Greece may lose 4 billion euros from Third Community Support Framework Greece may lose some 4 billion euros of funds out of the 19.3 billion euros belonging to the Third Community Support Framework due to slow absorption rates, according to European Commission sources. Greek officials are trying to negotiate an extra year for the country to be able to implement EU-backed programs beyond 2008, sources added. The government says the high budget deficit is an obstacle to picking up absorption rates. National funds initially finance EU projects, which are then financed by money from Brussels. SMUGGLERS ARRESTED Two Turkish nationals charged in Samos for transporting migrants Two suspected people smugglers were remanded and charged on the island of Samos yesterday with transporting illegal immigrants into Greece and placing their lives at risk, authorities said. The two suspects, aged 41 and 56, are both Turkish nationals and were detained on Saturday morning after being accused of transporting 18 Afghan immigrants into Greece from Turkey aboard a small boat. PM VISIT Russia’s Fradkov likely to visit Athens Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will likely visit Greece in October, government sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Fradkov’s agenda, which has yet to be finalized, will include a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the source added. Talks are expected to focus on Cyprus, Kosovo, Iran and energy issues. Internet blackout Most of northern Greece suffered an Internet blackout yesterday due to technical problems at OTE telecom. Technical crews restored the network in the afternoon after the problem also affected ATM services. OTE blamed the blackout on construction activities held by a third party. MP robbed Thieves broke into the office of Communist party MP Liana Kanelli in Kolonaki, central Athens, late Sunday and stole her laptop computer, police said yesterday. Kanelli said she believed the incident was intended as a «message» since no valuables from her office were stolen. Crop compensation The Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) said yesterday that it will start paying out today 588,934 euros to 855 producers of fresh fruit and vegetables across the country for damages suffered due to extreme weather conditions from November 2001 to January 2002. Monastery theft Police said yesterday that 11 icons and a wooden cross were stolen from a monastery near Kozani, northern Greece. The thieves smashed the monastery’s front door and made away with the items, which are dated to the early 19th century. Driver killed A 67-year-old man was killed yesterday close to Thessaloniki when the tractor he was driving crashed into a car. No further details were available. Holdup Two armed men held up an armored van in Ano Glyfada, southeastern Athens, yesterday and made away with an unknown amount of cash, police said. The armored van had just picked up money from a supermarket at about 7.30 p.m., police added. Road deaths A 36-year-old motorcycle rider was killed in Preveza, northern Greece, yesterday after his bike crashed into a truck. The man, identified as Evangelos Gogolos, was taken to a local hospital, where doctors confirmed his death. Separately, Constantinos Papadimas, aged 66, was killed when the vehicle he was driving ran off the side of the road and slammed into a parked car. Rent assistance Residents that qualify for the government’s rent assistance payment can apply for the benefit as of yesterday. The program is expected to be completed by December 15 and those interested can submit their paperwork at a citizens’ information and service center (KEP). Up to 100,000 households are expected to qualify for the financial assistance.