Archbishop urges believers not to believe reports of alleged blackmail Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday reacted to recent allegations of bishops being blackmailed by complaining that «the Church always has to be brought into everything, whether it is to blame or not, whether it is actually involved or not.» Christodoulos told the congregation at the church of Prophitis Ilias in Rizoupoli «not to believe even half» of the reports, such as those last week involving the alleged blackmail of four bishops. He said such reports «aim to destroy people’s faith in the Church.» However, in interviews with Ethnos, Bishop Chrysostomos of Zakynthos and Stefanos of Triphylia said that bishops had been targets of extortion and that they were ready to testify in the judicial probe being conducted. PEOPLE’S OLYMPICS Gianna agrees on initiatives at Davos Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki yesterday agreed on initiatives emphasizing the public’s participation in the Olympic Games, following talks with Special Adviser to the UN secretary-general, Adolf Ogi, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and Ogi agreed to encourage children from all over the world to participate in Olympic flame relay and to attend the Games. The Athens 2004 president is to send a final program of proposed initiatives to Ogi and to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Mrs Karamanlis pregnant Natasha Karamanli, wife of the opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, is four months pregnant with twins, ND’s headquarters announced yesterday. On the bench Panathinaikos chairman Angelos Philippides and the soccer team’s coach, Sergio Markarian are to face trial on charges of verbal abuse and physical violence against a referee, according to a Misdemeanours Council ruling made public yesterday. The charges relate to incidents after a match between Panathinaikos and archrival Olympiakos last March because of a disputed penalty decision. Thessaloniki Jews German Consul-General Ernst-Joachim Doring yesterday paid respect to Thessaloniki’s 50,000 Jews killed by the Nazis in the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps ahead of today’s anniversary marking 58 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Doring laid a wreath at a memorial to the dead set up in the northern city two years ago. Castaway monks Coast guard officers on Saturday rescued two monks whose boat had capsized off the coast of Daphne in Halkidiki, but one them died while being transported back to land. Reports did not determine the cause of death of 33-year-old Fotios Paraschos. He and Stylianos Goupas, 24, were residents of a nearby monastery. Bribery charges The deputy mayor of Yiannitsa, Giorgos Papadopoulos, faced a prosecutor on Saturday, after allegedly bribing a hospital director to hush up claims that he, Papadopoulos, had sold the hospital overpriced fuel from his petrol station. Papadopoulos claims that the 3,000 euros he gave he financial director of the local hospital was to repay a debt and was not a bribe.