NEWS

In Brief

ALBANIAN CONVICTS

Minister proposes 'deportation' to homeland jails to ease overcrowding Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras yesterday proposed to Albania's ambassador, Bashkim Zeneli, that some 2,000 Albanian convicts in Greece be transferred to jails in their homeland to serve the remainder of their sentence so that overcrowded Greek jails get some breathing space. Papaligouras is due to discuss the drafting of a bilateral agreement during a visit to Tirana next week. Also yesterday, Papaligouras highlighted the need to recruit more judges following the implementation of a law granting maternity leave to judges. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Fifth body found off Lesvos, another 23 migrants detained The body of an illegal immigrant was discovered off the coast of Lesvos yesterday following the recovery of the drowned bodies of four migrants in the same area on Sunday. Meanwhile, the island's coast guard detained another seven immigrants who had reached the island from Turkey yesterday. Also yesterday, a further 16 immigrants that had crossed from Turkey were detained on Chios. Meanwhile, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said those responsible for torturing a group of immigrants on the islet of Farmakonisi to be punished. The Defense Ministry is investigating claims of abuse by special forces on the islet. TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS Limited access around venues There will be restricted access to traffic in the area around Paralympic venues from today until September 30 to allow athletes, officials and spectators to get around more easily, organizers of the Games said yesterday. Parking restrictions which had applied during the Olympic Games will not be enforced, they said. Public offices The Interior Ministry yesterday issued a circular clarifying the opening times of public offices. Tax offices in Attica are open from 8 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. on weekdays. State registry offices are open all working hours while Citizens' Service and Information Centers (KEPs) across Attica are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Accounting, road tax or income tax matters are only being dealt with from Monday to Thursday. Disabled beach A beach with special facilities for disabled people is to be inaugurated at the PIKPA beach facility in the coastal suburb of Voula today. Access to the beach, whose operation is being funded by the state-backed Hellenic Tourist Properties (ETA), will be free for disabled citizens and visitors. Aliakmon compensation A Thessaloniki court has ordered the Thessaloniki branch of the intercity bus company (KTEL) and the owners of a bus that fell into the Aliakmon River in February last year, killing 16 people, to pay a total of 2.5 million euros to the victims' relatives, the Ta Nea daily reported yesterday. The court upheld 13 compensation claims by relatives who maintained that the owners of the bus firm had been largely to blame for the accident, the daily said. N17 rally Left-wing and human rights activists yesterday staged a rally outside Korydallos Prison in support of November 17 terrorist gang member Vassilis Tzortzatos, who has been on hunger strike for 38 days. Tzortzatos is said to be in a critical condition. Jet problem A passenger jet which left from Corfu yesterday morning with 250 British tourists aboard was forced to return to the island shortly after takeoff following a mechanical problem. The captain applied for permission to return to Corfu airport after the wheels of the aircraft failed to retract and the flaps malfunctioned. The Top Jet plane landed safely on Corfu at 8.33 a.m., just over an hour after takeoff. US vote American citizens who will be out of the USA for the November 2 elections should apply for their absentee ballots as soon as possible if they want to ensure they cast their votes on time, the US Embassy said yesterday. Citizens can register by printing the application form at www.fvap.gov and then posting it. Otherwise, voters can call the embassy on 210.720.2421.

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