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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-01-14

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] FinMin Submits Taxation D/B on Friday
  • [02] Geroulanos' Interview on ERT
  • [03] Bomb Call Upsets Evelpidon Court Complex
  • [04] Citibank Charged with Investing in Toxic Products
  • [05] Justice for Douzon
  • [06] "Fire Conspiracy Cells" Claims Responsibility for Bomb Attack
  • [07] KEDKE: Dialogue on "Kallikratis" Plan
  • [08] Two New H1N1 Victims
  • [09] Cargo Train Derails in Serres
  • [10] 1YO Boy 84th H1N1 Victim
  • [11] Tempi Crossing Will Remain Closed for 3 to 4 Months
  • [12] School Children Accuse Police Officers of Abuse
  • [13] Tanker Stranded in the Aegean
  • [14] Fake Bomb Threat in Tembi
  • [15] Poor Visibility in N. Greece
  • [16] Combination of Factors Caused Tembi Landslide
  • [17] Robber Retired Firefighter
  • [18] Policemen Facing Interrogator
  • [19] E-management at Universities
  • [20] Deputy Justice Minister's Office Attacked
  • [21] Labour Market: Intensive Inspections and Measures for the Unemployed
  • [22] Greek PM: "Fresh Start Now or Never"
  • [23] K. Mitsotakis- Birbilis Meeting
  • [24] KEDKE Reserved about "Kallikratis" Plan
  • [25] Blessing of Holy Waters
  • [26] Bomb Explodes near Unknown Soldier Tomb
  • [27] Opposition Leader Asks Debate on Transparency
  • [28] Electoral Law Changes in Parliament
  • [29] Radical Reforms in Administration Structure
  • [30] Foreigners on Strike in Italy and France
  • [31] Big Freeze Batters Europe. Improvement Forecast
  • [32] Heavy Blow Delivered to Gordon Brown

  • [01] FinMin Submits Taxation D/B on Friday

    Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:11

    The draft-bill on the taxation on parental donation, alcohol and tobacco will be submitted to Parliament in Friday. Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou had included the above changes as an amendment in the forest land draftbill. He was forced to withdraw the amendment following the strong objections of the opposition parties, as it had been included in a draft-bill irrelevant to its content. Even PASOK spokesman Christos Papoutsis acknowledged that it ran contrary to the Prime Minister's pledges.

    If passed under the urgent bill procedure, the Parliament Economic Committee will discuss regulations on parental donation taxation on Monday to be followed by a debate at the Parliament Plenum next week said the President of the Parliament, Filippos Petsalnikos.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 31946

    [02] Geroulanos' Interview on ERT

    Thursday, 14 January 2010 14:05

    Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos is giving Thursday an interview on ERT, the national broadcaster.

    POESY on ERT

    The Panhellenic Federation of Greek Journalists (POESY) released an announcement reading, "The board of the Panhellenic Federation of Greek Journalists demands the attack on the national broadcaster come to an end. The national broadcaster is necessary for the sake of information, the control of the commercialization of news and the protection of the citizens' democratic freedoms and rights." News item: 31938

    [03] Bomb Call Upsets Evelpidon Court Complex

    Thursday, 14 January 2010 10:20

    A phone call warning for a bomb at the Evelpidon court complex has upset the people working there. An anonymous call on Thursday morning at Eleftherotypia daily said that two bombs planted in two buildings of the complex were to go off at 9:30am. All the buildings were evacuated for precautionary reasons, however no explosion took place.

    Source: ANA/MPA News item: 31918

    [04] Citibank Charged with Investing in Toxic Products

    Wednesday, 13 January 2010 14:14

    First Instance Prosecutor Spyros Ornerakis pressed felony charges against members of Citibank's board. The prosecution against the Greeks participating in the bank's board came after 300 investors filed a lawsuit in 2009, claiming that the bank invested their capitals in toxic products without their consent. Mr Ornerakis is also investigating the British citizens-members of the bank's board, so that the British Justice can offer its help.

