NEWS

In Brief

GAS COMPROMISE

Threatened strike called off after deal on fuel pump tills Gas station operators yesterday revoked threats to launch open-ended strike action after reaching a compromise with government officials. Operators agreed to install cash registers on fuel pumps – which the government had demanded to monitor fuel levels – but retain the right to connect pump and register with the system of their choice. The government also conceded to unionists’ demands to implement a central electronic monitoring system which oil firms agreed to finance. It was also agreed that a ceiling would be imposed on fuel prices in Corfu, Crete, the Dodecanese, Arta, Ioannina and the Cyclades following instances of overpricing. POLICE CORRUPTION Border guard held for demanding money to issue a residence permit A border guard employed in Athens’s illegal immigration unit was arrested in Nea Smyrni yesterday morning in the act of accepting 2,000 euros from a Bulgarian immigrant for whose daughter he had offered to procure a residence permit. Police caught up with the officer, whose name was not made public, after being tipped off by the Bulgarian woman. Meanwhile, it was revealed that an investigation is under way into allegations that Thessaloniki police issued forged documents to immigrants in return for payment. PATRAS QUAKE 4.2 tremor in Rio-Antirio strait An undersea quake, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, occurred in the Rio-Antirio strait just after 12.30 p.m. yesterday. No injuries or damage were reported after the tremor, which was felt particularly strongly in Patras, Nafpaktos and the Aitoloacarnania coastline. Detainee escapes A 22-year-old detainee escaped from a police station in Nikaia, Piraeus yesterday morning after officers removed his handcuffs. Haralambos Tziritas, held at the station since his arrest for theft on Monday, had just returned from a visit to a prosecutor. The station’s supervising officers now face prosecution. Samos blaze Firemen on Samos, aided by fire-fighting aircraft, yesterday extinguished a blaze that had broken out in the island’s Kokkari region on Monday afternoon, ravaging 15 hectares of forest. MP sworn in Former socialist minister Lefteris Veryvakis, 68, who stood on the PASOK ticket for the Greater Athens area in the 2000 elections, was yesterday sworn in as an MP to replace the late Evangelos Yiannopoulos. Neurosurgeon free A Piraeus neurosurgeon held pending trial for drugging fellow neurosurgeons at the local Tzaneio Hospital was released yesterday on grounds of poor health and on a 15,000-euro bail. Yiannis Zornatzis had admitted to spiking his colleagues’ coffee with barbiturates and sleeping pills over a period of nearly two years because, he claimed, they had lumbered him with the worst shifts at the hospital. Trucker mugging A 39-year-old truckdriver who had stopped for a nap near the Aspropyrgos junction on the Athens-Corinth national road at around 2 a.m. yesterday was beaten and bound by three men who detached the trailer from his truck and made off with around 300,000 euros’ worth of household appliances. Christos Limbitsiounis managed to free himself at about 7.30 a.m. before reporting the incident. It was the third such robbery in the past few weeks. School fees Private schools that do not respect the limit of 3.8 percent in their fee increases will face tough financial penalties, Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris said yesterday after a meeting with school representatives. Legislative reform setting the new ceiling is due to be approved in Parliament over the next few days. Russian visit Two warships from Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the cruiser Moskva and the frigate Smetlivy, are due to pay a visit to the port of Patras tomorrow and Friday. Crewmen will be visiting the Church of St. Andrew, patron saint of the northwestern Peloponnesian city, where relics of the saint – who is also the patron of Russia’s Navy – are displayed. Tomorrow, the fleet’s brass band is to perform in central Patras.