NEWS

In Brief

LEBANON INVOLVEMENT

Athens is mulling contribution of troops to UN peacekeeping force Greece is considering committing troops to the United Nations peacekeeping force that is due to be deployed in Lebanon, the Foreign Ministry confirmed yesterday. In its statement, the ministry said that Greece is studying the idea as part of the talks under way at the UN and the European Union. Athens voted for a UN Security Council resolution on Friday which calls for a force of 15,000 peacekeepers to be sent to Lebanon to enforce the ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel. The UN hopes to initially send 3,500 troops in two weeks. PEOPLE SMUGGLERS Evia coast guard nets three men after they unload 12 immigrants Three suspected people traffickers were arrested early yesterday on board a Ukranian-flagged yacht off the coast of Evia, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Coast guard officers boarded the yacht at 6.15 a.m. after the men refused to obey instructions. The men, all aged 40, allegedly dropped off 12 illegal immigrants on the island. The coast guard had found the migrants a little earlier. The identity of the alleged traffickers and the migrants was not made public. The ministry said that seven suspected traffickers have been caught in Greek waters since July 15. LANDFILL BURNS Second fire at Asprovalta dump A fire broke out yesterday at a landfill in Asprovalta near Thessaloniki for the second time in a week. Six firefighters were sent to put out the small blaze. The fire service said that it was the ninth fire at a garbage dump in the area over the last three months and it urged authorities to take measures to prevent fires. A blaze at Asprovalta burned for some 12 hours on Saturday. Russian thanks Russian Ambassador in Athens Andrey Vdovin has sent a letter to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis thanking him for Greece’s assistance in helping to evacuate some 250 Russians from Lebanon in recent weeks, sources said yesterday. In his letter, Vdovin said that Greece was a «good friend» of Russia. Bishop dies The bishop of Corinth, Panteleimon, died yesterday at the age of 87 while on holiday on the island of Lesvos. The cause of death was not immediately known. Panteleimon was appointed bishop of Corinth in 1965 and was made an honorary professor of the Athens Theological School in 1990. School year The Education Ministry confirmed yesterday that the academic year for primary and secondary school students will start on September 11. Turkish ports Cyprus is not aware of a UN plan to open Turkish ports to Cypriot ships, government spokesman Christodoulos Pasiardis said yesterday. Pasiardis was responding to an article in The Independent newspaper in the UK that said that the UN might take over the administration of ports and airports in northern Cyprus to help avoid a crisis in the course of Turkish EU membership. Ferry damaged The ferry boat Samothraki suffered minor damage in the port of Mytilene yesterday while the vessel was docking at the pier to allow passengers to disembark. None of the 193 passengers aboard the ferry, traveling from Lemnos to Rhodes, nor any crew members, were hurt, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Pensioner murder Two men, aged 20 and 21, were yesterday charged with strangling to death five months ago an 86-year-old woman in Piraeus after stealing 800 euros from her house, court sources said. The suspects, both Albanian nationals, had fled to Albania after the incident and returned to Greece a few weeks ago, according to police. Officers said that they traced the pair after finding fingerprints in the house. One of the suspects is thought to have been involved in other thefts as well. Boys arrested Two boys, aged 12 and 13, were arrested in Megara, west of Athens, yesterday, accused of breaking into two homes and stealing cash and other personal belongings. Police said that the stolen items, found in the boys’ possession, have been returned to their owners.