|Saturday, 7 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 24, 2005
 Roussopoulos announces Greek News Agencies merger
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday announced the pending merger of the Athens News Agency (ANA) and the Thessaloniki-based Macedonian Press Agency.
"A merger of the two news agencies has been a topic of discussions over several years by the board of directors of the two societe anonyme companies (ANA and MPA), as a merger facilitates an upgrading of their operation, a better utilization of their staff and a more effective agency," he said of a relevant bill detailing the merger.
Roussopoulos, who is also the government spokesman, noted that the entire procedure to merge the two national news agencies began under the previous government, although a new legal framework was necessary due to deficiencies in the previous draft.
"New technological developments have led many news agencies around the world into partnerships and mergers in order to deal with an increasingly competitive environment," he added.
 PM, top ministers focus on TIF address next month
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' meeting on Tuesday with a handful of his top ministers expectedly focused on his "state-of-the-country" address at next month's Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), where the premier gives a customary speech more-or-less outlining economic policies for the coming year.
Afterwards, Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis noted that the emphasis in government policy is to build on the positive developments of late, a reference to tighter spending, a plan to slash deficits and increased employment.
Karamanlis also presided over a meeting focusing on a draft bill being promoted by Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos for creating a national audio-visual archive, among others.
 Gov't dismisses link between airliner accident and civil aviation authority reform
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)The government on Tuesday dismissed reports linking the crash of a Cypriot airliner last week with the fact that a presidential decree was signed two days later changing the state-run Civil Aviation Authority's (YPA) structure.
Following his briefing by Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos told reporters that a draft presidential decree outlining the creation of a flight safety inspectors' body was signed by the transport minister on March 11, 2005. He added the subsequent period up until Aug. 16 was consumed by the normal legal procedures, including the adoption of certain observations made by the Council of State, a development that sent the final presidential decree on the president's mansion for signing on Aug. 8.
Additionally, the spokesman reminded that YPA was downgraded to a "category 2" status by international monitoring bodies in 2000 because of "structural dysfunctions", whereas the current transport ministry's priority of re-attaining "category 1" status for YPA was achieved after stepped up international efforts and contacts, especially in the United States and Canada.
Sources cite audio alarm failure in Helios airliner's cockpit: A failure with the cockpit audio alarm system is apparently the latest finding of a stepped up investigation into the causes of a Cypriot airliner's crash north of Athens last week, sources with the prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.
Members of a transport experts' committee reportedly informed the Athens prosecutor's office that the same audio alarm aboard the crashed Helios Airways' Boeing 737-300 was repeatedly "activated" for different malfunction indications, a fact that could have deceived pilots over the true causes of the alarm.
The report follows a morning briefing at the prosecutor's office of judicial officials by chief medical examiner Philippos Kotsaftis.
Among others, judicial authorities were handed an official passengers' list.
Police statement by air traffic controllers: Meanwhile, the two air traffic controllers on duty at the Athens airport during the Cypriot airliner's fatal flight towards Greece and its subsequent crash provided police with statements on Tuesday.
Their statements again mostly confirmed a timeline for flight ZU522, beginning with the passenger jet's take-off from Larnaca airport on Cyprus at 9:07 a.m.
Specifically: -- at 9:22 a.m. the German pilot of the Boeing 737-300 realizes that the aircraft has a problem with its decompression system -- at 9:30 a.m. officials from the Helios company contact air traffic controllers in Nicosia -- at 9:40 a.m. the flight control centre in Nicosia contacts flight controllers at the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport of Athens to inform Greek controllers that flight ZU522 had just entered the Athens FIR and was flying at a steady course at 34,000 feet -- One hour later, at 10:40 a.m., the flight control centre in Athens is informed that there is no communication with the Helios aircraft -- Soon thereafter (the exact time is not specified), after failing to communicate with the Cypriot airliner, air traffic controllers in Athens request the scrambling of fighter planes -- Two F-16 warplanes follow an intercept course for the Cypriot airliner, flanking it on both sides. The fighter pilots are unable to hail the plane, now classified as a "renegade", while they subsequently report, just before noon on Sunday, that it was losing altitude.
