NEWS

In Brief

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Police intercept 108 after several inspections on islands and ports A total of 108 illegal immigrants were intercepted at various Greek islands and ports over the long weekend, most trying to enter Greece and some attempting to travel on to other European countries. On Saturday, police discovered 35 would-be migrants in a truck carrying straw in the border town of Komotini, while port authority officials stopped 14 illegal immigrants on Lesvos and 11 at the port of Patras. And on Sunday, 23 migrants were found on Chios, eight on Lesvos and 17 in Patras. HIKERS FOUND Firemen rescue trapped climbers Fire service workers yesterday rescued a 33-year-old Dutchman who had sustained injuries while hiking on Mount Kedros on Crete and four climbers who had become trapped in the Vikos Gorge near the town of Ioannina, northwestern Greece. Also yesterday, a 52-year-old doctor, who went missing while hiking on Mount Saos on Samothrace – prompting a large rescue operation – returned to his hotel safe and sound. Petros Douitsis spent the night on the mountain after losing his bearings in the dark. Arab ties Significant work has been done to improve ties between Greece and several Arab states, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said yesterday. He is accompanying President Karolos Papoulias on a five-day visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain which began on Friday. A group of Greek businessmen seeking to develop commercial contacts is also traveling with them. Sioufas said that talks in Saudi Arabia and Qatar had led to «new roads» being opened toward closer cooperation. The minister said that talks were aimed at increasing investment in Greece from the Arab countries. Matsakis detained A Cypriot Euro MP, renowned for his controversial behavior, was arrested on Saturday for allegedly spraying anti-British graffiti on property belonging to a British army base. Marios Matsakis was charged with criminal damage for allegedly spray-painting a military and a police vehicle on April 1 at a British base at Akrotiri. The MP, who was later released, had allegedly spray-painted the vehicles with the acronym EOKA, in reference to the Greek-Cypriot guerrilla fighters who opposed the British in the 1950s in a bid to free Cyprus from colonial rule. Railway menace The driver of a train en route to Alexandroupolis from Thessaloniki on Saturday night was forced to stop in the industrial district of Sindos after spotting metal rails on the track ahead. No one was injured. The Hellenic Railway Organization (OSE) officials, who have launched an investigation into the incident, said they had not ruled out sabotage.