|Thursday, 14 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 20, 2005
 Carbon monoxide poisoning of at least 6 victims of airliner crash ruled out
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Toxicology reports on six bodies retrieved from a crashed Helios Airways airliner did not turn-up indications of carbon monoxide poisoning, the head of a team of Athens medical examiners conducting autopsies on the victims announced on Friday.
Coroner Philippos Kotsaftis said the tests were conducted on the bodies of the co-pilot, two flight attendants and three passengers aboard flight ZU522. The downed Cypriot Boeing 737-300 jet crashed 40 kilometers north of Athens on Sunday, killing all 121 people aboard.
He added that only very low levels (7 percent) of the lethal emission were detected in the remains of flight attendant Haris Haralambous, levels that could possibly be traced to cigarette smoking.
More toxicology tests are pending on remaining victims, Kotsaftis said after briefing Greek Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras.
Hours earlier, a Greek army search team equipped with metal detectors located the second so-called "black box" 150 meters down a gorge.
Meanwhile, information gleaned from the first "black box" apparently showed that an alarm went off aboard the plane at 9:15 a.m., shortly after its take-off from Larnaca airport, and while it was still flying at 14,000 feet in Cypriot airspace. Initial reports cited a cooling problem with the plane's on-board computer system as triggering the alarm.
Additionally, dangling oxygen masks in the cabin and cockpit belie a problem with the air supply system, experts on Friday added.
Greek teams, meanwhile, continued a stepped up on-the-spot investigation with Boeing officials at the crash site, a semi-mountainous location near the village of Grammatiko, in the Marathon district.
The second device's protective cover had initially been found without its contents, essentially the cockpit voice recordings, raising fears that it was more-or-less destroyed.
In a related development, 133 DNA samples of victims aboard the jetliner were flown to Cyprus on Friday, with identifications expected in the coming two weeks.
Second 'black box' of crashed Helios airliner located: A search team on Friday located the second so-called "black box" from a downed Cypriot airliner that crashed north of Athens on Sunday, killing all 121 people aboard.
Greek experts, meanwhile, continued a stepped up on-the-spot investigation with Boeing officials at the crash site, a semi-mountainous location near the village of Grammatiko, in the Marathon district.
The second "black box's" protective cover had initially been found without its contents -- data storing components with recording of the pilots' communications -- raising fears that the device was destroyed.
 PM Karamanlis sends letters of appreciation to int'l leaders for air tragedy condolences
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday sent letters of appreciation to all the world leaders that conveyed their condolences over the crash of a Cypriot airliner north of Athens on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the prime ministers of Japan, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, Junichiro Koizumi, Janez Jansa and Jiri Paroubek, respectively, all conveyed their condolences on Friday as well.
 OA mechanic confirms Helios requested help with repair of downed jetliner
NICOSIA 20/8/2005 (ANA/A.Viketos)Chief mechanic of Olympic Airlines (OA) Yiannis Kalianos confirmed on Friday that Cyprus-based Helios Airways had requested the help of OA in repairing problems existing in the Boeing 737 that went down near Athens killing all 121 people on board.
Specifically, another OA mechanic submitted a related report, according to which an Helios representative in Athens had informed the mechanic that an airplane which had lost all contact with air controllers and possibly had a problem with its navigation system was on its way to Athens from Larnaca.
The request for help from Helios was made around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, after it was confirmed that flight ZU522 had lost all contact, Kalianos told Cypriot radio station RIK.
The Helios representative requested that a team of OA mechanics be dispatched to repair the problem once the plane landed.
Asked whether OA mechanics were previously aware of other problems with the specific aircraft, Kalianos said that although OA cooperated with Helios in Athens and other airports, he was not personally aware of any other problems.
However, he added that the committee charged with the investigation into the crash has already been in contact with OA and will have been given all pertinent information.
 PM briefed on int'l oil prices
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Friday with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and the president of the state-run petrochemical group EL.PE, Timos Christodoulou, for talks focusing on international oil prices and repercussions for Greece's economy.
Afterwards, Sioufas said every possible effort is being taken by the government to minimize repercussions from skyrocketing oil prices on the economy and citizens.
 Public works minister briefs PM ahead of Thessaloniki Int'l Trade Fair
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the status of public works throughout the country during their meeting on Friday.
In speaking to reporters after the meeting, Souflias emphasized that the public investment program is proceeding as planned, explaining that 90% of works worth ¬ 5 billion have already been tendered.
As for the status report on specific works, Souflias said that a contract for Egnatia Odos has been signed and 90% of the project is under way. Egnatia Odos is expected to be completed in 2008.
The minister referred to projects that are scheduled or are under way in Thessaloniki, announcing that the Thessaloniki Metro project has been temporarily awarded to a consortium. He said that he expected lawsuits and objections but that once these obstacles are overcome construction on the metro will begin - a project which has been delayed for more than a decade.
According to Souflias, the metro, which will span 9 km, will take roughly 5.5 years to complete.
As for the runway at Thessaloniki's airport, Souflias said that a company has been assigned construction of the runway's extension and that work will begin in about two weeks' time.
Regarding plans for an underwater tunnel, Souflias said that while the project has been temporarily awarded, lawsuits are still pending. He said that he expects the matter to be settled by the end of October. At that time, a contract will be signed which will be tabled in Parliament.
Finally, regarding the Maliakos-Kleidi project, Souflias noted that while it was temporarily awarded in July, procedural problems have resulted in delays.
