NEWS

In Brief

PRIORITIES

Pension, tax reforms top government agenda Reform of the pension and tax systems are top of the government’s to-do list, spokesman Christos Protopappas said after yesterday’s Inner Cabinet meeting. A new social security system should be in place by summer and the implementation of the first new tax measures is imminent, Protopappas said, adding that a new development law and environmental measures – especially the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol – are on the cards. TAX REPOSSESSION Citizens can recoup debts owed to them by municipalities Taxes paid by citizens to municipal authorities can be repossessed in cases where the authorities have outstanding debts to individuals or businesses, according to a Supreme Court ruling made public yesterday. Taxes on real estate assets can be seized, but not taxes paid for cleaning, lighting and waste disposal services, the court ruled on the basis of the law which quashes state immunity. KOUNIAKIS Former bourse chief dies Former Athens Stock Exchange President Spyros Kouniakos was found dead in his car yesterday morning at a traffic light junction in Glyfada. A coroner attributed the death to pathological – probably heart-related – problems as Kounakis, 64, suffered from hypertension. Kouniakis died at about 1 a.m. yesterday – 10 hours before he was found by residents who at first thought he was sleeping. He was ASE president from June 1998 to September 2000. War reparations The auctioning of German state property to compensate victims of Nazi violence should not depend on the approval of the Justice Ministry, according to a Supreme Court rapporteur who called such a prerequisite «unconstitutional,» court sources said yesterday. The court was hearing the case of the relatives of Nazi victims slaughtered in 1944 in the village of Distomo in Viotia, central Greece. The relatives are seeking the auctioning of Athens’s Goethe Institut and the German Archaeological School after Germany refused their claim for 26.4 million euros in compensation. Soccer arrests The sister, aunt and two friends of Turkish-Cypriot footballer Sabri Selden were arrested by Turkish-Cypriot police at the Pergamos roadblock yesterday as they tried to cross back into the Turkish-occupied north after visiting Selden in his new home in the south, the Athens News Agency reported. The four were yesterday being questioned at Famagusta police station. Nicosia eventually granted Selden Cypriot citizenship earlier this month after a deal to play for southern team AEK Larnaca collapsed when it emerged his mother was a mainland Turk. Falcon case The fatal dipping and soaring of the government Falcon jet in 1997 was due to the pilot’s inability to properly navigate the aircraft, according to a Civil Aviation Authority psychiatrist asked to assess the human factor contributing to a freak accident aboard the jet which caused the death of seven people – including Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis. Falcon pilot Yiannis Androulakis could not cope after he took over the aircraft which had been on autopilot, said Dimitris Kyriazis, who added that Androulakis and his crew should have insisted on the passengers’ use of seatbelts. Attiki Odos find A large neolithic settlement at Pallini represents the most significant archaelogical find following two years of excavations on the Attiki Odos, reports said yesterday. The well-preserved settlement reveals the foundations of huts and a communal area, archaeologists said. Patrol car hit Unidentified assailants who hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at a police patrol car in the Athens district of Neos Cosmos early yesterday caused damage to the vehicle but did not harm the two policemen inside it. The attackers fled after the attack which took place shortly after midnight on Lagoumitzi bridge. Roadworks The reconstruction of the junction of the Alimos-Katehaki Avenue at Ilioupolis over the next two weeks means drivers will face some temporary changes, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday.