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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Civil aviation and airforce to cooperate in air-traffic control
  • [02] ┴uthorities assess damage after Sunday's quake

  • [01] Civil aviation and airforce to cooperate in air-traffic control

    Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis and Defence Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos on Monday signed a Protocol calling for cooperation between the Airforce and the Civil Aviation Authority that is set to transform air traffic control in Greece.

    The two ministers stressed that the envisioned cooperation between civil aviation and the military would further upgrade the system of handling air traffic and achieve greater coordination of civilian and military flights for all users of both national and international airspace within the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR), which is controlled by the Greek civil aviation authority YPA.

    The agreements provides for joint use of aeronautics infrastructure and covers issues such as air-traffic control, certifying aeronautical systems, assessment and handling of air-traffic incidents, search and rescue operations, certification of Greek Airforce airstrips by YPA, use of infrastructure, means and equipment, providing services at airports and others.

    An announcement said that the protocol would allow Greece to meet the increased air-traffic control demands imposed by implementing the Single European Sky rules and increase flight safety, in spite of an increase in passenger traffic and to harmonise the services offered by military and civilian units in order to increase the capacity of the Greek air-traffic control system.

    [02] ┴uthorities assess damage after Sunday's quake

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday expressed the state's support for those facing problems in the wake of an earthquake near Kythira that shook the entire country on Sunday, while local authorities on Kythira and nearby Crete sent out teams to make an assessment of the damage caused.

    The damage reported so far has been limited in spite of the magnitude of the quake, which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. Seismologists have essentially ruled out the possibility of strong aftershocks in the region, noting that the largest tremor since Sunday was a 4 Richter earthquake at 7.34 on Monday morning.

    Emerging from his offices, Karamanlis also praised the prompt response to the quake by state services.

    Teams from the Anti-Seismic Protection Organisation (OASP) and the Piraeus Prefecture arrived on the island of Kythira on Monday morning to assess the extent of damage of buildings.

    The Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of Attica (TEDKNA), meanwhile, has pledged ÔČ50,000 in aid to deal with problems caused by the earthquake and will be sending a delegation to the island on Tuesday to view the damage first-hand and decide if it is possible to provide technical assistance.

    Also badly hit by the earthquake was Hania on Crete, where an emergency meeting was held at the prefecture chaired by Prefect George Katsanevakis. According to the initial estimates, the damage was mainly confined to older buildings in the old city and the Venetian shipyard.

    About 40 buildings have cracked walls, fallen plaster or fallen masonry but none is considered to be dangerous. Teams of experts have spent the day examining schools and public buildings, which remained closed on Monday, while problems were found in a school for autistic children in Agios Ioannis, two primary schools and one highschool.

    Seismologists said that much of the worst was avoided because the epicentre of the earthquake was at an intermediate depth of 75 metres beneath the sea, which absorbed alot of the energy released.

    According to the head of the Thessaloniki University Geophysics Laboratory Manolis Skordilis, the earthquake's depth was also the reason why the tremor was felt in so many areas of the country, even as far away as Italy or Egypt.

    "Earthquakes of intermediate depth are felt at a great distance but do not cause great destruction at the epicentre and do not trigger neighbouring faults, unlike surface quakes," he said, noting that it would be difficult for the quake to set off an earthquake in the neighbouring southern Aegean fault.

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