NEWS

In Brief

EU-US RELATIONS

Cooperation in Iraq and fighting terrorism are crucial, Simitis says Cooperation in Iraq and combating international terrorism are the two key areas in which the European Union and the USA must work together, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday in Helsinki where he met with his Finnish counterpart Anneli Jaatteenmaki. An EU-US summit scheduled to take place in Washington on June 25 is crucial for the Union to improve ties with the USA, Simitis and Jaatteenmaki agreed. Simitis is due back in Athens today following trips to Stockholm and Copenhagen. DEBT RULING No detention for money owed to IKA, public bodies, court says Citizens cannot be detained for debts owed to the Social Security Foundation (IKA) nor to public bodies, according to a ruling by the Council of State’s plenary session reported yesterday. The court’s ruling, which is to be made public within a month, does not apply to debts owed to the government. ROAD THREAT Dangerous driving crackdown A truckdriver was yesterday charged with posing a threat to road safety after being stopped by traffic police on the Thessaloniki-Kavala national road with 64 tons – over twice the legal weight limit – of inadequately secured timber on the back of his truck. Police patrol cars, fire engines and cranes are to be positioned at 20-kilometer (12-mile) intervals along the central Macedonian road network over the Orthodox Easter weekend to conduct inspections on lorries. Twenty-one schoolchildren died on April 13 when a load of plywood boards on a truck came loose in the Vale of Tempe and sliced through their bus. Balkan crime Justice and Public Order ministers Philippos Petsalnikos and Michalis Chrysochoidis yesterday agreed with their Balkan counterparts, during a summit in Thessaloniki, to coordinate efforts to more effectively tackle organized crime in the region. «We agreed there is a need to boost judicial procedures,» Petsalnikos said, adding that his ministry would lead an initiative «to further train judges from other Balkan countries in European law and institutions.» The ministers, who meet again today, are drafting a plan for cooperation ahead of a European Union summit in the northern city in June, Chrysochoidis said. ELA probe Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorism suspect Irini Athanassaki is to appear before examining judge Leonidas Zervobeakos on May 6 after her appeal for extra time to prepare her defense against additional charges lodged against her in connection with the terror group was granted yesterday. She claimed to have been unfamiliar with the scope of the additional charges, as fellow suspect Angelatos Kanas – the mayor of Kimolos – also claimed last week. Kanas will also face Zervobeakos on May 6. Antiquities haul A 65-year-old Frenchman was yesterday charged with illegal possession of antiquities after Athens airport officials on Monday found an inscribed marble stela and assorted terracotta potshards in his suitcase. Raymond Adolphe Michel Lancon had been due to board a flight to Milan. Premature collapse Two foreign laborers sustained slight injuries to their legs following the collapse of a two-story building in the Athenian district of Kallithea, which they, along with a team of workmen, had been employed to demolish. The two workers, one of whom was identified as Albanian national Hitza Visi, were extracted from the rubble of the building – on the corner of Sivatinidou and Arapaki streets – by fire service staff. Drug ring Piraeus Port Police were yesterday holding a woman and three men they believe are connected to a ring trafficking drugs to Myconos and other Cycladic islands. Greek-Australian Ioanna Kolyva, 35, believed to be the supplier, yesterday refused to speak about the ring, saying she feared for her life. Police were led to Kolyva’s Palaio Faliron home on Sunday after discovering small quantities of drugs on two men in Piraeus who led them to a third man before Kolyva was named. A raid on her home unearthed 4 kilos of marijuana, 200 grams of cocaine and 250 grams of amphetamines.