NEWS

In Brief

N17 PROTEST

Prosecutor visits ailing Koufodinas, bars over jail yard may be removed A prosecutor yesterday visited the convicted November 17 terrorist Dimitris Koufodinas in hospital to check on the health of the 46-year-old who has been on hunger strike for 28 days. Koufodinas, who is protesting at jail conditions, is said to be in a critical condition. As long as he is conscious, he cannot be force-fed. But if he were to fall into a coma, a prosecutor could order doctors to feed him. Also yesterday, sources quoted the Justice Ministry as saying it will remove the metal bars covering a small exercise yard in Korydallos Prison. The 15 N17 left-wing militants are held in isolation and denied contact with other convicts. Marches protesting their treatment were held in Athens and Thessaloniki yesterday. NBG STREAMLINING Total of 1,506 staff taking part in bank’s voluntary redundancy plan A total of 1,506 employees of the National Bank of Greece (NBG) have opted to take part in the bank’s voluntary redundancy program, it was revealed yesterday. The 524 management staff and 982 branch employees, who represent 10 percent of NBG’s total work force, are due to leave their posts by the end of this year. The program is said to be costing Greece’s largest bank 106 million euros. Meanwhile, the union of NBG bank workers called a 24-hour strike on November 1, demanding that the bank recruit new staff to replace those who are leaving. OLYMPIC BONUSES Staff to get paid on October 22 Security services staff who worked extra hours during the Olympics and Paralympics are to receive the special Olympic bonuses they were promised on October 22, according to a statement issued by the Defense Ministry yesterday. A total of 11,700 employees stand to receive 2,300 euros each, while 21,600 are to get 700 euros, according to a joint decision signed by the Economy and Defense ministries at the end of August. Entertainer death Actor, singer and television entertainer Vlassis Bonatsos died yesterday morning at the age of 55. His death was attributed to an acute form of obstructive laryngitis. Bonatsos began his career in the theater in the late 1960s, and later joined a pop group, Peloma Bokiou. He also hosted TV games shows and talent contests. No funeral arrangements were announced. Doping testimony Weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis, who won a bronze medal in the Olympics but then lost it after testing positive for high levels of testosterone, will on Tuesday defend himself before two prosecutors who are also probing the case of disgraced sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou. Sampanis had been due to testify today but his lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos was granted an extension due to the death of his son-in-law, Vlassis Bonatsos. Acropolis lift A total of 3,572 people used the new lift for wheelchair users on the Acropolis from August 13 until the end of that month, and 3,216 used it in September – the month of the Paralympics – according to figures made public by the Culture Ministry yesterday. The lift was used mostly by Greeks, Americans, Britons and Germans, the data showed. Bridge convictions Two civil engineers yesterday received five-year prison sentences for the manslaughter of two Albanian workers who were fatally crushed by a bridge five years ago. Antonios Vardasanis and Andreas Karpathakis were employees of the contractor Hellenic Technodomiki which had undertaken the construction of the 114-meter bridge over the Attiki Odos, near Markopoulo. A misdemeanors court ruled that the engineers had not ensured the safe construction of the bridge. Illegal immigrants Forty-two illegal immigrants were yesterday safely evacuated from a fishing boat which started sinking while being towed to Crete. The boat had been spotted drifting off Malta on Wednesday by a Greek trawler. Also yesterday, a Samos court handed down jail sentences of five years and two months on two Turks who tried to smuggle seven Egyptian immigrants into Greece. Erkan Tumer, 24, and Ramaza Purali, 26, were caught on Wednesday.