NEWS

In Brief

LENDING REFORMS

Consumer loans now harder to get but housing ones more accessible The Bank of Greece yesterday announced a series of reforms designed to put a clamp on banks issuing consumer loans by forcing them to increase their reserves. According to the central bank reforms, banks will have to increase their reserve ratios by up to 100 percent for defaulting loans. But it will be easier to get housing loans, as mandatory reserve ratios will be decreased. TRIAL-FIXING PROBE Six more judges under investigation Another six judges are being investigated as part of a judicial probe into a corruption ring thought to have systematically released drug dealers, court sources said yesterday. A second bank account belonging to court of first instance judge Tonia Ilia is to be opened after testimony revealed that she had allegedly awarded 480,000 euros over a road accident to a churchman, sources said. The cleric had the same lawyer as Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis who is believed to have been a middleman in the ring, they said. Road safety Fines for traffic offenses will increase by 20 percent by the end of February with the introduction of sweeping reforms aimed at improving safety on Greek roads, Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said yesterday. Weather woes Evros prefectural authorities yesterday implemented anti-flood measures in anticipation of heavy rain over the next few days. Farmers have been told to withdraw animals and equipment from the area. Meanwhile, winds of up to 10 Beaufort snapped electricity cables in Ileia, leaving much of the prefecture without power. Heavy snowfall also caused power cuts in Ioannina, which suspended coach services. Ferry boats were not serving the Rio-Antirio crossing yesterday. Preaching to the deaf An initiative by Archbishop Christodoulos to equip Greek clerics with sign language skills so that they can communicate with citizens with hearing difficulties was launched earlier this week, Church officials said yesterday. Tripolis quake A mild earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale struck the Peloponnesian town of Tripolis just before 5 p.m. yesterday, but caused no injuries or damage. Electricity appeal Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday asked Public Power Corporation (PPC) President Ioannis Palaiokrassas to accelerate plans for providing electricity to illegally built homes in Attica after residents complained about delays. Temple Construction work on a house in the central town of Trikala has revealed the remains of an ancient temple of Hermes, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The temple belonged to the ancient town of Trikke, on which modern Trikala was built. Bronze coins and pottery found on the site date to Hellenistic and Roman times. Holocaust memorial Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer, are among those due to attend Holocaust Remembrance Day events in Thessaloniki today. Papoulias PASOK leader George Papandreou yesterday wrote to Parliament Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki declaring his party’s support for Socialist former Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias as a candidate for the March presidential elections. Papoulias, 75, was nominated by the ruling conservatives last month. Cyprus shooting A Cypriot National Guard soldier has been suspended and disciplined for shooting a Turkish soldier with an airgun last Friday, causing him minor injuries, according to a Defense Ministry statement issued in Nicosia yesterday.