NEWS

In Brief

REPARATIONS – Appeals court rejects German request to block compensation A civil appeals court yesterday rejected the German State’s move to block the auction of German property slated for September 19, saying it would rule on the issue later. It turned down the German request for a temporary stay of the auction until the decision is announced. A lower court has ruled that the auction of the Goethe Institute and the German Archaeological Institute at Athens can go ahead in order to provide compensation of 9.4 billion drachmas for the families of victims of the Nazi massacre at Distomo in 1944. CHURCH Archbishop runs into opposition on new Holy Synod Archbishop Christodoulos faced stinging criticism at the first gathering of the Holy Synod in its new formation yesterday. The 12-member body that is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Church now contains Bishop Hieronymos of Thebes and Bishop Theoklitos of Ioannina, both of whom opposed the confrontation with the State on the issue of whether identity cards should mention citizens’ religion. The two bishops disagreed with a proposed statement attacking the government and accused Christodoulos of leading the Church into a political confrontation. Christodoulos, who is to begin an official visit to Serbia tomorrow, said that he would not accept an invitation to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis if this did not include a discussion of the identity card issue – an issue which the government says is closed. No coach tours Bus owners launch strike tomorrow Tourist coach owners said yesterday they would launch tomorrow a nation-wide, indefinite strike originally scheduled to begin today. They are annoyed at government plans to allow state and municipality-owned buses break their current monopoly on coach tours. Krambis in prison. Double kidnap and murder suspect Panayiotis Krambis was remanded yesterday to Korydallos prison after his extradition from Britain on Monday following a lengthy court battle. Wearing a bulletproof vest, Krambis, 47, was taken from Athens police headquarters to an appeals prosecutor, who ordered his transfer to Korydallos until January 23 when he is to stand trial for masterminding the kidnapping and murder of a businessman and his girlfriend in late 1997. Krambis has a number of outstanding convictions for theft, check fraud and forgery. Also to stand trial with Krambis, who was held by the British authorities for over a year and a half while fighting the extradition process, are Theodoros Krallis, already in Korydallos, and nine others. Barnard. Pioneering heart specialist Dr. Christiaan Barnard’s death in a Paphos hotel on Sunday was caused by an intense asthma attack, a Cypriot pathologist said yesterday. The 78-year-old South African collapsed and died while lounging by the pool of a hotel in this Cypriot coastal city, where he was on holiday. Pathologist Eleni Antoniou, who conducted the autopsy yesterday, told a news conference that the cause of death was a bronchial blockage brought on by the attack. His heart was in excellent condition, Antoniou said, rejecting early speculation that Barnard suffered a fatal heart attack. (AP) Firemen protest. Greece’s fire brigade unions yesterday began a 48-hour sit-in at the entrance to the old Athens University building on Panepistimiou Street, which will culminate in a protest march tomorrow morning to the Public Order Ministry. They will also stage a demonstration on Saturday at the opening of the fire brigade’s stand at the Thessaloniki International Fair. A delegation met yesterday with Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis to discuss their demands, which include an amendment characterizing their profession as dangerous and hazardous to their health, a five-day week and a strict observation of working hours. Embezzlement. A state betting agency (OPAP) employee was charged yesterday with embezzling 22.5 million drachmas from the agency. Paraskevi Kostarelou, who worked as a cashier at OPAP’s financial services department in Thessaloniki, allegedly recorded amounts less than those paid in and kept the balance. Wargames. Greece is to participate in the world’s largest military maneuvers, comprising the forces of 10 nations, which begins next month in Egypt. The exercise, called Bright Star, begins on October 13, with the main military maneuvers lasting from October 18-23, to include land, sea and air operations.