|Wednesday, 13 November 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-09-29
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5 THE VOICE OF GREECE
29/9/2000 11:07:36 ðì
 Express Samina tragedyCabinet met yesterday to discuss Tuesday night's sinking of the Samina Express ferryboat off the coast of Paros island. At least 65 people were killed in the accident, which occurred when the ship hit a rocky islet and 452 passengers were rescued. Rescue crews were still searching for survivors yesterday. Following the meeting, Prime minister Costas Simitis said that an in-depth probe would be conducted to find the cause of the tragedy and those responsible.
The acting government spokesman, Tilemachos Hytiris said yesterday that criminal charges have already been filed against any parties found responsible, on the orders of the Prime minister and of Justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos. Mr. Hytiris also stressed that the vessel ran aground and sank not because it was unseaworthy, but because it was not heading in the right direction.
According to the chief of the coastguard and representatives of the ship's oweners- Minoan Flying Dolphins - the number of missing persons currently stands at 11. However, some reports indicate that another 6 people - 4 Australians and 2 Greeks - who boarded at the last minute, are still unaccounted for.
During the testimony of surving crew members last night, the ship's mate, Tasos Psychotgios was the only one to admit the responsibility for the accident. Together with the ship's captain, trainnee captain, radio operator and seaman, he was arrested and charged with manslaughter.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Merchant Marine minister Christos Papoutsis described the shipwreck as incomprehensible, unprecedented and incredible. He emphasized that all efforts were made to save lives, through the coordinated efforts of the ministry, the navy and the airforce, and expressed the view that ships should be scrapped before reaching the age of 35.
In the meantime, main opposition New Democracy accused the government of not finding those responsible and not blaming them for the accident, while government spokesman Dimitris Reppas accused the New Democracy party of political expediency.
At the same time, Culture minister Theodoros Pangalos called on the services of his ministry to postponed all scheduled events organised until October 8. Addionally, the General Confederation of the Greek workers has staged a 24 hour strike in the mercant marine, demanding for safety measures to be taken for passengers.
At the Sydney Olympics, the winner of the 200m sprint Greek runner Costas Kenteris, dedicated his gold medal to Greece, as he mourned the maritime tragedy.
 Verelis meets with truckers' representativesFollowing a meeting with trucker's representatives yesterday, Transport minister Christos Verelis expressed his conviction that the ongoing strike by owners and drivers of fuel tanker-trucks wouls soon end. He added that many of their demands had been met, while the rest would be discussed with National Economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
At the meeting, the truckers assured that minister that they would not block access to state oil refineries. The truckers, who were joined on Tuesday by owners and drivers of small vans, want the government to decrease its fuel tax and recall a decision to deregulate the industry.
 High oil prices cause strikesFuel and food shortages are already evident on some islands and in the provinces and the situation in Athens-if the strike continues-is expected to worsen considerably by early next week.
In the meantime, protest ralies are scheduled for today by taxi drivers, who have also anounced a 24-hour strike beginning at 4am. They are demanding stabilization of fuel prices, lower taxes, and fare levels that correspond to the cost of operating their vehicles.
 0,24% drop in Athens Stock Exchange yesterdayThe General Share Price Index of the Athens Stock Exchange fell slightly yesterday by 0,24% closing at 4.142,81 points.
 Cyprus issueThe President of the Cyprus Republic Glafkos Klerides reacted angrily againt the accusations according to which the Greek government has arleady accepted a solution based on the creation of confederation in Cyprus. Mr. Klerides stated that the solution the Greek government supports is one based on the United Nations resolutions.
In the meantime, a delegation of the Turkish Foreign ministry is in Athens for the meeting of the Greek-Turkish "Direction-Committee" which is monitoring the implementation of the nine agreements signed the Greek and Turkish Foreign ministers last February.
Labour minister Tasos Yannitsis met with the board of industrialists and discussed labour relations and ways to deal with unemployment. After the meeting, Mr Yannitsis stated that the dialogue will end by October 30th, while the Federation of Greek Industries urged that the reduced working hours not be applied.