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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-01-16

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Review of Constitution at Focus
  • [02] Inspections and Recommendations
  • [03] Bloody Robbery
  • [04] Papoulias-Folias Meeting
  • [05] Meeting over Nuclear Crisis
  • [06] Precious Dust Arrived on Earth
  • [07] NY Bridge On Sale for $1!
  • [08] Eminem and Kim Together Again

  • [01] Karamanlis G. Papandreou Meeting Review of Constitution at Focus

    16 Jan 2006 13:11:00 (Last updated: 16 Jan 2006 16:48:32)

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA

    PASOK President George Papandreou supported a bold review of the Constitution following his meeting with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis at Maximos Mansion. Moreover, he noted that he does not agree with a corrective review based on petty party interests. Mr Papandreou indirectly doubted the aims and intentions of the Government and Mr Karamanlis over the Review of the Constitution, saying that they are seeking a review for opinion polls and not democracy, while stating that PASOK, after an elaborative study, will submit its views with seriousness and responsibility. Mr Karamanlis welcoming Mr Papandreou said, "The aim is to find common goals." The leader of PASOK replied, "it is important that common goals are found," but insisted on everyday issues, which as he said can be solved by the existing Constitution. Reiterating, the Prime Minister stated that there is always space for improvement. With todays meeting Mr Karamanlis completed the first circle of contacts with political leaders on the issue. Government spokesperson Theodoros Roussopoulos, referring to the Prime Ministers meeting with Mr Papandreou, noted that the aim of the Government is the achievement of the widest possible consensus on the Review of the Constitution. Mr Roussopoulos added that todays meeting was made in the context of seeking common ground, repeating that the PMs views will be presented at the ND Parliamentary Group meeting tomorrow. Replying to a question on whether a dialogue will take place with the Church, Mr Roussopoulos observed, "the dialogue will be Parliamentary and every body can submit their proposals."

    SYN President Alekos Alavanos voiced the need of reacting to the advanced changes by the Government through the Constitution Review. Mr Alavos made special mention to the issue of the privatisation of Higher Education, calling powers from PASOK, who are reacting to this issue to join him. Moreover, he accused the Main Opposition of consenting with the Government to this important issue and repeated his partys position that the governing party is trying to pass the issue of minimum guaranteed social revenue through the Review.

    In particular, as of this morning radio station NET 105.8 has opened its microphones for the dialogue over the Constitutional Review. Until 10pm, the special radio programme will focus on the issue, inviting politicians, attorneys, journalists and representatives of social bodies to submit their views. Citizens will able to voice their opinions, but also participate in an opinion poll conducted by the public radio through ERTs website.

    The Findings of the Opinion Poll

    On Private Universities:

    31% estimated that their operation should be allowed, 23% to not be allowed and 44% allowed but only under strict prerequisites.

    On State Church Relations:

    74% estimated that they should be separated and 25% should remain as they are.

    On the Election of the President of the Republic:

    25% stated that it should be disconnected from the event of early elections, 16% to remain as is and 57% for the election to be made by the citizens.

    On the MPs Incompatibility Issue:

    34% estimated that it should be abolished, 27% to remain as is and 37% that it should be enforced to special categories of professions.

    On the MPs Immunity:

    56% estimated that it should be abolished, 6% to remain as is and 36% to be enforced on crimes related over political activity.

    Pavlopoulos Speaks of Seizing Assets

    At the same time, in an interview to Sundays edition of Apogevmatini, Minister for the Interior Prokopis Pavlopoulos left open the possibility of the Governments proposal on the review to include the seizing politicians assets not appearing in the Financial Audit Declaration.

    Mr Pavlopoulos stated that the main direction is the in-depth audit of political money management, which will include 3 points.

    Seizing politicians assets not appearing in the Financial Audit Declaration, which will be enforced by the Constitutional Court, auditing parties finances, as well as auditing the pre-election expenses of candidate MPs.

    The Minister noted that the parties financing should be based on the budget, while private funding should be restricted. He explained, however, that this did not mean an increase in the financing of the parties, which will have to find ways to cut their expenditures and set a good example.

    Mr Pavlopoulos supported the lift of the full-incompatibility issue of MPs, with the establishment of the ability "for the MP to exercise his profession in a restricted manner," and supported the lift of MPs immunity for all crimes not connected with exercising politics.

    In an interview to Sundays edition of Kathimerini, PASOK MP Nikos Christodoulakis also commented on the issue, saying that the new Constitution should be a map of development and an outward-looking economy.

