NEWS

In Brief

EU BUDGET

Greece unhappy with Britain’s proposal but hopes for changes Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis yesterday expressed Greece’s dissatisfaction with proposals by the British European Union presidency for the bloc’s 2007-2013 budget. Britain’s proposal is not compatible with Greece’s positions on the matter, Alogoskoufis said from Brussels, adding that there was scope for some improvement during negotiations over the next few days. The proposals by British PM Tony Blair foresee bold funding cuts. UNROADWORTHY VEHICLES Half of all taxis and three-quarters of school buses fail inspections Nearly half of all taxis and three-quarters of school buses fail tests at Athens’s Vehicle Inspection Centers (KTEO) in Holargos, it was revealed yesterday. Specifically, 48 percent of buses and 71 percent of school buses are found to have serious problems, such as excessively worn tires or faulty exhaust pipes. Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros called the situation «unacceptable» and called for those unroadworthy vehicles to be stripped of their licenses. MONEY LAUNDERING Ministry official to tackle problem Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday that the Defense Ministry’s general secretary for procurements, Giorgos Zorbas, had been appointed head of a national committee to combat money laundering. Roussopoulos did not say when Zorbas, also a prosecutor, would take up his new post. Opposition parties criticized the government yesterday for refusing to allow Zorbas to be questioned by MPs about his views on the bill for military procurements currently being discussed in Parliament. TV fines The state broadcasting watchdog ESR yesterday slapped a 70,000-euro fine on private television channel Alpha for the «use of illegitimate means» to extract information. The watchdog reacted after the station aired comments made by the chief of the Social Security Foundation (IKA) to reporter Costas Vaxevanis without the former knowing that the latter was a journalist. The watchdog also fined Alpha’s «Kous-Kous» gossip show 100,000 euros for the program’s «low quality.» Same-sex couples The government is not looking into recognition of marriages between same sex couples, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday. Issues regarding the legal rights of same-sex couples surfaced yesterday after Synaspismos Left Coalition President Alekos Alavanos asked Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras in Parliament whether the government intends to offer them legal recognition as in other European Union countries. Stathopoulos sues Former justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos yesterday filed a lawsuit against a drug-dealing suspect for perjury and defamation after Giorgos Iatridis claimed that the former PASOK minister had played a part in his release. Iatridis was released by judge Evangelos Kaloussis, who has been charged with sexual exploitation, bribery and money laundering in connection with his alleged part in a trial-fixing ring. Negligent doctor A doctor was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence by a Thessaloniki court yesterday for negligence and inflicting bodily harm on one of his patients. The unnamed doctor operated on his patient without the presence of a neurosurgeon and conducted a procedure that left the patient unable to use his legs, the court heard. Drug dealers Police said yesterday they had broken up a gang of drug dealers in Athens that peddled heroin and cocaine on the capital’s streets. Four men between the ages of 24-54 were arrested, along with a 35-year-old woman when police raided a home in Sepolia early yesterday. The head of the operation is believed to be living in Albania, said police, who found 2 kilos of heroin on the premises. Christmas trade The Athens Traders Association (ESA) has recommended that retail stores stay open for the Christmas period between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays, effective as of Monday. Trading hours are expected to return to normal on January 3.