NEWS

In Brief

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his visiting Norwegian counterpart, Kjell Magne Bondevik, yesterday discussed bilateral trade and European enlargement in Athens. Bondevik said he wanted non-EU member Norway to sign a trade agreement with the bloc before 10 more countries join next year. Simitis said he hoped the agreement could be signed in Athens on April 16, when the 10 sign their accession agreements. EU members and free-trade association countries are currently discussing adjustments to the agreement ahead of EU expansion, Bondevik noted. AEK HEADLESS Entire board walks out before Financial Crimes Squad inspection The entire management board of AEK football club, including embattled strongman Chrysostomos «Makis» Psomiadis, resigned – and cleared out their desks – yesterday ahead of an inspection at the club’s headquarters by Financial Crimes Squad officers. The resignations were provoked by government pressure on the entire board, an official statement said. A court of first instance is to appoint a temporary board for the club in due course. EXTORTION Another businessman testifies Insurance magnate Dimitris Kontominas yesterday testified before an Athens prosecutor in connection with allegations that journalists and extreme right-wingers extorted money from top businessmen on the pretext of removing them from November 17’s hit list. Kontominas, who was summoned to give evidence, was at the prosecutor’s office for about an hour. Sources said that Kontominas denied being a victim of extortionists. Drug penalties Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday ruled out the possibility of drug use being downgraded from a misdemeanor to a petty offense, but said that legislative reform reducing the maximum jail term for drug use would be ready next month. The maximum sentence is currently five years. Museums closed The Archaeological Museum of Delphi has closed to allow for refurbishment works ahead of the 2004 Olympics, but the hall housing the bronze Charioteer will remain open to the public, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The Archaeological Museum of Patras has closed for about a month for renovation, and the Macedonian royal tombs at Vergina will be closed to the public until the end of March. Airport gun A 57-year-old shipping executive was arrested at Athens airport yesterday evening for allegedly trying to take a. 22-millimeter gun with five rounds in it onto a Thessaloniki-bound plane. Dimitrios Papatryfon was carrying the gun, for which he did not have a license, in his hand luggage. High nun Police yesterday evening were attempting to coax a 50-year-old nun into descending from an electricity pylon in Schisto, near Piraeus, where she had been perching for at least 17 hours. The nun, who claimed to reside in a nearby chapel, told police she was protesting over the health risks posed by radio and TV masts on Mt Aegaleo. Police said the unidentified woman – who demanded a visit from Archbishop Christodoulos, the mayor of Korydallos and Bishop Alexios of Nikaia – was probably mentally disturbed. Daniilidou Greek tennis player Eleni Daniilidou, 20, and Australia’s Todd Woodbridge are to play Martina Navratilova and Leander Paes of India in the mixed-doubles finals of the Australian Open tomorrow. Daniilidou, seeded 18th in singles, lost to No.1 seed Serena Williams in the fourth round earlier this week. Museum The permanent collection of the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki – over 2,500 works – is open to the public from today. The exhibition is open to the public daily from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed Mondays. No driving tests Driving tests for car and motorcycle owners have been indefinitely postponed due to a strike by Transport Ministry employees.