NEWS

In Brief

Ship collision

No passengers injured after empty vessel hits full ferry leaving Piraeus An empty passenger ferry conducting a trial journey crashed into the side of another ferry leaving the port of Piraeus with 115 passengers on board yesterday evening but no one was injured. The Rodanthi had just cast anchor, due to sail to the Cyclades, when the Aeolos Express slammed into its bow for reasons that were unclear late yesterday. Passengers disembarked and were due to board another ferry to their destinations later in the evening. Two boats were dispatched to bring both vessels into port. Exam crackdown Teachers marking papers to be vetted, mobiles to be deactivated Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis yesterday distributed a list of regulations aimed at averting the cheating in school examinations that marred last year’s end-of-year tests. Regional education officials and the presidents of grading centers have been asked to ensure that teachers marking exam papers are carefully selected and that they do not know the pupils whose work they are grading. Also a system that deactivates mobile telephones is to be set up in exam rooms to prevent students from calling for help. Siemens probe Ex-employees’ accounts scrutinized Two former employees of Siemens Hellas yesterday faced a prosecutor in connection with a probe into some 100 million euros in bribes allegedly paid to local officials to secure state contracts for the German firm. The prosecutor is said to have examined both suspect’s banks accounts, allegedly tracing hundreds of thousands of euros in transactions. Papandreou recovery The main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou is to remain in hospital for another two or three days after undergoing minor surgery following a bicycle fall on Sunday that caused a small spinal fracture and broke a finger on his right hand, doctors said yesterday. Papandreou will remain at home for a week to recover, according to doctors who said the PASOK chief was in good health. Zachopoulos case A prosecutor recommended yesterday to a council of Appeal Court judges that they should not allow lawyer Christos Nikoloutsopoulos to be released from prison. The lawyer, a key witness in the alleged blackmail of former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos, has been in custody since March. The lawyer faces blackmail charges after accompanying Zachopoulos’s assistant, Evi Tsekou, to meetings with journalists during which her affair with the ministry official was discussed. Meanwhile, magistrate Dimitris Economou is investigating claims that Tsekou deposited a sealed envelope containing audiovisual material with a notary before she was remanded in custody in December. GPS Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis assured members of the Athens City Council yesterday that the privacy of municipal policemen would not be breached when they begin carrying Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to help them get around. Kaklamanis said the devices would not be used to monitor the officers’ movements. Supermarket sweep Three women have been arrested in Hania, Crete, after being caught stealing from a supermarket, police said yesterday. Officers searched the home shared by the women, Romanian nationals, and came away with three large suitcases of stolen items. Drug ring Three Albanian nationals, arrested last week in connection to a 66-kilo haul of cannabis in the northwestern town of Ioannina, are believed to be members of a cross-border drug smuggling ring, police said yesterday. A search of the homes of one of the suspects unearthed drugs and cash believed to be the proceeds of drug deals. Officers are seeking additional suspects. US Embassy The consular section of the US Embassy in Athens will be closed to the public tomorrow for administrative reasons. The closure, which is normal on the last Wednesday of every month, includes the visa and passport units.