NEWS

In Brief

EUROPEAN FORCE

Solana seeks swift Turkish response on EU-NATO pact The EU’s foreign policy and security chief, Javier Solana, said yesterday he hoped Turkey’s new government would decide soon on an EU-NATO pact which is needed before a common EU defence force can be deployed. He told a conference on European defence in Brussels he hoped Turkey «soon makes its views clear.» (AFP) OLYMPICS Construction delays key focus of 3-day inspection starting today The construction of sports venues and transport infrastructure for the 2004 Games will be the focus of a three-day inspection visit by an International Olympic Committee delegation starting today. The government insists all projects are on track. However, IOC Coordination Committee head Denis Oswald has warned that a steel and glass dome over the Olympic Stadium may not have enough time to be completed. His team will also inspect progress on a sports complex at the old international airport at Hellenikon and plans for a suburban railway line and a tram. POLITICIAN STOPPED Airport guards charged with abuse A prosecutor yesterday charged three security guards employed at Athens International Airport, who allegedly detained and insisted on body-searching the leader of a small political party in July, with usurpation of authority, illegal detention and unprovoked abusive behavior. The prosecutor started legal proceedings after an investigation into a complaint by Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas. Two senior officials, including the airport’s then CEO Matthias Mitscherlich, are charged with being accessories before the fact. Immigrants Port authorities yesterday detained 81 illegal immigrants of various nationalities on the islet of Adelfos, south of Alonissos in the Aegean, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The migrants had arrived aboard a 13-meter-long boat which was found half-submerged off the islet, the ministry said. It added that it was unclear where the vessel was registered and where it sailed from. Attiki Odos Drivers using the Attiki Odos toll road will have one less lane at their disposal – in both directions – from today until November 13, due to works on the section of the road between Kymis Avenue and the Athens-Lamia National Highway, traffic police said yesterday. The restrictions will apply between 7.30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Payback Greece must return 36.7 million euros to the European Agricultural Fund for funds it acquired from the EU but had not accounted for, the European Commission said yesterday. Nine EC member states are being asked to repay a total of 86.36 million euros, the Commission said. Bitter pill The Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Firms (SFEE) yesterday presented a code of conduct for its members intended to crack down on those who bribe doctors and pharmacists to promote prescribed drugs they manufacture. Violators face a penalty of up to 15,000 euros and being ejected from the SFEE. Judged The Supreme Court has approved an appeals court decision sentencing a judge to two years in jail for attempting to bribe a colleague who was handling a litigation suit for a firm he was attempting to help, court sources said yesterday. Leonidas Floras had offered Maria Gotsi 14,673 euros in 1996 to secure a positive decision for nine appeals for the suspension of tax payments lodged by the firm Aqua Sport. Gas strike The Federation of Greek Gas Stations (OBE) said yesterday that gas stations would be closed next Monday in protest against a government decision to impose the use of cash registers – a move aimed at clamping down on tax evasion. OBE has accepted the new ruling requiring gas stations to issue receipts for sales of diesel and heating oil (gasoline is not affected) but insists the State compel oil companies to seal fuel tanks to crack down on smuggling. Anti-globalization Italian police were at the port of Patras yesterday to ensure there was no trouble as hundreds of Greek activists boarded ferries to Ancona on their way to an anti-globalization summit in Florence.