Referring to the bilateral Greek-Czech ties, Mr Meimarakis noted that Greece has long wished for Czechs assistance to certain issues. On his part, the Czechs demonstrated a keen interest in selling to Greece the educational airliner L 159, for which an international tender is to be launched, argued Mr Meimarakis.

    [07] PASOK's Coordinators Convened Harsh Criticism by G. Papandreou

    08 Mar 2006 16:15:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    PASOK leader George Papandreou referred to NDs two years in power, during the meeting his partys coordinators held to discuss the collective working contracts. The Main Opposition leader spoke of regression and unreliability, as well as of NDs "clandestine agenda," and "clandestine programme" serving, as he argued, "the few and the elite at the expense of the many and the weak." Furthermore, Mr Papandreou blasted the Government for applying party politics, and underlined that it made no reference to the inventory, the main shareholder, the "Kapodistrias" project and the phone tapping scandal.

    "Victorious Course for PASOK"

    Mr Papandreou estimated that PASOK has embarked on a victorious course, while he pointed out that it would keep exercising reliable criticism so that it becomes a reliable government.

    PASOKs coordinators discussed the issue of the collective work contracts in length, in view of the relevant interpellation filed by PASOK MPs to be discussed in Parliament on Friday.

    "Mr Papandreou is very well aware who have identified themselves with deceiving the citizens and having clandestine agendas, by applying party politics and favouring the few and strong. To PASOKs leader dismay, the grand and qualitative reforms are becoming a reality for the country and the citizens," replied Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    On his part, Deputy Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros described the "bible of unreliability" PASOK presented last Tuesday as a "mixture of inaccuracies" and "black propaganda," adding, "The Greek citizens know how to assess the Governments drives in all sectors."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] Iran Is Threatening the USA Iran Won't Back Down

    08 Mar 2006 18:29:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: BBC- ANA

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) convened in Vienna and decided to refer the issue of Irans nuclear programme to the UN Security Council in the coming week. Iran has failed to live up to the preconditions set by the IAEA, therefore the UN Security Council will take up the issue as of the coming week, US State Department top-ranking official Nicholas Burns was quoted as saying. In the meantime, earlier the chief Iranian negotiator in Vienna had argued that Iran has not intention of halting its nuclear activities, irrespective of the IAEAs resolutions. The Iranian negotiator maintained that Iran has two choices, either to compromise and collaborate or embark on a head-on collision, and added that Iran will do everything in its power in favour of the first choice. He did not miss, though, unleashing a harsh criticism against the USA, warning them of "suffering and pain" for their opposition to Tehrans nuclear programme.

    The USA may have the power to trigger off suffering and pain, yet they may as well suffer, stressed the Iranian negotiator.

    White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, on the other hand, described Irans statements as provocative and further argued that the USA have made it pretty clear that Iran should not be allowed to proceed with the any kind of uranium enrichment programme within its soil.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [09] Focusing on Economic Developments Alogoskoufis-Garganas Meeting

    08 Mar 2006 21:29:00

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA

    Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis met Wednesday evening with Nikos Garganas, Governor of the Bank of Greece. As per information, the two men discussed the Banks balance sheet, the Governments initiatives regarding the social security issue, as well as the current developments and the course of the Greek economy. Circles of the Economy Ministers appeared optimistic that the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) will participate in the dialogue, after the 24-hour strike scheduled for March 15. They further added that the European Commission has not applied pressure for the implementation of specific measures, but it has only reduced itself to making suggestions for stamping down any effects on the fiscal policy.

