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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-10-31
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Greece Present with InitiativesSaturday, 31 October 2009 10:29
"Greece with initiatives is present for a social and just Europe" said Prime-minister, George Papandreou after his meeting with his British counterpart, Gordon Brown. Talks between the two leaders centered on issues of European Greek interest while they agreed on a new meeting either in Athens or London. During the EU Summit in Brussels, the two leaders had talks on a new developmental strategy aimed to create new job positions.
Prime-minister George Papandreou had a working meeting with British Prime-minister Gordon Brown at Downing St. in London.
In his statement after the meeting, Mr. Papandreou said that he had the opportunity to have in-depth cooperation with Mr. Brown on a new developmental strategy aimed to create new job positions and deal with climate change.
They also discussed issues of Greece's interest, specifically regarding the broader Balkan region, Cyprus and Turkey. Mr. Papandreou underlined that all issues are discussed within the framework of Greece's systematic effort to take initiatives, be present and promote solutions on issues concerning the citizen of Greece and Europe.
Following the meeting with Gordon Brown, the Prime-minister and alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas met with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Prime-minister Interview after EU Summit
During the EU Summit in Brussels, the two leaders had talks on a new developmental strategy aimed to create new job positions. Furthermore, the Greek Prime-minister submitted proposal for coordinated action to tackle financial and environmental crisis that was broadly accepted.
Referring to Greek economy, Mr. Papandreou underlined the government's willingness to proceed to deep reforms and tidying of the economy on the basis of reliable statistical data. He described as tough battle in reducing European partners mistrust in Greece but expressed optimism that the country has begun regaining an active role, quoting the acceptance of his suggestions by the European Council.
In a press interview after the end of the Summit, Mr. Papandreou sent strict messages to Skopje and Turkey, described the agreement on the Lisbon Treaty as positive development and announced Greek initiatives in view of the Copenhagen conference on global warming.
The Prime-minister stressed several times that the government would proceed to deep reforms in the economy but would also meet its commitments for jumpstart of the economy and support of people.
Topping his statements was the prime-minister's reference to the issue of terrorism, underlining that together political forces and society will put an end to the circle of blood that harms the international picture of the country.
In its statement the GCP said that the Lisbon Treaty was reached at the expense of the peoples and against them, adding that combat of global warming would be also at the expense of less developed countries.
SYRIZA expressed its opposition to the Lisbon Treaty and described as disappointing decisions linked global warming.
LAOS blamed Mr. Papandreou for timidity.
Sources: ÍÅÔ-ÍÅÔ 105.8-ÁNA/ÌPA
News item: 29124
 Stage Contracts AbolishedWednesday, 21 October 2009 14:14
Government spokesman G. Petalotis said on Wednesday that all Stage training program contracts with the Civil sector would not be renewed, stressing that the government would try to face impacts from this illegal procedure adding that the government was holding talks with social sectors on this issue. Mr. Petalotis explained that Stage programs in the private sector was a different case, however, the government would ensure rights of ones involved in this program. Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis repeated the government's commitment to abolish Stage programs in the civil and local administration sectors during his meeting with the presidium of the Panhellenic Federation for Employees in local administration (POE-OTA).
Mr. Petalotis reminded that PASOK, as opposition objected to granting extra 50% bonus points in ASEP recruitment test to ones having completed 24 months of work in Stage programs.
"Non renewal of 12.000 young adults' contracts, working in training programs Stage, shows the government's intentions towards young people and society. The ND party will stand on the side of one affected by this fabrication and will exercise pressure to reverse the government's criteria and decisions" said Dimitris Abramopoulos.
ADEDY president Spiros Papaspiros told NET 105.8 that employees working 3 to 4 years under the stage programs would indicate abuse by the administration.
GSEE president , Yiannis Pangopoulos, wondered what would happen to ones working under Stage programs.
News item: 28779
 G. Papandreou: Pledge to Meet CommitmentsFriday, 23 October 2009 16:52
Addressing a meeting of PASOK National Council, Prime-minister George Papandreou stressed: "Greek people did not give us a mandate only for change of persons in the country's administration but a mandate to change the country's course and radical change in ruling. The message of elections is vaccination against the virus of petty partisanship, arrogance of power and alienation from people.
The prime-minister expressed optimism that Greece could become a model country providing the strengthening of social alliances and citizens' participation along with ideas and the government's willingness. He repeated that the government would proceed to implementation of all pre-election commitments, placing special emphasis on economy.
Mr. Papandreou spoke of a new social alliance of participation and responsibility, whose basic principle is respect for each other and respect of all to society that will be created to change Greece. Together with competent ministers they would soon launch a "road map" on big reforms, accompanied by official dialogue and deliberations with social partners to achieve broad consensus.
The Prime-minister made special reference to the party's role, making clear that the government exercises power but PASOK owes to inspire, instruct and inspect the government. The roles of the party and the government must be different but one should supplement the other. The admitted mistakes in the past and assured that he would not excuse repetition of the same mistake, transformation of the party into the middle man for completion of transactions with the government and public administration.
The Movement will remain more active and effective, a workshop for production of democracy and participation, a party open and innovative to assist in the government's efforts.
Mr. Papandreou reconfirmed his determination to implement the 100-day program announced in his pre-election campaign regardless of pressures by the EU, reminding that we live in Europe and in an international economic system where neo liberalism views prevail. He also reassured that himself and his government would give a battle against the logic that the weak had always to pay for the crisis to the benefit of the few and the powerful. Furthermore, Mr. Papandreou stressed that the measures to support low and middle incomes was an elementary social solidarity obligation.
Tidying of economy started not because of pressures but due to respect for the Grek people money. He also underlined that the huge state deficit was created by the clientelism practices, wastes and intransparency of the former ND government, adding that the government's top priority was to establish transparency.
He also referred to autonomy in politics, stressing that such system places interest of the many above self-interests of the few. Papandreou additionally emphasized the need to curb waste in the public sector, citing the reduction of the state fleet of vehicles or the use of police to guard political figures as examples.
There was also reference to stage employment programs which he labeled as trade of hopes to secure political clientele and stressed that principals of meritocracy and equal opportunities would be implemented in all state job hirings. .
Concluding his speech, the prime minister thanked the National Council's outgoing secretary Yiannis Ragoussis, now a member of the cabinet, and announced his proposals for the new secretary and Political Council members, which would not include any members of the government.
News item: 28888
 Candidates for ND Presidency Start CampaignTuesday, 20 October 2009 13:23
Pre-election campaign of candidates for the ND party's leadership has officially started within a climate of deep introversion and behind the state negotiations. In the meantime, recent polls reveal that Dora Bakoyiannis gathers the largest percentage of voters support.
In his speech to the ND Parliamentary Group, ND president opened procedures for a congress which will review the party's chart so the new president of the party is elcted by the base. Specifically, Mr. Karamanlis stressed that the new leader should have been elected by December, 14.
