NEWS

In Brief

MINISTER UPBEAT

Alogoskoufis does not expect oil prices to hamper economic growth Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday that he does not expect rising oil prices and adverse international economic conditions to have much of an impact on domestic growth. He added that it is too early to revise downward the government’s economic targets for 2008 which aim for one of the eurozone’s highest expansion rates. Meanwhile, data showed yesterday that consumer inflation in December remained unchanged at 3.9 percent, its highest level since August 2005. Zachopoulos case Ex-employee charges impropriety in Culture Ministry contracts The former head of the administrative inspection unit at the Culture Ministry, Ersi Filippopoulou, told a prosecutor yesterday that the ministry’s ex-general secretary had pressured her into approving some contracts for public works that did not comply with European Union legislation. Filippopoulou resigned her position in March 2006, citing disagreements with Zachopoulos. During questioning yesterday, the former official referred to three contracts that she considered to be improper. House fire Mother and daughter badly burned A 39-year-old Cretan woman and her 2-year-old daughter, who sustained serious burns after a fire broke out in their home in Iraklion on Wednesday, were yesterday flown by military aircraft to Athens hospitals. The mother, being treated at the Thriassio hospital, is in a critical condition as she reportedly has burns on 80 percent of her body. The child, being treated at Athens’s Paidon hospital, has less serious injuries. The woman’s 20-year-old son sustained minor burns during his attempt to rescue his family from the blaze, believed to have started from the house’s fireplace. ‘Dealer’ remanded A 34-year-old man charged with supplying cocaine to a 14-year-old Ptolemaida schoolgirl, who died after taking the drug on Sunday, was yesterday remanded in custody. The man, who is charged with supplying drugs to minors, was remanded after appearing before an investigating magistrate. Extra doctors Greece will hire 5,500 new doctors by the end of next year, Health Minister Dimitris Avaramopoulos revealed yesterday. Responding to a question in Parliament, the minister said that 1,000 doctors would be taken on at state hospitals this year and a further 4,500 would be hired next year. The extra medical personnel means that Greece will be able to comply with European Union guidelines that require doctors to work no more than a maximum of 48 to 58 hours a week, depending on their specialization. Slow coach The KTEL intercity bus company in Arcadia, the Peloponnese, denied claims yesterday that it is employing drivers over the age of 65 and putting passengers at risk. Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MP Panayiotis Lafazanis had alleged in Parliament that the KTEL management had allowed some elderly drivers to continue working for the company. KTEL denied this, saying that some drivers had wished to stay on beyond the age of 65 but that nobody above this age had worked for the company since last October. Cypriots missing Turkish authorities violated the rights of nine Greek Cypriots, missing since the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, by failing to conduct an adequate investigation into their disappearance, the European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday. The body of one of the missing Cypriots was found last year but the other eight remain missing. The seven-judge panel ruled that appeals by relatives of the nine missing people were justified, awarding each family 4,000 euros in damages. In another ruling, the court ruled that another nine Cypriots suffered inhuman or degrading treatment while being detained by Turkish authorities. Pendeli reforestation A group of pro-green businessmen led by easyGroup’s Sir Stelios Haji-ioannou is behind a reforestation drive on Mt Pendeli this Sunday, in cooperation with overseas Greek organizations and local officials. They hope to encourage others to help in the effort.