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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-03-17

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Dispute over Inventory
  • [02] Difficult Times in Evros
  • [03] "Operation Swarmer" Continues
  • [04] Peppers "Burn" Cancer?
  • [05] PASOK Takes the Lead
  • [06] Focus on Municipal Elections
  • [07] Bourboulia's Plea by End of Month
  • [08] New Facts for Foreign Immigrants
  • [09] Tension in France Escalates
  • [10] Effort to Resolve Iranian Conflict
  • [11] Students Take the Streets
  • [12] "Operation Swarmer" in Iraq
  • [13] Hamas Government to be Formed
  • [14] Reactions over the Economy
  • [15] Back Payments in April
  • [16] New Scale for FMAP
  • [17] The Maria Callas Museum
  • [18] Suspected H5N1 Cases in Israel
  • [19] Bird Flu Hits Afghanistan
  • [20] "Mr and Mrs Smith"

  • [01] Intense Wrangling in Parliament Dispute over Inventory

    17 Mar 2006 12:12:00

    Intense political wrangling was recorded on Friday morning in Parliament, following timely questions posed by Vaso Papandreou and Nikos Konstantopoulos on the matter of the fiscal inventory and the recording of defence expenditures in the Budget. "Greece acceded to the EMU with political fraud, something we will be paying for many years," stated the Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and stressed that Greece has been recording the defence expenditures in the Budget using the 40% method. As a result, although 15.3 billion euros were spent in seven years, only 6.6 billion euros were recorded. As he explained, the revisions for the budget figures pertain to the period 1997-2003 and are derived from six corrections: incomplete recordings, social security funds surpluses, erroneous recording of EU funds and the classification of DEKA (Public Securities Organisation SA). He further claimed that the inventory was carried out by the EU and no one can dispute its validity, since it is the only one responsible for deciding. "The Government continues to deceive the people and the Parliament with a series of lies, because the major inventory fraud that discredited the country [Greece] was uncovered," noted PASOK MP Vaso Papandreou. She also added that Eurostat mentions the recording of 40% as obligatory, while she accused the Government of stealing the employees incomes, deceiving the country with the inventory and continuing to discredit Greece abroad. On his part, SYN MP Nikos Konstantopoulos claimed that the Government is playing with the numbers, is deceiving the people, is shifting the responsibilities, is not answering to anything substantial, and is using the inventory as an excuse to raise the prices. At the same time, he asked for the formation of a Budget Office a request that was accepted by the Economy Minister the abolition of special invoices, and judicial tax and low-income guarantee measures. The questions were addressed to the Prime Minister, prompting the Opposition MPs to accuse him of degrading Parliament, given that it was the Economy Minister who answered and not the PM himself.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [02] Some 30,000 Hectares Have Flooded Difficult Times in Evros

    17 Mar 2006 08:50:00 (Last updated: 17 Mar 2006 10:41:30)

    Sources: NET - 105.8

    The residents of the Prefecture of Evros are living through some tough times. The level of water on the River Evros and its tributary Adras remains over the alarm level. In Pythio, the water level this morning was at 6.26m, while in Petalo Feron it was at 6.77m. A controlled explosion was carried out by the army on Thursday night, breaking a dam in order to facilitate the flow of water towards the sea and away from the settlement Poros. However, the problems are still acute since many areas remain flooded. It is estimated that more than 30,000 hectares, from Trigono to Feres, have flooded, while the damages to livestock, infrastructure and greenhouses are major. In the meantime, problems are being recorded with the irrigation of the areas Psathades and Petrades, as well as part of Didimotiho. Furthermore, the rising waters have covered the train tracks, so the passengers on the Dikaioi-Alexandroupoli route are being transferred by buses. The next few hours are considered crucial to the development of the situation, while the state is ready to intervene if necessary. In statements he made to radio station NET 105.8, the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Giorgos Kalatzis, stressed that those affected by the floods will have been compensated within the next three months.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    On Alert

    [03] British Defence Minister in Iraq "Operation Swarmer" Continues

    17 Mar 2006 12:27:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: BBC, ANA

    The US air raid against insurgents in the areas around Samarra, in Iraq, will quite possibly last for a number of days. The operation, which is named "Swarmer" and is taking place with 50 aircrafts and 1,500 soldiers, is described as the largest since the US invasion in Iraq. As sources stated, 40 suspects have been arrested, 17 of which were released. The aim of the operation, as the Iraqi Foreign Minister stated, is to avert the use of areas around Samarra, as an insurgent stronghold. In the meantime, British Defence Minister John Reid arrived in Baghdad today and will meet with officials of the Iraqi Parliament. Reid recently announced that 800 British soldiers will be withdrawn from Iraq by May, a number which corresponds to 10% of the British troops deployed in southern Iraq.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    "Operation Swarmer" in Iraq

    [04] Japalenos and Habaneros Peppers "Burn" Cancer?

    17 Mar 2006 12:23:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    A magical ingredient, especially loved as a way to torch taste palates in Mexico and India, could constitute the basis for the development of new medicines against cancer. The ingredient is capsaicin, which is responsible for the fiery properties of japaleno and habanero peppers. Scientists placed it under the microscope and observed that its presence leads to 80% of cancerous cell to commit suicide and especially prostate cancer cells.

    However, this does not mean that a person that consumes spicy foods is actually off cancer. Capsaicin can be valuable only in the form of a medicine, while over-consumption of such foods can have the opposite effect and cause stomach cancer.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [05] Kostas Karamanlis More Suitable for PM PASOK Takes the Lead

    17 Mar 2006 12:01:00

    An opinion poll by Metron Analysis indicated that PASOK recorded a 0.3 unit lead against New Democracy, within the limit of statistical error. The poll was conducted on a sample of 2,000 citizens, for television station Mega. On the question of which party would win the elections, New Democracy is in the lead by 11.1 units, as opposed to PASOK, while on the question of who is more suitable for Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis leads George Papandreou by 7.7 units. The nationwide opinion poll by Metron Analysis was conducted from 28 February to 13 March by the method of ballot boxes and was publicised Thursday. PASOK is in the lead in voter intention with 35.9% as opposed to ND, which received 35.6%. The parties that followed were KKE with 7.3%, LAOS 4.3%, SYN 3.4%. 0.9% answered "another party," 1.4% cast a blank vote, 2.7% an invalid vote, 3.1% were undecided and 5.5% did not answer. On the question of suitability for PM, the Prime Minister is in the lead receiving 39.4%, as opposed to George Papandreou who received 31.7%. On the question of which party will win in the upcoming elections, ND is in the lead with 46.1%, as opposed to PASOK with 35%. On the other hand, on the popularity of political leaders, George Papandreou received 52.6%, Kostas Karamanlis 51.7%, Alekos Alavanos 38.6%, Aleka Papariga 35.6% and Giorgos Karatzaferis 26.3%. The citizens believe that unemployment and economy are the most important problems of Greece. On the issue of the wiretaps case, the overwhelming majority of citizens questioned, 63%, believe that an effort for concealment was made, as opposed to 22.9% who believe that there was no effort for concealment.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] At the PASOK National Council Meeting Focus on Municipal Elections

    17 Mar 2006 11:47:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The partys progress towards the municipal elections, as well as other general matters including decentralisation, education and transparency, will be the major issues that will be discussed during the PASOK National Council meeting, chaired by George Papandreou, at a central Athenian hotel on Friday and Saturday. The speech by the party leader is expected with great interest, since he will refer to the current political matters, while he is expected to announce his decision for the procedure that will be followed from now on for selecting candidate mayors and prefects supported by PASOK for the October elections. According to information, George Papandreou is expected to announce that the nominees will be chosen through preliminary elections. National Council secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou will also speak on Friday, and will present the partys political and organisational planning for the coming period. In addition, MP Manolis Othonas will present the recommendation for Public Administration, since Thodoros Pangalos, who is responsible for the specific sector, is abroad. Finally, on Saturday, Counsel Maria Arseni will present the first report on the Counsel of the members and friends.

    Two-Day Meeting

    The National Councils proceedings will continue on Friday afternoon in three separate task groups. The first group will deal with Decentralisation, Self-Government and Regional Conferences. The second group will focus on Education, Decentralisation in Education, and the New Generation and Self-Government, while the third will discuss the matters of Transparency and Ethics.

    On Saturday, relevant section head Thanasis Tsouras will present the operational regulation for local self-governments, while Tilemachos Chytiris will discuss the financial regulation.

