NEWS

In Brief

PACHTAS AMENDMENT

Prosecutor to probe controversy surrounding deputies’ signatures An Athens prosecutor yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation into the controversy surrounding the signatures of three PASOK MPs on an amendment that led to Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas’s resignation on January 23. The move follows a complaint by deputy Giorgos Kirkos, who maintains that his signature was added to the bill without his knowledge. PASOK MP Yiannis Anthopoulos has confessed to forging the signatures of Kirkos, Costas Diamantis and Panayiotis Kourouplis. ATHENS BLAST Two gas canister bombs cause minor damage to a bank in Ano Patissia Two homemade explosive devices, consisting of gas canisters bound together, caused minor damage to the ATM of a bank in the Athenian district of Ano Patissia when they detonated in the early hours of yesterday morning. Nobody was hurt. Police were seeking two young men whom witnesses saw planting the devices. N17 TRANSFER Six lifers moved ahead of ELA trial Police yesterday transferred six November 17 convicts, including the terror group’s leader Alexandros Yotopoulos and its chief hit man Dimitris Koufodinas, from the women’s wing of Korydallos Prison to the main men’s jail as a security measure ahead of the trial of Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspects which starts Monday. Meanwhile, ELA suspects Costas Agapiou and Angeletos Kanas were transferred to Korydallos Prison’s women’s wing from the men’s. Electoral law The new electoral law, containing minor changes to the way that deputies are elected, was approved in Parliament yesterday with a narrow majority of 144 votes in favor and 141 against. The crucial two votes came from two former Liberal Party MPs elected with the help of opposition New Democracy. One current PASOK MP and two independent deputies elected with the socialists voted against. The new law will not apply in the March 7 elections. Draft dodgers Greek military draft dodgers living abroad will be able to return to Greece to vote in March 7 elections and stay until March 26 without being prosecuted, the Defence Ministry announced yesterday. Greek-Turkish talks Senior Greek and Turkish diplomats are to meet in London today for the 23rd round of exploratory talks on bilateral issues, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday. Quake trial The trial of four pharmaceutical company executives and a civil engineer charged with the «murder with possible malice aforethought» of eight employees killed when the Faran plant partially collapsed during the September 1999 Athens earthquake started yesterday. Transmitter clash Riot police yesterday clashed with municipal employees trying to disconnect mobile telephony transmitters in Nikaia, southwestern Athens. Nikaia Mayor Stelios Benetatos said all transmitters within the boundaries of the municipality would be dismantled following a decision by the municipal council. Residents are concerned about the health risks posed by the transmitters. Hit and run Traffic police yesterday appealed for witnesses to a fatal hit-and-run incident on the country road between the villages of Galatades and Aghios Georgios in the prefecture of Pella. Scooter-borne lottery ticket seller Constantinos Cosmiadis, 65, was killed after being struck by a car which then disappeared, according to Yiannitsa traffic police. A bag containing lottery tickets, which Cosmiadis had been carrying with him, was not found. Bulgarian ties General Georgios Antonakopoulos, the head of the joint chiefs of staff, and his Bulgarian counterpart, Nikola Kolev, yesterday agreed to tighten bilateral military cooperation by establishing a joint advisory committee of experts. Antonakopoulos, on a three-day visit to Bulgaria, is also due to meet Bulgarian Prime Minister Georgi Parvanov and Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov.