Award-winning poet and novelist Antonis Samarakis died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 84 in his holiday home in the southwestern Peloponnesian town of Pylos. A highly popular writer in Greece, Samarakis, who fought in the World War II resistance – narrowly escaping execution after his arrest by German occupation forces – was translated into 30 languages, and received Greek and French literary prizes. In 1989, he was named Greece’s first UN goodwill ambassador. The prime minister and political party leaders all expressed their regrets. SUDAN AID Greece pledges 100,000 euros for flood victims The Foreign Ministry said yesterday Greece would be giving 100,000 euros to Sudan to help improve the lot of thousands of families affected by flooding in the northeastern African country. Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said Athens would also be sending tents, blankets and food to Khartoum. «The Greek Foreign Ministry is in open contact with the Sudanese Foreign Ministry on further assistance if any other needs arise,» Loverdos said. By yesterday, about 200,000 people had fled their homes in the eastern city of Kassala and at least nine people had died in the floods, according to Red Cross officials. GAS ACCIDENT Sailor suffocates on cruise ship A carbon dioxide leak on board a small cruise ship moored in the port of Santorini yesterday caused the death of crew member Dimitris Karageorgiou. Another 17 crew members of the Atlantis, which had sailed from Iraklion on Crete on a day cruise to the southern Cycladic island, were hospitalized after inhaling small quantities of the gas. All 100 passengers were on land at the time of the leak. Presidency costs The cost of Greece’s six-month tenure of the rotating European Union presidency totaled 72.4 million euros, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. Mobile fines In a new drive to crack down on Athens motorists who talk on their mobile phones while driving, traffic police on Thursday issued fines to 423 garrulous drivers, police said yesterday. Offenders will have to pay 31 euros each. The traffic police are already engaged in an unusually long-lasting summer campaign against motorists driving without seatbelts or crash helmets, while at the same time targeting speed violations and drink-drivers. Non-appearance Crime suspects who do not wish to make a personal appearance in court do not have to provided they are represented by a lawyer they have appointed, according to a Supreme Court decision made public yesterday. Portugal fires Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday wrote to his Portuguese counterpart, Antonio Martins Da Cruz, to voice his regret regarding the damage wreaked on Portugal by recent forest fires. Papandreou also expressed his condolences to the families of the fire victims. Dog recovers A Husky severely burnt on May 17 in Thessaloniki after what appears to have been an attack by local Aris Thessaloniki football fans upset by their team’s Cup Final defeat has recovered and an animal welfare group is now seeking a good home for it. The dog is believed to have been targeted due to the colour of its fur – the black and white of Cup winner PAOK Thessaloniki. Information is available from Thessaloniki’s Argos animal welfare group.