NEWS

In Brief

EVROS FLOODS

More farmland is submerged as local authorities stay on the alert The depth of the Evros River in northeastern Greece reached 5.40 meters yesterday, 30 centimeters short of its danger level, as authorities remained on the alert for possible widespread flooding. Some 100 more hectares of farmland were flooded yesterday, taking the total to 450 hectares. Authorities warned locals to stay away from the riverbanks and to keep animals and machinery at a distance as well. Meanwhile, the Greek Foreign Ministry approved a 50,000-euro sum for flood victims in Bulgaria where eight people have been killed. MIGRANTS RESCUED Korean-flagged vessel carrying 93 asylum seekers towed to Crete A group of 93 illegal immigrants were yesterday in a detention center on Crete after a South Korean-flagged vessel, spotted off the southwestern port of Palaiochora, was towed to shore. The Valeria was towed to safety by a nearby cargo vessel. It had been drifting around 35 nautical miles (65 kilometers) off the island amid strong winds after suffering an engine problem. The migrants, who were put up at a reception center in Pelekanos, were all said to be in good health. NOT PEACHY Farmers block roads for a third day Peach growers from the prefecture of Pella blocked the Thessaloniki-to-Edessa highway in northern Greece for the third day in a row yesterday demanding that canning companies pay more for their crops. The blockades ended at 6 p.m. as representatives of the farmers were due to meet with Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos to discuss their grievances. The farmers claim the price of 19 cents per kilo being offered by the canning companies is well below their production costs. Taxi strike? The heads of the Attica taxi drivers’ union (SATA) said yesterday that they would like to meet with Transport Minister Michalis Liapis as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of their being allowed to drive in bus lanes and to raise their fares in the wake of soaring oil prices. They did not rule out the possibility of industrial action in the fall. No jail A judge imposed a heavy fine yesterday on a British teenager who killed his girlfriend in a jet-ski accident, saying the 16-year-old had been spared a prison sentence because he pleaded guilty. James Dudley, from the North Wales town of Colwyn Bay, was fined 1,750 Cypriot pounds (3,076 euros) and banned from driving a jet-ski for two years. He and his girlfriend, Hannah Sutton, 16, from Aldereley Edge in Cheshire, England, had been racing jet-skis in the sea off Pissouri, southwest Cyprus, on August 2 when they collided. Sutton died of her injuries. (AP) Teenage dealer After a sting operation, police arrested a 17-year-old yesterday in the northwestern Athens suburb of Kamatero on suspicion that he was dealing cannabis in the area. Officers said they caught him red-handed with 100 grams of hashish and, upon raiding his home, found another 1.3 kilos of the drug. Fire alert The General Secretariat of Civil Defense warned authorities on the islands of Chios, Samos, the Dodecanese and Crete to be on the alert for forest fires today due to high winds and the hot, dry weather. Oil for food Cyprus is unlikely to extradite the Cypriot former head of the UN oil-for-food program to face allegations of receiving bribes, a senior government official said yesterday. Benon Sevan, a Cypriot of Armenian descent known to be in Cyprus as recently as last Saturday, was accused by UN investigators of receiving nearly $150,000 in kickbacks for oil allocations under the program he headed from 1997 to 2003. (Reuters) Meat destroyed The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said yesterday that it had seized and destroyed 15 kilos of minced beef and 5 kilos of chicken from a company in Palaio Faliron. The watchdog said the operation took place during routine inspections.