NEWS

In Brief

CITY STRIFE

Three-quarters of Athenians say they dislike life in the capital Three in four people living in Athens feel that life in the city is «not pleasant,» according to a survey conducted by VPRC. The same survey suggests that 37 percent of Athenians believe that life in the Greek capital has got worse over the last few years compared to 27 percent who feel it has improved. Opinions seem to be equally divided on the works for the Olympic Games; the same proportion of respondents (31 percent) think that the construction was useful as those who think it was simply for show. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION Greece asks for help patrolling sea Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras speaks with European Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini during a European Union ministers’ meeting in Brussels yesterday. Polydoras asked for more attention to be paid to the trouble Greece was having stemming the flow of illegal immigrants. He said some 500 migrants arrive in the eastern Aegean each week and many of them then traveled to other European countries. Polydoras asked for financial assistance from the EU to keep up coast guard patrols in the Aegean. Corruption trial Former judge Leonidas Stathis denied taking bribes yesterday as his trial began at a criminal appeals court in Athens. Ten lawyers who allegedly bribed him to rule in their favor are also on trial. Stathis allegedly accepted bribes totaling 54 million drachmas (158,500 euros) from 10 lawyers so that his rulings would favor their clients. Stathis said yesterday that the funds were loans, not bribes. A witness, Thanassis Parianos, claimed Stathis had asked him for 5,000 euros to rule in his favor in a trial relating to a traffic accident. Traffickers caught Two suspected human traffickers were arrested on Sunday after unloading 51 illegal immigrants in the town of Methana in the Peloponnese, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. The identities of the migrants and the alleged people smugglers were not made public but authorities said that they had been traveling on a Ukranian-flagged yacht. Cannabis plantation A 35-year-old property developer was arrested on the Aegean island of Skyros for growing cannabis plants, police said yesterday. According to officers, the unnamed man had set up his plantation with 50 trees at the island’s abandoned air force base. The suspect had allegedly installed an automatic watering system which was linked to a large water tank that only required refilling every 15 days. Officers monitored the site for 12 days before they caught the suspect. Winding river The planned diversion of the Acheloos River is likely to irreversibly damage the ecosystem of Aitoloacarnania in western Greece without providing any significant advantages, according to a study by the Technical Chamber of Aitoloacarnania which was made public yesterday. The government wants to divert Greece’s second-longest river from western Greece to Thessaly in central Greece. The technical chamber recommended that there should only be a partial diversion, not a full-scale one. Drug dealers Two men, both foreign nationals, were arrested in Thessaloniki late on Sunday, accused of dealing in heroin. Police said that the men had been caught with about 1.04 kilos of heroin in their possession. Amerikis Street The section of Amerikis Street between Panepistimiou and Academias streets will be closed tomorrow between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. due to roadworks. Traffic police are asking motorists to use detours.