NEWS

In Brief

TOURISTS DROWN

Three Germans drowned, two others missing in strong winds off Crete Three German tourists drowned on Sunday and another two people were feared missing when they were swept away by strong currents off a windswept beach on the northern coast of Crete. The Merchant Marine Ministry identified the three as Karl Heinz Gert Herold, 45, Adolf Gerhard Roitzsch, 60, and Sven Enrico Ruchta, 23. Bathers at Kavros beach, halfway between Hania and Rethymnon, said another two unidentified people might still be missing, the ministry said. The coast guard is investigating the incident. Strong northeasterly winds of 7 Beaufort were blowing. Mega Channel television reported that the bathers had ignored a life guard’s instructions to get out of the water. ‘UFO’ SIGHTINGS Second flaming ball spotted in northern Greece ‘likely a meteor’ A large flaming ball seen flying through the sky by residents in Halkidiki, Drama and Serres on Sunday night was probably a meteorite, experts said yesterday. Many witnesses, who reported the sighting to local police, said they saw the object fall into the sea. Earlier this month a similar «fireball» had been reported by residents of Elefsina, Kavala, Corfu and Ioannina. There were claims it had fallen to earth in the northwestern region of Zagori, near Ioannina, but fire service workers failed to find any evidence of a fire or debris. ROADWORKS Central Athens streets taken over Works on major streets in central Athens, along which the Olympic cycling route is to run, begin today and are to continue over the summer on a 24-hour basis. The works will affect Athinas, Aeolou, Vassilissis Sofias, Ermou and Panepistimiou streets as well as Omonia Square. Also, from today until Friday, there will also be separate roadworks in Omonia Square between Athinas and Stadiou streets. Ileia fire A team of 60 firemen, aided by firefighting aircraft, were last night trying to extinguish a blaze on forestland in the region of Aginara in Ileia prefecture which spread quickly due to strong winds. Firefighters managed to rescue 14 nuns from a nearby nunnery. The extent of the damage to farmland was unclear yesterday. Trader prosecuted A wholesale trader from Athens’s Rendi market yesterday faced a prosecutor for allegedly overcharging after being indicted by the Development Ministry. The unnamed trader, the first to be indicted on such a charge, had been selling imported potatoes which had been overpriced by 30 percent, according to the ministry which has launched a crackdown against profiteering. November 17 Alleged November 17 hitman Dimitris Koufodinas is to be the first of 19 N17 suspects to defend himself in court today. Yesterday, a defense witness for alleged N17 mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos told the court that Yotopoulos «faced the risk of falling victim to a miscarriage of justice.» Professor Venios Angelopoulos of the National Technical University of Athens said Yotopoulos conducted many attacks on US targets during the military dictatorship, adding that he had last seen him in 1975. Angelopoulos described Yotopoulos as humble but politically sharp-witted. Conscript support A telephone service offering psychological support for members of the military received 925 calls between the beginning of February, when it was launched, and the end of March, armed forces sources said yesterday. Of the calls made, 81 percent were made by conscripts, officers and non-commissioned officers, and 19 percent were made by relatives of armed forces staff, the sources said. Daughter kidnapped A 47-year-old Austrian man, charged with the abduction of his 6-year-old daughter from Austria to Cyprus, is due to travel back to his country today after giving up the right to fight his extradition in court, the Athens News Agency said yesterday. Johann Horvarth is to be accompanied by a police escort. Horvarth’s wife, who is seeking custody of the girl, had gone to Cyprus with a private detective to find her husband and daughter.