NEWS

In Brief

OLYMPIC CONFUSION

Five bids for ailing state carrier are problematic, committee finds The government’s Biministerial Committee for Privatization yesterday identified problems in all five bids submitted for the purchase of debt-ridden Olympic Airlines, sources told Kathimerini. No details about the problems were made public by the committee, which was chaired by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. SEAT DISPUTE Court rejects appeal by three MPs against earlier ruling ousting them An electoral court yesterday rejected an appeal by two PASOK deputies and a New Democracy MP against an earlier ruling contesting the results of last year’s elections. According to the ruling, PASOK MPs for Pella and Serres Giorgos Paschalidis and Efstathios Koutmeridis are to be replaced by ND candidates Parthena Fountoukidou and Achilleas Karamanlis, the prime minister’s uncle. Also, ND’s Costas Zacharakis is to be ousted by PASOK’s Theocharis Tsiogas in Thessaloniki. TAX EVASION Bars, restaurants face punishment Surprise inspections on bars, cafes and restaurants in Attica, eastern Macedonia and Thrace, western Greece, Epirus and other parts of the mainland last weekend discerned various forms of tax evasion in 60 percent of all cases, the Economy Ministry’s Financial Crime Squad (SDOE) said yesterday. Specifically, 301 out of 510 establishments inspected were found to have violated tax laws, in most cases by failing to issue customers tickets for entry, the ministry said. Nocturnal visits A series of state museums, including several major crowd-pullers, will have their opening hours extended to receive visitors until midnight once a month, starting in May, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis said yesterday. Dud checks A total of 9,724 dud checks were issued last month – an increase of 35.9 percent compared to March 2004, according to the financial information services company Tiresias. Athens trash Piles of trash that have accumulated on the streets of Athens over the past few days due to the closure of the Ano Liosia landfill on Saturday night should be cleared up by this afternoon, the Athens Municipality said yesterday. Authorities said they were not informed of the closure of the landfill, which was reopened on Monday night. Crafty NGOs? Certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are inflating statistics relating to the level of sex-trafficking in Greece in order to secure greater European Union funding, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis claimed yesterday. Banknote scam Three foreign nationals have been arrested and a fourth is being sought for allegedly tricking a Kavala businessman out of 180,000 euros by means of a common yet still effective banknote scam, Thessaloniki police said yesterday. In November, the gang allegedly convinced the businessman that they had inherited 2.8 million euros covered with a black paint that could only be removed using chemicals and real banknotes. The businessman agreed to give them 180,000 euros to use in this process in exchange for a large sum of money, which he never received. Rabbit protest Prefectural offices on Lesvos and Lemnos were closed yesterday and are to remain closed today as local authorities protest the failure of the central government to help curb Lemnos’s wild rabbit population. The rabbits are causing serious losses for local farmers. Soccer final European soccer’s governing body UEFA yesterday decided the Champions League final of 2007 will be held in the Athens Olympic Stadium. Omonia stabbing A 25-year-old man was hospitalized with serious stab wounds yesterday after trying to stop two motorcycle-borne muggers from stealing the bag of a 70-year-old woman in Omonia. Gas stations Gas stations are to extend their opening hours until 10.30 p.m. as of May 1, the government said yesterday.