NEWS

In Brief

DASSIN BURIAL

Film director to be buried next to wife at Athens’s First Cemetery today The burial of film director Jules Dassin is due to take place at Athens’s First Cemetery today. Dassin died in Athens on Monday night at the age of 96. Greece became Dassin’s adopted homeland after he married Greek actress and later Greek Culture Minister Melina Mercouri. Dassin will be buried next to Mercouri, who died in 1994. «Greece mourns the loss of a rare person, an important creator and a real friend,» said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in a statement. «We mourn the loss of a first-generation Greek who along with his partner, the dear departed Melina Mercouri, never ceased to show his love for everything important and real that was born in the country.» (Page 3) MURDER TRIAL Coroners say former IKA chief believed to have died from head injuries The former head of the Social Security Foundation (IKA) Yiannis Vartholomaios was hit over the head between five and 15 times with a blunt instrument in a fatal altercation with Dimitris Vrakatselis moments before his death some 14 months ago, three coroners told a court yesterday. Vartholomaios was having an affair with Vrakatselis’s wife and the two men scuffled outside her apartment in Athens. Chief coroner Philippos Koutsaftis added that Vartholomaios suffered from a heart problem. He said that the late IKA chief would probably not have died of his injuries had his heart been working properly. Vrakatselis denies murdering Vartholomaios. PROSECUTOR RAP Union head facing penalty for criticism The head of Greece’s prosecutors’ union, Sotiris Bayias is facing disciplinary action after criticizing the judiciary and questioning the promotion of some judges. Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas ordered an investigation into the comments yesterday. Bayias responded by saying that he had a right to speak his mind. «Freedom of speech and the ability to criticize are fundamental human rights which are enshrined in the constitution,» he said. Helicopter investigation The army said yesterday a helicopter crash last month, in which three officers died, was not due to mechanical failure. The helicopter had been properly serviced and there was no indication that it had been having any mechanical problems, according to a team of experts entrusted with the investigation of the accident. The helicopter, a single-engine Huey, crashed near Thessaloniki on its way to take part in a military exercise. Some reports had suggested that a fault in the helicopter’s fuel tank was responsible for a midair explosion. Referendum vote Lawmakers started a two-day debate yesterday on a request submitted by opposition parties which have called for a referendum to decide on government pension reforms. The overall draft bill on changes to the social security system was passed by Parliament on Monday but has not yet formally entered force as it has not been published in the Government Gazette. ADEDY and GSEE, the country’s largest public and private sector union groups, are scheduled to demonstrate outside of Parliament at 7 p.m. today as legislators vote on the call for a referendum, which is not expected to be passed. Train disruption Construction work on a section of the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) will necessitate the suspension of services today from 10.30 p.m. onward. Commuters will be able to continue their journey using local bus routes with the same ticket, ISAP said. Smack for gadgets A 32-year-old man was arrested in Thessaloniki accused of providing small quantities of heroin in exchange for electrical appliances, police said yesterday. Following a raid of the suspect’s home, police found video cameras, laptops, 430 grams of heroin and 50 bullets. Emergency landing A firefighting aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in the sea off Evia early yesterday afternoon after the plane developed a mechanical fault. Neither of the two pilots of the Canadair plane were injured. The country’s forest fire fighters have been put on alert early this year following a series of seasonally early blazes.