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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-06-20
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Karamanlis Makes Statement from BrusselsFull Inquiry into Siemens
20 Ιουν 2008 11:30:0 (Last updated: 20 Ιουν 2008 18:59:3)
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8 - ΝΕΤ
"The New Democracy party has nothing to do with the Siemens case and fears nothing," stated Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis from Brussels. He added that he would not exploit the issue for party expediencies, not ruling out the setting up of an inquiry committee when Justice completes its work. He also reported that what matters now is for Justice to fully investigate the case.
As for the PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Party) cadres who had been deprived from their party identity, he commented that the people now wish light to be shed on the case and are not interested in to finding out who had been deprived of his party identity.
The PM Demands Complete Inquiry
The Siemens scandal and the revelations that PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) high ranking officials are embroiled in it have cast a shadow overGreeces political life. The PASOK leader was forced to strip those implicated in the case of their party membership until they are cleared. George Papandreou, who toured Friday Piraeus central market, clearly said he is determined to battle against corruption and high cost of living, heralding he will make no allowances for those who betrayed the trust of the people of Greece. He also called on the citizens to stand by his side to strike down the vested interests looting the Greek peoples money. In the meantime, Theodoros Tsoukatos, a close confidant of former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and ex-MP, has been called to testify Tuesday to the prosecutor as suspect, after admitting that he had been given 420,000 euros by a Siemens senior executive. According to his lawyer Dionyssis Gouskos, Tsoukatos will give a memo with his positions. At the same time, former PASOK high ranking official Spyros Avgerinos said that the money Tsoukatos got was not transferred to party coffers, as the latter had claimed.
Meanwhile, PASOK MP Akis Tsochatzopoulos had recourse to the law today after a publication connected his name with the Siemens case.
The Government has nothing to fear, the Deputy Government spokesman said when asked on the Siemens case. The investigation into the scandal is in full swing, free of interventions and expediencies, argued Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis, while answering journalists question on the matter. Referring to his previous statements, whereby no politicians had been involved in the case, he clarified it was the wise thing to do because no evidence had been turned up implicating any politicians.
G. Papandreou: "Light should be Shed on All"
Following the implication of PASOK cadres in the Siemens case, George Papandreou stressed that the case should be fully investigated, demanding the setting up of an inquiry committee. He also added that he would not accept in his party anyone who had outstayed the Greek peoples confidence.
Theodoros Tsoukatos, one of the PASOK cadres, who had been deprived of this party identity, had argued that the 420,000 euros given by Siemens to PASOK ended in PASOK, something which the party denied.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos commented that the PASOK president is trying to obfuscate the issue due to the deadlock he has found himself in. LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) President George Karatzaferis stated that elections would be held soon, while Mr Zagoritis told reporters that the government has nothing to be afraid of. KKE (Communist Party of Greece) Secretary General Aleka Papariga stated that we should not expect everything related to the Siemens case to come into light.
SYN (Coalition of the Left) President Alexis Tsipras reported that the revelations on the huge scandal prove that the governments that had ruled for many years had assigned private interests to manage the country.
PASOK in Turbulence
 Houses Burn20 Ιουν 2008 15:37:0 (Last updated: 20 Ιουν 2008 18:57:0)
By Alexandros Moz
Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ-105.8, ΑNA-ΜPA
The Fire Brigade with 18 fire engines and 60 firemen, including six fire-fighting planes and two helicopters are trying to put out a fire that broke out about at Lagomandra, Kalamos at 15:00. 15 water-trucks are also on the spot, trying to contain the fire. As per the Fire Brigade, the fire is uncontrolled, while two houses have already burnt and others suffered damages.
The Traffic Police have blocked surrounding roads, while civilians are trying to contain the fire.
On the occasion of the above incidents and on the basis of the forecasts made by the General Secretariat of Political Protection, Attica and Boeotia are running a high risk for fires. Thus, civilians are advised to especially careful when doing outdoor work and in case of fire call 199 immediately.
To the Prosecutor
Meanwhile, a 44-year-old Georgian, who was arrested for arson by negligence at Vlyhada, Megara, appeared before the Prosecutor. The man is responsible for setting fire accidentally while using a welding machine.
