NEWS

In Brief

CRETE SHAKEN

5.2-Richter quake off island’s south causes no injuries or damage An undersea earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale occurred off Tymbaki on the southern coast of Crete shortly before 6 p.m. yesterday. There were no reports of injury or damage. The quake was preceded by three weaker tremors which struck the same area between 2.30 a.m. and 7.15 a.m. and measured 3.7, 3.8, and 4 on the Richter scale. Seismologists said there was no cause for concern. CYPRUS TALKS Papadopoulos due in Athens today for three-day visit Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos is due in Athens today for a three-day visit to discuss Cyprus’s accession to the European Union, the resumption of negotiations for reunifying the divided island, and elections next month in the Turkish-occupied north. Papadopoulos is to meet with President Costis Stephanopoulos today and Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou tomorrow. Yesterday, the United Nations Security Council voted to extend the mandate of UN peacekeepers in Cyprus until June 15. FATAL BEATING Albanian killed by compatriots Police yesterday detained dozens of suspects in connection with the fatal beating of an 18-year-old Albanian in Anavyssos, southern Attica, by a group of assailants on Sunday night. Hila Bilbil and his 24-year-old flatmate, Dritan Kora, had been walking down the street when they were attacked by a group of Albanians who beat them with clubs before fleeing when they saw Bilbil bleeding profusely, police said. Police believe the attackers knew their victims. Shop hours Greek retailers yesterday announced extended store hours in the countdown to Christmas. Shops will be open until 6 p.m. on the last three Saturdays of December (13, 20 and 27), on Sunday, December 21 and on January 3 and 6. They will be closed on Christmas Day (Thursday, December 25), Friday (26) and Sunday (28) as well as Thursday, January 1, and Friday, January 2. Pylon threat The Council of State has frozen the construction of electricity pylons between Corinth and Patras following an appeal by residents of three Corinth municipalities concerned about the health risks the project might pose, court sources said yesterday. The Public Power Corporation has been asked to provide the court with details about the size of the pylons and their projected distance from residential areas before the project can continue. Tiger raid A Piraeus prosecutor yesterday asked police to determine whether the owner of a local night club had committed a crime by keeping a tiger on its premises. Police officers and prefectural and forestry officials raided the Silo Club after ads were aired on television advertising the tiger’s presence at the club. Himare vote The decision to elect Vassilis Bolanos, the candidate for a party representing the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, as mayor of the southern Albanian town of Himare in repeat elections last week is «a positive development following the truly unacceptable vote-rigging and acts of violence in the second round of municipal elections,» Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday. Spyriounis ejected Prime Minister Costas Simitis late yesterday lifted the whip from PASOK’s MP for Thessaloniki Kyriakos Spyriounis. Earlier, Spyriounis had voted for a bill on transparency tabled by opposition New Democracy. US visas Application fees for US visas must be paid at branches of Piraeus Bank, instead of at the US Embassy office as of December 1, the US Embassy said yesterday. The non-refundable visa application fee – currently $100 (about 90 euros) – is good for one year following payment, the embassy said. Cigarette smugglers A group of five men who attempted to smuggle 13,000 packets of cigarettes into Greece fled back into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Yugoslavia after being spotted by guards near the Evzones border post, police said yesterday.