NEWS

In Brief

ALBANIA-GREECE

Nano inaugurates road from Greek border to Gjirokaster Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano inaugurated a new road linking the Greek border with the southern Albanian town of Gjirokaster on Saturday, saying that «this road leads Albania to its European accession.» The road, which begins at the Kakavia border post, runs the width of the Dropolis province with its 30 ethnic Greek villages. It is 23.5 kilometers long and cost over 13 million euros, which were provided by the EU and Greece. Nano spoke of the excellent relations between his country and Greece, which he called «a neighbor and important partner of Albania.» He urged ethnic Greeks to exert their rights and not to leave their homes. N17 TRIAL Hearings to be attended by 120 journalists, minister says The forthcoming trial of 18 suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group will enjoy full media coverage, despite the fact that television crews will probably be banned from the courtroom, Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said yesterday. Speaking during the Parliamentary debate on the 2003 state budget, the minister said there would be seating for 120 members of the press in the courtroom itself, as well as an adjacent press center to accommodate another 250 journalists. The trial – perhaps the most high-profile since the 1991-1992 corruption trial of former prime minister Andreas Papandreou – is expected to start at the beginning of March in the Athens Korydallos Prison. FAMILY JUSTICE Judges allowed maternity leave A senior judge has won a case in the court in which she is a rapporteur in her campaign for women judges to enjoy the right of nine months of paid maternity leave that civil servants already enjoy, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. Harikleia Haralambidi, who is a rapporteur of the Council of State, used her husband, who is a lawyer, to seek recourse at the Council of State after she was refused the special maternity leave. The highest administrative court’s Department C ruled in her favor by a majority vote. The issue will now be decided at a plenary session of the Council of State. Gifts to Kosovo Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday visited Greek troops participating in the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, accompanied by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Georgios Antonakopoulos, and Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Panayiotis Harvalas. Papantoniou handed out Christmas gifts to military personnel at two Greek camps named after Alexander the Great and Rigas Feraios. Ministry claims laurels. Last week’s arrest of two state schoolteachers for allegedly running Internet sites displaying child pornography followed a tip-off to the police by Education Ministry officials, a ministry statement said on Saturday, adding that the two «have been removed from the field of education.» On Friday, police announced that Athens primary school teacher Constantinos Agorastos, 41, started a web child porn ring along with five former fellow-villagers from Makryhori, near Larissa. The four men arrested included Larissa junior high school teacher Athanassios Kostakis, 43. The two teachers had allegedly used their school website access passwords to enter the Internet. Aegean routes The government proposes to sign long-term contracts with private firms to run ferry routes to small, out-of-the-way islands, Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis said yesterday. He said the plan, which has been approved by the Economy Ministry, envisages contracts for between 6-12 years Tsochadzopoulos online Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos will hold an online debate with consumers on Friday, the ministry said yesterday. Tsochadzopoulos, who has come under considerable pressure from consumer protection groups following steep price hikes this year, will be at the Consumer Institute (INKA) from 1-3 p.m. to respond by e-mail to questions submitted by the same medium (www.inka.gr). Domestic An Athens drug addict was shot in the shoulder yesterday while trying to break into the Pangrati home of his former wife’s current boyfriend. Iosif Damilakis, 43, who is in a drug rehabilitation program, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Police arrested Thanassis Triandos, 48, who used his shotgun on Damilakis after being attacked by the drug addict who had just broken a window to get into the house. Sales boy and girl Athens 2004’s two chubby mascots, Athena and Phevos, made their first public appearances as life-size walking dolls in special Christmas-related events this weekend. The two mascots, who are based on ancient Greek toys, took part in a party in Syntagma Square in Athens on Saturday and on Korai Square in Piraeus yesterday. Their presence was used promote the range of items sold by Athens 2004.