NEWS

IN BRIEF

GAY RIGHTS

Justice Ministry looking at law for homosexual couples in Greece The Justice Ministry has pledged to establish a working group on the rights of gay couples living together, following a request by the National Commission for Human Rights. The ministry said it would set up a working group, with the help of the commission, «to analyze all aspects of the issue, international practice and the existing domestic legal and social framework.» CARS TORCHED Arsonists in Athens on a spree set fire to seven vehicles, including OTE vans A series of homemade bomb explosions went off around Athens late on Thursday night, damaging seven parked cars, authorities said. There were no reports of injuries. Four OTE telecom vans parked in the northern Athens suburb of Aghia Paraskevi were damaged by bombs that had been placed under the vehicles. Authorities said a second round of attacks followed shortly afterward in central Athens, damaging three cars belonging to a supermarket. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. MOZZARELLA SAFE No contaminated Italian cheese here The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) yesterday reassured consumers that none of the contaminated mozzarella recalled from stores in Italy has entered the Greek market. Italy’s Health Ministry yesterday withdrew products from 25 companies after tests showed some brands of the cheese had been contaminated by a cancer-causing dioxin. Clocks forward Clocks will go forward one hour tomorrow morning as summertime begins. The time will change at 3 a.m. on Sunday, when clocks will go forward to 4 a.m. Tremor in Crete An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale hit the island of Crete early yesterday but authorities said there were no reports of injuries or damage. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake had an epicenter in the sea south of Crete, near the island of Gaidouronisi and struck at 2.17 a.m. Earth Hour The lights will be turned off at City Hall and on Lycabettus Hill for an hour from 8 p.m. today as part of a worldwide energy-saving initiative, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said yesterday. The Earth Hour scheme aims to get people to switch off their lights for an hour. Officer wanted A manhunt has been launched in the prefecture of Fokida, central Greece, for a rural policeman who is believed to have shot dead a 41-year-old colleague on Thursday. The alleged perpetrator, aged 39, had personal differences with the victim, police said. Businessman held The main shareholder in the Attikat construction company, Panayiotis Panousis, was remanded in custody yesterday on suspicion of having helped manipulate the price of shares in another company, Sigalas, that were being traded on the Athens Stock Exchange between 1999 and 2000. Panousis is the second businessman to be remanded in custody in connection to the case. Kyriakou bail The head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Minos Kyriakou, will have to pay bail of 100,000 euros after being given a four-year prison sentence for illegal construction at his summer house in the resort of Porto Heli, southwest of Athens, court sources said yesterday. Kyriakou, also the owner of Antenna TV and Radio, has appealed the decision. Robberies Four assailants yesterday held up a security van in the Athens district of Petralona, forcing the driver to get out of the vehicle before driving off. Meanwhile in Koukaki, two robbers raided a bank, fleeing with a bag of cash. But the bag contained a dye-filled device that exploded, rendering the cash worthless. Drugs in jail Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said yesterday that his ministry is drafting a bill to curb the drug trade in jails and ensuring that drug users are not convicted as dealers. Suspected drug dealers would be subject to toxicology tests within 48 hours of their arrest to determine whether they have been using drugs.