NEWS

In Brief

COOLER WARNING

Watchdog says water fountains may contain high cadmium levels After conducting tests, the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) yesterday called on approximately 100,000 owners of drinking water fountains to disconnect the coolers and have them inspected due to fears the water passing through them may contain higher levels of the toxic metal cadmium than permitted. Owners of the water fountains can contact EFET to find out where to send water samples for testing. EFET found six percent of the 557 units it checked earlier in the summer to have excessively high cadmium levels. BOTTLE ATTACK Victim said Albanian attacked him over girl, not because of football An Albanian man charged with injuring two Greeks with a broken bottle after the September 4 soccer match between the two countries was given a four-month suspended sentence by a Thessaloniki criminal court yesterday. The trial had been postponed earlier so one of the victims, whose names were not released, could give evidence. He told the court that he argued with 18-year-old Arbetin Hoha over a girl and not about the match. A Greek man has been charged with fatally stabbing one Albanian and injuring another two on Zakynthos after the match – which Greece lost 2-1 – while Greek and Albanian fans clashed in Athens. STORM AFTERMATH Dead rats on Thessaloniki coast A special ship was disinfecting and clearing up part of the Thessaloniki coastline yesterday after hundreds of dead rats and rubbish had gathered on beaches near the city. Heavy rainfall on Friday flushed out the rodents from sewers and into the sea. Authorities say the phenomenon is fairly common and the ship patrols the city’s coastline daily. Leopard claims A lower court in Hamburg, Germany, has cleared former Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos of accusations by Der Speigel magazine that he sought to gain personally when the Greek army chose to buy German-made Leopard tanks. The court ordered the magazine to pay 250,000 euros in fines and 100,000 euros in court costs and banned the comments from ever being reprinted. Smuggler An 18-year-old Afghan was sentenced to 13 months and 10 days in jail yesterday by a Samos misdemeanor court after he was caught illegally transporting 11 immigrants to the island on Saturday. The court asked for the sentence to be suspended and Bezir Mouratin to be expelled from Greece. The 6-meter wooden boat on which the illegal immigrants traveled was confiscated. Psomiadis cleared A Thessaloniki appeals court yesterday found businessman Makis Psomiadis innocent, on a technicality, of forgery charges linked to public embezzlement accusations. Psomiadis – who had initally been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for forgery – had been sued by former Environment Minister Costas Laliotis after To Onoma newspaper, owned by Psomiadis, accused Laliotis in February 1996 of taking money destined for the building of Athens international airport. Fans punished A Thessaloniki court yesterday handed down 12-month suspended jail sentences to five fans of PAOK soccer team after they tore up seats and set them alight them in a September 16 UEFA cup match against the Netherlands’ Alkmaar. The fans were also banned from attending PAOK matches for the next eight months and will have to report to their local police station whenever the team is playing. School’s out Teaching unions claimed yesterday there is a shortage of 4,000 teachers in high schools and that primary schools need another 3,000 teachers. The unions said the lack of teachers was leading to the loss of 80,000 teaching hours per week in high schools and 60,000 in primary schools. Greek wanted A Greek is one of four people who are the subject of criminal proceedings launched yesterday by Ukrainian prosecutors on suspicion of attempting to purchase weapons and hire mercenaries to fight in Iraq, The Associated Press reported. His name was not released.