    In addition, the president of the Electoral Procedures Committee, Alekos Papadopoulos, will refer to the procedures for selecting candidate mayors and prefects.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Will Submit Plea Memorandum Bourboulia's Plea by End of Month

    17 Mar 2006 09:37:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Former Examiner Konstantina Bourboulia, who is detained in Korydallos Prison, is expected to submit her plea memorandum by the end of March. In the meantime, lawyer Sakis Kechagioglou, who is remanded in custody over the extrajudicial clique case, appeared in court Thursday and asked for the exclusion of Appellate Examiner Ioannis Sideris from the case. Mr Kechagioglou also claimed that he has filed a petition for release, since there are no reasons justifying his detention. At the same time, the countdown for the return of Apostolos Vavilis to Greece has started, as, according to information, he will arrive back to the country before 9 April. Vavilis, who was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for drug trafficking by an Italian court, will serve the rest of his sentence in Greece. However, he will face more charges once he returns, including violation of classified information of the State, pertaining to his relations with Israels secret services, fraud, forgery and direct complicity in embezzlement.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    S. Kechagioglou to Appellate Court

    [08] Long-Term Residents Facilitated New Facts for Foreign Immigrants

    16 Mar 2006 19:38:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA, Ministry for the Interior

    Legal obstacles for foreigners and third country citizens legally residing in Greece for five consecutive years will be lifted by a draft Presidential Decree that was signed by the Ministry for the Interior. This is an important community directive that has been adopted by four other EU Member-States and which provides for "increased protection, more rights and equal treatment with natives, in a wide range of departments of economic and social undertakings of the country," as the relevant announcement by the Interior Ministry read. It will also provide long-term residents the ability to renew their residence permits for another five years and will be reinforced by the facilitation of family reunification (the relevant Presidential Decree is already at the State Council towards elaboration), while paving the way for acquiring political rights in the future, an event which has already been announced by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and will be enforced in the 2012 elections.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] New Violent Clashes Tension in France Escalates

    17 Mar 2006 10:31:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Violent incidents erupted on Thursday night between the French Police and hundreds of young protestors in Paris Quarter Latin, around Sorbonne University, the scene of the May 68 revolution. The clashes were triggered by the new Villepin law, which allows the dismissal of youths under 26 after two years, without severance pay. The majority of the protestors wore hoods and they torched a newspaper kiosk, while they threw rocks and Molotov cocktails against the police officers, who responded with tear gas. The protestors then torched a bookshop in Boulevard Saint-Michel, while they also destroyed about ten cars. Special police forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd from Saint-Michel. At least 46 police officers were injured during the clashes, while 200 people were arrested. Eleven of the officers were admitted to hospital, suffering from light injuries. The incidents broke out following the mass student rally, attended by 120,000 students and high-school pupils, as per the protestors. On the other hand, the police reported that 30,000 people participated in the march.

    68% Oppose the New Law

    Major rallies against the new labour law were staged throughout France on Thursday, attended by more than half a million students and pupils, as per the organisers. Violent incidents erupted in Rennes, west France, where the police used tear gas to disperse the hundreds of young protestors.

    Hooded youths set cars alight in Toulouse and Montpellier, while, as per Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, some 300 protestors were arrested throughout France during the night. Sarkozy said he hoped Justice would punish the arrestees, while he laid blame for the riots on militants ranging from the extreme left to the extreme right, and including "hooligans" and "louts".

    The collective actions by French students and pupils against the so-called First Employment Contract for youths under 26 started two months ago, and already two-thirds of the countrys 84 universities have been shut down by students. The protests will culminate Saturday with mass rallies throughout the country, which will also be attended by trade unionists. All the left-wing parties have asked for the law to be repealed, while Socialist leader Francois Hollande warned the Villepin Government that it was aggravating the situation. French PM Dominique de Villepin, who aspires to succeed President Jacques Chirac in 2007, insists on the law, claiming that it will contribute towards reducing unemployment among youths, which has skyrocketed to 23%, more than double the national average.

    However, 68% of the French citizens are in favour of the abolishment of the law, while only 13% are against, as per an opinion poll on 8 March. Seeing that his ratings are tumbling, Villepin declared he was willing to participate in talks for improving the law, warning, however, that he will not be repealing it.

    All the analysts believe that Saturdays rallies will play a decisive role in the outcome of the confrontation. "Everyone is waiting to see the view for the law on the streets, to witness the public opinion," declared a French minister to newspaper Le Monde. "Villepin will not back down, he will take it to the end, and if he doesnt make it, he will be politically dead."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [10] Effort to Resolve Iranian Conflict

    17 Mar 2006 08:07:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Diplomats from the five countries, which are Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, as well as Germany will meet next week in New York, in an effort to resolve the conflict created by Irans nuclear programme, as announced by US diplomats and diplomats of the international organisation. Diplomatic officials announced that the meeting was scheduled between officials of the Foreign Ministries of the US, Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany for Monday. The five Permanent UN Security Council members will be able to exercise a veto, if they do not reach an agreement on the announcement referring to controlling of Irans nuclear aspirations, following a series of discussions that took part in the previous week.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [11] New Student Protests in France Students Take the Streets

