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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-08-22

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] First Official Estimations
  • [02] Theofilos New Patriarch
  • [03] West Bank Pullout Next
  • [04] New PPC Invoices
  • [05] Chios-Piraeus in 27 Hours
  • [06] Turkish Stance at Focus
  • [07] Severe Weather Conditions
  • [08] Small Quake Shakes Rome
  • [09] Agreement on Iraqi Constitution
  • [10] Tax Evading Companies at Focus
  • [11] Clashes in Afghanistan Continue
  • [12] Two RENAULT Models Withdrawn

  • [01] Preliminary Report Submitted to Mr Liapis First Official Estimations

    22 Aug 2005 12:43:00 (Last updated: 22 Aug 2005 23:08:29)

    By Vicky Keleri

    The preliminary findings, which Chief investigator Akrivos Tsolakis submitted to the Transport Ministry on the causes of the crash of Helios fatal Boeing 737, report indications of a technical anomaly at the compression system. As the findings underline, the anomaly had consequences on the physical condition of both crew and passengers. There is also proof that the airliners engines stopped working due to the burnout of all fuel. According to other indications, the receiver of the communications system was operating during the last 30 minutes, as communications of other aircrafts have been recorded and are under investigation. Experts are also trying to find if the communications system was on Nicosia frequency. In the meantime, the first statement on behalf of Helios was given by the companys representative in Athens, Giorgos Dimitriou, who submitted the companys memorandum of association and the list of victims, while Civil Aviation Authority chief ordered a Sworn Administrative Inquiry for the two air traffic controllers on duty on the day of the tragedy.

    The Ten Crucial Minutes

    The report also shows that a third person was sitting at the pilots seat during the last 10 minutes wearing an oxygen mask and tried to send out an SOS signal twice, but it was technically impossible for any station to pick it up. The tone of the persons voice indicates it was a male tired or exhausted. All evidence shows that the third person in question was the flight attendant Andreas Prodromou.

    In the meantime, Tsolakis letter also read that many factors are involved in the investigation of the air accident and these factors need to be thoroughly examined before drawing any conclusions.

    Among them is the coroners toxicological report, the examination of findings by the manufacturing company, the statements of all implied parties, the airliners maintenance status, as well as all evidence from the two black boxes. An expert team sent by the manufacturing company also takes part in the investigations, while the testimonies to be collected are believed to exceed 100. Therefore, it will take the investigating committee a lot of months before they reach their final conclusions. On Monday, the first statement on behalf of Helios was given by the companys representative in Athens, Giorgos Dimitriou, who is quoted as saying that a family member told him about the tragedy. Later, he went to the companys headquarters to find out what had happened.

    At the same time, the identification of victims continues, while toxicological tests are expected to be complete by the end of the week.

    "Everybody Worked Very Hard"

    Government spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos made no comments on the preliminary report, saying that no political executive can refer to the findings or make any comments on them.

    However, he underlined that the report gives answers to many questions.

    Asked how the government worked after the crash, Mr Roussopoulos underlined that "everybody worked very hard and professionally," adding that if there were any delays or mistakes, the government will make sure to find them and impose penalties.

    Regarding the mobilisation of the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Roussopoulos referred to the announcement issued last Friday by the HCAA, noting that its president Mr Stamatis authorised a written report in order to record all actions. The report, as he explained, was submitted today to the Minister of Transport and all procedures to ascertain whether rules and regulations were followed will be applied within the week.

    "Be sure that just like we released all the facts from the very first moments, we will do so with anything new that turns up," he stressed.

    He also underlined that when the investigation will be complete, the Government will inform the Parliament's Social Affairs and Public Administration Committees.

    Lastly, the Government spokesperson underlined that the Renegade plan moved based on all preconditions.

    In the meantime, US President George Bush sent a letter to the President of the Greek Republic Karolos Papoulias, expressing his condolences for the victims of the air crash.

    Investigations Amid Political Disputes on Cyprus

    The investigations into all possible scenarios are underway on Cyprus, while a heated political dispute has been triggered over the last few hours on how Helios Airways was established and operated.

    Speaking on RIK television network, Cypriot Transport Minister Charis Thrassou stated that an in-depth investigation is to be carried out into the records of the company and into the checks conducted by Cyprus Civil Aviation Authority to Helios airliners. Mr Thrassou pointed out that they will reach any conclusions after the investigation is over. "We should bring the truth to surface instead of looking for scapegoats," he pointed out.

    Commenting on the criticism lashed out against the Civil Aviation and the publication according to which the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had detected omissions and weaknesses in Cyprus Civil Aviation Authority, the Cypriot Transport Minister made clear that ICAOs last report was conducted in 2002, while a report released in April 2005 by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) confirmed serious improvements.

