NEWS

In Brief

CUTTING BUREAUCRACY

Citizens to have fewer documents to worry about after ministerial decision Several documents citizens had been obliged to procure for court cases, depositions and the issuing of licenses will now be the police’s responsibility to provide, according to a joint ministerial decision made public yesterday. These documents include copies of a citizen’s criminal record, certificates of residence issued by a prosecutor, certificates issued by a court of first instance confirming that a citizen does not have court protection and fire safety certificates. ‘MUSEUM OF THE YEAR’ Salonica Byzantine Museum honored Thessaloniki’s Museum of Byzantine Culture was yesterday honored as Europe’s «museum of the year» for 2004 by the Council of Europe. A statement by the council said the museum’s 11 galleries «communicate all aspects of life in the Byzantine era.» The 10-year-old museum deserved to win because «Byzantine… civilization and art are at the heart of European culture… and because it successfully combines tradition and the conservation of cultural heritage with presentation in a modern environment,» according to PASOK MP Maria Damanaki, who is a member of the council’s cultural committee. Bribery A Thrace appeals court yesterday passed down a suspended two-year jail sentence on Xanthi’s former town planning chief found guilty of taking bribes seven years ago. A Xanthi misdemeanor court had cleared the 56-year-old of accepting 4,400 euros to help a local baker get a license to expand his premises. But the former official faced trial again when the Supreme Court contested the ruling. A 54-year-old man who allegedly mediated between the official and the baker, and had also been cleared, received an eight-month suspended sentence. Polo probe Piraeus prosecutor Grigoris Peponis yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation into why only three policemen were stationed at a local sports venue where a water polo match between Olympiakos and Panionios degenerated into a riot on Wednesday. Illegal immigrants Coast guards on Lesvos yesterday detained 14 illegal immigrants and their suspected Turkish smuggler who had reached the island from neighboring Turkey in a plastic rowboat. Five would-be migrants were also detained on Chios. Fraudster caught Police in Omonia yesterday arrested a 46-year-old Cypriot man believed to have used a forged Cypriot passport and residence permit to acquire seven credit cards that he allegedly used to carry out transactions to the tune of 7,000 euros. The suspect was not identified. Job protest Would-be civil servants who have not been appointed permanent state posts since passing examinations set by the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP) in 1998 yesterday protested outside the Benaki Museum’s new branch on Pireos Sreet where Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was inaugurating a new exhibition. Doctors strike State hospitals will be operating on skeleton staff on December 10 and 17 after doctors yesterday called 24-hour strikes for those dates. Doctors are demanding higher salaries and the recruitment of extra staff to ensure the functioning of a new roster system aimed at providing emergency services for more hours every day. Teachers’ rally State schoolteachers, unhappy with state funding for schools, yesterday called a protest rally for December 10. University and technical college professors have also announced a protest that day.