State-owned firms attract most complaints, ombudsman says The Consumer Ombudsman has ranked state-owned companies (DEKO) among the worst violators of consumer rights, according to a report released yesterday. The ombudsman blamed DEKOs for overcharging consumers and delays in providing connection services. Commercial stores were also placed on the offenders list, seen as selling faulty goods and running misleading advertising campaigns. Banks also got a mention for failing to stick to lending terms specified in contracts. In the last 12 months, consumers complaints from the three fields rose more than sevenfold, according to the ombudsman. Monastery burgled Police in Epirus seek thieves who took 35 valuable icons Police have launched a manhunt for thieves in Epirus, northwestern Greece, who stole 35 icons, some of which date back to the 17th century, from a monastery near the village of Makrino Anatoliko, in the Zagori area, authorities said yesterday. The theft is believed to have taken place late on Sunday or early Monday, according to police. Due to the size and weight of the icons, authorities believe that at least two thieves were involved in the heist. There have been no reports of the thieves being seen at the monastery, which has no resident monks. Landfill protest Angry residents rally near PM’s home Residents of Grammatiko, eastern Attica, last night staged a rally near the home of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in Rafina, protesting plans to build a new landfill in their area. At least three demonstrators were injured in the rally which police were summoned to contain. It is unclear how the injuries occurred. Synod convenes The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church yesterday convened for the first time since the return to Greece of Archbishop Christodoulos, who did not attend the proceedings after doctors said it may strain his fragile health. The side effects of the cancer therapy Christodoulos, 68, has been receiving would make it very difficult for the archbishop to attend a session lasting several hours, doctors said. The archbishop spent more than two months in Miami, where he was due to undergo a liver transplant that was called off because his cancer had spread. Dangerous pool A group of 20 primary school children were rushed to a hospital in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, yesterday evening after suffering breathing problems and dizziness due to excessive chlorine in the water of the local swimming pool where they had been on a group excursion. The children, aged 9 to 12, started displaying symptoms after a malfunction in the system pumping chlorine into the pool, which released excessive quantities of the chemical into the water. The children, who had problems breathing and felt faint, were taken to hospital to recover. Farmer killing Police on Crete were yesterday investigating the death of a 59-year-old farmer found dead in his home in the Cretan prefecture of Iraklion. Costas Kounalis, found by his nephew, had been hit on the head with a chair, according to police, who said they had no leads as to the man’s killer. Bad food The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) yesterday called for the withdrawal from supermarket shelves of 6 tons of prawns from India found to contain several toxins, including traces of sulfur. The prawns are in 700-gram packages bearing the trade name Sea World and have an expiry date of 16/03/09. EFET also called for the withdrawal of a batch of cans of Bulgarian aubergine salad found to have been infected with chemicals from the lids. Consumers are being asked to return the goods to their retailer. Illegal immigrants The coast guard arrested 13 illegal immigrants, including one woman, in the sea area of Psalidiou off the Aegean island of Kos, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The illegal immigrants told authorities they had attempted to cross over into Greece from Turkey. No information was given regarding the nationalities of the immigrants.