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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-09

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM hastens return from Austria
  • [02] Strong aftershock expected
  • [03] PASOK to quake-stricken region
  • [04] Greek musician honoured
  • [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM hastens return from Austria

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, after the conclusion of a series of meetings with the Austrian political leadership, will return on Monday to Athens to chair a meeting to encounter the problems resulting from Sunday's the strong earthquake in the western Peloponnese.

    The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters), and will be attended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, Enviroment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    Karamanlis was due to stay in Austria to watch the Greek national soccer team's first match in the EURO 2008 championship against Sweden on Tuesday before returning to Greece.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) and vice Chancellor of Austria Wilhelm Molterer in Vienna on Monday 9 June 2008. ANA-MPA/Goulielmos Antoniou

    [02] Strong aftershock expected

    Seismologists on Monday said that moderate to strong aftershocks that could reach a magnitude of 5.5-6.0 on the Richter scale could be expected following a strong 6.5R quake that rocked the western Peloponese on Sunday, resulting in two deaths, tens of injuries and collapses of older buildings.

    The 6.5 R earthquake was recorded at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday, with its epicenter 30 kilometers southwest of the western port city of Patras in southwestern Greece, and was followed by a light 4.7R aftershock half an hour later. The main quake was felt as far away as Athens, some 230 kilometers east of the epicenter near the town of Andravida, in Ileia prefecture, and lasted between 20-25 seconds, while seismologists said the trembler emanated from a "shallow" epicentral depth.

    A 55-year-old man was crushed under the weight of a collapsed roof in the village of Kato Achaia, near Patras, while an elderly woman died of heart failure.

    "It would be a surprise if a strong aftershock does not occur," the Athens Observatory's Geodynamic Institute director George Stavrakakis said early Monday morning. He said the aftershocks of around 4.6R which have been recorded since Sunday's earthquake are not considered "strong", adding that a 6.5R quake such as Sunday's gives an aftershock "which in the best instance will be one unit smaller (5.5R) than the main quake, and in the worst instance 0.3 to 0.5 units (6.2-6.0) than the main quake".

    Geology professor Efthymios Lekkas, in statements from the village of Vlami, Ileia prefecture, which has suffered the most damage, also said that a quake of 6.5R magnitude produces a strong aftershock of one to half a unit smaller than the main quake, adding, however, that this was not necessarily always the case, citing the recent earthquake in China.

    Under the Richter scale, earthquakes of a magnitude of 6.0-6.9 R are classified as "strong" quakes, whereas tremblers of 5.0-5.9 R are classified as "moderate" and tremblers of 4.0-4.9 R are classified as "light".

    Stavrakakis urged local residents to remain calm, and advised them to abide by the recommendations of the authorities and the engineers conducting an initial inspection of homes and buildings.

    He clarified that throughout the night, a stream of 14-15 aftershocks raning in magnitudes from 3.5 to 4.5 R were recorded, with the largest in magnitude (4.5R) recorded at 4:32 a.m., adding that the post-quake activity would continue for a large period, and advised the local residents to "steel their nerves".

    Patras University seismology professor Akis Tselentis also said on Monday morning that a strong aftershock should be expected, and advised local residents to refrain from entering buildings damaged or weakened by the main quake. He added that this was a fundamental measure that should be observed over the next 48 hours.

    Tselentis said that the VAN team had last March submitted a signal that a strong earthquake was expected in the northwestern Peloponese "while the well-known 'circles' had me sent to the prosecutor", adding that a new signal that "we were entering the critical period" had been submitted on May 29. He said that there was no other prediction for an earthquake in the short-term.

    Also, seismologist/researcher Gerassimos Houliaras had said Sunday night that the VAN team had predicted Sunday's earthquake since last December, while a similar prediction had been made by the team under professor Papadimitriou.

    Asked to comment on statements by seismologists that the VAN team and another research team at the University of Athens had made predictions of the earthquake, Stavrakakis replied "address yourselves to those who announce the predictions".

    The VAN earthquake prediction method, named after the initials of the three seismologists, Professors Panayiotis Varotsos, Kessar Alexopoulos and Kostas Nomicos, who pioneered the technique, monitors geoelectric potential changes on the theory that some electric current would be generated in the earthquake source region just prior to earthquake. The method detects, records and interprets signals from the earth that precede earthquakes. The so-called seismic electromagnetic signals (SEMS) are apparently generated through piezoelectric processes induced by tectonic stress.

