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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-02-20

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Skopje Issue Enters Crucial Stage
  • [02] BoG's Report on Economy
  • [03] Spring Weather
  • [04] Submitted to Interrogator
  • [05] Magical Night
  • [06] Developments in the Kosovo Issue
  • [07] Deadly Floods in Philippines
  • [08] Sarksyan Winner in First Round
  • [09] Sumatra: Strong Quake

  • [01] Nimitz New Proposal on FYROM's Name

    Skopje Issue Enters Crucial Stage

    20 Feb 2008 10:07:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Skopje issue has entered into its most crucial stage following the new compromise proposal on FYROMs name tabled to both Athens and Skopje yesterday by UN special envoy, Mathew Nimitz. Both sides are given a 15-day deadline to respond to his proposal. Mr. Nimitz, accompanied by Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyianni, had a half-hour meeting with Prime-minister, Kostas Karamnlis this morning, while he made no statements upon leaving the Maximos mansion.

    Mrs. Bakoyianni is to brief political party leaders during the day while she has already met with PASOK leader. Earlier during an Inner Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime-minister, the Greek Foreign Minister briefed its members on the general package of ideas tabled by Mr. Nimitz, so they all know the countrys negotiating position. Mrs. Bakoyianni described Mr. Nimitz proposal as the start of difficult but substantial negotiations, stressing that we are now literally entering into substantial negotiations. In response to a question on whether Mr. Nimitz can impose a solution, she said that nobody can impose anything to a country, adding that Mr. Nimits has come with a UN mandate aimed to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Skopje name. On his part, the UN special envoy described his proposal as a fair and dignified solution- including elements difficultly acceptable by both sides- which, however, can become the basis for the resolution of the name issue. PASOK party said "no" to double name while reactions were also voiced by the GCP, SYN and LAOS political parties. In the meantime, FYROM prime-minister, Nikola Gruevski will call on a meeting of political leaders of the three major parties.

    Briefings by Mrs. Bakoyianni

    Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyianni opened circle of political party leaders contact with briefing of PASOK leader, George Papandreou in the presence of Theodoros Pangalos. In his statement after the meeting, Mr. Pangalos among others underlined that Nimitz proposal was not final but it will be followed by negotiations during which Greece will make its counterproposals. He, however, repeated PASOK position for exercising veto right in the event of double name. Later, Mrs. Bakoyianni is to meet the leaders of GCP, SYRIZA and LAOS, Aleka Papariga, Alexis Tsipras and George Karatzaferis respectively.

    Government spokesman, Thodoros Roussopoulos said that the government is studying Mr. Nimitz proposal in view of the next stage of negotiations which is extremely difficult and complex, stressing that the government, as it has done so far, will respect secrecy of procedures, convinced that this will contribute to efforts for resolution of the name issue."Political leaders well know that such issues must be handled with confidentiality so the country can be helped. There is no other reason behind confidentiality rather than serving national interests" he stressed. In parallel, he referred that the Greek government condemns seizure of Greek embassy in Skopje and incidents against journalists, which by no means contribute to efforts for a mutually acceptable solution.

    Earlier, Mrs. Bakoyianni had briefed the Inner Cabinet during a meeting chaired by Prime-minister, Kostas Karamanlis. In talks with reporters after the meeting, environment Minister, George Souflias said that members of the Inner Cabinet agreed that Nimitz proposal sets the grounds for negotiations.