    Mr Thrassou also said that the Interdepartmental Committee led by Mr Leontiou Ierodiakonou had not authorized Helios Airways to fly its fleet, thus dismissing the relevant publications. What the Committee did was to overrule the objection submitted by the Cypriot Airways requesting Helios be not issued permit to operate. The permit was given by the Authorisation Committee, he added.

    On his part, DISI (Democratic Rally of Cyprus) leader Nikos Anastasiadis demanded independent examiners and a specialized investigating committee be appointed to investigate into the causes of the air tragedy.

    Mr Anastasiadis also asked the Cypriot government to publicize the list of shareholders, all the Boards of Directors the company has had so far as well as any changes that have taken place in the ownership regime from the day it was established till now. He further asked the list of shareholders and members of the Board of Directors of its parent company Libra Holidays, as well as of other airline companies that are authorized to operate.

    200 passengers flying with Helios Airways were met with an unbelievable hassle, since the flight en route from Larnaca to Dublin left with a 27-hour delay. Helios has sent its two remaining Boeings in Sweden to undergo technical checks and a companys spokesperson does not rule out the possibility the further delays in the routes will be reported.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    No Discussion Recorded

    [02] Theofilos New Patriarch

    22 Aug 2005 11:39:00 (Last updated: 22 Aug 2005 20:42:28)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Turn of page on Monday for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Archbishop Theofilos of Thavoriou was unanimously elected Patriarch of Jerusalem after the long lasting crisis and the removal of Eirinaios from office. Earlier, the three most prevalent candidates for the throne had been elected from a total of 13 hierarchs: Theofilos came first with 23 votes, followed by Archbishop Aristarchos of Konstantini with 17 votes and Metropolitan Bishop Alexios of Tiveriada with one vote. The new Patriarch was unanimously elected by the 14 members of the Holy Synod, after the withdrawal of Aristarchos and Alexios. Theofilos is the 140th successor of Saint Jacob and Adelfotheos (the first bishop of the Church of Jerusalem) and the 97th Patriarch of Jerusalem. He is 54 years old, coming from the prefecture of Messinia, has studied Theology at the Athens University, took his masters degree at the University of Daram, UK, and speaks English and Arabic. In the past, he has served as Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Qatar and secretary of the Patriarchate, while he was ordained Archbishop of Thavoriou only seven months ago.


    From the beginning of the electoral process the new Patriarch gathered the preference mainly of the new members of the Holy Synod, who wish, through this election, to draw a distinguishing line from the past and signal a new era for the Patriarchate.

    Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos also congratulated the new Patriarchate. In his statement Christodoulos maintained that Theofilos unanimous election is "indicative of the determination on the part of Jerusalems Patriarchate to surmount the past and to march towards the future to the benefit of the Greek-Orthodox Church." Christodoulos statement concluded, "The Church of Greece will stand by the side of the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem and the new Patriarch offering all Its love, all Its prayers and all Its strength."

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is on the island of Imvros, wished Theofilos to enjoy a historic and glorious diaconate to the benefit of the Holy Sepulchre.

    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis sent a congratulatory letter to Theofilos for his election, while deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandakis wished the new Patriarch "to complete his truly difficult mission to the benefit of this historic Patriarchate and of the unity of his congregation," stressing the electoral process was flawless.

    National Education Minister Marietta Giannakou also sent a congratulatory letter wishing him to succeed in his tedious mission "to the benefit of the unity of his congregation, of Greek-Orthodox Church and of this historic Patriarchate."

    "I firmly believe that you will meet your duties in the best possible way. We will be by your side in this strenuous effort to promote the spiritual and historic role of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem," said PASOK leader Georgios Papandreou in his congratulatory letter.

    Athens Mayor also sent a congratulatory letter to Theofilos underlying that his election to the Patriarchates throne signals a new era for Its long lasting history.Andrew Athens, President of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) congratulated the new Patriarch and offered the councils full support in every effort to entrench the Patriarchates historic role. In the meantime, the Israeli Court overruled the appeal for the postponement of his election, thus heralding the intention of the Israeli government to recognize the new Patriarch.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Last Settlers Evacuate Gaza West Bank Pullout Next

    22 Aug 2005 21:04:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    The last Israeli settlers with tears in their eyes withdrawn from the settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Around 8,500 Israeli settlers have been removed from the 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip except for two families that remain in Netzarim and are expected to leave in the hours to come, said Israeli army commander Dan Harel. Following the successful first phase of the disengagement plan, the demolition of four settlements in the West Bank is to commence on Tuesday. Earlier on Monday, Jewish settlers in Ganim and Kadim, two of the West Bank settlements to be demolished, left them voluntarily.

