|Thursday, 29 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-09-16
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 HELLENISM IS MOURNING THE DEATH OF AIR ACCIDENT VICTIMSGreece, Cyprus and Hellenism worldwide are mourning the sudden deaths of the Greek alternate foreign minister, Yannos Kranidiotis, his 22-year-old son Nikolaos, two journalists from Greek Radio & Television Nina Asimakopoulou and Dimitris Pantazopoulos, policeman Nikos Asimakopoulos and flight engineer Michalis Papadopoulos.
They were killed on Tuesday night when the Greek government's special plane, a Falcon, nose-dived from an altitude of 23,000 feet to about 5,000 feet as it prepared to land at Bucharest airport. The two pilots eventually managed to pull the aircraft out of the spin and land at the airport. A cameraman for Greek Radio & Television, Panagiotis Poulos, who was gravely injured in the accident, is still in intensive care in a Bucharest hospital. Also seriously hurt was the director of Mr Kranidiotis' political office, Grigoris Papadopoulos. The flight's air stewardess, Anna Velissariou, who sustained only minor injuries, returned to Athens yesterday. The captain and co-pilot, Iannis Androulakis and Grigoris Sinekoglou, journalist Alfonsos Vitalis, and the minister's advisor, Maria Begliri, were unharmed. The bodies of the six dead were brought back to Greece yesterday afternoon on a special Olympic Airways flight.
A special ceremony at the airport to receive the coffins, which were draped with the Greek flag, was attended by the country's political leadership, military and church officials and relatives. The funeral service for Yannos Kranidiotis and his son will take place in the Church of Aghios Dionysios in Kolonaki, Athens, today. They will be buried at the Athens First Cemetery tomorrow.
The funerals of the other victims, including the two journalists from Greek Radio & Television, will take place today.
The Greek president, Kostis Stefanopoulos, prime minister Kostas Simitis, the government, political parties and foreign politicians, including the Cypriot foreign minister, Yannakis Kassoulidis, have expressed their deepest sorrow at the tragedy. Mr Simitis described Mr Kranidiotis as one of the most important members of the government who had a better knowledge of the European political scene than any of his colleagues. The alternate foreign minister, who was 52, was of Cypriot origin and a three-day period of mourning has been declared on the island. Statements upon his death were issued by Cypriot president Glafkos Kliridis and Cypriot politicians.
The Turkish foreign minister, Ismail Cem, phoned his Greek counterpart, Giorgos Papandreou, yesterday and expressed his sympathy at the death of Yannos Kranidiotis, as did the Turkish ambassador in Athens. The prime minister has called for a thorough investigation into the causes of the air disaster. One of the flight recorders from the aircraft, the so-called "black box", is being sent to Germany today for examination by experts. The government spokesman, Dimitris Repas, has spoken of "grave responsibilities" in relation to the accident. Because of the tragedy, the inter-Balkan conference in Bucharest which Mr Kranidiotis was to attend has been postponed.
 RESCUE TEAMS COMPLETE SEARCH FOR PEOPLE TRAPPED IN RUINSNine days after last week's 5.9 Richter earthquake in Athens, rescue teams have completed the search to retrieve people trapped under the rubble of the Ricomex factory, after the body of another woman was found yesterday morning.
The total number of people who died in the earthquake now stands at 138. In the meantime, the Seismic Assessment Committee is to carry out an evaluation today of reports from the earthquake prediction centre in Lamia, known as VAN, that the system's equipment had given disturbing signs of an imminent tremor. Seismologists emphasised yesterday that there was no reliable method of predicting earthquakes, while the environment minister, Kostas Laliotis, said any such reference which failed to state clearly the time, epicentre and strength of the tremor did not constitute a prediction. In a separate development, a ministerial committee meeting was held yesterday to review the situation prevailing in the camps set up for the homeless after the quake destroyed thousands of buildings, mainly in north-west Athens, last week.
Finally, Elisavet Papadopoulou, 34, owner of the catering firm Mac Duck in Piraeus, was arrested yesterday on charges that she was supplying the earthquake-stricken population of Petroupolis, a suburb of Athens, with food unfit for consumption.
 TURKEY IS MAKING NO CONCESSIONS IN CYPRUS DISPUTEThe Turkish prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, stated yesterday that Turkey would make no concessions in the Cyprus dispute despite the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations in the wake of the earth tremors suffered by Greece and Turkey.
 PUBLIC REVENUE ON POSITIVE COURSEThe finance ministry has announced that public revenue in the first 8 months of 1999 followed a positive course. General revenue showed a surplus of 319.4 billion drachmas, budget revenue increased by 11% and revenue from taxes by 11.9% Meanwhile the price of petrol and heating oil went up again at midnight. The increases are due to a rise in the value of the dollar, combined with sustained high prices on the world crude oil market.
 GOVERNMENT APPEALS FOR ANTI-INFLATION DRIVEThe government has called on businessmen and producers to join together in a national anti-inflation drive, as a final effort geared towards European economic and monetary union. The national economy and development ministers requested representatives of business associations to proceed not only to price freezes, but also to price reductions in goods and services, covering the entire market, for the few months remaining before Greece's EMU entry. They also stressed that no cases of profiteering or exploitation of the quake-stricken population would be allowed, and that penalties would be immediately imposed.