NEWS

In Brief

STATE POSTS

Exam laws were unconstitutional, top administrative court says Legislation which formed the basis for examinations set by the state hiring board in 1998 to recruit staff to posts in municipal authorities and state agencies is unconstitutional, according to a unanimous decision by the plenary session of the Council of State which was made public yesterday. Two pieces of legislation, on the basis of which the 1998 exams had been conducted, violate the constitutional principles of equality and meritocracy by imposing a 50 percent quota of graduates from technical colleges, according to the court’s decision. PENSIONS GSEE chief asks gov’t to clarify stance, warns of union reaction A review of pension reforms by the government will provoke strong opposition from labor unions, the president of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), Christos Polyzogopoulos warned yesterday. Polyzogopoulos asked Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to clarify the government’s stance on the issue after industrialists called for debate on reform. The sense of unease the government has been creating by vacillating on the issue is leading some worried employes to cash their pensions early, the GSEE chief warned. CORRUPTION ARREST Air force officer suspended An air force officer has been suspended after being caught accepting bribes from a building contractor, Deputy Public Works Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos said yesterday. The unnamed wing commander was arrested in a central Athens hotel on Thursday, accepting 1,900 euros in pre-marked bills from the contractor who had tipped off police. According to sources, the official had been negotiating a 10,000 euro project regarding an air force hospital. «Our struggle to stamp out corruption and ensure total transparency in public works… will be relentless,» Michaloliakos said. Molyviatis trip Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis is due in New York tomorrow to attend the United Nations’ General Assembly, the ministry said yesterday. Molyviatis, who is to speak before the assembly on Thursday, is due to meet with his counterparts from the USA, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, several Balkan states, and the Palestinian Authority, the ministry said. He is to discuss Cyprus and other priority matters for Greek foreign policy, it said. Jailed deserter Synaspismos Left Coalition MP Alekos Alavanos yesterday called upon Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos to intervene for the release of a 23-year-old professional sailor on a five-year contract who was jailed for three years and four months last Monday after he refused to be sent to a frigate in the Persian Gulf. The soldier, identified as G. Monastiriotis, is now in Corinth jail after being found guilty of desertion. In May 2003, Monastiriotis had said he wanted to cut short his service due to his opposition to the war in Iraq. Quake compensation The Public Works Ministry yesterday approved 3 million euros to compensate residents of Loutra, near Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece, whose homes were damaged following a 4.8-magnitude earthquake in June. State officials had slated several buildings for demolition and dozens were listed as badly damaged but repairable. Kassos collection Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis is tomorrow due to inaugurate an archaeological collection on Kassos, the ministry said yesterday. The collection is on display at the Old Town Hall which is itself an example of the island’s traditional popular architecture. The exhibition is being funded by the Aegean Ministry’s «Museums on Small Islands» program. Heroin haul Police in Thessaloniki yesterday arrested a 36-year-old Albanian in the city center after finding 2.5 kilos of heroin in five packages which were hidden under the saddle of his scooter. Police did not identify the man. Imvros Synaspismos Left Coalition MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis yesterday asked the European Commission to urge Turkish authorities to end discrimination against minority Greeks living on the island of Imvros.