NEWS

IN BRIEF

PRIVACY RIGHTS

Insurance firm fined for using records to deny coverage to gay man Greece's privacy watchdog has fined an insurance company 60,000 euros because it illegally delved into the personal records of a client before deciding not to provide him with life insurance because he was gay, sources said yesterday. The Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD) discovered that the insurance firm used the man's military service record, which showed he had not served because of his sexual orientation, to deny him life insurance. The man already had fire and theft insurance with the company. The APPD considered this to be a breach of the man's right to privacy by the company, which was not named. PASOK UNITY Evangelos Venizelos adopts softer stance at party conference PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos pledged yesterday to put party unity above his personal ambitions in an effort to make the party again attractive to voters. Speaking at the PASOK conference in Athens, Venizelos, who contested the party's leadership last November, adopted a softer stance. «We have to put 'we' above 'I,'» he told delegates. «There is a clear center-left majority but a section of the progressive electorate sees PASOK as part of the country's problems and considers it part of yesterday, not tomorrow.» LAWYER DELAY Nikoloutsopoulos gets until Monday Lawyer Christos Nikoloutsopoulos, a key witness in the alleged blackmail of former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos, was given until Monday to prepare his deposition after appearing before a magistrate yesterday. Nikoloutsopoulos faces blackmail charges but his lawyer insisted that he has «the heartfelt intention of revealing the truth.» Nikoloutsopoulos accompanied Zachopoulos's assistant, Evi Tsekou, to meetings with journalists during which her affair with the public official was discussed. Museums shut Greek museums and archaeological sites will be shut tomorrow morning as guards go on a four-hour work stoppage over financial demands. The protest action, to run from 8 a.m. to noon, is in response to the government reneging on a promise for a rise in benefits, according to the guards. Methoni earthquake An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale struck Methoni, in the Peleponnese yesterday. There were no reports of injuries or damages. The earthquake's epicenter was in an undersea area 275 kilometers southwest of Athens and struck at 9.10 a.m. A month ago, two strong quakes with magnitudes of 6.5 and 6.4 struck the same area and were felt as far away as Italy and Egypt. Rubbish fires Two overflowing rubbish bins caught fire in Thessaloniki overnight, damaging a parked car and motorcycle, authorities said yesterday. Police said they did not know the cause of the fire which broke out between 1.30 a.m. and 4 a.m. Crete resort The Council of State did not hear this week the appeal against the construction of a hotel and golf complex on Crete. Protesters claim that the Cavo Sidero project, to comprise five holiday villages, a string of luxury hotels and three golf courses, would damage the environment and be a heavy drain on water resources. It was not clear when the court will rule on the case. Loan fraud A construction magnate in northern Greece is under investigation for allegedly colluding with two bank employees to obtain some 20 million euros in loans without having the necessary collateral, police said yesterday without revealing the name of the businessman. The loans were issued in return for just 7.5 million euros in checks being submitted as collateral, which contradicts the bank's regulations. Pirated CDs Police arrested a couple in Thessaloniki in connection to thousands of pirated CDs and DVDs found in their apartment, authorities said yesterday. Police found in their posession 1,056 copied DVDs, 3,783 fake CDs and four computers that had been rigged to make copies.

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