Extended store hours across Greece announced ahead of Christmas Greek chain stores and supermarkets yesterday announced extended opening hours in the countdown to Christmas. Branches will be open until 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and will close at 6 p.m. on the Saturdays of December 11 and 18, Saturday, January 8 and Sunday, December 19. There will be no restrictions on opening times. FINE FRAUD Patras driving tickets were forgeries Around 60 tickets for traffic offenses issued to motorists in the Patras area have been found to be forgeries, police said yesterday. Municipal authorities said that such tickets will be returned to the local traffic police and declared null and void. The 60 tickets, containing false registration plate numbers or other fabrications, came to light after municipal authorities called for a payment of outstanding fines, some of which were issued years ago. Salonica landfill Representatives of the councils of three eastern Thessaloniki municipalities yesterday lifted a blockade on the Tagarades landfill after a Council of State judge proposed a rejection of appeals against the construction of a new dump near Langadas. The appeals had been lodged by residents of Langadas. Coastal shipping Prefects of the Dodecanese islands, who are complaining about inadequate ferry services, yesterday called a protest rally for December 16 outside the Merchant Marine Ministry in Piraeus. In a letter to the ministry, the prefects call for daily ferry services connecting their islands to Piraeus and cheaper and swifter connections to smaller islands. Winning personality Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki has been voted European of the Year (in the Achiever of the Year category) by the European Voice newspaper, ATHOC said yesterday after polls organized by the Economist Group publication closed in Brussels. Greek soccer coach Otto Rehhagel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were contenders in the same category. Award recipients in other categories included Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was voted European of the Year for EU-oriented reforms. Migrants intercepted Border guards in northern Greece yesterday detained 48 illegal immigrants and two suspected smugglers after two truck inspections. The first truck was stopped at the Palagia junction of Egnatia Odos where 28 migrants, mostly Iraqis, and their 52-year-old suspected smuggler were arrested. Later, police detained another 20 migrants, again mostly Iraqis, and their 47-year-old suspected smuggler after stopping their truck near the Avra junction on the same road. Bar protest Owners of bars in Larissa staged a demonstration yesterday, protesting at police charges being brought against them for allegedly violating a 10 p.m. curfew on loud music. A total of 30 Larissa bars have closed over the last few days. They are obliged to shut after receiving three police complaints. Owners are sending a petition to the government, asking for licenses allowing them to play music until late. Illegal antiquities A Greek man has been arrested for illegal possession of more than 51 ancient artifacts discovered in his Halkida home, Attica police said yesterday. The finds include funerary reliefs, architectural members, pottery and bronze and silver coins dating from between the 4th century BC and the Byzantine era, police said. The unidentified man was also charged with illegal weapons possession after police found a submachine gun, two other firearms and a Turkish sword in his home.