NEWS

In Brief

FOREIGN UNIVERSITIES

Minister urges debate on recognition of three-year degrees from abroad Education Minister Marietta Giannakou yesterday called for a debate between the country’s universities and political parties as regards the recognition of three-year degrees from foreign universities. Currently, students with foreign degrees need to complete a two-year master’s course for their certificate to be equivalent to a four-year Greek university degree. Several professional unions refuse to recognize these foreign degrees. «It is an extremely important practical matter,» Giannakou said. SECULAR PROPOSALS MPs call for measures to bring about separation between Church and state Two proposals effectively asking for a separation between the Church and the state were submitted in Parliament yesterday by leftist parties. PASOK-affiliated MPs Stefanos Manos and Andreas Andrianopoulos proposed that the Church be responsible for paying the wages of its clergy, that state documents not list a person’s religion, that civil weddings be made compulsory and cremation of the dead allowed. Their proposals were supported by Synaspismos Left Coalition. The Communist Party also submitted similar proposals yesterday. JUDGE SACKED Court rules Vogiatzis was too slow The plenary session of the Supreme Court yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favor of sacking appeals court judge Ilias Vogiatzis for not delivering verdicts promptly. Vogiatzis had more than 80 cases which he heard in 2003 for which he had not yet given a verdict, the court heard. Esphigmenou dispute Representatives from the Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos and from the Ecumenical Patriarchate yesterday held talks at the Foreign Ministry in Athens, ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday. «There was an exchange of opinions regarding what needs to be done to restore order and calm to Esphigmenou,» Koumoutsakos said, without elaborating. Last week, Esphigmenou monks clashed with representatives of the Orthodox Church hierarchy over plans to install monks from another order in a building next to Esphigmenou. ERT hike The Greek Quality of Life Consumer Union (EKPOIZO) yesterday described as «unacceptable» a 30 percent increase in a quarterly levy for state television (ERT) – included on electricity bills. The charge has increased from 3.24 euros to 4.24 euros per quarter. EKPOIZO said it was time to consider whether such a levy should exist at all. Post haste Four masked gunmen held up a post office in the village of Aghia Fotini near Rethymnon in Crete yesterday morning, making off with 60,000 euros in farmers’ pensions, police said. The men broke into the building shortly after 7 a.m. and fired into the air once before forcing three employees to hand over sacks containing pension money. The pickup truck in which they made their getaway was found later by officers. Bomb scare A bomb hoax at the Development Ministry yesterday interrupted a meeting of the Private Insurance Commission which was set to decide what action it should take against three car insurance firms that have allegedly failed to pay out on claims. The meeting was halted and the watchdog is due to meet again on Monday to decide whether to revoke the licenses of Argonaftiki, Astra and Galaxias, which are responsible for insuring more than 240,000 vehicles. Multilingual guide The Prefecture of Athens said yesterday that it had compiled a guide to its services in five languages – Greek, English, French, Albanian and Russian – to help the city’s migrants. The guide, along with a glossary of useful phrases, will be available at immigrant reception centers, citizens’ information and service centers (KEP) and selected embassies within the next few days, the prefecture said. Child molester? A 67-year-old businessmen was arrested in Thessaloniki yesterday, accused of sexually molesting underage schoolgirls and photographing them with his mobile phone in suggestive poses. Authorities said that for the last three years the man had allegedly been taking girls aged 13-16 into his office and paid them each up to 100 euros for sexual favors.