NEWS

In Brief

IMF REPORT

Task force says competitiveness is waning, calls for wage restraint An International Monetary Fund (IMF) task force that visited Greece recently has advised the Economy and Finance Ministry that the country’s economic competitiveness is waning and that wage rises have to be kept in check, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Among the measures that the IMF has recommended is the trimming of public sector employees. CHRISTODOULOS Archbishop’s health worsens as he also suffers kidney problems Archbishop Christodoulos has been in a critical condition over the last few days, according to his doctors. The 68-year-old archbishop, who was diagnosed with cancer in the summer, is believed to also be suffering kidney problems. «He has clarity of thought but his condition is serious. He has trouble breathing due to the pain relief patches,» said a spokesman for the Holy Synod. RUSSIA TRIP Karamanlis to visit Moscow Dec 17 Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will visit Russia from December 17 to 19 after being invited to Moscow by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the meeting between the two leaders would cover a range of issues but would be mainly focused on energy matters. Roussopolous said there was no new information on when Karamanlis plans to visit Ankara. Alex book Alex Meshivili, the 11-year-old schoolboy who disappeared in Veria in February 2006, was not murdered by five schoolboys but was kidnapped, according to psychologist Christina Antonopoulou, who unveiled her book on the subject yesterday. She alleged that Alex was the victim of «an organized plan carried out by a circle of people who worked as a gang.» She said that the five schoolboys charged with killing Alex and disposing of his body are innocent and that authorities have failed to make use of all the witness statements and evidence available. Antonopoulou alleges that some people have accepted bribes to cover up the truth. She did not give further information. Counterfeit currency Police in Hania, Crete, yesterday charged a 37-year-old man with producing and trading in counterfeit currency. Officers’ suspicions were aroused after the suspect used two forged 50-euro notes to pay a bar bill in the Cretan port. A subsequent search of the man’s car revealed more forged notes and a raid on his home unearthed a computerized system for producing forged notes. Police are investigating whether the 37-year-old had been channeling forged currency into the Cretan market and, if so, for how long. Ferry grounded A ferry bumped into a pier on the island of Myconos yesterday but none of the 131 passengers aboard were injured, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The collision provoked minor damage to the vessel which was kept in port. Passengers boarded another ferry to their destination of Piraeus. Readers’ prize The National Book Center (EKEBI) said yesterday that author Andreas Mitsou has been awarded its 2007 readers’ prize for his novel «Mr Episkopakis.» More than 3,000 readers voted via text message for their favorite of 10 books that were short-listed by EKEBI. Police trust Greeks are more satisfied with the level of policing in the community than they were last year but their level of satisfaction remains lower than the European Union average, according to a report prepared by the Confederation of Police Officers (POASY). The report found that about a third of those questioned said they were satisfied with law enforcement, with most people blaming bureaucracy and structural problems in the police force.