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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-06-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Testimonies and Wrangling
  • [02] 23rd SI Congress Opens
  • [03] Combating the Crisis Is a National Affair
  • [04] Fight against High Cost of Living
  • [05] Tension between Abkhazia and Georgia
  • [06] Electricity Rate Rises as of Tuesday
  • [07] Quake Rattles Sandwich Islands
  • [08] Close to a Prisoner Swap Deal
  • [09] Spain Crowned European Champions
  • [10] Siemens Probe in Full Swing
  • [11] "Froze" Dispatch of US Ambassador to Skopje

  • [01] Siemens Scandal

    Testimonies and Wrangling

    30 Ιουν 2008 14:31:0 (Last updated: 30 Ιουν 2008 17:35:3)

    Sources: ANA-MPA/ΝΕΤ/ΝΕΤ 105.8

    The investigation into the Siemens case is in full swing amid political turbulence. Brokers Athanasios Ramos and Nikos Devletoglou, as well as two reps of the offshore companies that transferred the money on behalf of the German company, testified Monday. In the meantime, Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos dismissed the rumours that former CEO of Siemens in Greece Mr Christoforakos went on a trip along with a Minister in 2005 as vague and abstract, and urged those who have evidence to hand it over to Justice.

    "Hand Evidence over to Justice"

    Commenting on a press report, whereby a Conservative Minister was invited to a four-day trip to Germany and Austria by former CEO of Siemens in Athens Mihalis Christoforakos, Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos dismissed it as vague rumours.

    "I have no intention of answering to various rumours. Whoever has any evidence, they should bring it to Justice and to the people of Greece. Not going beyond the state of rumours, what is testified is so vague and so abstract that I am not going to fuel it by commenting on it," stressed Roussopoulos.

    Asked whether Ministers have been involved in the case, he referred to what the Prime Minister had said in the House on Friday.

    "On the one hand, there is an orgy of rumours," added Roussopoulos. "I dont intend to be a part of it. Whoever takes part merely degrades the political world. Neither serious politics nor serious journalism is made of rumours," continued the Government spokesman.

    Roussopoulos also dropped hints at the LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) head, Giorgos Karatzaferis, who had insinuated on the eve of the off-the-agenda parliamentary debate that he would submit travel documents regarding the trip in question.

    Roussopoulos made Monday a step further, stressing that should there be someone who has taken part in this case, he should come forth and spill the beans himself.

    At the same time, in a telephone contact with Prosecutor Panagiotis Athanasiou, Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos denied press reports whereby the political party he had founded and is defunct now had received 870,000 Deutsch Marks from Siemens.

    Fierce Reactions by PASOK

    At the same time, PASOK has fiercely reacted to the matter.

    Speaking on daily TA NEA, PASOK secretary Giannis Raggoussis requested Justice find which official from the ruling party, how, when and why he was bribed.

    "Should the investigation go on like this, it will turn into a parody and expose Justice, because the fact that the Prosecutor is not interested in truth when he realizes that ministers of the ruling parties could be involved is beyond human reasoning," said Giorgos Papadimitriou, PASOKs section head for Justice.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Siemens Probe in Full Swing

    [02] 23rd SI Congress Opens

    30 Ιουν 2008 15:15:0

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8

    Greek Socialist leader George Papandreous speech opened Monday morning the 23rd Socialist International Congress. Papandreou, who is to be re-elected at the helm of the Socialist International, touched on the problems of violence and poverty, while he referred to the corruption tsunami puzzling Greece. The address by Tourism Development Aris Spiliotopoulos did not go unnoticed, as he argued that the liberal and progressive powers should join forces for a new development model.

    Addresses by Papandreou and Spiliotopoulos

    There is another path and alternatives to cope with the major problems and meet the modern-day challenges, underlined PASOK President George Papandreou in his opening speech.

    Papandreou also wished for peaceful solutions to the Palestinian, Balkans and Cyprus standoffs.

    On his part, representing the Greek Government, Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed, inter allia, that the political powers should sort out their differences and answer to the predicament populism versus development.

