NEWS

In Brief

SHIPYARDS German consortium Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and Ferrostaal yesterday signed an agreement to take over Hellenic Shipyards at Skaramangas, ending years of efforts by the Greek State to sell off the shipyards. The consortium paid 47.1 million euros, of which 41 million are for a capital increase at Hellenic Shipyards and the other 6.1 million are for ETBA bank’s equity stake. LABOR RIFT GSEE divided over strike on social security reform A serious rift erupted in the leadership of the country’s largest labor group yesterday when a majority of 23-22 voted in favor of a strike on the day that the government submits legislation introducing social security reform. The majority vote in the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) resulted from a union member allied to the ruling PASOK party, Maria Frangiadaki, siding with the opposition. FALCON TRIAL Pilot ‘inadequately trained’ A freak accident in September 1999 aboard a government Falcon jet in which seven people died occurred because the pilot was inadequately trained to handle an aircraft malfunction, a flying instructor told an Athens court yesterday. The accident did not result from the malfunction of the pitch-feel controls but from the reactions of pilot Yiannis Androulakis, Giorgos Kanelias stated, adding that a properly trained pilot would have reduced the aircraft’s speed – and thus the risks. Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Kranidiotis and his son were among those killed on the Falcon. Shipping inspections Turkey has agreed to a US request to conduct checks in its territorial waters on ships suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, reports from Ankara said yesterday. Turkey’s acceptance comes just one day after Greece rejected a similar request by the USA on the grounds that such inspections went against Greek law and the Constitution. Bishops clash The Holy Synod yesterday convened to discuss allegations made by the former Bishop of Attica, Nicodimos, that his successor, Panteleimonas, is homosexual. The latter appeared before the Synod to deny the charges and said he would sue his detractor, a spokesman for the Church’s governing body said. TVX decision The Council of State yesterday rejected a request by the municipality of Stageira in Halkidiki and residents of the village of Stratoniki to suspend a government decision allowing mining firm TVX Hellas to continue its excavation of base metals under the village. The protesters are seeking the closure of the underground mine, which they say is dangerous and a health risk, in another legal suit to be heard next Friday. Late The Cypriot minister for communications and public works, Averoff Neofytou, who months ago promised to resign if works on a coastal road in the southern resort of Paphos were not finished by July 13, said yesterday that his resignation letter was ready as it appears increasingly unlikely that the road will be ready on time. Earthquake unit The government is considering the creation of a new «special disaster unit» of civil engineers and academic experts to conduct countrywide checks on the ability of old buildings – especially schools and hospitals – to withstand earthquakes, Deputy Environment Minister Yiannis Tsaklides told a seminar on pre-seismic precautions in Thessaloniki yesterday. It is time to shift the focus from constructing tougher buildings to examining existing structures, Tsaklides said. Piraeus riots The clashes between protesting ships’ engineers and port police in Piraeus on Wednesday were the focus of an altercation in Parliament yesterday between Deputy Economy Minister Giorgos Floridis and Communist Party MP Spyros Striftaris after the latter called police tactics «fascist.» Floridis said Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis «did not just verbally oppose fascism, but was jailed for his struggle against the dictatorship,» and attacked «those who claim to protect workers’ rights in order to stop people earning a living.»