NEWS

In Brief

SARKOZY VISIT

Military procurements and EU presidency to top agenda The possibility of Greece buying navy ships and fighter jets from France is likely to be one of the items topping the agenda when Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and French President Nicolas Sarkozy meet in Athens tomorrow, sources said yesterday. France is due to take over the presidency of the European Union in July, so the two men are expected to focus their discussion on this issue as well. Ahead of his visit, Sarkozy has referred to Karamanlis as «more than a partner, a friend» in an interview with Kathimerini. (Page 3) GAY WEDDING Tilos mayor cites Constitution in defense of two marriages The mayor of the small Aegean island of Tilos, Tassos Aliferis, was yesterday obliged to submit to the prosecutor on Rhodes a written statement about his decision to marry two gay couples after the judicial official refused to see him. Aliferis has been charged with dereliction of duty but argued in his statement yesterday that he had simply acted in accordance with the Constitution and the UN charter of human rights. Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas issued a circular saying that any mayor marrying gay couples would be prosecuted. GREEKS ABROAD PM pledges to discuss voting Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday that his government would soon begin talks with opposition parties about conferring on all Greeks abroad the right to vote. Karamanlis said that he hoped there would be some developments on the issue this year. He made the comments after meeting with the president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Stefanos Tamvakis. Arson attacks Fires broke out at local branches of the New Democracy and PASOK parties in Thessaloniki early yesterday after being hit by explosive devices that caused minor damage in both cases. Five minutes after a petrol bomb was thrown at the ND office on Gamveta Street at 1.25 a.m., the PASOK office in the upper town was set on fire, although the type of device used there was not known. Taxi fines Rude and uncooperative taxi drivers were fined a total of over 1.6 million euros by the Athens prefecture between October 2006 and February this year. The prefectural disciplinary committee imposed amounts ranging from 10 to 2,000 euros for violations such as overcharging customers, refusing to take passengers, doubling up fares, refusing to go to specific destinations and rude behavior. In 913 cases, the driver's professional license was revoked for at least six months and in 212 cases the car's license plates were confiscated. Euro 2008 Members of the Greek national soccer team joke with coach Otto Rehhagel during training in the village of Seekirchen, 15 kilometers from Salzburg in Austria, where Greece will play all its group games. The first match is against Sweden on Tuesday. Homegrown Two men have been arrested in northern Greece for growing marijuana plants in their homes. Police went to a home in Yannitsa after a drunk driver whom they had arrested admitted to growing marijuana in his backyard. When police arrived, a 37-year-old man was caught trying to uproot the plants. A 58-year-old was arrested in Nea Marmara for growing marijuana in pots on his balcony. Sprinter's return In his first 100-meter race since a doping ban in 2006, British sprinter Dwain Chambers won at the Papaflessia meeting in Kalamata yesterday. Chambers, who clocked 10.26 seconds, just ahead of Mardy Scales of the USA, promised to push for a place in the Olympic Games this summer. «Beijing is still there,» he said, vowing to do his best in the British trials next month. Chambers also ran in the 200 meters at the meeting but was beaten by Scales. Euroleague berth Panionios secured its place in next season's Euroleague after beating Maroussi 88-74 at home yesterday to finish third in this season's basketball league. The Nea Smyrni outfit reversed the 0-2 lead taken by Maroussi after the first two games in the best-of-five series to win 3-2, capitalizing on the tiredness of their opponents, who had played three more games than Panionios in the playoffs.

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