    16 Mar 2006 21:36:00 (Last updated: 16 Mar 2006 22:43:31)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET, ANA, AFP

    The uprising in France is growing and caused by a de Villepin Government law which allows businesses to dismiss, without compensation, youth under 26 years of age after a two-year employment period. Tens of thousands of students took the streets of Paris and other cities and many are paralleling the May 1968 Revolution to a new "French March." New protests are planned for Saturday with the participation of unions. The French Government insisted that the law should be implemented as it fights unemployment.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Read the story on other sources:

    C: Thousands march in French law row

    LIBERATION: A Paris, un cortege anti-CPE gonfle par les lyceens

    LE MONDE: Des centaines de milliers de jeunes defilent a Paris et dans les regions contre le CPE

    Related News:

    Students Stage Rallies in France

    [12] Targeted at Insurgent Strongholds "Operation Swarmer" in Iraq

    16 Mar 2006 19:38:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: NET, ANA, Reuters, BBC, CNN

    On Thursday, the US Army performed the biggest air raid in Iraq, since the invasion in 2003, with more than 50 aircrafts and helicopters, 1,500 Iraqi and US soldiers, as well as 200 military vehicles. The operation with the code name "Swarmer" was targeted at insurgents in the area of Salahadin in northeastern Iraq, between Tikrit and Samarra, where the destruction of a Shiite mosque brought Iraq to the brink of a civil clash in February. The deployment of US and Iraqi forces is made in an area where Sunni insurgents dominate and activate three years following the fall of Saddam Hussein. The raids will continue in the coming days until all resistance strongholds in the area are brought down.

    US-Iran Discussions over Iraq

    The operation coincided with a noteworthy development on a diplomatic level.

    Iran proposed and the US agreed to start discussions with the subject of the situation in Iraq. Washington and Tehran had suspended diplomatic relations in 1980 and partook in a verbal war over Irans nuclear programme.

    The White House explained that the discussions will only concern Iraq and will have no effect to discussions being made over Irans nuclear programme.

    White House spokesperson Scott McClellann stated that the negotiators will have "a very restricted order," while he reminded that the US held discussions in the past over the Afghanistan issue.

    "Irans nuclear armistice will be discussed in the United Nations between Security Council diplomats," concluded Mr MacClellann.

    It is reminded that Iran, where Shiites dominated, just as in Iraq, had traditional relations with its neighbouring country and with the Shiite leadership in Iraq, as well as with many Kurdish leaders.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [13] With or Without the Collaboration of Other Parties Hamas Government to be Formed

    17 Mar 2006 11:08:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Hamas will proceed to forming a Government next week, with or without the collaboration of Palestinian opposition parties, following the conclusion of the fifth day of discussions and without an agreement being reached. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri stated that the Islamic organisation, which emerged in the January elections in the Palestinian territory, tried to bridge the gap with the other parties, for the formation of a broad collaboration Government. However, not a single party managed to reach an agreement with Hamas following a week of discussions. Abu Zuhri stated that Hamas will ask President Mahmoud Abbas and other parties to brief him on their latest decisions the latest tonight. "Regardless of the answer, we well proceed to presenting the Government and Ministers to the President in the beginning of the coming week," added Zuhri. In the meantime, today CBS broadcast that Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniya stated that the Hamas Government will support peace negotiations between President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and Israel.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [14] SEV Proposes, the Government Legislates Reactions over the Economy

    17 Mar 2006 08:35:00

    The Greek Government rejected the proposals put forward by the President of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) for the adoption of the French model, which allows dismissals of workers under 26 without severance pay. "The Federation of Greek Industries makes proposals, but the Government is the one that legislates," announced Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. On the other hand, the trade unions have assumed battle stations, rejecting both arbitrary dismissals and pay rises that are below the inflation rate. In addition, SEV President Odysseas Kyriakopoulos described the proposal for 2.8% pay rises as generous, appeared in favour of increasing the age limits for pensions and also suggested a freeze on wages for companies facing liquidation. Furthermore, he asked for departmental bargaining agreements to commence, without awaiting the developments of the negotiations with GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) for the National Collective Work Contract. "SEV is aspiring for a complete demolition of the labour and social security rights of the employees," declared the GSEE, noting that it will be escalating its struggle. The opposition parties also voiced their disagreement to SEVs stance. PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos stressed that the social partners ought to respect the institution of collective contracts, while SYN spoke of a return to medieval labour regimes.

