NEWS

In Brief

FARMING SUBSIDIES

Greece ordered to repay the EU 57.3 mln in misspent funds Greece must pay back 57.3 million euros in misspent European Union farm subsidies, according to an EU decision made public by Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler yesterday, which demanded a total of 169 million euros back from nine member states. Italy was the worst hit by today’s decision, according to which it must return 76 million euros, followed by Greece, and then France, which must repay 23.1 million. Today’s decision is the second this year – the EU had asked Greece for 9.93 million euros at the beginning of 2003 – with more expected over the course of the year. EDUCATION ND will raise spending to 5 percent if elected, opposition leader says If elected in next May’s polls, New Democracy will raise spending in the education sector to 5 percent from the current 3.5 percent, the main opposition party’s leader, Costas Karamanlis, pledged yesterday. «I don’t think anyone would disagree that our education system needs to be reformed, maintaining its good points and correcting its many imperfections and weaknesses,» Karamanlis said. RICOMEX Six officials face trial for murder The six company officials and civil engineers facing charges over the deaths of 39 people in an Athens building that collapsed in the September 1999 earthquake must face trial for murder with possible malice aforethought and attempted murder, according to yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court’s criminal section which rejected appeals by three of the defendants. The court endorsed an earlier decision by the Athens Appeals Council which committed to trial two board members of the Ricomex household goods factory, along with four civil engineers, after finding that the factory had been inadequately built, illegally enlarged and poorly repaired after a 1993 fire. Free museums Entrance to museums across the country will be free of charge Sunday on the occasion of International Museum Day, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. (Page 7) Euro scam Three African immigrants who tried to convince a Greek businessman that they could produce counterfeit euros by copying real bills onto blank pieces of paper have been arrested, police said yesterday. The trio were taken into custody after an undercover police officer – tipped off by the businessmen who had agreed to give the migrants 100,000 euros – watched them demonstrate their «method» in an Athens hotel room. Hubert Eyike, 31, Roza Minfari, 24, and Jojo Gylle, 33, had claimed they could make fake euro bills using a genuine bill, white sheets of paper and special chemicals. Soccer blast The explosion of a homemade explosive device at a supporters’ club of soccer team Aris in Thessaloniki on Wednesday night is the fourth attack on an Aris fan club in a week. Wednesday night’s attack injured a passer-by, police said, without determining the extent of the injuries. Perennial rivals Aris and PAOK – both from Thessaloniki – meet in the northern city for the national soccer cup final tomorrow. Kalavryta railway Works to refurbish the country’s only rack railway – covering the scenic route from Diakofto to Kalavryta in the northern Peloponnese – begin on Monday, the Hellenic Railway Organization said yesterday. The 22.6-kilometer route, built during 1889-1896, is just 75 centimeters wide, making it the narrowest railway line in Europe. The 7-million-euro reconstruction is expected to last for about a year, during which time the line will not be operating. Fleeting passion A 20-year-old man who abducted a 13-year-old girl from Glafki – a mixed village of Christians and Muslims in the area of of Xanthi – with the intention of marrying her, abandoned her by a roadside in the northern province after his would-be bride failed to accept his proposal, police said yesterday. According to police, informed of the incident by the girl’s parents, Ritvan Batzar forced the girl, identified only as M.O., into a car being driven by an unnamed accomplice. University dean Linguistics professor Giorgos Babiniotis has been re-elected dean ofAthens University. asdlkfjhalsdkfjhalsdjkfhlaksdjfhlaksd