NEWS

In Brief

HUNTING BAN

Court cancels hunting season due to threat of animal extinction The Council of State yesterday suspended a government decision allowing the hunting of all wild animals and birds until February 28, on the grounds that no studies had been conducted on the effect the length of the hunting season would have on game populations and on the risk posed to the reproduction of protected species. This followed a suit by environmental groups. The Agriculture Ministry had declared the period between August 20, 2002 and February 28, 2003 as official hunting season. TOXIC LEAK Floating dam set up to block spread of 30,000 cubic meters of mine waste Port authorities yesterday set up a two-kilometer (1.24-mile) floating dam off Stratoni in Halkidiki to block an estimated 30,000 cubic meters of toxic waste believed to have leaked into the sea from the nearby TVX mining complex. The leakage formed a reddish mud which contains sulphur-based compounds and various heavy metals, according to the Thessaloniki Environmental Movement, which said the waste would sink to the sea-bed, endangering animals and fish. Recent bad weather contributed to the leak, port authorities said. SMUGGLERS JAILED Policeman, accomplice get 10 years A Samos court yesterday sentenced a former policeman and another man to 10 years each in jail for the smuggling of 28 Iraqi immigrants to the Aegean island of Icaria in May. Former officer Christos Demertzis had received the same sentence for a similar offense in the past. He and Christos Kouretis were also fined 15,000 euros each. Air space violations Turkish fighter jets violated Greek national air space south of Rhodes 25 times yesterday, military sources said shortly after Turkey charged that Greek fighter jets had violated its air space over the Aegean twice in the last two days. Turkey’s military claimed its air space south of the port of Datca was violated once on Tuesday by a Greek C-130 transport and again on Wednesday by a Dornier-28. Conscript support Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday announced the launch of a free 24-hour telephone support line for army conscripts in February, and a counseling service for the armed forces in general. The phone numbers are: 800.111.45551 (for army conscripts), 800.111.45552 (for air force conscripts), and 800.111.45553 (for navy conscripts). Food safety Around 700 violations of food safety standards, detected by National Food Inspection Agency (EFET) inspectors over the course of 9,691 checks between January and November, have been referred to a prosecutor, EFET’s president said yesterday. However, transgressions were down to 5.3 percent, compared to 8.5 percent during the same period last year, Christina Papanikolaou said, adding that the number of warnings to businesses to conform to standards was still high. EFET has confiscated «unsuitable foodstuffs» on more than 80 occasions, including 17.5 tons of pistachio nuts from Iran. Burgling journalist Police yesterday arrested a 46-year-old journalist who admitted to having carried out 32 burglaries over the past four years in the upmarket northern suburb of Filothei. Giorgos Diasenoulis said he was aided by an unidentified Albanian during some of his ventures, from which he netted mostly cash and jewelry. Unlucky gamble A 38-year-old robber’s loot of 15,000 euros – from a raid on a bank in Kalamaki yesterday afternoon – was only briefly his. A police chase resulted in the arrest of betting office agent Ioannis Kouyiatsos in the parking lot of the Carrefour supermarket on Kalamaki Avenue. Bomb hoax A bomb threat, which stopped Metro activity yesterday morning, turned out to be a hoax. Police and explosives experts rushed to the Syntagma station following an anonymous call made to the Eleftherotypia daily – warning that a bomb would explode at Syntagma station – but no device was found. Pensioners Pensioners demanding a 10-percent increase in pensions (instead of 2.5 percent offered) will march from Kotzia Square to Parliament at 10 a.m. today.