NEWS

In Brief

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

EU threatens to suspend funds due to alleged mismanagement The European Commission yesterday threatened to suspend payments to Greece from the European Regional Development Fund, which involves over 300 projects with a total budget of 20 billion euros, due to suspicions of fund mismagement. The EC is considering suspending the payments due to shortcomings in the monitoring process, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Danuta Huebner said in response to a question submitted by Synaspismos Left Coalition MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis. The government has until February 28 to respond, Huebner said. BOMB BLASTS Anarchists thought to have planned series of 7 dawn attacks across Attica Police believe that anarchists orchestrated a series of attacks with homemade bombs that hit five banks and two offices of the ruling New Democracy party in different parts of Attica between 2 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. yesterday. No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted Eurobank branches in Exarchia, Petralona, Glyfada and Acropolis, and ND offices in the districts of Lambrini and Ilion. The worst damage was caused in the Petralona attack where the ground floor was completely destroyed. There were no reports of any injuries. TOXIC FRUIT Study finds persistent pesticides One in three fruits purchased in stores or markets contains traces of pesticides, with 2 percent exceeding the maximum permissible level set by the European Union, according to a study carried out by scientists at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University. Some fruit, such as pears and apples, retained traces of pesticide even after thorough washing and required peeling for safe consumption, scientists said. A greater proportion of imported fruit (81 percent) than home-grown fruit (62 percent) had traces of pesticides. Ferry rescue Coast guard vessels and Super Puma helicopters yesterday rescued 35 people from a car ferry that started taking on water after striking a rocky promontory while sailing into Chios harbor in the early hours of yesterday. The Arion had set sail from Piraeus with 35 people on board, 17 of whom were crew members. No injuries were reported. Winds of 6 Beaufort had been blowing in the area. Anachronistic CD-Rom The Pedagogic Institute in Athens said yesterday that it would seek the withdrawal of a CD-Rom, distributed to secondary schools in 2003, that addresses issues such as AIDS, abortions and drug use in an «anachronistic way». The CD-Rom allegedly presents incorrect information about abortions and implies that sexual liberation causes AIDS. «It expresses a morality based on fear,» according to a theologian at the institute, Stavros Yiagazoglou. Graphic depictions of abortions had caused some students to faint. Migrant murder Police suspect that a Kurd belonging to a ring smuggling migrants from Patras to Europe was behind the murder of a 19-year-old Afghan found at the port on Thursday. The Afghan, who was killed on the same day he arrived in Patras from Lesvos, had probably refused the Kurdish ring’s services, police said. Plastic transactions Citizens will be able to settle their transactions with the state more speedily using a credit card, according to plans the Interior Ministry is currently discussing with banks, Deputy Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos said yesterday. Under the plans, citizens could use the card to pay for passport renewals and other such transactions at a Citizens’ Information Center (KEP). Olympic committee International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge yesterday called for the postponement of elections of a new president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) – scheduled for Monday – in response to a complaint by outgoing HOC President Lambis Nicolaou that followed the committee’s recognition of four new sporting federations. Nicolaou and other HOC members view the creation of new federations, controlled by ruling New Democracy, as an attempt by the government to gain greater influence on HOC’s executive committee.