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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM, top ministers focus on TIF address next month
  • [02] Roussopoulos announces ANA, MPA merger
  • [03] Athens, Sofia again express confidence over Bulgaria's EU entry in Jan. 07
  • [04] Sources cite audio alarm failure in Helios airliner's cockpit
  • [05] Gov't shortlists contractors for Athens metro extension

  • [01] PM, top ministers focus on TIF address next month

    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.

    [02] Roussopoulos announces ANA, MPA merger

    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 utilisation 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.

    [03] Athens, Sofia again express confidence over Bulgaria's EU entry in Jan. 07

    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 emphasised 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, defence; 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".

    [04] 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 Filippos Koftsaftis.

    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.


    -- at 9:22 a.m. the German pilot of the Boeing 737-300 realises 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.

    [05] Gov't shortlists contractors for Athens metro extension

    The government has shortlisted four consortiums in the first phase of an international tender for construction of an extension to the Athens metro, Public Works Minister George Souflias said on Tuesday.

    The project for extension of metro Line 3 to the suburb of Haidari, west of Athens, is budgeted at 200 million euros.

    The four shortlisted groups out of eight that met criteria set in the tender are as follows:

    -J&P vax S.A. with F.C.C Construccion SA, Elecnor S.A, and Instalaciones Inabensa S.A

    -Alpine Mayreder Bau GmbH with erna S.A., Pantechniki S.A and Powell Electrical Systems Inc.

    -Impregilo with G and Alstom Transport

    -OR S.A.with Siemens A.G. and Vinci Construction GP

    The consortiums will submit financial bids on September 22, with the winner due to be announced in the autumn.

    The government has forecast a completion date of 2008 for the project, which includes construction of a 1.5 kilometre long underground tunnel, a two-entrance station, and a train depo.

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