In Brief


Five Greeks and a Spaniard face trial over violent protests in June 2003 Five Greeks and one Spaniard arrested in Thessaloniki in June 2003 during violent protests against a European Union summit are to appear in court in the northern city tomorrow. Spaniard Carlos Martinez and five Greek nationals, who have not been named, face charges of insurrection and illegal weapon possession. Another nine people, also arrested during the protests, are awaiting indictment. A solidarity march in support of the six defendants was held in Thessaloniki yesterday. PALESTINIAN POLLS Athens welcomes election of Abbas The Foreign Ministry yesterday welcomed the election of new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as a new opportunity for peace in the Middle East. «The successful conduct of the election process and the election of Mr Abbas signal a new beginning in efforts to bring peace to the Middle East,» a ministry statement said. «We hope the reinvigoration of the peace process will be an important… step for a final settlement of the long-standing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis,» it added. EU ombudsman Greece’s Nikiforos Diamandouros (photo) was yesterday re-elected as European Union ombudsman, the chief defender of citizens’ rights against inaccessible institutions and bureaucracy. Diamandouros secured a five-year term by winning 564 votes in the European Parliament, against 45 votes cast for Italy’s Giuseppe Fortunato. The 62-year-old said he was planning on setting up a hotline for all EU citizens. Tender bill Opposition leader George Papandreou yesterday implied his PASOK party would vote against a draft law, tabled in Parliament last month, that prevents large shareholders in media organizations from bidding for state contracts. «The legislation is not implementable, statist, ineffective, extremely complex, a spurious attack on corruption that Greek citizens should be aware of and which will be exposed in Parliament’s debate,» Papandreou said after a meeting with PASOK officials. Navy appointment Vice Admiral Dimitris Gousis has been appointed as Greece’s new navy chief, the Government Council on Foreign Policy and Defense (KYSEA) said yesterday. Gousis, 55, will replace Vice Admiral Antonios Antoniadis – who has held the post since March 2002 – on February 16. US ambassador The new US ambassador to Greece, Charles Parker Ries, yesterday presented President Costis Stephanopoulos with his credentials. Camera burnt Unidentified vandals early yesterday morning set fire to a traffic surveillance camera in the central Athens district of Exarchia, police said. Internet porn A 29-year-old man believed to have posted on the Internet video footage of couples having sex along with revealing photographs of under-age girls has been arrested, police in Attica said yesterday. The unnamed man allegedly set up cameras in hotel rooms, toilets and other public places to film unsuspecting victims. Lawyer targeted A homemade explosive device, comprising a small quantity of dynamite, caused minor damage to the car of a lawyer when it detonated outside his Kifissia home early yesterday morning. Police believe the attack on the car belonging to Giorgos Orfanidis – a bank lawyer responsible for property seizures and auctions – was a settling of accounts.