NEWS

In Brief

SUMMER HOLIDAYS

Foreigners waiting for residency permit can leave country Foreigners living in Greece who have applied for a residence permit or are waiting for their permit to be renewed will be allowed to leave the country to visit their homeland for their summer holidays, the Public Order Ministry said yesterday. People falling within this category will be allowed to leave Greece from July 5 as long as they return by September 5, the ministry said. SIR STELIOS Greek-Cypriot businessman honored with knighthood The Greek-Cypriot founder of low-cost airline easyJet, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, will be able to use the title «Sir» before his name after he was included on the list of people yesterday who had been made Knights of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. The honors are handed out twice a year by the queen but are chosen by the British government. Haji-Ioannou has expanded his business empire since founding easyJet to include easyInternet cafes and easyCruise among others. GREEK SPY Minister asks for return of Lalas It was revealed yesterday that Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras has written to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to ask for the return of former US State Department officer Steven Lalas, imprisoned in the USA in 1993 on charges of passing sensitive military information to Greece. Papaligouras asked for Lalas, who is a US citizen of Greek descent, to be allowed to return to Greece to serve the remainder of his prison sentence as his wife and children had already moved to Greece. Lalas was sentenced to 14 years without parole. Ship evacuated Piraeus port authorities evacuated the Sea Diamond cruise ship yesterday of the more than 1,000 passengers aboard after a bomb threat which proved to be hoax. Police searched the Greek-flagged vessel with the help of divers, but found no explosives. Authorities said that a woman had called a newspaper and a television station saying that she was from the Turkish Liberation Front and that a bomb had been placed on the vessel. The ship was rescheduled to leave later yesterday. Traffickers caught Two men were arrested yesterday and a third was being sought by police in Florina, northern Greece, after they were stopped while driving three cars with 22 illegal migrants as passengers. Meanwhile, six underage Afghan migrants were picked up by the coast guard off the eastern Aegean island of Samos yesterday. The six boys were found in a rubber dinghy trying to row to the island after being left in international waters by Turkish traffickers, authorities said. Emergency action The police, the fire service and the coast guard said yesterday that they would begin industrial action on June 28 to protest the government’s refusal to meet their demands over pay rises and the classification of their jobs as hazardous and unhealthy. Marijuana stash Police seized 173 kilos of cannabis in a mountainous area on the Greek-Albanian border near Prespes late on Thursday. Albanian nationals carrying the marijuana into Greece by foot had stashed the narcotics after being intercepted by a Greek border patrol. Police said the Albanians managed to escape. Milk checks Olympos milk company indicated yesterday that the recent discovery of impurities in one of its milk products may be the result of sabotage. The dairy producer said that checks by the Hellenic Food Authority showed that there was no problem with its production facilities. Olympos has recalled the batch of low-fat milk which was affected as a precautionary measure. Dangerous candles Athanassios Skordas, the Development Ministry’s secretary for consumer affairs, said yesterday that about one in five candles being sold on the market had been found to be unsafe for consumers. The suspect candles are imported and are considered dangerous due to the large flame they produce which reaches up to 15 centimeters.