In Brief


Turkish man gets life in prison for smuggling 16 Afghans into Greece A Samos criminal court yesterday sentenced a human trafficker from Turkey to life in prison. Isik Goskuh, 30, was also fined 500,000 euros. He was arrested on December 10 last year smuggling 16 Afghan migrants into the eastern Aegean island. Three of the illegal immigrants drowned during the process and one migrant was presumed drowned but his body was never recovered. ANTENNAE PROBE Salonica prosecutor asks police to determine legality of pylons A Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday called for an urgent preliminary investigation into the legality of a mass of television and radio transmitters in the area of Hortiatis following complaints by local officials and residents over health concerns. Prosecutor Panayiotis Ioannidis appealed for a police probe to determine the legality of each television or radio station that has an antenna in the area. The prosecutor has called on police to confiscate all illegal aerials. KOKKALIS INVESTIGATION Probe into tycoon’s bank accounts An Athens prosecutor has asked for the Swiss bank accounts of one of Greece’s wealthiest businessmen, Socrates Kokkalis, to be investigated, sources said yesterday. The probe relates to allegations that Kokkalis, the majority shareholder of lottery giant Intralot, accepted an advance from the Russian National Sports Foundation to buy lottery equipment which he never delivered. Boat crash A boat conducting oceanographic research ran aground off the island of Skyros yesterday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. One person was slightly injured among the 36 people on board the Aegaio. The vessel, which suffered minor damage, later managed sail to Skyros. Cyprus support Greek President Karolos Papoulias yesterday assured Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos of Greece’s support for «a free Cyprus, free of occupying forces, prospering within a large European family.» Papoulias was rounding off a four-day official visit to the island. Meanwhile, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos refused to comment upon Papoulias’s statement on Tuesday, according to which «America’s policy (on Cyprus) does not solve but creates a deadlock.» Migrant appreciation Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos yesterday called for the mistakes of the past in Greece’s immigration policy to be rectified. «Migrants are not a problem, they are the great advantage of our age,» said Pavlopoulos at a European immigration conference at Zappeion Hall in central Athens. Earthquake diplomacy PASOK leader George Papandreou yesterday called on Pakistan and India to «seize the moment» after a thaw in relations between the two countries in the wake of the recent deadly earthquake in the region. Papandreou was being questioned by BBC World about his role in the «earthquake diplomacy» between Ankara and Athens which began in August 1999, when Turkey was struck by a major quake and Greece responded immediately with aid. Serial thief A 27-year-old Russian national was charged in Thessaloniki yesterday of committing 22 break-ins from December 2001, police said. The total value of the items stolen is estimated at 60,000 euros and included jewelry, electric appliances and cash. ATM disruption The National Bank of Greece said yesterday its cash machines will be out of service from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m. on Sunday as work gets under way to upgrade the bank’s system. Counterfeiters Police arrested three men in Katerini, northern Greece, yesterday, including a police officer, who are accused of running a counterfeit operation and kidnapping two Albanian nationals. The three men allegedly kidnapped the men over money differences with the two men and held them bound and gagged in a truck container. Police are conducting a manhunt for five more people said to have taken part in the money-printing operation.