NEWS

In Brief

AIRPORTS ‘INADEQUATE’

Greece ‘does not have infrastructure’ to handle more air traffic during Olympics Greece’s airports are not equipped to handle the volume of incoming air traffic expected during the August Olympics, the national union of civil aviation employees warned yesterday in a letter to the ministers of economy, transport and culture. Apart from poor infrastructure, there are also serious staff shortages, according to the union, which had issued similar warnings to the previous government. MYSTERY DEATH Mutilated body of Egnatia official discovered hanging in Rentina The corpse of a senior municipal official in Egnatia, near Thessaloniki in northern Greece, was found hanging last night in the Rentina area. The body of 48-year-old Cosmas Magoufaris, the municipality’s secretary-general, showed signs of abuse, according to police who said that four fingers of one hand had been severed. WARNING SIGNALS Use flares only in crisis, ministry asks The Merchant Marine Ministry yesterday appealed to Greeks not to let off distress flares in coastal areas unless they are in danger, warning that offenders would be penalized. Last Easter, search and rescue services wasted much effort responding to flares set off by revelers who were not in need of assistance, the ministry said. The ministry also asked those planning boating expeditions to inform relatives if they might be late so rescue services would not have to respond to false alarms. Fireworks A 35-year-old Samos man, Haralambos Mavrokopelos, was killed yesterday when a firework he was trying to make exploded in his hands in the island’s Marathokambos district. Meanwhile, a Komotini toy-store owner has been charged with illegal possession of explosives after police confiscated more than 2,000 fireworks from his store. The unnamed shop owner did not have a license for selling the fireworks, which had probably been destined for use during traditional Easter celebrations, according to police. Anti-terror job The Supreme Judicial Council for Civil and Criminal Justice yesterday decided not to renew the term of prosecutor Ioannis Diotis as the supervising prosecutor of the police counter-terrorism service, replacing him with prosecutor Dimitrios Asprogerakas. Asprogerakas, 48, will serve for two years. Bungled robbery A man who tried to stop an armed robber from fleeing a Thessaloniki bank with more than 8,000 euros in cash was yesterday in hospital with minor injuries after the thief struck him on the head with his gun. In the confusion, the robber dropped a bag containing 6,500 euros – along with an air gun and fake grenade – but made off with the remaining 1,700 euros. Channels fined The National Broadcasting Council yesterday fined private television channel TeleAsty 30,000 euros for insulting President Costis Stephanopoulos on one of its programs. The council also imposed fines of 30,000 euros apiece on STV and TV Piraeus channels for airing game shows in which viewers call up using high-charge pay lines. The channels will be obliged to broadcast a message warning viewers that using these phone lines «can cause them serious financial damage.» Cyprus flights Travelers flying between Greece and Cyprus will henceforth have more daily flights to choose from following an agreement between the heads of Olympic and Cyprus airlines which was made public yesterday. There will now be a total of nine flights daily to Athens and two to Thessaloniki, Cyprus Airlines President Constantinos Loizidis said. Also, discounts will be available for certain seats from May 1 to 25 to celebrate Cyprus’s accession to the European Union. Corrections In a front-page story yesterday we erroneously reported that Sweden was among six EU countries that was close to having a deficit of 3 percent of GDP. Sweden had a surplus of 0.7 percent of GDP in 2003 and the European Commission has forecast a surplus of 0.2 percent in 2004. Instead, Italy is in the danger zone, as was reported on Page 5. Also, in a front-page story on Monday, a typing error resulted in our saying that the Republic of Cyprus was created in 1980 – instead of 1960.