NEWS

In Brief

VODAFONE PROBLEM

Operator may face paying damages to subscribers over service break The Development Ministry’s General Consumer Secretariat yesterday asked the National Post and Telecommunications Commission (EETT) to consider obliging mobile phone operator Vodafone to pay out compensation to subscribers who were unable to use their phones for several hours on Wednesday. Vodafone’s local office issued an apology for the interruption in service, which it blamed on an «extremely rare and unforeseen» technical problem at its transmission center in Pallini. The problem affected a large number of Vodafone’s subscribers from late Wednesday afternoon. Service was restored, for most subscribers, within three hours, according to Vodafone, Greece’s second-largest operator. CIGARETTE BAN Watchdog orders suspension of campaign over illegal drug allusion The state advertising watchdog yesterday ordered the suspension of a campaign that draws a connection between its tobacco products and the trade in illegal drugs. The watchdog ordered the immediate withdrawal of all billboards and other material promoting Black Devil cigarettes imported from Holland after deeming that its advertisements violated basic principles of advertising standards, including sense of social responsibility. The authority issued its ruling yesterday following an appeal by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. The ministry’s General Secretariat for Consumers had complained that the advertisements created the impression that drug substances are being legally traded in Greece. MIGRANT ABUSE? Parties press for probe into claims Left-wing parties yesterday called upon the government to investigate claims by the head of Athens’s Pakistani community regarding the alleged illegal detention and questioning of seven immigrants last month following the terrorist attacks in London. «These serious allegations… oblige the government to adopt an immediate and clear stance,» the Communist Party (KKE) said in a statement. Synaspismos Left Coalition called upon the government to «immediately launch the process of attributing blame for this despicable behavior.» Pakistani community leader Javed Aslam complained to an Athens prosecutor about the alleged abuse of the migrants. Police have denied any knowledge. Recycling rap The European Commission yesterday rapped most of its member states, including Greece, for failing to pass laws ensuring that at least half of packaging waste be recycled by 2008. Only Britain, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic have introduced national laws to recycle a new minimum of 60 percent of glass bottles and jars, 60 percent of paper wrappings, 50 percent of metal packaging and 22.5 percent of plastic packaging by 2008, the Commission said. Yesterday’s deadline has been extended for the offending member states, it said, without elaborating. Heroin ring Border police, who yesterday confiscated more than six kilos of heroin from two Albanians near the Nestori border post, believe they have broken a major drug-smuggling ring. During interrogation, the two men said they had collected the drugs from a fellow Albanian in the town of Korce, carried it over the border and had been due to pass it on to an unnamed Greek. It was unclear where the pair had been due to meet the Greek. Migrants detained Port authority officials on Samos yesterday detained a group of 14 Afghan illegal immigrants after spotting them in the region of Kedros. Authorities refuted the migrants’ claims that they had reached Kedros in plastic rowboats from neighboring Turkey, countering that they would have been spotted. They believe that migrants are being smuggled to the island regularly by Turkish traffickers who change their routes to avoid capture.