NEWS

In Brief

BLACKMAIL PROBE

Publisher withdraws motion against ‘biased’ judge but sues Publisher and TV presenter Themos Anastasiadis yesterday withdrew his application to have magistrate Dimitris Economou removed from an investigation into the alleged blackmail of former Culture Ministry secretary general Christos Zachopoulos on the grounds that the judge is not impartial. Earlier, however, Anastasiadis filed a legal suit against the magistrate for alleged abuse of power, claiming that the case against him had been fabricated on the basis of testimony from only one witness. Anastasiadis said he was now ready to testify. HAIDARI BOMB Strong blast at car showroom smashes windows of homes An improvised explosive device placed in the grounds of a car showroom in Haidari, western Athens, caused a strong blast when it went off early yesterday morning, smashing windows in nearby apartment blocks, but there were no reports of injuries. The blast created a crater in the ground and damaged several cars on display outside the showroom and a few vehicles that had been parked nearby. There had been no claim of responsibility by late yesterday. Austria visit President Karolos Papoulias yesterday began a three-day visit to Austria, where he is to discuss the future of the European Union and the Lisbon reform treaty with his counterpart Heinz Fischer. Reacting to calls by officials in Skopje for current citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) who left Greece during the civil war to be allowed to reclaim lost property and apply for Greek citizenship, Papoulias condemned FYROM’s stance as «hostile expansionism.» Corrupt officers Two police officers, one of them retired, have been found guilty of accepting protection money of 500 euros a month from the owner of a Thessaloniki electronic games store, who reported the two men to the northern Greece police force’s internal affairs department. Bank scam Internal affairs officials of a bank in Larissa are investigating evidence that has emerged over the past three weeks of embezzlement by a staff member amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros. Child care Changes to the way children are admitted to state nursery schools, which were announced by the Labor and Interior Ministers yesterday, mean that mothers whose annual income does not exceed 24,000 euros, will be entitled to have their child’s registration fees paid by the state. Applications will be accepted as of July 28. Dead strays A conservation group active in Athens and Piraeus yesterday offered 1,000 euros to anyone who can identify the persons responsible for the recent poisoning of 10 stray animals in Haidari, western Athens, as well as in Nikaia, near Piraeus. Grigoris Gourdomichalis, the president of the Environmental Association of Athens and Piraeus, told Skai his organization would «use all legal means for the exemplary punishment of the perpetrators.»