NEWS

Conscript charged for attacking puppy-killer

A conscript who beat up an army cadet officer who had brutally killed a litter of puppies in the camp they both served in outside Thessaloniki appeared before a military magistrate yesterday on charges of striking a superior. The cadet, Dimitris Tachas, also appeared and was charged with cruelty to animals. According to private Vassilis Routsis, soon after a stray dog living in the camp at Langadas, 20 kilometers east of Thessaloniki, gave birth, Tachas took an axe and beheaded all eight puppies. Finding this an unacceptable display of cruelty, Routsis and another conscript, Theodoros Andreou, rushed up on the cadet, knocked him to the ground and verbally abused him. Andreou was not prosecuted, as the incident took place two months ago and he has since been discharged. All Greek men must do 16-19 months’ military service, but can choose to become cadet officers, in which case they serve 21 months. An internal report by the European Union’s executive Commission assumes that Bulgaria and Romania, the poorest candidates negotiating for EU membership, could join the bloc in 2008, an EU official said yesterday. The confidential report on agricultural aspects of the bloc’s eastward enlargement, drafted last month, also confirms that up to 10, mostly ex-communist countries, were firmly on track for EU membership in 2004. (Reuters)