NEWS

In Brief

FALCON TRIAL

Pilot at fault for grabbing altitude control, expert says The fatal dipping and soaring of the government Falcon jet in September 1999 was due to the captain’s mishandling of the aircraft and not to a malfunction of the automatic pilot, an aircraft expert told an Athens court yesterday. Falcon pilot Yiannis Androulakis was at fault for grabbing the aircraft’s altitude controls before the automatic pilot had disengaged, according to aircraft design engineer Vassileios Vainas. Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis and his son were among seven passengers killed in the freak accident over Romania. The trial continues. FERRY STRIKE Coastal shipping routes disrupted tomorrow and on June 11-13 Passengers on coastal shipping routes will face disruptions tomorrow after two sailors’ unions announced their participation in strike action called by the Communist-sponsored PAME labor movement. Also, ships across the country will remain moored from the morning of Tuesday, June 11 to that of Thursday, June 13, while sailors participate in a 48-hour strike, following yesterday’s call for action by the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation. Unionists want higher pensions and productivity bonuses. ANTIQUITIES Archaeologists strike over draft law State-employed archaeologists will stage a 24-hour strike today to protest against a draft law for the protection of antiquities tabled in Parliament last week by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos. Unionists have particular objections to an article allowing for the lending and exchange of ancient monuments with other countries. They will also hold four-hour work stoppages tomorrow and Thursday. Lambrakis Publisher and media baron Christos Lambrakis was able to leave his bed and chat with colleagues as he continued his steady recovery following a heart attack on Friday night, doctors at the Athens Evangelismos Hospital said yesterday. The heart functions of Lambrakis, 68, were back to normal and his lung function stable, doctors said, adding that there was no sign of any brain damage. Contraband The captain and crew of a Bolivian-flagged freighter that ran aground off the northern Aegean island of Thasos last Wednesday with more than 1.5 million packs of contraband cigarettes aboard faced a Kavala prosecutor yesterday on charges including smuggling, illegal entry into Greece and forgery. Police believe the five Ukrainians and one Russian are part of a ring smuggling illegal products into Europe via Ukraine, Russia and Bulgaria. The Pena had been en route to Montenegro from the Bulgarian port of Burgas. Afghan seminar An international seminar for the preservation of the cultural heritage of Afghanistan, which started in Kabul yesterday, was attended by Thessaloniki’s Byzantine Antiquities Director Charalambos Bakirtzis. Greece has already donated 44,000 euros to help rebuild the Museum of Kabul, the National Theater, Portrait Gallery and Music Academy. The Culture Ministry’s General Secretary Lina Mendoni is due in Afghanistan next month to assess which projects should have priority. Immigrants Port authorities on Kos yesterday morning rounded up 11 of 13 African immigrants set ashore on the Aegean island by a Turkish national in charge of a slave ship. Ismail Yigit, 22, was arrested and faces prosecution. Sismanogleio The Greek Consul General in Istanbul, Panos Kalogeropoulos, yesterday signed a contract to refurbish the Sismanogleio mansion in the city center – a donation by the Greek family of benefactors. Kalogeropoulos attributed the eventual granting of permission by Turkish authorities to «the new climate of bilateral relations (between Greece and Turkey) and to the unwavering interest of Foreign Minister George Papandreou.» The building will house the consulate. Robbery ring A group of five Albanians who stole cars to rob banks netted around 110,000 euros in three hold-ups in eastern Attica this month, police said yesterday after arresting one of the group on Saturday. Blendi Skirtai, 24, was arrested in the Athens district of Nea Halkidona in a car reported stolen the day before.