NEWS

In Brief

TRIAL STARTS

TV station owner faces charges of fraud and forming a gang The trial of Vassilis Christidis, a TV station owner charged with fraud and forming a gang, started in Thessaloniki yesterday, court sources said. Christidis is accused of defrauding more than 200,000 viewers of some 10 million euros when they called his station’s premium rate 090 quiz lines to win prizes. Ten of Christidis’s associates also face charges in relation to the alleged scam. SICK STUDENTS Food poisoning at high school Nine female students from a technical high school (TEE) in Aghioi Anargyroi, western Athens, were taken to the hospital yesterday suffering from food poisoning. The students had all eaten sandwiches and croissants at the school canteen. Doctors said that they were being kept in hospital under observation. ANTI-CANCER DRIVE Athens honors Pap test inventor Athens yesterday hosted a tribute to George N. Papanicolaou, the Greek inventor of an examination for the early detection of cervical cancer – known as the Pap test – on the occasion of International Women’s Day and in response to statistics showing that fewer than one in four women undergo regular Pap tests. The exhibition, which continues at Syntagma metro station today, brings together dozens of tributes from Nobel laureates to the late scientist, who received a Nobel nomination but no prize. (Page 2) Bank explosion An explosion yesterday caused by a homemade explosive device consisting of gas canisters caused minor damage to the front of Geniki Bank in Ambelokipi, central Athens. No one had claimed responsibility for the attack by late yesterday. Easy heist Cypriot police criticized a bank yesterday after it handed over money to a helmeted man armed only with a bag. Yesterday morning, the man pressed the bank’s buzzer – a normal procedure at the branch in Aradhippou, near Larnaca – and was let in by unsuspecting employees who mistook him for a customer, police said. He ordered a teller to put the money in his bag and left. The robber drove off with around 15,000 Cyprus pounds (26,000 euros). (AP) Mushroom arrests Police arrested two 37-year-old men at Athens International Airport yesterday for bringing into the country mushrooms that create a hallucinogenic effect once consumed. The two passengers had three cartons of mushrooms in their bags, weighing a total of 80 grams. No further details were available. Tax returns Taxpayers will be able to file their annual tax returns electronically with the help of the Finance Ministry’s broadened electronic services. As of yesterday, the new service will offer taxpayers the opportunity to print statements normally issued by the tax office. More details are available at www.gsis.gr and www.taxisnet.gr. PPC walkout Public Power Corporation (PPC) workers from the northern plants of Kozani, Ptolemaida and Florina walked off the job yesterday to protest against staff cutbacks. Workers said that the company’s decision not to replace employees who have been retiring over the last 13 years has created staff shortages and led to an increase in workplace accidents. Food confiscated The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) confiscated yesterday 66,415 kilos of food in northern Greece that was unsuitable for consumption. EFET said that inspections of two food companies uncovered 220 different types of food that was taken away and destroyed. Teachers strike Teachers said yesterday that they will stage a 24-hour strike over pay demands on Wednesday – the same day that the Civil Servants’ Union (ADEDY) has also scheduled strike action.