The review of the ND party's chart will be made through a unanimous decision of candidates for the party's presidency while ones interested can submit their candidacies till October,22. The Organization Committee for the Congress will meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the latest details.
GPO poll conducted for private television channel MEGA indicates that Dora Bakoyiannis is the most appropriate for the post of ND party president, gathering 41.3% points. Antonis Samaras follows with 28.2%, Dimitris Abramopoulos with 19.8% and Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis with 4.8%.
Dora Bakoyiannis again gathers the highest percentage 40,7%, in response to question which candidate can defeat PASOK and G. Papandreou in the next national elections. Antonis samaras 24.8%, Dimitris Abramopoulos 20.1% and Psomiadis 6.1%.
Candidates Tour of Greece
Within the frame of the pre-election campaign, Dora Bakoyiannis will visit the prefecture of Elia, hit by 2007 wildfires in a symbolic move.
Dimitris Abramopoulos will visit Arcadia and Elia and and will among other attend the lighting of the Olympic flame for the Vancouver games.
Antonis Samaras gave a press interview to private channel ANT-1 and spoke of the need for organizational re-foundation of ND party while he start a tour of Greece in the next days.
Finally Panagiotis Psomiadis objected to a debate of candidates for ND party leadership. He added that he will face mechanisms, "underground forces" and "marked cards".
News item: 28736
 ND Candidates Tours & DeliberationsThursday, 22 October 2009 13:11
List of supporters of candidates for ND presidency will be released on Thursday. In the meantime, the four candidates continue their campaign with tours of Greece and deliberations with the party's regional senior members. They insist on making statements about unity, however, some confrontations emerge.
Both Dora Bakoyiannis and Dimitris Abramopoulos attended the lighting of the Olympic Flame ceremony at Ancient Olympia with former Health Minister holding meetings with regional sectors supporting ND party. Dora Bakoyiannis, who submitted to the Organizational Committee for the Congress a list with signatures by 50 of her candidacy's supporters, pledged for the creation of an open and democratic party. Dora Bakoyiannis will deliver a speech to ND party youth event organized in Aigli, Zappeio, at 19:30.
Dimitris Abramopoulos also submitted to the OCC the list with the required 50 signatures by his supporters, comprised of local administration representatives, production classes, unionists, politicians, youth and employees in the Civil and Private sectors.
On his part, Antonis Samaras is preparing his tour of Macedonia. Addressing an event organized by women supporters of the ND party, he underlined that the party received the election message. He also handed the list with the 50 signatures.
Panagiotis Psomiadis objected to debate of candidates for the party's presidency. In response to a reporter's question regarding Dora Bakoyiannis visit to Thessaloniki at the weekend he said: "We are all brothers in the ND party. We start united and united we will go ahead".
In a new intervention former Defense Minister Baggelis Meimarakis asked registration of members to end one week prior to election date and recommended that the lection procedure to have ended by November, 21, stressing that prolongment of the pending issue did not contribute to the ND party's unity.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis intervention about causes of the election defeat and suggestion for change of the ND party's title has raised questions.
Ar. Spiliotopoulos Proposals
Former Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos sent a letter to the four candidates on Thursday in which among others he underlines that he has noted inefficient talks about political proposals in the course for election of the big liberal democratic party new leader. In the letter he includes a frame of 8 principals which he names "Contract of Honour" as well as 18 proposals for the organization, operation and structure of the party which he believes could be the ground for talks on politics.
News item: 28830
 Anti-smoking Bans IncreaseThursday, 29 October 2009 14:18
Four months after anti-smoking measures came into force, the competent Coordinating Committee is considering extension of measures in all indoor spaces and increase in price of cigarettes.
"European Network for Smoking Control" is to meet in Athens in the next days.
The Coordinating Anti-smoking Committee, four months after anti-smoking measures came into force, is considering to review the bill aimed to lift all exemptions regarding indoor spaces and up to 30% rise in the price of cigarettes. It is also considering to introduce special anti-smoking programs at all levels in education.
The above proposals will be discussed during the meeting of the "European Network for Smoking Control" to be held in Athens in the next days with the participation of scientists from EU 27 member states.
News item: 29066
 Investigation in ProgressWednesday, 28 October 2009 10:13
Attack against police station in the northern suburb of Agia Paraskevi appears to have been well organized. Gunmen injured 6 police trainees, two of them seriously and managed to escape. A passer-by suffered nervous break down and was also transferred to hospital
Health State of Wounded Officers
Gunmen wounded six trainee policemen on Tuesday, of them two are seriously. A woman officer underwent surgery. Doctors say her health state is critical but stable and express reserved optimism. The second officer seriously wounded has escaped danger. The other four suffered lighter gunshot wounds and will be dismissed from hospital in the next days.
Prime-minister G. Papandreou visited them in hospital prior to his departure for Stockholm and was briefed on their health state.
Police found 99 bullet casings from Kalashnikov assault rifles outside the Aghia Paraskevi precinct, which came under fire by at least two gunmen on a motorcycle as officers were changing shift. No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday night's shooting so far. Police forensics experts are examining three stolen motorcycles thought to have been used in the attack, which were found abandoned close to a nearby subway station.
"Terrorism showed its most heinous face...with an unprecedented, blind hail of fire that turned a quiet neighbourhood into a war zone," Citizen's Protection Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis told reporters. It was "pure luck" that nobody was killed in the attack in the northern suburb of Aghia Paraskevi. "There is no place for ideological obsession and stereotypes when young people are attacked ... be they schoolchildren or trainee police officers," Chrissochoidis said. "I want to send a message to the terrorists, saying that they will not get away with this ... these cowardly killers will be caught and brought to justice."
The President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias condemned the murderous attack and expressed his support to the families of the officers.
All political parties condemned the attack.
Sources: ÍÅÔ, ÍÅÔ 105.8, ÁNA
News item: 29035
 Several School Classes Closed due to New Flu CasesWednesday, 21 October 2009 09:41
Several classes in schools in the prefecture of Kilkis, in Athens and Thessaloniki have closed as tens of students tested new flu positive . In the meantime, scientific staff of the Athens University proved that the new flu inactivates even young and healthy people's immune system, reducing their resistance to pneumonia.
Five new H1N1 cases were recorded in Thessaloniki. All students suffer from mild symptoms, they have not shown any complications and are recovering at home. Only one of the 5 students was hospitalized for 24 hours for preventive reasons.
Pneumonia threatens young people
According to a research by Athens University scientists, the new flu virus automatically reduces immune system resistance making patients vulnerable to pneunoniococcus. They maintain that pneunoniococcus vaccine should not be restricted to high risk groups.
