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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-19

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Carbon monoxide poisoning of at least 6 victims of airliner crash ruled out; first alarm went off at 9:15 a.m.
  • [02] Sioufas speaks of 'positive indications for improvement of economy's competitiveness'
  • [03] ND to discuss proposal for changing local gov't election law
  • [04] AEGEK wins tender for construction of Thessaloniki metro
  • [05] Authorities break-up alleged migrant smuggling ring on Lesvos

  • [01] Carbon monoxide poisoning of at least 6 victims of airliner crash ruled out; first alarm went off at 9:15 a.m.

    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 Filippos 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 kilometres 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 metres 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 planeÔs 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.

    [02] Sioufas speaks of 'positive indications for improvement of economy's competitiveness'

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, speaking at the National Council of Competitiveness and Development which convened at the Zappion 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 programme which foresees the tabling in Parliament in September of two draft laws for the deregulation of the electricity and natutral gas markets as well as for the preparation of reforms in renewable sources of energy.

    [03] ND to discuss proposal for changing local gov't election law

    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.

    [04] AEGEK wins tender for construction of Thessaloniki metro

    A consortium led by Athens-quoted AEGEK SA has won an international tender for construction of a metro system in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Public Works Minister George Souflias said on Friday.

    "This long-suffering project is finally in the last lap, after upsetting residents of the country's second city for 15 years due interminable delays and statements," the minister told a news conference.

    A consortium comprising ┴EGEK, Impreglio, Ansaldo, T.S.F., Seli and Ansaldobreda made the lowest bid at 798,000,000 euros.

    The project will be fully financed under a 550-million euro loan on favourable terms secured from the European Investment Bank, coupled with another 250 million euros to be awarded under the European Union's Third Community Support Framework, Souflias said.

    Handling the tender for the state was Attiko Metro SA, operator of the Athens subway.

    The metro will have a length of 9.6 kilometres with 13 stations, the minister added.

    [05] Authorities break-up alleged migrant smuggling ring on Lesvos

    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.


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