NEWS

In Brief

WWII REPARATIONS

Supreme Special Court rules against Greek victims’ bid for compensation Greek courts do not have the right to judge legal suits lodged by the families of Nazi crime victims seeking compensation from Germany, according to a ruling by the Supreme Special Court made public late yesterday. The ruling – approved with a marginal majority of six votes to five – overturns an earlier Supreme Court ruling that said Greek courts could hear the cases brought by families of victims from the central Greek village of Distomo. LESPEROGLOU Prosecutor asks for unmitigated guilty verdict after alleged terrorist’s defense An Athens prosecutor yesterday asked for alleged terrorist Avraam Lesperoglou to be found guilty – without mitigation – for the attempted murder of a policeman in central Athens in 1982. Lesperoglou, 48, told an appeals court he had «the scent of a terrorist» because self-confessed November 17 operative Christodoulos Xiros claimed to have known him, adding that he was being set up by people who want him in jail. But the prosecutor said Lesperoglou, who fled abroad after the murder attempt, could have appealed to a magistrate during his period of exile if he was really innocent. The trial – Lesperoglou’s third for the same crime – continues today. TURKISH JETS Airspace violated a day after accord Dozens of Turkish F-16 jets yesterday violated Greek national airspace off the Aegean island of Chios, where the annual «Parmenion» military exercises were in progress, just 24 hours after Greek and Turkish defense ministers announced the launch of a hot line aimed at boosting mutual trust between the two countries. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, speaking to military officials yesterday, stressed that Turkey remained the key national threat to Greece. Metro fines New legislation tabled in Parliament on Monday will impose fines of between 30 and 3,000 euros on commuters caught consuming food or drink, or accompanied by pets, on Athens Metro trains or stations, daily Ta Nea reported yesterday. Disabled passengers and those carrying animals in baskets designed for the purpose will not be fined, the paper said. Commuters carrying flammable substances and hawkers will also face fines. Boycott working? Sales of fruit and vegetables at street markets in Athens and Thessaloniki have fallen 40 percent and turnover is down as much as 70 percent since Monday when a second consumer boycott began, the Consumer Institute (INKA) watchdog announced yesterday at a press conference. The one exception is the tomato which has resisted downward price pressures, INKA said. The institute urged consumers to continue boycotting fruit and vegetables until Thursday when the four-day protest is due to end. NY mayor New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is due to arrive in Athens tomorrow to speak at the Mayors of the World summit before traveling to Istanbul on Friday for a meeting with business leaders. Bloomberg will meet President Costis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos tomorrow and visit Olympic Games venues. He is due to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios in Istanbul. Anti-quake cooperation Greece and Turkey’s foreign ministers, in New York for the UN General Assembly, agreed late on Monday to spearhead a bilateral UN-backed initiative for dealing with natural disasters such as earthquakes. Foreign Minister George Papandreou said the agreement was the continuation of several others between Turkey and Greece since the major earthquakes that shook Istanbul and Athens in August and September 1999 respectively, sparking supportive reactions from each country to its neighbor. Ticket discounts Ferry tickets for election monitoring officials and citizens traveling to vote in next month’s local government elections will be discounted by 30 percent and 20 percent respectively, according to a decision by Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis made public yesterday. The discounts will only be valid for travel between October 7 and 22 for monitoring officials, and between October 11 and 14 for voters (and between October 18 and 21 in the case of a recast).