News item: 28763
 Suspension of Port MobilizationsSaturday, 17 October 2009 16:08
Hellenic Ports Employees Federation has announced suspension of mobilizations and opening of dialogue on the grounds of Minister for Economy Louka Katselis proposal freezing COSCO operations till the end of the month. Following her earlier meeting with representatives of Hellenic Ports' Employees Federation, Mrs. Katselis stressed that a dialogue has opened between PPO and COSCO for re- negotiation of the contract with the provision that agreements would have a retroactive effect as of October, 1. She also added that the PPO and COSCO have reached an agreement that the PPO has assumed pricing of port services for a 15-day period. Recent developments indicate freezing of COSCO company operation till the end of the month while Economy Minister called employees to submit their proposals on whose base the dialogue will be held.
OMYLE: Improved Proposal
OMYLE president G. Georgakopoulos described as improved the new proposal as it freezes COSCO operation for 15 days allowing the opening of a substantial dialogue.
The Minister for Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping strongly reacted to the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry K. Mihalos referrence to Court asking implementation of verdict declaring the dock workers strike illegal abusive. Mrs. Katselis described his move harmful to negotiations, stressing that the government was making efforts to improve some terms of the contract to the benefit of employees and the Greek state.
Source: ÍÅÔ - ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÁNA-ÌPA Relevant Article: Negotiations at crucial stage
News item: 28654
 Piraeus Port Negotiations at Crucial StageFriday, 16 October 2009 10:15
Negotiations to end mobilizations at the Piraeus Port are at crucial stage. "We have been making hard efforts to improve all terms of contract with COSCO", said Minister for Economics Louka Katselis in an interview with state channel NET. She also added that decisions reached would have a retroactive effect as of October, 1. The members of the administration board of Piraeus Port Organization submitted their resignations following suit yesterday's move of chief executive N. Anastasopoulos. Minister for Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping, Louka Katselis has not accepted their resignations so far.
Piraeus Port chief executive N. Anastasopoulos in his resignation letter on Thursday, says that he reached this decision because he did not participate in the Ministry's talks with COSCO, which did not bear fruit, and did not want to bear any responsibility for the huge economic burden on the Piraeus Port Org.
Dock workers keep refusing to enter into dialogue with the Chinese company so far. The government, however, has ruled out to refer the case to justice to declare the strike, which has entered into its second week illegal and abusive. Businessmen complain of the big problems in the supplies because of the strike.
According to terms in the contract relevant clauses placing heavy burden on the Greek state will be implemented in the event the port has not opened on November, 1.
Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry has referred to Court asking implementation of 2008 Piraeus Court verdict declaring the dock workers strike illegal abusive.
In its announcement, the General Confederation of Greek Labour condemns the move of ACCI president K. Mihalos to refer to court to ban the workers' strike. GCGL will support the workers' struggle and fight against any attempt to limit right to strike.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8, ÁNA
News item: 28616
 Heavy Rainfall Causes Problems in Attica-PeloponneseFriday, 16 October 2009 09:12
Heavy rainfall caused problems in Attica and other parts of the country, mainly in the prefectures of Messinia, Arcadia and Elia. Traffic was disrupted in many points of Athens while weather related accidents occurred. A lorry tank overturned but luckily there were no victims. The Peloponnese was hit by serious flooding.
Panarcadian Hospital Flooded
The Fire Department received tens of calls from Kyparisia, Gargalianos and Kalamata to pump water out. Floods stalled traffic along Kalamata-Tripolis national road and provincial roads in Messinia while the Prefecture Coordination Organ is holding a meeting to decide on extraordinary measures to deal with the situation.
Panarcadian hospital last floor flooded from rain water passing through the roof. The chief of the hospital ordered the closure of surgery and delivery rooms in the last floor while emergency cases were addressed to the closest hospitals in the area. Flooding was reported in the ground floor of Pelopnnese University.
Traffic Problems in Athens
Pouring rain triggered traffic and signaling problems and unfortunate motorists were stuck in terrible jams in several points in Attica while in some parts high amount of rainfall stalled vehicles.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÁNA
News item: 28612
 Abdallah to Boycott Afghanistan Run off ElectionSaturday, 31 October 2009 11:38
A presidential run-off election planned for Nov. 7, in Afghanistan was thrown into turmoil. The main challenger to President Hamid Karzai Abdullah Abdullah said he would pull out of the race unless his demands for free and fair elections are met till Saturday night. Campaign spokesmen for Abdullah said that the former Foreign Minister would announce his decision in a press interview on Sunday.
Sources close to Abdullah said that he had asked Karzai to fire the nation's top election official and take other measures to prevent the fraud that marred the original presidential election in August.
Referring to Abdullah demand, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton played down the importance of a possible Abdullah withdrawal, however, saying that his decision was a "personal choice which may or may not be made." Asked whether a run-off would be legitimate with only one candidate running, Clinton said that "other countries" had faced similar situations. "We see that happen in our own country where, for whatever combination of reasons, one of the candidates decides no to go forward. I don't think it has anything to do with the legitimacy of the election," Clinton said.
News item: 29126
 Deadly Blast in PakistanWednesday, 28 October 2009 11:37
Ninety people were killed and at least 200 injured when a powerful car bomb tore through a crowded market in the city of Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan, on Wednesday. It is the worst attack in 209. The majority of victims were women and children and families that had gone to the market to do their shopping.
The attack came as Clinton, making her first visit to Pakistan as secretary of state, was meeting with officials in the capital, Islamabad, a three-hour drive from Peshawar. The blast overshadowed a visit aimed at broadening the U.S.-Pakistan relationship beyond counterterrorism. She pledged continued U.S. support for a battle against Islamist extremists that she said was "our struggle as well."
Hours after the blast, visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a news conference that Washington fully supported Pakistan's battle. "I want you to know that this fight is not Pakistan's alone," she said.
On its part the Pakistani government stressed its resolve and determination to crush religious extremism.
News item: 29038
 Draft Agreement on Iran Nuclear FuelWednesday, 21 October 2009 15:47
Iran , France, Russia and the US have been handed a draft agreement aimed at reducing international concerns over Tehran's nuclear program. After conclusion of talks in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohamed El Baradei told reporters in Vienna that he was feeling "optimistic" after the talks, which he said had been "very constructive". Earlier in Teheran, deputy chief of Iran Atomic Energy Organization said that Iran will have "good news" for nuclear its achievements in the next months.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which proposed the plan after talks in Vienna, wants an answer by Friday.
Details are yet to be confirmed, but the plan is believed to involve Iran exporting uranium to be enriched in France and Russia. Iran's chief negotiator has not commented on the uranium export plan.
Iran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes and that it has the right to enrich uranium.Western states believe it is attempting to develop a nuclear weapons program.
News item: 28783
 Afghanistan Awaiting Final Election ResultsTuesday, 20 October 2009 08:57
Afghan-led Independent Electoral Commission(IEC) is expected to announce the final results of August, 20 presidential elections today after examination of data sent by the Electoral Complaints Commission(ECC) yesterday said a spokesman for IEC. After discounting 1.3 million ballots on the base of ECC report, Hamid Karzai's share of the vote has now fallen to 48% from 55%. Meanwhile Mr Karzai's own spokesman said the president would accept the results to be announced by the Afghan-led Independent Electoral Commission. White House spokesman said that an investigation should be carried out on allegations of mass fraud while US State Secretary Hillary Clinton expects the outgoing president to make a relevant announcement. On his part Karzai's main rival Abdullah Abdullah said he was ready for a second round but was also open to other options for the solution of the political crisis in the country.
