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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-06-02

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Progress and Reforms
  • [02] Strong Blow
  • [03] Too Late, the Cash Is Gone!
  • [04] Explosion outside Ministry
  • [05] Abbas Hospitalised
  • [06] Russia and China Agree
  • [07] Bad Weather Sweeps Central China
  • [08] Suicide Attack in Kirkuk

  • [01] Plea for Dialogue to All Bodies Progress and Reforms

    02 Jun 2005 12:19:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    After the end of the meeting with the Public Administration Specialists Committee, the Prime Minister repeated the governments decisiveness to go forth with progress and reforms in the economy. Kostas Karamanlis made a plea for dialogue between all the bodies, in order for the structural reforms to have the societys consent. "We want a dialogue," he said on the occasion of the OTE agreement, and noted that where there is no consent, the government owes to go forth with the reforms with consent, realism, boldness and decisiveness. We cannot accept compromises, stated Mr Karamanlis, and said that the cost for the economy is a burden and there is no time. The commitment of the new administration, stated the Prime Minister, is the transition to a fair dependable state, that will give motives for investments and respect the citizens rights and the money of the taxpayers, a state with a discreet presence in the economy and effective in its social intervention. The government goes forth aimed at the better quality of life for all the Greek people. This aim does not include compromises, stated Mr Karamanlis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [02] The Dutch Say 'No' Strong Blow

    02 Jun 2005 10:38:00 (Last updated: 02 Jun 2005 12:45:14)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: ÁNA - Reuters - AFT

    Following the loud No" by the Dutch, just three days after the French rejection, analysts consider that the European Constitution is dead. The Dutch No, with a 61.6% majority, provides an even more decisive message than the French No. It is worth noting that the voter turnout was 62.8%, which is much higher than the 39% voter turnout during the European elections in 2004. The European Union is in a state of confusion, as the future Enlargement is looking doubtful and the decision-making centers are literally paralysed. The rejection of the Constitutional Treaty by two of the six founding members may prove to be a final blow for the European Constitution, which was drawn up aiming at the smooth operation of the EU, following its Enlargement last year. The French and Dutch No also create doubts concerning the prospect of the EU having an effective Foreign Policy, as well as the possibility of further Enlargement, following the accession of the Balkan states, Turkey and the Ukraine. It also gives rise to questions regarding European Economy in a competitive global environment.

    Unprecedented Voter Turnout

    The Dutch Parliament, which will be deciding on the ratification of the European Constitution, will convene today, in order to discuss the results of the referendum, which the Government cannot ignore. Anyway, the political parties had pledged that they would be taking the results into account, provided the voter turnout exceeded 30% and the verdict was over 60%, both of which happened. Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende appeared disappointed, while he urged the rest of the Member-States to continue procedures for ratifying the European Constitution.

    In the meantime, Mr Balkenede and his Government may even be faced with a motion of censure today. The Dutch PM declared that he will not resign, however, if a motion is filed against him, he has slim chances of getting over it.

    The Ball Is in Britain's Court

    The European leaders urged the rest of the Member-States to continue procedures for ratifying the European Constitution, however, as per analysts, the Constitutional Treaty probably belongs in the past. Now, vital decisions regarding the future of Europe will be made during the Summit Meeting, scheduled for 16 and 17 June in Brussels.

    As per Richard Whitman, of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, the great voter turnout, following the French referendum, combined with the overwhelming No, are both strong blows for the Constitutional Treaty.

    Moreover, today, Latvias MPs ratified the European Constitution with a vast majority. With 80 out of the 100 MPs present, 71 voted for, five against and 6 abstained. Latvia became a full-fledged member of the EU on 1 May 2004. Latvian FM Artis Pabriks declared that his country is sending a clear message to the founding members of the EU that the European Constitution and the Enlargement process should continue.

    The President of the European Commission, Jos&#233; Manuel Barroso, called on the rest of the Member-States to continue ratifying the European Constitution and to avoid "one-sided decisions" prior to the Summit Meeting in Brussels.

    The British Government will be called upon to decide on whether it will be continuing the ratification process, paving the way for a referendum for the European Constitutional Treaty.

    British FM Jack Straw noted that the rejection of the European Constitution by the Dutch and the French poses obvious questions for the future of the EU, while he noted that the results would be taken into account.

    However, he avoided clarifying whether the British Government will be conducting a referendum for the ratification of the European Constitution.

    British PM Tony Blair had pledged that he would be seeking the advice of the people for the European Constitution, before asking the MPs to ratify it. Anyhow, as per political analysts, Blair is aware of the fact that if he loses the referendum, he will be forced to resign from office.

    So, as per the analysts estimates, now that the French and the Dutch have voted against the Constitutional Treaty, Blair will have the opportunity to avoid a referendum.

    On the part of Greece, commenting on the results of the Dutch referendum, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Giorgos Koumoutsakos declared, "Both the French and the Dutch No are worthy of respect, but they will not suspend the order to continue the unification process."

    In an announcement issued by KKE, it is mentioned, "This new rejection of the European Constitution, despite the threats and the extortion dilemmas, constitutes a positive message for the people and a source of concern for plutocracy."

    Enlargement under Threat

    Yesterday, the Polish government announced that it will be deciding how and when to ratify the European Constitution after the Summit Meeting. Although the government has scheduled a referendum for October, the Opposition is asking for it to be postponed.

    Furthermore, the Czech Government announced that it will be asking for an extension, beyond November 2006, so that the counties that voted No will have a chance to reevaluate their stance.

    Following the Dutch No, Jean Claude Juncker, Luxemburg PM and president of the EU for this 6-month period, voiced his concerns regarding the outcome of the referendum that will be taking place in his country on 10 July, despite the fact that the people of Luxemburg are considered European-friendly.

    Beyond the political repercussions of the No vote, it is considered almost certain that the European leaders will have a hard time trying to reach an agreement over the EU Budget until 2013, which was a very optimistic aim anyway, especially in view of the early elections in Germany.

    Actually, Dutch Economy Minister Gerrit Zalm declared that his compatriots said No to the European Constitution, because they have a greater per capita contribution to the EU Budget.

    The negative French and Dutch votes also create doubts regarding the further Enlargement of the EU. Romania and Bulgaria are expected to accede into the EU in 2007, given that they have already signed the relevant treaties. However, the efforts of Turkey and the Ukraine, as well as those of some Balkan countries, may be delayed.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Crushing "Nee"

    The Different "No's"

    "Yes" or "Nee"?

    [03] Mugged Three TImes in an Hour Too Late, the Cash Is Gone!

    02 Jun 2005 11:22:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    It was definitely his worst day ever, although he could have seen his name listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the man who holds the record of being a mugging victim within an hour only. Reiner Hamer, 27, from Oberhausen, Germany, was mugged three times in an hour. The young German had decided to go to a club to have fun with his friends. Unfortunately, it did not turn out well for him since he lost his wallet, containing 180 euros, and his mobile phone, when three men attacked him in the toilet of his local night club. He called police from outside the club using a friends mobile, but while he waited for them to arrive he was approached by three other men, who stole his watch and cigarettes. In despair, he leaned back against the wall to recover, but his misfortune was not over. Shortly after that, another five men approached him, stealing his jacket and the last of the small change.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Preceded by Threatening Phone Call Explosion outside Ministry

    02 Jun 2005 07:13:00 (Last updated: 02 Jun 2005 12:37:55)

    By Anna Kourti

    A strong explosion by a makeshift bomb was recorded in the early hours of the morning in the centre of Athens. The bomb had been placed in a rubbish bin on the footpath in front of 38-40 Piraeus Street, where the Greek Ministry of Employment and Social Protection is housed. Windows within a 60m radius were shattered, while Piraeus Street has now reopened for traffic. A threatening phone call to the newspaper Eleftherotypia had preceded the explosion, however, no group has claimed responsibility yet. Earlier, another two prank calls were placed for bombs in Omonoia train station and the Education Ministry, bringing the ISAP underground railway to a standstill. However, police intervened immediately and evacuated the areas, but they later discovered that they were pranks. The train routes were reinstated as of 7:30am.

    According to sources, the police guard of the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection saw someone carrying a bag and placing it in the rubbish bin. As soon as the man left, the guard went to the bin, opened the bag and discovered the makeshift bomb, immediately notifying the police.

    The unknown man saw the policeman opening the bag and immediately made a phone call. According to the police, the threatening phone call to Eleftherotypia was placed at the same time.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Abbas Hospitalised

    02 Jun 2005 09:34:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, underwent a heart surgery. In a phone interview given to the German News Agency, Palestinian leaders son, Yasser Abbas, mentioned that he was by his father side, when he underwent a procedure to open a constricted vein to restore normal blood flow in Amman, Jordan. Abbas is expected to leave hospital by the end of the day. In the meantime, on Thursday morning, Israel began to release 405 Palestinian prisoners from the prisons run by the Disciplinary Board, as well as from prisoners camps of the Israeli army, mentioned the head of the Israeli Disciplinary Board, Orit Stetzer.

    Routine Exam

    The 70-year-old Palestinian leader arrived in Jordan on Wednesday after a one-week international tour visiting the USA, Canada and the Arab countries in northern Africa. Yasser Abbas mentioned that his father was in good condition during his trip, but doctors in the Jordanian capital of Amman suggested he undergo a routine exam. The exam showed that Abbas had a clogged artery and the doctors decided to operate on him in the hospital in Jordan.

    The case of a completely clogged artery causes heart attack.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] 40 Years of Negotiations Russia and China Agree

    02 Jun 2005 08:26:00

    By Anna Kourti

    On Thursday, Russia and China signed a definitive treaty in Vladivostok for settling part of their border dispute, ending 40 years of negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Zhaoxing Li co-signed the treaty, which will regulate 2% of their shared borders, which stretch for 4,300km.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [07] Bad Weather Sweeps Central China

    02 Jun 2005 07:37:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Torrential rains and mountain torrents in central China have left 36 people dead, while 42 missing and 100,000 were forced to abandon their homes. At least 3,500 buildings collapsed as the rains caused mudslides, while numerous people were injured in the affected province of Hunan, declared a local official.

    "By 9 am this morning 36 have been found dead and 42 are missing. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated. Local civil affairs departments have dispatched rice, clean water and other relief materials to affected people. The worst hit area is Xinshao county," State Civil Affairs Ministry official Fang Zhiyong told AFP.

    "Telecommunications, transportation and water supplies are not working. It will take time to restore them," declared Shen Guirong, director of the propaganda department in Xinshao district.

    [08] One Child Killed and 11 Iraqis Injured Suicide Attack in Kirkuk

    02 Jun 2005 08:47:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters

    A car bomb, driven by a suicide bomber, exploded at 9am at the entrance of the Northern Oil Company (NOC) in Kirkuk. A four-year-old was killed and another 11 Iraqis were injured, while four cars were completely destroyed. Earlier, another bombing attack was recorded in a restaurant in the town of Tuz Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk, resulting in the death of 9 people and the injury of another 22. Quoting a local official, Reuters clarified that the attack was targeting a convoy carrying bodyguards of Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shways, however, the Deputy was not in one of the cars at the time.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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