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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Charges filed in Corfu resort CO deaths
  • [02] Gov't on Finnish initiative vis-a-vis Cyprus

  • [01] Charges filed in Corfu resort CO deaths

    Misdemeanour charges were filed on Friday against at least five individuals in the carbon monoxide-related deaths of two British minors last week at a hotel resort on Corfu and the near fatal poisoning of the victims' father and step-mother.

    According to reports from the popular Ionian holiday island, the charges -- including manslaughter due to negligence, causing bodily harm due to negligence and building code violations -- were filed against the manager of the Louis Corcyra Beach hotel, the managing director of the group that owns the hotel, the contractor responsible for installing the boiler that caused the CO emissions, the head of maintenance at the resort, the contractor that installed the gas connection and the Thomas Cook representative responsible for inspecting the resort's safety measures, no less.

    The more-or-less expected indictment comes after the operating licence of the hotel, located in the Gouvia district on the isle's eastern coast, was temporarily revoked days ago.

    The licence will be permanently yanked if an ongoing investigation rules that the hotel was responsible for the deaths of the two children.

    The bodies of Christianne and Robert Shepherd, 7 and 6, were found in the bungalow suite the family had rented last Thursday, while their father, Neil, 38, and his second wife, Ruth Beatson, 28, were transported in a comatose condition to a Corfu city intensive care unit. Both adults have recovered but are still hospitalised.

    Minister briefs PM over incident

    In a related development, Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Friday again stressed that there is "absolutely no tolerance for incidents that malign and smear Greece's tourism sector, even if such incidents are isolated cases."

    Palli-Petralia made the statement to reporters following her meeting with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis earlier in the day, a clear reference to the tragic incident on Corfu involving the UK holiday-makers.

    The minister also briefed the premier himself on the case, as the latter expressed his condolences for the victims and their family. Petralia also noted that Karamanlis has been continuously briefed on the matter since the incident was reported.

    Finally, the hotel issued a statement after the charges were filed, noting that "our first priority is to find the causes and to ascertain the exact conditions of this tragic incident. Safety is and remains the primary concern of our hotel," the statement read.

    Caption: An ANA-MPA file photo shows the outside of bungalow at the resort.

    [02] Gov't on Finnish initiative vis-a-vis Cyprus

    The government on Friday noted that Greece has not been invited by the Finnish EU presidency to any potential tripartite meeting in Helsinki convened to discuss the Cyprus issue -- a development discussed at length recently in light of a looming impasse in EU-Turkey relations due to intransigence by the latter.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, in response to press questions, also referred to a recent announcement by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on the matter.

    &quot;If there was a reason to attend, then she would attend, as foreseen by relevant Community organs,&quot; the spokesman said, while again reiterating that Turkey has assumed specific commitments vis-a-vis the Union.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday ruled out the prospect of a meeting between the Turkish and Cypriot foreign ministers in Helsinki along with a representative of the Turkish Cypriot community. Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Erdogan balked at the prospect of a Turkish FM participating in such a meeting without the Greek foreign minister present.

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