Ex-priest answers questions about trial-fixing ring allegations Former priest Iakovos Yiossakis, who has been accused of being a middleman in an alleged trial-fixing ring, began what his associates said would be testimony lasting several days before a magistrate investigating claims of corruption in the judicial system. Yiossakis has been charged with bribery and serial fraud, among other things, in connection to his role in the ring, which allegedly involved judges and lawyers. Yiossakis courted controversy last week when he said the probe should extend to the lawyer wife of the Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis. No details of his testimony were available by last night. DOCKERS STRIKE Greek workers join in EU-wide protest against port liberalization Some 2,000 dockworkers around Greece went on strike yesterday as part of a Europe-wide protest by dockers against EU plans to liberalize port services. No loading or unloading took place at any of Greece’s 12 main ports, including Piraeus, as part of the protest. The proposals to liberalize port services will be debated in the European Parliament in Strasbourg tomorrow. SUSPECT FLIGHTS No reason to check ‘CIA planes’ According to international regulations, Greece was not obliged to check flights landing in Athens that the Avgi newspaper claimed on Sunday were CIA planes designed to carry prisoners, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday. Avgi alleged that the planes touched down in Athens several times between 2002 and 2005. Roussopoulos said International Air Transport Association (IATA) rules do not require passengers on transit flights to be checked. Quake rumblings The Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) yesterday slammed the experts making media appearances in the wake of the 6.9 Richter earthquake on January 8 that shook most of the country. TEE said official state bodies should be the only ones responsible for giving out information under such circumstances in the future. TEE also called on local authorities to keep up checks on the earthquake resistance levels of buildings in their areas. Online police All City of Athens police will be equipped with palm-top computers in the next few months that will give them online access to information as part of an 800,000-euro program that will reshape the way law enforcers operate, Mayor Dora Bakoyannis said yesterday. According to Bakoyannis, City of Athens police issued 81,201 fines for illegal parking in 2005 and hauled away 2,288 abandoned cars from the city center. Crime hotline Police headquarters in Thessaloniki received about a million calls for help in 2005 on the «100» emergency phone line and followed up 144,307 cases, authorities said yesterday. Police said they had arrested 120 people on suspicion of theft and break-ins after receiving hotline tip-offs and 156 other suspects in drug-related offenses. Addict support An overwhelming majority (91 percent) of citizens would not object to employing former drug addicts, according to a poll conducted by VPRC on behalf of the Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals (KETHEA), which made the results public yesterday. Also, 63 percent of respondents said they would not be upset if a rehabilitation center opened in their neighborhood. The poll’s conclusions contrast sharply with previous research showing that former drug addicts face discrimination when searching for jobs. Astra appeal The Astra insurance company, which was shut down by the government earlier this month, yesterday appealed that decision to the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court. Astra argued that the decision was out of proportion to the offenses the company is alleged to have committed. The Development Ministry repealed Astra’s license after finding that the insurer delayed paying employee salaries, was slow in issuing customer compensation payments and ignored rulings to increase its capital.