Far-rightist Michalopoulos to be tried on blackmail charges, council rules The Athens Council of Misdemeanors Court Judges yesterday indicted far-rightist publisher Grigoris Michalopoulos on criminal charges of blackmail for allegedly telling businessmen and a top churchman that they were November 17 targets and demanding up to 290,000 euros to have them removed from the terror group’s hit list. The council ruled that the owner of the Eleftheri Ora newspaper should be tried for attempting to blackmail businessman Theodoros Angelopoulos (husband of Athens 2004 organizing committee chief Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki) and Bishop Chrysostomos of Zakynthos, among others. NEKTARIOS SUIT IKA head sues Avriani publisher for alleged blackmail and libel Social Security Foundation (IKA) director Miltiadis Nektarios yesterday sued Avriani publisher Giorgos Kouris for extortion and libel in reaction to a report in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper which criticized him for allegedly building three illegal villas on the island of Aegina. Nektarios issued a statement maintaining that the construction of the villas had been entirely legal. He added that Kouris’s enterprises owed the foundation some 4.5 million euros in IKA contributions and alleged that the publisher had resorted to blackmailing tactics. EDUCATION REFORMS Changes to high school exams unveiled As of next year, second-year high school students will only sit examinations to pass into their final year and not to contribute toward their university entrance, according to imminent reforms of the education sector revealed by Education Minister Marietta Giannakou-Koutsikou yesterday. And as of 2006, students in their final year will be examined on just six subjects rather than nine as is now the case. Seat switch Stefanos Tzoumakas has replaced Argyris Yiannopoulos as PASOK deputy for the Greater Athens constituency, following yesterday’s announcement by an Athens court of the country’s newly elected deputies. Yiannopoulos amassed 30,000 votes but was unseated by Tzoumakas, who had won 30,267 votes in the March 7 elections. Migrants detained A group of 12 illegal immigrants, who had to swim to Samos after their boat capsized a short distance from the island on Sunday, have been detained, local Port Authority officials said yesterday. One of the group was hospitalized for an operation for appendicitis, officials said. Six of the would-be migrants had come from Ivory Coast, four from Mauritius, one from Afghanistan and one from Somalia, officials said. Cultural affairs Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who has also assumed the role of culture minister in the new Cabinet, yesterday received composer Mikis Theodorakis at Maximos Mansion. Theodorakis said he discussed cultural matters with Karamanlis who, he said, is the first Greek prime minister to lay emphasis on cultural matters and display an interest in the opinions of those involved in the arts. ATM lifted Unidentified thieves stole an ATM machine from a bank in the Athenian suburb of Kato Kifissia, on the Athens-Lamia national road, at around 2 a.m. yesterday. Witnesses said they saw two people using some sort of machine to load the ATM into the back of truck before disappearing. Salonica robberies Two robbers made off with more than 30,000 euros following an armed raid on a bank in Thessaloniki at 8 a.m. yesterday. The duo, who had been wearing helmets and gloves, fled on a motorcycle. Then, shortly before 1 p.m., two armed individuals robbed another bank in the northern city. The second duo fled on foot with an undisclosed sum. Nestos waters Scientists in Kavala yesterday discussed a program aimed at the joint management of the waters of the Nestos River, which runs from the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria through eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace. The program also aims to reduce pollution in the river on the Bulgarian side. The river irrigates large tracts of land in northern Greece before flowing into the Aegean.