NEWS

In Brief

TENDER LAW

Commission due to receive Greek government’s arguments today The government’s response to EU Interior Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy on Greece’s controversial new law banning media barons from lucrative state tenders is due to be handed over today by Greece’s EU Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas. Greece’s defence is expected to be stem from the argument that the law is based on a constitutional amendment passed in 2001. On March 22, the Commission launched the first stage of its infringement procedure against Greece over the new law, which was passed on January 20. MINE BAN Court upholds residents’ appeal against PPC site in Ptolemaida The Public Power Corporation (PPC) cannot operate a new lignite mine in Ptolemaida, western Macedonia, according to yesterday’s ruling by the Council of State’s plenary session, which upheld an appeal by local residents and overturned a ministry decision. The ministry’s February 2003 decision was deemed illegal as it had been based on a feasibility study that failed to consider the possible destruction of the nearby Mavropigi Forest and the need to displace local residents, the court ruled. TROLLEY DISRUPTION No service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be no trolleys serving Athens between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today as staff stage a four-hour work stoppage to attend their annual general assembly. Workers are due to discuss their new collective work contract and the problems faced by their sector. Gypsies charged Three Gypsies yesterday faced a Thessaloniki prosecutor for allegedly playing a key role in riots in the city’s Dendropotamos district on Monday evening. The three men were allegedly part of a group who threw sticks and stones at the homes of other Gypsies whom they accuse of selling drugs in the area. A few gunshots were fired during the riots but there were no injuries, police said. Taxi strike Athens will have no taxis between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. next Monday (April 11) as drivers stage a six-hour work stoppage in order to attend their general meeting. Among others, they are to discuss a series of new measures, aimed at improving conditions in their sector, which were unveiled yesterday by Transport Minister Michalis Liapis. The measures include the extension of a ban on issuing new taxi licenses until the end of 2008. Illegal cars A ring of fraudsters forged certificates that relieved them of paying around 1.1 million euros in import duties for 39 luxury cars, the Economy Ministry’s Financial Crime Squad (SDOE) revealed yesterday. The 39 vehicles have been impounded and the ring members are being sought so that other illegally circulating vehicles can be tracked down and taken off the road, the ministry said. Supermarket ruling The Association of Greek Supermarkets (SESME) will appeal to an administrative appeals court against last week’s ruling against it by the Competition Commission, SESME’s board of directors told a press conference in Athens yesterday. The commission found SESME and seven of its members guilty of colluding to set a floor on shelf prices. Meanwhile, the association’s board will resign, SESME chairman Pantelis Panteliadis said. Xeros appeal Convicted November 17 extreme left-wing terrorist Savvas Xeros yesterday appeared before the Council of Appeals Court Judges to request the right to appeal against the December 2003 decision by a three-judge appeals court convicting him to six life terms. Xeros initially relinquished his right to appeal his sentence, as had other N17 convicts. He claims to have done so for «symbolic» reasons and in protest at his detention conditions, sources said yesterday. The court is expected to respond to Xeros’s request in the next few days. Bank robbery Three armed robbers fled with an undisclosed sum after raiding a bank in the western Athens district of Peristeri. One of the robbers shot at a bank customer who gave chase after the trio had fled but was not hit, police said. Two gun cartridges found near the bank are being examined by ballistics experts, they said.