    News item: 31874

    [05] Justice for Douzon

    Wednesday, 13 January 2010 10:48

    A 25yo nightclub doorman in Greece is going on trial for the murder of a 20yo Australian tourist Doujon Zammit who was beaten to death in 2008 on the holiday island of Mykonos. The trial, on the island of Lesvos, starts Wednesday. Three other men ( the owner and two employers of the nightclub) have been charged with assault and complicity to murder. There is a fifth person charged but he is underaged and his trial will be held in special court. Douzon Zammit parents and his young brother flew from Australia to Lesvos to attend the trial. They hope for conviction of all defendants.

    Kostas Grimbilas, heart transplant recipient after Zammit's family donated his son's heart, will be with the family.

    Source: News item: 31864

    [06] "Fire Conspiracy Cells" Claims Responsibility for Bomb Attack

    Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:48

    "Fire Conspiracy Cells" organization, in a proclamation posted on the internet 3 days after the attack, has claimed responsibility for the bomb explosion on Saturday, outside the Greek Parliament.

    News item: 31850

    [07] KEDKE: Dialogue on "Kallikratis" Plan

    Tuesday, 12 January 2010 14:29

    Mayors will participate in dialogue on administrative reforms and the drawing of the final "Kallikratis" plan (new architecture of the local government) after talks during a meeting of KEDKE board on Tuesday.

    "Framework released does not include KEDKE meetings unanimous decisions"... Nikitas Kaklamanis

    Athens mayor and KEDKE president Nikitas Kaklamanis, in his statement, stressed that the framework released did not include KEDKE meetings unanimous decisions and that emphasis would be given to the dialogue: "We will decide whether to give the green light or not after seeing the zoning plan" and called the Interior Ministry to release it till the end of January. Mr. Kaklamanis called political parties to remain behind and above political and petty partisan expediencies.

    The board of the Union of Prefecture Administrations (ENAE) is to meet on Wednesday with Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Yiannis Ragousis to discuss Administrative Reform. Earlier at 11:00, ENAE administration board will meet to prepare positions to present during the meeting.

    Sources: 105.8, NA

    News item: 31823

    [08] Two New H1N1 Victims

    Monday, 11 January 2010 09:16

    A 26yo woman and a 61yo man, tested H1N1 positive, died on Sunday. The woman was diagnosed with cardiac vascular disease and had recently given birth. The 61yo had respiratory and cardiac vascular disease. Another two people , a woman 51 and a man 50 both overweight were admitted to hospital and are treated in the intensive care ward due to health complications.

    Source: 105.8

    Related Articles: 1YO Boy 84th H1N1 Victim News item: 31739

    [09] Cargo Train Derails in Serres

    Sunday, 10 January 2010 14:10

    Thessaloniki-Alexandropolis train services have been suspended after derailment on Sunday morning of three of a total 19 wagons of a cargo train. The accident had no victims while train passengers will reach their destinations using bus services.

    The cargo train, carrying metal scrap from Bulgaria bound to Belestino, derailed at 09:00.

    Sources: NA-PA News item: 31725

    [10] 1YO Boy 84th H1N1 Victim

    Sunday, 10 January 2010 12:30

    The last H1N1 victim recorded in Greece is a 1yo boy bringing the number of deaths to 84. The boy was overweight and suffering from a neurological disease. Another three men aged 29, 40 and 42 have been hospitalized in serious condition. They are treated in intensive care ward.


    News item: 31718

    [11] Tempi Crossing Will Remain Closed for 3 to 4 Months

    Friday, 08 January 2010 15:49

    Greece will remain cut in half at the Tempi crossing in central Greece for at least three or four months, since the road is not going to open to public before the landslide danger is completely tackled.

    Experts have noted that landslides and floods are menacing several other parts of the road network connecting southern to northern Greece.

    In the meantime, authorities announced that the Nea Fokea-Athytos road axis will have been given to traffic by summertime. News item: 31678

    [12] School Children Accuse Police Officers of Abuse

    Thursday, 07 January 2010 12:33

    Yet another case of police abuse was surfaced, after four high school children from the Aegean island of Patmos claimed that police officers abused them both physically and psychologically. They said they were forced to take off their clothes. A preliminary investigation is under way. The school children were brought to the police headquarters for questioning for damaging a police motorbike.

    In its statement, SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) read: "We are witnessing a series of police abuse and breach of power. We have witnessed today a humiliating conduct towards four high school children and the inhumane abuse of a Chilean inmate. Unfortunately, such phenomena tend to become the rule and not the exception.

