NEWS

In Brief

ECONOMIC DIFFERENCES

Minister accuses PASOK of trying to damage Greek economy in Brussels Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis yesterday accused PASOK MP Vasso Papandreou of trying to «undermine» the Greek economy during talks with EU officials in Brussels. «Why, at a time when the European Commission is preparing its evaluation of the Greek economy is PASOK… conducting its opposition abroad?» said Alogoskoufis. Papandreou said Alogoskoufis was in a «panic» as there was nothing untoward about her trip. «He has managed to undermine the economy on his own with his audit [of public finances],» she said. ADOPTION RING Bulgarian police smash gang which sent mothers to give birth in Greece Police in Bulgaria said yesterday that they have arrested five people on suspicion of persuading Bulgarian women to give birth in Greece and then sell their babies to Greek families for adoption. The five men arrested, all Bulgarian nationals, would sell the newborns to local couples for about 15,000 euros. At least 13 such cases have been detected since 2004, police added. N17 APPEAL Two put Koufodinas at ’84 crime scene Two witnesses yesterday told a court in Korydallos Prison, where the appeal of members of the November 17 terrorist group is taking place, that they remember seeing chief hit man Dimitris Koufodinas at a branch of the National Bank in Petralona on December 24, 1984, when police officer Christos Matis was shot dead. Both witnesses said that Koufodinas was dressed up as a policeman but that he did not fire the fatal shot. Christodoulos Xeros was found guilty of the murder but one of the witnesses said the man that fired the gun was shorter than Xeros. General strike Unionists said yesterday that a general strike is being planned for the beginning of March to protest against a recent decision by banks to abandon collective wage talks with their employees. Representatives from OTOE, the Greek Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions and GSEE, the country’s largest workers group, said that an exact date will be set next week. Smash and grab Robbers drove a car into the entrance of Piraeus Bank in Peristeri, western Athens, yesterday and then held up the branch before driving off in the vehicle. Nobody was injured in the incident and it is not known how much money the four armed men stole. Two men also robbed a branch of the National Bank in Ilioupolis at noon yesterday. Two robbers held up a branch of Eurobank in Kifissia half an hour later. Police did not say how much money was stolen. Online services Greeks abroad will soon be able to conduct dealings with the Greek civil service at their local embassy, which will offer terminals operating on an e-KEP platform, computers linked with the Citizen’s Information and Service Centers (KEP). The computers will be on offer at embassies in 22 different cities and will provide services on a 24-hour basis, six days a week, the government said yesterday. Milk scare Piraeus prefecture authorities said yesterday that they confiscated 2.4 tons of imported canned milk that was unfit for consumption at a storage area in Piraeus. Authorities also detected on Tuesday 97 tons of imported milk that had gone off and was headed for the country’s defense forces. A prosecutor has been informed about both cases which involved milk imported from Lithuania. Court strike Court employees will stage a 48-hour strike starting on Monday, February 20 after their union decided on the action yesterday. The strike, which will affect prosecutors’ offices as well as courthouses, is intended to draw attention to the need to hire 2,000 workers and to solve problems to do with working conditions, the union said. Judicial deal Greece and Serbia-Montenegro signed a memorandum of cooperation on judicial matters in Athens yesterday. Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras called it a «significant moment.» Moonwalker visit Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, spoke at an Athens conference on Wednesday evening.