    The VAN method, although disputed by some seismologists, is nevertheless considered a breakthrough in the short-term prediction (up to one year) of earthquakes.

    Regarding the predictions, the head of Greece's Earthquake Risk Assessment Committee, Prof. Gerassimos Papadopoulos, said that when the estimations of the Papadimitriou team were submitted, the Committee had convened and assessed the data, adding that the prediction had concerned a different area of Western Greece, and in fact the Seismic Protection Organisation (OASP) had reviewed and boosted its emergency action plan.

    [03] PASOK to quake-stricken region

    Main opposition PASOK national council secretary Yannis Ragoussis rushed to Achaia on Sunday and toured the earthquake-stricken areas in the municipalities of Olenia and Dymi.

    Accompanied by party MPs and officials, Ragoussis visited the community of Fostena in Olenia municipality and the town of Kato Achaia, capital of Dymi municipality, where a 55-year-old man was killed when the roof of his home collapsed during the 6.5 Richter earthquake that struck the area.

    Ragoussis inspected the damage resulting from the earthquake, and met with representatives of the local authorities and local residents.

    The PASOK official said that mobilisation of the army was necessary, and urged the local residents to remain calm.

    He said that from the moment that the prefecture has been placed in a state of emergency, the first step should be to send in the Army for assistance.

    Ragoussis later went to Patras, where he visited the Operations Center set up in the city's port, and was briefed on the situation.

    Caption: PASOK national council secretary Yannis Ragoussis(R) and Achaia deputy prefector Dimitris Fillipatos in Patras on Monday 9 June 2008. ANA-MPA/Yiota Korbaki

    [04] Greek musician honoured

    Greek popular musician Thanassis Polykandriotis was awarded the "Maestro International" prize, which is given each year to music virtuosi from the Balkans, during a ceremony held Sunday night at the National Theater of Belgrade, under the aegis of the Serbian ministry of culture and the municipality of Belgrade.

    Also awarded were Romanian cymbalist Mircea Ardeleanu, Serbian accordionist Ljubica Pankovic, and Serbian clarinet player Bozdar Milosevic.

    The award-winners received bronze statuettes sculpted by the Jeremic Brothers, and presented a 20-minute concert each backed by the Serbian State Television and Radio Orchestra of Traditional Music.

    Polykandriotis enthused the audience with his bouzouki, while at the end of the ceremony all the award winners gathered on the stage and played a syrtaki by Mikis Theodoroakis.

    Polykandriotis said it was a great honor for him to accept an award outside the Greek borders, and particularly in Serbia, which has a great musical tradition.

    The Greek musician stressed that "music emits love, and has nothing to do with wars", and made a wish that "this love will spread throughout the Balkans and unite all the peoples".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Thanassis Polykandriotis(R) and greek composer Yannis Spanos (L)

    [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Sunday's disastrous 6.5 Richter earthquake in the eastern Peloponnese resulting in two deaths, dozens of injuries and major material damages dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "6.5 Richter nightmare in Peloponnese -- It rattled the whole country".

    APOGEVMATINI: "6.5 Richter ravaged Ilia and Achaia perfectures in Peloponnese - Greece was jolted ".

    AVRIANI: "Fear and terror for a new quake - The whole country jolted - Van team had forecast the quake".

    CHORA: "God helped us - We withstood a 6.5 Richter Hiroshima".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Homosexuals' appetites whetted and now they want to adopt children - After the dress rehearsal' with the weddings on Tilos island ...they ask permission to proceed with adoptions".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Fears over the aftershocks - Seismologists worried on the possibility of 'awakening' of adjacent rifts".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Why western Greece was jolted - Questions arise on the 13 earthquakes of over 5.4 Richter recorded in 6 months -- The war among seismologists resumes".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The unfamiliar rift fears - Strong earthquake rattled Achaia and Ilia perfectures in Peloponnese".

    ESTIA: "Sunday's quake was disastrous - Worry over the buildings' seismic reinforcement".

    ETHNOS: "Authorities again underestimated predictions made by two research teams, which had predicted the 6.5R earthquake".

    TA NEA: "Half of the country in red alert - Agony over the aftershock activity".

    VRADYNI: "6.5 Richter: After last summer's wildfires, Peloponnese prefectures were struck by a strong earthquake".


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