    [10] 10-Day Deadline Has Started Bourboulia Recalls her Release Claim

    08 Mar 2006 18:36:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ

    Former Examiner Konstantina Bourboulias release claim was revoked Wednesday, since her 10-day deadline for her extradition to Greece has started. Although her claim turned pointless the moment Mrs Bourboulia decided to be extradited to Greece and refused to file an appeal to the Paris Court of Cassation, her French lawyer, Olivier Besson, explained that the claim remains for procedural reasons only. It is noted that the withdrawal of the release claim should have been filed 48 hours prior to its being ruled. Speaking on NET, Mr Besson argued that the former Examiners health condition is not good, called her prosecution political and voiced fears for her life upon her arrival in Greece.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Bourboulia in Greece

    [11] In Macedonia Spoilt Foods Confiscated

    08 Mar 2006 17:43:00

    The EFET (Greek Food Control Agency) conducted thorough inspections in food companies in Macedonia. The inspectors confiscated 66,415kg of 220 different types of foodstuffs unfit for consumption, mainly Lenten foods, which they then destroyed. As announced by the EFET, it surveyed the facilities of the company Pingouinos Monoprosopi Ltd Koktsidis Konstantninos, located on the 3km of the Giannitsa-Thessaloniki highway, after a complaint was filed. In addition, another EFET panel inspected the refrigerating facilities of the company P. Pavlidis AVEE, on the 2km of the Giannitsa-Edessa highway, where foodstuffs from the first company were being stored.

    In view of Lent, the EFET noted that the precautionary inspections to ensure the safety of foodstuffs will continue throughout the country, bearing in mind the health and interests of consumers. Furthermore, it urged businesses to abide by the law.

    [12] International Women's Day Women's Pride and Social Prejudice

    08 Mar 2006 16:51:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    It is International Womens Day today and the grave problems millions of women around the globe come up against came to the limelight once again. Sexual abuse and violence, social oppression and inequality are listed among the most serious problems women deal with everyday. The UN, which introduced the International Womens Day, dedicated this years anniversary to the right to equal representation in councils and parliaments. The reality, however, is far harsher for women, since millions of women fight an everyday battle to conquer the right to dignity they are deprived of, due to social prejudice.

    Women living in war-torn areas or countries, where male-dominated societies forbid them to have a say, experience an unbelievable reality. Suffering sexual tortures and humiliation in areas where womens position ranks too low in the social strata is an everyday phenomenon.

    These wounds, however, are not unheard-of in Greece, where hundreds of women, mostly coming from the former Soviet republics, are forced to prostitution, while their procurers, who have literally bought them, keep them captive until they yield the expected profits.

    Few are lucky to manage to break free, yet they will always suffer from psychological or physical injuries caused by their misfortune.

    Most of them resign themselves to their misery, while a fair number of them disappear without anyone ever hearing of them again.

    Unequal Treatment at Work

    Furthermore, as per a research released on Wednesday, although women in Europe seem to perform far better at school and university, compared to men, yet their qualifications are ignored when entering the workforce.

    Low wages and much fewer top posts for women make the working reality even in the 21st century.

    Statistics showed that 80% of women get a high school certificate, as opposed to 75% of men, while more than 50% of university students are women. However, women have lower wages by an average 15%, while only 1/3 of them are appointed to executive posts. The aforementioned figures, though, relate to the lucky ones, who have been successful in getting a job, as it is mostly women that unemployment affects, while many of them have resigned themselves to part-time jobs, due to their increased obligations as mothers and housewives

    Last week, the European Union adopted a programme to put an end to sex discrimination. Setting up a European Institute for the equality of sexes and re-examining all the EU laws relating to equality, are among the measures intended to be implemented in the coming five years. Trafficking and equal treatment at work will also be taken into consideration.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    The Portrait of Modern Greek Women

    Greek Parliament Honours Women

    [13] To Director of the Balkans' Business Development Additional Responsibilities for Koronias

    08 Mar 2006 16:06:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    Vodafone announced Wednesday that Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Greece George Koronias will assume added duties, just one day before he is scheduled to testify to the Parliaments Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency. As per the announcement, Mr Koronias is appointed Director of Business Development for the Balkan and Eastern European Region. This role is in addition to his responsibilities in Greece and for the Vodafone business in Albania. It should be noted that Mr Koronias will testify to the Parliamentary Committee on Thursday concerning the wiretapping case. Asked to comment on the matter, alternate government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros said that it is being reviewed by the judicial system, stressing, "The Government has fulfilled its institutional duty by referring the matter to Justice."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Koronias in Parliament Thursday


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