NEWS

In Brief

NEW ASE HEAD

Olympics secretary-general gets top job with Athens bourse The Culture Ministry’s secretary-general for the Olympic Games, Spyros Kapralos, was yesterday appointed head of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE). The 49-year-old economist will assume his duties after the September 17-28 Paralympic Games. The former swimming champion and national water polo player was an executive director for the Olympics organizing committee (ATHOC) from 2000 until early this year. Then in March, the incoming ND government appointed him secretary-general to accelerate delayed Olympic construction projects. Before joining ATHOC, Kapralos held several top management posts in financial institutions in Greece and abroad. MILITARY JOBS Government says it issued no secret recruitment circular The government yesterday refuted charges by PASOK deputies and press reports alleging that the Defense Ministry had issued a secret circular for the recruitment of more than 1,550 staff. Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said yesterday that an official circular had not been issued, adding that an internal investigation was under way to determine who was responsible for the unsigned, undated circular published in a Larissa newspaper. Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said yesterday that he had ordered the probe last Thursday when he was first briefed about the matter. TOXIC THREAT Cypriots fear pollution Environmentalists on Cyprus yesterday expressed their concern about the possible pollution of the island’s northern coastline after a ship laden with toxic material sank off Turkey on Monday. The MV Ulla, which was carrying fly ash from Spanish power plants, went down off the port of Iskenderun (also known as Alexandretta). Fly ash is known to contain chromium, a heavy metal that causes cancer, harms marine life and could affect fish consumed by people. At least two tons of the substance are thought to have leaked into the sea. Organic farming Farmers and landowners interested in growing organic products can apply for subsidies from the Agriculture Ministry’s organic farming program until September 14, the ministry said yesterday. The program has a budget of 107 million euros for the development of an anticipated total of 50,000 hectares of land, the ministry said. Arable land, vegetable cultivations and orchards are all eligible for backing, according to the ministry. Aegean Regatta The 74 sailboats participating in the annual Aegean Regatta left Andros yesterday morning amid winds of 6 to 7 on the Beaufort scale. The launch of the regatta, being organized by the Aegean Ministry for the fourth year in a row, was to have taken place on Sunday morning but was postponed because of even stronger winds. Winners of the first leg of the race were honored during a ceremony in Pythagoreio on Samos last night. ELA trial The lawyer representing Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terror group suspect Christos Tsigaridas yesterday maintained that the trial of his client and another four ELA suspects was political in nature and had been conducted under time pressure. Stamatis Kambanis also stressed that the trial was characterized by a lack of incriminating evidence against the defendants. Refugee housing The temporary accommodation being provided to illegal immigrants intercepted in Greece is far from adequate, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee protection officer, Maria Stavropoulou, told reporters in Samos yesterday after visiting the local reception center. Stavropoulou called for the transfer of the existing center to more spacious premises where women and men can have more privacy. Education concerns A group of 12 MPs from the PASOK main opposition party yesterday submitted a question in Parliament regarding the government’s «lack of planning and preparation» for the launch of the school year on Monday. The deputies claimed that several thousands of permanent teaching posts remain unfilled.