    The political leadership of the Civil Protection Ministry and the government ought to realize that the pompous statements on a fresh climate in the police force have no use. Radical reforms in police's training, organization and role are required.

    SYRIZA's proposal for the setting up of a bipartisan committee on the police force has become urgent.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA News item: 31611

    [13] Tanker Stranded in the Aegean

    Thursday, 07 January 2010 10:45

    A mechanical failure has sent a tanker stranded five nautical miles SE of the isle of Agios Georgios. The Greek-flagged ship with eight Greek seamen on board was en route from Piraeus to the island of Milos. The crew members are in sound health, while the winds blowing in the area are at speeds of 5 to 6 Beaufort.

    Source: NET 105.8

    News item: 31607

    [14] Fake Bomb Threat in Tembi

    Wednesday, 06 January 2010 12:55

    Unknown man call to an Athens newspaper warning of an explosive device placed on a train tunnel in Tembi proved fake bomb threat. Six trains were immediately immobilized for many hours and after thorough investigation the call proved false.

    Police authorities were placed on alert after an unknown man call to an Athens newspaper warning of a bomb in one of the train tunnels in Tembi. The man maintained that the bomb would explode at 19:42. After thorough investigation the bomb threat proved fake.

    Hundreds of passengers in the six trains spent several hours in the wagons from the time of phone call 18:45 till 22:30 when the investigation finished.

    Sources: News item: 31581

    [15] Poor Visibility in N. Greece

    Wednesday, 06 January 2010 12:26

    After a short wintry weather break, temperature is rising again till Friday, however, gale force winds create problems in sea transport. Dense fog has developed in many parts of northern Greece while snow chains are required in many parts of the mountainous regional network despite rise in temperature.

    Specifically, snow chains are required on Florina-Kastoria road, Kastoria- Ioannina and from the 10th to the 25th kilometer along Arnissa -Kaimakstalan Pella ski resort.

    Motorists drive at low speed in Thessaloniki and regions around due to dense fog and poor visibility but there are no reports of particular problems in means of transport.

    Ski resorts in Northern Greece have attracted many ski and snowboarding fans taking advantage of the recent snowfall and the Theofania holiday.

    Sources: News item: 31579

    [16] Combination of Factors Caused Tembi Landslide

    Tuesday, 05 January 2010 18:21

    A report released by Central Greece Geotechnical Chamber indicates that Tembi landslide was caused by a combination of factors, including geotechnical, morphological and environmental conditions as well as human intervention.

    The report also underlines the need for continuous monitoring of sub-surface conditions with special instruments and enforced safety measures as the many explosions to open the tunnel fatigued the rock mass. The area influenced by the intensity of vibrations from explosions to open the tunnel should be continuously inspected during the materialization of the project. In the meantime, Geotechnical Chamber report handed to the Transport, Infrastructure and Network Ministry says that there would never be absolutely safe to pass through Tembi.

    Source: 105.8

    News item: 31565

    [17] Robber Retired Firefighter

    Tuesday, 05 January 2010 12:44

    Two people, among them a retired firefighter, were arrested on Tuesday on charges of robbery. Police officers are interrogating them to see whether they are involved in other illegal acts.

    The retired firefighter stormed into Citibank branch in Peristeri and stole an unknown amount of money immobilizing bank personnel and clients under the threat of a toy gun.

    The second robber, a Greek national stormed into ASPIS BANK branch in Kalithea and stole a large sum pointing the gun at personnel and clients. He was arrested by police patrolling the region at the time of the robbery. News item: 31543

    [18] Policemen Facing Interrogator

    Monday, 04 January 2010 09:29

    Five policemen, charged with severely beating a Chilean national who is hospitalized with serious injuries, are facing interrogator on Monday. All five policemen have been suspended from work. In the meantime, another policeman was arrested in Loutraki after being charged of threatening a civilian with a knife over a quarrel for a parking space.

    Five policemen, charged with severely beating a Chilean national who is hospitalized with serious injuries in his body, arms and legs, are facing interrogator on Monday. All five policemen have been suspended from work. "Such Barbarian acts will be not tolerated and culprits will be punished", stressed Minister for the Protection of Citizens, Mihalis Hrisohoidis. The Panhellenic Federation of Policemen have described them as "Vampires in Uniform".

