Greece to buy 415 Russian infantry combat vehicles NATO member Greece yesterday agreed to buy 415 BMP-3 fighting vehicles from Russia worth up to 1.7 billion euros, a defense source said, in a move expected to further enhance ties between the two countries. Greece’s State Defense Procurements Council (KYSEA) was due to announce the deal which will be delivered over several years. «The deal is for 415 BMP-3 vehicles worth up to 1.7 billion euros from Russia,» a Defense Ministry source told Reuters. Greece is spending about 3 percent of its GDP on defense each year – among the highest in NATO – to reach an arms balance with archrival Turkey, another big defense spender. (Reuters) Bulgaria’s 2007 wheat sowings down 6 percent SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarian farmers have put 960,400 hectares to wheat this autumn, 6 percent less than a year earlier, mainly due to unfavorable weather and poor grain crops, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday. A severe drought has cut the Balkan country’s 2007 wheat crop to a four-year low of 2.4 million tons. «Heavy rains this autumn slowed the sowing,» the ministry said in a statement. The unfavorable weather also slashed the barley crop by 30 percent, but farmers remained more optimistic about the grain and have planted 188,700 hectares, up by 10 percent from 2006. Turkish road sell-off Australia’s Macquarie Infrastructur, Spain’s Abertis, Portugal’s Brisa, Italy’s Atlantia and Japan’s Itochu are eyeing Turkey’s highway privatization, an adviser to the sale told Reuters. «At the moment we are in talks,» Halil Eroglu, general manager of adviser TSKB, said yesterday. Ankara has not yet announced how it plans to carry out the sale, or whether the assets – which include Istanbul’s landmark Bosporus bridges and eight highways – will be packaged together or sold separately. (Reuters) Building permits drop Greek construction activity measured by the number of new building permits fell 10.7 percent year-on-year in September, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. (Reuters) Turk ship sale Turkey’s Competition Board has approved the sale of Turkish shipper UN Ro-Ro to US buyout firm KKR, the board said on its website yesterday. The KKR has bought 97.6 percent of the Turkish shipper in a deal valuing the whole firm at 910 million euros. (Reuters) J&P co-founder dies Giorgos Paraskevaidis, co-founder of Cyprus’s largest construction group J&P, died yesterday in a London hospital aged 91. J&P achieved a notable expansion abroad and its Greek subsidiary (J&P Avax) is listed on the Athens bourse. Paraskevaidis devoted large sums to charitable and cultural causes.