The announcement marks the third time this year that the Greek government has invoked emergency laws to force strikers to return to work. Greece is due to receive €7.5 billion in loans soon, the latest tranche of a €240-billion rescue package signed in 2010; Athens currently has no money to pay pensions and wages. To cope with the personnel gaps, Athens plans to require two additional hours of work each week from high school teachers, and plans to transfer 4,000 of them to remote regions of the country. The government broke a longstanding taboo last month by agreeing to dismiss some 15,000 public-sector workers by the end of 2014, a key demand by the EU and International Monetary Fund for Greece to qualify for further rescue loans, Reuters reported. According to OLME, the union representing the teachers, about 10,000 part-time teachers could be dismissed once their temporary contracts expire. The union has called for a 24-hour strike when university exams start on May 17. However, under Greek law the government has the right to forcibly mobilize workers in the event of a civil disorder, natural disaster or public health risk.“This is a very authoritarian move from the government because it has issued civil mobilization orders for secondary education teachers in the public school system even before they decided to stage a strike during the university entry exams. Geek law is very explicit that civil mobilization refers to wars and natural disasters, not forms of civil protest,” Panagiotis Sotiris, sociology lecturer at the University of the Aegean, told RT.“It’s really interesting to see that one of the legal experts, who has insisted for many years on the unconstitutionality of these emergency laws, is no other than the current Minister of Justice in the Greek government, Mr Antonis Roupakiotis,” he said. Education Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos justified the ban by arguing that students had a right to take exams without disruption; teachers will be served a civil mobilization order to go to work on that day, or risk arrest.“These threats by the prime minister and his government are directly against the overwhelming majority of workers and society,” Greece’s Syriza party, which opposes the bailout, said in a statement. The Greek government has in recent months intervened frequently to shut down mounting anti-austerity strikes. Earlier this year, it interrupted week-long walkouts by local sailors that led to food shortages on Greece’s islands, and strikes by metro workers that disrupted transport in Athens.“The Greek government tries to meet the nominal terms of the bailout agreements in terms of budget cuts, reducing public investment of preparing lay off of thousands of public servants and public-sector workers of making extremely dangerous decisions, for example, there is no money currently for HIV tests for blood samples. The Greek government puts all the cost on Greek society in order to remain within the terms of the bailout agreements,” professor Sotiris told RT. The Greek economy has been struggling to gain traction amid the austerity measures mandated in country’s bailout terms. Deep spending cuts and tax hikes have reduced Greece’s budget deficit, but have also left the country stuck in recession, now in its sixth year. Last year, the financial crisis reached boiling point: It was feared that Greece would be forced to abandon the Euro currency used by 17 European Union nations, sparking a chain reaction in financial markets and further aggravating the eurozone debt crisis. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), over the last three years Greece has nonetheless made progress in bringing down its budget deficit, austerity has nearly tripled Greece’s jobless rate since its debt crisis began in 2009. Greek unemployment is said to be more than twice the Eurozone average, with overall joblessness at a record high of 27 percent. Athens cut the minimum monthly wage for those under 25 years old by 32 percent to about 500 euros in a bid to boost hiring, but joblessness in the 15-to-24 age bracket recently soared from 59.3 percent in January to 64.2 percent in February.Medical patients at risk in crisis-stricken Greece Morale has been particularly hard-hit in the crisis: The number of Greeks who attempted suicide has been on the rise in recent years. There were 677 suicide attempts in 2009, 830 in 2010 and 927 in 2011, according to official figures. A number of Greek pharmacists have also faced serious medicine shortages due to price controls and tight cash flows. “We are in a critical situation and we don’t know what’s going to happen even the next day,” pharmacist Dionysis Evgenidis told RT. Greeks in need often visit the Doctors of the World charity in Thessaloniki. RT’s Tom Barton spoke to patients who said they fear for their future. “I went to the pharmacy to buy injections for my baby but couldn’t find any so now that I’m unemployed I came here,” one desperate mother said. The highest risks are for those with serious health conditions like diabetes or cardiologic problems, who must receive treatment every day. “It’s very serious for them not to have their medicine. If they do not they could die,” Sofia Gorane, from Doctors of the World told RT. …
Focus on the network evening news. This is where the staging is done well. …
With eye tracking technology becoming increasingly common in everything from phones to computers, some individuals and groups have raised troubling concerns about the privacy implications involved. …
Sweden’s university education system was rated as the second best in the world and the best overall in Europe, according to a report published on Wednesday. …
Italy: Berlusconi tax fraud conviction upheld 09/05/2013 00:35 CET
Costa Concordia indictment hearings open 15/04/2013 13:16 CET
Knox to be tried again on same Italian murder charge 26/03/2013 19:32 CET
Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to four years jail 26/10/2012 16:35 CET
Italy: Scientists ‘horrified’ by L’Aquila earthquake… 23/10/2012 15:13 CET
Silvio Berlusconi is expected to appeal against his conviction for tax fraud before Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation.