The police are looking for another person, who also set fire accidentally on 12, Anahorites Street at Anoixi.
Translated by John Crystallidis
 Concerns and WorriesSurging Prices and EU Treaty
20 Ιουν 2008 14:15:0
Sources: NET, NET 105.8, ANA-MPA
On day two of the EU Summit in Brussels, the 27-nation bloc shifted its attention to cushioning the effects the high cost of living has on the low-income earners. The EU leaders assigned the European Commission to conduct a long-running study aimed to be unveiled in October on the possible tax measures capable of combating the spiralling oil prices. As for the Lisbon Treaty, following the Irish "no," it will be discussed anew at the October EU Summit, with the EU nations set to admit that Czech Republic may not be able to approve the treaty. In the meantime, the EU Foreign Ministers Council agreed to continue with the process of ratification of the Treaty. They also discussed the developments in the Balkans and the FYROM name row. The EU told Thursday Skopje that it has to settle its dispute with Greece before getting a date to start membership talks. Later on Friday, Greeces Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis will give a press conference on the Summits outcome.
Aid to the Low-Income Earners
The EU leaders agreed on measures to address surging prices and gave thumbs up for long-term measures to help the poor.
Regarding the high cost of living and surging oil prices, the "27" bloc agreed to take measures on a national basis to the benefit of low-incomer earners. However, these measures should not have indirect repercussions on salaries and prices. As the "27" admitted that the high prices in commodities affect the developing countries and low-income earners, they stressed that humanitarian aid should be distributed to them in cooperation with the UN.
Regarding the rural sector they agreed that the pressure on the prices of foodstuffs should be mitigated by selling from intervening reserves, reduction of from returns during exports and boosting of cultivations in 2008. Moreover, the block agreed to increase dairy products quota and suspend import taxes on grain, improving in this way the supply and stabilisation of agricultural markets.
Moreover, viable policies on first and second-generation bio-fuel should be hammered out.
Regarding the soaring fuel prices, they expressed their concern, advising governments to avoid implementing perverse taxation and other political interventions, as these prevent the necessary adaptation of economic factors.
Furthermore, the bloc calls the EU to adopt tax measures that will ease the surge of oil prices, as well as promote competition in the energy markets and boost dialogue with oil producing countries.
Lisbon Treaty to Be Discussed in October
With regard to the Lisbon Treaty, the EU leaders agreed to discuss it in Dublin in October. The also gave Ireland four months time and a second chance to digest a "no" vote to the EU reform treaty and make it into a "yes," even with a new referendum. In the meantime, referring to Croatia and Turkey, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that the EU enlargement process is to freeze. As for Ireland, he said that will visit the country for talks next month with the aim of coming up with a way forward at the next EU summit.
Touching on the Czech Republic, the EU leaders admitted that the Czechs may not be able to approve the Lisbon Treaty. "The idea is for the European Council to note that the Czech Republic cannot complete the ratification process until its constitutional court delivers its opinion," Reuters quoted an EU official as saying.
Read the story on other sources:
BBC: Czech threat looms for EU treaty
Day Two of EU Summit
 For Safety ReasonsLycabettus Theatre Shut Down
20 Ιουν 2008 08:39:0
The Athens Municipality shut down the Lycabettus Theatre to conduct tests on the stability of the theatres bleachers, citing calls by the Tourism Development Agency (ETA) that owns and runs the theatre. Therefore, James Blunts gigs, which had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday, were cancelled. Those who have bought tickets are called on to return them by 31 July to get their money back. More on the rest of the gigs scheduled to be hosted at the Lycabettus Theatre will be announced in the future.
Translated by Areti Christou
 Former Metropolitan Imprisoned20 Ιουν 2008 15:58:0
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8-ΑNA/ΜPA
Former Attica Metropolitan Panteleimon will spend six years in prison for embezzling 66.5 million drachmas from Osios Efrem Monastery in Nea Makri from 1995-98. Nuns of the monastery had filed charges against the Metropolitan who was embezzling the worshipers donations.
