NEWS

In Brief

MIGRANTS ABANDONED

Officers find 63 immigrants left in the back of a truck in Lamia Police found 63 people in the back of a truck that had been abandoned on the Athens-Thessaloniki national road near Lamia, central Greece, early yesterday. Officers said that all 63 were illegal immigrants who had been left in the truck by human traffickers. The smugglers had disappeared but officers tracked down and arrested a man believed to be the owner of the vehicle. The migrants, from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, were taken to the nearest police station and given medical assistance. PAPADOPOULOS SKEPTICAL Cypriot president says Turkey has to prove its support for reunification Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday that claims by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Ankara supports reunification talks in Cyprus will only be proved once negotiations are under way. Papadopoulos added that Erdogan’s visit to the Turkish-occupied part of the island for the 32nd anniversary of the Turkish invasion was «illegal and provocative.» RICOMEX COMPENSATION Quake families get 2.8 million euros A court in Athens yesterday awarded damages of 2.83 million euros for mental anguish to the families of five of the 39 people killed when the Ricomex household goods factory collapsed during the 1999 earthquake in the northern suburb of Metamorphosis. The court also accepted that the local town-planning office had been guilty of illegal activity and oversight. Journalists rapped The ESIEA journalists’ union issued a statement yesterday criticizing the coverage by some sections of the media of the disappearance of 11-year-old Alex Meshivili in Veria. ESIEA said some presenters were «defaming people,» «trying to usurp the authorities» and «sowing fear and mistrust.» The union said this coverage was bringing journalism into disrepute. Guard shot Two men on a motorcycle yesterday shot and injured a guard working for the Municipality of Thessaloniki, police said. The unnamed guard suffered slight injuries to his leg. Officers said that the unidentified attackers probably shot the man over a money-related dispute. Road closures Several roads in the center of Athens will be closed from 7.30 a.m. tomorrow because of a fun run, authorities said yesterday. The road closures will affect Vassilissis Amalias Avenue, Filellinon Street, Ermou Street, roads around Syntagma Square and sections of Syngrou Avenue and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue. Ferry cancellation ANEK Lines ferry company said yesterday that it was canceling all crossings between Piraeus and Rethymnon with the Preveli ferry until Tuesday. The company said it had been forced to cancel the route as one of its ships, the Kriti II, was still involved in evacuating people from Beirut. ANEK said that its crossings to Hania would continue and passengers with tickets to travel to or from Rethymnon could transfer to those ferries instead. Israel detainee Synaspismos Left Coalition MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis asked the European Commission yesterday to help in the release of a Greek human rights activist who is being held in custody in Israel. Maria Nikoforou, 33, was detained upon arrival in Tel Aviv last Friday because she was considered a security risk, according to Papadimoulis and the International Solidarity Movement, the organization Nikiforou, a schoolteacher, was working with. Toyota recall Toyota Hellas said yesterday that it is recalling some 2,600 cars because there is a possibility that they may develop an oil leak that could cause the engine to seize up. Owners of Yaris or Yaris Verso models built between January and October 2001 should contact their dealers for more information. Police protest Police in Thessaloniki and other parts of Greece demonstrated yesterday demanding that their jobs be recognized as hazardous and unhealthy and that the government live up to its pre-election promise to increase their pay. Officers in Athens marched on Parliament yesterday afternoon to voice their opposition to the government’s policies.