NEWS

In Brief

HELIOS PROBE

Investigators to stay longer in Cyprus for more questioning Greek investigators looking into the Helios Airways plane crash of August 14 said yesterday that they would extend their stay in Cyprus to interview more people in connection with the doomed flight. The investigation team was due to return to Athens today. The head of the probe, Akrivos Tsolakis, held a meeting with the widow of co-pilot Pambos Charalambous yesterday and the airline’s technical director was also interviewed by investigators. LIVING COSTS Families burdened by an extra 6.5 percent over past eight months The cost of living for a four-member family has risen by some 6.5 percent since January this year, according to data released yesterday by the Greek Consumer Center (ELKEKA). Experts found that the average monthly cost of living for a married couple with two children on August 31 was 2,245 euros – a 140-euro rise from January 31 this year. ELKEKA said the increase was mainly due to the rising price of basic goods, the hike in VAT and the soaring price of unleaded fuel. RESIDENCE PERMITS Migrants can apply from October 1 The Interior Ministry said yesterday that immigrants living in Greece without a residence permit since before December 31, 2004 can soon apply for a permit. Migrants will need to visit their local municipal offices between October 1 and the end of the year, producing evidence that they entered Greece before 2005. Among the evidence that will be accepted is the date on which they were given a tax registration number (AFM), proof of contributions to a public insurance fund or the date on which their application for political asylum was rejected. Burn victims Seven Afghan immigrants suffered burns, including one man who was seriously injured, yesterday when a fire broke out in their apartment building in central Athens, authorities said. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known, but authorities suspect that the blaze was the work of arsonists. The seven men, aged between 17 and 26, were treated in the hospital for burns. Clashes between Afghan and other immigrants in the neighborhood have been reported. Water ruling In the wake of a ruling by the Council of State earlier this summer, the Development Ministry yesterday scrapped soft drinks from the list of products for which it sets maximum retail prices at snack bars in niche markets such as on ferries and at archaeological sites. However, the ministry added 0.75-liter bottles of mineral water to the list after complaints that snack bars had stopped selling 0.50-liter bottles, for which the maximum price had been set at 50 cents. The larger bottles will not be sold for more than 70 cents according to the new list. Bad trips A travel agency in Thessaloniki returned 15,000 euros to 10 of its customers after it apparently sold them shoddy travel deals at 1,600 euros each, the Consumer Protection Center (CPC) said yesterday. The consumer group said that the holiday terms the travel office promised had little to do with those outlined in the contract agreement signed. More trains The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) said that it will change its timetable on Monday for the Athens-Thessaloniki route as it increases the number of trains on its network. The soon-to-be used ICE 50 and ICE 51 trains will complete the trip between the cities in four hours and 15 minutes, it said. Travelers can call 1110 for more information. Pipe problem? Residents wanting to report problems to the water board this weekend will not be able to do so via the regular phone helpline as the system is being upgraded, the Athens Water and Sewerage Company (EYDAP) said yesterday. Customers can contact EYDAP on 210.749.5000 or 210.749.5001. Beslan commemoration The Russian primary school in Athens held a ceremony yesterday to commemorate the one-year anniversary since the tragedy in the southern Russian town of Beslan, where 331 people died during a terrorist attack. Russian Ambassador to Greece Adrei Vdovin stressed the need for a united front among countries in the fight against terrorism.