NEWS

In Brief

ARMS PROCUREMENT

ND wants parliamentary probe of alleged malpractice by PASOK The ruling conservatives will propose the formation of a parliamentary committee to examine two cases of alleged malpractice in arms procurements by the previous PASOK government, New Democracy’s parliamentary spokesman Vyron Polydoras said yesterday. The proposal will be submitted when Parliament reconvenes, Polydoras told reporters. Prosecutors’ findings in both cases of alleged malpractice have been submitted to Parliament. NEW ACROPOLIS MUSEUM Budget grows to 129 million, Greece seeks EU funding Athens has started the process for securing European Union financing for the New Acropolis Museum, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The project, with which Greece had hoped to pressure the British Museum into returning its Elgin Collection of fifth-century BC sculptures from the Parthenon, was supposed to have been ready in time for the Olympics but never got off the ground. According to the ministry, it will now cost 129 million euros, with 85 million provided by Brussels. The initial budget was 94 million. The museum is to be built in Makriyianni, under the ancient citadel. CYPRUS PEACEKEEPERS Annan wants a 33 percent cut UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended that the number of UN peacekeepers on Cyprus be reduced by a third, according to a leaked 18-page report he has submitted to the UN’s Security Council. According to Annan’s proposal, the force would be reduced to 860 troops from the current 1,200. The report is to be examined by Security Council members on October 11. Illegal migrants A Samos court yesterday imposed eight-year jail sentences and 45,000-euro fines on two Turks for smuggling seven African illegal migrants into Greece. Salijlan Riza and Katin Volkan were arrested on the island on Tuesday. Also yesterday, Turkish authorities rescued 23 illegal immigrants on a plastic boat that had trouble trying to reach Greece. One of the migrants had called Greek authorities from a mobile phone to say that the boat had suffered engine problems near Lesvos. Another eight illegal immigrants were detained on Chios yesterday. Bomb hoax An Olympic Airlines plane, diverted to Ireland on Tuesday following a bomb threat, yesterday morning resumed its journey to New York after a search failed to locate any suspicious devices. On Sunday, another OA plane, also bound for New York, had to make an emergency landing at Stansted Airport near London following a similar threat. OA yesterday insisted that security measures aboard its flights were adequate. Security wrap Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis yesterday thanked the members of the international advisory committee for Olympic security for helping to guarantee safety at the Games. He was speaking at the 17th and final session of the committee which comprised security experts from seven foreign countries including the USA, the UK and Israel. Train death The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) yesterday expressed regret over the death of a young Albanian man who was struck by a Halkida-bound train while trying to cross the tracks near Larissa railway station in Athens. The man, who was not identified, had tried to cross the tracks at a point where access is forbidden, according to OSE, which warned motorists and pedestrians to be cautious as trains always have priority on railway tracks. Quarry fines The Public Works Ministry yesterday imposed a total fine of 700,000 euros upon two firms for violating environmental legislation in quarries they had been managing in Markopoulo, eastern Attica. The firms were fined 400,000 and 300,000 euros each because they did not have licenses for exploiting the quarries, and for operating equipment and dumping waste in the surrounding area. ‘Satanists’ arrested Four Greeks and one Italian yesterday faced a prosecutor for allegedly proselytising youngsters to Satanism over the Internet, after police traced them to Athens and Lefkada.