NEWS

In Brief

HEALTH REFORMS

Legislation to be passed by June foresees structural changes Four pieces of legislation aimed at improving the operation of the state health service are to be passed by June, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said yesterday, following talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The reforms include structural changes within the service and a revamping of the drug distribution system – including the abolition of a list of prescribed medicines available to state-insured patients. A drive to reduce the number of beds in hospital corridors has proved very effective, Karamanlis said after visiting the Athens Evangelismos Hospital earlier yesterday. MILITARY SERVICE Reforms will mean rarer exemptions, minister says after actor probe Exemptions from military service will be harder to obtain with new legislative reforms, Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos said yesterday after announcing the conclusions of an investigation into the illegal exemption of actor Christoforos Papakaliatis. The probe showed that a retired army officer who had headed a military clinic had allowed a false document to be issued maintaining that the actor was unfit to serve. ARMS DEALS Parliament given committee report A parliamentary committee investigating arms deals signed by two former PASOK defense ministers yesterday submitted the results of its probe to Parliament Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki. Ruling New Democracy and opposition PASOK are expected to request a debate on the probe’s conclusions by Parliament’s plenary session. Metro extension Two new Athens metro stations – Holargos and Nomismatokopeio – are to open on the stretch of Line 3 between Ethniki Amyna and the airport by 2007, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday. The Aghia Paraskevi station is expected to be ready by 2008. Weather measures Emergency services were yesterday placed on standby for a wave of bad weather expected to strike many parts of the country from today. Cyprus meeting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss resort of Davos between January 26 and 30, Turkey’s Anatolia news agency reported yesterday. Earlier this week, Erdogan said he planned to meet Annan to discuss the possible resumption of Cyprus talks. Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos is due to visit Athens at the end of the month. League chief Celebrity lawyer and former New Democracy MP Alexandros Lykourezos was yesterday appointed as the new head of the Greek soccer league’s organizing committee. The 70-year-old lawyer promised to «upgrade» the league’s image, tarnished following a recent spate of match violence. Illegal races Athens traffic police early yesterday arrested three men who had been taking part in illegal car races along Vouliagmenis Avenue after setting up a blockade on the coastal road. The detainees include a 45-year-old man who is believed to have launched the craze for illegal car and motorcycle races in the 1980s. More such ambushes will be carried out, police said. Teen robbers Two brothers aged 12 and 13 have been caught on suspicion of mounting five store raids and 18 car robberies in Hania over the past two months, police in Crete said yesterday. Cyprus graves British forensic experts searching the Turkish-held north for mass graves of Greek Cypriots missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island said yesterday that they had found no evidence of such burials. Bourboulia An Athens misdemeanors court yesterday passed down a suspended seven-month sentence on former judge Constantina Bourboulia after finding her guilty of failing to submit her declaration of assets for 2001 on time and failing to declare the purchase of a 494,000 euro house in 2002. Bourboulia resigned in 2003 after being charged with misconduct while leading a probe into the 1999 stock market bubble.