NEWS

In Brief

SUPERMARKETS SLAMMED

Competition Commission calls for fines of 16.8 mln euros on union, 7 stores The Competition Commission yesterday proposed the imposition of a 15-million-euro fine upon the Association of Greek Supermarkets (SESME) and a total fine of 1.8 million euros upon seven supermarkets which allegedly colluded to set a floor under shelf prices. Both the union and the stores should face further fines if they fail to revoke their discounts, the committee said. Greek supermarket owners called the fines «exorbitant.» Last week, they threatened to make consumers cover the cost of a possible fine. LAND MINES Greece will clear up its border areas ahead of schedule, minister tells NGO Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos yesterday pledged to accelerate an initiative to remove anti-personnel mines along the Turkish border where dozens of illegal immigrants have been killed over the past decade. Greece will have finished clearing its mines «much earlier» than the 2014 deadline stipulated in the Ottawa anti-land mine convention, Michaloliakos said, following a meeting with representatives of the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines in Athens. DOCTORS REUNITED Aid group takes back Greek contingent Doctors without Borders has been reunited with its Greek contingent, the president of the aid organization, Rowan Gilles, told a press conference in Athens yesterday. The aid group had broken ties with its Greek contingent after the latter visited Kosovo to provide aid to Serbs following the 1999 NATO bombing. «In 1999, there had been a passionate dispute about the extent to which a section (of the organization) can act independently,» Gilles said, adding that he believed both sides «would benefit from the reunion.» Gynecologist convicted An Athens appeals court yesterday passed down a suspended 20-month jail sentence on a gynecologist after finding him guilty of the manslaughter through neglect of a 37-year-old woman who died after delivering her third child nearly five years ago. Michalis Avatagellos had originally been cleared of any connection with the death of Klimentini Makri at the Thriassio hospital in 1999 but a prosecutor appealed the verdict. Yesterday’s ruling deemed that Avatagellos had not diagnosed Makri’s ruptured womb early enough to save her. Journalists protest The Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) yesterday protested against the refusal by the US Embassy in Athens to grant a visa to the union’s former president, Nikos Kiaos, following his refusal to answer questions related to his resistance to Greece’s military dictatorship. «The behavior of the US Embassy shows that those who fight for democracy continue to be regarded as undesirables in the so-called land of freedom,» a statement by ESIEA said. Hash haul Border guards in Kastoria yesterday arrested three Albanians trying to smuggle more than 60 kilos of hash into Greece. Another three Albanians eluded arrest, according to police, who confiscated four bags containing the drugs. Arson caught A 29-year-old man caught yesterday in the act of setting fire to forestland near Kalamos, in northern Attica, allegedly told police he had been responsible for another eight arson attacks in the area over the past year. No extensive damage was caused by any of the arson attacks, according the fire service. Abduction A Thessaloniki man who allegedly took 30,000 euros from six foreigners as payment for preparing forged travel documents was kidnapped by the six men after he failed to deliver the papers, police said yesterday after arresting the man and two of his alleged kidnappers. The six foreigners abducted the man and held him hostage until he had returned their money, police said. The «victim» is a known fraudster, according to police, who are seeking the four alleged kidnappers. Migrants detained Coast guard officials have detained 23 illegal immigrants on the island of Santorini, The Associated Press cited authorities as saying yesterday. The immigrants, all men, were detained on Thursday after arriving on the island in a wooden fishing boat from neighboring Turkey, authorities were reported as saying.