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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-22

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

August 22, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] Poll gives ND 2.7% lead over PASOK; PM holds comfortable edge over main rival
  • [02] Voulgarakis: 'Black box' data, crash site prove Cypriot airliner was not shot down
  • [03] KKE delegation visits Venezuela
  • [04] Ex-Jerusalem patriarch again files motion to block Monday election of new patriarch
  • [05] Patriarch letter to FYROM PM over cleric's conviction, imprisonment
  • [06] President opens exhibition in NW Greece
  • [07] Engine fire alarm returns Aegean plane back to Hios; OA flight delayed after malfunction discovered
  • [08] G. Papandreou visits Mount Athos

  • [01] Poll gives ND 2.7% lead over PASOK; PM holds comfortable edge over main rival

    Athens, 22/8/2005 (ANA)

    The latest opinion poll published in an Athens daily shows a 2.7-percent lead for ruling New Democracy over main opposition PASOK party, 36.8 to 34.1 percent, whereas Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is given a comfortable lead over PASOK leader George Papandreou by respondents on the question of "most qualified for the premiership".

    The poll, conducted by the Athens-based Kappa Research firm, was published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "To Vima"

    Besides the two main parties, 6.8 percent of respondents opted for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE); 3.9 percent preferred the out-of-Parliament LA.OS party and 3.6 percent favored the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos). Respondents qualifying as "undecided" or who declined to answer made up 14.8 percent of the tally.

    According to the newspaper, similar opinion polls by the same firm gave ruling ND as low as a 2.4-percent lead in May 2005, and as high as a 7.6-percent edge over PASOK in September 2004.

    In the head-to-head category, Karamanlis was preferred by 52 percent of respondents, as opposed to 37.4 for former foreign minister Papandreou. A "neither of the two" answer garnered 9.1 percent of the vote, while 1.5 percent of respondents did not answer.

    In terms of satisfaction with the government's and the main opposition party's performance, 38.5 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied or probably satisfied with the ND government's course so far. Conversely, 26.4 percent of respondents held a favorable opinion of PASOK.

    Both the government and main opposition, however, accumulated a majority of negative views: the government's performance was considered disappointing by 60.2 percent of respondents. Worse, PASOK's performance as the main opposition was considered disappointing by 71.4 percent of respondents.

    The opinion poll was conducted between Aug. 17 and 19 via random telephone interviews of respondents called at 1,618 residences around the country.

    ND comment: In later statements, ruling ND secretary Vangelis Meimarakis noted that the latest opinion poll simply confirms the "wide social alliance" amongst citizens who "trust Costas Karamanlis and back the government's reforms".

    He also said the difference between the two parties is increasing.

    [02] Voulgarakis: 'Black box' data, crash site prove Cypriot airliner was not shot down

    Athens, 22/8/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Sunday directly attempted to quash even the faintest speculation that an out-of-control Cypriot airliner, which subsequently crashed killing all 121 people on board, was shot down a week ago north of Athens.

    "The proof that we did not shoot down the aircraft, but that it fell, is proven by the 'black box' (data) and from a tally of the F-16s' ordnance," Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis was quoted as saying in a front-page interview published by the "Chora" newspaper.

    The Greek minister referred to the two Hellenic Air Force warplanes that were scrambled to intercept a Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 passenger jet designated as a "renegade" shortly before it approached the Greek mainland.

    He also said a mid-air explosion caused by an air-to-air missile strike or machine gun rounds would have left debris over a much wider area than the actual crash site recorded, namely, a handful of hilltops and slopes near the township of Grammatiko.

    "If the plane had not crashed, and had been classified as a 'renegade', then, essentially, an order would have been given for its downing if there was a certainty that it threatened populated areas. Unfortunately, in such cases a dilemma exists: (Do you sacrifice) the passengers, or thousands of people (on the ground) and the passengers? In such cases, sadly, the decision is against the passengers," he said.

    Additionally, Voulgarakis -- who also held the public order portfolio during last year's successful Athens Olympic Games -- noted that it was "highly probable" that lethal action would have been ordered if a similar incident involving an aircraft had taken place during the Games.

    Blood in Helios airliner's cockpit belonged to flight attendant: Blood samples found in the cockpit of the crashed Helios Airways passenger jet belong to a male flight attendant, Andreas Prodromou, Athens coroners announced on Monday.

    The discovery adds credence to the hypothesis that an individual with pilot's training attempted to take control of the Cypriot airliner prior to its crash north of Athens last Sunday.

    According to reports, Prodromou had taken flight lessons in the past.

