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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-10-04
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA.5 THE VOICE OF GREECE
4/10/2000 9:43:45 ðì
 ''Express Samina'' investigation continuesAfter the cross-examination on the island of Syros on Tuesday, the captain Vasilis Giannakis and the second mate Tasos Psychogios were remanded in custody for the shipwreck of the ferry "Express Samina".
The other two members of the crew who were on shift at the time of the disaster testified yesterday evening, while the Judges of Appeal of the Aegean will decide today, whether a judge of appeal - investigating magistrate will take the case to speed up the enquiry.
At the same time, the president of the ship-owning company "Minoan Flying Dolphins" Pantelis Sfinias is expected to testify today.
In the meantime, following his meeting with the Prime minister Costas Simitis yesterday, Merchant Marine minister Christos Papoutsis stated that administering justice and the examplary punishment of the ones guilty for the disaster were pressing matters.
Present at the meeting was former Merchant Marine minister Stavros Soumakis, who after the meeting reacted strongly against accusations regarding the expansion of the "Minoan Lines", owner of "Exrpess Samina".
Mr. Soumakis described as unacceptable various allegations adding that the Merchant Marine ministry did not interfere in purchace procedures and mergers of companies.
Referring to the New Democracy party proposal to set up an enquiry committee, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed that there was an attempt to make up guilty persons and hold people responsible beforehand, while investigations carried on.
From his side, following a meeting of the party's regional heads, New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis accused the government of lack of political courage and a policy of scuttle.
The leader of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress party Nikos Konstantopoulos spoke of political responsibilities for the shipwreck of "Express Samina".
The issue of the "Express Samina" shipwreck will be debated in Parliament today, as the Prime minister will reply to relative questions political party leaders have raised.
Meanwhile, the Central Port Authorities of Pireaus have imposed heavy fines to the captain of passenger vessel "Express Artemis" belonging to "Minoan Lines", which ran aground the island of Naxos last week and which was overloaded.
Following inspections, the ship was carrying 506 more passengers than allowed and thus the captain of the ship received a fine amounting to about 55 million drachmas, while the company had to pay 25,5 million drachmas, since they had not taken all necessary measures to prevent the overloading of the ship.
Finally, the captains' union is in turmoil and is threatening with resignations if captain Vasilis Yiannakis of "Samina Express" continues to be held responsible for the shipwreck before his trial.
 Greek Olympic athletes back to GreeceGreece received Tuesday morning the 40 Greek Olympic athletes who returned from Sydney with all due honours.
The entire political leadership of the country, Prime minister Kostas Simitis, the Speaker of the Greek parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis and political party representatives, met the Greek athletes, the Olympic winners who accompanied the Olympic flag at the international airport.
At the low-profile welcoming ceremony, Prime minister Simitis called them an exemplary vanguard and stressed that they sent the message that a small country is able to organise a global event.
In the meantime, all Olympic athletes dedicated the 13 medals Greece won to the victims of the passenger vessel "Express Samina".
 Olympic Spirit to spread to all EU schoolsCommisioner on issues of Education and Culture Vivian Redding , who visited officially Greece, anounced the setting up of a programme which will be spreading the Olympic Spirit to all European Union schools.
In a joint Press Conference, Mrs. Redding and Education minister Petros Efthymiou underlined that the programme would be based on books and material on computers, as well as on the relevant programme "Olympic Education", which will be implemented from 2001 to 2004 on Greek schools.
 Petrol tank-truck owners suspend strikeThe presidents of the federations of petrol tank-truck owners and drivers, met extraodinarily last night and decided with 9 votes in favour and 2 against to suspend the strike they started the previous week. Their decision is expected to be endorsed today at a new general assembly.
Yesterday, tank-trucker representatives on strike met with the National Economy minister Yannos Papantoniou who accepted their demand not to issue any new permits.
Meanwhile, fuel prices are expected to be reduced by 8.5 drachmas per litre as of today and diesel oil will be by 11 drachmas cheaper.
 Congratulatory messages for Cyprus' independenceBritain wishes that the Cyprus issue resolution be based on the creation of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, according to the United Nations resolutions, desribing this setlling as the best compromise for both sides.
The British stand was reported by the British Foreign Affairs minister Robin Cook after his meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kassoulides in London, adding that the two sides have entered the stage of substancial negotiations.
Mr. Cook also said that that was a historic moment to prevent the division of Cyprus and assured that Britain would make a serious effort so that the negotiations would prove successful.
In the meantime, in a message sent to the President of the Cyprus Republic Glafkos Klerides on the occasion of Cyprus' Independence, American President Bill Clinton underlines that the United States will remain faithful to its commitment for a viable and just solution of the Cyrpus issue.
President Klerides received also congragulatory messages from the Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime minister Kostas Simitis.
 Greek Defence minister meets with his Turkish counterpartNational Defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos met yesterday his Turkish counterpart Sabahtin Tsakmakoglu who is visiting Greece to attend the 11th Defendory International 2000 Fair.
The two ministers discussed Greek-Turkish relations and ways to reduce military armaments in both countries in the framework of the confidence building measures.
 Cohen to participate in South-eastern countries' conferenceAccording to an anouncement issued by the Pentagon, American Defence minister William Cohen will be present at the fifth yearly conference of his counterparts of countries belonging to South-eastern Europe, which will take place in Thessaloniki next week.
Mr. Cohen will be in Greece next Sunday and Monday in order to discuss with his Greek, Turkish, Rumanian, Bulgarian and Slovenian counterparts issues related to regional safety and cooperation in peacekeeping missions.
 Athens Stock Exchange drops by 2,41% yesterdayThe General Share Price Index of the Athens Stock Exchange fell by 2,41% yesterday closing at 4079,77 points.