    Source: NET, 105.8

    News item: 31471

    [19] E-management at Universities

    Sunday, 03 January 2010 19:47

    Tertiary education students will get their books at the start of the academic year as from next year through e-management system. The majority of university and college books will be in electronic form the latest in three years to achieve digital convergence between educational and research material.

    News item: 31462

    [20] Deputy Justice Minister's Office Attacked

    Thursday, 14 January 2010 13:13

    A gang of about 15 youths attacked Thursday noon that office of Deputy Justice Minister Apostolos Katsifaras in central Athens. The perpetrators battered the Minister's secretary who was rushed to hospital. At the time of the attack, the Deputy Justice Minister was attending the inner cabinet meeting.

    Source: NET 105.8 News item: 31933

    [21] Labour Market: Intensive Inspections and Measures for the Unemployed

    Thursday, 14 January 2010 12:40

    The Expert Committee is discussing the reorganization of the labour inspectors' body. In the meantime, the Employment Minister is expected to unveil the protection programme for the unemployed on 21 January. Andreas Loverdos said that the coupon to be given to the unemployed will range between 60 to 65 euros per month. Loverdos also predicted that the unemployed could rise to one million in 2010, further adding that it may exceed 18%.

    Addressing the House, Deputy Employment Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis heralded intensive inspections with a view to cementing the insurance and labour legislation.

    "The government's goal is to control the situation in the labour market," said he.


    Unemployment rate rose to 9.8% in October 2009 compared against 7.4% in the same month in October, 2008 and 9.1% in September, 2009. Number of unemployed reached 491.139 with unemployment highest percentage rate recorded in Epirus and Attica while age groups 15-24 followed by 25-34 are most affected by high unemployment rate. Vacant posts in SEPE( Labour Inspection Body) will be covered through transfers of personnel, financed by community funds

    Subjects discussed in a meeting centered on strengthening SEPE ( Labour Inspection Body) included filling of vacant posts through transfer of personnel and finance by European community funds.

    In his statements to Parliament, Employment undersecretary George Koutroumanis announced commencement of intensive inspections as of February aimed at strict observance of insurance and labour legislation."The government aims to inspect situation at work places and it is its obligation to continue and intensify inspections towards all directions", he said.

    Employment Ministry said that the European Parliament and Council has designated 2010 as European Year for Combating Poverty and Social exclusion with the aim that all actions give the broadest possible publicity to the issues. The employment Ministry is holding an event at Elfsina Municipality, at 19:00, on January, 21.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8

    News item: 31932

    [22] Greek PM: "Fresh Start Now or Never"

    Wednesday, 13 January 2010 17:05

    In a press conference at Zapion Mansion, Prime Minister George Papandreou underlined the government's determination to settle all financial problems and help Greece make a fresh start. George Papandreou stressed that the nature of the problems make the need for a fresh start imperative. Touching on economy, he assured that there is no need for Greece to leave the eurozone or resort to the International Monetary Fund. "Our role is to restore credibility lest anyone should shape up our fate," said the Greek Premier.

    "In the dilemma now or never, our answer is now," said George Papandreou marking the first 100 days of the Socialist rule and his government's willingness to bring about changes.

    The Prime Minister noted that 2010 will be a year of major changes, including the new tax system, the reform in the pension and political systems.

    He reiterated that the problems plaguing Greece are rooted in the way the nation was governed. He then appeared annoyed by the attacks on Greece, adding, however, "We have allowed them to do so. Now we have to shoulder our responsibilities to tackle the crisis and move on."

    Commenting on the performance of the Socialist rule, he claimed that the government failed to address all the problems and put it down to the constant efforts made to have the problems resolved. "Mistakes are avoided when we do not try," stressed he.

    "The problems are not easy, the Conservative New Democracy party ignored them fearing the political cost," said he, further stressing, "We are determined to proceed with the changes for which the people of Greece chose us."

    Noting that there will be objections, he urged for participation and constructive criticism, underlining that it does not equal to compromise. He wrapped up his speech, calling for the nation's democratic reorganization.