Invalid 1.3 million Votes for Karzai
The Electoral Complaints Commission said that about 1.3 million votes for Karzai were invalid which means that Karzai has to face his rival in a run off.
Karzai was refusing a second round in the last weeks but diplomatic sources said that he reconsidered in the last weekend and agreed to respect election procedure under international pressure.
A UN spokeswoman said that Mr. Karzai has assured UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to "respect the constitutional process" and allow a run-off.
"I am ready for a second round but also open to other selections", said former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah in an interview with CNN. Karzai's main rival, however, did not clarify which the options were or whether he was ready to share one or two positions in the government. He underlined that holding of second round of elections will restore confidence in election procedure.
Hilary Clinton Sees Solution
Mrs Clinton told reporters that Mr Karzai was "going to announce his intentions" on Tuesday, in response to the investigation by the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). Mrs. Clinton did not indicate what Mr Karzai's response might be, but said she was "encouraged at the direction that the situation is moving".
Head of UN delegation in Afghanistan, who resigned from his post denouncing major irregularities and fraud in August elections, spoke of mass fraud larger than initially estimated.
Earlier French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said a second round was "very important"
News item: 28715
 Bloody Attacks in PakistanThursday, 15 October 2009 08:15
A series of attacks by gunmen on police buildings in Pakistan, on Thursday and a bomb car explosion has killed at least 26 people. Furthermore, four people were killed and six injured in raid of unmanned US fighter targeting a refugee house, serving extremists hide out. Attacks in Lahore and Kohat follow a series of similar deadly attacks, including attack against army headquarters and are recorded before the imminent army operation against the Taliban in south Waziristan.
Ground Offensive Imminent
In Lahore, militants attacked offices of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) killing at least 16 people. One of the assailants was among the dead said a police officer. In March 2008, 21 people were killed in a suicide attack on the same building. Gunmen attacked a police training centre in Lahore but there is no official information on losses. Local mass media have aired unconfirmed reports of a third attack in Lahore.
Shortly before Lahore attacks, a bomber ram his car into the wall of a police station compound in the northern town of Kohat, killing 8 people, with students among the dead.
On Thursday, a US drone missile attack on a suspected militant hideout in remote North Waziristan killed at least four people, security officials said. The pre-dawn strike targeted the suspected militant compound in Dandey Darpa Khel near the Afghan border, a security official said.
The network of Jalaluddin Haqqani, veteran Afghan Taliban militant commander, attack foreign forces in much eastern Afghanistan. Haqqani was minister in Taliban government overthrown in 2001 by invasion under US command.
The United States, struggling with an intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan and frustrated with Pakistan's failure to eliminate Taliban sanctuaries on its side of the border, stepped up attacks in NW Pakistan.
Hundreds of people, most of them militants but including some civilians, have been killed since August, 2008..
Pakistan's government has said a ground offensive against an estimated 10,000 hard core Taliban is imminent in South Waziristan but it will be up to the army to decide when to send in ground troops.
News item: 28572
 EU Report on Turkey-FYROMWednesday, 14 October 2009 14:49
In its annual report on enlargement the European Commission among others proposed the opening of negotiations with FYROM while it said Turkey needed to step up political and economic reforms, improve the rights of minorities. EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn described as completely outmoded still a wall to be dividing Cyprus and underlined the urgency for the resolution of the name dispute between Greece and Skopje. The final decision is to be taken by the Foreign Ministers' Council which requires unanimity. Regarding Turkey, the European Commission believes that progress has not been made in the Cyprus issue while it stresses for the urgent implementation of the additional Ankara Protocol. It also stresses the need for progress in Press, improve the rights of minorities, women and trade unions and refers to the army's role in Turkey's political life.
News item: 28550
 Barrack Obama Wins Nobel Peace PrizeFriday, 09 October 2009 11:24
US President Barrack Obama wins the Nobel peace Award 2009. The Noregian Committee took into consideration the US President vision for an end to nuclear proliferation and his active role in ME peace procedures. The award is accompanied by a $1.4 million sum. The award ceremony will be held in Oslo, on December, 10.
Considered his Vision for end of Nuclear Proliferation
The Nobel committee chose the winner based on the ideas that President Obama has advocated. The president's message of global cooperation and his believe that diplomacy can solve all the world's problems fit well with European ideology. The committee has claimed that Obama has changed the climate of international politics. They suggest he has returned multilateral diplomacy to institutions like the United Nations.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."
Barrack Obama is the third high ranking politician of US Democratic party that wins Nobel Peace prize after vice-president Al Gore in 2007 and Jimmy Carter in 2002.
Reactions to Obama Award
A surprised world greeted the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to U.S. President Barrack Obama a mixture of praise and skepticism
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg made clear the award carried big expectations.
Afghanistan's Taliban mocked the choice, saying it was absurd to give it to Obama when he had ordered 21,000 extra troops to Afghanistan this year.
Japanese President Yukio Hatoyama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both said the prize should encourage everyone to help Obama rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Palestinian authority said the award could be a good omen for the region.
The Islamist movement Hamas was more skeptical saying "Unless real and deep-rooted change is made in American policy toward recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people I would think such a prize would be useless, said Hamas prime-minister in Gaza.
Leh Balesa Nobel peace winner in 1983 described the award as premature.
Michael Gorbatsef and Nelson Mandela Foundation hailed the award saying that it will encourage the struggle for world peace and abolition of poverty.
Iran's president advisor said that Barrack Obama award should contribute to abolition of injustice worldwide.
Source: ÁNA, Reuters - CNN
News item: 28372
 Freeze Regulations on Illegally Add-on Semi-closed SpacesThursday, 22 October 2009 13:54
Regulations regarding legalization of illegally add-on semi closed spaces, basement or ground floor parking spaces have been suspended for 6 months. Old regulations regarding building regulations will be in force during this period. Ones who have conclude procedures for settlement of illegally add on semi-closed spaces will be classified in a special status in the new regulation after 6 months while procedures freeze for ones who have only submitted application. Final regulations for the withdrawal of old technology cars will be announced next week.
Former Environment Minister G.Souflias regulation for illegally add-on semi-closed spaces is suspended for 6 months to allow the government time to have an integral view of the issue. Environment Minister Tina Birbilis said that applications for settlement would freeze to be re-examined while construction permits would be issued in accordance to old regulations.
In the meantime, there will be held deliberations on draft-bill on burned land in Attica which will be released on Monday.
Referring to Attica Region Master Plan, Mrs. Birilis said that it was being re-examined without annulling any efforts so far, she, however, clarified that the future of Attica should be planned before the design of road networks.
