NEWS

In Brief

XYSTO ON HOLD

High court suspends instant lottery tender The tender for the renewal of the «Xysto» instant scratch lottery contract - which was twice awarded to electronics mogul Socrates Kokkalis in the past decade - has been suspended following a ruling by the Council of State made public yesterday. The decision followed an appeal by various bidders who want reassurances that the competition is being conducted fairly. Last October a prosecutor's report said Kokkalis's Intralot firm was responsible for irregularities regarding the distribution of Xysto winnings, the renewal of the lottery contract in 1998 and the misuse of advertising funds. HELLENIC PETROLEUM Gov't rejects Greek-Russian bid after 9 months of negotiations A bid for 23.5 percent of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) by the Lukoil-Petrola consortium was yesterday declared null and void by the Development and Economy ministries, which said the partnership's final offer was not acceptable. The partnership - between Russia's largest oil company and one of Greece's major refineries, owned by the Latsis group - had been selected for the purchase of nearly a quarter of ELPE and had been discussing the deal for the last nine months. MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS Seven double votes, minister says Seven citizens voted twice in municipal and prefectural elections last October, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis announced yesterday. The «cheating voters» were spotted by state officials correcting 30,000 double entries on the electoral roll, Skandalidis said, adding that officials were due to look into another 10,000 double entries and 10,000 votes by unregistered voters. Food safety A total of 7.4 percent of businesses inspected by National Food Inspection Agency (EFET) officials last year - 799 out of 10,806 - were found to have violated food safety standards, according to EFET figures made public yesterday. A third (33.16 percent) of the businesses inspected were warned to conform to safety standards, EFET said, adding that 35 tons of food were confiscated. T4 safe The T4 thyroid hormone replacement medicine poses no risk to patients and should therefore be freely distributed, the Council of State ruled yesterday, rejecting an appeal by the National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) for the medicine's withdrawal. The court based its decision on findings by EOF's own Scientific Approvals Council whose study of the medicine revealed nothing worrying. Divers sentenced A Piraeus naval court yesterday gave jail sentences to two military diving instructors after finding them guilty of the negligent manslaughter of two trainees. Angelos Papadakis - who was also found guilty of violating military orders during peacetime - was sentenced to three years and two months in jail, and Vassileios Kotsonouris-Kokkinis to two years and seven months in jail. Constantinos Giokas and Lambros Lambrou drowned during a deep sea diving exercise off Salamina Bay in February 2000. Priest's killer An Israeli military court sentenced a Palestinian to life imprisonment yesterday for a series of attacks including a June 2001 drive-by shooting that killed Father Gerasimos, 37, the Greek Orthodox abbot of St George's Monastery in Wadi Kelt near Jericho, army sources in Jerusalem said. Ismael Hassin Radeida, 22, was found guilty of membership of an armed offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction. The court heard that Radeida had killed the priest in error in a shooting on the main Jerusalem to Jericho highway, believing him to be an Israeli. (AFP) Cretan garbage A team of officials from the European Union's environmental directorate yesterday arrived at the Cretan port of Hania to inspect progress in the handling of waste in the area, where the functioning of an illegal rubbish dump at Kouroupitos cost Greece millions of euros in EU fines. French in 2004 The Athens 2004 Organizing Committee and French Embassy and government officials are today due to sign an agreement confirming French as one of the official languages of the Athens Olympic.

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