NEWS

In Brief

Euros – Companies to start receiving currency Greek companies will start being issued with euro coins today, while low-denomination banknotes will be issued as of December 1. During a visit by Prime Minister Costas Simitis to the National Mint yesterday, Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos said 90 percent of the 3 trillion drachmas’ worth of euro coins and banknotes that will replace the drachma as of March 1 have already been produced. As of December 17, Greeks will be able to buy complete series of euro coins. WWII compensation Local court rules in favor of man injured by Germans A court of first instance in the western Peloponnesian region of Elis has ruled that the German state must pay 31 million drachmas in compensation to a Patras man severely wounded by German World War II occupation forces, To Ethnos daily reported yesterday. The man, whose name was not made public, suffered neck injuries and lost his hearing after a German hand grenade exploded next to him in 1944. It was the first case of its sort to be heard in Greece. On November 22, the Supreme Special Court is to decide whether Greek courts are competent to judge some 65,000 suits by victims – or relatives of victims – of Nazi forces against the German state. Blender scare Suspect device holds up trains The Athens electric railway was closed down for an hour from 11 a.m. yesterday after passengers called the police to investigate an unattended package on the Monastiraki station platform. It turned out to be an electric food blender which was destroyed in a controlled explosion. Aegean jousts. Twelve Turkish jet fighters, flying in groups of four, were chased off by Greek interceptors in the central Aegean yesterday after breaking flight regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region and entering Greek airspace. The new defense minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, watched one interception live on the ministry’s operations center radar. He also told journalists there is no issue of sending Greek forces to Afghanistan. Train crash. Five passengers were slightly injured yesterday morning at the Inoi railway station north of Athens when a freight train from Thessaloniki ignored a signal and crashed into a passenger train heading from Athens to Halkis. Both trains were moving slowly. The line was blocked for several hours. Saved. A Cretan hotelier was charged with abduction yesterday, after being arrested on Tuesday afternoon at the Athens Airport, for trying to force a young Romanian woman onto a plane to Crete. Airport police intervened when Eugenie Turdean, 19, started calling for help at the check-in counter. Turdean, who entered Greece illegally in August, said the immigrant trafficking gang that brought her into the country sold her to a prostitution ring in northern Athens, who resold her to Tymbaki hotel owner Michail Christakis, 57, after she refused to work as a prostitute. Fishermen’s blues. Two Turkish fishermen were arrested on the island of Samos yesterday morning for illegally entering Greece after their boat suffered engine failure and drifted to the island’s shores. And a Cretan fisherman, Yiannis Katsigarakis, has been held for the last four days by the Libyan authorities after a storm blew his Ioannis K. trawler into Libyan waters. Prostitution. A film actress of the 1980s, Panayiota Varka, known by her stage name of Yiouli Barka, and another three women were given a two-month suspended prison sentence for prostitution by an Athens court yesterday, after being arrested in a police sting operation in mid-October. Varka, 37, said it was her first foray into the business, Vassiliki Yiannakopoulou, 67, received eight months for procuring. Winged Venus. The Ukraine yesterday took delivery of a copy of the ancient Venus de Milo statue that was donated by the Greek government. It will decorate the Foreign Ministry lounge. The original, found on the island of Milos, is in the Louvre. Refugee aid. A Greek air force C-130 transport plane took off for Islamabad yesterday carrying eight tons of blankets for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, in a mission organized by the Foreign Ministry.