NEWS

In Brief

MILITARY SECRETS

Air force captain charged over arms procurement information An Athens prosecutor yesterday brought criminal charges against an air force captain who was allegedly found in possesion of classified arms procurement information, for most of which he lacked the necessary security clearance. Captain Fournarakis, who had been based at the capital’s Defense Ministry’s headquarters, has been suspended for 12 months after being charged with passing on classified defense information to potential contractors. Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos yesterday referred to the case as «unprecedented» and «very serious.» He said that all those implicated would be punished. KENTERIS REPRIEVE Sprinter gets extra time to prepare defense on doping test charges Greek sprinter Costas Kenteris yesterday received some extra time to prepare his defense in connection with a missed drug test on the eve of last year’s Olympic Games. Kenteris had been due to face an investigating magistrate on charges of dodging the test and giving false statements to police about a motorcycle accident that ostensibly landed him and his training partner Katerina Thanou in hospital for four days – their excuse for not turning up for the test. AEK STADIUM Court rules against construction The law approving the construction of a new home ground for first-division soccer team AEK – as well as adjacent sports complexes – in the Athens district of Nea Philadelphia violates the Constitution and European legislation, the fifth section of the Council of State ruled yesterday. The case was forwarded to the court’s plenary session for a final ruling. AEK wants the new stadium on the site of its old home ground – which it knocked down last year ahead of building its replacement. Bulgarian ties Bulgarian security services staff will be trained at a Balkan training center to be established in Greece, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Petkanov announced yesterday at a joint press conference in Sofia. Earlier the two had discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation in curbing human smuggling, drug trafficking and the trade in forged euro notes and passports. Albanian pupils Nearly 80 percent of foreign pupils attending Attica secondary schools are of Albanian origin, according to research released yesterday by the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute. Albanians account for 78.32 percent of foreign students in secondary schools – especially in Piraeus and eastern Attica, the institute said. The next largest group of foreign pupils hail from Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and then Georgia, it said. Hospital rosters A pilot scheme of rotating duty rosters at Attica state hospitals has succeeded in improving efficiency and will be introduced in Thessaloniki, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday following a briefing with Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis. A wide net The Tourism Ministry is planning to establish 49 new offices around the world, in addition to the current 23 international offices, Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday. The new offices are to be set up in Sarajevo, Ljubljana, Erevan, Beirut, Dubai and Tehran, among other places. There were no details about the cost of the project. (Page 5) Cyprus talks United Nations Undersecretary for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast is due to visit Athens, Ankara and Nicosia by the end of this month in view of the possible resumption of UN-backed talks to reunify Cyprus, Prendergast’s spokesperson said yesterday. Prendergast continued talks with Tassos Tzionis, head of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos’s diplomatic office, in New York yesterday. Constitution debate Cyprus’s Parliament yesterday voted for a debate on the ratification of the European Constitution one day after the coalition government’s largest party, the Communist AKEL said it was going to vote against the treaty.