NEWS

In Brief

As of yesterday, and until March 31, all state-run museums in Greece will be open free of charge to Greek and European Union citizens. The measure, announced by the Culture Ministry on Wednesday, will not apply to archaeological sites. Many of the country’s most important museums, including the Athens National Archaeological Museum, are closed for refurbishment ahead of next year’s Olympics. SCHOOL BUSES ELPA urges stricter inspections, citing unsuitable vehicles, drivers The Automobile and Touring Club of Greece (ELPA) yesterday appealed to the Transport, Education and Public Order ministries to intensify inspections of school buses, claiming that the majority of vehicles are «either unsuitable or dangerous» and that most drivers are either «inadequate and/or responsible for significant violations of traffic laws.» ELPA, which based its conclusions on official data from the traffic police, said the force should undertake the inspections, saying there have been 10 serious accidents involving school buses since the beginning of this year. POTHEN ESCHES SDOE to monitor declarations The Finance Ministry’s financial crimes squad (SDOE) is to set up a new service responsible for checking source of funds and assets (pothen esches) declarations made by several professional groups – that include MPs, journalists, judges, policemen and football referees – according to draft legislation for monitoring state expenditure which was made public yesterday. Chopper injury An army helicopter crewman suffered serious head injuries after being hit by the rotors of a military helicopter at Samos airport yesterday. The unnamed serviceman had been working on a helicopter when another chopper, which he failed to notice, landed next to him and struck the back of his head, army sources said. Meletzis dies Photographer Spyros Meletzis, best known for his pictures of WWII resistance fighters, died yesterday aged 97. Coach to stay The German coach of Greece’s national football team, Otto Rehhagel, has had his contract extended until the summer of 2006, the Greek Football Association said yesterday. Under Rehhagel, the national squad qualified for the 2004 European championships finals, for the second time ever. Condolences to Italy Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday expressed his condolences to his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi following the deaths of 18 Italians – 16 soldiers and two civilians – in Wednesday’s suicide bombing in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq. Akrotiri closed The archaeological site of Akrotiri on Santorini is to be closed until the end of February so that works can get under way on building a roof for the site, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. Policeman’s retrial A 42-year-old policeman faces retrial by a court in Patras which exonerated him for the rape of a Ukrainian woman in Amaliada in 1998, following a decision, made public yesterday, by the Supreme Court’s criminal section to overturn the Patras court’s ruling. The ruling that led to the exoneration of N. Brikolias was not made in accordance with the penal code, according to the Supreme Court’s decision. Souda murder Police on Crete yesterday arrested a man in connection with the murder in Souda Bay early on Sunday of a 31-year-old interpreter for the local US army base. The unidentified suspect allegedly confessed to killing Dimitris Karinakis by shooting him five times. Police are also seeking a suspected accomplice. The men were friends of Karinakis, according to police. Himare unrest Unidentified assailants yesterday planted explosives in the car of a village council head in Albania’s southern Himare municipality, which is inhabited mainly by ethnic Greeks. Drymades village chief Gikas Stramarkos said he believed the attack was linked with Sunday’s repeat municipal elections in the area.