NEWS

In Brief

CRETE PROBE

Four detainees to testify today, suspect’s wife ‘made blue calls’ Four Cretans implicated in a bloody attack on police outside the mountain village of Zoniana in November are to face an investigating magistrate today. They had been due to testify yesterday but the magistrate had not yet scanned a 4,500-page file on their alleged illegal activities. The four have also been linked to a series of local bank raids and ATM thefts. Another four people, including the suspected ringleader’s 21-year-old wife, are to testify next. She allegedly made sexually titillating telephone calls to two local policemen, officers said after checking the suspects’ mobile phone records. TEXT FEVER Mobile operators report sharp rise in festive SMS messages Mobile phone users sent some 256 million text messages over the festive period this year, a significant increase on last year, the country’s operators said yesterday. Wind reported an increase of 79 percent in the number of text messages sent between December 24 and January 1. Cosmote reported a 30 percent increase, while Vodafone reported the smallest increase, of 5 percent. HOMELESS SHELTER Athens to open home with 70 beds Soon after the summer the Athens City Council will open a new shelter for the city’s homeless that will also provide food and social and medical support, said Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis yesterday. The multi-level shelter, on Patission Street, will provide about 70 beds and will mostly offer support to elderly homeless people. There are an estimated 1,700 homeless people in central Athens, according to council data. Education funds Improved management of money spent on education will help solve problems in the sector, said Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis yesterday. «No one denies that more money is needed. No one, however, can deny that spending between 1999 to 2004 rose by 1.3 billion euros, while from 2004 to 2007 it rose by 2.4 billion euros. This year it will be 6.5 percent higher,» said the minister. Students and teachers have repeatedly launched protest action, including street demonstrations and strikes, demanding the government up spending on education to 5 percent of gross domestic product from about 3 percent currently. Missing fisherman Authorities said yesterday that they have found no sign of the captain of a fishing boat thought to have fallen into the sea on Sunday while gathering nets on his vessel near the Sporades island of Psathoura. Airplanes and patrol boats were called in to aid in the search but were not able to find the 62-year-old fisherman. The coast guard said it would extend its search toward Halkidiki but hopes are fading that the fishing boat captain will be found alive. Prisoner transfer Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said yesterday that plans to move inmates out of the women’s wing of Korydallos Prison in March are on schedule. Hatzigakis visited Korydallos, where some 1,800 prisoners are housed, yesterday and said that the new women’s prison in Elaionas, near Thebes, is almost complete and will also contain a unit to help inmates get over drug addiction. Hatzigakis said the government aims to reduce the overall number of prisoners at Korydallos over the next three years by half. Phone privacy The Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP), which is the regulatory body for public sector hirings, has been denied its request to record calls made to its inquiries department. The Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD) ruled that even though ASEP was planning to inform callers that their conversations would be recorded, there was not enough justification to keep records of the calls. ASEP argued that it wanted to gather information about what queries callers make but the privacy watchdog said that the law only allows such data to be collected if it is absolutely vital to the running of the organization.