NEWS

In Brief

ELA TRIAL

Resident of alleged safe house block says he saw none of the defendants A man who lived in a Pangrati apartment block where terror group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) is believed to have operated a safe house in the 1980s yesterday told the Athens court trying five ELA suspects that he never saw any of the defendants in the block. Nikos Taraviras also said that suspect Irini Athanassaki is not the woman who rented the apartment in question under the name of Skotoudaki. On Monday, witnesses Vassilis Zisis, Ioannis Ventouris and Sofia Kyriakidou, ex-wife of suspect Angeletos Kanas, are to testify. SCANDINAVIAN ‘WIMPS’ Archbishop’s spokesman loses cool over issue of religion on ID cards The spokesman for Archbishop Christodoulos, Epiphanios Economou, reacted angrily yesterday during a debate with political party and government representatives on whether state identity cards should carry a religious faith slot. «We are Greeks and not Danes or Swedes to be acting like wimps,» Economou retorted in reaction to comments by the Education Ministry’s religious affairs spokesman Yiannis Konidaris, who argued that the reference – or not – to religion on ID cards was not a matter of relations between the Church and the State but of respect for human rights. Economou later apologized for his comments. OBSOLETE DRACHMAS Deadline for coin exchange The deadline for exchanging any remaining drachma coins for euros expires with the close of business on Monday at branches of the Bank of Greece and local tax offices, the Economy Ministry announced yesterday. Trajkovski condolences President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday sent a telegram expressing his condolences for the death of the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Boris Trajkosvki, to acting president Ljubco Jordanovski. Trajkovski died in a plane crash on Thursday. Doping crackdown Pole-vaulter Stavros Kouroupakis has tested positive for steroid use, the Greek Athletics Federation said yesterday. It added that Kouroupakis would be banned from competing for two years if a second test turns out to be positive. It was also reported yesterday that Apollon Patras’s American basketballer Dontae Jones has tested positive for the use of cannabis. He is banned from competing for at least one month. Train tickets Citizens traveling by rail in order to vote in next month’s elections will be entitled to a 30 percent fare discount, the Hellenic Railway Organization (OSE) said yesterday. The discount, which applies to one-way and return tickets, will be in effect from March 5-8, OSE said. The surcharge for sleeper cabins and car transport will not be subject to any discount. Hotel closed The Atlantica Imperial Resort Hotel in the area of Kolymbia on Rhodes is to remain closed due to its lack of a proper operating license, according to a Council of State ruling made public yesterday. The court rejected an appeal by the owner of the hotel group for a suspension of an earlier decision to close the hotel. Thessaloniki fines Thessaloniki’s municipal authorities are to provide more than 50 local residents with more than 80,000 euros in compensation for traffic offenses they had been wrongly obliged to pay. The compensation is mostly for parking fines that were issued to residents who had sold the offending vehicles two or three years earlier. Ferry birth A 26-year-old woman gave birth on a ferry en route to Greece from the Italian port of Ancona early yesterday morning. The crew helped deliver the baby with the aid of a doctor. Mother and daughter – both in good health – were transferred to a medical center on their arrival at Igoumenitsa. Their names or nationality were not made public. Works Piraeus-bound traffic on Poseidonos Ave., southern Athens, will face disruptions between 7.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. today when the left-hand lane between Platonos and Kapodistriou streets closes for works.