NEWS

In Brief

HELP FOR POOR

Government plans cohesion fund to aid 2 million Greeks in poverty The government is expected to set up a social cohesion fund that will help offer financial assistance to the 2 million Greeks who live below the poverty line, government sources said yesterday. Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Labor Minister Vassilis Magginas met on the issue yesterday and put the finishing touches to the draft bill that will pave the way for the fund. Pensioners will also get a financial boost, as the fund will offer assistance to those receiving minimum social security benefits. DIRECTOR TRIBUTE Theo Angelopoulos praises Antonioni and Bergman following their deaths Greek director Theo Angelopoulos said yesterday that Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni as well as Swedish director Ingmar Bergman had «attained fullness in their life and works» after it was revealed that both cinema legends died on Monday. Bergman died at the age of 89, Antonioni at the age of 94. Angelopoulos told Agence France-Presse that he considered Antonioni as one of his personal mentors. «Our first meeting was in Rome when… I showed him tickets for ‘The Adventure’ (1960), which I had seen 13 times. He smiled and showed me a ticket for my own film, ‘The Traveling Players,’ though admitting that he had only seen it twice.» GANG BUSTED Thieves broke into 151 homes Police said yesterday they have caught a gang of thieves believed to be responsible for at least 151 break-ins in homes located across southeastern Attica. Four male suspects, aged 18, 19, 22 and 23, have been arrested, accused of breaking into the homes while the occupants were sleeping. The suspects are also believed to have stolen their victims’ cars after taking their car keys from the apartments. Police found in their possession a handgun and a large number of stolen items, including mobile phones, electrical appliances and wallets. Casino trial The trial of 27 people arrested after a group of self-styled anarchists daubed red paint on the walls of the Mont Parnes casino is due to take place after the suspects were released from custody. The alleged assailants were caught after police chased them along mountain footpaths. Meanwhile, a 38-year-old man was charged yesterday with throwing rocks at a policeman after the 28 suspects appeared in court on Monday. Some 50 people had gathered outside the court to protest the arrest of the alleged anarchists. Dirty food Health inspectors yesterday closed down a catering facility in Amerikis Square, central Athens, after discovering that it was operating in filthy conditions. The Athens Prefecture said that the four employees working on the premises did not have health booklets and that the walls, floors, work areas and storage spaces of the catering business were dirty. The inspection took place after a complaint by a resident. Christodoulos improving A doctor who examined Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday said the condition of the head of the Church of Greece was improving and his blood sugar problem was under control. «The rate of his recuperation is picking up and this is important for the next step because the better the condition he is in before the transplant operation, the better the chances of a positive result,» said Dimitris Voros. Christodoulos is due to travel to Miami in the USA on August 18 to undergo a liver transplant. Child support Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and representatives of the Hamogelo tou Paidiou (A Child’s Smile) child support agency yesterday signed a memorandum of cooperation, boosting funding for the agency’s nationwide activities. Apart from funding, the agency is to receive three buildings belonging to the ministry – in Kareas, eastern Athens, Drapetsona, near Piraeus, and Thessaloniki – for use as hostels to accommodate children whose lives are at risk due to domestic violence or poverty. «We are trying to create an innovative framework of cooperation between the welfare state and the voluntary sector,» Avramopoulos said. Illegal immigrants The coast guard detained five illegal immigrants, including a woman and a child, on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos yesterday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said.