    In an article in the same newspaper, SYN MP Nikos Konstantopoulos stated that continuous reviews are not facing the constant political crisis.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Constitution on the Table

    [02] EU: No Reason to Close Borders Inspections and Recommendations

    16 Jan 2006 20:25:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA-- 105.8

    In Greece, the relevant Ministries are considering every possible measure that could brace the country from the avian flu threat as best as possible. The health authorities are on alert, conducting thorough inspections at the borders. Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis sent an emergency letter to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) asking to know whether the closing down of the Greek-Turkish borders is necessary. The ECDC answered that given the present situation such a measure would not protect Greece from an avian flu outbreak. Mr Kaklamanis, however, recommended the Greek citizens avoid travelling to Turkey unless there is a serious need, and in that case they should be particularly meticulous in following the sanitary directives issued. Furthermore, inspections and sample taking are on the increase. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas ordered the Central Food Control Agency (EFET) personnel to assist the Ministries of Health and Rural Development, while the Ministries of Interior, Employment and National Defence have also been mobilised. Finally, measures to boost the poultry industry have been announced.

    Measures to Meet Immediate Needs

    At Greeces border entry points to and from Turkey, precautionary measures are being thoroughly implemented to avert any avian flu outbreak in the country. Gloves, masks and disinfectants are used by the border personnel.

    Veterinary Services and special centres throughout the country are examining every report of dead poultry, however, the lab tests conducted so far on more than 2,000 samples have not yielded any worrying results. At Vrohitsa, in the Prefecture of Ilia, veterinarians took samples from a family poultry farm. The owner said that 50 chickens have died since the beginning of the month, yet the authorities suspect that the deaths are not due to the avian flu.

    Shortages in personnel and equipment in the Prefectures are being dealt with, while the authorities are working on achieving the best possible organisation and coordination.

    Rural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos sent all the Prefects a letter noting that the present situation requires cooperation and joint action on the part of the relevant bodies.

    Measures to meet immediate needs: One million euros are to be given out to the countrys Prefectures to purchase equipment. 831 thousand euros has been collected to cover the overtime of the personnel. The staffing of the Prefectures with some 200 new employees has been approved. The Ministry of National Defence is to dispatch 200 of its scientists to 27 Prefectures. The Ministry for the Interior has issued a new legislative amendment allowing the Prefectures to hire seasonal personnel for up to eight months, without declaring the Prefecture in a state of emergency.

    Health Ministry Mr Kaklamanis announced that the National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) is to receive today 400 thousand doses of anti-viral Simetrel, while some 6,000 boxes of Tamiflu are to be received within the week. However, the scientists underlined that the migratory birds are probably unlikely to bring the flu in Greece, since migration from countries where avian flu outbreaks has been reported is complete.

    Meanwhile, the Greek Ministry for the Interior announced that via the Hellenic Aid and the Ministry of Health it will donate 600,000 euros for the Beijing Donor Conference, which is to convene on Tuesday.

    Measures to Boost Poultry Breeders

    The developments have a direct impact on the poultry industry which occupies more than 15,000 employees. The issue topped the meeting held among Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, Deputy Rural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos and the President of poultry breeders D. Livaditis, who later on announced a string of measures to boost poultry breeders.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    13yo Becomes New Victim

    [03] In the Centre of Athens Bloody Robbery

    16 Jan 2006 13:46:00 (Last updated: 16 Jan 2006 21:57:15)

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: NET

    A bloody armed robbery with five injured persons took place at 12:50, at a branch of the National Bank of Greece, at 76 Solonos Street, in the centre of Athens. Four unidentified men entered the banks branch and with the threat of a gun seized an undisclosed amount of money and attempted to getaway. However, they exchanged fire with the banks guard, who was chasing them, resulting in his injury on the abdomen. Following, the robbers entered an arcade at Ippokratous Street, across the Athens Academy and attempted to board a vehicle of the Ministry of Environment by pulling the driver out. Policemen, who were at the area, saw the incident and rushed to immobilise the perpetrators, who opened fire. The policemen also fired shots injuring one of the robbers on the abdomen. Two passer-bys were also slightly injured by the shots fired. The injured were taken to the General State Hospital, where the guard and passer-by are undergoing surgery, while the police are on a manhunt for the location of the other three robbers, who escaped through the side streets of Exarchia. Initial information by the police stated that the injured robber is a 28-year-old, who had been summoned by the police as a suspect of participating in incidents in the past. Police officials view the case as highly serious, since they fear it is connected to terrorism.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] Investments and Growth in Greece Papoulias-Folias Meeting

