NEWS

In Brief

Late philhellenes

PM pays homage to financial adviser, classics scholar Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday paid homage to Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, the eminent Italian economist and adviser to the debt-ridden Greek government, and to French classical scholar Jacqueline de Romilly who both died over the weekend. Papandreou described Padoa-Schioppa, who died on Saturday at the age of 70 of heart failure, as a «brilliant scientist…and great European. He was among the first to believe in our efforts and to speak of them publicly. In this regard he was a true Greek,» Papandreou said in a written statement. The Greek PM also expressed his condolences for the loss of de Romilly who died yesterday aged 97. An expert on the civilization and language of ancient Greece, de Romilly «promoted Greek culture… stood by Greece during the hard times and highlighted the humane character of the Greeks,» Papandreou said. CHURCH LEAFLET Synod denies rift A spokesperson for the Holy Synod yesterday rebuffed reports that Archbishop Ieronymos had challenged the content of a leaflet titled «To the People,» which was issued to churchgoers across the country by the synod and complains that the country is being constrained by its international creditors. «The archbishop does not differentiate his stance from that of the synod,» said press spokesman, Haris Konidaris. In the leaflet, the synod says: «Our country no longer seems to be free but is essentially being directed by our creditors.» The leaflet describes an ongoing austerity drive as «an attempt to uproot many traditions and established rights that had been taken for granted until now.» Inmates yield Thousands of inmates at prisons across the country yesterday called off a hunger strike launched three weeks ago after authorities pledged to satisfy their calls to improve detention conditions. In a written statement issued by a non-governmental organization lobbying for improved inmates’ rights, the protesters said: «We experienced hunger but this is nothing compared to the daily humiliation we are forced to endure… We are suspending our protest in the expectation that the government will put its commitments into action.» Robbery ring Police in Thessaloniki yesterday were questioning eight suspected members of a criminal ring believed to have robbed an ATM containing nearly 20,000 euros from a bank branch in the district of Xiloupoli as well as three luxury cars and seven fork lift trucks. Officers in the northern city had spent months investigating the activities of the ring, which is also believed to have tried to remove another five ATMs, containing a total of 260,000 euros, from banks in different parts of Thessaloniki. The gang’s leader is believed to be a 35-year-old Greek man who selected the ATMs that were targeted and allocated roles to the remaining ring members, police said. Fatal brawl A brawl that broke out between two immigrants early yesterday in a bar in the small town of Arakynthos in Aetoloacarnania ended in the fatal injury of one of the pair. It remained unclear late yesterday what triggered the dispute between the migrants, whose ethnic origin was not revealed, and how the fatal injury was provoked.