NEWS

In Brief

EARTHQUAKES

Two 4.4-Richter tremors shake Edessa, a 4.7 quake in southern Dodecanese Two earthquakes, both measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, occurred near the northern town of Edessa between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. yesterday, with a third, 4.7-magnitude, quake striking south of the Dodecanesian island of Astypalaia shortly after 5 p.m. The epicenter of the first two quakes was around 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) northeast of Edessa and they were felt across the prefecture of Pella. The afternoon quake was felt in northern Crete. There were no reports of injuries or damage. DEFENSE PROCUREMENTS Ministry to reconsider contracts without tender or by restricted tender Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos yesterday decided to annul all of the weapons procurement contracts that come under his jurisdiction which were directly assigned (without tenders) as well as those by restricted tender planned for the near future. The decision, taken during a meeting with top army, navy and air force officers, does not affect procurements from the Greek armaments industry. FACTORY BLAZE 600,000 euros in damage in Haidari A team of 70 firefighters, manning 21 fire engines, took four hours to extinguish a huge blaze that broke out at a shoe factory in the western Athenian district of Haidari at around 1 a.m. yesterday. There were no injuries but factory officials estimate that the blaze caused more than 600,000 euros’ worth of damage. Another fire in a paint factory in Thessaloniki early yesterday morning caused around 80,000 euros’ worth of damage. The reasons behind both blazes were unclear. Madrid service Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and PASOK Secretary-General Michalis Chrysochoidis yesterday evening joined church officials and members of Greece’s Muslim community for a memorial service for the victims of last week’s terrorist attack in Madrid at the Saint Dennis Catholic Cathedral on central Panepistimiou St. «We must all stand united in facing the awful phenomenon of terrorism,» Molyviatis said after the service. Anti-terror summit Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis is due in Brussels today to join his European Union counterparts for a special summit aimed at implementing a more effective crackdown on international terrorism following last week’s fatal blast in Madrid. The ministers are due to discuss the possible drafting of an EU-wide policy on anti-terrorism. Baehring rebuffed A Thessaloniki appeals court yesterday upheld the conviction of a German man sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison after being found guilty of luring a Florida teenager to Greece via the Internet, sexual assault and exposing a minor to indecent material. Franz Constantin Baehring, 38, will have to serve out the prison sentence he received two years ago, the court ruled, rejecting Baehring’s appeal against the sentence. The girl, now 17, and her mother both attended the trial. Beach death A 37-year-old Albanian was killed yesterday trying single-handedly to dislodge his truck that had got stuck in the sand on a beach near the Cretan port of Iraklion. Bido Shahinas became trapped under the heavy vehicle, which had its engine running, and his face was pushed under the sand on Ammoudaras beach. He suffocated. Anti-war rally Opposition parties PASOK and Synaspismos Left Coalition yesterday both announced their participation in tomorrow’s demonstration against the ongoing US occupation of Iraq and called on their supporters to join the protest. The rally is scheduled to begin at noon in central Syntagma Square. A parallel demonstration is due to start at the same time in the center of Thessaloniki. Smugglers charged Five men were charged yesterday with smuggling a group of 49 illegal immigrants to Greece. The migrants were picked up from a foundering trawler early on Saturday by a Greek frigate in international waters off Crete.