The new Environment Minister said that she will announce her proposal regarding car withdrawal to the government's economic staff next week. It will focus on lifting social injustices and strengthen protection of environment. She ruled out the construction of landfill in the region of Grammmatikos, underlining that only sanitary landfills will operate ( engineered burial facilities for disposal of solid waste).
News item: 28835
 Obama: CEO "Pay Cuts"Thursday, 22 October 2009 11:00
US President Barrack Obama plans to order firms in the US which received billions of dollars of government aid in the financial crisis to cut the pay of top executives. In Britain, workers at Royal Mail, state owned postal service are staging a strike expected to last 48 hours.
React to Privatization
Over 100.000 workers at the state owned Royal Mail are staging a 48-hour strike (Thursday and Friday) blaming Royal Mail management and the government for failing to avert the strike.
The British government wants to sell 30% of the company to make it more competitive, however, workers react to plans underlining that it will bring big cuts.
The government maintains that postal services have to streamline to take on the challenge of electronic communication but pledged to make all efforts to resolve the crisis. Both the government and management know that more efficient and automated practices must come if mail delivery is to survive.
In the US, President Barrack Obama stands on the side of small businesses and plans to cut salaries of bail out firms executives on average by 90%, while the remainder will be replaced by stock that cannot be sold for years.
The US government is expected to announce the salary cuts for top executives within the next few days. Top earners of Bank of America, City Group , General Motors, Chrysler and AIG- will on average be cut by about 50%.
Source: ÍÅÔ BBC: US 'plans bail-out firm pay cut'
News item: 28825
 Measures to Tackle Deficit- Independent ESYEWednesday, 21 October 2009 11:02
Finance Minister, George Papakonstantinou outlined measures and interventions to bring state deficit below 10% in 2010 which he described as a crucial year for Greece's . He also announced that the National Statistics Service will become an independent authority. The government spokesman G. Petalotis reconfirmed that the government will meet in full its main policy despite the difficult financial circumstances. Mr. Petalotis criticized former Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou for the data he sent to the EU Commission.
Measures and interventions to bring deficit below 10% in 2010 as well as the outcome of FinMin contacts in Brussels were examined during a meeting chaired by the Prime-minister, on Wednesday morning.
Finance Minister, George Papakonstantinou reassured that the government will materialize its commitments for support of real economy and people's income with a 2.5 billion euros package. He also added that procedures for reduction of state expenses and increase of state revenues would be accelerated.
Sources: ÍÅÔ-ÍÅÔ 105.8-ÁNA/ÌPA
News item: 28773
 Structural Measures to Contain DeficitTuesday, 20 October 2009 15:08
In his meeting with senior EU officials on Tuesday , Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou committed to take the necessary measures to bring deficit down and draw a reliable stabilization program to present at the EU summit in Decemeber. G. Papakonstantinou said that deficit was projected to 12.5% of GDP in 2009 but underlined that fiscal purging would commence in 2010 targeted to bring deficit to one digit figure next year. In parallel, he said that the Greek government would make the necessary decisions to boost economy and support weak groups. Referring to doubting Greek data, he said that a draft-bill would be tabled to the Parliament for changes in its operation and ESYE independence.
The government is drawing a midterm program which on the one hand help Greece's economy to exit from the financial crisis and on the other hand place state revenues on a viable basis to bring deficit down.
In the Ecofin Council, Mr. Papakonstantinou said that many economic fields worsened , mainly investments that dropped 20%, tourism 15% and shipping 20%. He also said that state deficit was projected to 12.5% in 2009, double versus the previous government's forecast.
Finance Minister presented a convincing long term program for the purging of the economy and reduction of deficit in 3 to 4 years during Eurogroup and Ecofin councils. He also committed to take measures to bring deficit down to one digit figure in 2010.
He also briefed the European Commission on the government's program that includes support of vulnerable groups, employment for the youth and needs to secure funds for investment in education, green development and boost economy. He also said that additional loan was necessary to cover specific needs such as payment of pensions and teachers' salaries.
Concluding he said that a 3-year stability and development program would be tabled to the competent EU services in January.
Sources: ÍÅÔ 105.8-ÁNA/ÌPA-ÍÅÔ
News item: 28744
 Olympic Flame JourneyBeginsThursday, 22 October 2009 10:52
Olympic Flame began its journey for Vancouver Games 2010. Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou, in the role of High Priestess lit the Olympic Flame in a lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia October 22, 2009. Then she transferred the Olympic flame to Vassilis Dimitriadis (canoe slalom athlete) , the first torchbearer of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.
Niki Georgiadou is the last torchbearer to hand the Olympic Flame to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee during a ceremony to be held at the Panathinaikos Stadium, on Thursday, October, 29, at 18:00. Niki Georgiadou is artistic skating athlete, studying in Toronto university in Canada.
The torch relay for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics got underway on Thursday, with the sun's rays igniting the silver torch during a brief break in the clouds at the ancient Olympic stadium. The torch relay in Greek territory will last 8 days and cover 2.180 kilometers. Over the next 8 days 36 lighting ceremonies will be held in specific cities and two archaeological sites before the flame is flown to Vancouver.
The flame will stay overnight cities in the following order: Kalabrita (22/10), Karpenisi (23/10), Metsobo (24/10), Edessa (25/10), Thessaloniki (26/10) and Bolos (27/10). The day before flown to Vnacouver, the flame will stay overnight in Acropolis (28/10).
News item: 28824
 Increase Monitoring of New FluThursday, 08 October 2009 14:04
New Health Minister M. Xenoyiannopoulou announced increase in clinical and epidemiology monitoring and simplification of measures regarding schools after a meeting on Thursday morning with National Operational and Scientific Committee to deal with New Flew Pandemic. Speaking to state television channel NET, Mrs. Xenoyiannopoulou underlined the need for modernization and upgrading of the Nattional Health System (ESY).
The new Health Minister chaired a meeting of the National Operational and Scientific Committee to deal with New Flew Pandemic this morning, a few days prior to official start of vaccination in order to examine the measures for the combat of H1N1.
Final decisions on the official start of vaccination will be taken after the World Health Organization reaches its final decisions said the Health Minister at the conclusion of the meeting.
Two new H1N1 Cases in Thessaloniki
In the meantime, two new H1N1 cases were recorded in Thessaloniki. Specifically, two Grammar school boys were tested positive. Bothe fifth graders visited private doctors and had tests conducted in private laboratories. Both boys have mild symptoms and are treated at home.
News item: 28344
 "Fire Conspiracy Cells" Claim Responsibility for Explosion outside M. Yiannakou HouseSaturday, 31 October 2009 11:06
In a text posted in the website indymedia, "Fire Conspiracy Cells" claim responsibility for bomb explosion on Friday, outside the house of ND European Parliament deputy and former Education Minister, Marietta Yiannakou. Terrorists had called mass media 15 minutes before the explosion and police had cordoned off the area. Mrs. Yiannakou was in her home with her daughter and mother. The home made bomb was placed in a pot and caused damage to the entrance of the apartment building and a car parked nearby.
