NEWS

In Brief

ROLF POHLE

German former terrorist dies in Athens aged 62 Rolf Pohle, a former member of the German Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group, a spin-off of the Baader-Meinhof gang, died in Athens on Saturday at the age of 62, Greek newspapers reported yesterday. The cause of death was unclear. Pohle had been living in Greece since his release from a German prison in 1982 and had married a Greek lawyer in 1984, according to Eleftherotypia. In 1976, the Greek opposition and leftist politicians called for political asylum to be granted to Pohle following his arrest in Athens but the Supreme Court ruled to have him sent back, sparking protests. TRANSPARENCY RAP EC warns Greece, five other EU states, on money laundering The European Commission yesterday sent a written warning to Greece and another five EU states, urging them to submit overdue reports regarding the extent to which they have implemented an EU directive against money laundering. The Commission also sent the warning – the last stage before court action – to France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden. The directive, which was supposed to have been incorporated into national legislation by last June, expands on a previous EU law and requires strict client identification, record-keeping and reporting of suspicious transactions. KYTHERA SHAKEN Seismologists not worried A strong undersea quake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, occurred in the seabed south of the island of Kythera, off the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese, shortly before 6 a.m. yesterday. There were no reports of any damage or injuries and seismologists said there was no cause for concern. Salonica blast Six homemade gas-canister bombs, placed outside a bank in central Thessaloniki by unidentified arsonists, caused damage to the branch and to two cars parked nearby when they detonated at 2.30 a.m. yesterday. The blast – the ninth arson attack in the northern city this year – caused an estimated 3,000 euros in damages. Kastanias appeal Left Coalition Synaspismos party MEP Alekos Alavanos yesterday appealed to Parliament, the Foreign Ministry and all political parties to block the approval of an agreement between Egypt and the EU in order to pressurize Egyptian authorities to release a Greek sailor who has been serving a life sentence in an Egyptian jail since 1989. Constantinos Kastanias, and another two sailors, were jailed for smuggling 7.5 tons of cannabis aboard the motorship Thanassis. The other two sailors died in jail, Alavanos said in his letter, adding, «Approving the [cooperation] agreement would constitute a death sentence for… Kastanias.» Pesticides protest Residents of western Thessaloniki yesterday threatened unspecified action unless some 200 tons of pesticides are removed from the site of a disused pesticides factory in the area where a fire broke out on Saturday, burning some of the chemicals. Last November, the government sent 900 tons of pesticides – previously stored at the Diana factory site – to Germany to be destroyed. It was yesterday still unclear whether the atmosphere had been polluted with toxic gas as a result of the blaze, which prompted complaints from environmentalists. Bank robberies Two armed robbers ran off with 15,000 euros following a raid on a bank in the northern Athenian suburb of Kifissia at around 10.30 a.m. yesterday. At around the same time, a sole individual netted 12,000 euros after robbing a bank in Nea Ionia. He fled on a motorcycle. Drug arrest The 47-year-old owner of a clothing warehouse in central Omonia is to be charged with supplying large quantities of heroin to small-time dealers in different parts of Athens following his arrest on Sunday, police said yesterday. Officers caught Meletis Panayiotaris after raiding his warehouse following a tip-off and days of observation. They confiscated 1.3 kilos of heroin and 150 grams of cannabis.