NEWS

In Brief

AIR TRAVEL

Flights unchanged today after court deems traffic controllers’ strike illegal Flights were to be normal today after an Athens court ruled that strikes called for yesterday and today by air traffic controllers were illegal. Yesterday, around 20 flights were canceled and 60 rescheduled due to a work stoppage between noon and 4 p.m. The air traffic controllers’ union said it had canceled a similar four-hour strike planned for today but claimed the court ruling had come too late to stop yesterday’s action. EARTHQUAKE CONVICTION Factory owner gets 18-month jail sentence for manslaughter The owner of the Athens Fyaloplast plastics factory, which collapsed during the September 1999 earthquake killing his daughter and two employees, was yesterday sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty of manslaughter through neglect. Panayiotis Kalavrytinos was released after appealing against the court’s verdict. In May an appeals court had ruled that Kalavrytinos had failed to oversee necessary repairs to the factory building, which was damaged by an earthquake in 1981 and a fire in 1995. An original ruling had deemed that the crime fell under the statute of limitations, as the factory was built in 1971. LIBEL TRIAL Ministers testify against ex-publisher Makis Psomiadis, the former publisher of the now defunct To Onoma newspaper, published a forged bank document in February 1996 in order to sabotage the construction of Athens International Airport in favor of companies that had already been excluded from bidding, and to discredit then Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, according to yesterday’s testimonies by Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Education Minister Petros Efthymiou and government spokesman Christos Protopappas. Psomiadis faces libel charges after publishing a document that suggested Laliotis was paid for favors by a German firm. N17 DNA Investigating judge Leonidas Zervobeakos yesterday visited Korydallos Prison to oversee the taking of samples for DNA testing from 17 suspected November 17 terrorists. Dimitris Koufodinas and Savvas Xeros were the only ones to refuse, with Xeros saying police already had a sample. Refusal could count against defendants in court. A political memorial was held in Parliament marking the 13th anniversary of N17’s murder of New Democracy MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis. More A group calling itself Os Edo (No More), usurping the name used by a group of relatives of November 17 victims, has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s firebomb attack on an Athens bank and has threatened to strike again, the daily Eleftherotypia reported yesterday. An anonymous caller to the paper said the attack was in support of N17 and its alleged senior operative, Dimitris Koufodinas. A group calling itself Revolutionary Brigade called the daily on Wednesday to claim responsibility for a firebomb attack on a PASOK office in Neos Cosmos the day before. Cypriot minister The Cypriot government yesterday named retired diplomat Alecos Shambos, 63, as its new justice minister after Nicos Koshis stepped down on Tuesday. Koshis resigned over a widening customs fraud scandal involving public officials and top police officers. Fugitive caught Fugitive and murder suspect Evangelos Pallis, at large since June 1996 when he escaped from a Lamia prison, was arrested yesterday morning outside a hospital in the Athenian coastal suburb of Voula. Officers confiscated a gun and false documents from Pallis, 43, who has avoided trials in Athens and Lamia on charges of murder and attempted manslaughter respectively. Pallis, also known as Apache, is charged with the murder of Panayiotos Papadakos in May 1995 in a racetrack parking lot. Winter looms Heavy rain and storms are expected to hit western Greece from tomorrow, gradually spreading across the country over the weekend, the National Meteorological Service (EMY) said yesterday. The stormy weather will even reach the southernmost islands in the Aegean and snow is expected in the mountainous areas of central and northern Greece, EMY said.