NEWS

In Brief

Vatopedi affair

Ex-ministry official faces criminal charges over files An Athens appeals court prosecutor yesterday brought criminal charges against the former head of the Agricultural Development Ministry’s land department for smuggling out all the documents relating to the controversial property exchange between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos. According to ministry officials, Stamatina Manteli took some 1,500 documents with her when she left her job at the ministry. Manteli is a suspect in the allegedly corrupt deal. Arms imports Greece ranks 5th, report says Greece ranks fifth in the world in terms of the volume of its arms imports, according to a report made public yesterday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a think tank. China and India top the list of arms imports, according to the report, which notes that the US and Russia were responsible for more than half of all weapons’ exports in the period between 2005 and 2009. During the same period, global weapons sales increased by 22 percent. Greece spends an estimated 4 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Dead animals Conservationists on Samos yesterday were investigating the deaths of a dolphin and a loggerhead sea turtle found washed up in different parts of the eastern Aegean island. The dolphin was found on a beach near the island’s main port of Vathi and the turtle near the port of Karlovasi, according to staff at the Institute of Marine Conservation which has an office on Samos. It is thought that the dolphin, which bore several stab wounds, might have been fatally injured by accident by locals or fisherman trying to free it from a fishing net. There were no details about the suspected cause of the death of the turtle. Missing man Rescue workers in the northern prefecture of Komotini yesterday were continuing their search for a man who was swept away from his car in the swollen waters of the Lissos River. Members of the local fire service managed to rescue the man’s wife from the vehicle. The river broke its bank following several days of heavy rainfall and the melting of snow on the slopes of mountains in the region. Work site accident A 40-year-old foreign laborer was in serious condition in the hospital yesterday after being crushed by a load of construction material on a site close on the outskirts of Patra, western Greece. Local police yesterday were seeking the site supervisor to determine the exact circumstances of the accident. The ethnic origin of the laborer was unclear. Police sweep A crime crackdown by police in Athens over the weekend led to dozens of arrests and the confiscation of thousands of counterfeit goods. At least 73 people were arrested on a range of charges, including theft and drug dealing. Traffic police officers recorded 992 violations, most relating to illegal parking outside nightclubs. Meanwhile, municipal officers seized more than 5,000 counterfeit goods, chiefly bags and wallets.