NEWS

In Brief

FALCON ACCIDENT

Court upholds conviction of jet pilot, cuts sentence to 35 months, suspended An Athens appeals court yesterday upheld the conviction of the former pilot of the prime-ministerial Falcon jet for causing the deaths of seven passengers, including Greece’s alternate foreign minister, in 1999. But the court reduced Yiannis Androulidakis’s five-year term to a suspended sentence of 35 months. Androulidakis was found guilty on multiple counts of manslaughter for failing to tell passengers to fasten their seat belts during a flight to Romania. Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannis Kranidiotis, his son, a bodyguard, three journalists and a flight engineer died when the plane suddenly plunged thousands of meters before evening out and landing safely. ROUGH WOOING Man abducts former fiancee after shooting at her brothers, killing one A 33-year-old man yesterday morning shot dead the youngest of his former fiancee’s two brothers and seriously injured the other before driving off with the 33-year-old woman, police in Thessaloniki said. The unidentified attacker ambushed the car in which the three siblings were traveling a few kilometers outside Lagadas and fired five shots, killing 29-year-old Dimitris Kirkinezis and seriously injuring his brother Savvas, 31, according to police. The gunman then forced his former fiancee, Theodora Kirkinezi, into his car and drove off with her, police said. SECURITY TALKS Deputy defense minister in Washington Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos arrived in Washington DC yesterday for talks on security preparations for the Olympics and stability in the Balkans and Middle East with the US acting assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, Mira Ricardel. Today, Michaloliakos is due to speak at the American Hellenic Institute. Mouth of PASOK Former PASOK MP for Thessaloniki Spyros Vougias was appointed yesterday as the Socialists’ official spokesman by party leader George Papandreou. Loan fees Four consumers who paid «management fees» when applying for bank loans should get their money back, according to a court decision deeming the charges illegal and which was made public yesterday. These charges constitute exploitation as they are subtracted from the sum of the loan while the consumer pays interest on the full amount, according to the Greek Quality of Life Consumer Union (EKPOIZO). The organization has appealed to consumers with similar experiences to make contact (at www.ekpizo.org.gr) so it can file collective legal suits on their behalf. Elis head Archaeologists digging in the ancient city of Elis, in the northwestern Peloponnese, have discovered an excellently preserved marble head of a youth dating to Roman times, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The head is believed to portray a relative of some Roman emperor. Korean aid The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that it would contribute 30,000 euros in humanitarian aid to North Korea, through the Greek Red Cross, to help the victims of the explosion in Ryongchon last month. The explosion, believed to have been sparked by a train laden with oil and chemicals hitting power lines, killed over 160 people and injured 1,300 others. Drug hauls Six Albanian nationals faced a Ioannina prosecutor yesterday following their arrest in the countryside near Delvinaki, in northwestern Greece, by border guards who found over 138 kilos of cannabis and nearly 2 kilos of heroin in their possession. Police also confiscated a pistol and several rounds of ammunition. In a separate raid, border guards found more than 17 kilos of cannabis stashed in the woods outside a small hamlet near Konitsa. Meanwhile, police in Attica have arrested four Albanians after confiscating half a kilo of heroin. Pawnshop raid Three armed robbers yesterday made off with an undisclosed sum of cash and some jewelry after tying up and gagging the owner of a pawnshop in central Athens. The three, believed to be foreigners, carried 35-year-old Antonis Bekiaris into the attic before looting his store, police said.