Renowned writer, teacher and critic dies, aged 80 Renos Apostolidis, one of the best-known writers, teachers, anthologists, critics and journalists of post-World War II Greece died suddenly yesterday. He was 80. Athens-based Apostolidis’s best-known book was the biographical account of his experiences in the war and civil war, «Pyramid 67.» His most recent one was a novel, «The Black Ship,» published late last year. Apostolidis, admired for his irreverent, anarchic writing, leaves a wife and two sons. His family said it would not announce funeral arrangements. NEW GREEK COMMISSIONER EC approves Dimas to replace Anna Diamantopoulou The European Commission has approved the replacement of EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou after she won a seat in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, a spokesman said yesterday. He said Commission chief Romano Prodi had received Diamantopoulou’s resignation letter and has informed EU governments of his intention to replace her with Stavros Dimas, a 62-year-old lawyer and economist proposed by Athens. «Mr Dimas is a very experienced politician who… also has extensive knowledge of European affairs,» said spokesman Reijo Kemppinen, adding his nomination could be approved by EU governments as early as today. «I don’t know exactly when Mr Dimas.. will take office, but I would assume that it would happen immediately after that,» he said. (AFP) TRADE DEFICIT UP 26.8 percent increase Greece’s trade deficit grew by 26.8 percent between January and November 2003 compared to the corresponding period of 2002, according to figures released yesterday by the National Statistics Service (NSS). Imports reached 33.3 billion euros (up 19.7 percent), while exports totaled 10.7 billion euros (up 7.2 percent). Meanwhile, inflation fell from 2.9 percent in January to 2.5 percent, year-on-year, in February. Railway death An elderly man was killed early yesterday morning when a train hit him as he was crossing a railway line in the Thessaloniki suburb of Menemeni. Police said the man was aged 65-70, but did not release his identity. The accident occurred around half an hour after midnight. Airport thieves Two employees of Goldair Handling, which carries out ground services at Athens International Airport, have confessed to stealing three DVD players from a shipment that had come from Hong Kong for the Raks Petrakis SA company, police said yesterday. Police at the airport are investigating whether the two had committed any other crimes. Filling up, slowly Two robbers carrying shotguns held up employees at a gas station at the 31st kilometer of the Athens-Lamia highway at 1.40 a.m. yesterday and made off with 100 euros. An identical robbery was later carried out at a gas station at the 40th kilometer of the Attiki Odos at Paeania, with the robbers getting away with 500 euros. Early on Tuesday, robbers stole 120 euros from a gas station at Keratsini. Smash and burn Athens’s Homicide and Robbery Squad said yesterday that it had arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of his carrying out a series of five burglaries in recent months, three of which were accompanied by arson. The man, who was not named, was arrested on Tuesday and a large quantity of stolen goods was found at his home. Among his targets were a vehicle spare parts store at Nea Erythraia, a garage at Neos Cosmos and the Petralona Post Office. Meanwhile, unidentified attackers set fire to a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a mobile crane in a used-car lot at Gerakas, eastern Attica, early yesterday. Pedestrian killed An 84-year-old pedestrian was run over and killed by a heavy vehicle involved in roadworks in the central Thessaloniki area of Ambelokipi around noon yesterday. Police did not announce the victim’s identity, nor that of the vehicle’s driver.