NEWS

In Brief

CONSTRUCTION BARRED

Court rules against extension of hotel in Plaka for Olympic tourists The fifth section of the Council of State yesterday ruled against a Public Works Ministry decision approving the extension of a hotel in Athens’s central Plaka area to accommodate tourists visiting the capital for the Olympic Games. The Electra Hotel has already exceeded the total surface area permitted to it, even without the adjacent site that the ministry wants to develop, according to the ruling. ELA TRIAL Kanas denies involvement in blasts, Skyftoulis faces arrest after snub Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) suspect Angeletos Kanas yesterday told an investigating magistrate that he had not been involved in eight blasts on public utilities carried out by the terror group between 1986 and 1987. Another ELA suspect, Epameinondas Skyftoulis, faces arrest after his failure yesterday to respond to a magistrate’s summons to defend himself. Skyftoulis said he was not willing to play along with the authorities’ «terror scenarios.» Two more suspects, Irini Athanassaki and Michalis Kassimis, are due to testify today. ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS Indictment over Mesolongi lagoon The European Commission yesterday said it would take Greece to the European Court for failing to protect the Mesolongi lagoon adequately. Greece lacks the legislative framework to ensure the important wetland’s effective protection, the Commission said. Greece was also issued with a final warning – the last step before legal action – to take action to protect Lake Koroneia and a rare species of viper (Vipera schweizeri) that lives in the Cyclades. Arson convictions A Thessaloniki court yesterday passed down suspended jail sentences ranging from 7-21 months on five Serres youngsters for carrying out three apparently racially motivated Molotov cocktail attacks in May 2000. The court altered the charges faced by the three women and two men to misdemeanors after acknowledging that the attacks – on a store and a car owned by two ethnic Greeks from the former Soviet Union, and on the home of a family Black Sea Greeks – had not put any lives at risk. The youngsters said the attacks were a protest against the attempted rape of two women by three ethnic Greeks from the former Soviet Union. Child porn A 31-year-old Thessaloniki man was yesterday indicted to appear before an Athens prosecutor for allegedly displaying on the Internet sexually explicit photographs of children aged 3-15 – some involved in sexual acts with adults. Specially trained police officers traced the man, who has not been named, through the Internet. Pornographic material, including video cassettes, was found at the man’s Thessaloniki home. Salonica blast Unidentified arsonists threw a Molotov cocktail at a bank in Thessaloniki’s Kato Toumba district early yesterday. The attack caused no injuries but resulted in some 5,000 euros in damage to the bank. Railway disruption The Kifissia-bound platform of Neo Iraklion station on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will be closed tomorrow and on Sunday due to refurbishment work. Lawyers protest Protesting lawyers, led by Athens Bar Association chairman Dimitris Paxinos, yesterday marched from their offices on Academias Street to Parliament, where they submitted a petition demanding that legislation currently being debated provide for the repayment to their pension fund of more than 350 million euros they claim they are owed by the government. Family trouble Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s son’s father-in-law was yesterday sentenced to six years in jail after his bank in northern Cyprus went bankrupt. The failure of Salig Boyadji’s bank resulted in hundreds of customers losing their savings. OA protest Olympic Airlines pilots yesterday asked OA’s management to rent another 10 or 11 aircraft to facilitate the operation of the new streamlined firm. Meanwhile, striking OA flight attendants yesterday clashed with police officers outside the offices of the Transport Ministry, where unionists had been discussing the demands of the workers with ministry officials. The strike started over two months ago.