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Cell phones banned in schools December 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Police & Crime, Telecoms.
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The Education Ministry banned yesterday the use of mobile phones by primary and secondary school students after a number of reported cases of students using the devices to film sexually explicit and violent behavior.

The footage, aired by commercial television stations in recent months, has raised concerns about student behavior and the need for mobile phones at schools. The Ministry yesterday started mailing circulars to teachers informing them that cell phones are no longer permitted.

“Students are not allowed to have mobile phones in their possession while on school grounds. In the event that the child is found with a cell phone, he will be required to switch it off and keep it in his bag,” the circular said.

Primary school students who are caught with cell phones in class or on school grounds will be warned not to bring the phone to school again and their parents will also be informed about the matter. But secondary school pupils could face expulsion for repeatedly violating the “no cell phone” rule.

In the past few weeks, teachers and psychologists have been arguing that the videotaping of unruly behavior encourages further disorder, with some pupils competing to create increasingly shocking footage. The move comes a month after an alleged rape case at a school in Amarynthos on the island of Evia, northeast of Athens, that was reportedly recorded by pupils using a cell phone video camera. For the ban to work, teachers must lead by example, the Education Ministry said.

“During teaching hours, educators should switch off their phones. An oversight of this amounts to a punishable act,” the Ministry said.

According to a recent study prepared by the Athens University of Economics and Business, 74 percent of children between the ages of 12 to 14 own a mobile phone. The study also found that nearly 100 percent of youths aged between 15 to 18 had a cell phone. Two-thirds of students said that they own cell phones so that they can exchange text messages and play games.

Vote rights for Greeks abroad December 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Politics.
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Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis revealed yesterday his intention to allow more Greeks living abroad to vote in Greece’s general elections, although he said the measure would be adopted for the upcoming ballot.

“Giving Greeks who work abroad the chance to vote is the state’s duty,” said Karamanlis, speaking to New Democracy’s parliamentary group. “It is also a big project which needs thorough preparation.”

Currently, of the Greeks living abroad, only those registered in Greece can vote in the elections. Those who were born or grew up abroad and have not been registered cannot cast their ballot in Greek elections.

The Prime Minister did not provide any details about how the new system will work but said the government aims to have it up and running in time for the elections after next. The upcoming elections are due by March 2008.