Translated by John Crystallidis
 Competition Committee Boosted20 Ιουν 2008 15:56:0
By Betty Savourdou
The Competition Committee will be re-organised so as to carry effective checks in the market. During Development Minister Christos Folias meeting with the employees representatives, the minister committed himself that by the end of the month the employees will receive the special and legal support they request, in an attempt to boost the effectiveness of the Independent Authority. The employees demand additional staff and more funds for checks to be carried out.
The Development Ministry promised to examine the employees requests by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, rallies against the high cost of living were staged in Athens by GSEE, ADEDY and other organisations.
Translated by John Crystallidis
 Fresh Rise for Oil20 Ιουν 2008 14:54:0
By Alexandros Moz
Sources: ΑNA-ΜPA, Reuters
European shares were on track for a third successive decline by midday on Friday as a sell-off in banks gathered pace, while a dip in the gold price dented miners and energy stocks surrendered early gains. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was last down 0.47 percent at 1,238.78 points by 1050 GMT, off for a third day in a row. Among the key issues for equity investors has been the spiralling cost of fuel and food that has prompted central bankers this week to reiterate their intention to tackle inflation even at the expense of economic growth. "Clearly the threat of inflation has been growing in central bankers and in investors minds over the last few trading sessions and again, that said, its easy to understand why some short-term optimism has dissipated," said Henk Potts, an investment strategist at Barclays Stockbrokers. Oil traded 1 percent higher at $133.42 a barrel, but energy groups BP, Shell and Total surrendered earlier gains to trade between 0.1 and 0.8 percent lower.
 Israel Rehearsing Iran Attack20 Ιουν 2008 11:00:0
U.S. officials say Israel carried out a large military exercise this month that appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Irans nuclear facilities, The New York Times reported on Friday.
Citing unidentified American officials, the newspaper said more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters took part in the manoeuvres over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June.
It said the exercise appeared to be an effort to focus on long-range strikes and illustrates the seriousness with which Israel views Irans nuclear program.
The newspaper said Israeli officials would not discuss the exercise.
A spokesman for the Israeli military would say only that the countrys air force "regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel," according to the Times.
A Pentagon official who the Times said was briefed on the exercise, said one goal was to practice flight tactics, aerial refuelling and other details of a possible strike against Irans nuclear installations and long-range conventional missiles.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a second goal was to send a clear message that Israel was prepared to act militarily if other efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium fail.
"They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know," the Pentagon official said, according to the Times. "Theres a lot of signalling going on at different levels."
Several U.S. officials told the newspaper they did not believe Israel had decided to attack Iran or think such a strike was imminent.
Read the story on other sources:
New York Times: U.S. Says Exercise by Israel Seemed Directed at Iran
 UN Calls Rape a War Crime20 Ιουν 2008 10:00:0
The UN Security Council on Thursday demanded an end to persistent sexual violence during armed conflict, calling it a war crime and a component of genocide.
Approved by all 15 members, Council Resolution 1820 "demands the immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians with immediate effect."
It also urged that "all parties to armed conflict immediately take appropriate measures to protect civilians, including women and girls, from all forms of sexual violence."
Chaired by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the council said "rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide."
It indirectly threatened suspected war-time rapists with prosecution before The Hague-based International Criminal Court.
The resolution was quickly welcomed by Human Rights Watch.
"The UN Security Councils new resolution on sexual violence is a historic achievement for a body that has all too often ignored the plight of women and girls in conflict," the rights group said in a statement.
"Human Rights Watch applauds the council for setting out in the resolution a clear path to systematic information-gathering on sexual violence."
Before the vote, in the day-long debate called by the United States, this months council chairman, Rice spoke strongly against war-time rape.
"Rape is a crime that can never be condoned. Yet women and girls in conflict situations around the world have been subjected to widespread and deliberate acts of sexual violence," she said.
"Todays resolution establishes a mechanism for bringing those atrocities to light," the US chief diplomat said.
She stressed the resolution directs the UN secretary general to prepare an action plan for collecting data on the use of sexual violence in armed conflict and then reporting that information to the council.
 Mercury to 33CHeat and Strong Winds
20 Ιουν 2008 08:17:0
Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8
Temperatures will drop on Friday, standing at 33C, while strong winds at 7 Beaufort are expected in the Aegean. The Civil Protection Agency has been on alert for fires in Eastern Attica and Evia.
Translated by Areti Christou