NEWS

In Brief

BEHIND BARS

New prison is ready in Trikala to help ease overcrowding at jails The first of six new prisons which are being built to ease overcrowding at jails around the country was unveiled near Trikala, central Greece, yesterday. The jail can house 400 inmates and contains a library, classrooms and a space for religious services. It covers an area of some 18,500 square meters and cost some 20 million euros to build. Some prisoners from Korydallos Prison in western Athens are soon to be transferred there. N17 RELEASE Member of terrorist group leaves prison after serving three years A convicted member of the November 17 terrorist group was released from Korydallos Prison yesterday after serving three years of his eight-year sentence, authorities said. Nikos Papanastassiou was released after he lodged an appeal. He will have to appear at his local police station three times a month and will not be able to change his residence without informing authorities. RIVER RAGE Souflias rejects Thessaly bias claims Public Works and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias denied accusations in Parliament yesterday that he favored the diversion of the Acheloos River because it would boost his popularity in Thessaly, where his constituency lies. «I have never operated on the basis of regional preferences,» said Souflias after criticism from PASOK MPs from Aitoloacarnania, which will be most affected by the planned diversion which was voted through Parliament. Food destroyed Inspectors from the Prefecture of Piraeus confiscated and destroyed some 500 kilos of meat yesterday from a warehouse in Rendi. The meat, which included sausages and chicken, was confiscated because of a lack of proper labeling and its unusual appearance. Inspectors also seized and destroyed some 100 kilos of frozen smelt at the fish market in Keratsini, southwestern Athens. Officials said that the fish was not refrigerated properly and had defrosted. Corruption trial The trial of former judge Leonidas Stathis and 10 lawyers who are alleged to have bribed him to rule in their favor began at a criminal appeals court in Athens yesterday. The trial is the first key case in a series linked to an alleged trial-fixing ring. Stathis allegedly accepted bribes totaling 54 million drachmas (158,500 euros) from 10 lawyers so that his rulings would favor their clients. MP testimony Two lawyers who work at the legal office run by independent MP Petros Mandouvalos testified before investigating magistrates yesterday in connection with charges against the deputy of bribing a judge and money laundering. The two lawyers were released after their testimony. Mandouvalos had been the New Democracy MP for Piraeus but was suspended from the party last October when corruption allegations first surfaced. Youths die Two 18-year-olds were killed early yesterday when the car in which they were riding smashed into a concrete post in Kamatero, western Athens, police said. The 19-year-old driver was injured in the accident. Officers said that it was not immediately clear what caused the crash. US visas The US Embassy in Greece said yesterday that it had opened a non-immigrant visa call center. Anyone thinking of applying for a visa or wanting information about visas should check the embassy’s website (www.usembassy.gr) or call 901.123.0730 from a landline. If callers are using a mobile phone, those on the Cosmote network should call 901.200.6313, callers with Vodafone should ring 901.694.6313 and TIM customers should call 901.160.6313. The center will accept calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except on Greek public holidays. A small fee will apply for the calls but the center guarantees that every call will be answered in three rings or less, the embassy said. Highway diversion A section of the Athens-Corinth national road at Kakia Skala will be closed from 9 p.m. today to 6 a.m. tomorrow for motorists heading toward Athens, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. A diversion will be in place between Kinetta and Megara along the old national road.