On Wednesday an appeals court in Milan upheld a four-year jail sentence and five-year ban from public office against the former Italian prime minister.
He was found to have inflated the price paid for television rights, enabling his company Mediaset to avoid tax.
“It’s a very bad judgment, a foregone conclusion. We were firmly convinced that this would be the Court of Appeal’s decision. It’s illogical to convict an individual who has no connection with a company,” said Niccolo Ghedini, Berlusconi’s lawyer.
Berlusconi has always denied the charges, arguing they are politically motivated. He is extremely unlikely to go to prison, but for one expert, there is an imminent threat to his political career.
“Should the Supreme Court confirm this kind of conviction, disqualification from public office will have immediate effect. It means that Berlusconi will lose immediately his role of deputy and any other public office,” said Maurizio Bellacosa, a criminal lawyer and professor at LUISS University in Rome.
In other trials over the years Berlusconi has either been acquitted or let off because time has run out.
In a separate case he is charged with paying for sex with an underage prostitute. The next hearing is scheduled for May 13.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Professor Hawking’s announcement that he has declined an invitation to headline the fifth annual Presidential Conference, hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, comes on the occasion of Peres’s 90th birthday.Initially the theoretical physicist and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge had accepted the invitation, but came to reconsider once campaigners for Palestinian rights, who make up a vocal segment of the Cambridge academic community, pressured Hawking to skip the event.Cambridge University first claimed that Hawking’s decision to avoid the conference was due to his ill health – he has lived with motor neurone disease for 50 years, a condition which confines him to a wheelchair and requires him to communicate with the use of a computer terminal.On Wednesday, though, Cambridge conceded that the professor’s decision was based on his politics, rather than his medical condition, once it was presented by The Guardian with the text of a letter sent by Hawking to organizers of the conference in Jerusalem.The British university issued a statement, saying: “We have now received confirmation from Prof Hawking’s office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli president’s office regarding his decision not to attend … based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.”Palestinian academics such as Samia al-Botmeh of Birzeit University in the West Bank welcomed the news.”We tried to communicate two points to him. First, that Israel is a colonial entity that involves violations of the rights of the Palestinians, including academic freedom, and then asking him to stand in solidarity with Palestinian academic colleagues who have called for solidarity from international academics in the form of boycotting Israeli academia and academic institutions,” al-Botmeh told The Guardian.Daniel Taub, Israeli’s Ambassador to London, unsurprisingly expressed dissapointment with Hawking’s decision.”It is a great shame that Professor Hawking has withdrawn from the president’s conference … Rather than caving into pressure from political extremists, active participation in such events is a far more constructive way to promote progress and peace.”This year’s Presidential Conference is expected to attract 5,000 attendees from around the world, including academics, artists and former heads of state. Former US president Bill Clinton, former UK prime minister Tony Blair, former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Albert of Monaco and Barbra Streisand have accepted invitations, according to organizers.In April the Teachers’ Union of Ireland became the first lecturers’ association in Europe to join in the boycott, following actions by several individual universities and students’ associations around the world. A wider Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has seen general success in recent years with the academic world, actors like Bruce Willis and Jean-Claude Van Damme and touring musicians including Stevie Wonder and Roger Waters.Hawking has visited Israel several times in the past, though he became critical of the country’s treatment of the Palestinians during the 2008-2009 Gaza Massacre, known in Israel as IDF Operation Cast Lead. …