    Opposition leader Antonis Samaras stressed that PASOK has surfaced its old bad self and blasted George Papandreou for inconsistency.

    "We do not need to remind what PASOK pledged before the elections. The Greek people remember everything. It is tough to criticize a government that does it itself in the most spectacular fashion. It recalls in the morning the amendments it submits at night," said inter alia the opposition leader.

    "They promised wages raises in the public sector.

    They have drastic cut in store through income taxation.

    -- They promised they would not increase taxes. They have already heralded a tax raid.

    -- They promised they would fix public administration. They have not appointed the General Secretaries yet, thus paralyzing the public administration.

    -- They promised to bring public deficits down. They have lost control. They had been putting their own incompetence to the New Democracy rule so far," commented Antonis Samaras.

    The cabinet members said the government scored well in its first 100 of rule. "We have done things that had been pending for years," said they, acknowledging, though, that there are many more to be done.

    The Conservative lawmakers have spoken of waste of time, with the government making scattered moves, having no specific plan

    "The government's first steps have not been encouraging. Let us hope that the days to come will prove to be better than the first 100. If not, the government will dash the hopes invested in its pledges," commented ND deputy Kostis Hatzidakis.

    KKE (Greek Communist Party) leader Aleka Papariga lashed out at the ruling Socialists, while unveiling her party's suggestion on the pension system to the IKA employments.

    Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 31893

    [23] K. Mitsotakis- Birbilis Meeting

    Wednesday, 13 January 2010 12:52

    ND party deputy Konstantinos Mitsotakis met with Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change Tina Birbilis on Wednesday morning. "ND will vote in principal draft-bill on forests whose debate in the Parliament has started". He, however, kept some reservations which he will express in the Parliament in the afternoon. He also proposed to bring down all constructions build after 2007 in areas to be reforested and to allow use of Diesel in Athens-Thessaloniki under certain terms.

    Source: 105.8

    News item: 31868

    [24] KEDKE Reserved about "Kallikratis" Plan

    Wednesday, 13 January 2010 11:19

    Meeting on Wednesday of ND party leader A. Samaras with KEDKE senior members headed by Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis focused on administrative reforms in Local Administration promoted by the government as well as the ND party's strategy. After the meeting Mr. Kaklamanis underlined that consolidation of Local administration institutional rights, transfer of concrete responsibilities, financial assistance and objective criteria for merging are necessary preconditions for successful prospect of "Kallikratis" plan.

    In response to relative question, Mr. Kaklamanis said that his candidacy in local administration elections was not among the subjects discussed with Mr. Samaras. Adding that he had already clarified that he would run in the forthcoming elections and described the climate of the meeting very friendly which reporters could see in his smiling face as he said.

    Source: 105.8 - - NA-PA News item: 31863

    [25] Blessing of Holy Waters

    Wednesday, 06 January 2010 10:57

    The Blessing of the Holy Waters, Theofania was celebrated nationwide on Wednesday, January, 6. Thousands of Greek Orthodox went to church to attend Theofania service and receive the bless water. A service headed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was also held in the St. George Church, in Fanari. Blessing of the Waters was held at the Piraeus Port in the presence of the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, political parties' and local administration representatives. On the occasion of Theofania, special traffic regulations are in effect till 13:00, in Athens and Piraeus.

    In Athens, Theofania service and blessing of waters was held at Agios Dinisios Church and the cross was thrown at the Athens Reservoir and the pool of the National Sports Club in the presence of Athens Mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis Thessaloniki metropolitan bishop Anthimos headed the theofania service at Thessaloniki cathedral. Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos headed Blessing of the Waters service in Agia Triada Church. Prime-minister George Papandreou celebrated Theofania on the island of Mitilini where he attended mass at the St. Athanasios cathedral. ND president Antonis Samaras attended Theofania mass and celebrations in Pylos and LAOS president George Karatzaferis celebrated the Blessing of the Waters Day in Thessaloniki. News item: 31575

    [26] Bomb Explodes near Unknown Soldier Tomb

    Saturday, 09 January 2010 20:21

    A medium sized bomb exploded shortly before 08:00 outside the Greek parliament in one of the busiest areas of the capital, Athens. The bomb was placed in a bin a few meters away from the ceremonial guards' post . "Democracy is not threatened" said the Prime-minister. Police were able to clear the area around the building after receiving a 10-minute warning ahead of the blast. The blast blew out some of the ceremonial guards post windows and the Parliament building's windows but no-one was injured in the attack. Ten minutes prior to the explosion at 19:45 the bombers called newspaper "Eleftherotypia" warning that a bomb placed 10 meters away from the Unknown Soldier Tomb would explode in 10 minutes. But the bomb exploded two minutes earlier and the police call it a miracle that no one was injured. Antiterrorist police and Department of Crime are carrying out investigations in the area around.

