Prices 25 percent higher than last year as temperatures cool Petrol distributors started selling heating oil yesterday between 0.59 and 0.60 euros per liter in the Athens and Thessaloniki areas. Prices are about 25 percent higher than last year due to the rising cost of oil on the international market. Retail prices for quantities less than 1,000 liters are slightly higher. As of this year, customers are required to give vendors their personal tax number as part of a government crackdown on illegal fuel business. SICILY OPERATION Greek rescue services respond to fallout of simulated earthquake Greek rescue services will cooperate today with counterparts from France, Portugal, Sweden and Britain in responding to the fallout of a simulated 6.8-level earthquake in Sicily. The European Union exercise will involve 13 members of Greece’s emergency response unit EMAK and is to be overseen by European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. The aim of the exercise is to ensure international forces can coordinate their efforts in the event of a major earthquake or other natural disaster, Dimas said. CANNABIS CATCH Eight arrests after Farsala raid Police yesterday found a large cannabis plantation in Farsala, close to Karditsa, that had been growing in a greenhouse among tomato and other vegetable plants. Eight people were arrested in connection with the illegal plants, which were about to be dried and packed, police said, without disclosing details about the size of the drug haul. Diver death Rescue workers yesterday recovered the corpse of a 28-year-old diver off the coast of Rhodes. The diver, who was not identified, had been working as part of a team appointed to lift a sunken mud dredger from the seabed off the coast of Karnagio, near the island’s Venetian port. Quake donations The Embassy of Pakistan in Athens has set up an account at Nova Bank (number 5362348) for people who want to make a donation to help the country’s earthquake victims. The Church of Greece also said yesterday it is collecting donations of money and items to send to the areas hit by the earthquake. People interested in sending food, blankets or medicines can contact 210.869.5038-40 for further details. Irate truckers Truck drivers working in the international transport business demonstrated in Thessaloniki yesterday, blocking traffic on the major highway leading to Athens for about 30 minutes. The drivers are calling for a reduction in insurance premiums and stricter government monitoring of their international competitors who operate in Greece. Judge imprisoned Former court of first instance judge Evangelos Kakousis was imprisoned yesterday after testifying on charges of bribery, abusing power and earning money by illegal means. A lawyer, who is expected to testify on Wednesday, is said to have given Kakousis the sum of 25 million drachmas (73,363 euros) to secure one of his relatives an early release from prison. Workers protest Employees of a spinning mill in Naoussa yesterday barricaded the firm’s personnel manager in one of the factories, protesting the news of 110 imminent sackings. The workers released Nikolaos Papapanos after he tore up letters bearing the official notification of the sackings and agreed for managers to meet with workers next week. Piraeus aid Three programs aimed at supporting disadvantaged groups of citizens living in Piraeus are due to be implemented from the middle of next month, it was revealed yesterday. A hostel for women who have suffered abuse, funded by volunteers, will accommodate 20 women for two months. A second hostel is to house 10 homeless people. A third program aims to offer home aid to the disabled and the elderly.