NEWS

In Brief

European Commission

Athens to send a woman to succeed Dimas in Brussels Stavros Dimas's tenure as Greece's European environment commisioner is due to come to an end, the government confirmed yesterday. Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said that Greece would be sending a woman to represent the country on the European Commission. Droutsas indicated that European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso has expressed a desire for more women to be part of his Commission. So far, 17 of the 27 members of the European Union have named their candidates, none of which are women. Barroso apparently wants at least seven women as part of the Commission. Droutsas suggested that the Greek commissioner would be given a «serious» portfolio but no details were given. AIDS CASES Infections up by 20 percent Medics in Thessaloniki yesterday reported a 20 percent increase in cases of people diagnosed with AIDS in the last three years in Greece, noting that the cases related mostly to heterosexual men although there was also a slight increase in women contracting the disease. According to experts attending the 21st annual Panhellenic conference on AIDS, a total of 9,229 people in Greece either carry the HIV virus that causes AIDS or have full-blown AIDS, according to statistics released last October. Hotel deaths A new probe was launched yesterday into the death of two guests over 24 hours at a hotel in Thessaloniki earlier this month from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Prosecutor Giorgos Bombolis wants to establish whether an engineer who visited the hotel after the first death had been negligent in not closing it down and as a result may have been guilty of the second guest's manslaughter. Cyprus talks Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday resumed their face-to-face peace talks, discussing the thorny issue of territory. The two leaders are to meet again on November 20. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month pushed the two community leaders to seek the necessary compromises to reach a settlement to the talks, launched just over a year ago. Council charges Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis yesterday announced a freeze on council charges in what he described as a bid to help citizens and businessmen who are struggling due to the impact of the financial crisis. The measure will apply to 520,000 households who also benefited from a charge freeze last year. An additional measure will be extended to 100,000 traders who will see no increase in their electricity bills. Families with four children of more will benefit from an exemption from municipal cleaning and lighting fees. Parliament transparency In keeping with the government's bid for greater transparency, Parliament said yesterday that from now on it will publish on its website any tenders for the supply of equipment or services. Parliament began this new practice yesterday by announcing that it was inviting bids from companies to supply it with 75 computers.

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