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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-05-07
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 22.500 dead- 41.000 missing in MyanmarMourning and Despair
07 May 2008 10:42:00 (Last updated: 07 May 2008 12:44:58)
According to the organization Save the Children, death toll from Cyclone Nargis that wreaked havoc in Myanmar is believed to have reached 25,500, with the city of Bogale mourning as many as 10,000 people. The nations Foreign Minister Nyan Win said that another 40,000 had gone missing, while the victims could be much more. The director of the organization believes that they missing people must be dead while there are millions have left homeless. It is estimated that the disaster that hit Myanmar is the worst in Asia since 1991 when 143.000 people found tragic death in the nearby Bangladesh. At the same time, hunger, diseases and thirst are threats for the thousand of survivors. Humanitarian organizations, are calling on the military regime of Myanmar to allow the assistance sent form abroad to reach the country.
The military regime on its side assigned to a competent Minister to examine the applications of entrance sent by foreign humanitarian organizations. Up to this moment none has been approved. During a meeting today in Bangkok UN representatives and humanitarian organizations expressed their worries about this situation.
Humanitarian crews are fighting to distribute food and drinking water to the survivors while the junta is being attacked by foreign governments for its inactivity. "Let US come and help you", US president George Bush said as 5 days after the sweeping of the deadly cyclone, aid does not reach those who need it in one of the poorest countries in the world. UN officials state that the full magnitude of the disaster can not be estimated yet.
Officials of the Save the Children organization report that death toll is expected to rise even to 50.000 as victims in remote areas have not been traced yet.
Military helicopters dropped food and drinking water to the cyclone-stricken people of Myanmars Irrawaddy delta, where entire villages have been virtually washed away, officials said on Wednesday.
In one town alone, Bogalay, 10,000 people were killed, the reclusive military government has said in a town-by-town list of casualties and damage.
As the militarys relief operations kicked up a gear, state-run Myanmar TV showed footage of bedraggled survivors lining up on banks of mud to be flown by helicopter out of some of the worst-hit villages. TV broadcast pictures of razed villages, destroyed bridges and survivors who are forced to live to the open country.
The U.N.s World Food Programme began doling out rice in Yangon. The first batch of more than $10 million of foreign aid arrived from Thailand but lack of equipment slowed distribution.
Due to the scale of the crisis the military junta will postpone the constitutional referendum in the worst-hit areas.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchener branded the terms the military junta poses unacceptable. UN asks from the government to open the doors so as assistance can reach Myanmar. The government answers: "Give us the monet and we will distribute it ourselves". In total the humanitarian assistance reaches $ 28 million. Greece is sending aid of $ 200.00 and a plane with medications and other things of first need.
National Federation of the Red Cross addressed an emergency appeal for more monay to be raised for Myanmar victims.
In its announcement the National Federation of the Red Cross asks for 6,29 million francs for the provision of aid such as tents, drinking water etc. "This is a first appeal for financial aid because as it seems the needs may rise", it states.
Translated by Sofia Gartziou
 G. Papandreou Blasts the Government07 May 2008 15:06:00 (Last updated: 07 May 2008 18:08:10)
Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA-MPA
PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) President George Papandreou lashed out at the Governments policy, while addressing his partys Parliamentary Group. George Papandreou, who returned back to work after his recent accident, was warmly applauded by his deputies, whom he thanked for their support. Papandreou focused his criticism on matters pertaining to everyday life, high taxes and overlending. He also touched on OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation) case, constitutional revision and national affairs, with the FYROM name dispute ranking first.
The Socialist leader stressed that Greece is at a turning point and that really serious institutional, economical and social decisions will be made shortly, decisions that will influence the nations course. PASOKs duty, he added, is to reverse the Governments inefficiency, as well as the feelings of insecurity and pessimism it has created among the Greek people.
Papandreou slammed the Government for having abandoned really useful tools, including Helsinki, the Olympic Games infrastructure, the 3rd Community Support Framework funds, the new Common Agricultural Policy and the participation in the eurozone.
New negative records are being hit day after day, underlined George Papandreou, describing Greeces economic situation as tragic, as the state budget collapsed from the first quarter.
Apart from taking out loans, the Government sells off OTE, ports and other state enterprises, said Papandreou.
The PASOK President associated the above with the Governments intention to issue dozens of decrees on the pension system "to molest the pension funds reserves in a worse way than that of bonds."
He blasted Public Works Minister G. Souflias idea about turning to nuclear power as an alternative and added that it high time the nations development model, which he termed as dangerous, changed. He associated the said development model with the skyrocketing high cost of life and the low wages.
He then went on to accuse the Government of a string of institutional deviations, violations of the spirit and letter of the Constitution and abuse of power. Shifting his attention to coming "tsunami" of court cases heralded by Justice Minister S. Hazigakis, stressing that it was unheard of for a minister to make decisions as if he were a public prosecutor. He then put down the Justice Ministers statements to the Governments plans to let confusion over scandals masterminded by its officials prevail while trying to pass anti-labour decrees. "PASOK has nothing to fear," underlined Papandreou.
Regarding OTE, the Socialist head spoke of a scandal against the nations interests, a scandal that began when the ruling party of ND (New Democracy) abolished the laws allowing the state to possess 33% of the OTE shares.
He noted that the goal of the German state sector and Deutsche Telecoms is to turn OTE into a German state vehicle that would serve Germanys interests in the Balkans.
