NEWS

In Brief

WAR DOUBTS

Poll indicates that Greeks have grave doubts over war in Iraq Only 3 percent of Greeks believe that the decision to go to war in Iraq was correct, according to a poll by VPRC on behalf of Kathimerini. Two in three respondents believe that gaining control of oil reserves in the Middle East was the only reason that Iraq was invaded three years ago. Just over two in 10 said the invasion took place so the USA could «rule the world.» The poll also indicated that 94 percent of Greeks believe the world is a more dangerous place than it was before the war in Iraq. A protest march against the war in Iraq will be held in Athens today. The march, to begin at Syntagma Square at 1 p.m., will end at the US Embassy. OFFICER JAILED Policeman gets life term for murder A court in Hania, Crete, yesterday handed down a life sentence to police officer Giorgos Dimitrakakis after finding him guilty of murdering a 22-year-old man who had been traveling in a car that failed to stop for a police check on the island in December 2003. Iraklis Maragakis had been shot in the head and died a day after the incident. Two other officers were cleared of manslaughter but were given suspended two-year prison sentences for breaking gun laws. Text trouble Mobile phone operator Cosmote issued a statement yesterday dismissing charges that it had engaged in price fixing with two other firms. Cosmote, Vodafone and TIM were each fined 1 million euros on Thursday by the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) for breaking competition rules by allegedly increasing the cost of text messaging at the same time last year. Cosmote insisted that its strategy focused on its customers, mainly through having competitive prices. The operator said it has not yet received a copy of the EETT’s ruling. Army welcome President Karolos Papoulias received Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis and the new top officers of the armed forces at the Presidential Mansion yesterday. Lieutenant General Dimitris Grapsas was made head of the army this month, in the most significant change in the top ranks of the armed forces. Papoulias urged the officers to be alert as he said Greece was in a «fractious neighborhood.» Johnson bailed A court in Crete decided yesterday to release on bail the British man accused of murdering his parents last Saturday. Ryan Johnson, 32, has been banned from leaving Greece and will have to appear at Hania police station every two weeks, until the case is closed. He also had to post bail of 20,000 euros. Johnson, who denies killing his parents, said he wants the couple’s killers to be found as soon as possible. Venizelos memorial The government said yesterday that Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will represent the ruling conservatives at a memorial service in Crete on Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of former prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos. Coast-to-coast The outgoing head of the coast guard sent out a somber message to Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis yesterday. «Get rid of the drones that surround you because they are causing damage to everyone and because the public believed in transparency and I am afraid that they will be fooled again,» said Theodoros Glezakos in his farewell speech. Glezakos is being replaced by Ilias Sionidis. Antiquities arrest Police yesterday arrested a 44-year-old man near Kavala in northern Greece on suspicion of being involved in the illegal trade of antiquities. Officers said that 45 ancient coins and other artifacts were found at the unnamed man’s home.