NEWS

In Brief

Athens Metro – Contractor chosen for 1.2-kilometer extension of Line 2 to Ilioupolis The extension of the Athens Metro Line 2 from its current terminus at Dafni to Ilioupolis has been assigned to the AEGEK-METON SA consortium, it was announced yesterday. Budgeted at 20.4 billion drachmas, the project is to be completed within 685 days from the date of signature on the contract. The 1,216-meter line runs underground for 570 meters. The next 148 meters will be constructed with the cut and cover method. The segment to the Ilioupolis station comprises the next 168 meters before the final 330 meters, which will also be cut and cover. Longevity UN figures give Greeks high life expectancy Greeks have one of the longest life expectancies in the world, according to United Nations figures for 1999, published yesterday, which put Greek women, with an average life span of 80.5 years, in 13th place. Japanese women live longest, with an average life span of 84 years. Greek men were also high on the list, in 9th place with an average life expectancy of 75.3, compared with the maximum average of 77.2 years enjoyed by men in Japan and Hong Kong. Economy 2002 growth seen at 4.5 pct Greece’s gross domestic product will grow at 4.5 percent in 2002 despite adverse international conditions, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said. Papantoniou attended a meeting of EU finance ministers, who agreed that growth within the union would average 1.5 percent in 2002 and would accelerate only toward the end of that year. Lesperoglou. The trial of alleged terrorist Avraam Lesperoglou for the murder of prosecutor Georgios Theofanopoulos, among other crimes, continued yesterday with testimony from veteran leftist Manolis Glezos, Antonis Karras (a former high official in the ruling PASOK party) and Preveza Mayor Constantine Papageorgiou, all of whom vouched for the defendant, claiming his ideological stance would not allow him to kill. Lesperoglou’s companion of 13 years, Anna Mike, 43, her father Jan, and other of the defendant’s friends from the Netherlands, testified that he was in that country in 1985, when the crimes he is accused of took place in Athens. Lesperoglou was expected to take the stand today. Not anthrax. A white powder found in the luggage compartment of a Cyprus Airlines flight from an Arab country caused a panic at Larnaca airport in Cyprus yesterday. Larnaca police said the powder turned out to be rat poison. On Rhodes, a 54-year-old mechanic was arrested after confessing to sending an envelope containing white face powder to a close friend. Stamatis Kastrounis will be charged with disrupting citizens’ peace of mind, issuing threats and disseminating false information. A similar hoax letter arrived at a local newspaper in Hania, western Crete. Officer arrested. The Internal Affairs department of the Greek police force arrested officer Serapheim Lebesis, 32, of the Syntagma Square police station on Monday after 14 grams of unprocessed cannabis was found in a raid on his home. Lebesis claimed the drug was for his personal use. Roman statue. A life-sized Roman marble statue of a toga-wearing man has been unearthed during excavation work this week for a water pipeline in Thessaloniki, local media reported yesterday. Prostitution ring. Vice squad detectives have broken up a prostitution ring involving models and actresses, including 37-year-old television actress Panayiota Varka, known by her stage name as Yiouli Barka, police said yesterday. Undercover police posing as customers arrested Vasileia Yiannakopoulou, 67, who arranged the appointments, Varka, Fotini Stergidou, 31, Stavroula Michalea, a 45-year-old employee of the Piraeus municipal police, and Olta Touloumi, a 19-year-old Albanian. Fees for the women’s services were over 100,000 drachmas, while Varka reportedly charged 250,000 drachmas. Bomb hoax. The latest in a series of bomb hoaxes at public buildings in Thessaloniki occurred yesterday at the administration building of Thessaloniki University. After an unidentified caller rang the custodian and said a bomb had been planted, the building was evacuated and searched by bomb disposal experts with sniffer dogs, but nothing was found.