NEWS

In Brief

ECONOMY DEBATE

PM calls for parliamentary session to examine public finances, policies Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday called for an extraordinary parliamentary debate on the state of the economy and on his government’s economic and development policies. «In previous years… public sector deficits appeared to have been reduced but were actually on the increase… Before the elections, we promised to comprehensively take stock of public finances and to responsibly report back to Greek citizens,» Karamanlis said in a letter to Parliament Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki. Opposition PASOK accused the government of «functioning like an irresponsible opposition party as regards the country’s economy,» but said it welcomed the debate. MILITARY TIES Armed forces chief flies to USA to discuss security with counterpart The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Georgios Antonakopoulos, today begins an official week-long visit to the USA where he is to meet with his American counterpart, General Richard Myers, for talks focusing on Olympic security. They will also discuss the US-led «war on terrorism» and the contribution of the Greek armed forces to peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. MARRIAGES OF CONVENIENCE Divorce after 4 years apart justified A divorce between a man and a woman who married for reasons of convenience but have been living apart for more than four years does not violate the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday. On the contrary, the family law provision deeming that a four-year separation constitutes grounds for divorce is beneficial to the institution of marriage and the family, the court ruled. The ruling followed the court’s approval of an appeal for divorce lodged by a man who had been living apart from his wife for more than four years. Olympic hospitals Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis and Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki yesterday discussed the special road signs that are due to be set up around Athens to direct visitors and residents to the hospitals which will be providing medical assistance during the Olympics. Among the 18 designated «Olympic hospitals» in Attica, Evangelismos, KAT, Geniko Kratiko, Asklipieio, Tzaneio and the Sismanogleio are expected to play the most active role. Soccer cash Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Orfanos yesterday sent a letter to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) asking for a clarification of what happened to nearly 1 million euros the organization had been given to fund the operation of the national soccer team’s training grounds in Aghios Cosmas. Orfanos asked for a full clarification, within three days, of the fate of the 909,757 euros, which the organization received last June «and which have not been spent on fuel and renting generators, according to the original decision.» ELA trial The members of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terror group may have numbered as many as 100, Sofia Kyriakidou, the estranged former wife of one of the defendants, told the court trying five ELA suspects yesterday. Kyriakidou, a key prosecution witness, also said that she regretted speaking to authorities about the terror group’s activities. On Thursday, Kyriakidou claimed she had no regrets about «dedicating» her life to the group and had not repented. Child abuse Police in Athens yesterday arrested a 36-year-old man believed to have raped five children and sexually harassed another 10. The man, who was not named, allegedly approached most of the children in the Athenian districts of Kolonos, Patissia and Ambelokipi before luring them to a remote area. Cultural board The Culture Ministry yesterday announced the new board of directors of the Hellenic Culture Organization, which is responsible for running the Cultural Olympiad. The board’s president is Stamatis Mavros, 41, a former president of New Democracy’s youth branch. Other board members include composer Giorgos Koumentakis and archaeologist Yiannis Sakellarakis.