NEWS

In Brief

HIGH ROLLERS

Over 60 mln gambled in two days Greeks gambled more than 60 million euros in the country’s casinos in the first two days of the year, state television channel NET reported last night. This was an increase of 20-40 percent over past years, depending on the casino, it said. The Mont Parnes Casino outside Athens pulled in over 10 million euros, an increase of 25 percent, NET reported. Corpses found Two male corpses in an advanced state of decomposition, which were recovered off the island of Kos on Saturday, are probably those of illegal immigrants, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Over 50 people are believed to have drowned when a migrant-smuggling ship sank in Turkish waters en route to Rhodes on December 20. Only 13 bodies had been found by last Friday. Migrants detained Coastguards on Saturday arrested a group of four illegal immigrants after spotting them on the islet of Pserimos, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The male immigrants, whose ethnic origin was unclear, told authorities they had been taken to Pserimos by a speedboat that had picked them up from neighboring Turkey. Condolences Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday sent his condolences by telegram to French President Jacques Chirac following the death of 135 French tourists in a airplane crash on Saturday morning. The Flash Airlines jet fell into the Red Sea off Sharm el-Sheikh shortly after taking off from the coastal resort. Robberies An unidentified robber punched the employee of a mini market in Ambelokipi, central Athens, and stabbed the store owner before robbing him of 60 euros shortly before 11 p.m. on Friday night, police said on Saturday. Store owner Evangelos Grispos, 50, was yesterday in a stable condition in the Athens Evangelismos Hospital. The robber fled on foot. On Saturday, an unidentified robber stole 1,500 euros from the cash register of a supermarket in Neos Cosmos after waiting in line as if he were a regular customer and then threatening the cashier with a gun. Gypsies clash A violent scuffle involving six Gypsies in a betting shop in Aghia Varvara, in the Athenian district of Aegaleo, just before 7 p.m. on Saturday, resulted in one of the men being hospitalized with knife wounds. The unidentified man is out of danger, according to doctors. The remaining five men fled in a car. The reason for the fracas was not clear. Home protest A group of 30 families on Saturday demonstrated in the village of Philippiada, in the northwestern prefecture of Preveza, in protest at government demands that they start paying off properties given to them between 1992 and 1994 due to their difficult economic situation. The protesters – mostly homeless gypsies, large families and disabled people – claim they cannot afford to pay the requested nominal sum of 20-25,000 euros in instalments. Car plunge A 36-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman managed to extricate themselves from their car after it plunged into the sea in front of the White Tower in Thessaloniki early on Saturday morning. The circumstances surrounding the accident were unclear.