NEWS

In Brief

House row – Deputy minister called on to resign over alleged building in Opposition New Democracy yesterday called for the resignation of Deputy Foreign Minister Elissavet Papazoe after a report by the State Ombudsman found that she had infringed building regulations in the construction of her house in Oia, Santorini. Papazoe said yesterday the Ombudsman had ignored favorable reports by the Town Planning, Environment and Public Works Ministry, of which she was deputy minister at the time of the alleged infringements. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said state authorities and not the ombudsman would determine whether Papazoe had broken the law. Diplomats’ strike Greek diplomatic corps launches indefinite action The union of diplomatic staff at the Foreign Ministry, which includes ambassadors and personnel in 110 embassies and diplomatic missions, began an open-ended strike yesterday to press for better pay. However, in a statement yesterday, they said that if the international situation following the September 11 terrorist attacks against the US deteriorated, their board might decide to suspend the strike. Earthquake Zakynthos rattled, but no damage The Ionian island of Zakynthos was shaken by an earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale at 00.16 yesterday morning. The epicenter of the quake was 252 kms south-southwest of Athens in the seabed south of the island, according to the Athens Geodynamic Institute. No damage was reported. Vergina theft. Six ancient marble figurines found on September 11 to have been stolen from one of the tombs in the Macedonian royal complex at Vergina were removed from the so-called Tomb of Euridice – which is not open to visitors – at 2.30 a.m. on August 16, Culture Ministry sources said yesterday. This was established according to changes in temperature recorded by machinery monitoring humidity levels in the tomb, which is decorated with delicate frescoes. There were no signs of a break-in, and a night watchman was on duty at the time of the theft. Onassis donation. The Onassis Foundation has donated $500,000 to a fund set up for the widows and orphans of the hundreds of firemen and police officers in New York who lost their lives in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Soccer fan recovering. A Thessaloniki football supporter shot with an airgun outside the PAOK stadium before a match on Sunday evening was recovering out of danger yesterday in the northern city’s AHEPA hospital. Kyriakos Grammatikopoulos, a 30-year-old PAOK supporter, was injured in the left lung. Blackmail conviction. An Athens court yesterday sentenced Antonis Machairidis to one year’s imprisonment for trying to blackmail actress Vassia Panagopoulou, who along with Machairidis and two other people is facing charges of plotting to murder Panagopoulou’s ex-husband Apostolos Doxiadis. Machairidis was found guilty of threatening to speak to the newspapers if Panagopoulou did not give him five million drachmas. Illegal immigrants. Eleven illegal immigrants, eight Afghans and three Iranians, were arrested by Chios coast guard officers yesterday as they were rowing to the island in plastic dinghies. Another three Afghan illegal immigrants were arrested yesterday on the island of Kos. Coastline protest. A committee of residents from Athens’s coastal suburbs are planning a series of demonstrations against the closure of five public beaches along the Saronic coast, which are scheduled for development by the private firm Greek Tourist Properties (ETA). The beaches are to close on September 30. The first demonstration is this evening at 7 at Alimos beach and the rest on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Alimos, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza. Toronto flight. Olympic Airways is putting on an extra flight to Toronto, Canada tomorrow morning at 11.30. Passengers interested in obtaining a seat should call OA at 966.6666.