    The SI Congress will also touch on matters pertaining to climate change, poverty, world economy, peace and immigration.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Socialist International Congress

    [03] Combating the Crisis Is a National Affair

    30 Ιουν 2008 12:08:0

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA-MPA

    The campaign to ease the implications of the world economy crisis is a national matter, said Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, following his talks with GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) and FGI (Federation of Greek Industries) on measures in favour of the low-income earners. "The adverse world developments have influenced inflation, growth, the public debt, imports, exports and tourism," commented Alogoskoufis, further noting that everyone has to contribute to the drive to tackle the implications.

    He then went on to argue that the Government has promptly adopted policies favouring growth, employment and social cohesion by increasing the OGA pensions and unemployment benefit and gradually bring down the taxation rates and increasing tax relief. He also reminded the implementation of the National Social Cohesion Fund with targeted grants to the low-income earners since autumn.

    At the same time, he voiced his hope that the social partners will contribute to this major bid by undertaking initiatives on their own.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] Fight against High Cost of Living

    30 Ιουν 2008 16:02:0

    Sources: ANA-MPA

    It is obvious that apart from the impact the world developments have on the Greek market, major price hikes are being reported, as it is plagued by deep-rooted malfunctions, said the Development Minister while addressing the National Consumer Council. The Minister added that 33 of the 41 measures the Government heralded against the high cost of living have taken effect and called on consumers associations to join this campaign. He further stressed, "No tolerance will be demonstrated to the rules breakers." On their part, the reps of the consumers associations appeared concerned, fearing that the electricity rate rises will lead to a rise in food and service prices.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related Links:

    Ministry of Development

    [05] Tension between Abkhazia and Georgia

    30 Ιουν 2008 14:59:0

    Sources: ANA-MPA

    The breakaway province of Abkhazia decided to close the borders it shares with Georgia, following the two blasts that rocked Monday its capital city of Sukhumi, President Sergei Bagapsh told Ria Novosti, a Russian news agency.

    The blasts occurred in the citys central market, wounding four people.

    Abkhazias Foreign Ministry blamed the blasts on the Georgian intelligence, while Tbilisi denied any involvement.

    Authorities in Abkhazia claimed that the attacks meant to disrupt the tourist season during which thousands of Russians are expected to visit the area.

    Enjoying Russias backing, Abkhazia declared its independence from Georgia in the early 90s, after a war that claimed thousands of lives and displaced scores of people.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] Electricity Rate Rises as of Tuesday

    30 Ιουν 2008 14:41:0

    Sources: NET, NET 105.8

    The electricity rate rises, which will take effect as of 1 July, topped Monday the meeting of the Greek National Consumer Council. Development Minister Christos Folias made it clear that there will be zero rate rises for domestic consumption up to 800 Kwh and for families with four children or more.

    Folias said that the zero rises will apply to all first houses. As for the countryside cottages, both the size of the building and the owners income will be taken into account to determine the electricity rate.

    With regard to the high cost of living, the Development Minister argued that 33 measures of the 41 ones have been in full swing and that the campaign still continues. He also urged consumers associations to contribute to the drive to have price hikes stamped out.

    The rate rises heralded by the Public Power Corporation (PPC) range from 7% to 8%.

    In an announcement given in black and white, SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) underlined that the new rate rises would make the life of thousands of households even harsher.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Quake Rattles Sandwich Islands

    30 Ιουν 2008 12:31:0

    By Athina Saloustrou

    An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale rattle Monday the South Sandwich Islands, a remote British territory between Antarctica and South Americas southern tip, said the US Geological Survey. The tremor occurred 283km SE of Bristol Island and 2,374km SE of Punta Arenas, Chile. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission said there was a slim chance of a regional tsunami.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] In the Middle East

    Close to a Prisoner Swap Deal

    30 Ιουν 2008 10:26:0

    Sources: AFP

    High ranking officials of the Israeli Defence Ministry said Monday that a prisoner swap exchange with Hezbollah would start in two weeks time

    This is how long it will take the DNA tests to identify the bodies Israel wants to be handed over in exchange for five Lebanese fighters and an undetermined number of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

    The Israeli government has already given thumbs up for the Germany-brokered deal.

