NEWS

In Brief

TAXI ROBBERIES

Athens cabbie arrested for string of muggings inside his vehicle A 23-year-old taxi driver has been arrested on suspicion of robbing at least three customers over the last two weeks with the help of an accomplice who posed as a passenger, police said yesterday. A fake gun was used in all three robberies. Officers caught Ioannis Soulis on Monday afternoon a few hours after he allegedly robbed a woman he picked up in the northern suburb of Drosia. Police said Soulis admitted to robbing two more customers this month, in Neo Iraklion and Maroussi. CRETAN EARTHQUAKE Strong 4.5 tremor strikes southern coast less than a day after 5.2 quake An undersea tremor, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, occurred off Tympaki on the southern coast of Crete just before 4 a.m. yesterday morning – less than 10 hours after a 5.2-magnitude quake struck the same area. Seismologists said yesterday’s earthquake, which caused no damage or injuries, was no cause for alarm as it was an aftershock from Monday’s stronger quake, which had been preceded by three weaker tremors. DRUG DEATHS Okana reports significant drop Deaths from drug abuse have dropped by 34 percent in Athens and by 31 percent in Thessaloniki over the past three years, according to data made public yesterday by the state Organization Against Drugs (OKANA). The number of drug addicts who received treatment at OKANA centers has more than doubled over the same period – from 697 to 1,469, it was revealed. Rogge visit Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni yesterday briefed International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge on the progress of preparing the capital for next year’s Olympic Games in a meeting attended by Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. Rogge, who is on an official visit to Athens, is to inspect Olympic venues today before meeting with President Costis Stephanopoulos and then Prime Minister Costas Simitis this evening. Tourist coaches Strike action due to put the brakes on some 5,000 tourist coaches for three days from today was called off yesterday after unionists decided to give the government more time to respond to their demands. Privacy violation Greece’s privacy watchdog, the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, yesterday fined EFG Eurobank Ergasias 30,000 euros for denying one of its clients access to the personal data it held on him. The bank had refused the customer’s request, maintaining that certain archives had been destroyed. The missing documents included unpaid bills of exchange for which the man had been blacklisted on the Teiresias inter-bank customer credit rating system. The man claims the bills were forgeries. Traffic disruptions There will be disruptions to traffic at the junction of Vouliagmenis Avenue and Kallirois Street in central Athens from tomorrow as tram works, scheduled to last a month, get under way. Troublesome son An Athens court yesterday gave a five-month jail sentence, suspended for three years, to the 23-year-old son of a former New Democracy MP who left the party earlier this month following the youth’s second arrest in two months. Solon Katsikis and his friend Stamatis Kokinakis were both found guilty of faking authority after stopping motorists in Aghia Paraskevi on the pretext of being secret agents, and demanding to see their papers. Katsikis, who claimed that a penknife found upon him was a cigar cutter, said he and Kokinakis – who received a seven-month suspended jail sentence – had meant no harm. Ekali blast The home of a former employee of Intrasoft software firm in the northern Athens suburb of Ekali was targeted with a stun grenade late on Monday night, but nobody was hurt. Police were notified by the neighbors of Theodoros Nanos – who said he did not have any differences with anyone. US offices The US Embassy in Athens and all US government offices in Greece will be closed tomorrow in observance of Thanksgiving Day.