NEWS

In Brief

LEFKADA QUAKE

Aid pledged as over 500 buildings found too dangerous to live in Over 500 buildings have been deemed temporarily unsuitable for habitation on the island of Lefkada, which was struck on Thursday morning by a 6.4-Richter earthquake. Some 1,100 buildings had been inspected by late yesterday. On Saturday, visiting Deputy Interior Minister Lambros Papademas promised that people rendered homeless by the quake – which caused no fatalities but injured some 50 people – would receive an immediate payment of 6,000 euros for their lost household goods. He added that the government would give grants and interest-free loans to Lefkada residents whose houses had been listed for demolition due to earthquake damage. Meanwhile, on Saturday, Archbishop Christodoulos visited the island, leading open-air prayers for those who suffered as a result of the quake. He promised to send 75 tons of bottled water for earthquake victims. Minor aftershocks continued to rattle the island over the weekend. N. CYPRUS VOTE Turkish FM calls for ‘democratic, open process’ In comments in the Turkish press quoted by the Athens News Agency on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul called for the electoral process to be conducted in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus in December to be «democratic and open.» Gul was quoted as saying that this would ensure no «criticism» is leveled against Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who has come under intense pressure from opposition parties after his refusal early this year to accept United Nations proposals for a peace settlement on the island. This refusal led to the collapse of the peace plan drafted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS 24 arrested over weekend The coast guard on Samos yesterday arrested 10 Afghan illegal immigrants who had been stranded on the eastern Aegean island’s Cape Prasso by Turkish people-smugglers who evaded arrest. Also yesterday, coast guards on Kos, in the Dodecanese, arrested two Turkish nationals who had rowed over from Turkey in a canoe. The two men, identified as Akil Karakaya, 27, and Mustafa Altan, 18, claimed to have fled their native land to escape arrest for arson. Meanwhile, on Saturday, coast guards off the coast of Chios arrested 12 illegal immigrants in three small plastic dinghies. The men – 11 Afghans and one Palestinian – had rowed over from Turkey. Fridge deaths Two young boys who disappeared yesterday while playing in their home in Karlovassi on the island of Samos were found dead later in the day in a large fridge inside the family restaurant on the ground floor of the house. Karlovassi health center doctors said Stavros and Miltiadis Sevastakis, aged 3 and 6, respectively, had suffocated. Forest fire Firemen aided by four firefighting aircraft and two helicopters managed yesterday afternoon to contain a forest fire that broke out earlier in the day in the vicinity of the Dafni Monastery in the foothills of Mt Aegaleo on the western outskirts of Athens. Reservoir death Albanian national Ilir Hiega, 29, was found dead yesterday at the bottom of a reservoir in the area of Kroussa, near Kilkis.