In Brief


Snooping to be made a criminal offense with 10-year jail term The government plans to change the law so that anyone videotaping or recording someone else without informing them first could face up to 10 years in jail. Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said yesterday he intends to make it a criminal offense to breach someone's privacy in this manner and that courts will not be able to use any illegally obtained recordings, even for investigative reasons. Hatzigakis said that the secretly filmed footage and audio recordings that have been used by the media recently have led to the «dissolution of privacy and the unobstructed intrusion into private life.» DRUG PROGRAM Experts propose methadone scheme to be set up with state help Greece should begin a wide program of administering drug substitutes, such as methadone to addicts, experts at a conference in Thessaloniki recommended yesterday. The meeting was being held at the behest of Thessaloniki chief prosecutor Vassilis Floridis, who also backed the methadone scheme. Experts suggested that specially appointed doctors should be responsible for administering the substitute drug or that a scheme should be set up within the national health system. Some 1,200 addicts in Thessaloniki and 5,000 in Athens are on a waiting list to receive methadone. Court strike Employees protest case pileup Court employees are set to strike tomorrow and Friday in protest at the working conditions in Greek courtrooms. The employees claim that the huge backlog of cases is bringing the justice system to its knees. Some 770,000 suits were filed last year and the number of cases going to court each year is rising. The strike means that no cases will be heard tomorrow or on Friday. Parnitha quake A minor earthquake, measuring 4 Richter, was felt in some parts of Athens this morning. The tremor's epicenter was at the foot of Mount Parnitha, in the area of Fyli, which is northwest of the city center. The quake happened at 7.05 a.m. and did not cause any damage. A 5.9 quake that killed 143 people in Athens in 1999 also had its epicenter in the Mount Parnitha area. Embezzlement probe An employee in the accounts department at Thessaloniki Municipality has been suspended and an investigation has been launched into allegations that he embezzled funds. Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos told reporters yesterday that steps have been taken to seize the assets of the worker and his relative. «We respect every last euro that citizens give us,» said Papageorgopoulos. «We are steadfast in our treatment of mismanagement by Municipality of Thessaloniki employees.» Migrant journey A 27-year-old man was arrested on the Athens-Thessaloniki national road yesterday after police found five illegal immigrants in his car. The migrants, all Albanian nationals, had allegedly paid a total of 1,500 euros to be taken to Athens. Death-fall Briton A 33-year-old British man who killed his son when he jumped from his hotel balcony in Crete with his two children in his arms may return to his homeland for psychiatric treatment, hospital officials in Attica said yesterday. «His doctor says it would be best for him to receive (further) treatment in his native language and this can be done best in Britain,» Athanassios Cosmopoulos, managing director of the Psychiatric Hospital of Attica, told Agence France-Presse yesterday. John Hogan was at Korydallos Prison before his transfer to the hospital. Counterfeit smokes Police in Thessaloniki yesterday arrested four suspected members of a cigarette-smuggling ring after discovering 40,000 packets of counterfeit cigarettes in raids on a series of apartments in the northern city. Officers also seized a Kalashnikov assault rifle, an air gun and 75,000 euros. Thessaloniki blast A homemade explosive device comprising gas canisters detonated in a Thessaloniki shopping arcade at around 2.30 a.m. yesterday, damaging four store facades and a parked motorcycle.