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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-03
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Athens Welcomes Holy FireSaturday, 03 April 2010 19:30
Greece welcomed Saturday afternoon the Holy Fire from Jerusalem with state honours. Upon its arrival by a special flight at the Athens International Airport, a large crowd of worshippers had been waiting at a specially designed place to attend the ceremony. The Holy Fire was then transferred to all corners of Greece by special flights. It was also transferred to Alexandria, Egypt.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, exited the Holy Sepulchre holding the Holy Fire and entered the packed church. The ritual of the Holy Fire was held before a Greek delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis.
As soon as the Patriarch exited the Holy Sepulchre, the crowds of pilgrims that had packed the church started celebrating Christ's resurrection.
Patriarch Theophilos III wished for peace in Jerusalem and in the wider region. He also wished Greece could overcome the crisis it has plunged into.
"We wished the Holy Fire enlightened the leaders so that they are interested in peace in the region and in Jerusalem. We hope it will lead and enhance the political and intellectual leaders in Greece so that they can rid the country of the plague of corruption."
Spyros Kouvelis, on his part, expressed his gratitude for being the one to accompany the Holy Fire to Greece and wished It would signal a fresh start for world peace.
Kouvelis hailed the work of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, stressing that he represents both the Christianity and Greece in a place where nations and cultures meet. "I'll be by your side to support the work of the Patriarchate," he added.
The Greek delegation consisted of deputies Vasilis Oikonomou (PASOK), Mihalis Halkides (ND) and Ourania Papandreou (LAOS).
The ritual of the Holy Fire took place under tight security, due to the tensions reported in the area and to the fact that the Catholic Easter, the Orthodox Easter and the Jewish Passover occurred on the same date. News item: 35067
 Clouds Cast over the VaticanSaturday, 03 April 2010 13:47
Clouds over the Vatican are getting thicker and thicker, as the wave of shameful child abuse revelations is continuing. A preacher likened the recent attacks on the pontiff over the Catholic sex abuse scandal to the "most shameful acts of anti-Semitism". However, the Vatican rushed to distance itself from his views. In the meantime, friends and families of the victims of sexual abuse held street protests in major US cities.
Speaking during a ceremony at St Peter's Basilica commemorating Christ's Passion, Father Raniero Cantalamessa read to the congregation, which included the Pope, part of a letter that he had received from an unidentified Jewish friend, who said that he was following "with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the Pope and all the faithful of the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."
The Vatican, however, rushed to distance itself from Cantalamessa's views, while the Pope avoided touching on it at the Good Friday ceremony held at the Colosseum.
In the meantime, further doubt has been cast on the Pope's role in shielding pedophiles before he became pope. The Associated Press revealed that then-Cardinal Ratzinger delayed to take actions against of Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Arizona, who was accused of abusing children in the 70s.
"There's no doubt that Ratzinger delayed the defrocking process of dangerous priests who were deemed 'satanic' by their own bishop," Lynne Cadigan, an attorney who represented two of Teta's victims, said Friday.
In the meantime, the victims of sexual abuse, their friends and families took to the streets of Washington, Chicago and New York demanding transparency.
Source: NET News item: 35065
 Greek PM: "The Worst Part Is Over"Saturday, 03 April 2010 13:29
The worst part for the economy is over, said the Greek Prime Minister in his interview with Time magazine, stressing that tough yet necessary measures have been taken to leave the crisis behind. Papandreou argued that Greece has restored its credibility and noted that deep and far more creative changes are underway. He then went on to underline that the goal is to save the social system along with enhancing competition. The Greek head of government also touched on the campaign against corruption and the reaction of the markets to the credibility of the Greek economy.
Papandreou's Interview with TIME
The worst part of the crisis belongs to the past, stressed George Papandreou in his interview with US magazine Time.
The Prime Minister underlined that although he knew that Greece was going through a crisis, he could not foretell the crisis' real impact on the country's economy and noted that despite the tough measures taken, there is a lot to be done.
However, he expressed the hope that the crisis will pave the way for changes and a better future for Greece.
Papandreou also claimed that the social system needs restructuring and that competition can be boosted through spending cuts.
Scandinavian Model with a Mediterranean Dimension
Cutting public spending, said he, is a major step and he referred to the Scandinavian nations which combine significant social provisions and competitive economies.
The Greek Premier said he envisages a Greece with a similar structure to the Scandinavian model but with a Mediterranean dimension, underlining the cultural differences between the south and the north.
"The first thing we have to do is to change ourselves. We have to set the example. One of my party's slogans is that we have to change ourselves before changing Greece," said he, arguing that several Greeks who live abroad are successful.
Shifting his attention to the future of the European Union, he stressed that the EU can become the model for a globalised society provided that its nations work collectively.
"The EU nations have different languages, traditions and cultures, yet they share several common values, like democracy, human rights and peaceful settlement of problems. Provided we share these common values, we can work together, control markets and deficits," stressed he.
The Greek Prime Minister also said that the Greek crisis should be seen as a chance for Europe to grow stronger. He further added that Greece and the EU should look for the roots of the problem and decide on the sectors that have to be changed. Touching on the conclusions of the recent EU Summit, he said, "We decided on a support mechanism capable of laying down new rules, ideas and changes to the law, changes in the agreement on how economy works and how we should govern the EU."