Fifty-five bodies of ill-fated Cypriot plane identified through DNA: According to a police announcement, following the fatal crash of a Cypriot plane north of Athens on Sunday, August 14, up to Tuesday, 55 bodies, among them heroic steward Andreas Prodromou, have been identified through the method of DNA.
All 121 passengers and crew of the Boeing 737 were killed during the crash.
Prodromou, half an hour before the plane crashed, had attempted to control the plane and land it safely, something which unfortunately did not happen.
Four days ago, drops of blood were found in the cockpit which were identified through DNA as belonging to Prodromos.
 PASOK spokesman remarks on plane crash, statements by FinMin Alogoskoufis
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)The Political Council of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) will convene under the chairmanship of PASOK leader George Papandreou at Lavrio, southeastern Attica, on Thursday and Friday.
PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, in statements on Tuesday regarding the crash of the Cypriot Boeing 737 plane belonging to the private company Helios, said that his party "all these days acted with responsibility and seriousness over the matter."
Responding to statements made by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday that "the economy so far is going quite well" and on Tuesday that "the objective is for the positive developments we have in the economy to continue," Athanassakis evaluated that "Mr. Alogoskoufis is probably the only Greek who believes that the economy is going quite well and the only Greek who speaks of positive developments in the economy, which even must continue."
 Athens, Sofia again express confidence over Bulgaria's EU entry in Jan. 07
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Top Greek and Bulgarian diplomats on Tuesday again reiterated the two countries' belief that the latter will join the European Union as a full member on Jan. 1, 2007, as Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis met with Bulgaria's veteran European Integration Minister Meglena Kuneva in Thessaloniki.
Valinakis emphasized Athens' volition to press for the full membership of the neighboring country, while reminding that Greece will be amongst the first EU members to bring an accession treaty before its parliament for ratification.
On her part, Kuneva referred to the new three-party coalition government formed in Sofia, as well as the fact that she retained the same ministerial portfolio.
"The primary goal is to keep up the same pace, and not let the many years of efforts affect our pace, allowing for any fatigue ... my party was in the last government, and we have guaranteed the necessary reforms for the justice system, education, defense; we're proceeding as usual," she stressed.
Asked how the separate 'no' votes in France and the Netherlands to a draft EU constitution will affect Bulgaria's EU prospects, Valinakis stressed that "there are no concerns about Bulgaria at the moment. All of the reforms will be completed on time, we believe, and it (Bulgaria) will accede (to the EU) in January 2007".
 DM to begin week-long visit to China this week
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos will embark on a week-long official visit to the People's Republic of China this week, following an invitation by his Chinese counterpart Cao Cangchuan.
The visit will be the first by a Greek defense minister in the past eight years to the Far East country.
Spiliotopoulos, a former fighter pilot, will head a Greek delegation during the visit, as talks are expected to focus on cooperation in the armaments production sector as well as issues revolving around regional security and stability.
The Greek minister will tour several military units, bases, defense industries and will also speak at China's military sciences academy.
 FM congratulates Theophilos on being elected new Jerusalem Patriarch
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis congratulated Theophilos on being unanimously elected the new Patriarch of Jerusalem on Monday.
Aside from wishing him success in his new mission, Molyviatis also expressed confidence that unity among the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and a 'spiritual reconnection' with the faithful will be achieved under Theophilos' wise guidance.
The 55-year old former Archbishop of Tabor, succeeds the deposed patriarch Irineos.
Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki congratulated Theophilos on being unanimously elected by the Holy Synod on Monday as the new Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Aside from expressing her congratulations - both personal and on behalf of Parliament, Benaki also wished Theophilos success in his mission.
Theophilos, formerly Archbishop of Tabor, succeeds deposed patriarch Irineos.
 PASOK's coordinators meet, outline positions on several draft bills
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party's coordinators met on Tuesday for talks focusing on the party's intent to compile an "Unreliability Paper" attacking the government, as well as the its position on various draft bills, the Parliament group's operation and last week's airliner tragedy.