    Civil Aviation Authority chief dismisses report claiming agency's leadership called on to resign: The Civil Aviation Authority's (YPA) leadership on Sunday issued a high-profile denial of a same-day press report claiming that the prime minister himself called for the resignation of the agency's directors a day earlier, purportedly for delays by air traffic controllers in spotting a wayward Cypriot airliner that subsequently crashed north of Athens last Sunday.

    YPA director Dimitris Stamatis called the press report -- featured by the Athens-based "Eleftherotypia" newspaper -- ridiculous, while he emphasized that he has no intention of resigning.

    [03] KKE delegation visits Venezuela

    Athens, 22/8/2005 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, at the head of a party delegation, traveled to Venezuela over the past few days, according to a press release by the party.

    According to the party, Papariga is the first general secretary of a European communist party to officially visit the oil-rich South American country and the first leader of a Greek political party to do so.

    The KKE delegation was expected to meet with officials of Venezuela's communist party.

    [04] Ex-Jerusalem patriarch again files motion to block Monday election of new patriarch

    JERUSALEM 22/8/2005 (ANA - P. Haritos)

    An Israeli first instance court here on Sunday said it would issue a ruling tomorrow morning over a last-ditch motion filed by deposed Jerusalem Patriarch Irineos (Eirineos) to prevent the election of a new Patriarch on Monday.

    The ruling, according to the court, will be issued an hour before the ecclesiastical election is scheduled.

    Both sides, attorneys for the Irineos -- cashiered to the rank of a monk -- as well as representatives of the temporary Synod administering the Orthodox Patriarchate of the Holy Land, presented their case before the Israeli court.

    Sunday's legal challenge is the latest initiated by Irineos, who was ousted in late May after months of sharp criticism stemming from the long-term leasing of Patriarchate properties in east Jerusalem to Jewish investors.

    [05] Patriarch letter to FYROM PM over cleric's conviction, imprisonment

    SKOPJE 22/8/2005 (ANA - N. Frangopoulos)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos has addressed a letter to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski calling for the release of an Orthodox Metropolitan who heads the Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid, a rival to the so-called "Macedonian Orthodox Church".

    The latter church, which broke away from the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1967, is largest denomination in the land-locked country but is not recognized by any other Orthodox Church in the world.

    "While we were in the process of resolving a peaceful way for our Holy and Great Church of Christ to mediate between the Holy Churches of Serbia and Skopje that are in a dispute and as we were coming to a conclusion of this matter, the arrest and imprisonment of His Eminence Metropolitan John, which received great attention from the Mass Media, has deeply saddened and puzzled us," Vartholomeos said, adding:

    "We are of the opinion that in inter-ecclesial issues of such grave importance that self-restraint, the study of the problem in the spirit of the Gospel and with Christian-like patience, and peaceful dialogue should prevail. This is due to the fact that the Church cannot justify in any case adopting worldly means in her administration and in this way being exposed to the whole of the Ecclesiastical body."

    According to reports, Buckovski will respond to the Patriarch by noting that the issue is independent of his office, as the judiciary in FYROM is independent of the executive branch.

    Metropolitan John, who is recognized by the Serbian Church as the legitimate Archbishop in the country, was convicted of "inciting ethnic and religious hatred" by a Bitola court.

    [06] President opens exhibition in NW Greece

    Athens, 22/8/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias inaugurated an exhibition on Saturday entitled "Labor in Greece between 1900 and 1960", held at the Rizarios Cultural Centre in the village of Monodendri, in the mountainous Zagorohoria district of NW Greece.

    [07] Engine fire alarm returns Aegean plane back to Hios; OA flight delayed after malfunction discovered

    Athens, 22/8/2005 (ANA)

    An Aegean Airlines flight headed from the eastern Aegean island of Hios to Athens on Sunday abruptly returned to the island's airport shortly after take-off when an on-board alarm warned of a possible fire in one of the plane's two engines.

    The incident came at a particularly sensitive time, given last Sunday's crash of a Helios Airways passenger jet north of Athens.

    Aegean Airlines flight 277 was carrying 100 passengers and five crew-members when it took off from Hios' airport at 6:35 p.m. According to the company's website, the plane was an AVRO RJ-100.

    Another Aegean airliner subsequently departed Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens for Hios in order to transport the passengers to the Greek capital.

    Earlier, an Olympic Airlines Boeing 737 carrying 126 passengers was kept grounded at Larnaca airport on Cyprus for several hours when a malfunction was detected, according to unconfirmed reports, in the plane's cooling system. The same malfunction is being investigated as a possible contributing factor in the crash of the Cypriot airliner, which was also a Boeing 737.

    [08] G. Papandreou visits Mount Athos

    Athens, 22/8/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou made a two-day visit to monasteries at Mount Athos on Saturday and Sunday.

    Papandreou was accompanied by his son Andrikos.


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