NEWS

In Brief

ELA TRIAL

Court rejects defendants’ objections, suspends proceedings until Wednesday The court hearing the case of Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terror group suspects yesterday rejected a string of objections lodged by defendants. As regards the nature of ELA’s crimes – which defendants had maintained was political – the court countered that «a political crime is defined as one which seeks to overturn the existing order.» The proceedings were suspended until Wednesday after lawyers asked to be supplied with documents detailing the reasoning behind the court’s decision to reject the objections. HIGHWAY FIGHT Riot police eject protesting olive growers from barricades Protesting olive growers yesterday retreated from the Patras-Corinth national road near Aigion, which they had blocked since Wednesday, following clashes with riot police who fired tear gas at them. The farmers had been protesting against the Agriculture Ministry’s alleged failure to make good on assurances to pay them subsidies for olive oil production. The behavior of riot police was criticized yesterday in a statement issued by the Communist Party. Also yesterday, olive producers on Lesvos staged a protest rally before marching to the Aegean Ministry where Minister Nikos Sifounakis assured them that producers who are due payment will receive it. DRUNK BUS DRIVER Man caught after erratic driving The driver of an Athens blue bus, stopped by traffic police on Wednesday after being spotted veering dangerously across the road, was found to be under the influence of alcohol, according to a report in yesterday’s Eleftheros Typos. The driver was stopped at about 3 p.m. after citizens and police officers complained that he had been carrying out «dangerous maneuvers,» the daily said. Election contenders A total of 18 political parties yesterday officially declared their participation in the forthcoming elections at the Supreme Court’s Public Prosecutor’s Office. Benefit fraud A 37-year-old female employee of the Social Security Foundation (IKA) in Kavala was yesterday sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for swindling a total of 20,542 euros from the foundation by using the names of 91 pregnant women beneficiaries. Maria Lykou was caught when she used a woman’s married name to apply for maternity benefit after the same woman had applied using her maiden name. No perjury An Athens court yesterday cleared the father of Athina Onassis, Thierry Roussel, and the former Roussel family spokesman Alexis Mantheakis of perjury charges. The trial followed a suit lodged by Onassis Foundation President Stelios Papadimitriou, who had been accused of slandering Roussel. Papadimitrou told the court yesterday that he had never maintained that Roussel took drugs or acted lewdly in front of his daughter. Weather compensation Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys and Agricultural Bank Governor Petros Lambrou yesterday agreed to help farmers whose livelihoods have been affected by the recent harsh weather by rescheduling their debt repayments, offering them state-guaranteed credit and subsidizing their interest repayments. They also discussed the practical measures that could be implemented to ensure that stricken farmers receive at least half of the compensation they are due by this Easter. Municipal police A group of 496 new municipal police officers officially assumed their duties yesterday during a ceremony attended by Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis. The officers, who are to undergo four months of training at the Greek police cadet academy, will work closely with police officers in maintaining order in the capital following their induction. TV phone lines The National Broadcasting Council yesterday warned citizens to be wary of telephone numbers advertised on television game shows and fortunetellers, stressing that calls can be very expensive. A one-minute telephone call on such phone lines – whose numbers generally start with 90 – can cost as much as 1.50 euros, while callers can pay 20 euros for 15 minutes, the council said.