NEWS

In Brief

RELIGIOUS COMMUNE

Man claiming to be Apostle Paul gets 13 years in jail for fraud, blackmail A Greek man who claimed he was the Apostle Paul was yesterday given a 13-year jail sentence by a court in Athens, which deemed him guilty of forcing seven youths to give him money and convincing them to join a religious commune in Romania. Panayiotis Kovas, who ran the commune between 1999 and 2004, was found guilty of fraud and blackmail. He had argued that his victims were actually his business partners and had freely chosen to work with him. He rejected accusations that he kept the youths locked in a house against their will and threatened to harm them. MINOAN ANTIQUITIES London’s British Museum to borrow ancient relics for exhibition Greece has agreed to loan London’s British Museum a collection of priceless Minoan-era antiquities for an exhibition to be held by 2009, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. Among the antiquities to go on display will be the renowned bull-leaping frescoes from the Minoan palace of Knossos, Crete, a 3,700-year-old site excavated by British archaeologist Arthur Evans in the early 20th century. The loan will be possible due to ongoing restoration work on Crete’s Iraklion Museum, where the antiquities are currently housed, a Culture Ministry official told AFP. (AFP) MOTHER CLEARED Woman did not abandon children A 36-year-old woman was yesterday found not guilty of abandoning her three children outside a church in Kypseli, near central Athens, after Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Constantopoulos acted as a character witness for the accused. Court sources said the unnamed woman told the judges that she regretted leaving her children and claimed she was suffering from health and financial problems at the time. Constantopoulos said the woman was a good mother and tests had revealed that the children, whose ages were not made public, were in good health. Weapons stash Police said yesterday they had arrested 10 men close to Hania, Crete, after finding in their possession a large amount of weapons and ammunition. The weapons held by the suspects, arrested in the Apokorona area, included semiautomatic machine guns, pistols and dynamite, police added. Offices attacked A group of unknown men threw smoke flares yesterday at the offices of New Democracy in Thessaloniki in the areas of Harilaou and Triandria. Firefighters said that there was no damage caused by the attacks which took place at about 3 a.m. Refugee return The Greek Council for Refugees said yesterday that it had helped 10 migrants from Afghanistan return to their country after they had been taught English and computer skills and trained to be nurses’ assistants in a program partly funded by the Foreign Ministry. The council said that staff in Kabul are helping the refugees reintegrate into Afghan society and find jobs in their home country. Dealer caught Police arrested a 46-year-old man in central Athens late on Thursday on suspicion that he had been dealing large amounts of illegal drugs. Officers said they found 233 grams of heroin and 649 methadone tablets in the unnamed suspect’s possession. Bank raid An armed man held up a branch of Eurobank in Patissia, central Athens, yesterday morning and walked off with 5,720 euros in cash, police said. The suspect was wearing a motorcycle helmet when he walked into the bank, shortly before 8 a.m., and threatened staff with a revolver, according to officers. Deadly tractor A farmer was killed and another seriously injured yesterday when the tractor on which they were traveling ran off the side of the road close to Florina.