In their proclamation the "Fire Conspiracy Cells" refer to reforms in Education and stress that the selection of their target was based on recent school occupations and Mrs. Yiannakou term in the Education Ministry.
"We have selected to honour with our visit to her house within the frame of what we have said before: we do not forget what one serves and what he had served during the course of his life and particularly when one does not regret but provocatively continues his career".
They also refer to the appointment of M. Hrisohoidis at the Ministry for the Protection of Citizens, criticizing the recent sweeping operations in Exarheia district and stressing that the Minister moves with the certainty accredited by the success of having dismantled the November 17 Terrorist organization.
Finally, they stress that they are monitoring political developments and will not stop terrorist actions and dedicate their energy to imprisoned anarchists.
Guard of Mrs. Yiannakou house was suspended in July , shortly after European Parliament elections as she would bent most of her time in Brussels. Only seven policemen for her personal guard remained. Speaking to NET 105.8, Mrs. Yiannakou underlined that combat of terrorism requires strategy and long planning, adding that terrorists have supporting mechanisms and much money. She, however, hinted at the suspension of the night guard outside her house.
Sources: ÍÅÔ-ÍÅÔ 105.8
News item: 29125
 ND: Members Elect New PresidentSaturday, 31 October 2009 10:19
The ND Central Committee unanimously decided that the new president of the party would be elected by members reconfirming their participation and ND party supporters who register as members during the election procedure. Shortly before conclusion of procedures, Dimitris Abramopoulos, who favoured participation of ND friends, agreed with the suggestion of the organizational committee. In his speech to the ND party Central Committee after the agreement of the 4 candidates for the party's presidency, Kostas Karamanlis expressed his support to the initial proposal of the Organization Committee, election of new president only by the members. The former Prime-minister called on all candidates to speak on political issues and not para-politics. In their speeches all 4 candidates spoke highly of Kostas Karamanlis while they insisted on their positions on election procedure. Former Defense Minister, Baggelis Meimarakis speech attracted high interest.
Karamanlis: "President Elected by Members" In his speech to the Central Committee, former Prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis referred to the 4 candidates agreement with the Organizational Committee that provides right of voting to ND party members and members that will register during the election procedure but not to the party's friends.
Mr. Karamanlis added that the congress is exclusively responsible for any changes in the chart and underlined the demand for election of new president as soon as possible.
He also underlined that a well organized procedure was not enough and called on all 4 candidates to adhere to three principles "unity, cohesion and solidarity" during their campaigns.
The president of the Organizational Committee for the election of the new president, Dimitris Sioufas supported the election of president by the ND party members and ones registered as members on the election day. He stressed that only the Central Committee has the competency to make changes in the party's chart suggested during the congress.
D. Abramopoulos insists on his proposal
Dimitris Abramopoulos, in his speech, insisted on his position for voting right not only to ND party members but also to friends.
He maintained that his proposal opened the road for a new beginning and a dynamic party and sent a clear message to members and friends that the ND party is changing and their participation is not opportunistic as some support.
D. Bakoyiannis: "I Will not play games"
Dora Bakoyiannis in her speech appeared certain that an agreement on election procedure would be reached. She said that the four candidates had already agreed on election of new president by party members and added that she was willing to agree with inclusion of party's friends in election procedure if the Organization Committee decides it.
She referred to reasons for the party's defeat in national election, citing that the ND party delayed implementation of policies in substantial issues.
In his speech Antonis Samaras supported his initial position for election of new president by ND party members even ones registered on the election day, underlining that the party's recovery would go through its broadening. He also added that he would accept provision of voting right to party's friends if all candidates agree. He called for concession for unity and rapid solution of the issue so to proceed to political discussion and give ND party supporters the opportunity to judge the candidates.
Psomiadis favours D. Abramopoulos position
Panagiotis Psomiadis agreed with Dimitris Abramopoulos suggestion for voting right to friends of the ND party. He underlined the need to dare to make moves for reversal and revolt , adding that victory comes from friends and not only members.
In his intervention, Kostas Karamanlis asked for acceleration of procedures for election of new president. He underlined the urgency for leadership, saying that all talks are non sense if there is no leader. He also stressed that all must support the new president: "Whoever will not support him, will face me".
Former secretary of the ND party Baggelis Meimarakis objected to the elction of the new president by ND members and friends and maintained that the new president should be elected by the Congress according to the party's chart.
Mr. Meimarakis suggested the holding of a 3-day congress to lay down all positions, underlining that society has turned its back on ND party. He stressed that he would support whoever candidate is elected without claiming a position of responsibility.
Aris Spiliotopoulos backed the elections of president by a broader base including friends for a broader participation in decisions for the party's future. The big election defeat raises the question whether to hide or dare see the policies that led to defeat and policies that would move us forward.
News item: 29123
 Strange Proclamation on Police Station AttackFriday, 30 October 2009 09:15
A newly emerging terrorist organization "OPLA" (Organization for the Proletarian Popular Self Defense) in a letter to a daily newspaper has claimed responsibility for the attack against Agia Paraskevi police station. Police forensics experts are examining the proclamation. In the meantime, Minister for Citizens' Protection M. Hrisohoidis announced on Thursday gradual abolition of guards outside police stations. Police stations are citizens' service centers and will not be turned into fortresses", said M. Hrisohoidis.
In a serious but not critical condition are the two seriously wounded policemen in Tuesday's terrorist attack against Agia Paraskevi police station.
In the meantime, a newly emerging terrorist group named "Organization for the Proletarian Popular Self Defense" in a letter to daily newspaper " Eleftherotypia" has claimed responsibility for the attack. An unknown man called the newspaper to tell that he had left the proclamation in a letter-box of an apartment building in Marousi. The proclamation is one page and refers to state terrorism and communist international.
They claimed having stolen one of the three motorcycles as a proof that they launched the attack. Police forensics experts are examining the letter as there are doubts about its originality.
In response to announcement about abolition of guards outside police stations, ND government spokesman said: "ND party firm stand is a common battle against terrorism. It is a battle to support democracy, respect to state of justice and citizens' security. In this battle, the ND party will support all government initiatives and positive efforts when made with a serious and consistent work without high words. New Democracy contrary to PASOK will exercise a responsible opposition with consistency and clear words. Within this spirit we evaluate announcement of abolition of guardsâ¦.The issue is extremely delicate and complex. Top priority is security and protection of people's and policemen lives. At the same time we should underline that weapons, suspects, police vehicles are parked outside police stations âwhich apparently are not KEP (Citizens' Service Centers). The issue is serious and we can not understand convulsive moves without a previous serious study and evaluation as well as without a silent pilot implementation of the measure. Our democracy can win the battle against terrorism only with hard and responsible work and certainly broad social and political alliance".