    They Fear Clashes In West Bank

    As per information, radical Jewish have secretly entered Homesh and Sanur, two of the settlements to be demolished, to thwart the pullout operation the moment the Israeli army appears.

    More than 5,000 Israeli soldiers and policemen are expected to be employed in demolishing the four West Bank settlements. Most of them also participated in the Gaza pullout.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    All Eyes on the West Bank

    Last Settlers Removed

    Evacuation Continues in Gaza

    Pullout Amid Violence

    [04] New PPC Invoices

    22 Aug 2005 15:45:00 (Last updated: 22 Aug 2005 23:03:08)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The new PPC invoices, which have been set following a decision of Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, will be put to effect as of September 1. According to Mr Sioufas statements, the decision for the new invoices was made based on the following criteria: not to burden financially weaker citizens and limit increases below inflation for the majority of consumers. It is noted that for those consuming up to 800kWh per four months there will be no change in the fixed charge or the energy consumption charge.

    New Invoices Set as Follows:


    Consumption (in kWh per 4 months)

    Average Change















    4,400 and up


    It is noted that the increase percentages are applied gradually and not by accumulation, except for those consuming over 4,400 kWh per four months (1.3% of the entirety of households), who will be burdened with 6.5% of increase at all levels of consumption.

    From the above, it is indicative that for all those consuming up to 2000 kWh, the monthly difference in the invoice will be 72 cents, while for those consuming up to 3000kWh the monthly difference will not go over 2 euros.

    It is also noted that the average household consumption is 1,000kWh per four months.


    For all the other types of invoices (industrial, commercial, etc), the increase rises to 3.5%, while farming invoices are limited to 2.5%.


    "The increases in PPC invoices announced by the government will sustain a heavy blow to the family income and they will boost the daily increasing wave of appreciations in goods," said Mr Lafazanis talking on behalf of SYN.

    "The appreciations in PPC invoices are unacceptable especially now that the government is working on the 2006 budget which is directed at providing less than 3% rises in wages and pensions," Mr Lafazanis concluded.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Hassle for Taxiarchis' Passengers Chios-Piraeus in 27 Hours

    22 Aug 2005 15:45:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The 594 passengers travelling from Mytilini and Chios to Piraeus Port suffered an odyssey. Their trip lasted 27 hours due to a mechanical fault in the ships left engine. The hassle for the passengers begun an hour after midnight Saturday when the ship presented a mechanical fault in its left engine and it had to dock back at Chios port. After the fault was repaired, it set sail at 6pm with 537 passengers on board for Piraeus port. However, off the coast of the island of Andros the same fault recurred resulting in the ship slowing down its speed, while a harbour tug was constantly sailing on its side. Taxiarchis finally reached Pireaus port with a 27-hour delay and its sailing was halted until the fault is repaired and inspected. Mondays evening route from Mytilini and Chios to Piraeus port will be carried out by Aiolos Kenteris. Mercantile Marine Ministrys Champer of Operations was immediately mobilized. Many passengers voiced their indignation, while some said that there were bugs inside the ship.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Misadventure On Board

    Related Links:

    NEL Lines

    [06] Three-Hour Session of National Council Turkish Stance at Focus

    22 Aug 2005 23:19:00

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA

    Cyprus National Council held a meeting on Monday to determine the stance to be followed until October 3 when Turkeys accession talks are scheduled to commence. Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos briefed the members of the Council over his contacts with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and elaborated on the climate that has been formed following the signing of the Protocol on the part of Turkey and Ankaras refusal to recognise the Republic of Cyprus.

    Summit Was Set on August 31

    In his written statement, Deputy Minister to the President Christodoulos Pasiardis said that some members voiced their opinion on the stance to be followed by Nicosia, while others preferred to submit them in black and white.

    In the meantime, in Brussels the summit scheduled for Wednesday among the ambassadors of the 25 EU Member States over Turkeys accession talks, was postponed for a week.

    Sources coming from the British rotating presidency said that the summer vacations in Brussels triggered this postponement.

    The summit will take place on August 31, ahead of an unofficial meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers on the same issue at Newport, Britain.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [07] Switcherland, Austria, Romania Severe Weather Conditions

    22 Aug 2005 19:37:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Severe rainfalls have been plaguing Romania, Switcherland and Austria over the last days. In Romania, the death toll has risen to 18, while a two-year-old child has been missing for six days. At the same time, numerous damages have been recorded, while 1,500 people fled their homes. Central and western Switcherland is also affected by torrential rains. In Lucerne two firefighters were killed when trying to clear the flooded streets from rocks and branches.