    Low Incomes to Be Boosted in 2007

    The Economy Minister did not rule out the possibility of better benefits as of 2007, describing it as the year for further boosting low incomes, since the main priority for 2006 is to reduce the deficit to 2.6%. He also repeated that the fiscal inventory restored the credibility of Greece and reinstated transparency. These were also discussed during his meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday, with the latter telling Mr Alogoskoufis to give the Economy "a breather".

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Dispute over Greek Economy

    [15] Back Payments of Rises in IKA Pensions Back Payments in April

    16 Mar 2006 18:16:00

    Sources: ANA

    The IKA-ETAM (Unified Fund for Employees) pensioners will receive back payments for the months of January, February and March with their pension in April, which will be distributed in 22 March. The 4% rise distributed by 1/1/2006 is included in the total of the pension.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [16] Circular Sent to Tax Offices New Scale for FMAP

    16 Mar 2006 16:47:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA, Ministry of Economy

    The circular of new regulations on Large Property Holding Tax (FMAP) were sent by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to tax offices. As per the new regulations, the value and law of the assets is taken in to account on the calculation of FMAP for 2006.

    The new tax scale for natural persons concerning FMAP is as follows:

    Scale

    Tax Rate Tax Assets Tax Total

    146,750 0.354 519.50 146,750 519.50

    146,750 0.472 692.66 293,500 1,212.16

    146,750 0.590 865.83 440,250 2,077.99

    293,500 0.708 2,077.98 733,750 4,155.97

    293,500 0.826 2,424.31 1,027.250 6,580.28

    Excess 0.944

    For legal persons, FMAP is calculated with a fixed rate of 0.826% on the objective value of assets. 30 October 2006 was set as the deadline for submitting the initial declaration for 2006.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [17] At the Technopolis Multi-Purpose Venue The Maria Callas Museum

    16 Mar 2006 17:03:00

    By Anna Kourti

    The Maria Callas Museum has been housed at the Andreas Embirikos Hall, in the Municipality of Athens Technopolis (100 Pireos Street, Gazi) since December 2002. It is a unique space, paying tribute to the greatest opera soprano of the 20th century. The collection includes objects, letters and photos that once belonged to La Divina, whose golden career and turbulent life weaved a myth that will remain forever. Opening hours are 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday, while admission is free.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [18] Suspected H5N1 Cases in Israel

    17 Mar 2006 08:23:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: Reuters

    Initial laboratory tests indicated that a flock of turkeys that died in two farms in southern Israel were infected with the H5N1 flu virus, as per an agriculture ministry official. "Based on initial laboratory tests [...] it is reasonable to conclude that this is the virus," said Dr Shimon Pokomonsky, an expert on bird diseases. However, he added it could take up to 48 hours to isolate the virus to get final confirmation that the birds actually died of the virus.

    Related News:

    Bird Flu Hits Afghanistan

    [19] Cases in Myanmar Bird Flu Hits Afghanistan

    16 Mar 2006 11:36:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    The H5N1 avian flu virus has also surfaced in Afghanistan. According to the spokesperson of the UNs Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the deadly virus was detected in six poultry samples that were sent to a lab in Rome from Kabul and Jalalabad. At the same time, tests at an independent lab in Bangkok confirmed the existence of the virus in Mandalay, central Myanmar. Moreover, the veterinary services in west India started culling more than 70,000 poultry in an effort to stop the disease from spreading. The local authorities noted that they do not want to risk the possibility of the virus being transmitted to humans, so dozens of doctors and veterinary services employees are inspecting all the houses in the four villages located in the area. It should be noted that the first case of avian flu on a dog, which was found dead in Azerbaijani capital Baku, was announced on Wednesday.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    H5 in Dog

    [20] She Was Hospitalised, He Was Imprisoned "Mr and Mrs Smith"

    16 Mar 2006 14:20:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: Reuters

    So, who is imitating who? Is it life that imitates the 7th Art, or vice versa? A story of marital hatred beyond belief occurred in Mexico, reminding us the plots of two movie films, the well-known "War of the Rose" and the recent film hit "Mr and Mrs Smith." A couple of pretty hot-headed Mexicans "landed" the leading roles, after a marital spat went way out of control. They were not just confined to exchanging bitter words, but they even resorted to martial arts, hurling knives and several other objects to eliminate the enemy. The more their hatred flared up, the more resourceful they got. They even blew up their own housing with homemade bombs they fired at each other. The "anger blasts" prompted polices intervention. Police officers rushed to the scene and restored order, sending her to hospital suffering burns and him behind bars.

    Translated by Areti Christou


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