Appeals court upholds jail terms for six members of terror group An Athens appeals court upheld yesterday life sentences for six members of the terrorist group November 17, originally handed down in 2003. A panel of five judges sentenced the group’s leader, Alexandros Yotopoulos, to 17 life sentences and the group’s main hitman, Dimitris Koufodinas, to nine life terms. Four other members convicted of murder received between a single and six life terms. Two previously convicted members were acquitted. The group is held responsible for 23 killings between 1973 and 2002. JERUSALEM PATRIARCH Athens backs Theophilos amid rumors of Arab non-recognition The government yesterday stressed its support for Greece’s Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem amid speculation that the Jordanian and Palestinian authorities are planning to withdraw their recognition of him as an official religious leader. «Everyone should respect the religious freedom and autonomy of the patriarch,» government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos told reporters. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis reportedly telephoned Theophilos yesterday to tell him that Jordanian authorities had reassured her that they were not planning to change their stance toward Theophilos. However, Jordanian officials yesterday said that Amman wanted Theophilos to appoint an Arab bishop and set up a mixed religious council. WIFE KILLER Man, 73, remanded 11 years on A 73-year-old man from Athens, believed to have killed and chopped up his wife 11 years ago and subsequently collected her state benefits, was remanded in custody yesterday after facing a magistrate. The unnamed man claimed he did not kill his wife but that she died after slipping and falling at their home. The retired builder told the magistrate that he chopped her up and threw her body parts into the trash because he was afraid that he would be accused of murder. The man was arrested earlier this week after police questioned him with regard to the benefits that he had been collecting. The suspect has been accused of murder. Airport cancelations Commuters were warned yesterday that the Proastiakos suburban railway is canceling 19 journeys a day between Athens International Airport and the city center due to engineering works in Acharnes. Officials said that the change to the timetable would begin from today until further notice. Ten of the journeys being canceled are from Larissis station in Athens to the airport and the other nine are in the other direction. Officials said that another 14 journeys to and from the airport would begin and end at the Nerantziotissa station rather than Larissis station. Passengers should call 210.527.2000 for more information. Alex case The older brother of two schoolboys accused of killing 11-year-old Alex Meshivili told a magistrate yesterday that his family did not have anything to do with the boy’s disappearance in Veria, northern Greece, last year. The unnamed 18-year-old has been charged with harboring criminals and giving false testimony. He was released after questioning. Rare artifacts Greek archaeologists have made a rare discovery of textile remains from over 2,600 years ago in a bronze funeral urn unearthed in the Peloponnese region, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. Also containing pomegranate fruit, ash and a few bones, the urn was found in a lot under construction in the city of Argos, 145 kilometers west of Athens. The urn has been preliminarily dated to between the Late Geometric and the Early Archaic era in the early 7th century BC. Its fragile contents are being kept in the local museum. (AFP) Worker killed A 42-year-old male worker at an electricity plant in Aghios Dimitrios, near Thessaloniki, was killed in a workplace accident yesterday. Authorities said the accident took place at 2.40 p.m. when large amounts of coal fell on top of the victim as he was working. Bus accident A bus transporting students on a day trip crashed into a car on the national highway near Tripolis in the Peloponnese yesterday, resulting in one injury, authorities said. The driver of the car was slightly injured but no one else was harmed, authorities added.