GCP: Provocative Action
The GCP described as provocative the proclamation published in daily "Eleftherotypia". The proclamation of those who forfeit names and symbols of popular struggles such as the title of resistance organization O.P.L.A can not be under-evaluated as it comes to confirm the GCP position that such acts are the work of dark and suspect mechanisms. Their real motive serves reaction planning such as mud slandering of the revolutionary, popular movement and justification of police measures against it says among others the announcement of the GCP.
The GCP called workers, youth and low income class groups to be on the alert and evaluate experience and teachings from recent and past history of the popular movement.
SYRIZA in its announcement stresses: "the murderous attack against Agia Paraskevi police station is self-evidently condemnable. It is totally contrary to the Left and the struggles of the workers and people's movement. Armed violence of isolated groups reflects complete lack of the concept of mass struggles and mass movement."
SYRIZA calls politicians and unionists of the labour and popular movement to unite , guard and strengthen struggles in progress such as the workers of Piraeus Port and stage and ones that will follow.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8
News item: 29085
 Bomb Explodes outside M.Yiannakou HomeFriday, 30 October 2009 08:13
A home made bomb exploded at 04:30, on Friday outside the apartment building where ND party European Parliament deputy Marietta Yiannakou lives. The explosion caused damage at the building's entrance and cars parked nearby. Telephone calls to newspaper "Eleftherotypia" and private television channel ALTER had preceded warning of explosion in twenty minutes.
M. Yiannakou Statements to NET 105.8
Culprits had placed the bomb in a pan. Police balme the anarchist group "Fire Conspiracy Cells" for the attack.
Speaking to NET 105.8, Mrs. Yiannakou underlined that combat of terrorism requires strategy and long planning and terrorists have supporting mechanisms and much money.
"It is a cowardly terrorist attack against a politician, who enjoys respect and love of all regardless of her political positions. It is another terrorist act that angers us and strengthens our resolve to unite forces and efforts in a common battle against terrorism. It is a battle that can be won and will be won with systematic work", said ND spokesman George Koumoutsakos.
Explosion outside Spanish Consulate in Thessaloniki
In the meantime a home made bomb exploded at 02:10 outside the Spanish Consulate in Thessaloniki . Reports say that there was no damage .
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA-ÌPA
News item: 29080
 Messages to Mark October, 28 National DayWednesday, 28 October 2009 10:38
Events to mark "OXI" October, 28 National day are being held nationwide today. Thessaloniki, however, is the focus of events with the grand military parade in the presence of the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias.
Defense Minister Evangelos Benizelos represented the government while on the part of the ND party all candidates for the party's leadership Dora Bakoyiannis, Antonis Samaras, Dimitris Abramopoulos and Panagiotis Psomiadis were present.
On the occasion of the national day, Prime-minister, G. Papandreou and political parties sent messages mainly underlining that the heroic pages in 1940 are source of inspiration for the battles of the present.
In his message, Prime-minister, G. Papandreou among others underlined: " The October, 28 anniversary is a landmark in the history of Hellenism, a hymn to the sovereign right of freedom, a live proof of Greeks love for their homeland.
It is a page in history that indicated our capacity to overcome ourselves when our values, our dignity and hypostasis are at risk. "OXI" in 1940 had a high cost but created an invaluable national capital.
Greeks fought with determination and courage under extremely difficult conditions. They fought for independence, justice, dignity and democracy. The grand battle continued with the National Resistance. Greeks won because their struggle was just.
The President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias after the end of the parade said: "The struggle continues nowadays at all levels for the defense of our homeland and its territorial integrity, for a better environment, better health system and education, for a new social conscience, a conscience of solidarity for the weak, for the creation of a new homeland to embrace all and particularly the youth who live with a dream for a better life".
Defense Minister, Evengelos Benizelos said: " The message of the day is that we should be united, responsible, optimistic and proud, which demands a nationwide effort. This is the line of the government and we appeal to all Greeks without political distinctions to unite efforts to make our country stronger, more competitive, better for all and mainly for our children".
ND deputy and candidate for the party's leadership, Antonis Samaras said: "Homeland means to be able to say No when you should and turn this NO to a struggle for dignity and freedom. This country we honour today".
ND deputy and candidate for the party's leadership, Dimitris Abramopoulos stressed: "We lived moments of patriotic enthusiasm and national confidence in Thessaloniki today. However, this grand day, was overshadowed by the dramatic hours the families of the young policemen, injured on Tuesday, are living. We are close to them and send a message that our democracy is strong, and resists".
In his message, the ND party president, Kostas Karamanlis stresses: " Today we honour October, 28 National day, the 1940 epopee and the national Resistance, the fights and fighters of freedom, national independence and human dignity. Teachings from the pages of history are the examples that we follow in our struggles for the present and future. Teaching for the new patriotism demanded by the difficult circumstances the Globe and out Country are experiencing. We serve with deeds the unity and unanimity of Greeks in front of today's problems and tomorrow's challenges, we serve unity and unanimity of Greeks in all fronts: our national issues, deal with negative impacts of global financial crisis and big daily problems, combat of terrorism, which showed its most inhuman and abhorrent face yesterday.
Furthermore, we center our concern and actions on the questions and problems of the new generation, the families that face the biggest problems, people with needs. We assume the political cost to ensure better prospects for all, we place national interest, the interest of our Country, above all. This is the message of October, 28 and we make it deed.
LAOS president, George Karatzaferis said: "All Greeks united said "OXI" to a foreign enemy 69 years ago. Nowadays we must again united say OXI to the enemy inside the gates. We must beat terrorism, we must beat whatever harms Democracy. We must do it and we will do it!".
Students parade in the presence of Minister for Education, Lifelong and Religion, Anna Diamantopoulou culminated events in Athens to mark October, 28 1940 National day.
In her statement after the parade, Mrs. Diamantopoulou stressed: "Feelings of pride and hope prevailed during the students' parade. Students participating at the parade and all others with their souls paid tribute to the heroes of 1940. These values and principals inspire us all in our daily struggle for a better future that our country deserves. A better education is the vehicle for this future, and we mean it, students First".
Wreaths were laid and memorial service was held at Bouliarati cemetery in memory of ones fallen in Argirocastro.
Sources: ÍÅÔ, ÍÅÔ 105.8, ÁNA
News item: 29036
 Radical Changes Police ForcesFriday, 23 October 2009 14:02
Radical changes in police leadership and operation are expected after the resignation of EL.AS police chief Basilis Tsiatouras, demanded by Minister for Citizens' Protection Mihalis Hrisohoidis. His phrase "no to hooligans and no to police rambos" indicates imminent changes. KYSEA(Government Council for Defense and Foreign Affairs) meets next week to select new chiefs for police force, Fire Department, and Port Authority. Mr. Hrisohoidis announced the abolition of bill about "hood" passed by the ND party.
