NEWS

In Brief

TSUNAMI VICTIMS

Cruise liner sets sail for Sri Lanka with medical staff and tons of aid A cruise liner carrying dozens of medical personnel and hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid for tsunami victims yesterday set sail from Piraeus for the port of Trincomalee in northeastern Sri Lanka. The ship, which is being provided free of charge for two months by the firm Majestic Cruises, is to serve as a floating hospital for victims of last month’s tsunami when it docks. CONFLICT OF INTERESTS? European court will quiz gov’t over ‘incompatible’ provision, lawyer says Former New Democracy MP Alexandros Lykourezos, a celebrity lawyer who resigned his parliamentary post in July 2003 following a constitutional provision banning MPs from holding second jobs, told a press conference yesterday that the European Court of Human Rights has asked the Greek government to respond to his queries about the provision. The queries are whether the provision is incompatible with the citizen’s right to be elected and to popular will, Lykourezos said. The court wants a response by March 21, he added. COTTON INSPECTIONS Ministry, farmers in agreement Agriculture Ministry officials yesterday agreed with unionists representing cotton farmers from Thessaly and Lamia on the method and time frame for repeat inspections of crop production. Both sides said they expected the new inspections to yield a better return for farmers and thus increase the size of farmers’ subsidies. Meanwhile, farmers pressed their demands for higher subsidies by threatening to use their tractors to block key road junctions in Thessaly. Toy threat State inspectors have confiscated 40 toy laser guns with plastic pellets on sale in Greece, the Development Ministry said yesterday. The toys, manufactured in China, do not satisfy European safety standards nor do they include instructions for use and safety guidelines in Greek, only in English, the ministry said. Indebted traders Traders with outstanding debts should only be liable for imprisonment if it is proven that they have been concealing assets, according to a proposal made to the Supreme Court’s plenary session yesterday by court prosecutor Dimitris Linos. It should be the responsibility of creditors to prove that a trader withheld assets, Linos opined. The court did not immediately rule on the proposal. Lycabettus corpse The corpse of a man identified as Vassilis Sioutis, 31, was found by a stroller yesterday afternoon on the steps leading up to the Church of St George on the summit of Lycabettus Hill, central Athens. Police said the corpse, which bore stab wounds, was in an advanced state of decomposition. Death is believed to have occurred five days ago. Patissia murder Police said yesterday that whoever was responsible for the murder of a 79-year-old woman, who was found gagged and bound in her Patissia home early yesterday, had probably intended to rob her. A coroner ruled that Koula Samba had died of asphyxiation. Forensic experts were examining fingerprints discovered over the victim’s bed and in other parts of her home. Armed robberies Attica police reported three armed robberies yesterday, two in Dafni and one in Galatsi. The first robbery took place at 9 a.m. when two gunmen raided a bank in Dafni before fleeing with 15,000 euros. The second raid took place at around 11 a.m. when a sole robber raided a bank in Galatsi before fleeing with an unidentified sum. And the third raid was at around noon when a lone robber held up a second bank in Dafni. He too fled with an unidentified sum. Priest defrocked The Catholic Church has defrocked the Irish-born priest who disrupted the men’s Olympic marathon in Athens last August by grabbing hold of the frontrunner, Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday. Neil Horan, 57, was informed of the ruling at a meeting with the Archbishop of Southwark in south London on Thursday, AFP said.