    During the two weeks time, Israel expects to receive from Hezbollah intelligence on Ron Arad, an Israeli air force navigator that has gone missing since he flew a mission over southern Lebanon in 1986 during the countrys civil war. Hezbollah has said in the past Arad was believed to be dead

    Israel, on its part, will give intelligence on the four Iranian diplomats that disappeared in Lebanon in 1982.

    [09] Spain Crowned European Champions

    29 Ιουν 2008 23:45:0

    Sources: ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Fernando Torres finally lived up to his billing as one of the worlds great strikers Sunday by scoring to give Spain a 1-0 win over Germany and the European Championship title. Torres, who had been overshadowed by teammate David Villa all tournament, scored in the 33rd minute of the final to down the three-time European champions and earn his nations first major title in 44 years. Touching a sliding pass from Xavi Hernandez past Philipp Lahm, Torres ran past his marker on the opposite side, collected the ball and lifted a shot over sliding goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and into the far corner. "Fernando is a great player," Spain coach Luis Aragones said. "He can go anywhere. Why not? He really has extra speed, he knows how to dribble and we always tell him he is so young he can learn everything and be one of the best players in the world _ no doubt." Spain had more chances but Torres goal was enough to give the country its first title since the 1964 European Championship. "We had some good matches, but the Spaniards were constantly good throughout out the tournament and played at a very high level," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "So they deserve to be champions."

    Lineups

    Spain: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Carlos Marchena, Joan Capdevila, Xavi Hernandez, David Silva (Santi Cazorla, 66), Marcos Senna, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (Xabi Alonso, 63), Fernando Torres (Dani Guiza, 78).

    Germany: Jens Lehmann, Christoph Metzelder, Per Mertesacker, Philipp Lahm (Marcell Jansen, 46), Arne Friedrich, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Hitzlsperger (Kevin Kuranyi, 58), Torsten Frings, Michael Ballack, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose (Mario Gomez, 79).

    [10] 2 Businessmen and 2 Brokers Are Testifying

    Siemens Probe in Full Swing

    30 Ιουν 2008 11:33:0

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The probe into the Siemens scandal is in full swing. Two businessmen and two of the three brokers implicated in the money transfer have been called to testify before the prosecutor. In the meantime, the Development Ministry is investigating whether Siemens activities in Greece have breached the rules of fair play. The Ministry is also investigating whether the Competition Committee should have intervened.

    In his testimony given on Saturday, Theodoros Tsoukatos, a former high ranking PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) executive and aide to ex Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, reiterated that the 1 million Deutsch Marks was transferred to the partys coffers, without, however, him taking down the large donations, as is the case with the big parties. He also left hints at his Socialist comrades, expressing his sadness for being abandoned, as he said, by his party.

    The damage PASOK suffered from its involvement in the Siemens scandal has been extensive, yet not irreparable, PASOK secretary Giannis Raggoussis told daily TA NEA. Not knowing whether other PASOK officials are involved, he stressed that his party will fight to have truth surfaced. In the same paper, Conservative deputy Giannis Manolis noted that the ruling party of ND (New Democracy) has to investigate the money transfers that have taken place since 2004. lest there should be any shadows over the party.

    The Siemens case has delivered several blows to the political system, Nikos Christodoulakis told NET radio station, adding that it is not PASOKs problem only.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Testimonies Continue

    [11] Two Senators Objections

    "Froze" Dispatch of US Ambassador to Skopje

    30 Ιουν 2008 09:06:0

    Sources: ΝΕΤ 105.8

    Appointment of US ambassador to Skopje has been temporarily frozen. According to NET 105.8 correspondent to NY, Dimitris Filios, two Senators, members of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee have temporarily blocked ratification procedures, necessary precondition prior to the dispatch of new US ambassador to Skopje, Philip Rigger. It has not been officially announced, however, the two Senators-supporters of the Greek-American lobby- move aim to send a sound message to the neighboring countrys leadership to indicate a constructive stand on the thorny name issue during negotiations under the UN auspices

    Translated by Chrisanthi Sarantis


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