    Opposition Reactions

    Politicians expressed their views in interview with NET 105.8 radio program. Economics undersecretary, Yiannis Papathanasiou said that there can not be solution without compromise and expressed belief that all ND deputies will support the governments proposal. Mariliza Xenogianakopoulou said that the government must exercise veto right in the event of double name. Miltiadis Barbitsiotis stressed that the governments intention is to come to an agreement with all political parties while Simos Kedikoglou described as useful the council of political party leaders, provided that there is a framework for its convention. Yiannis Magriotis said that PASOK does not trust the government therefore it has asked for the original text of Mr. Nimitz proposal. Top priority is to secure good neighbourly relations, for this reason the GCP will insist on a mutually acceptable solution told Dimitris Koutsoumbas while SYRIZA deputy, Fotis Koubelis described the exercising of veto right as an extreme measure and referred that SYRIZA supports a compound name using a geographical or adjectival term. From LAOS party, Kyriakos Belopoulos objected to the use of the term Macedonia and proposed the holding of referendum.

    [02] EU's Recommendations on the Pension System

    BoG's Report on Economy

    20 Feb 2008 11:38:00 (Last updated: 20 Feb 2008 18:32:54)

    While unveiling Wednesday the annual report on Greeces economy and monetary policy, Governor of Bank of Greece Nikos Garganas predicted a limited growth slowdown coupled with a further rise in inflation figures. Garganas maintained that the annual growth rates in the months to come will stand at the same levels as now, namely at 4%, reflecting rises in the prices of oil and agricultural products worldwide, and then it will go down. With regard to the social security issue, Garganas reiterated that unless anything is done, the major problems will start in 2020 and reach its peak in 2050. He also noted that the pension reforms should include the unification of several Funds and cuts in early retirement. Furthermore, the European Commission also offered its recommendations on the stability programme. The EU views the Greek economys fiscal consolidation as a prerequisite for dealing with economical imbalances, including inflation, loss of competitiveness and high trade deficit. It also advised Greece to implement more pension and health reforms. The EU Commission is in accord with the Greek Governments estimations, commented Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis.

    [03] Temperature Rising-Snow Melting

    Spring Weather

    20 Feb 2008 12:18:00

    Sunshine with a parallel rise in temperatures have significantly reduced problems caused by the extreme weather which hit the country at the weekend. Travel in the main roads network has been completely restored, however, motorists are advised to take precautions in neighbourhood side streets. Meteorologists say that the country will more often suffer from extreme weather from now on. According to the weather forecast for the next days temperatures will rise from -11C to 16C. All means of mass transport is operating according to regular schedules except for some routes to the following suburbs:Thrakomakedones, Barybobi, Old Pendeli, Dionisos and Stamata. Municipality crews are still dropping salt on pavements and streets to melt ice.Many schools in Attika remained closed for a third day as childrens access to schools was difficult due to slick and icy side streets and school-yards.

    Cultivations Damaged

    Snowfall and extremely low temperatures have caused extensive damage to both open air and greenhouse cultivations in Attika, the Peloponnese and the island of Crete. Farmers demand compensations while consumers see prices of produce, particularly cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini and citrus fruit going sky up. Prices of produce go up due to the increased need of fuel to protect them from icy cold. Agricultural Development Minister, Alexandros Kondos, who is on a tour of Argolida today, vowed to compensate farmers hit by extreme weather.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    [04] Labor Law Specialist Medical Report

    Submitted to Interrogator

    20 Feb 2008 11:18:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: 105.8 -

    The 35-year old woman, Evi Tsekou, held in custody in connection with Zahopoulos case, is expected to testify next Monday morning. Labor law specialist, Hristos Nikolitsopoulos, allegedly involved in the above case, is not likely to testify till after 3 to 4 weeks. According to a medical report handed to the interrogator this morning by Psychiatry professor, Yiannis Papadatos, Mr. Nikolitsopoulos is suffering from depressive disorder and is hospitalized at the Aeginitio Hospital. Another Psychiatrist, Ioannis Nestoros this morning handed a separate medical report on Mr. Nikolitsopoulos health condition to the second interrogator this morning. In the meantime, the Justice Minister has announced that telephone tapping and illegal video shooting will be considered felony counts.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    [05] Visible from Greece Too

    Magical Night

    20 Feb 2008 17:57:00

    By Andreas Roditis

    Sources:

    The last total lunar eclipse will be visible from Greece at 5.01am on Thursday. The eclipses will fade away at shortly before the first sunlight. Next to the Moon there will be Saturn and a star from the Leo constellation. The Moon will start covering the Earths shadow at 03.43am (Greek local time), while the Sun, Earth and Moon will be in total alignment for about 50 minutes, from 05.01 to 05.51am. The phenomenon will fade away at 07.09am, shortly before sunlight.

    The total lunar eclipse allows scientists to assess the quality of the Earths atmosphere. When clean, the Moon is reddish. But when there are big quantities of dust due to a recent volcanic eruption, the Moon looks darker and brownish, allowing some sunlight to come through.

    The next total lunar eclipses will take place on 15 June 2011, and as the scientists have said, it is going to be rather impressive as its peak will last for three hours.

    [06] Street Protests in Serbia on Thursday

    Developments in the Kosovo Issue

    20 Feb 2008 18:37:00

    By Nasos Bratsos

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8

    After unilaterally declaring its independence, all sides are on standby in Kosovo. The NATO-led forces are monitoring the breakaway provinces border with Serbia, with a view to preventing nationalist Serbs penetrating into Kosovo. The people of Serbia, on the other hand, will take to the streets of Belgrade on Thursday to protest against Kosovos move. Several other reactions have also been triggered off, as a similar move is feared to follow in Palestine in case the talks with the Israelis fell flat.

    Serbia, on the other hand, recalled its ambassadors to Germany and Austria, after the two nations formally recognized Kosovos independence. Being on the same page with the Serbian side, Moscow dismissed the deployment of an EU-sponsored political mission in the area as illegal, branding it as "a blatant violation of international law and the resolutions of the Security Council."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Deadly Floods in Philippines

    20 Feb 2008 12:02:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters, NA-NA

    At least 10 people have lost their lives while six are missing in the deadly floods and rainfalls that have swept eastern Philippines, as announced by officials. The National Coordination Council of Disasters reported that more than 86.000 people have abandoned their homes in six provinces. Many province roads have been destroyed and remain inaccessible for rescue crews.

    Translated by Sofia Gartziou

    [08] Armenia

    Sarksyan Winner in First Round

    20 Feb 2008 11:05:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    Sources: NA - PA

    Armenian prime-minister, Serzh Sarksyan is the winner of presidential elections from the first round according to almost final official results announced by the Armenian Central Election Committee. After counting of 97.5% of votes, Sarksyan has gathered 844.088 votes or 52.7% points said Armenian state television. Opposition challenger Levon Ter-Petrosyan, first president in Armenias post-soviet era, received 21.5% of votes while former parliament president received 16.8% of votes. According to the Election Committee there was a 69.25% turn out of voters. Before the closing of poll stations, a group of Petrosyan supporters alleged the vote was marred by ballot-stuffing and intimidation of the opposition and have vowed to protest until the result is overturned.Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and more than 600 foreign observers monitored the elections

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis

    Read the story on other sources:

    BBC: Current PM 'wins' Armenian poll

    [09] No Tsunami Warning

    Sumatra: Strong Quake

    20 Feb 2008 10:48:00

    By Anna Kourti

    Sources: Reuters, NA-PA

    A strong earthquake, measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale rocked Sumatra today but no tsunami warning was issued as its epicenter was not underwater. The quake struck the Aceh province while no victims or damage have been reported so far. The National Meteorological and Geological Survey said the epicenter was about 42km southwest of Sinabag, capital of Simelue island, near the west coast of Aceh and the quakes depth was 30km. Earlier, the U.S. Geological Survey said that the quake had a 7.6 magnitude. Aceh province, in the north part of Sumatra, 1.800km northwest of Jakarta, was hit bya devastating tsunami in 26/12/ 2004 that left more than 177,000 dead or missing and levelled down whole cities in Indonesia.

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis


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