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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Minister: 'Black box' data, crash site prove Cypriot airliner was not shot down
  • [02] Poll gives ND 2.7% lead over PASOK; PM holds comfortable edge over main rival

  • [01] Minister: 'Black box' data, crash site prove Cypriot airliner was not shot down

    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.

    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.

    Caption: The tail of the crashed Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 lies atop a hillside north of Athens. ANA / P. Papaioannou

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

    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 Kapa 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.

    Caption: A file photo shows Greek PM Costas Karamanlis. ANA / G. Antoniou

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