According to Souflias, a contract should be signed in the next two months.
 ND to discuss proposal for changing local gov't election law
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy's (ND) will meet on Wednesday at the party's headquarters, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, in order to prepare for an upcoming central committee meeting, which was officially announced for Aug. 26.
The decisions were announced on Friday by ND secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, who added that his proposal for changing the local government electoral law -- election of mayors and prefects in the first round with 42 percent of the vote -- will also be on the agenda of both meetings.
 PASOK leader Papandreou meets Serbian President Tadic
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou met on Friday with Serbian President Boris Tadic who has been on holiday these past few days in Greece.
According to a party press release, during their meeting, they extensively discussed developments in the Balkans and the situation prevailing in the broader region, while developments in Kosovo were also assessed. The two men also discussed bilateral relations.
The PASOK leader and the Serbian president agreed that close cooperation was required between the two sides in order for there to be the best possible observation of developments in the Balkans.
Meanwhile, Papandreou on Thursday night had a telephone conversation with the new prime minister of Bulgaria, Sergey Stanishev, on the assumption of his duties, and expressed to him his congratulations and best wishes for the success of his task.
 KKE spokesman questions public order minister over alleged kidnappings
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis on Friday assured Orestis Kolozov, Spokesman of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), that the Greek police is not involved in any way in the alleged kidnappings of seven foreign nationals.
According to sources, the ministry is waiting to be informed on the matter by the judiciary which is conducting an investigation.
Kolozov said that Voulgarakis' response that he is not aware of these incidents and that the Greek police force is not involved, "does not convince us".
He called on the Greek people "to react against limitations imposed on their democratic rights," in a press release issued after the meeting.
 Sioufas speaks of 'positive indications for improvement of economy's competitiveness'
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, speaking at the National Council of Competitiveness and Development which convened at the Zappeion Mansion in Athens on Friday, referred to "the positive indications for the improvement of the economy's competitiveness."
Sioufas said that the catalogue of rapid development in 2005 which was published by Grand Thornton International and covers 24 countries, the percentage of Greek rapidly developing companies increased from 13 per cent in 2004 to 15 per cent in 2005.
The development minister said the second positive indication is the increase of exports by 8.6 per cent in the first six months of 2005 in comparison to the corresponding period last year.
He further said that according to official data, there was a marked increase in tourist arrivals.
Sioufas stressed that serious interventions are needed in reforms of the state and of the economy. "Everybody complains about bureaucracy, the lack of competitiveness, the unfriendly business environment, vested interests, the para-economy and tax evasion," he said, noting that "we are entering the stage of what must be done to confront these problems."
Sioufas presented the government's program which foresees the tabling in Parliament in September of two draft laws for the deregulation of the electricity and natural gas markets as well as for the preparation of reforms in renewable sources of energy.
 Stocks rise in blue chip buying
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished higher with players buying into high- and small-capitalization paper, keeping the market comfortably above 3,000 points, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,326.64 points, marking a rise of 0.66%. Turnover was 147.3 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.65% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.44% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.51% up.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 173 to 102 with 57 remaining unchanged.
 President Papoulias inaugurates 7th World Congress of Pontians
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)President Karolos Papoulias inaugurated the sessions of the 7th World Congress of Pontians (Black Sea Greeks) in Ioannina, northern Greece on Friday evening.
Taking part in the congress are 1,300 delegates from Greece and abroad.
The government was represented by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.
The sessions of the congress will come to a close on Sunday afternoon.
 Authorities break-up alleged migrant smuggling ring on Lesvos
Athens, 20/8/2005 (ANA)A 28-year-old Turkish man traveling with an Austrian passport was arrested by authorities on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Friday as the alleged ringleader of migrant-smuggling ring ferrying mostly Third World nationals onto the isle for later transport to mainland Greece and Italy.
Additionally, a local man, identified as a 21-year-old army NCO, and an illegal Afghan immigrant were also arrested and charged in the case, which came to light after coast guard officers located 18 Afghans hiding in a rundown building in the island's capital of Mytilene. The owner of the property has also been identified as a local man.
The same of the Turkish man was listed as Ergun Yumurta.
All of the suspects are due to face a Lesvos prosecutor.
 Investigations continue into Helios air crash
NICOSIA 20/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)As bereaved relatives of the victims of Sunday's air tragedy bury their dead, experts in Greece and Cyprus continue their painstaking investigations into the cause of the Helios Airways Boeing 737 that killed all 121 passengers and crew on board, when it crashed into a mountainside north of Athens.
On Friday Cyprus police took to Athens, where authorities lead the investigations into the air crash, 133 DNA samples from relatives of the victims to help the identification process of bodies not yet identified.
Meanwhile, following a request by the Cyprus government, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is sending to Cyprus a team of experts to be briefed fully about the ongoing investigations, carried out in connection with the air crash by the local authorities.
Communications and Works Minister Haris Thrasou has said that Cyprus had adopted the European Directive on the investigation of air accidents and incidents and had put it into force in June 2003, a year before it joined the EU.
Responding to questions, he said following a cabinet decision a Cyprus Commission for the Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents was set up in October 2003 to deal with Civil Aviation matters, namely air control traffic, aircraft engineering and air worthiness matters.
On Friday, in Cyprus, another victim was buried, air stewardess 33-year-old Louiza Vouteri Eftyvoulou. In the past two days, another ten victims were buried.