NEWS

In Brief

BEST PM

Over one in two prefer Karamanlis, a fifth back Papandreou, poll shows More than one in two Greeks consider Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis the best choice for premier, while less than a fifth believe that PASOK leader George Papandreou could do the best job, according to a poll conducted by VPRC on behalf of Skai radio and whose results were made public yesterday. Specifically, 52 percent of respondents said they believed Karamanlis was the best choice for PM and 19 percent backed Papandreou. CORRUPT CLERICS? Lurid drugs hush-up claims The former bishop of Thessaliotis, Constantinos, has claimed that the Archbishopric hushed up the alleged arrest on drug charges of two senior clerics in January 2003, Flash radio reported yesterday. Theoklitos, Bishop of Thessaliotis, and Serapheim Koulousas, the former chief of Archbishop Christodoulos’s office, had been identified by Bishop Alexios of Trikkis, who had been summoned to the Trikala police station where two churchmen had been brought in on suspicion of drugs-dealing in a nightclub. Tsunami aid A charity concert at the OAKA basketball stadium in Maroussi on Wednesday night raised a total of 274,520 euros for victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, state broadcaster ERT said yesterday. The music from the concert organized by ERT, which featured 50 Greek artists, has been recorded and will be sold on CD, the proceeds of which will also go to tsunami victims. Forged coins A Thessaloniki gas station employee yesterday complained to a prosecutor after being given a handful of forged two-euro coins by a customer on Wednesday night. The employee said he only realized that the 10 two-euro coins were fake after the customer had driven off but that he managed to make a note of the vehicle’s license plate. The coins were hollow and the central section of one came unstuck in his hand, the employee said. Migrants intercepted A group of 52 illegal immigrants yesterday faced an Alexandroupolis prosecutor after police found them in a truck heading toward the northern city from the border with Turkey. The migrants, who had crossed the Evros River in a plastic boat, had been due to give a total of $108,000 (about 82,000 euros) to an unidentified man in Athens. Later, police at the Kipoi crossing arrested three Turks driving a car believed to have «scouted» for the truck. Cyprus pullout Hundreds of peacekeeping troops will begin leaving Cyprus next week as part of cuts announced by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Agence France-Presse cited a UN spokesman in Nicosia as saying yesterday. The Cyprus peacekeeping force will be reduced by a third from the current 1,230. Club raid Attica drug squad officers arrested 13 people early yesterday morning after a raid on the Kahlua club in central Athens. Officers, who raided the club following a tip-off, confiscated 30 packages of cocaine, five ecstasy tablets, three tabs of LSD and two packages of cannabis. The club owners – two brothers – and the manager were among those arrested, police said. Car drowning A 53-year-old man died early yesterday morning after the small truck he was driving plunged off the esplanade in front of Thessaloniki’s landmark White Tower. The victim was identified as Georgios Hadziveroglou. Pest control Officials from the Greek and Turkish prefectures of Evros and Edirne yesterday agreed to launch a joint initiative to exterminate the swarms of mosquitos that infest the regions every spring.