NEWS

In Brief

METRO ACCIDENT

Probe into road collapse, ministry says work will stay on schedule An Athens prosecutor yesterday ordered an urgent investigation into geological and structural studies which preceded the launch of metro works in Halandri where sudden ground subsidence caused a hole to open up in a street on Tuesday. The soundness of the studies themselves – questioned in press reports this week – and the observation by the construction team of the terms they set out are to be investigated. Meanwhile, the general secretary of the Public Works Ministry, Giorgos Ganotis, said the accident would cause «a delay of just a few days,» adding that «the project (to extend the metro) was ahead of schedule anyway.» The hole, on Doukissis Plakentias Street, was filled in yesterday. INCOMMUNICADO Court accepts plea to postpone Ocalan trial An Athens court yesterday indefinitely postponed the trial of Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan and 12 people accused of smuggling him into Greece four years ago, following an appeal by Ocalan’s two Greek lawyers who said they had been unable to receive written approval from their client authorizing them to defend him in court against charges of illegally entering Greece. Ocalan is in a Turkish maximum security prison. RICOMEX TRIAL Court hears 20-mln-euro suits An Athens court yesterday heard six compensation suits lodged against the management of an Athens factory that collapsed in the September 1999 earthquake by the families of people who died in the building. The 14 families are suing the managers, civil engineers and other senior staff of the Ricomex household goods factory for a total of 20 million euros. Ricomex managers say they cannot pay the compensation being sought without closing down the factory. Air space violations A total of 28 Turkish fighter jets yesterday violated the Athens Flight Information Region 11 times, officials said yesterday, adding that there was one transgression of Greek national air space in the eastern Aegean. In all instances, Greek jets chased off the Turkish planes, and there were five simulated dogfights, the officials said. Dog appeal The Saint Francis of Assisi animal welfare group yesterday offered a reward of 1,500 euros to whoever can identify the person responsible for killing dozens of stray dogs and cats found dead in the National Gardens and in front of the Zappeion Hall on New Year’s Eve. A protest rally will be held at the Oasis coffee shop on central Amalias Avenue on Sunday at 11.30 a.m. Commission visit European Union Commissioner for the Environment Margot Wallstrom is to visit the Olympic Rowing Center at Schinias, near Marathon, today with Public Works and Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou and Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. IOC visit International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and IOC Coordinating Committee Chief Dennis Oswald are to arrive in Athens on Monday for a three-day official inspection of Olympic Games venues under construction. Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki will brief the two IOC officials on the progress of preparations for the 2004 Games. Smugglers caught A Greek and a Romanian have been arrested in connection with the attempted smuggling of up to 20 illegal immigrants into Greece from Turkey earlier this week, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Vassileios Dellios, 41, and Florian Dragomir, 25, are to face an Athens prosecutor, the ministry said. Bank robbers Attica police yesterday caught up with one member of an Albanian robbery ring believed to have netted a total of 143,578 euros over eight armed bank raids in Attica between last September and December. Officers arrested Vasil Papa, 30, and are searching for Suleyman Dervisi, 25, Spartak Stathas, 23, and Selendin Tosi, whose age is not known. Also yesterday, two armed assailants made off with an undisclosed sum from a bank in Haidari after disarming the private guard.