OA says mechanics did their best; lawyer claims firm avoiding damages The Olympic Airways mechanics charged in connection with a freak accident aboard the government’s Falcon jet in 1997 – which caused seven deaths, including that of Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis – had done their best to maintain the aircraft adequately, an OA technical employee told an Athens court yesterday. Earlier, a lawyer representing the family of a passenger who died aboard the Falcon had said OA was just trying to avoid paying compensation to the families of victims. COOPERATION WITH CHINA Olympics hosts to cooperate in security, energy, tourism A commission to boost cooperation between Greece and China in the areas of security, development, culture, energy and the Olympic Games will be set up soon, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said yesterday after a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Li Lanqing, who is in Athens for a three-day visit. China has named Greece a «chosen tourist destination» and will simplify passport processing for would-be visitors, said Li, whose country is hosting the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. OIL FROM FYROM Pipeline launch next month An oil pipeline connecting Thessaloniki to the OKTA refinery in Skopje at a cost of 100 million dollars is to be opened next month at a ceremony in Thessaloniki due to be attended by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ljubco Georgievski, the CEO of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) said yesterday. Plans to build two more pipelines – linking OKTA to Kosovo and to southeastern Serbia respectively – have been approved and financing is now being sought, ELPE CEO Giorgos Moraitis said yesterday. Sailors strike Sailors serving on all categories of vessels are to participate in a series of 48-hour strikes starting on June 1, following yesterday’s call for action by the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation’s executive committee. Unionists want higher pensions and productivity bonuses. Museum strike Some museums and archaeological sites are expected to be closed this weekend and the following weekend after yesterday’s confirmation by the union representing museum guards of two threatened 48-hour strikes. Guards want the Culture Ministry to increase their pay. Exams start End-of-term and school-leaving examinations start today and will continue until June 8 and 10 respectively. A threatened strike by supply teachers supervising the exams will not happen until the scheduled teachers’ and civil servants’ strike on May 29, unionists said yesterday. Hotels defrauded A Canadian national who charged his stays at Glyfada hotels to non-existent companies which he claimed to represent faced a prosecutor yesterday after police caught up with him on Sunday. Emmanouil Galeos, 38, defrauded three Glyfada hotels of a total of 2,700 euros for three stays between April and May. He told them his account would be settled by his firm. The hoteliers informed the police, who informed other local hotels, and Galeos was arrested after attempting to arrange a fourth stay. Papandreou in USA Foreign Minister George Papandreou is due in Boston on Thursday to receive an honorary doctorate from Harvard University before traveling to Washington where he is to meet US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and senior State Department officials for talks on the Middle East, Cyprus, and European security and defense matters. Papandreou will not meet Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who will be in Moscow with President Bush. Mesogeion Avenue Roadworks which started yesterday on the section of Mesogeion Avenue between Elpidos and Gargittou streets will continue from 10 p.m. today until 6.30 a.m. tomorrow, disrupting traffic under the bridge at Stavros.