NEWS

In Brief

HOSPITAL DEBTS

Suppliers seek state intervention for payment of 700-million-euro debt State hospitals owe an estimated total of 700 million euros to their suppliers, according to representatives of the six organizations which supply state health institutions. Members of the groups, which supply hospitals with medicine and equipment, met Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis to whom they presented a petition demanding payment. Greek state hospitals have the worst record in the EU for delayed payment of debts, the suppliers said. They added that they would «redefine» their stance if no action is taken by the end of this month. NOVEMBER 17 Georgiadis faces fresh charges, Sotiropoulou to testify today A prosecutor yesterday brought a new charge against alleged November 17 member Dionysis Georgiadis, according to which he participated in a 1998 bank robbery in Pangrati during which the duty clerk was injured. But Georgiadis’s lawyer submitted a formal complaint to the examining magistrate handling the N17 investigation, claiming that Korydallos Prison officials had not allowed him to take delivery of written instructions from his client regarding the new charge. Meanwhile, Angeliki Sotiropoulou, the only female terrorist suspect currently in custody, is to testify today in connection with new charges that she took part in a N17 attack on former Finance Minister Yiannis Palaiokrassas, the assassination of British military attache Brig. Stephen Saunders and a planned bomb attack in Piraeus. 2004 SECURITY Criminal records on computer Greece will have computerised its criminal records by the end of 2003 in order to facilitate security for the 2004 Olympics, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday. A ministry statement added that some 300,000 Greek and foreign nationals involved in preparations for the Games would have their records scrutinised. Cyprus A settlement to the Cyprus problem is possible ahead of December’s EU summit in Copenhagen, the United Nation’s Cyprus envoy, Alvaro de Soto, said yesterday in Ankara ahead of a meeting with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ugur Ziyal. The European Commission has proposed that Cyprus be invited to join the EU at the summit. But Turkey has warned that Cyprus’s division would become permanent if the island becomes a member before reunification. «I believe that… there are formulae that would eliminate all differences between the two sides,» de Soto added. Petrol smuggling Police in Attica said yesterday that they have broken a petrol-smuggling ring after a four-month investigation. Officers arrested gas station owner Constantinos Iliakopoulos, 37, and fuel truck driver Emmanouil Pavlakis, 34, on Tuesday in Mandra, western Attica. The suspects allegedly smuggled tax exempt ship fuel and converted it into diesel petrol and heating oil which they would then sell. Officers confiscated 165,000 liters of bunker fuel, various tanks, and a fuel-cleaning device from a warehouse used by the gang near Mandra. Illegal head A retired fisherman and two farmers have been charged with the illicit trade of antiquities after attempting to sell a marble head of Hercules for 150,000 euros and 21 ancient coins for 20,000 euros, police said yesterday. Michail Zafeiropoulos, 43, Giorgos Zisopoulos, 31, and Athanassios Kochliaridis, 49, were all arrested in the village of Nikaia near Larissa, central Greece, on Tuesday. Police found a metal detector in Zisopoulos’s home. Macedonia fracas Organizers of a conference on ancient Macedonia in Thessaloniki were confronted yesterday by citizens angry over the papers of two of the conference’s foreign speakers which attributed the death of King Philip II to his homosexual relationships. The protesters dispersed after American historian Ernst Badian reassured them that: «I never said Macedonia was not Greek,» the Athens News Agency reported. Acropolis Museum Prime Minister Costas Simitis was yesterday briefed on the course of work on the new Acropolis Museum by the chairman of the organization managing the project, Dimitris Pandermalis.