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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-11-07

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Karamanlis' Stern Message to Banks
  • [02] Plan to Address Crisis
  • [03] Obama Holds First News Conference
  • [04] Ants Hold the Secret to Beating Traffic Congestion
  • [05] Voting for Beautiful Women

  • [01] Karamanlis' Stern Message to Banks

    Reactions against the stance of Greek lenders that not only do they refuse to cut money costs but also turn their backs to the package of measures aimed at supporting the system are mounting. "In crisis situations, we are all responsible and we should all manifest their social responsibility," claimed Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis from Brussels. Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis also sent a stern message to the banks. At the same time, Development Minister Christos Folias warned the National Bank of Greece, with sanctions unless the bank repealed a series of unilateral decisions raising credit card interest rates for its customers.

    Interest rates in Greece are still high, although they have considerably dropped in interbank market.

    Figures issued by the Bank of Greece have suggested that in September the interest rates of mortgage and business loans have gone up, while those of credit loans have remained the same.

    Furthermore, the Greek lenders' skepticism about the package of measure lies to the fact that they want to escape restrictions and monitoring.

    Governor of the National Bank of Greece Takis Arapoglou spoke of a hike in interest rates for new loans, although the European Central Bank has brought its benchmark interest rate to 3.25 percent.

    Karamanlis' Stern Message

    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, who is in Brussels, sent a stern message to the boards of the banks.

    "Joining the plan [to boost liquidity] is not compulsory, however, no one has the right to transfer the repercussions of their own decision to the loan-takers," stressed he, further stating his conviction that the bankers would live up to the seriousness of the situations and portray their social face.

    The Prime Minister termed the package of measures meant to boost liquidity as pivotal, clarifying it aimed at the low-income earners and not the lenders.

    "Liquidity relates to the citizens not the banks, which are the venue to transfer liquidity. It is them that we support not the banks. The plan does not aim at the bankers, as some have claimed. What bigger proof that the banks are not willing to take advantage of it," noted Karamanlis, also stressing that the Government was working on other measures to improve things for the weak.

    "We will exhaust all margins to minimize as much as possible the crisis' impact on the Greek economy and society," said he.

    The Greek Premier also referred to the Spanish model for loan-takers. Noting that each nation has its own peculiarities, he argued that the Government was considering possible exceptions, but not a generalized freezing of installments, cause it would be detrimental to economy.

    Earlier, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis had urged banks to give priority to public interests, for as he stressed, "Unless they do so by themselves, we have the means to make them do so."

    Papandreou Concerned about Loans-Economy

    President of the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK) George Papandreou voiced his concern over the real economy, small and medium-sized enterprises and households in his meeting with Governor of Bank of Greece Giorgos Provopoulos.

    Touching on the letter the National Bank of Greece had sent to its customers, Papandreou underlined that were the cut in interest rates not to be transferred to real economy, then there would be a growth slowdown with fewer revenues.

    The Socialist deputy and section head for economy said that Papandroeu referred to the ongoing amendments and generalities of the draft-bill aiming at supporting the banking system, stressing that insecurity would trigger side-effects.

    With regard to PASOK's call to freeze loans until the end of 2009, Provopoulos, as the PASOK officials said, claimed that the Bank of Greece could not consent to that, since it relates to specific groups with specific conditions.

    Papandreou then went on to highlight the need for a change in the economy policy, by repealing the draft budget, enhancing state investments, boosting the low-income earners, relieving the loan-takers.

    Reactions by Opposition Parties

    Opposition lawmakers have bitterly blasted the decision of the banks against reducing their interest rates.

    "While Christos Folias and Giorgos Alogoskoufis are making verbal threats, bankers, business groups and PPC [Public Power Corporation] are speeding up a race looting the people's income. Works are required not big promises," argued Panagiotis Lafazanis, parliamentary spokesman of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left).

    "Takis Arapoglou has to realize that despite being a top-ranking executive, he is still a state servant," underlined Giorgos Karatzaferis, head of LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally).

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA/MPA

    News item: 15256

    [02] Plan to Address Crisis

    The 27 EU leaders reached common ground during the pre-G20 summit on financial crisis scheduled for 15 November in Washington. The EU leaders agreed to take concerted actions to address the crisis and make the G20 Summit the stepping stone in the reformation of the credit system. They also proposed a second summit take place in late February. The EU heads of government and state adopted common principles for the construction of a new global credit system, principles that will constitute the EU's negotiating platform in Washington. In his statements, French President Nikolas Sarkozy stressed that the EU leaders were concerned over the financial crisis, agreed on the need to have economic policies coordinated and that the European Commission would work on and release an economic strategy. Greece's Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, who also attended the summit, underlined, "The EU has proved it can play an active role in addressing the crisis with the means it has at its disposal."

