NEWS

In Brief

EARTHQUAKES

Two strong tremors off Zakynthos cause damage; no injuries reported Two strong quakes, measuring 6.0 and 5.2 on the Richter scale, struck the undersea area off the coast of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea yesterday afternoon, causing widespread damage but no injuries. The quakes, which occurred at around 6.30 p.m. in close succession, caused sections of the Kokkinos Vrachos (Red Rock) on the island to crumble while cornices fell off old houses and windows were smashed. Earlier yesterday, a 4.9-level quake struck the northwestern town of Ioannina but there were no reports of injuries or damage. GRAFT LIST Greece still high on corruption index Greece was ranked the 47th least corrupt country among 159 states according to an annual report made public yesterday by graft watchdog Transparency International. The ranking represents an improvement of two places for Greece since last year but 13 more countries were included in this year’s survey. The report found Iceland to be the least corrupt country. Chad and Bangladesh were deemed the most corrupt. Angry PPC The Public Power Company (PPC) has threatened to regain 26 million euros of funds owed to it by government ministries by withholding the amount from dividends it is scheduled to pay the Finance Ministry, a source said yesterday. A series of court cases have failed to force the Environment, Justice and Defense ministries to pay the money owed to the power company. The source added that the Finance Ministry has promised to intervene and help PPC get its money back. Migrants found After a three-day search, coast guards yesterday picked up nine African men in a boat off the eastern Aegean island of Samos, authorities said. The illegal immigrants, whose nationality was not immediately known, used a mobile phone to contact the coast guard on Saturday for help but apparently gave out the wrong coordinates. DEKA trial The start of the trial of the former chairman and board members of the Public Portfolio Management Company (DEKA) was postponed for a second time yesterday due to a heavy case load at the Athens appeals court. The men have been charged with buying up shares in the runup to the April 2000 general elections which then lost value and ended up costing the state some 700 million euros. The trial is likely to start today or tomorrow, court sources said. Minister suit Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos is to take legal action against a new daily newspaper for an allegedly libelous article, the Athens News Agency said yesterday. Spiliotopoulos is allegedly responding claims published in Press Time, which started circulating last week. Irrigation protests Riot police helmets line the side of a road in Stimfalia, a village about 60 kilometers southwest of Corinth, where officers clashed with residents and farmers yesterday. Protesters are objecting to plans to irrigate Corinth from Stimfalia, fearing this will create environmental problems. Traffic disruption Southbound traffic on the Athens-Corinth national highway will be disrupted from this evening (10 p.m.) until tomorrow morning (6 a.m.) around the area of Kakia Skala as work gets under way to install lighting, the Public Works Ministry said yesterday. Hash haul Police in Serres yesterday arrested a 39-year-old man after finding 8.3 kilos of cannabis in his possession. The man, who was not named, was carrying the drugs in 17 separate packages, according to police.