NEWS

In Brief

WIRETAPPING

MPs blast court decision to let off mobile phone companies Parliament’s transparency committee yesterday condemned the Council of State’s decision to cancel fines imposed in 2007 on mobile phone firms Vodafone and Ericsson in connection to the tapping of the phones of then Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and more than 100 others. Vodafone was fined 76 million euros and Ericsson 7.3 million by the Communications Privacy Protection Authority (ADAE) but the country’s highest administrative court ruled that because ADAE held its sessions in private, the imposition of the penalties was not arrived at lawfully. The head of the parliamentary committee, Miltiadis Papaioannou, said the court’s decision «weakened the functioning of independent bodies.» Several members of the panel suggested that ADAE should hold a new public hearing and impose the same fines on the mobile phone firms. COAST GUARD Officers robbed Patra migrants Two coast guard officers have been arrested in Patra on suspicion of attacking and robbing immigrants in the Peloponnesian port city. Police are also searching for a third suspect who is not thought to be a member of the coast guard. Officers said they investigated the matter after complaints from migrants. Capital ideas Athens mayor hopeful Giorgos Kaminis said yesterday that, if elected, he would tackle the large amount of illegal street traders in Athens by setting up open-air markets where sellers will be licensed and will only be allowed to supply goods that have been imported legally. Kaminis also suggested that he would use European Union funds to renovate abandoned buildings in central Athens, which are often taken over by squatters. After speaking with traders and store owners, Kaminis said that it is his aim to bring people and businesses back to the city center. Siemens probe Members of the parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal are to visit the German city of Munich on October 26 to questions current and former Siemens officials as well as the ex-CEO of Siemens Hellas Michalis Christoforakos. Greek MPs had been due to fly to Munich for several months but German prosecutors have only just given the green light. Veggos recovering Veteran actor Thanassis Veggos was recovering in the hospital yesterday after undergoing emergency head surgery. The 83-year-old is expected to be discharged from the hospital today. Bears rescued A female bear and her two cubs have been rescued from a dam in Kastoria, northern Greece, authorities said yesterday. None of the bears were injured, said the environmental organization Arcturos. Experts think the bears may have wandered into the area around the dam in search of fish to eat. Rizai trial The trial of Albanian convict Alket Rizai in connection to his escape from Korydallos Prison in a helicopter in February 2009 along with Vassilis Palaiocostas is expected to enter its final phase next week, when Rizai and his girlfriend Aspasia Mitropia are due to be questioned. Palaiocostas has not been caught since escaping from Korydallos for a second time.