NEWS

In Brief

IRAQ WARNED

Greece calls on Saddam to disarm, Papandreou meets Powell in NY The Greek EU presidency yesterday called on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to immediately comply with UN resolutions and disarm. «Time is running out… (UN Security Council Resolution) 1441 gave Iraq a final opportunity to disarm peacefully. If it does not take this chance, it will carry the responsibility for all the consequences,» a Foreign Ministry statement read. Foreign Minister George Papandreou met in New York yesterday with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who presented tape recordings and satellite photos that he said proved that Saddam is concealing weapons of mass destruction. Papandreou was also due to meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan late yesterday. INDICTING MINISTERS Parliamentary committee approves legislation facilitating the process A parliamentary committee yesterday unanimously approved legislation facilitating the indictment of Cabinet ministers for criminal acts or felonies. According to the draft law, a 151-vote majority from the 300-member house would suffice to indict ministers – as opposed to the 180 ballots required under extant law. The legislation also abolishes the practice of deputies acting as prosecutors and imposes a 10-year statute of limitations on crimes allegedly committed by ministers. The legislation, which revises a 1977 law, also proposes that a full preliminary investigation be conducted before a minister is prosecuted. ATTIKI ODOS Toll charges from tomorrow Drivers using new sections of the Attiki Odos will be obliged to pay for the privilege from 11 a.m. tomorrow when a new toll charge comes into effect. Car drivers will be charged 1.80 euros. The fees for motorcycles, trucks and buses, and trailers are 0.90 euros, 4.50 euros, and 7.20 euros, respectively. Frequent travelers can get discounts by applying for «e-passes» – worth 30 euros – at Citizen Information and Service Centers. Those with e-passes will also be able to go through the toll gates without waiting, via specially designated lanes. Prestige captain Captain Apostolos Mangouras, 68, master of the Prestige ferry which sank off western Spain on November 13 with 77,000 tons of toxic fuel oil aboard, will be released on bail from prison this week after the ship’s civil responsibility insurer, London Steamship, agreed to pay the 3-million-euro deposit, Spain’s El Pais newspaper reported yesterday. Mangouras has been in prison for over two and a half months, pending trial for failing to obey maritime agency orders and negligence. The high bail has been strongly criticized by the Greek government. Holocaust US Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller, in Thessaloniki yesterday, condemned Saturday’s desecration, with spray-painted swastikas, of a monument to Holocaust victims in the center of the northern city. Miller – who was joined by the German and US consuls general Ernst-Hoakin Doring and John Kenning, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos and others – appealed to the city’s Jewish community to visit the monument to pay their respects to the 50,000 members of Thessaloniki’s once-flourishing Jewish community who died in World War II German concentration camps. Fuel smuggling Two Ghanaians have been arrested and a 34-year-old Greek man is being sought in connection with the illegal storage, processing and distribution of fuel from a refinery based in the town of Mandra in Attica, police said yesterday. Officers are looking for Ioannis Plestis – who they believe ran a fuel-smuggling ring from his premises in Mandra – following the arrests of Kofi Ossey, 25, and Josef Nketia, 33. Police confiscated five tanks with a total capacity of 110,000 liters, 60,000 liters of contraband fuel, a system for cleansing and filtering fuel, various pumps and chemicals. Double robbery Police were yesterday seeking two armed men who robbed two banks in half an hour in the northern suburbs of Athens earlier in the day. The two men, who made off with a total of 17,000 euros after raiding a bank in Papagou just after 1 p.m., were the same duo who netted 20,000 euros after robbing a bank in nearby Holargos just 10 minutes later, police said.