    According to reports a second warning to Great Britain Hotel followed and police cleared the area around from the people although the warning was not considered serious as the unknown caller had not determined the place and the time of explosion. After the second warning the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias ordered the ceremonial guards, who had remained in their posts after the first warning, to leave.


    "Democracy is not threatened" was the Prime-minister's short statement upon his arrival to the Parliament shortly after 21:30. The Minister for the Protection of Citizens Mihalis Hrisohoidis sent a clear message to terrorists saying that Athens would not be turned into a heavily police guarded city just for the sake of few and reassured that the audacious bombers would be arrested. He went on to say that some want to spread fear and panic but we are neither frightened nor threatened. Athens is a safe city and will remain so.

    ND party spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos described the incident as a strong provocation against public order called on the Ministry for Protection of Citizens to to turn from words to deeds.

    The GCP condemns the bomb explosion and underlines on no occasion such acts serve resistance against the government's attack on people's rights but on the contrary serve those who want to threaten people.

    LAOS states that domestic terrorists may have taken the idea from the website of Turkish weapon industry "ROKETSAN", showing the Greek Parliament in flames. Democracy is neither threatened nor frightened. On the contrary such acts strengthens its determination to fight its underminers.

    Source: 105.8 - pictures:

    News item: 31715

    [27] Opposition Leader Asks Debate on Transparency

    Thursday, 07 January 2010 13:01

    Opposition leader Antonis Samaras sent a letter to the House Speaker requesting an off-the-agenda debate at political leaders' level on transparency and corruption. The New Democracy head outlines the interventions he suggested at the political leaders' meeting under the chairmanship of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, reiterating his proposal for a bipartisan committee with a view to processing the necessary interventions that will cement transparency in public life.

    Touching on the matter, the New Democracy President said:

    "At the same time, I asked him to set up a special parliamentarian committee with a view to drafting bills to curtail corruption.

    "With my letter to the House Speaker, I revived the initiative I had undertaken at the meeting of the political leaders chaired by the President of the Republic, whereby I had called for an off-the-agenda debate on transparency matters."

    I also undertook a second initiative. As it appears that there is no agreement on the change of the election law, I recommended the setting up of a bipartisan committee.

    I have sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the rest political leaders asking them to hold bipartisan talks on the principles of the election law.

    Therefore, I have suggested bipartisan talks to start from scratch with the representatives of the political parties.

    News item: 31614

    [28] Electoral Law Changes in Parliament

    Friday, 08 January 2010 15:54

    The new provisions for the structural reorganization of Greece will be discussed at the inner cabinet scheduled on Sunday. The government has placed emphasis on the changes in the electoral law following the German model with the establishment of single-seat electoral districts and the election of MPs from a list of candidates. Some members of the government as well as the main opposition New Democracy party expressed opposition to the proposals. The ND head sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the rest political leaders asking for talks to start from scratch. He also sent a letter to the House Speaker requesting an off-the-agenda debate on transparency. The changes in the electoral law and the nation's new administrative structure will be discussed at the forthcoming inner cabinet meeting on Sunday.

    Government spokesman Mr Petalotis said that all proposals made by the MPs would be taken into consideration. He noted, however, that the government would try to hold the forthcoming elections with the new electoral law.

    Source: NET News item: 31681

    [29] Radical Reforms in Administration Structure

    Sunday, 10 January 2010 19:35

    The government is promoting radical changes in administration structure to build a better state. Presenting draft-bill on restructure in administration Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis said that number of municipalities and juridical persons are drastically reduced. The new bill also provides for Ombudsman for Local Administration and inspection of municipal expenses in advance. The Prime-minister spoke of a radical draft-bill aiming at big reforms while Interior Minister Y. Ragousis spoke of unprecedented structural change and institutional vehicle to promote change in the country's growth model.