According to former minister and Parliament group secretary Dimitris Reppas, materials for the "Paper" are nearly ready, with PASOK leader George Papandreou expected to view the draft ahead of its publication just prior to the prime minister's address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) next month.
Conversely, Reppas said Papandreou's address, a week after the premier's, at the TIF exhibition as well as on the Sept. 3 anniversary of PASOK's creation will include "visionary" elements.
In terms of pending legislation, Reppas said PASOK will demand the dropping of an amendment allowing an extension of terms for chief prosecutors - debated in Parliament on Tuesday - while charging that a draft bill on agriculture is accompanied by an introduction loaded with invective against PASOK -- in power between 1981 and 1989 and from 1993 to March 2004.
Furthermore, he said PASOK would vote against a bill envisioning public sector/private sector partnerships, saying the draft bill was deficient.
Finally, asked to comment on Papandreou's absence from Tuesday's coordinators' meeting, he said the PASOK leader had previously informed the members about his failure to attend; instead he will chair a political council meeting on Thursday.
Papandreou comment: In a related development, Papandreou sharply criticized the amendment aimed at extending chief prosecutors' terms - which was included in a bill for border guards - charging that the "sudden inclusion" of an irrelevant amendment is an "insult to justice, while underrating the Parliament and the parliamentary process..."
 SYN's Political Secretariat convenes; discusses positions which Alavanos will present in Thessaloniki
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)The Political Secretariat of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) convened on Tuesday and approved the planning for the shaping of the political framework and the party's positions which will be presented by Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos in Thessaloniki in the context of his visit to the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.
According to an announcement, the Political Secretariat was briefed and approved the relevant statements which were made on the Cyprus issue and on Euro-Turkish relations following the meeting of the party's leadership with President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos.
The Political Secretariat further expressed the party's "collective, complete and radical opposition" to the change of the electoral system, "as the bipartisan (ruling) New Democracy inspired plan for local government" creates inequality of the citizens' vote but also attempts "to place local government under an asphyxiating bipartisan framework."
Finally, Synaspismos' Political Secretariat noted the need for the "struggle to be intensified for the immediate election and with the simple proportional system on all levels of local government.
 Draft law presented at Inner Cabinet meeting for establishment of National Audio-Visual Archive
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)The government's policy action ahead of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, the presentation of the draft law for the setting up of the National Audio-Visual Archive as well as issues of the Communications Secretariat, following the recommendation of Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, was discussed by the Inner Cabinet on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
The government spokesman said that with the establishment of the National Audio-Visual Archive a first systematic and important effort begins for gathering in a unified body the audio-visual history and cultural heritage, in the form of images, sound and photographs.
The Archive contains film material dating back a century, historic, social and sports material, copies of material from state-run Greek Radio and Television (ERT), copies of audio-visual material from ministries and organizations and from private collections.
Roussopoulos noted that the draft law will be raised for consultation next week and called on the political parties which have archives to contribute copies so as to complete the country's heritage.
 Greek Deputy FM Skandalakis says from Nicosia that SAE needs 'upgrading'
NICOSIA 24/8/2005 (ANA/CNA)Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandalakis, addressing here on Tuesday night the start of the sessions of the World Congress of Overseas Cypriots, expressed the need for the reorganization of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), noting that "it is necessary for a new framework to be created, which will take into consideration the contemporary demands and the contemporary environment."
Skandalakis said that "for this reason, the Greek government and particularly the foreign ministry, has formulated a draft law for the upgrading of SAE, so that its structure and operation to be improved and become more effective."
The Greek deputy foreign minister conveyed to the World Congress of Overseas Cypriots the best wishes of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and that of Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis for the congress' positive outcome.
The minister noted that Greece and Cyprus remain firmly dedicated to their strategic aims, "because as stated also by Prime Minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis, these aims serve our national interests and correspond to the wish of our peoples for peace and stability in the region."
Skandalakis added that "in any case, Cyprus' accession to the European Union and its equal participation in the EU agencies, really offers the opportunity for the promotion of a settlement of the Cyprus issue and the confrontation of the problems which are presented."
