NEWS

In Brief

EXTORTION PROBE

Right-wing publisher to testify, lodges three 3-mln-euro libel suits Right-wing publisher Grigoris Michalopoulos is due to testify today before an Athens prosecutor in connection with allegations that he extorted money from top businessmen and clerics on the pretext of removing them from terror group November 17’s hit list. Michalopoulos was summoned to give evidence after his name came up in testimony by the Angelopoulos family, Marianna Latsi (daughter of tycoon Yiannis Latsis), Bishop Chrysostomos of Zakynthos and businessman Argyris Saliarellis. Meanwhile, Michalopoulos has brought separate 3-million-euro libel suits against Bishop Chrysostomos, Kathimerini and journalist Makis Triandafyllopoulos. INCOMPATIBILITY TESTED Voters appeal for MP to step down, saying he is a practicing doctor Four voters in PASOK deputy Thanos Askitis’s Athens constituency yesterday lodged a lawsuit demanding that the MP should be stripped of his seat as he is still a practicing doctor. Under constitutional amendments passed last year, MPs must suspend their professional activities or resign. The government has said the rule will be enforced without exception, after parliament failed to pass a bill that would have allowed certain loopholes. Until recently, Askitis – who has specialised in sexology – hosted a TV show on sexual relations. FYROM AID Skopje asks Athens to ratify accord The vice president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Radmila Sekerinska, yesterday sent a letter to Foreign Minister George Papandreou, asking for assurances as to when Greece would ratify an agreement for economic aid to FYROM signed by Athens and Skopje last August. Sekerinska – who is in charge of international affairs – complained at the failure of the Greek Parliament to ratify the five-year agreement despite having approved similar accords with other Balkan countries on January 7. Fraudster sentenced A 32-year-old Athens doctor who defrauded people of sums of money by telling them he could use an alleged family link to PASOK General Secretary Costas Laliotis to secure them jobs and other privileges yesterday received a four-year suspended jail sentence. An Athens court found Spyros Hadzisalatas, 32, guilty of fraud, forgery, libel and breaking the law on middle-man activities. Weather woes A total of 140 villages across the country were cut off yesterday following heavy snowfall in central and northern Greece and in the Peloponnese. Snow and frost also caused transport chaos, with drivers obliged to use anti-skid chains on their cars across much of the country, including several roads in Attica. Market prices The prices of fresh fruit and vegetables have increased by as much as 70 percent over the last 10 days – primarily due to bad weather, according to data made public by the Rendi market and the Development Ministry yesterday. The prices of cucumbers, apples, oranges and spinach are up by 70 percent, 66.6 percent, 65 percent and 46.6 percent respectively, data showed. Cyprus competition Entries for a competition to design the flag and compose the national anthem of a reunified Cyprus were being counted yesterday after the competition deadline expired, a UN spokesman on Cyprus said. Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities are now to appoint representatives to two committees who are to judge entries separately, the spokesman said. The entries have been submitted from both sides of Cyprus, Britain, Japan, New Zealand and other countries. Murder arrests Patras police yesterday arrested three Albanians alleged to have been behind the fatal stabbing on Saturday of a 58-year-old Greek in a cafe managed by the victim’s son in the western Peloponnesian town. After waiting for the last few customers to leave, the three men stabbed Fotis Kravariotis in the heart with a screwdriver and robbed him of 375 euros, police said. EKAB protest Employees of the National First Aid Center (EKAB) will stage a five-hour work stoppage on Thursday, starting at 9 a.m., to discuss action following the crash of an ambulance helicopter last Tuesday.