NEWS

In Brief

Banking – Greeks EU leaders in secret Swiss accounts Greeks rank fourth as main global holders of secret Swiss bank accounts by percentage of their country’s GDP, according to a survey reported by Reuters yesterday. Greece is the only EU country among the top four and is preceded by Jordan (16 percent of GDP), Kenya (5 percent) and Israel (3 percent), in that order. Greeks’ holdings in Switzerland are worth 3 percent of their country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), said the survey by UK-based industry researchers Swissmoney. The accounts, known as fiduciary deposits, are a thorn in the EU’s side due to the opportunity they offer to hide taxable income. Weather alert Gales, rain and snow to move east today The gale-force winds, driving rain and snowstorms in the mountains of central and northern Greece that began sweeping the country yesterday are expected to move to the islands of the eastern Aegean and Dodecanese today. The Civil Protection Secretariat has ordered regional authorities to take all necessary precautions. Temperatures were down to 5 degrees Celsius in Thessaloniki yesterday and 2 in Kastoria. As of noon yesterday, there was a ban on all coastal shipping from Piraeus and Rafina to the Aegean and Dodecanese islands and Crete. Avramopoulos KEP founding congress begins Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos set in motion the founding congress of his new political party, the Free Citizens’ Movement (KEP), with a press conference in Thessaloniki yesterday. He said that his party currently had between 5,500 and 6,000 members and predicted more after the conference. Embezzlement arrest. A man who allegedly preyed on poor families is facing charges of embezzlement after he allegedly presented himself at various kindergartens in Pireaus either as a representative of a children’s magazine or the prefectural bureau and asked for the names and addresses of poor families, mainly immigrants. Vassilis Kyriakopoulos, 52, would then visit the families and promise to sell them encyclopedias valued at 300,000 drachmas for just the VAT price. In that manner he was able to obtain amounts ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 drachmas. Showing his collection. A teacher charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old pupil was granted a conditional release yesterday. The 51-year-old geology teacher denied having sex with his pupil, saying he had simply invited her to see his collection of cars. The girl, who has asked that her teacher not be punished, told the court that she had gone to Haralambidis’s house on two occasions but that he had not forced her to do anything against her will. Best ails. Former Manchester United football star George Best was hospitalized in Limassol, Cyprus, yesterday with an infection and high temperature, according to news reports from Nicosia. He had arrived for a holiday on the island last Tuesday with his wife. His manager Philip Hughes said tests had confirmed a stomach virus. North Korea. Greece is to open an embassy in North Korea, according to a presidential decree, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. Farmers protest. Hundreds of farmers blocked the center of Tyrnavos, near Thessaly, with 100 tractors in an ongoing protest and demanded solutions from the government while farmers in Thessaloniki briefly blocked the national highway at Halkidona, causing traffic jams. Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys yesterday announced that cotton prices would be set between 271 and 286 drachmas per kilo this year after meeting leaders of the farmers’ unions. Farmers did not immediately respond as to whether they saw this as sufficient. Illegal immigrants. The Kos coast guard yesterday stopped a Turkish fishing boat southeast of the Dodecanese island with 20 illegal immigrants on board. The crew notified the Turkish authorities, who sent a patrol boat to escort the boat back to the port of Bodrum. It is the second case in as many days of cooperation between the two countries in stopping illegal immigrants from entering European territory. The previous day north of Samos, the US-flagged yacht Melissa was stopped and the Turkish authorities responded to a Greek call. Luck is just part of the game whether it is good for you or bad for you, he said.