    16 Jan 2006 17:43:00

    By Vivian Papastefanou

    Sources: NET-ANA

    Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias visited on Monday the Presidential Mansion and briefed the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on the absorption of the 3rd Community Support Framework, the course of the private and public investments, as well as the planning for the 4th Community Support Framework. Mr Papoulias was particularly interested in the regions of the country that have been less privileged, including Ipiros, while he voiced his hope that the red tape will stop obstructing investments. On his part, Mr Folias pointed out that the government is committed to simple procedures that facilitate investments and underscored that the whole procedure is on track.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] Over Iran's Nuclear Programme Meeting over Nuclear Crisis

    16 Jan 2006 13:01:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: C - Reuters

    Representatives from Britain, France, Germany, the USA, Russia and China will meet in London, aiming at determining their future actions in view of Irans decision to resume its nuclear programme. It is quite possible for their decisions to include sanctions against Iran. In the meantime, the head of the UNs nuclear sector declared that he could not confirm whether the Iranian nuclear programme had a peaceful objective. On its part, Iran denied aiming to develop nuclear weapons, however, it stressed that it would not give in to international pressures. At the same time, it warned that possible economic sanctions against it could lead to an increase in oil prices.

    Asking for Russia and China's Consent

    Last week, the European Troika declared that talks with Iran had reached a dead-end, while it asked for the emergency convocation of the International Atomic Energy Agencys council, where it proposed referring Iran to the UNs Security Council.

    The USA supported this move, but this was not the case with China and Russia. However, the European and American sides are expected to ask for their consent in todays meeting.

    According to diplomatic circles, Russia will probably be more willing to consent, as it has already warned Iran to change its stance.

    However, China would be harder to convince, since it has declared that referring Iran to the Security Council could further complicate matters.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Nuclear Dispute

    [06] Stardust Probe Completed its Mission Precious Dust Arrived on Earth

    16 Jan 2006 13:39:00

    Sources: ANA, BBC, CNN, Reuters

    The capsule, containing particles from dust and comets collected by Stardust probe, in its exploration mission in space, during which it travelled 5 billion kilometres, successfully landed on Sunday morning at a military base in Utah, USA. This is the first robot mission for the particle collection of celestial bodies located far-off the Moon and which existed before the genesis of the solar system, 4.5 billion years ago, following the mission of Apollo 17 which allowed astronauts to bring back rocks from the Moon in 1972. Stardust, with a weight of 385kg, started its mission into space in 1999, and met comet Wild 2 near Jupiter on January 2 2004 after a double rotation around the Sun.

    Approximately at 8am, Stardust successfully released the capsule as it was approaching Earth.

    Four hours later, it entered the atmosphere at a speed of 46,660km and was visible by the southwestern states of America.

    At 32km above Earth, it opened a small parachute and at 3km opened the larger one leading the capsule safely towards Earth.

    An hour later a military helicopter located it and NASA officials collected it.

    On Wednesday, it will be transported to a special laboratory of the US Space Agency, where scientists will examine the precious particles.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] Willis Avenue Up for Sale NY Bridge On Sale for $1!

    16 Jan 2006 14:32:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    It can become yours with only 1 dollar. However, if you do buy it, you will have to pay its maintenance expenses, which reach 1.1 million dollars annually. All this for one of the oldest and most historic bridges of New York, Willis Avenue, as the City Council decided to sell it for the price of $1, since its maintenance is uneconomical. However, the owner has to maintain the bridge in its original condition with a few changes being studied by the authorities and not alter a single thing from its historic character.

    The hanging bridge on Harlem River, connecting the Bronx with Manhattan, was inaugurated in August 1901 and is used by 75,000 vehicles annually.

    In case a buyer is not found, the historic bridge will be demolished.

    Until its probable sale, the event of turning the bridge into an area for small vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians, has been considered, and the relevant works will begin in 2006 and completed in 2012, costing approximately 300 million dollars.

    Up to now, only a committee of citizens has shown interest in the purchase of the bridge, as they do not want to lose one of their citys historic bridges.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [08] Eminem and Kim Together Again

    16 Jan 2006 13:08:00

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA - Reuters

    Five years after their divorce, which signalled the end of their turbulent affair, rapper Eminem and Kimberly Mathers were once again joined in matrimony during a closed and austere ceremony in Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester Hills, close to Detroit, under tight security measures. The 33-year-old groom arrived in a black limo, wearing a sports cap, while many reporters and fans had gathered outside the hall to get a glimpse of the singer. The few celebrities in attendance included rapper 50 Cent. Eminem, who in 2000 had recorded the song "Kim", in which he dreamed of his wifes death, had announced his upcoming wedding while speaking on a Detroit radio station last month. The couple was first married in 1999, but their divorce, as well as the custody battle over their 10-year-old daughter, was finalised in 2001.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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