NEWS

In Brief

PUTIN VISIT

Russian president due in Athens on Sept. 4 for talks on oil pipeline Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Athens on September 4 for talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis about the project to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the government said yesterday. Bulgarian Premier Sergei Stanishev is also likely to join in the talks, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said. The pipeline will carry Russian oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Burgas to the port of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece but the project has been repeatedly delayed. Roussopoulos said the meeting was arranged after a suggestion by Putin. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Total of 87 intercepted yesterday; two smugglers get jail sentences A total of 87 illegal immigrants were intercepted yesterday in two separate inspections conducted by police in Thessaloniki and on Samos. In the first case, police discovered 74 would-be migrants hidden in a secret compartment in the rear of a truck. The driver of the truck, which bore stolen license plates, evaded arrest. On Samos, police detained 13 illegal immigrants – eight Afghans and five Libyans. Meanwhile, two foreigners have received jail sentences for people smuggling, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. One received a six-year jail sentence for bringing 10 migrants to Chios and the other received a 10-year sentence for bringing nine migrants to Kos, the ministry said. SOCIAL SECURITY Cabinet looks over changes The government looked over changes yesterday relating to some key pension funds as part of a broader plan to reform the social security system. After an Inner Cabinet meeting on the issue, Labor Minister Savvas Tsitouridis said that repayment terms for outstanding debts to the IKA fund will be made more favorable. The minister added that heads of state companies and organizations that do not prepare adequate financial statements, including business plans, will be dismissed. Cannabis found Police confiscated yesterday 1,007 cannabis plants found at a plantation on a mountainside area close to Hania, Crete. Two men found guarding the area managed to escape arrest, police added. Authorities were tipped off about the plants, which were up to 2.8 meters tall. Police have detected and confiscated 4,000 cannabis plants in the Hania region so far this summer. Missing tourist The search operation for a missing German tourist on the island of Samos continued for a second day yesterday, authorities said. The 70-year-old German man was last seen at a cafe in the mountain village of Manolates on Sunday. Police were expected to bring in sniffer dogs to help with the search operation. Retirement home The owner of an illegal old persons’ home in Nea Pendeli, north of Athens, was charged yesterday with operating the center without a license, authorities said. The home was accommodating seven elderly women in what authorities described as being poor conditions. Crete stabbing A 50-year-old with mental problems was arrested yesterday after stabbing a 60-year-old woman in Souda, Crete, police said. The victim suffered serious arm and stomach injuries and was taken to the hospital. The 50-year-old is prone to violent outbursts, police said, and had killed one of his sisters and injured the other six years ago. Since then, the unnamed man had been held at several psychiatric clinics and was only released recently. Food checks The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said yesterday that it has checked 208 food companies in western Greece over the last two months and has referred 48 of them to prosecutors for a range of offenses. During these checks, the watchdog seized 2.2 tons of food that was unsuitable for human consumption.