NEWS

In Brief

US-GREEK TIES

Gov’t reacts firmly to ambassador’s comments on corruption in Greece Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos yesterday responded firmly to comments by US Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries on the subjects of domestic terrorism and corruption. «Modern Greek democracy – in its bilateral and multilateral relations – does not permit interventions in its domestic matters,» he said. Speaking at an exporters’ conference on Thursday, Ries said Greece had to fight corruption in order to attract investment. Ries also met Karamanlis earlier this week, but no details were offered about the content of their discussions. COCAINE TRAIL Alleged drug baron pleads innocent to trafficking charges Alexander Angelopoulos, one of the country’s most prominent suspected drug dealers, pleaded innocent to a court yesterday on charges related to drug trafficking, sources said. Angelopoulos, also known by the nickname «The Fat Man,» has been charged in connection with a drug bust aboard a Belize-flagged trawler off the coast of Spain which uncovered a haul of 5.4 tons of cocaine. Angelopoulos told the court that he had a gambling habit. The trial will continue on Tuesday. ‘NO CREMATION’ Rebuff for proposed amendment The government is not considering giving Greeks the right to cremation, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday. Roussopolous was responding to an amendment tacked onto an unrelated legislative proposal, which was submitted to Parliament on Thursday by 10 deputies from three parties – New Democracy, PASOK and Left Coalition Synaspismos – allowing for cremation, which is forbidden by the Orthodox Church in Greece. Bad food The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said yesterday that it had detected traces of Listeria bacteria following tests on packaged slices of «Salami Milan,» imported from Italy. The salami is marked with an August 30, 2005 production date. Meanwhile, Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros revealed that 78 tons of rotten food were confiscated from retail outlets and 480 prosecutions brought against store owners between January and November of this year. A total of 285,000 euros in penalties was imposed on offenders, including supermarkets, butchers, and fishmongers, Sgouros said. Human rights Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday stressed the importance of safeguarding human rights «which face a real risk of being sacrificed due to selective and arbitrary interpretations as well as foreign goals and expediency.» Speaking on the occasion of World Human Rights Day, Karamanlis called for the implementation of specific measures to curb ongoing violations of basic human rights. Road deaths Three people were killed in traffic accidents in northern Greece yesterday. A 42-year-old driver was killed after crashing his car into road barriers close to the town of Karias and fatally injuring his 43-year-old passenger. In a separate incident, a motorist was run over and killed by a truck after he pulled over to inspect the damage to his car following a minor collision with another vehicle. Land mine deaths Soldiers from the army’s land mine clearing division yesterday recovered the corpses of two men who had crossed into a fenced-off minefield in Kastanies, Evros prefecture. The men are believed to have been illegal immigrants. Guard robbed A Wackenhut security guard was attacked yesterday as he was about to fill up an ATM machine with cash in Omonia, central Athens. Police said that an armed man hit the guard over the head with the butt of a gun just as he got out of the security vehicle. The robber then escaped with the cash by motorbike. Fraud Police in Athens yesterday arrested four men alleged to have provided low-income citizens with forged documents that helped them embezzle consumer loans to the tune of 52,000 euros from banks. Officers are investigating whether the ring has been behind other fraudulent activities.