Court calls for ex-priest to remain in custody another six months A council of appeals court judges in Piraeus yesterday called for the detention of former priest Iakovos Yiossakis and monk Kyrillos Stavropoulos, who both face antiquity theft charges, to be extended by six months. The two defendants have called for their release from custody, claiming that they are being held illegally since the alleged crime is a misdemeanor. The appeals court is to hear the testimony of witnesses from Monday. PPC REBUFF Utility refuses pensioners’ calls for 21 years’ worth of back pay The Public Power Corporation (PPC) yesterday rejected an appeal by a group of 545 retired PPC employees for a total of 645,634 euros in back pay on their pensions dating to 1985, in defiance of court rulings backing the pensioners’ claims. PPC asked the pensioners to retract their claim in writing and settle for extra pension payments for just one year. VISAS FOR RUSSIANS None issued illegally, ministry says A Foreign Ministry spokesman yesterday rebuffed allegations that diplomats had acted illegally in order to issue visas to Russian citizens, saying investigations into the claims had determined that no such practices had taken place at the ministry. «The ministry is exceptionally strict with… behavior that is not in keeping with the principles and rules of high-principled management,» ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said. Dormitory fire Authorities were investigating late yesterday a fire that broke out earlier in the day at a university student dormitory in Thessaloniki. The blaze started at 8.20 a. m. on the fifth floor of the building, but it was contained to one room. Forty firefighters using 15 fire trucks were involved in the operation. No one was hurt in the fire. Armed robbery An armed man held up a branch of Emporiki Bank in Thessaloniki yesterday, police said. The thief made away from the bank by foot with an unknown amount of cash. Hunting ban The Hellenic Ornithological Society (EOE) called on the Agriculture Ministry yesterday to impose a hunting ban in northern Greece. EOE said that the bad weather has left many lakes frozen over and that birds have become exhausted in their hunt for food. This happens every year but this year the icy conditions have lasted longer than normal, EOE added. KEP contracts The services offered by the citizens services and informations center (KEP) will be trimmed in the next 10 years, reducing the need for the state office, Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos told Parliament yesterday. The government has said that it will renew the contracts of 2,055 KEP employees, leaving 500 workers in the lurch. Armed robbery Three armed men held up a post office in Peristeri, western Athens, yesterday and made off with an unknown sum of money after firing shots in the air to scare staff and customers, police said. Police are investigating the holdup, which took place shortly before 2 p.m. Storeroom fire A large black cloud covered parts of Rendi, southern Athens, yesterday due to a fire that broke out in an industrial plant’s storeroom containing plastic items. It took 27 firefighters using nine fire trucks to put out the blaze, which had spread quickly. No one was hurt in the incident. Food confiscated The Agricultural Development and Food Ministry said yesterday that it has confiscated 277,980 kilos of imported food items in the last month that was either unfit for consumption or unaccompanied by the proper certificates. The food was imported from India, Argentina, Singapore and Vietnam, among other nations.