NEWS

In Brief

LESPEROGLOU

Alleged terrorist faces retrial after his acquittal is repealed Alleged left-wing terrorist Avraam Lesperoglou will be tried for the third time for the attempted murder of a police officer in central Athens 20 years ago, the Supreme Court decided yesterday. The decision follows a prosecutor’s call for a repeal following a March 2001 ruling acquitting Lesperoglou of attempting to kill Giorgos Psaroudakis in Exarchia. An alleged member of the Anti-State Struggle terrorist group, Lesperoglou, 46, is currently an army conscript. He was cleared of a series of charges relating to terrorist activities in the 1980s, following his arrest in December 1999 after 17 years as a fugitive. ACCIDENTS Road deaths down 21 pct so far, minister says A five-year plan to reduce road accidents is paying off, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis told Parliament yesterday. He said deaths have fallen 21 percent in the first five months of this year over the corresponding period of last year, while for the whole of 2001 the drop was 10 percent. WINNER Probe into Greek suspects’ assets A Piraeus prosecutor yesterday gave the go-ahead for the investigation of the bank accounts belonging to Costas Seidis, 37, and Aristidis Kotsores, 47, who face a series of charges in connection with Thursday’s seizure in the Atlantic of a Greek-owned freighter, the Winner, carrying several tons of cocaine. Police hope the probe will help them identify other members of an international drug-smuggling racket to which they believe the two belong. Airport taxis Signs listing a contact number for the tourist police are to be set up at taxi stands at Athens International Airport over the next few days so passengers can report taxi drivers who charge excessive fares, Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT) President Yiannis Patellis said yesterday after an EOT proposal was accepted by airport management. Violations by taxi drivers are also monitored by traffic police who conduct spot checks on drivers at taxi stands, the airport’s general manager, Matthias Mitscherlich, told Patellis. Earthquake An undersea quake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale occurred off Kalamata, in the southern Peloponnese, just before 8 a.m. yesterday without causing serious damage or injuries, seismologists in Athens and Thessaloniki said yesterday. Earthquake experts in Patras said the quake measured 4.8 on the Richter scale. Water shortage Some parts of eastern Attica will have to endure low water pressure or, in some cases, complete lack of water from 11 p. m. tomorrow until 9 a. m. on Thursday while a damaged water pipe which normally feeds the central network is repaired. The districts of Gerakas, Anthousa, Pallini and Pikermi will be affected. Mandela visit Former South African President Nelson Mandela is due to arrive in Athens this afternoon for a weeklong official visit. Mandela will meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis tomorrow and President Costis Stephanopoulos on Friday. Roadworks Traffic on the Athens-Corinth National Road will be suspended in both directions for 12 minutes from 11 a. m. tomorrow at Aspropyrgos, traffic police said yesterday. The brief closure, 16 kilometers (10 miles) outside Athens, is due to works by the Public Power Corporation. Smugglers Two Greeks were committed to trial yesterday for allegedly trying to smuggle 43 illegal immigrants into the country aboard a yacht. Ilias Kalogyros, 47, and Grigoris Vardis, 54, were arrested off Cape Sounion on Sunday along with the migrants – chiefly from Kashmir – whom they had allegedly picked up in Istanbul. Journalists expelled The expulsion from Israel of two reporters from a group of international journalists on assignment in the Middle East was yesterday condemned by the Athens Journalists Union (ESIEA). The deportation by Israeli forces, to Greece and Cyprus respectively, of Mania Barsefski and Panayiotis Paschalis – both participating in research into the situation and working life of Palestinian journalists – «does anything but contribute to peace and reconciliation in the region,» ESIEA said.