NEWS

In Brief

ANTI-WAR ACTION

Travel disruption tomorrow, rallies in Athens today Commuters on the Athens Metro and Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will face disruptions tomorrow afternoon when staff participate in work stoppages called for by the General Confederation of Greek Labor in protest at the war on Iraq. There will be no ISAP trains between noon and 4 p.m. and no service on the metro between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Left-wing and anti-globalization groups are to hold marches in central Athens at noon and 4 p.m. today, and an anti-war rally is due to start at Syntagma Square at noon tomorrow. KAVALA SUSPECT Man remanded in connection with four executions, twin bank heist A Kavala businessman suspected of having masterminded four Mafia-style executions and a twin bank heist in northern Greece was yesterday remanded in custody after testifying before an investigating magistrate. Andreas Chtenas, 45, denied all charges he faces – including attempted murder and inciting robbery, claiming he had not been in Eleftheroupolis, near Kavala, last October 31 when the robberies took place. Instead, he had gone hunting at the Evros River delta where he had been shot in the leg by a stranger – a wound which police say Chtenas accidentally inflicted on himself during the October heist. BRITISH MIGRANT SMUGGLER Trucker jailed for 11 years A Patras court yesterday handed down an 11-year jail sentence to a 45-year-old British truckdriver following the discovery of 19 Kurdish illegal immigrants in his vehicle yesterday morning. David Wieson, who can pay off his jail sentence with 32,000 euros, was also fined 69,000 euros. Wieson denied the smuggling charges, saying that the migrants must have climbed into the back of his truck during the course of Tuesday night while he was sleeping in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The truck had arrived in Patras from Veria on Monday with a cargo of cotton seed, officials said. Tourism campaign A campaign to boost Greece’s tourism sector is due to get under way later this month, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said yesterday, stressing that the Greek economy has been «fortified» and can handle the possible repercussions of the war on Iraq. Tsochadzopoulos said he did not foresee any shortages of petrol or unreasonable fuel price hikes as there are 129 days of reserves left. Omonia station Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday officially opened the newly renovated Omonia station on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) and the exhibition of a Bulgarian artist which adorns the walls of the station. The number of passengers traveling on ISAP trains daily is set to increase by 55 percent – from 400,000 to 600,000 – by the end of this year, Verelis said. Black money Three foreign nationals who tried to hoodwink an Attica nightclub owner into buying what they claimed were 15 million euros’ worth of black-painted smuggled banknotes – and a liquid they said could remove the black paint – were arrested after their intended victim caught on to the scam, police said yesterday. The 19-year-old Italian, 28-year-old Nigerian and 38-year-old Cameroonian allegedly asked the nightclub owner for 300,000 euros for the liquid for the notes. But the businessman reported them to police officers, who arrested the trio after arranging for them to collect 100,000 euros in marked bills. The «notes» turned out to be pieces of black paper. Foot-and-mouth The European Commission yesterday said it would provide regional authorities in eastern Thrace with 500,000 doses of a vaccine to treat possible cases of foot-and-mouth disease in the area. The Commission has been providing the vaccine annually since 1998 to treat outbreaks of the disease which have occurred in Turkey. Corpse at sea Coast guard officials in the northwestern town of Preveza yesterday discovered the body of an unidentified woman around 30 years old under a boat in the town’s fishing port. The body – 1.57 meters tall and dressed in blue jeans, a gray blouse and black shoes – had been in the sea for less than four days, according to a coroner, who found no sign of foul play.