NEWS

In Brief

MERKEL VISIT

German chancellor due in Athens today for talks on defense, Kosovo German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in Athens today for talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The two leaders are expected to focus on bilateral issues, such as arms programs, European Union matters and the future of Kosovo. It will be Merkel’s first visit to Athens since she became chancellor of Germany. She will also meet with President Karolos Papoulias. CHRISTODOULOS HEADS HOME Archbishop to be discharged today after more than a month in hospital Archbishop Christodoulos has been cleared to leave the hospital today, the director of the Aretaio Hospital in Athens, Christodoulos Stefanidis, said yesterday. The head of the Church of Greece is due to travel to the USA next month to have a liver transplant after being diagnosed with cancer. The archbishop is to be discharged from the Aretaio at about 1 p.m. today. Christodoulos was admitted to the hospital 41 days ago suffering from a narrowing of the intestinal tract but during surgery doctors discovered the cancer. POLYZOGOPOULOS BEATING Jehovah’s Witnesses implicated Two men charged in connection with the brutal beating of a labor union president in January last year have been indicted to appear in court. Stelios Malindratos, 42, and Nikos Koundardas, 30, have been given conditional release ahead of their trial after nearly 18 months in detention. Four Jehovah’s Witnesses who, Malindratos claims, ordered him at gunpoint to carry out the attack on civil servants’ union GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos are also due to be tried as moral instigators of the crime. Saving power The Public Power Corporation (PPC) will today call in an agreement it has struck with some of its biggest customers, such as oil refineries and shipyards, to limit their use of electricity in order to prevent a blackout. PPC and its customers agreed the deal could be put into effect when the temperature was high enough to prompt concern about the increased use of electricity, which could lead to a power outage. PPC believes the agreement, which will be enforced until Wednesday, will lead to 400 megawatts fewer being used at peak hours daily. PPC expects the demand for electricity to reach a maximum of 10,200 MW early next week, when the heat wave will be at its peak. Burning wood A warehouse storing wooden items in Peristeri, western Athens, was razed yesterday after it caught fire in the early hours. The fire service said the blaze was reported at 5.40 a.m. and some 50 firefighters were sent to put it out as it threatened to reach the surrounding houses. It took the firefighters some four hours to get the fire under control and prevent homes from being damaged. Loan scam Six people were arrested in Thessaloniki yesterday accused of obtaining bank loans using fake tax and income documents, police said. Four of the suspects were initially detained when attempting to obtain an 18,000-euro loan from a bank. Questioning of the four suspects led police to two more alleged gang members who were also arrested yesterday. The suspects are believed to have illegally obtained over 50,000 euros from banks in the last month. Gang caught A gang of four people, aged between 18 to 42, were arrested in Katerini, northern Greece, yesterday after allegedly blackmailing a local businessman for some 15,000 euros. Police did not say what the blackmail threat was in connection to. Kozani tremors An earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale shook the northern Greek city of Kozani, at 7.25 a.m. yesterday but there were no reports of injuries or damage. It was the third major tremor in as many days but experts attributed it to regular seismic activity after Tuesday’s main 5.4 Richter quake. Teenager charged A 16-year-old Roma male was arrested in Mandra, west of Athens, yesterday accused of taking part in 16 thefts in the area between December and May, police said. Authorities said he is believed to have broken into churches, building sites and factories along with his father and uncle.