NEWS

In Brief

1999 EARTHQUAKE TRIAL

Supreme Court finds defendants should not escape criminal charges The Supreme Court has ruled that an Athens appeals court must reconsider its decision that an architect, a civil engineer and a building contractor should be tried on misdemeanor charges over the collapse during the 1999 Athens earthquake of a Nea Philadelphia building in which seven people died, in a decision made public yesterday. The Supreme Court ruled that the men’s oversight could not merely be attributed to neglect, as the earlier ruling had stated, but to possible malice aforethought. This followed an appeal by Supreme Court prosecutor Evangelos Kroustallakis for the three to be tried on criminal charges. SMOKING ON TRAINS Smokers placed in rear cars, banned on suburban routes Smokers will be relegated to the hindmost cars of intercity trains as of November 15 under a broader drive to make public areas smoke-free, the Health Ministry and the Hellenic Railway Organization (OSE) agreed yesterday. Smoking will be completely forbidden on suburban railway routes, while smokers on intercity trains will be given up to a quarter of the cars, most likely at the back of the train. AUSTRALIAN FLIGHTS Olympic Airways axes route Ailing state carrier Olympic Airways yesterday announced it would be canceling flights to Australia as of November 1. The regular schedule of two flights per week, one to Melbourne and one to Sydney, will be discontinued, the airline said, adding, however, that it would arrange several flights in the first two weeks of next month for passengers who have already paid their fees. Reduced bookings on the Australian route were the reason for the decision, OA said. Greek pilots yesterday objected to the move and did not rule out strike action. Consumer loans A consumer protection group yesterday appealed to Bank of Greece Governor Nicholas Garganas not to abolish credit restrictions on consumer loans. «The robustness of the banking sector should not be based on overcharging consumers,» the EKPOIZO group said in a letter also distributed to PM Costas Simitis. Anti-corruption Draft legislation for the establishment of an anti-corruption committee – to oversee existing committees set up to crack down on corruption in public life – was tabled in Parliament yesterday by Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis. Hero’s return The bones of Colonel Mardokaios Frizis, the first senior Greek officer to be killed in Albania during World War II, are to be buried in Thessaloniki’s Jewish cemetery today. The remains of Frizis, a Greek Jew were flown to Greece from Albania yesterday following their recovery in southern Albania last week. Sign dispute Greek retailers have appealed to the European Commission against a crackdown by local authorities enforcing a law prescribing the obligatory use of Greek on store signs. The retailers, who contend that commercial brands generally enjoy international protection and cannot necessarily be translated into Greek, are demanding that the law be amended. Poisonous mushrooms As a seventh victim of mushroom poisoning lay sick at Ioaninna’s University Hospital yesterday, the hospital’s chief pathologist warned people not to eat mushrooms they have picked themselves. Teenage spat Cyprus police were yesterday investigating an unprecedented case of abduction, violence and robbery against three schoolgirls abducted and beaten by classmates in a feud over a boyfriend. The three 15-year-olds were forced into a car, one of them in the trunk, taken to a desolate spot near Limassol, tied to an electricity pylon and brutally beaten by four other girls, said police. One 17-year-old has been arrested, and police are seeking three more schoolgirls. (AFP) Chrysostomos Cypriot police were yesterday investigating claims by the brother of the ailing Archbishop Chrysostomos that other members of the ailing prelate’s family had stolen icons and other articles from Chrysostomos’s bedroom, the Athens News Agency said yesterday. Soccer Olympiakos Piraeus lost 3-2 to Manchester United in Athens yesterday for the Champions League.