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 35064
 Russia and Venezuela Boost TiesSaturday, 03 April 2010 12:15
Venezuelan President Huge Chavez warmly welcomed Vladimir Putin at the former's presidential mansion in Caracas. The Russian Prime Minister thanked President Chavez, who rushed to denounce to double suicide hits in Moscow and assured that Russia is going to escalate its fight against terrorism. The two leaders touched on the military and energy cooperation, while the signed an agreement aspiring to usher Venezuela into the space era. They also signed a total of 30 agreements on several other activities. Putin also met with Bolivian President Evo Morales, who visited Caracas presidential mention just to meet the Russian Prime Minister.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrapped up his official visit to Venezuela and departed from Caracals in the early hours of Saturday.
During his stay, the Russian Prime Minister held talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He also delivered four military helicopters as part of the military cooperation between the two nations.
Vladimir Putin also offered his to help Venezuela set up its own space industry.
"Venezuela has already entered the satellite space race. Russia's experience is gigantic in this regard," Chavez said.
A US government spokesman on Friday made light of Venezuela's pursuit of cooperation with Russia on space, saying that the South American nation would do better to look at "terrestrial" concerns. News item: 35063
 Gunmen Killed 25 People in IraqSaturday, 03 April 2010 11:50
Gunmen in army uniforms massacred 25 people from families linked to an anti-Qaeda militia as they swooped on a village south of Baghdad before dawn on Saturday, Iraqi officials said.
Five women were among the dead, an interior ministry official said, while a security spokesman blamed Al-Qaeda and said 17 people were arrested in connection with the murders.
The victims were found with either broken arms or legs, indicating they were tortured, according to a medical official at Al-Yarmuk hospital in west Baghdad with knowledge of police reports of the killings.
The brutal killings come as Iraq's political parties negotiate to form a government, nearly a month after a general election.
Security officials have warned that a protracted period of coalition building could give insurgents an opportunity to further destabilise Iraq.
"Men wearing uniforms and driving vehicles similar to those used by the army stormed three houses in the village of Sufia, in the region of Hour Rajab, and killed 25 people, including five women," said the interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Source: AFP News item: 35062
 Two Polls Give the Socialists the LeadSaturday, 03 April 2010 11:22
Two polls have suggested that the Socialists of PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) have a 10% lead over the Conservatives of ND (New Democracy). The survey conducted by ALKO on behalf of Proto Thema paper showed that the ruling party has the lead garnering 32.1%, as opposed to 22.1% of ND. KKE (Greek Communist Party) followed with 6.3%, LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) with 5.5% and SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) with 3.4%. Furthermore, the majority of the respondents believe that Greece will overcome the crisis, while street protests and strike keep the public divided.
The survey carried out by MRB for Real News paper, PASOK garnered 31.9%. ND trailed with 21.2%, KKE with 7.2%, LAOS with 5.7% and SYRIZA with 4.4%.
Furthermore, the majority of those surveyed dismissed the government's austerity measures as unfair, with 47.7% of them being willing to undergo sacrifices.
Finally, a RASS poll suggested that 54.3% of the respondents are against additional measures, while 53.1% are certain that Papandreou will help the country overcome its problems.
Source: NET 105.8 News item: 35061
 Remaining Holidaymakers Leave Urban CentreSaturday, 03 April 2010 11:08
Traffic on the national highways has been rather smooth, with the remaining Easter holidaymakers leaving the urban centres to celebrate Easter in the countryside. As for the weather, high temperatures and sunshine is forecast for Easter Sunday.
Athen's market was rather busy on Holy Saturday with the Athenians packing the streets for their last-minute buys.
However, consumers were rather careful given the financial turmoil.
Source: NET, NET 105.8 News item: 35060
 Ceremony of the Holy FireSaturday, 03 April 2010 10:38
Christians from all over the world are looking forward to the promising message of Christ's Resurrection. In a pious climate, the Greek Orthodox patriarch, Theophilos III, entered the Holy Sepulchre in the early afternoon, recited special prayers and waited in the darkened church at Jesus's tomb for the Holy Fire to light an oil lamp. The Holy Fire is due to arrive in Athens at 18.30pm and will be welcomed at the Athens International Airport with state honours. It will then be transferred to all corners of Greece.
Lighting of Holy Fire
A Greek delegation headed by Deputy Interior Minister Spyros Kouvelis arrived in Tel Aviv by a special flight and then drove to Jerusalem to attend the ceremony of the Holy Fire.
The ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon. Shortly afterwards, , the Greek Orthodox patriarch, Theophilos III handed the Holy Fire to the head of the Greek delegation.
The Holy Fire will be transferred to Athens by Archbishop Michael, the representative of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Greek delegation consists of deputies Vasilis Oikonomou (PASOK), Mihalis Halkides (ND) and Ourania Papandreou (LAOS).
The Holy Light is expected to land in Athens at 18.30pm at the Athens International Airport and will be welcomed with state honours. It will then be transferred to all corners of Greece by plane. News item: 35058