NEWS

In Brief

N17 COMEBACK?

Minister plays down suggestions group was behind Syntagma bomb Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis yesterday rebutted claims that terrorist group November 17 was behind the bomb that went off outside the Economy and Finance Ministry on Monday in Athens’s Syntagma Square. «Some people are trying to bring out skeletons from the closet at the cost of security forces,» he said. Police believe that the terrorist group Revolutionary Struggle was behind the attack which injured three people, though nobody has yet claimed responsibility. ISRAEL SUPPORT Athens blasts Iranian president for comments denying Jewish Holocaust Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said that comments by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust never took place ignore historic reality. «(These comments) do not contribute to peace and a climate of trust in the broader region of the Middle East,» he said. Ahmadinejad also said yesterday that Israel should be moved as far away as possible. FOOD PENALTIES EFET issues fines of 141,200 euros The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said yesterday that it has fined 17 businesses a total of 141,200 euros for failing to adhere to proper food safety standards. EFET said that it has increased checks being conducted on food companies in the runup to the Christmas period. The fines were slapped on supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, confectionary shops and a milk producer. Athletes rewarded The Culture Ministry said yesterday that it had approved the payment of 17.3 million euros in bonuses to able-bodied and disabled athletes who had put in exceptional performances at international events last year, including the Athens Olympics and Paralympics. The ministry said the athletes would be receiving their bonuses within the next few days. Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos also approved a payment of 1.2 million euros to 82 sports clubs for disabled people around the country. Patriarch support President Karolos Papoulias reiterated yesterday that Greece will stand by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in its bid to overcome recent difficulties. Papoulias made the comments after meeting with Patriarch Theophilos in Athens. The president said that Greeks are sensitive to the Patriarchate’s issues which they consider to be matters of national interest. Drugs chase Police arrested one Greek and one Albanian man near Ioannina airport after a high-speed chase yesterday, officers said. The unnamed Greek man was driving a car which failed to stop at a routine check. While being chased by police, three Albanians jumped out of the car with a bag containing 15.5 kilos of cannabis. One of the men was arrested but the other two escaped, police said. The Greek man was arrested when the car he was driving was stopped near the airport and 14.8 kilos of cannabis were found inside. Deadly blaze A 92-year-old man, Stamatis Ambazis, burnt to death on the island of Chios yesterday when his home went up in flames from a blaze caused by an electric heater, authorities said. Air violations Turkish military aircraft violated Greek air space in the southern Aegean 20 times yesterday, defense sources said. The 45 jets, seven of which were armed, were all chased off by Greek planes, the sources said. Three Greek and Turkish jets engaged in simulated dogfights. Christmas products The Development Ministry warned consumers yesterday about buying electronic Christmas products, such as flashing lights, that are being sold on the market but do not meet safety standards. Athens summit A two-day meeting between Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and interior ministers from Iran, Pakistan and Turkey is due to begin this morning in Athens. The aim of the meeting is to forge greater cooperation between the four countries in finding ways to tackle illegal immigration, drug trafficking and organized crime, the ministry said yesterday.