NEWS

In Brief

ARSON ATTACKS

Assailants strike embassy, bank and news agency Arsonists hit targets in Athens and Thessaloniki in dawn attacks yesterday which caused no injuries. In the northern suburb of Halandri, blasts damaged the entrance to the Bosnian Embassy and a bank's cash machine. An improvised explosive device planted at a luxury car showroom in the southern suburb of Alimos caused significant damage when it detonated at dawn. An attack using gas canisters damaged the offices of French news service Agence France-Presse in central Athens. FERRY STRIKE ANEK resumes service Passengers scheduled to travel on a ferry belonging to the ANEK shipping firm will not face disruptions as the company has settled outstanding payments to staff, a spokesman for the Panhellenic Federation of Seamen said yesterday. But ships belonging to major firms including NEL Lines, SAOS and GA Ferries remained moored as seamen entered the second day of a strike to protest companies' reported failure to pay staff several months in back pay. Solidarity sit-in Representatives of a group lobbying for migrants' rights yesterday occupied the mayor's office in the Cretan port of Hania to express solidarity with 15 migrants who have been on hunger strike for more than two weeks, seeking residence permits. Jail law Legislation drafted by Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis which aims to ease overcrowding in prisons and boost support for inmates who are addicted to drugs was voted through Parliament yesterday. The law provides for the early release of thousands of inmates. Author dies Margarita Kapranou has died at the age of 62, it was announced yesterday. The Athens-based writer had been in hospital for the last few days with respiratory problems. «Margarita Kapranou was an internationally renowned author,» said Culture Minister Michalis Liapis. «She was cosmopolitan and had a strong personality that left an indelible mark on the world of literature.» Iconic display A Byzantine icon that was stolen from a monastery in northern Greece 30 years ago and ended up in the hands of a London-based art collector a few years ago will go on display at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens today after being restored. The 14th-century painting, which shows Christ being taken down from the cross, disappeared from a monastery in the northern town of Serres in 1978. Dimas award The Brussels-based weekly newspaper European Voice has named European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas «European Commissioner of the Year.» Dimas stressed the Commission's desire to tackle major challenges. «Looking back four years ago, all the issues discussed in 2004 are still with us,» he said. Boat blockade Fishermen blocked the entrance to Piraeus port with their boats for the second day yesterday. They were protesting a European Union directive, due to come into force next year, preventing them from fishing less than 1.5 nautical miles from the coast and at a depth of less than 50 meters.

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