The Greek deputy foreign minister referred to the cooperation between the Greek and Cypriot authorities on issues related to Greeks and Cypriots abroad, stating that his talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou and other officials "for the improvement of coordination between Cyprus and Greece" on issues of overseas Greeks and Cypriots "were very useful."
 Stocks drop below support at 3,300 pts
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished lower in across-the-board selling, taking the market below support at 3,300 points, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,277.89 points, marking a decline of 1.15%. Turnover was 155.9 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.14% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.19% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.00% down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 200 to 80 with 50 remaining unchanged.
 'Viking' plane bound for Manchester returns to Crete after engine fault
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)Fifteen minutes after takeoff from Iraklion, Crete, a plane of the airline company "Viking" which was on a charter flight from Iraklion to Manchester with 162 passengers, returned on Tuesday to "Nikos Kazantzakis" airport after presenting a fault in one of its engines.
The pilot informed the control tower about the problem on the airliner and returned to Iraklion where the passengers disembarked. After the fault was fixed by technicians, the plane departed with a four-hour delay.
 ESR reconvenes after summer recess; discusses coverage of plane crash
Athens, 24/8/2005 (ANA)The National Radio and Television Council (ESR) reconvened on Tuesday after the summer recess and according to the Council's vice-president, Dimitris Haralambis, an evaluation was made of the coverage of the recent crash of the Cypriot plane belonging to the private company Helios and whether exaggerations were heard or whether human pain was exploited.
The ESR also decided to make its archive digital, following the signing of a contract with Altec company within the framework of the program "Society and Information" for the creation of a data bank.
The ESR, in its majority also decided that the radio stations Nitro and Village can broadcast brief news bulletins from reliable sources such as, according to the ESR decision, the Athens News Agency, with a member of the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) selecting and examining the news.
 President Papadopoulos: No concessions on Cyprus solution
NICOSIA 24/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed Tuesday night the government's commitment and firm position that it will never make any concessions that will endanger the Republic of Cyprus and the Cypriot Hellenism.
Addressing the opening ceremony of representatives of the two main overseas organizations, POMAK (World Federation of Overseas Cypriots) and PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus who gathered in Cyprus for their 14th world conference, President Papadopoulos pointed out that the solution to the Cyprus problem will "necessarily be a compromise, meaning a bizonal, bicommunal federation".
"For us, the issue is not just to close the Cyprus problem but to solve it right", the president said, adding "we will continue to struggle with unwavering faith for the final justification of Cyprus."
Underlining the significance which Cyprus has on the role of overseas Cypriots in supporting national issues, President Papadopoulos announced measures to promote overseas organizations and called on the overseas Cypriots to suggest and undertake measures for new methods of action to promote the national cause at their host countries.
"You are being invited now more than ever, to mobilize in your countries and intensify your efforts in every direction and at every level", he added.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said the "only thing we are pursuing and want is to contribute to a mutually acceptable functional and viable solution. And such solution will not be achieved with decorative changes to the Annan plan".
He said the Turkish side "completely refuses to discuss changes to a plan which suits her perfectly".
In a reference to the COREPER meeting that will take place at the end of the month on Turkey's EU accession course, in connection with its recent signing of the Ankara agreement and its "unacceptable" declaration whereby it said it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said the declaration "in substance, negates and nullifies its obligation to extend the implementation of its customs union to the entire Republic of Cyprus which it says it does not recognize".
"In a few words, Turkey recognizes the existence of the Republic of Cyprus as a full and equal EU member state only for an instant. It recognizes us only during the voting for the start of the accession of its negotiations with the EU, and ceases to recognize us straight after".
President Papadopoulos said the position of Cyprus on Turkey's EU accession negotiations will become known at the "right time and will take into consideration the general interest of Cyprus and its people".
He added that in Cyprus there "is only one legal and recognized state, the Republic of Cyprus and its borders extend to the entire domain of Cyprus and do not stop at the Attila line. The occupied areas are not a state but a concoction, an illegal product of invasion and occupation and illegal products cannot be upgraded", President Papadopoulos concluded.