NEWS

In Brief

NOVEMBER 17

Witness gives alibi for Sotiropoulou but implicates Koufodinas November 17 terror group suspect Angeliki Sotiropoulou was not in Piraeus on June 29 last year when a bomb exploded in the hands of fellow suspect Savvas Xeros, a defense witness for the only N17 female suspect told a court at Korydallos Prison yesterday. Bank clerk Stylianos Sotiriadis said that Sotiropoulou was at his house with her son on the night of the explosion. But he added that alleged N17 hit man Dimitris Koufodinas, who had dropped off Sotiropoulou (now his wife) at Sotiriadis’s home, returned after midnight looking very pale and urged her to leave with him immediately. FUEL STRIKE Gas stations to close from Monday as traders launch open-ended action Gas station owners across the country are to begin an open-ended strike on Monday in protest at the government’s decision to force them to use cash registers, the Federation of Greek Gas Stations said yesterday. Unionists say the system being proposed by the government to monitor fuel levels «casts law-abiding fuel traders as crooks due to the unmonitored differences in fuel levels causes by temperature changes.» Instead, they propose adopting an electronic system to monitor fuel levels and crack down on widespread fuel smuggling. ILLEGAL BETS? Nicosia discusses joint venture Nicosia’s parliamentary monitoring committee yesterday debated the introduction of new legislation to tackle illegal gambling after an MP complained that a joint venture by Greek and Turkish Cypriots was setting up an illegal betting agency in the island’s Turkish-occupied north. The cooperative was planning to create a large, modern agency in occupied Nicosia which would accept illegal bets, Democratic Rally Deputy Giorgos Georgiou told Parliament. He added that an increase in trade to the island’s north has caused an increase in illegal gambling. Smuggler arrested A 41-year-old Italian national, wanted in his country in connection with alleged participation in a cigarette-smuggling ring and bribery of local police, has been arrested in the coastal suburb of Glyfada, Attica police said yesterday. Mario Gofano, who faced an Athens appeals court prosecutor yesterday, is to be turned over to Italian authorities. Illegal antiquities A 78-year-old Thessaloniki man was arrested after the discovery at his home in the northern city and at his country retreat in Halkidiki of dozens of ancient artifacts dating from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, police said yesterday. The haul included a marble head, two column capitals, an earthenware shell, several religious icons, dozens of coins and other pieces, police said. The man, identified only as V.I., was released due to health problems after being charged with illegally trading in antiquities. Metropolitan dies Metropolitan Panteleimon of Thessaloniki died yesterday at the age of 78. He was found dead in a monk’s cell outside the Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos. He appeared to have had a heart attack. Taxi knifing A 25-year-old drug addict who knifed a 58-year-old taxi driver in the neck and stomach before fleeing with 50 euros on Tuesday was arrested after police used his identity card, which he had left in the back of the cab, to track him down, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. Officers found Anestis Terikoglou in a cafe in Patissia on Tuesday evening. The taxi driver, Spyros Papidakis, was in stable condition in Athens’s Sotiria Hospital yesterday. Clinton on Kos Former US President Bill Clinton arrived on the island of Kos yesterday to take part in a conference on transatlantic ties and the post-September 11 situation. The conference was also attended by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, former US special envoy for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke and Turkey’s former ministers of foreign affairs and economy, Ismail Cem and Kemal Dervis. Cypriot history The Cypriot government had not been briefed on a visit by a Council of Europe adviser to Cyprus for talks about a council initiative for the revision of Cypriot history books, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday.