NEWS

In Brief

BATTLING BUREAUCRACY

Gov’t abolishes certificates verifying court indictments or criminal charges Citizens will no longer be obliged to produce an official certificate proving they have never been indicted and have never faced criminal charges, according to a joint decision by Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras and Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos that was made public yesterday. From now on, a personal declaration stating the above will suffice, according to the decision. GUIDED TOURS Athens bus to operate from August Athens will have its own sightseeing bus from August 1 according to Transport Ministry plans, it was revealed yesterday. The bus will follow a route taking in the capital’s main archaeological sites and museums in around 25 stops and will carry a tour guide, the president of the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) Simos Simopoulos said. If the initiative is a success, Athens may follow the example of other European capitals and start using open-top double-decker buses for city tours, he added. Vartholomaios Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios was visited in Istanbul yesterday by Archbishop Christodoulos and Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis on the occasion of his name day. Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations approved an amendment calling on Turkey to protect the religious rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey. The amendment, submitted by Democratic Congressman Robert Menendez, will now be debated by the House. Hit-and-run Police were yesterday seeking the driver of a truck believed to have knocked down a motorcyclist on the Athens-Lamia national road and left him for dead. The truck hit the biker at around 3.30 p.m. yesterday near the junction leading to the FAGE factory site, according to an eyewitness. The victim was not identified. Xeros appeal An appeal by convicted November 17 terrorist Savvas Xeros against his sentence of six life terms is to be debated by the Council of Athens Appeals Court Judges, following a decision by the court’s president Dimitris Linos that was made public yesterday. Xeros, who had initially relinquished the right to appeal his sentence along with other N17 convicts, submitted his appeal citing serious problems with his eyesight and heart. Emergency landing No harm came to the 245 passengers and 12-strong crew aboard a flight bound for New York, which was forced to return to Athens yesterday after a bird was sucked into its engine shortly after takeoff. The OA 411 flight left Athens at 12.45 p.m. as scheduled, but was forced into an emergency landing one hour and 20 minutes later after one of its four engines was disabled. City shows A concert by songwriter Manolis Famellos accompanied by a light show in central Kotzia Square at 9.30 p.m. today kicks off a three-month cultural program of concerts and plays in 12 different squares across Athens, municipal officials said yesterday. Illegal antiquities Three Greek men – aged 37, 38 and 58 – were arrested following the discovery of ancient jewelry and other illegally excavated antiquities in their possession, police said yesterday. Items confiscated included jewelry dating from the Mycenaean period and coins from the sixth and fifth centuries BC.