NEWS

In Brief

SECURITIZATION

EU says Greece can use proceeds of uncollected taxes as budget boost The European Union gave preliminary approval to Greece yesterday to use the proceeds from uncollected taxes, or securitization, for its budget revenues but the Economy and Finance Ministry said that it did not intend to do so for the 2005 and 2006 budgets. The ministry had initially included 1.5 billion euros of securitization proceeds in its 2005 budget but then reversed the decision after protests from the European Commission. The government now believes it can reduce the deficit to below 3 percent of GDP by the end of the year without securitization proceeds. UNIONIST ATTACK Two suspects will testify on Monday The two men accused of attacking Christos Polyzogopoulos, the head of Greece's largest umbrella union GSEE, were told yesterday that they must testify before a magistrate on Monday. Nikos Koundardas, 29, and Stelios Malindretos, 41, have denied charges of attempted manslaughter, theft and causing serious damage. Koundardas said he took part in a leftist rally in central Athens but then went home. Malindretos said he was forced to hit Polyzogopoulos after being threatened by Jehovah's Witnesses. Three quakes Three minor earthquakes shook Kastoria and Cephalonia early yesterday. A 4.4-force quake struck south of the Ionian island just after midnight. A few minutes later another 4.4-Richter quake, followed by a 4.3-force tremor, were felt in the town of Kastoria. No damage was reported. Bishop quits Kallinikos, Bishop of Piraeus, yesterday informed the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece that he intended to retire. The 80-year-old cited his deteriorating health as the reason. The Synod said that it will meet this Tuesday to discuss whether to accept his resignation. Thessaloniki flag Mayor of Thessaloniki Vassilis Papageorgopoulos unveiled the municipality's new flag yesterday. It features the profile of Alexander the Great, which has been on the city's flags in one form or another since 1984. Votanikos funds The City of Athens will be granted some 127.6 million euros in EU funds to boost projects to regenerate the rundown area of Votanikos near central Athens, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis agreed yesterday. The area is being upgraded as part of plans by Panathinaikos to build a sports complex there. Bad grain Greek authorities yesterday sent back to Turkey a 2,700-ton consignment of Turkish grain after laboratory tests revealed exceptionally high toxin levels. Killer cop A 57-year-old retired policeman yesterday shot dead his 45-year-old wife outside their home in Veria, in central Macedonia. The former officer allegedly fired at his wife twice, using a legally owned shotgun. A prosecutor charged the 57-year-old with murder after neighbors reported the incident to police. Road fatalities Three youngsters were killed, two seriously injured and a fifth slightly hurt after the car they were traveling in early yesterday veered into a street light in the center of a main road in Ioannina and split in half, local police said. The ages of the five range from 17 to 25, police said. Samos migrants Police on Samos yesterday detained 13 Afghan immigrants who had arrived illegally on the island. The men were taken to the local hospital where they were to undergo tests for bird flu.

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