NEWS

In Brief

NATURALIZATIONS

New Democracy demands parliamentary probe New Democracy MPs yesterday submitted an unanimous proposal to Parliament for the creation of an investigating committee to probe the illegal provision of Greek citizenship papers to immigrants – particularly from the former Soviet Union – from 1990 to the April 2000 general elections, in which the new citizens could vote. The proposal’s rejection would make the government «indirectly but clearly responsible for illegal naturalizations» said ND spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas said Parliament had already probed the issue. A similar demand in February 2001 was rejected by Parliament. Border spruce-up Ten billion to be spent on modernizing crossings Up to 10 billion drachmas will be invested in modernizing the nine border crossings in northern Greece in preparation for thousands visiting the Olympic Games from countries bordering Greece, Minister for Macedonia and Thrace Giorgos Paschalides said yesterday. The funds will go toward upgrading the infrastructure of border crossing zones in Macedonia and Thrace. General Staff selections New army, air force chiefs Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou met Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday to prepare for today’s session of the Government Council on Foreign Policy and Defense (KYSEA) which will appoint new chiefs of staff for the army and air force. The council will also discuss arms procurements and finalize plans for the deployment of Greek troops in Afghanistan. Police duties The Council of State has approved a presidential decree outlining the duties of municipal police officers in a decision made public yesterday. Duties specified in the new legal framework include checking identity cards, ensuring that construction laws are observed and ensuring that corporate health and safety guidelines are abided by. Interfaith dialogue Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, at the end of a four-day visit to Iran, signed an agreement yesterday with Iranian Culture Minister Ahmad Masjed for the continuation of dialogue between Muslim Iran and the Orthodox Church. The two men approved a comparative study on Islamic and Christian mysticism, scholarships for study exchanges and the organization of religious film festivals. Demetrios Archbishop Demetrios, the spiritual leader of more than one million Orthodox Christians in America, met Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday as part of his official visit to Greece. Simitis thanked the archbishop for helping create «a friendly climate» during the former’s visit to the USA last week, which «will help Greece face imminent challenges.» Frigate robbed? The frigate Epirus is missing a 0.45 Colt pistol, the navy announced yesterday following a check of the vessel’s weapons arsenal. The disappearance is being investigated by a Piraeus naval court prosecutor. Euro-wallet patent Two companies vying for patent ownership of a wallet designed to hold euros have taken their dispute to a Thessaloniki court, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. «Nik. Albani Brothers OE» filed an injunction against another company, not named in the report, which allegedly produced an exact copy of the «Eurowallet» – which «Nik. Albani Brothers OE» said was its own patent – and sold it at a cheaper price. Toll blast A homemade device exploded early yesterday morning at the highway toll gate at Afidnes, north of Athens, causing damage but no injuries. A supervisor and three employees were working in the area at the time of the blast despite a toll-workers’ strike. Builders cleared A court in Patras yesterday exonerated four builders who built a brick wall blocking the entrance to the Achaia prefect’s office during a protest by construction workers in December 1998. The men told the court they built the wall as part of their protest and not to block access to the building. Migrants Port authorities on Chios yesterday arrested eight Afghan and Iranian illegal immigrants who reached the shores of the Aegean island at Karfas in row boats.