    Two Died in Switcherland and Austria

    A landslide in Romania claimed the lives of two firefighters in Switcherland. The floods have caused serious damages to the countrys road and railways network. In central Switcherland the railway stopped operating and major road arteries were blocked, while villages at the foot of the Alps have been cut off. In Lucerne, more than 1,000 people fled their houses when the river Emme overflew.

    In Berne, the river Aare overflew, while the torrential rains flooded the citys airport.

    In the city of Sarnen, the authorities urged the residents to stay on the highest floors of their houses ion fearing that the nearby lake may overflow.

    The torrential rains in southern Austria left two deads in their wake. In the southern province of Styria, the rescue teams recovered the body of a 50-year-old woman, which had been buried by a mass of mud.

    Her 77-year-old mother-in-law, who was also recovered by the rescue teams, died of her wounds in the hospital.

    The authorities in Gratz are on alert for a new wave of heavy rainfalls is awaited.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [08] Small Quake, No Damages Small Quake Shakes Rome

    22 Aug 2005 16:20:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ANSA, ANA

    A small earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale spread panic to the residents of Rome on Monday. As per Italys National Geographic Institute, the epicentre of the earthquake was under the seabed 15 kilometres off the coast. However, the Civil Protection Authority ruled out the creation of a tsunami. So far, no damages or casualties have been reported. The quake took place at 14:02 (local time), while museums, the Colosseum and other monuments are under inspection so that possible damages are reported. Many residents fled their homes, while swimmers abandoned the beaches.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [09] Agreement on Iraqi Constitution

    22 Aug 2005 17:46:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Six hours before the midnight deadline expires, the negotiators from the ruling Shiite Islamist groups in Iraqi government announced they managed to agree on a draft Constitution on Monday. The draft Constitution is to be presented to the National Assembly within the day, although it remains to be seen whether it will meet with a broad acceptance, including the Sunnis and the secular Shites. The Kurds, on the other hand, support the agreement. As per Reuters, the document called Iraq a "federal parliamentarian republic", without defining the degree or nature of the federalism. This title is likely to spark disputes among the tribes in Iraq, since the Sunni community vehemently opposes the idea of federalism, particularly for Shiites in the south of the country.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [10] Tax Evading Companies at Focus

    22 Aug 2005 20:22:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis chaired a meeting with the participation of the Deputy Economy Minister Adam Regouzas and the Ministrys Secretariat Generals and decided to intensify the checks on the companies that were found evading paying taxes after crosschecking. Priority will be given to those isets of invoices that depict greater divergences. In the meeting, it was also decided that the bodies involved should hold a meeting once a week to be briefed over the course of the electronic crosschecking.

    The crosschecking of 471,299 invoices showed that the aggregated amount of the divergences among the invoices stood at 7 billion euros.

    The biggest part of this amount, 5.3 billion euros in particular, resulted from 4,145 sets of invoices with 100,000 divergences each.

    The crosschecking also revealed divergences in 274,992 tax returns, while 12,000 tax returns contained 15,635 false VAT.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] Between Taleban and Security Forces Clashes in Afghanistan Continue

    22 Aug 2005 14:43:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ANA, BBC

    A month prior to the general elections in Afghanistan, the clashes between Taleban militants and US-Afghan forces continue. More than 100 militants have lost their lives over the last three weeks in operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The joint operations aim at reinforcing the security prior to the September 18 elections, since the Taleban fighters have stepped up violence. Since the beginning of the year, around 1,000 people were killed, while the losses at the US camp amount to 70 dead soldiers. US has now 20,000 soldiers operating in Afghanistan, while 200 have died since the late 2001.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [12] Clio II and Modus Two RENAULT Models Withdrawn

    22 Aug 2005 13:53:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Through the EUs RAPEX system the Secretariat General for Consumer Affairs was informed on the withdrawal of two RENAULT models due to possible problems at the steering wheel. The withdrawal programme includes the models Clio II and Modus, while the Secretariat General directly submitted a relevant question to RENAULTs official representative in Greece, MAVA EBOROVIOMICHANIKI S.A. It is noted that due to the fact that the official RENAULT representative did not inform the Secretariat General for Consumer Affairs on the case, all legal sanctions will be imposed to the company in question. For any questions or clarifications, consumers can address MAVA EBOROVIOMICHANIKI S.A. on the following number: +30 210 2702600.

    In its Answering Letter, the Company Clarified the Withdrawal Refers to:

    3891 Clio II vehicles, manufactured from 8-5-2003 to 18-11-2004, which could probably display a short circuit at the steering wheel area due to possible damage of the horn's wiring 596 Modus vehicles, manufactured until 5-4-2005, which could probably present instability while driving due to a possible wrong assembly of the steering post.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

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