NEWS

In Brief

OPINION POLL

ND lead over PASOK at 6.5 pct, but Simitis still favorite for PM More Greeks would vote for opposition New Democracy than ruling PASOK although Prime Minister Costas Simitis is still considered the most suitable person to govern the country, according to an opinion poll made public yesterday. ND enjoys a 6.5 percent lead over PASOK after 38 percent of the 2,200 people polled by Metron Analysis between March 14 and 30 said they would vote for it as compared to 31.5 percent for PASOK. The poll also showed a boost for the Communist Party (5.9 percent) and Synaspismos Left Coalition (4.0 percent), apparently due to widespread anti-war sentiment. Simitis amassed 36.3 percent for his suitability as premier as compared to ND leader Costas Karamanlis, who got 34 percent. TRUCKER PROTEST Euro MP defends jailed British migrant smuggler A British Euro MP Wednesday flew to Patras to protest at the 11-year jail sentence passed down on one of his constituents found with 19 Iraqi immigrants in his truck about to board an Italy-bound ferry in the Peloponnesian city on March 19, the British daily Guardian reported yesterday. The court ruling on trucker David Wilson, 49, posed «serious questions about Greek justice and the wider issue of progress towards a common legal system for the EU,» the Guardian quoted Richard Corbett, Labor MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, as saying. CHURCH AID Shipment leaves for Jordan today The Church of Greece’s first major shipment of humanitarian aid for Iraqi refugees is to be sent to a Jordanian camp today, it was decided during a meeting of the Holy Synod yesterday. The shipment will be the largest yet from Greece, according to church sources, who said it would comprise the contents of three large Athens warehouses that had been filled with food, clothes and medical supplies. Meanwhile, hospitals and health centers across the country are collecting donations of blood which are to be sent to Baghdad. Erdogan thanks Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan has written to PM Costas Simitis thanking him for the efforts of the Greek authorities in effectively dealing with the hijacker of a Turkish Airlines jet last Friday after it landed at Athens airport, government sources said yesterday. «This unfortunate event reveals the the importance of cooperation between the two governments,» Erdogan noted in his letter, adding that «relations between Greece and Turkey have been boosted following the incident.» New Ombudsman Parliamentary officials yesterday selected 49-year-old Giorgos Kaminis as the country’s new Ombudsman. Kaminis, who is professor of constitutional law at Athens University, replaces Nikiforos Diamantouros, who earlier this week assumed his official duties as European Ombudsman. 4-Richter quake An earthquake measuring 4 on the Richter scale occurred at 7.30 p.m. yesterday a few kilometers east of the western port of Nafpaktos, but no injuries or serious damage were reported. Albanian ties Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis and Albania’s ambassador to Athens, Bashkim Zeneli, yesterday signed three bilateral agreements to boost cooperation in environmental protection, water management and cultural affairs. The agreements «show the adjustment of the Albanian government to the way of international and European laws, to the way of democracy, and respect for human rights and the rights of minorities,» Magriotis said. Also yesterday, Albania’s Parliament approved an agreement between the Albanian and Greek defense ministries for the reconstruction of the naval base at the port of Durres. Anti-terror The Supreme Legal Council is to decide next Thursday whether or not to renew the term of the prosecutor investigating terrorist groups, Ioannis Diotis. His term is due to expire on April 17. Doped athlete Greek long-distance runner Maria Tsirba was found to have tested positive in two tests for illegal substances at the world indoor athletic championships in Birmingham, officials said yesterday.