NEWS

In Brief

CYPRUS SPYING ARRESTS

3 Cretans accused of photographing military site in occupied north United Nations representatives on Cyprus said UN peacekeepers were discussing with Turkish-Cypriot authorities the arrest yesterday, near Kyrenia, of three municipal officials from Crete who have been charged with espionage in the Turkish-occupied north. Yiannis Hairetis, Sofoklis Hairetis and Manolis Skandalidis – the deputy mayor of Anogeia, in the Cretan prefecture of Rethymnon, and two municipal councilors – had visited Cyprus to attend a ceremony declaring the twinning of Anogeia with Rizokarpaso in the north, and are believed to have been detained for photographing military installations in Keryneia. The arrests were «unjustified and groundless,» Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said. TAXI THREAT Attica drivers mull strike, seek higher fares and bus lane access The Association of Attica Taxi Drivers (SATA) yesterday warned that it would call for extensive industrial action – a 48-hour strike from next Wednesday and a four-day strike from September 22 – unless the Transport Ministry satisfies a series of its members’ demands. Unionists want to charge higher fares, demand access to Athens bus lanes and object to a government decision obliging them to install cash registers in their vehicles. They also oppose reforms toughening penalties for professional misconduct. BOURBOULIA Magistrate under probe resigns Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday accepted the resignation from the judiciary of magistrate Constantina Bourboulia, who is currently under investigation for alleged misconduct while she was in charge of investigating allegations of wrongdoings on the Athens Stock Exchange. Greek-Russian pact A draft agreement between Greece and Russia for closer cooperation in curbing organized crime was tabled in Parliament for approval yesterday. The deal foresees the two countries helping each other to crack down on terrorism, and the illegal trafficking of weapons, drugs and people. The draft pact notes that Russia is «a base for criminal rings responsible for smuggling people and illegal products into Western European countries, including Greece.» Profiteering A wholesale trader from Athens’s Rendi market yesterday faced a prosecutor after being indicted by the Development Ministry for allegedly selling 15 tons of peaches and nectarines at a profit of up to 300 percent. The unnamed trader, who faces a fine of up to 30,000 euros, bought the fruit for between 0.50 and 0.54 euros per kilo and sold it for between 1.70 and 2 euros per kilo, according to the ministry, which said other traders were due to be indicted on similar charges over the next few days. Armed robbery An armed robber made off with 3,860 euros yesterday after holding up a bank in the village of Georgioupolis in northern Crete. The Bank of Hania branch is located 10 meters from the village police station. Cannabis farm A team of 40 Cretan police officers yesterday uprooted a plantation comprising 870 cannabis plants above Lake Kourna on the island’s Apokoronou province. The plantation, whose cultivators have yet to be identified, had been spotted by a police helicopter. Scruffy cabbies Cyprus is planning classes on propriety for its taxi drivers after surveys conducted on tourists visiting the island revealed that some grooming would be appreciated, the Cypriot daily Alitheia reported yesterday. Cypriot cabbies will be expected to abandon chunky gold jewelry, explicit tattoos, revealing shorts and flip-flops, an official at Cyprus’s licensing authority was quoted as saying. Contraband cigarettes Officers in Thrace have confiscated hundreds of packets of contraband cigarettes from two local men, police said yesterday. Officers said T.B., 33, had 528 packets of smuggled cigarettes in his possession when they arrested him and found another 380 packets at his home in the village of Pagouri in Rhodope prefecture. Police later arrested K.K., 52, with 100 packets of contraband cigarettes.