In Brief


Professional soldiers to account for a quarter of the military by 2003 Professional soldiers will account for a quarter of the country’s armed forces by next year, which will help the government achieve its aim of reducing the length of compulsory military service from 18 months to 12, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday. Papantoniou was speaking after a ceremony for the official swearing-in of the first batch of 286 professional commandos at the Special Forces Training Center at Aspropyrgos, western Athens. DONOR SUPPORT Government subsidizes donors, sailors test bone marrow for girl The Health Ministry yesterday donated 176,000 euros (60 million drachmas) to Athens’s General State Hospital to subsidize the cost of tests for potential bone marrow donors. This followed an appeal by the parents of a 7-year-old leukemia sufferer who were told prospective donors would have to pay 20,000 drachmas for a test to confirm whether they can donate their bone marrow to Alexandra Simantiraki who urgently needs a transplant. The appeal has met with a positive response from the many sailors who have visited Crete’s military hospital for tests, the navy said yesterday. WATER RATES Charges increase 4.9 percent Water rates are to rise by 4.9 percent, the Athens Water Supply and Sewage Company (EYDAP) said yesterday. The rise, which will affect all bills from February 14 onward, is the first increase since July 2000 and will apply until December 31, EYDAP said. ‘Patricide.’ A Thessaloniki student who on Monday fatally stabbed a man she said had sexually abused her for years yesterday confirmed claims by the victim’s relatives that the man was not her father, as she had previously asserted, but her brother-in-law. Natalia Kankova, 19, told an examining magistrate that Giorgos Kehiopoulos, 41, had adopted her as his daughter so she and her sister could illegally acquire Greek citizenship. Kankova faked her identity to protect her sister from deportation, said the student’s lawyer, who stressed that sexual abuse, incestuous or not, was still sexual abuse. Christodoulos’s finger Last year’s petition campaign by the Church of Greece against the abolition of the religious belief slot from state identity cards would have had better results had the Church «lifted a finger,» Archbishop Christodoulos claimed yesterday. «Three million people signed without the Church lifting a finger,» he said at a function in honor of World War II veterans. «Had it done so, it could have raised 7 and 8 million signatures.» He also dismissed the head of Greece’s privacy watchdog, Constantinos Dafermos – who sparked the ID controversy – as dealing in a «fool’s philosophy.» Mitsotakis suit «It is not surprising to see Constantine Mitsotakis asking for money but it is to see an experienced politician suing a newspaper,» was the reaction of acting government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris yesterday to Thursday’s 300,000-euro libel suit by opposition New Democracy’s honorary chairman against the satirical weekly «To Pontiki.» The paper claimed Mitsotakis was behind recent attacks on President Costis Stephanopoulos. Bishop dies Bishop Timotheos of Corfu, who took part in landmark Greek Orthodox talks at the Vatican this week, died of a heart attack in Athens yesterday at the age of 63. Timotheos was part of a Greek Orthodox delegation that met Pope John Paul II and other Vatican officials to discuss global issues such as religious freedom and bioethics. Born Timotheos Trivizas on the Ionian island of Corfu in 1939, he was ordained deacon in 1962 and served as head secretary of the Holy Synod for three years before his election as bishop in 1984. Markets open Street markets selling fruit and vegetables will be open on Clean Monday following yesterday’s decision by national street market unions.

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