    Towards a New Financial Architecture

    The Greek head of government stressed that the EU suggested an anti-crisis approach based upon a new financial architecture and a new way of addressing the crisis' challenges in the so-called real economy.

    Kostas Karamanlis also stressed that the EU would employ a four-point proposal by the French Presidency to advance the required changes in the architecture of the global credit system.

    The new system aspired to be created should be transparent and better monitored, argued the Prime Minister, further adding that it is the International Monetary Fund that should undertaking the monitoring lest similar crisis should be caused in the future.

    "It is more than certain that we would not have come up against this extremely serious crisis had the monitoring of the credit system been better," stressed the Greek Premier.

    Touching on the recent forecasts by the European Commission, Kostas Karamanlis said, "The news for the EU and the nations sharing the single currency are not at all pleasant." He noted, however, that forecasts for Greece were more favourable.

    He further added that the Greek Government was working on specialized measures to relieve the low-income earners, who, as he said, have been weighted down by the crisis.

    Karamanlis then went on to maintain that an ongoing drive was needed capable of supporting employment, small enterprises, households and incomes.

    He also reminded that Greece had been among the first EU nations that guaranteed bank deposits, thus cementing trust in the Greek credit system.

    News item: 15270

    [03] Obama Holds First News Conference

    President elect Barrack Obama first news conference on Friday is expected with high interest. Although Obama will not take office until January, 20, 2009 he is already moving to fill key posts in his administration with first the appointment of President Clinton former close aide, Rahm Emanuel to serve as as chief of staff. In the meantime, he had a briefing by CIA high ranking officials and a cooperation meting with his temporary economic advisors in view of the selection of the next Treasury Secretary. It was also announced that he will visit outgoing President G. Bush at the White House, on Monday. In a telephone contact with the new US vice-president Jo Biden, Greek Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyianni expressed her conviction for the furthering of Greek-American good relations.

    Rahm Emanuel Accepts Chief of Staff Post

    "I announce this appointment first because the chief of staff is central to the ability of a president and administration to accomplish an agenda," Mr. Obama said in a statement. "And no one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel."The White House chief of staff is among the president's closest aides and usually the one who decides who will have access to the President.

    Obama-Sarkozy Telephone Talk

    French President Nikola Sarkozy had a half an hour telephone talk with newly elected US president Barrack Obama on Thursday evening. The two leaders discussed major world issues, among them the financial crisis. Earlier, however, Paris had announced that a meeting between Obama-Sarkozy had not been scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the G20 Summit on the financial to be held in Washington, on November, 15. In the meantime, Peru Foreign Minister, Jose Antonio Belaunde has invited President-elect Barack Obama to participate in the 16th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit held November 21-23 in Lima, capital of Peru. US President, G. Bush had confirmed that he would attend the summit.

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8, ΑNA, Reuters

    News item: 15240

    [04] Ants Hold the Secret to Beating Traffic Congestion

    The humble ant seems to have sort out a problem that gives a really pain in the neck to thousands of people worldwide. While people get stuck to city congestion, ants help one another to move around their colonies much more effectively and quickly. Researchers of the Dresden University of Technology in Germany led by collective intelligence expert Dr Dirk Helbing thoroughly studied they way ants move around their colonies to conclude that the secret lies to information exchange.

    The researchers set up an "ant motorway" with two lanes of different widths from the nest to some sugar syrup. As it was expected the narrower one soon became congested. But when an ant returning along the congested route to the nest collided with another ant just starting out, the returning ant pushed the newcomer onto the other path. Nothing happened, though, if the returning ant had a trouble-free journey

    The researchers created a computer model made up of more complex routes, but the ants kept succeeding in getting to the food efficiently and quickly.

    The experiment demonstrated that if drivers on different routes could share information with those drives to other routes, then everyone would enjoy driving more.

    Sources: ANA-MPA

    News item: 15267

    [05] Voting for Beautiful Women

    What was widely held, either out of common sense or intuition, that the good looks can earn a politician votes, has been verified by a recent survey in the USA. Especially, when it comes to female politicians, their looks play an instrumental role. A study contacted by neuroscientists of the Northwestern University and appeared in Plos ONE magazine suggested that voters pay more attention to how attractive a female candidate is than to her abilities.

    With regard to male voters, the study showed that the good looks of a female politician was a decisive criterion enabling one to predict how many votes she could get. Confirming the dominance of stereotypes, the study also indicated that when men opt for male politicians, their key criterion is the politician's ability and not his appearance.

    Although studies have repeatedly shown manifested that men and women can be equally effective in leading posts, voters cannot break free from the dominance of really deep-rooted cultural and social stereotypes and believe that men make better politicians, who have control of the situations and can better exercise their duties are politicians.

    The study noted, however, that the more women are appointed in top-ranking positions, the easier male candidates will manage to leave stereotypes behind and assess women more objectively, not depending on their attractive appearance.

    Sources: ANA-MPA

    News item: 14935

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