NEWS

In Brief

TEENAGE ARSONISTS

Two charged over fires at woods in Galatsi and Papagou on Monday A prosecutor yesterday charged two teenagers with arson in connection with fires in woodland in Galatsi and Papagou on Monday afternoon. The fire on Veikou Hill in Galatsi was put out yesterday night after a large operation by firefighters. Police said that the two youths, aged 18 and 16, were seen by a group of people setting fire to shrubs in Galatsi. They chased and cornered the two suspects before officers moved in to arrest them. Nobody was injured and no buildings were damaged by the fires. TOXIC FREIGHT Risky shipments being handled by unchecked trucks, unlicensed drivers? Toxic material is being transported across Greece in trucks that are not checked and by drivers who often do not have the necessary permits, the head of the Greek Association of Transport Drivers’ Unions (POESEM), Michalis Papadopoulos, said yesterday. Papadopoulos said that toxic material is transported from Elefsina, west of Athens, and Halkida, in Evia, by unaccompanied trucks to the port of Thessaloniki, which is licensed to export these dangerous shipments. FUEL PENALTIES Firms fined 1.5 mln euros in 4 years Local authorities have imposed a total of 1.5 million euros in penalties on firms in the fuel sector over the past four years, Athens-Piraeus Prefect Fofi Gennimata said yesterday. In the past six months alone, 165,000 euros in fines were imposed on 30 firms for doctoring their fuel products, she said. The most commonly fined firms are petroleum product retailers, followed by gas stations and shipping companies. Efforts to target offenders are being intensified in view of rising oil prices, Gennimata said. Illegal immigrants Border police yesterday detained 38 illegal immigrants from India close to Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece, who entered the country hidden aboard a truck. An Albanian and a Greek national, aged 23 and 34 respectively, were arrested in connection to the people-smuggling operation, while police said that they are searching for the driver of the truck, who escaped arrest. The illegal migrants are said to have paid a total of $114,000 dollars (89,337 euros) to reach Athens. Sun risks The general secretary for consumer affairs, Thanassis Skordas, yesterday issued a series of guidelines for citizens about how to protect their skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Consumers should buy sunglasses bearing the European Union CE safety mark to ensure that the glasses filter out ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB rays), Skordas said. Citizens should also opt for sun creams offering UVA and UVB protection and stay out of the sun during the early afternoon hours, he said. Drug arrests Three Greek nationals were arrested in Ioannina, northern Greece, yesterday accused of transporting into Greece 92 kilos of cannabis. The men, aged 36, 37 and 40, were traveling in two separate cars when stopped at a police checkpoint. Police said they had allegedly picked up the drugs on the Greek-Albanian border, near the Kakavia entry point. Ambulance protest Ambulance workers from EKAB (National First Aid Center) in Thessaloniki went on a two-hour work stoppage yesterday to protest the beating of a doctor on Friday. The workers said that a doctor was attacked after he confirmed the death of a man who had set fire to himself. The victim’s brother then allegedly set on the doctor, causing him serious injuries that required his hospitalization for three days. Phone grudge Consumer group INKA Macedonia slammed the government yesterday for increasing the taxes applicable on monthly mobile phone subscriptions by more than 300 percent. INKA said that the increase, effective as of October 1, will reduce mobile phone usage and said that consumers are being used to help lift state revenues at the cost of the family budget. Booze cruise A 47-year-old former cruise ship captain from Greece yesterday pleaded guilty in federal court in Seattle, WA, USA, to operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol. Periklis Petridis was sentenced to one year of probation and fined $15,000. On May 19, the US Coast Guard found Petridis to have a blood-alcohol level some four times higher than the federal maritime limit.