    "Kallikratis", one of the two architects of the Parthenon is the code name of the new municipality architecture, whose basic principals were presented by the Interior Minister during Sunday's Inner cabinet meeting.

    The new draft-bill establishes second degree regional administration with the creation of 13 electoral districts to replace the 76 prefectures ,cuts number of municipalities to under 370 from the current 1034 municipalities and number of juridical persons to 2.000 from 6.000. Furthermore there will be created 7 general administrations to replace the current 13 state districts and decentralized state entities dictated by the Constitution.

    Mr. Ragousis said that regional local administration will become the "vehicle" for green development.

    The draft-bill will be passed till the end of May and November, 14, 2010 local administration elections will be held with the new municipalities and districts. Referring to the draft-bill, Mr. Papandreou said that materialization of big vision of the people in local ration has begun and called for consent. The Prime-minister reassured that resources for local administration would be secured adding that draft-bill on taxation policy would give a blow to black money in politics. Opposition political parties have reacted to reforms. Sources: - 105.8-NA/PA

    News item: 31735

    [30] Foreigners on Strike in Italy and France

    Wednesday, 13 January 2010 15:55

    "24h without us" is the title of the first strike of foreigners scheduled for 1 March in Italy and France. The initiative for the strike belongs to a Facebook group called "Primo marzo 2010," which has gained the support of more than 30,000 people.

    The organizers' goal is to see all foreigners, legal or not, stream the streets. The strike in Italy assumes greater importance following the recent immigrant rioting that wreaked havoc in the town of Rosarno.

    More than 11,000 people have expressed their will to join the strike. Demonstrations will take place in Italy's major cities. The participants will be holding yellow scarves.

    A similar strike is going to take place in France, as well, at a time when an anti-burka campaign is underway, since authorities decided to fine Muslim women wearing a face-veil in public places 750 euros. However, heavier sanctions await those men who force their wives to be covered from head to toes. Religious and secular authorities in France have made it clear that it is not some kind of religious obligation, since it has nothing to do with religion and immigration, but it has to do with respect to women and safety.

    The bill in question has caused clashes within the ruling party, since several cabinet members have warned that a law prohibiting the face-veil Muslim women wear could trigger a new cycle of national division.

    Source: NET News item: 31902

    [31] Big Freeze Batters Europe. Improvement Forecast

    Monday, 11 January 2010 09:49

    Extreme weather conditions with snowstorms and arctic temperatures continue in northern Europe causing chaos in transport while destructive floods have hit Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia. Meteorologists have forecast gradual improvement of weather.

    In Britain, tens of flights from central Heathrow airport have been cancelled while Eurostar has suspended many train services linking Britain and the European continent. The company has posted in its website that suspension of many services is to avert break downs and new paralysis of the network as it happened three weeks ago. In Spain, three Spanish climbers were killed in avalanche in west Pyrenees mountain range while heavy snowfall continues in a large part of the country.

    Arctic Temperatures in India-China

    Polar temperatures battering northeastern India for a week have killed 240 people while 5.500 people in China left their houses due extreme low temperatures minus 35 degrees Celsius mainly in west Zinyiang province. Meteorological service forecast -15 Celsius in Beijing on Monday, record low in 40 years.

    Sources: 105.8, NA-PA

    News item: 31741

    [32] Heavy Blow Delivered to Gordon Brown

    Thursday, 07 January 2010 08:51

    A heavy blow was delivered to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two former cabinet ministers had suggested a secret ballot on Mr Brown's leadership, a move described by analysts as an attempted coup against the British Premier. The two former ministers sent a letter to all Labour arguing that their party was "deeply divided" over his tenure. Amid the election campaign, with the polls suggesting a Conservative comeback, the British Prime Minister is in a difficult situation.

    Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt's letter said "continued speculation and uncertainty" about Mr. Brown's leadership "is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited. It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target."

    The plot against the Prime Minister took place a few days before the meeting of the Labour MPs.

    Source: NET 105.8 News item: 31597

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