NEWS

In Brief

ROBBERY CRACKDOWN

Banks must implement new security measures from August, ministry says Banks will be asked to implement a set of security measures by the end of August to avert robberies, the Public Order Ministry said yesterday, following meetings with bank employees’ representatives. The measures will include the installation of bullet-proof windows and security doors – which staff have been demanding for years. The initiative will also include fines for banks which fail to implement the new measures. A policeman was wounded yesterday after an armed robber shot at him as he tried to flee a Thessaloniki bank he had just raided with an accomplice. DIAMANTOPOULOU SUIT EU commissioner takes action against Avriani for report about her property European Labor and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday lodged a suit with an Athens court against Avriani due to a recent front-page report carried by the daily which criticized her for building a luxury apartment block in the coastal suburb of Glyfada. She accused the paper of «abuse by creating impressions based on abstract assumptions and on the distortion of reality.» STORM DAMAGE Widespread losses across Evros A fierce storm yesterday caused widespread damage to farmland, sheepfolds and storehouses in Ferres, Tyhero and Soufli in the northern prefecture of Evros. Thunder and hail caused damage to farmland and greenhouses while a strong wind blew off the roofs from warehouses and sheepfolds. There was also widespread damage to the local electricity network, which was repaired later in the day. Five storks, which had their nests on electricity pylons, were killed. Residents of Soufli said they had counted 46 thunderbolts during the storm. State inspectors yesterday began assessing the extent of the damage. Halkidiki quake A moderate undersea quake, measuring 4 on the Richter scale, occurred at midnight Wednesday off the coast of the Halkidiki peninsula, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. The epicenter of the quake was in the sea off the coast of Kassandra, seismologists said. Road accidents There was a slight fall (2.9 percent) in the number of road accidents this May from last year but a much larger drop in the number of fatal accidents (20.9 percent), according to National Statistics Service data made public yesterday. Of 1,459 road accidents this May, 125 were fatal, while there were 1,502 accidents in May last year, of which 158 were fatal, the data showed. Police on Thasos said yesterday they had arrested the 37-year-old driver who had killed a 16-year-old Romanian boy after knocking him down with his car. Prespes festival Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Lianis and composer Eleni Karaindrou yesterday conducted the opening ceremony for this year’s festival in the Prespes Lakes district in northern Greece. Singers Maria Farandouri and Dimitra Galani will feature in a concert by Karaindrou on the islet of Aghios Achilleios, on August 22. Lianis called the annual festival, which has been running for 14 years, «a Balkan and European institution.» Venizelos said the Olympic torch would pass through Prespes, which is to be the site of an Olympic regatta. Elefsina regeneration Upgrading works at Elefsina are to include the creation of a marina for pleasure boats and the transfer of the commercial port to a different site, Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Paschalidis said yesterday during a visit to the port. There will also be a general expansion of the port site, Paschalidis said. Mercy missions A total of 55 ailing citizens have been transported to hospitals by a fleet of 21 UH-1H aircraft and 30 CH-47D (Chinook) helicopters over the past five months, the general staff said yesterday. Nov17 Vassilis Tzortzatos, the fourth defendant to testify in the trial of 19 suspected members of the November 17 gang, admitted yesterday that he had played a «peripheral» role from 1985 to 1991 but had not taken part in any violent incident. He said he left in 1992, expressing political disagreement.