NEWS

In Brief

ALARM QUAKE

Athens gets early morning jolt An earthquake, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, occurred 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Athens at 6 a. m. yesterday but no injuries or damage were reported. The quake had its epicenter in the gulf between the island of Evia and mainland Greece. Although the quake was felt in Athens, seismologists said it was a surface wave that is common in this area. Evia fire A major operation by emergency services was needed over the weekend before a fire on the island of Evia was finally placed under control yesterday. About 300 hectares of forest were burnt. The fire broke out on Saturday near the village of Prokopi some 66 kilometers (41 miles) northwest of Halkida, and 185 soldiers, 150 firefighters, 50 fire engines, 11 firefighting airplanes and four helicopters were deployed to help put out the blaze. The cause of the fire is not yet known. Free museums Entrance to museums and archaeological sites around Greece is free today as part of World Tourism Day. Rimini remembrance President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday visited the graves of the 117 Greek officers and soldiers who died during the World War II Battle of Rimini in 1944. The ceremony, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the battle, was held at the Greek Military Cemetery near the town of Riccione, southwest of Rimini. «Thanks to your sacrifices, today Greece is the homeland that is part of a united Europe, it is the homeland that organized the Olympic Games. You are the living glory of Greece,» Stephanopoulos told survivors of the battle. Chechen claims Terrorists, mainly of Chechen origins, are being trained in Turkish-held northern Cyprus, Cypriot Justice Minister Doros Theodorou claimed in an article published in Phileleftheros newspaper yesterday. The Chechens are being trained to hit Russian targets and had once planned to attack the Russian Embassy in Cyprus, Theodorou said. He had made similar accusations earlier this month, which, however, were denied by other members of the Cypriot government. Water contest Tap water from the town of Kallikrateia in Halkidiki was judged to be the tastiest tap water in Greece during a competition organized by local water boards on Saturday. The contest involved 26 water samples from towns around Greece with more than 10,000 residents. Athens and Thessaloniki did not take part. Gang arrests Two members of a gang suspected of at least 22 thefts in Attica were taken to court yesterday, police said. The two 20-year-old Albanian nationals, Astrit Asani and Katzan Bani, are thought to have been part of a gang of four, responsible for thefts in Athens over the last year. Car stereos, electrical goods, mobile phones and various tools were found in their possession. Police also suspect Asani of the alleged rape of an underage Romanian girl in Aspropyrgos on March 2, 2003. The other gang members, a man simply known as Fatmir and one called Ektor Girtazo are still being sought.