NEWS

In Brief

PRESTIGE RELEASE

Tanker captain held in Spain for 2 years to return home, minister says The Greek captain of the sunken Prestige tanker, who was banned in late 2002 from leaving Spain pending trial, has been allowed to return to Greece, Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras said yesterday. Spanish authorities have said Apostolos Mangouras can go home on the condition that he returns to Spain to stand trial, Papaligouras said. The Prestige sank off the Spanish coast in November 2002, spilling 63,000 tons of fuel in the country’s worst environmental disaster. It is unclear when the trial is due to start. ELA TRIAL Court to issue verdict on 5 left-wing terror suspects today An Athens court is today due to sentence five suspected members of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terror group after eight months of proceedings. The suspects, including alleged mastermind Christos Tsigaridas, are accused of involvement in dozens of bomb attacks, including one on a police van in 1994 in which an officer was killed. They are also charged with instigating the assassination of a public prosecutor in 1989. With the exception of Tsigaridas, a 65-year-old architect, all suspects have denied any involvement with the group. STUDENT TRANSFERS Reforms support the sick, disabled Students with serious illnesses or disabilities will be exempt from new legislation making it tougher to get transfers from the provinces to city universities, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou said yesterday. According to the reforms, students who got their university place due to a health problem will be entitled to a transfer. The same applies to students struck by a serious illness or disability during their studies. Also, students with both parents who are blind or severely disabled will be able to transfer. Village homes Dozens of disadvantaged citizens are to be granted new homes in the Olympic Village in Thrakomakedones today in a ceremony attended by Labor Minister Panos Panoyiotopoulos. Beneficiaries include 59 totally disabled pensioners, 99 parents with five children or more and a group of 118 citizens including partially disabled pensioners entrusted with at least one child and able-bodied citizens entrusted with two disabled children. Another 1,615 homes are to be allotted to large, low-income families in a draw to be held over the weekend. Chinook report Armed Forces Chief Giorgos Antonakopoulos yesterday handed Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos a file containing the findings of an internal investigation into the cause of last month’s fatal Chinook helicopter crash and the responsibility for the ensuing delay in informing political and military chiefs. The report’s findings were not made public. Parnitha fire A fire which broke out behind the Kapota military base at the foot of Mount Parnitha early yesterday morning ravaged around half a hectare of forestland before being extinguished. Dozens of firemen, who brought the blaze under control with the aid of 20 fire engines and several water-carrying aircraft, remained in the area to prevent a rekindling of the fire. Citizenship The government yesterday presented a new draft law codifying legislation on acquiring Greek citizenship. «The acquisition of Greek citizenship is an important matter which must be tackled in a transparent fashion,» Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said. Jail firm probed An Athens prosecutor yesterday brought fraud, forgery and tax evasion charges against Themis Construction, a state company set up by the Justice Ministry, after a preliminary investigation showed that the firm should be probed for alleged mismanagement of finances, provoking delays and defective work in the construction of courthouses and jails. The alleged violations apply to the period 2000-2002. Farmers protest Thessaloniki farmers, protesting about the low price of rice, yesterday caused traffic problems for the second day in a row after blocking the Athens-Thessaloniki National Road at the critical Malgara junction. Farmers are to meet with senior officials of the Agricultural Development and Food Ministry today to discuss their problems.