NEWS

In Brief

‘OCHI’ DAY

President urges sense of duty The 62nd anniversary of Greece’s forced entry to World War II – known as «Ochi» (No) Day – was celebrated yesterday with a military parade in Thessaloniki and student parades in Athens (photo) and most parts of the country. Speaking to army officers in Thessaloniki on Sunday, President Costis Stephanopoulos stressed the need for civil servants to maintain their sense of duty. «The country will not progress at the necessary speed unless indifference, corruption and breach of duty by state employees are not fully eradicated,» he said. Moscow crisis Greece late on Saturday expressed satisfaction at the Russian authorities’ storming of a Moscow theater in which Chechen terrorists had taken over 800 people hostage, while voicing sadness at the deaths of hostages killed in the operation. «We condemn international terrorism, which poses a threat to the international community’s stability and security,» Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said. Soccer violence The soccer championship kicked off again last weekend after a monthlong strike by clubs seeking a state bailout after the collapse of their lucrative television rights deals last month. But crowd violence marred Saturday’s opening matches, with a linesman injured in riots that stopped a PAOK-Olympiakos match in Thessaloniki for 25 minutes. Ilion murder A 19-year-old youth has confessed to beating to death 60-year-old Antonios Batzes in the western Athens suburb of Ilion early on Sunday morning. Romanian national Florin Coman was apprehended by a neighbor of Batzes, off-duty policeman Constantinos Kavalynakis, who chased Coman and caught him while he was trying to steal a car after the murder. Coman said he had met Batzes while out drinking and they had walked home together but got into a fight. Batzes died of injuries to the head, face and chest. Protest flags A march to Thessaloniki as part of an international protest against the prospect of a US intervention in Iraq went out with a whimper before reaching the city’s US consulate on Saturday, when the demonstrators dropped out from exhaustion after walking for four hours. The march, organized by the Initiative for the Greek Social Forum, began on Saturday morning at Hortiatis, some 20 kilometers from the city center. Man kills wife Police said a 66-year-old man, Giorgos Karayiannis, shot and killed his wife Calliope, 66, in a rural area of Kapandriti, north of Athens, on Saturday afternoon and then shot himself. Gang caught Four out of a gang of nine Greek and foreign thieves that preyed on children in the northern Athens suburbs, robbing them of their wallets and mobile phones, were arrested at the Maroussi electric railway station on Sunday night, police said. Knifing death A man died in hospital late on Sunday night after being stabbed during a fight in a nightclub on central Pireos Street. Police said the victim, Petro Papa, a 25-year-old Albanian, was with a group of his compatriots at an Albanian party in the club when the fight broke out.