NEWS

In Brief

Benefits- Both spouses to receive family benefits next year Both husband and wife will receive family benefits as of 2002, Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Floridis announced yesterday, although he added that it was not yet decided when and how it would be paid. He also said that as of January 1, 2002, mothers of large families would receive a bonus, regardless of their income. Balcony crash Two injured as first-floor structure collapses Two men were injured in Castella, Piraeus, yesterday when a first-floor balcony collapsed. Standing on the balcony at the time was 19-year-old Panayiotis Diasakos, who was taken to hospital with a chest injury but was allowed to go home after receiving first aid. Less fortunate was Marios Vekris, 30, who was standing under the balcony when it fell. Vekris was hospitalized and underwent surgery on his leg. Electoral law No change for next polls The next national elections will take place under the current electoral system, acting government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said yesterday. He said any changes passed by Parliament following proposals by Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis will apply to the elections after the next. Stormy seas. A ban on all passenger shipping in the Aegean went into force at noon yesterday as winds of up to 9 on the Beaufort scale were blowing. Wrong idea. The government yesterday accused New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis of giving visiting journalists of Greek descent the wrong idea about the situation in Greece. The opposition leader referred in the blackest words that anyone can utter to the current image of Greece, acting government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said. Drug bust. Police in Athens yesterday arrested three people suspected of being members of a drug-running operation from Turkey. They are seeking Turkish national Hasan Balta, 45, as the suspected leader of the gang. Vait Memet, 33, Eleousa Xintaveloni, 64 and Ioannis Kervis, 47, were arrested in possession of a total of over 7 kilos of heroin. Cocaine lab. Narcotics officers have uncovered a cocaine-refining laboratory in the central Greek city of Larissa, police said yesterday. Four people found in the lab – Stefanos Papastergiou, 43, Anargyros Filos, 21, Paraskevi Kondina, 21 and Ekaterini Bazaki, 36 – were arrested. Young robbers. Police in Kifissia, northern Athens, yesterday arrested three Albanian schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 14 for allegedly breaking into and robbing a kiosk of 2.2 million drachmas and mobile phone cards worth 800 000 drachmas, as well as a cinema, from which they stole 10,000 drachmas in change. Police also arrested their respective guardians, Nik Blaphip, 39, Boland Hamit, 38 and Tanas Antoni, 37, for failing to supervise minors. Body in sea. The body of an unidentified man was found floating in the sea between the Cycladic islands of Syros and Paros yesterday. The body, which was in an advanced state of decomposition, has been taken to Syros mortuary for an autopsy. According to the Merchant Marine Ministry, the man was aged about 40 and was 1.75 m tall. He was wearing white shorts bearing the words Georgia Dawgs in red and black letters and a striped T-shirt. Pursuer arrested. Police in Thessaloniki arrested a 20-year-old man on Monday night after he chased and fired at three men he suspected of robbing his father. Stavros Tsakaleros had waited in ambush after receiving a tip that the unidentified men who had stolen animal fodder from his father’s warehouse in Nea Apollonia were about to strike again. The men drove off in their truck and Tsakaleros gave chase, firing at them as he drove. The men eventually abandoned their vehicle and escaped on foot. Tsakaleros was arrested for illegal possession of a rifle. PASOK feelers. In a meeting yesterday with Synaspismos Left Coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos, PASOK General Secretary Costas Laliotis proposed discussions between the two parties without prejudice… and with respect for each party’s autonomy.