Papandreou pledged that should his party win the elections, it will re-establish state control over OTE.
Touching on the constitutional revision, George Papandreou stressed that the Prime Ministers yesterday speech confirmed that the constitutional revision is indeed a dead case and lambasted the Government for lacking the will to promote substantive and progressive changes.
As for the FYROM name row, Papandreou underscored that PASOK keeps insisting on a crystal clear national red line and backing the UN-sponsored drive towards a solution, and request no third party be allowed to impose its terms. Papandreou also referred to the support the Greek positions enjoyed in Bucharest, which he linked to the military equipment programme.
"I hope the support offered to the Greek positions did not result from promises on military equipments of billions of euros from the Greek side," stated Papandreou. "For, if so, the Governments handling of the FYROM issue assumes other dimensions," he added.
Translated by Areti Christou
PASOK Central Committee Convenes
 International Concern07 May 2008 10:46:00 (Last updated: 07 May 2008 13:37:45)
The price of a barrel of oil has passed the $122 mark for the first time. US light crude hit a fresh high of $122.73 in New York trading, while Londons Brent crude has passed $120 for the first time, hitting $120.99. In Asia transactions, investors are still worried about oil production in Nigeria. Economists warn that oil prices may reach $ 200 until the end of the year. Average petrol price rose in our country this week.
Unrest in International Markets
Tension between western forces and Iran after the denial of the Islamic Republic to tolerate peoples attacks regarding the nuclear programme that western forces belive that it can be linked with weapon's manufacture, is rising concerns.
In Northern Iraq, Turkish forces have renewed cross-border raids against Kurdish insurgents.
Royal Dutch Shells production from Nigeria is down by about 164,000 barrels a day after its pipelines suffered a series of attacks by militant groups.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs predicted oil could reach between $150 to $200 over the next six months to two years in a report on Monday.
"Demand from China and India, the recession of dollar is turning oil into a means of protection from inflation, profiteering, limitations of OPEC demand, dangers in Iran, Iraq and Nigeria as well as the limited oil production in US refinery are pushing oil prices upwards", the vice president of MF Goldman said.
Translated by Sofia Gartziou
 Russia: The New President Sworn-In07 May 2008 12:10:00
By Athina Saloustrou
Dimitri Medvedev was sworn in as Russian president in a solemn ceremony in the Kremlins throne room on Wednesday. Medvedev, a 42-year-old former corporate lawyer and longtime Putin ally, stressed freedom and the rule of law in his first remarks after taking the oath of office and receiving a gold chain of double-headed eagles symbolizing the presidency.
Before Medvedev was sworn in, a somber-looking Putin entered the Kremlin alone and thanked the Russian people for their trust and support over his two, four-year terms. "It is very important for everyone to continue the course we have started already and which has proved right," he said.
Following the inauguration, Patriarch Alexiy II, the head of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, led a religious service in a nearby cathedral to bless the new president.
One of the first decisions of the president is to address Duma to elect Vladimir Putin Prime Minister of the country. It is estimated that Putins candidacy will be voted by the majority of the political parties except of the Communist Party which holds 57 from the 450 Parliamentary Seats.
Putin and Medvedev will co operate closely and will make their first public appearance in the Red Square on Friday 9th of May.
 Petralia Visits OAEDExtra Maternity Leave
07 May 2008 17:11:00
By Alexandros Moz
Sources: NET, ANA-MPA
Greeces Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia signed Wednesday a ministerial decision foreseen an extra six-month leave for working mothers. Therefore the maternity leave will last for 13.6 months, and, as Petralia underlined, it will apply to mothers who are on a maternity leave.
Working women who have given birth or will do so after 3April are entitled to the extra six-month leave, which will be funded by OAED (Greek Manpower Employment Organisation) with 680 euros per month. The provision applies only to women having an IKA (Social Insurance Institute) insurance.
Translated by Areti Christou
 Meeting with Rice "With no High Expectations"Milososki in Washington
07 May 2008 15:34:00
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8
FYROM Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, who is in Washington, will meet with Condoleezza Rife to discuss matters pertaining to bilateral ties, as well as the name dispute. FYROMs media have reported that Skopje does not expect much to come out of this meeting. As per FYROMs state-run news agency, Milososki will claim that his country has proved its readiness to negotiate a matter brought up and imposed by Greece.
Unleashing a new attack on Greece while speaking to journalists, the FYROM Foreign Minister said, "We [FYROM] feel that the other side is not ready to do the same," explaining, at the same time, that he believes Greeces objective is to look for excuses, as it seems that the name issue is being used by Greece to realise other, hidden aspirations associated with its concept of a pure nation and with the lack of respect to minorities.
Milososki said that the majority of the NATO states intend to create a climate that will make a compromise the necessary outcome of the bilateral talks. However, it remains to be seen whether something like that will come true, he added.
The Greek governments goal is to not strike a deal within 2008, argued Milososki, also noting that the problem lies with the fact that Greece has not realized that it will have to pay the price for its attitude. "Were they to know that they would pay the prize for their attitude, they might change their mind," Milososki concluded.
Translated by Areti Christou
 Changes in OA Flights07 May 2008 10:42:00
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8
Olympic Airways flights change today due to the decision taken by the propeller plane pilots to cancel internal and abroad flights. More specifically, flights 702 and 703, Athens-Rhodes-Athens as well as 654 and 655 flights, Athens-Mykonos-Athens change. For more information passengers can contact 210-966 66 66 and 801 11 44 444.