NEWS

In Brief

US THREAT?

Greeks more worried than other Europeans, survey finds The proportion of Greeks believing that the USA poses the greatest threat to world peace (88 percent) is larger than in any other European Union state, according to an EU poll made public yesterday. But overall most Europeans (59 percent) believe that Israel poses the greatest threat to world peace, according to the poll which was based on interviews with 500 people in each EU state. MINORITY AID Reforms foresee mortgages, jobs loans for Gypsies, Muslims, repatriates Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis yesterday pledged a series of benefits for repatriated Greeks, Muslims and Gypsies after an interministerial committee discussed problems faced by the minority groups. The reforms foresee state backing for mortgages and rent payments, as well as for employment and education programs. The committee also decided to grant state funding to Muslim minority schools in Thrace. HOTHEADED JUDGE Supreme Court orders probe The vice president of the Supreme Court yesterday ordered an urgent disciplinary investigation of Thebes judge Dimosthenes Sgouritsas who allegedly beat in his own courtroom last week a defendant charged with defamation. According to news reports, Sgouritsas said he attacked Iraklis Zoitsis after the defendant called him «malicious.» Zoitsis was sentenced to 28 months in jail for slander. FBI visit The director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, will visit Athens this week to discuss security for the 2004 Olympics, an FBI spokesman in Washington was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying yesterday. Transmitter risks The Council of State’s plenary session is to resolve a dispute between two of its sections about the health risks posed by mobile telephony transmitters, court sources said yesterday. The dispute began after residents in the Athens district of Vyronas sued a mobile telephony provider that had installed a transmitter in their neighbourhood. Yesterday, the court’s fifth department ruled that the decision to grant Stet Hellas a license for the transmitter should be revoked because the government had failed to inform the public about the health risks posed by the transmitters, and to approve an environmental study on the transmitter in question. Laliotis fined Former Environment Minister Costas Laliotis has been sentenced to pay damages of 140,000 euros each to two New Democracy MPs and one ND EuroMP for slander, according to a decision made public yesterday. Baby trading Two Greeks, a female singer and a businessman, have been charged in connection with the alleged purchase of a newborn baby from a Bulgarian woman for 5,000 euros, police in Thessaloniki said yesterday after arresting all three. The businessman, who was not named, allegedly put the singer – identified as Mrs Tzeki – in contact with the unnamed Bulgarian woman who was promised legal residence in Greece in exchange for her infant. Smugglers Coast guards confiscated a Mongolian-flagged ship, and its load of more than 1,800 packets of cigarettes, after spotting the freighter off the coast of Spetses with its lights off on Sunday night, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The Mikele – whose papers were forged and which is not listed on Mongolia’s shipping register – had departed from the Bulgarian port of Varna last Tuesday for Bar in Montenegro. Olympic exercise Representatives of the police, port authority and fire service and top government officials responsible for security at next year’s Olympic Games yesterday embarked on a three-day simulation exercise in the German town of Stuttgart yesterday. Railway Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday inaugurated the upgraded Thessaloniki-Edessa «rail bus» route which has reduced the journey time between the two cities by 40 minutes to an 65 minutes.