|Thursday, 23 January 2020|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-05-12
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Close to Lagos Dozens Killed in Pipeline Explosion12 May 2006 17:18:00
By Tina Valaoura
Sources: ANA - Reuters - BBC
More than 150 Nigerians were tragically killed in a pipeline explosion on the outskirts of Lagos. Both local Media and the Red Cross have provided the initial death toll, while they are speaking of dozens of charred, unrecognisable corpses close to the small fishing community of Atlas Creek, where many oil facilities are located. There has been no official announcement of a death toll just yet, but according to international Media, it might exceed 200.
The accident probably occurred while locals were trying to steal petrol, by drilling holes in the pipeline. A Red Cross official declared that some 500 jerry cans containing petrol were found at the scene of the explosion, but were destroyed by the fire. He added that the rescue crews have not located any survivors yet. Hundreds of Nigerians have died in similar accidents over the last few years.
The pipeline in question serves SW Nigeria. Further to the East, militants have frequently targeted the centre of Nigerias oil industry in the Niger Delta. Nigeria is one of the largest oil exporters in the world.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
Read the story on other sources:
BBC - Scores die in Nigeria fuel blast
Reuters- Nigeria pipeline blast kills up to 200 people
 PASOK Asked for Voulgarakis' Resignation Polydoras: "Legal Paradox"12 May 2006 16:47:00 (Last updated: 12 May 2006 22:24:24)
Sources: ANA - NET - NET 105.8
Public Order Minister Byron Polydoras termed the fact that abettors are being sought, when it was proven that no principal perpetrators existed, as "legal paradox." The statement was made after criminal proceedings brought against unknown parties on the issue with the abduction of Pakistanis in the summer of 2005 and the ongoing investigation for the possible implication of two NIS (National Intelligence Service) supervisors. The report presented on Thursday by Supreme Court Prosecutor Dimitris Linos and the head of the Athens First Instance Prosecutions, Dimitris Papangelopoulos, exonerated another six NIS employees. Following the preliminary investigation, the main inquiry is expected to shed more light into the case. Moreover, the issue will be discussed in Parliament next Friday, after the interpolation pose by SYN President Alekos Alavanos.
"The Government will await the completion of the judicial investigation. The proceedings were brought against unknown parties and the Government is sticking to what it has said," commented alternate Government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros. He further reminded that on 14 December 2005, the Government was the one that asked the Supreme Court Prosecutor to conduct an investigation so as to completely clear the case. Furthermore, Antonaros criticised the reports that appeared in certain Media sectors, saying that they are converting the final findings, which contain various versions, into a crisis. "Evidently, there is some misunderstanding in the matter."
On the other hand, PASOK spokesperson Nikos Athansakis asked for Giorgos Voulgarakis resignation which was denied by Antonaros and clarified that George Papandreou never contacted the British PM by phone for the matter, but only spoke to the British Foreign Minister, Jack Straw.
Finally, the President of SYN (Coalition of the Left) urged the PM to provide explanations, "because in the meeting we had in January he had said that the Greek secret services were not in any way implicated in the abduction of the Pakistanis, a fact that was also refuted during the preliminary inquiry." At the same time, Alekos Alavanos asked for an in-depth investigation, as he believes that British secret services M16s were involved in the case.
Ôor-M1: Retired Officer Implicated
In the meantime, in his long report on the Tor-M1 armament programmes and the countervailing benefits to non-political persons, Prosecutor Panagiotis Athanasiou concluded that criminal proceedings should be brought against a retired army officer, since $300,000 were found in his bank account. As per judicial sources, the retired officer in question claimed that the money was deposited in his account by a person who owed to amount to his brother.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 Dispute within PASOK Wrangling over Constitutional Review12 May 2006 17:07:00 (Last updated: 12 May 2006 22:33:21)
Sources: NET - ANA
The proposals for Constitutional Review put forward by Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis and PASOK President George Papandreou have triggered a political dispute. On Friday, alternate Government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros underlined that the PMs proposals reflected the Governments social sensitivity, while he described PASOKs proposal on minimum guaranteed income as fragmentary. In the meantime, Evangelos Venizelos distanced himself from George Papandreous proposals concerning direct elections for the President of the Hellenic Republic, noting that the matter was purely theoretical. "If I understand correctly, Mr Papandreou presented this idea in an effort to continue the dialogue and not as PASOKs specific, official and final stance, since the party is currently engaged in a very serious internal procedure of deliberations and preparations for the review." On the other hand, KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and SYN (Coalition of the Left) accused both the major parties of approaching the review from a conservative point of view.
Referring to Papandreous proposal for the election of the Greek President, PASOK spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis clarified that it mainly aimed at distinguishing the presidential election from the dissolution of Parliament, adding that there has been agreement within PASOK on the matter since 1997. As he noted, they are looking for the best way to prevent the dissolution of Parliament in case it cannot elect a President.
He also repeated Papandreous statements made during Thursdays committee meeting on the Constitutional Review, stressing that PASOKs President is providing a subject for discussion and public dialogue. Athnasakis further clarified that in Papandreous proposal the duties of the President remain unaltered.
In view of the Constitutional Review, New Democracy is proposing the following:
Changes in the labour regime for newly-hired employees in the public sector Establishment of private non-profit Universities Protection of property with focus on expropriations and safeguarding the citizens assets Increase in the number of State MPs Stricter control of politicians Declarations of Assets
On the other hand, PASOK is proposing:
Changes in the election system for the President of the Hellenic Republic (direct election by the people) Changes in the electoral system Replacement of the religious oath and decriminalisation of converting
Gov't Proposals on Review
 Olympic Truce Memorandum Ancient Olympia: A Peace Centre12 May 2006 20:02:00
On Friday in Lausanne, Greek Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogue signed a memorandum for hosting the 2007 Olympic Truce Conference in Ancient Olympia. The memorandum, which was proposed by Fani Palli-Petralia, was singed during an International Olympic Truce Centre (IOTC) Board meeting that took place in the Swiss city. Jacques Rogue is also the Chairman of the IOTC, while Fani Palli-Petralia and George Papandreou are serving as Vice-Chairwoman and Vice-Chairman respectively.
The Tourism Minister described the upcoming conference as "a global peace event," noting that "it is a very important affair, as it will be attended by figures from the political, sports and education world. She further added, "On the occasion of the conference, Ancient Olympia will once again become the international centre for Olympic Truce, while the opportunity will arise to spread the principles and ideals of Olympic Truce, as those emerge through sports."
Spreading the Olympic Truce
During the meeting, Fani Palli-Pterlai and the new Manager of the Hellenic Olympic Truce Centre, Angelos Syrigis, presented the themes and proposals for spreading the spirit of Olympic Truce
Specifically, it is a global initiative of actions that will be instituted during the Olympic Games in Beijing; international actions in regions with conflicts, international actions to promote Olympic Truce, actions at an academic level, educational activities and actions relating to the structure of the IOTC. The Greek proposals were widely accepted by the Board members and the Steering Committee.
Later on, Fani Palli-Petralia and Jacques Rogue unveiled the Olympic Truce sculpture, donated to the Olympic Games Museum by Irvin Belk, which carries the inscription, "A peaceful and better world is being built through Sports and the Olympic Ideal."
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 Solidarity Measure to Expand Social Protection Network12 May 2006 14:44:00 (Last updated: 12 May 2006 16:22:03)
The Government is planning to expand the solidarity measure for the unemployed, as soon as the dialogue with the political parties and the social partners concludes. Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis clarified that the measure will be applied to the Prefectures with the highest unemployment rates, endangered sectors, as well as unemployed above the age of 50. The implementation of the measure will be facilitated by the creation of a solidarity fund, which will be financed after social revenues are reorganised. Furthermore, he referred to the possibility of asking the unemployed eligible to enter the fund to offer social work.
Optimism over Dialogue
The Employment Minister voiced his optimism over the dialogue that opened on Wednesday on the social security issue, arguing that "Reppas law," as well as the legislation in force, will be applied and that the dialogue will touch on specific points.
As for the dialogues next phases, he noted that the Parliaments Standing Committee on Economic and Social Affairs is to be called twice a month and that the Government will also request the dialogue on the social security issue commence at the Economic and Social Council level.
Mr Tsitouridis is expected to send an invitation to the political parties and social partners asking them to name their representatives in the study committee that will be assigned to determine the true extend of the problem.
As of fall, the Government will hold bilateral contacts with social partners, so that the problem is fully described within its term.
 Satisfaction at the Economy Ministry Agreement for DEKOs Contracts12 May 2006 14:31:00
Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA
The Minister of Economy voiced the optimism that the total of loss-making DEKOs will reach an agreement over wage increases in 2006-2007. As Mr Alogoskoufis stressed, the implementation of the DEKOs law is proceeding as normal and within the timetables, while an agreement was reached between the administration and employees on a 3% increase for 2006 and 4% for 2007. "It is very important that administrations and a large majority of the employees in Public Enterprises have understood that consensus and agreement are important parameters for the economy and societys progress," stated the Minister.
Translated by Eirene Nisiriou
 Called for by G. Papandreou Debate on Democracy12 May 2006 13:48:00 (Last updated: 12 May 2006 15:06:29)
Main Opposition leader George Papandreou has called for an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament on the "quality of Democracy in Greece." The PASOK leader sent a letter to Parliament Speaker Anna Benaki-Psarouda, arguing that the Government has failed to meet its pledges for equality and the upgrading of democratic institutions. "It is obvious that due to the Governments practices, the quality of Democracy in Greece is questioned," concluded Mr Papandreou.
 Proceedings have Started KNE Conference12 May 2006 12:32:00
Sources: NET, NET 105.8
On Friday, the three-day proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) have started with the attendance of delegations from around the world. During the conference KNE will discuss its actions in the past four years and goals will be set for the next time period, while the organisations new Central Council will be elected. In his speech, outgoing KNE Secretary Themis Gionis stressed that the pressing issue is the further upward course of the organisation, which needs systematic work in the sectors of education, employment and housing, as well as by open discussions concerning the crisis in the socialist movement.
Translated by Eirene Nisiriou