Speaking to private television channel MEGA, Mr. Hrisohoidis announced the abolition of "hood" bill which he described as funny, wrong and meaningless. He stressed the need for regulations and operational actions to combat illegal activities.
In reference to Exarhia district, Mr. Hrisohoidis said that he would not put up with any form of violence, any hooligan or vandal who would attempt to ruin properties or disrupt peace would be arrested. He expressed his disappointment to the present picture of the police force , saying that a capable body has fallen into inactivity.
Undersecretary for Protection of Citizens Spiros Bougias stressed that the aim is to restore confidence relations between citizens and police forces. Government spokesman, George Petalotis said that the government was examining changes in disciplinary procedures and measures to ensure inspection of police arbitrary acts.
News item: 28876
 Economy on EU AgendaFriday, 30 October 2009 08:43
Athens has now an active role and stopped being a mere viewer of developments stressed Prime-minister, G. Papandreou to his European counterparts during a dinner attended by EU 27 members, on Thursday, in Brussels. The EU Summit is in progress and according to reports Mr. Papandreou is to expound to his European partners the basic axes of his government's economic policy. Furthermore, EU 27 member state leaders will focus talks on economy, global warming as well as personalities that will assume high ranking EU posts after implementation of Lisbon treaty.
Road to Lisbon Treaty Opened
European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso said that the "last political hurdle" has been cleared for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The Czech Republic signed the document after EU leaders agreed on its exemption from the European Chart of Fundamental Rights said EU sources..
"We have cleared the last political hurdle for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty " Barroso said in a press interview.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus agreed to sign the document after winning an exemption Thursday night ensuring the Lisbon Treaty does not allow ethnic Germans forced out of the country after World War II to reclaim their former land. According to a European diplomat, Poland and Britain have also won their own exemptions to Lisbon Treaty for different reasons.
"It is very pleasing that we can now move forward," said Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt. He also thanked all EU leaders for showing understanding in finding a solution.
Greece Active again in Developments
Referring to Prime-minister, G. Papandreou intervention during EU leaders working dinner, government spokesman, G. Petalotis said that Mr. Papandreou underlined Greece's significant role with ideas and deeds in all sectors discussed at the EU Summit in Brussels.
Specifically, the government spokesman said that the Prime-minister referred to Greece's leading role in the Balkans while regarding cooperation with Turkey he reconfirmed Greece's support to the neigbouring country's European prospect with a parallel improvement of EU-Turkey relations.
In the meantime, during talks on global warming, Mr. Papandreou referred to the Greek government's focus on green development, and utilization of water sources.
Papandreou-Gruevski Informal Meeting
Prime-minister, George Papandreou had a 20 minute meeting with his Skopje counterpart Nikola Gruevski on the sidelines of the EU Summit meeting.
According to reports the Greek side underlined that EU-Skopje admission negotiations would not start unless the name dispute is resolved. Greece insists on the "national red line", that is one title for all uses, a compound name with geographical determination. It was also stressed that the whole procedure would be carried out within the UN frame and there would not be Greece-Skopje direct negotiations on the issue.
Same sources said that G. Papandreou underlined that Greece will have a leading role in the Balkans and will be the vehicle for admission to the EU of all south- eastern Balkan states provided they meet their obligations.
The Prime-minister is expected to pay an unofficial visit to London, on Saturday to meet his British counterpart, Gordon Brown and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
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News item: 29081
 Tough Battle to Bring Deficit downSaturday, 31 October 2009 21:08
Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou, in a letter to EU Commissioner responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia, says that the government's economic policy will be based on the triple axis reforms, tidying state finances and reliable statistical data. FinMin pledges to bring deficit down to 10% in 2010 and to promote radical reforms. Furthermore, Bank of Greece governor G. Probopoulos, in an interview with newspaper "Kathimerini tis Kyriakis" suggests a 5% point drop in state deficit in a two-year time 2010-2011.
Boost Economy with Support of Lower Income Groups
The economic staff is expected to give a tough battle to bring state deficit down.
Not only did the former government measures bear fruit but led state deficit a breath away from 29 billion euros in 2009 says G. Papakonstantinou in his letter to European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.
"The new government pledges to put forward an aggressive agenda of structural reforms. These reforms will complete and support the maintenance of fiscal balance and reverse competitiveness slide", he characteristically says.
The ND government aimed to collect 4 billion euros with the package of special measures. However, this package will bring 2.3 billion euros (1.15 billion euros less) after the lifting of the regulation concerning the settlement of illegally built add-on spaces. With taxation on lottery games gains 180 million euros are lost while raises in mobile phone rates will bring 25 million euros and not 140 million euros as initially estimated.
Despite the extremely difficult circumstances for state finances, the government will put in force a program to boost economy centered on support of low income groups and middle-sized businesses to restore consumption and jump start production machine.
News item: 29133
 Dialogue on Labour Relations OpensThursday, 29 October 2009 08:23
Dialogue on reforms in labour relations opened on Thursday at the first meeting of the Legislative Preparation Committee, chaired by professor Ioannis Koukiadis and attended by Employment Minister Andreas Loberdos and Employment undersecretary George Koutroumanis. Representatives of employers and the GSEE(General Confederation of Greek Labour) also participated in the Committee which is expected to submit its proposals on controversial labour issues till mid December. In response to employees under Stage status programs staging a demonstration outside the Employment Minsitry, Labour Minister A. Loberdos said: "there is a clear government policy".
High need for activation of existing guarantees in labour relations
After the end of the Committee's session, Labour Minister A. Loberdos said: The neoliberal policy as well as the awkward approach of the previous government has reconfirmed that deviation from labour relations was a conscientious political selection. He added that his priorities as Employment Minister centered on resolving the problems created, at least ones that could be resolved.
There is high need for activation of existing guarantees in labour relations, particularly in its flexible forms or even provision of new ones, for example reforms in the frame for "hiring" employees.
The subject of the present Legislative Preparation Committee is: a) to underline existing regulations on labour relations which are not implemented so to center inspection where necessary and b) proposal of specific regulations within the framework of EU labour law. Mr. Loberdos said that the social dialogue will be held during the Committee's meetings and proposals are expected in mid December.
Sit-in Demonstration outside Employment Ministry
Employees under Stage status programs staged sit-in demonstration outside the Employment Ministry on Thursday morning. Their representatives met with Mr. Loberdos who said that non-renewal of their contracts is a government policy. "There is a clear government decision that does not change" said the Employment Minister.
Representatives of Stage employees called on their colleagues to abstain from work next Thursday.
The GCP party blames both PASOK and ND parties for medieval flexible forms of labour, underlining that there is no room for improvement, they can only get worse. It calls workers not to make a step back in their demands for stable and permanent jobs.
LAOS spokesman said: "Combat of financial crisis starts with Greece's unprivileged youth. One would expect a Socialist government headed by the President of the Socialist International to center on big capital, bankers and the high-paid executives in the public sector".
Source: ÍÅÔ, ÍÅÔ 105.8
News item: 29047