NEWS

In Brief

GREEK-RUSSIAN TRADE

Diplomats to meet after discovery of excessive pesticide in Greek apples Greece’s Ambassador in Moscow Ilias Klis is due to have talks with senior officials from Russia’s Agricultural Ministry at the beginning of next week following the discovery by Russian officials that apples imported from Greece bore dangerously high level levels of pesticide, it was revealed yesterday. Russian officials were already concerned after the discovery of pesticides above the permitted maximum levels in a consignment of kiwi fruit imported from Greece about a month ago, Kathimerini’s correspondent in Moscow, Achilleas Patsoukas, said. PHONE TAPPING Government steers clear of claims that US Embassy was involved The government insisted yesterday that it had nothing to add on the phone-tapping affair even though an article by a former diplomat at the US Embassy in Athens, John Brady Kiesling, claimed that American secret agents were behind the snooping. In his story for US weekly magazine The Nation, Kiesling claimed the phone tapping was conducted from four points around the US Embassy, according to the Greek daily Eleftherotypia. «The diplomat concerned was not an employee of the Greek government so there is no need for us to comment,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. THESSALONIKI RENEWAL White Tower area ready by Easter Mayor of Thessaloniki Vassilis Papageorgopoulos said yesterday that he expects regeneration work around the city’s White Tower to be completed by Easter. The project includes the laying of new paving slabs and planting of trees. The mayor said it was one of the five projects that would help regenerate the city’s 5.5-kilometer seafront between the Concert Hall and the harbor. The work will be finished within three years, he said. GSEE targeted A group of hooded youths yesterday afternoon hurled Molotov cocktails at the headquarters of Greece’s main umbrella labor union (GSEE) in central Athens shortly after vandalizing two nearby surveillance cameras. No one was injured in the attacks, which come just a few weeks after the violent beating of GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos. University places The Education Ministry said yesterday that it will up the number of places at tertiary institutions this year by 2,001 to 83,268 admissions. A redistribution has favored universities and tertiary technical colleges outside of the two largest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, sources said. (Editorial Page 2) Myconos drugs Drug squad officers arrested two Greek men and sized almost a kilo of cannabis on the island of Myconos yesterday. The drugs had been hidden in three parcels that were sent by post and the unnamed men were arrested when one of the suspects was stopped and searched while he had the cannabis on him. Exploding rubbish A number of windows were smashed in the neighborhood of Pangrati in central Athens at 6.10 a.m. yesterday by a small explosion in the back of a garbage truck. Garbage collectors were emptying a bin on Kononos Street when a gas canister, which had been thrown in with other trash, exploded. Nobody was injured. Four injured Four passengers, including three soldiers, were injured in an accident near Evros yesterday when an army bus in which they were traveling ran off the side of the road. One of the men was seriously hurt. Small earthquake An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale hit Halkidiki in northern Greece yesterday but there were no reports of injuries or damage. The tremor struck at 6.59 a.m. Its epicenter was in an undersea area 15 kilometers south of the peninsula. Petrol fines The Athens Prefecture slapped 29,000 euros’ worth of fines on petrol distributors for selling diluted petrol and tampering with the measurement dial of trucks transporting heating fuel, it said yesterday. Kite flying The Public Power Corporation (PPC) warned kite fliers on Monday to stay away from power lines due to the high risk of electrocution. PPC cautioned people against trying to disentangle kites from power lines since it could also result in a power blackout for the area.