NEWS

In Brief

LEGAL AID

Athens lawyers offer free help to Pakistanis over abduction claims The Athens Bar Association said yesterday that it will offer free legal representation to some 25 Pakistani nationals living in Greece who have allegedly been abducted and questioned by Greek and British agents in connection with July’s terrorist attacks in London. The government has officially denied the claims and says that it has had no involvement in the issue. If the claims are true, the issue has broader implications for the whole community, the legal group said. CIA FLIGHTS Gov’t denies any ‘secret deal’ with US over landing of planes in Europe Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros yesterday denied claims in the Pontiki weekly that the European Union, during Greece’s 2003 presidency, had signed a secret deal with the United States allowing American secret service airplanes to use European airports. Antonaros said checks at the Foreign Ministry had so far not revealed any such deals. Antonaros also told journalists to press PASOK leader George Papandreou for more details, since he was foreign minister at the time. UTILITIES LAW MPs decree end to lifelong tenure A bill introducing reforms at public utilities, including an end to jobs for life for new employees, was voted through Parliament yesterday despite a walkout by PASOK MPs. Workers at utilities protested outside Parliament at the time of the vote. PASOK Deputy Haris Kastanidis warned the government that it would soon «reap the whirlwinds of its policies» before leaving the house. ND lead New Democracy’s lead over PASOK has been eroded to 2.2 percent according to an MRB poll made public yesterday. The ruling conservatives gathered 36.9 percent of respondents’ support while the Socialists got 34.7 percent. Police attacked A gang of youths attacked two policemen on Academias Street in central Athens yesterday while the officers were on their motorcycles. The youths hit the officers with metal bars and stole a service revolver from one policeman and a wallet from the other. The two officers were slightly injured in the attack. Yiossakis testimony Yiannis Sideris, a magistrate investigating an alleged trial-fixing ring, yesterday gave former priest Iakovos Yiossakis an extension until January 4 to testify. Yiossakis has been charged with money laundering, bribery and fraud. Sideris also set bail for former judge Gerasimos Dionisatos at 2,000 euros. Dionisatos has been charged with breach of duty and accepting bribes. Student raid A homemade explosive device exploded outside the offices of the Cypriot Students Union in Thessaloniki early yesterday, causing damage to the building’s entrance area but no injuries police said. Big aquarium A jellyfish swims in a tank yesterday at the Thalassokosmos aquarium in Crete, some 15 kilometers from Iraklion, which is set to open Sunday. The exhibition of sea life found in the Mediterranean Sea will consist of 1,500 sea creatures and will spread over 5,000 square meters. The exhibition will contribute to research and education as well as offer entertainment to the public, organizers said. Housing investigation Prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos yesterday ordered an investigation into claims that the former head of the Workers’ Housing Organization (OEK), Angelos Economopoulos, had demanded bribes to pay a contractor. Economopoulos resigned last week after newspaper reports alleged he had demanded a kickback to pay a contractor for work his firm had done for OEK.