NEWS

In Brief

EARTHQUAKE TRIAL

Factory officials to be tried for ‘murder’ of nine people Five senior officials of a factory in the northern suburbs of Athens which collapsed in the September 1999 earthquake will be tried for the ‘murder’ of eight employees and the company chairman who died in the rubble, according to an Appeals Council ruling made public yesterday. The Faran factory’s founder, its chief executive, two members of the board and its civil engineer face charges of murder with possible malice aforethought after the court decided that they knew the building was not capable of withstanding an earthquake but did not want to incur the financial burden of making it safe. LAMBRAKIS Publisher recovering Publisher and media baron Christos Lambrakis was conscious and making a stable recovery yesterday following a heart attack on Friday night, doctors at the Athens Evangelismos Hospital said. Lambrakis, 68, was breathing without a respirator and his heart and lungs were functioning «satisfactorily» after the opening up of a blocked artery, doctors said yesterday, adding that his brain functions were regular but would be checked again today. Lambrakis is due to be discharged at the end of the week. Mitsotakis Honorary New Democracy Chairman Constantine Mitsotakis, 84, arrived in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday where he is to have an operation to strengthen the walls of a major artery. He is due back in Athens next Tuesday. Eurovision Greek pop singer Michalis Rakintzis and his song «S.A.G.A.P.O.» came 17th out of 24 countries competing in Saturday’s 47th Eurovision song contest in Tallin, Estonia, thus confirming Greece’s non-participation in next year’s event. Of the 27 points amassed by Greece, 12 were donated by Cyprus. EU candidate Latvia won the contest with 176 points. Cyprus came sixth. Milosevic accounts The Cyprus Central Bank on Saturday denied reports suggesting its involvement in smuggling money out of Yugoslavia during the reign of former President Slobodan Milosevic. «The bank never… helped Milosevic… make personal financial gains,» the bank said, adding that its probes of Cypriot bank accounts do not show such transactions passed through Cyprus. UN war crimes investigators believe Cypriot offshore accounts were key to Milosevic money-laundering activity. Loizidou Greek-Cypriot refugee Titina Loizidou – who in 1998 won her court fight for compensation from Turkey for preventing her from using her property in occupied Kyreneia – told Cypriot reporters on Saturday she hoped Turkey would comply with the landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which obliges Turkey to pay her $900,000 in damages. Loizidou said Council of Europe officials she met in Strasbourg last week shared her concerns about Turkey’s intransigence on the matter. The court is to discuss the matter again on June 10 and 11. ‘Helleniad 2003.’ The first of what is being billed as the «top cultural and sporting event for Greeks of the diaspora,» will be organized in the fall of 2003 in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced yesterday during a joint press conference with Council of Hellenes Abroad President Andrew Athens. Venizelos said the «Helleniad» festivals will be held every two years. Smuggling ring Attica police, who yesterday arrested a Greek man and 43 Asian immigrants they found in the back of the former’s truck, believe they have traced a ring smuggling migrants from Asia into Greece. The migrants were picked up by Thanassis Koutsouras, 48, after arriving at Kalamos in northeastern Attica from Turkey.