NEWS

In Brief

POLL ON INSTITUTIONS – Greeks put their faith in Church and military The vast majority of Greeks (90.9 percent) have faith in their Church, according to the final part of an opinion poll conducted by Kappa Research for the daily To Vima. Next in line in the public’s confidence are the armed forces (82.2 percent), the European Union (60.9 percent) and the police force (55.8 percent). Less than half have confidence in the UN (43.5 percent), the Greek political parties (26.9 percent), NATO (25.4 percent) or globalization (23.3 percent). In reply to the question Who do you believe can contribute most to improving life? 44.5 percent put their hopes in their mayors, 29.75 percent in the government and 28.2 percent in their member of parliament. Business people, regional governors and intellectuals came last with 7.8 percent, 7.6 percent and 5.3 percent respectively. With regard to the possibility of ex-king Constantine returning to live in Greece, 39.5 percent said they opposed the idea, 28.8 percent were in favor, though an equal number (28.4 percent) said they didn’t care either way. Justice and politics Supreme Court blasts politicians for attacks on the judiciary The Supreme Court yesterday issued a statement criticizing politicians for attributing political motives to members of the judiciary in the way they discharge their duties. Following the claims three weeks ago by government officials that prosecutor Dimitrios Asprogerakas was politically motivated in forwarding to the House of Parliament a report implying that government officials could face prosecution over the alleged manipulation of the Athens Stock Exchange just before last year’s parliamentary elections, the court’s plenary session said such accusations were not permissible. Vocational training Spending program announced Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced a new 678-billion-drachma vocational training program yesterday, following a meeting with Education Minister Petros Efthymiou. Funding will be provided by the European Union. Diplomats’ strike. Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis yesterday called on Greece’s striking diplomatic corps to stop its action in view of the current troubled international situation. Diplomats launched an open-ended strike on Monday seeking higher pay. Papandreou. Foreign Minister George Papandreou will pay a brief visit to Berlin on Monday, for talks with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer, diplomatic sources in Athens said yesterday. The agenda will mainly focus on security issues, as well as developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Hunger strike. Approximately 700 inmates of Aghios Stefanos Prison in Patras went on a hunger strike yesterday in protest against a new law that comes into force today and will extend the sentences of various categories of prisoners, as well as putting restrictions on five-day leave passes. Heightened security measures are in force. St. Nicholas. The Italian city of Bari, where the remains of St. Nicholas are preserved, has donated half a million dollars toward the rebuilding of the Greek Orthodox church of St. Nicholas in Manhattan that was destroyed during the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. This was announced on Wednesday by Italian Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero, during a visit to New York. Skinhead trial. Five German citizens went on trial yesterday in Munich on charges of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm in connection with the neo-Nazi attack in January against a Greek man. The 31-year-old, who was badly beaten, was saved by the intervention of two Turkish immigrants. Among the defendants is the 18-year-old granddaughter of Franz von Papen, the German chancellor who immediately preceded Adolf Hitler. Railway renovation. All 23 stations of the Piraeus-to-Kifissia electric railway will have been renovated by 2003, Transport Minister Christos Verelis promised yesterday during a visit to the Aghios Eleftherios station. Muslims. The chairman of the Panhellenic Muslim League yesterday condemned the September 11 terrorist attack on the USA. Imam Mehmet told an Athens radio program that Greece’s Muslims have no relations with the Taleban.. and are peace-loving.