Gov’t spokesman denies that milk probe had been PR exercise Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos denied yesterday that the investigation by the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) into fresh and concentrated milk had been a public relations exercise. Roussopoulos was supported by General Secretary for Consumer Affairs Thanassis Skordas, who said that the checks had been conducted after an agreement among milk producers, EFET and the Development Ministry. The aim of the checks, Skordas said, was to provide consumers with more information about the products they buy. ELECTION FUNDING Minister calls on municipalities to reduce demands to ‘realistic’ level Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos yesterday called on the country’s municipal authorities to reduce their demands for election funding to reasonable levels by the end of this month. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in October 2006. «The deficiencies being cited are unjustifiable as all local authorities were provided with adequate supplies in the 2002 and 2004 elections,» Pavlopoulos said in a statement. AMERICAN-GREEK TIES PM meets with US ambassador Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with US Ambassador Charles Ries yesterday to discuss bilateral matters, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said. The meeting was arranged at the request of the US ambassador and was the first time the two men had held talks in about a year, Roussopoulos said. Ries did not make any comments after the meeting. Train death Train routes from Athens to northern Greece were back to normal yesterday after a 47-year-old-man was killed in a collision between two trains at Afidnes, northern Attica, late on Tuesday night. The collision occurred between a transport train and another carrying 250 passengers. None of the passengers on board were hurt. Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) officials are blaming the accident on human error. Illegal antiquities Police in Attica arrested a 44-year-old man on charges of trading in illegal antiquities yesterday after an extensive cache of artifacts was found in his home. Officers unearthed 257 silver and bronze coins, dating to Roman times and to the Byzantine era, as well as two religious icons – dating to the 18th and 19th century respectively – and eight religious books – all protected by antiquity laws. Drugs initiative A cross-party parliamentary committee on drugs is expected to recommend the drawing up of a national policy to combat drugs and more measures to prevent the dealing of substances in schools and universities, sources said yesterday. The committee is expected to deliver its report early next year. Police pileup Two police officers were taken to the hospital yesterday after a vehicle slammed into the back of their patrol car, which they had parked at the side of a road in the suburbs of Thessaloniki, authorities said. The two officers had stopped to attend to a crash involving two other cars. A third person also suffered minor injuries in the incident. Bomb hoax Police said that a man, claiming to be from an organization calling itself «ETA Greece,» tipped off a newspaper yesterday that bombs had been planted in the historical center of Thessaloniki and an IKA building and were set to go off. Police sealed off the areas and checked them for explosive devices with the help of trained dogs only to discover that it was a prank call. Cars recalled Mercedes-Benz Hellas is recalling 179 Smart Forfour vehicles due to problems with the supports used in the car seats, the company said yesterday. In a separate recall announced yesterday, Greece’s main Chevrolet dealership, Chevellas, said it is recalling 119 Matiz models due to problems with the airbags in the front passenger seat.