NEWS

In Brief

EARTHQUAKE TREMORS

Seven quakes strike in Ionian and north but no damage or injuries Northern Greece and the Ionian Islands were shaken by seven earthquakes within a few hours, reaching as high as 5 on the Richter scale, but no injuries or damage were reported, authorities said yesterday. A 4.5 Richter quake struck 30 kilometers east of Thessaloniki at about 10 p.m. on Monday. It was followed by another four smaller-sized quakes on the Volvis fault line, which caused a deadly tremor in the area in 1978. Meanwhile, a 5 Richter quake with an underwater epicenter southwest of the Paxoi Islands struck early yesterday morning, followed by another minor quake close to Cephalonia. Experts said there was no cause for concern. TRAFFICKERS CAUGHT Major migrant-smuggling ring smashed with five arrests Police yesterday arrested five suspected members of an international gang that smuggled illegal immigrants from Asia to Western Europe, one of the largest operations of its kind believed to exist in Greece. The arrest of the four Greeks and a German national followed a surveillance operation triggered by an alert from German authorities. Police are searching for five more gang members from Greece, Turkey and Germany. FUGITIVE SURRENDERS Ultra-right-winger is jailed A senior member of ultra-rightist group Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn), suspected of attacking three left-wing students in 1998, gave himself up to police yesterday. Antonis Androutsopoulos, 39, is alleged to have taken part in the attack on three university students in a cafeteria outside the main Athens court complex, leaving one of them with severe head injuries. He faces three charges of attempted murder. He was convicted in absentia to four years in prison for weapons possession and gang membership and was yesterday taken to a prison in the western town of Amfissa to serve his sentence. Market losses An Athens university lecturer accused of running an illegal pyramid scheme told the Special Investigation Service (SIS) yesterday that he believed he could secure high returns for his customers but lost all the money on the stock market. Authorities believe that the economist has deposited the capital in offshore accounts and are expected to bring charges soon. Calatrava return Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish architect who designed many of the structures built for the Athens Olympics last year, including the roof on the Olympic Stadium, has been chosen to redesign the building that houses the Thessaloniki International Fair and the surrounding area, sources said yesterday. The project will cover an area of 28 hectares. Playstation recall Sony is recalling some 17,000 power adaptors used on its slimline black Playstation 2 game consoles due to the risk of it excessively overheating. The adaptors were manufactured between August and December last year but some may have been sold after December, the company said. Playstation owners affected are advised to stop using their consoles. They can replace their adaptors by calling 800.118.7000 for more details or visiting a special website at www.ps2ac.com. WWII torpedo A fisherman plying his trade in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Preveza got more than he bargained for yesterday when he hauled in his heavy nets and realized that he had caught a World War II torpedo. He called the coast guard and they brought in bomb disposal experts who detonated it safely. Bus checks Police will step up the number of checks on school buses across the country after initial results found that a large number of buses breach safety regulations, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday. Voulgarakis called on parent groups to report vehicles transporting schoolchildren that do not meet approved safety standards. Square sweeps A police program that began last May to rid central squares in Athens of crime has resulted in some 5,750 checks and the arrest of 167 suspects, the Public Order Ministry said yesterday. The program was launched as part of efforts to make the city safer and spruce it up before the Athens Olympics.