‘Late’ appeal against Olympic rowing center is rejected An appeal by four archaeological, environmental, and heritage groups against the construction of an Olympic rowing center on the site of the 490 BC battle of Marathon at Schinias, northeastern Attica, was been rejected by the Council of State yesterday, court sources said. The court based its decision – by a 17-10 majority – on the fact that the appeal had been submitted too late, and therefore did not even weigh the group’s arguments. ON-LINE EDUCATION New technology connects teachers and pupils nationwide The introduction of a nationwide education network allowing teachers and pupils to enhance their knowledge via electronic communication with their counterparts in Greece and abroad was yesterday hailed as a success by Education Minister Petros Efthymiou. The aim is to create a network using the Internet to connect schools with universities, technical universities (TEI), research institutes, libraries and museums the minister said, adding that virtually 100 percent of high school pupils are connected to the network. ETBA scandal Investigation into missing billions A preliminary investigation was launched yesterday into claims that four senior officials at the state Hellenic Bank for Industrial Development (ETBA) subsidiary ETBA Finance embezzled billions of drachmas from the company, which is in the process of privatization. Internet-friendly Taxpayers who submit their 2001 tax declarations by e-mail (www.gsis.gov.gr) will receive up to 40,000-drachmas worth of deductions, up from 25,000 last year, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. Chipped image A Thessaloniki court passed six-month jail sentences – suspended for three years – yesterday on two police officers who stole chips from customers of the city’s Hyatt Regency Casino. Officer Giorgos Bouzbas, 46, and Sargent Pavlos Siamorelis, 47, denied the charges against them, claiming there had been a misunderstanding. The two officers were arrested on Wednesday for stealing chips from casino customers on more than 10 occasions. Girl’s by-pass An 8-year-old Kurdish girl from Iraq, who earlier this month disembarked at Ierapetra on Crete with her family and hundreds of other illegal immigrants, is today recovering from open-heart surgery conducted yesterday by surgeons of the Onassis Heart Clinic to treat her rare congenital heart condition. The government agreed to pay for Souhid Salim’s treatment. Chickens ‘safe.’ Reports that poultry raised in Belgium contains toxins originating from contaminated chicken-feed should not worry Greek consumers, as none of the suspect poultry has been exported, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday. Antiquities Border police in Serres, northern Greece, yesterday arrested three Bulgarian nationals for illegally trading in antiquities. A search of the three men produced a bronze statuette of the messenger god Hermes and the marble head of a man – both dating to Hellenistic times. Immigrants Greek port authorities stopped 25 illegal immigrants and two smugglers in three separate incidents over the past two days, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Port authorities on Sunday stopped 10 Iraqi Kurds on a tour bus aboard a ferry which had stopped at the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa en route from Patras to the Italian port of Ancona. The bus driver, Gerasimos Kammenos, 47, was arrested. Patras port authorities yesterday detained three illegal immigrants and arrested Sam Moshi, the driver of the car in which they were traveling, as he was boarding a ferry to Ancona. Also yesterday, Chios port authorities stopped 12 illegal immigrants who arrived on the island in three inflatable rowboats. Big Brother. An Athens court yesterday rejected an appeal by two lawyers against the broadcasting, on Antenna TV, of the ‘Big Brother’ reality TV series which ended earlier this month. The couple lodged their appeal just before the beginning of the series which they described as «an affront to moral standards and to the game’s participants.» The court ruled that the show did not amount to an assault on the laws of decency and that those who participated in the show did so of their own free will.