NEWS

In Brief

LEBANON PEACEKEEPERS

PM tells Annan that Greek forces will join stabilizing effort within days Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday that within the next few days Greece would be sending a navy frigate and the relevant personnel to join the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, according to government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. Athens pledged the assistance last month. Roussopoulos said that the two men had a telephone conversation, adding that the UN had confirmed the rules of engagement for the peacekeeping force. Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis also confirmed that the frigate was ready to sail to the Middle East. ARMS CHECK Cypriot authorities inspect ship for alleged illegal shipment of weapons Authorities in Limassol, southern Cyprus, were yesterday searching a Syria-bound cargo ship after being tipped off that it was carrying illegal weapons, officials said. The Panamanian-flagged Gregorio I was en route from Port Said, Egypt, to Latakia in Syria and had anchored off Limassol on Tuesday. The ship was meant to be carrying pipes and meteorological equipment but authorities were checking that the items were not part of any weapons system. GANG BEATING Teen injured in attack by 10 youths A 14-year-old boy was beaten and robbed in Keratsini, near Piraeus, late on Tuesday by a gang of 10 teenagers, police said. The victim told police that he was beaten with a large stick before his bag was taken, which contained his identification card and mobile phone. Police said that they will step up patrols in the Keratsini area where gangs are known to gather. Illegal immigrants Of the 1,840 illegal immigrants and 52 smugglers detained through August 31 this year, the great majority are believed to have come from Turkey, coast guard officials revealed yesterday. An analysis of official statistics for 2005 – when 3,371 illegal immigrants and 112 smugglers were arrested – revealed that 90 percent of the smuggling boats came from the Turkish coast, while 57 percent of the smugglers were of Turkish origin. The use of modern technology and expert staff has boosted efforts to curb human trafficking, sources told Kathimerini. Hit-and-run trial A British tourist was given a suspended six-month prison sentence by a Cypriot court yesterday over the death of a Cypriot teenager in a hit-and-run incident. James Goodwin, 22, pleaded guilty to possession of a knife and being an accessory after the fact. Three other British men were charged on Monday with the manslaughter of 17-year-old Christos Papiris by allegedly ramming their rental car into his motorbike. Tourist drowns A 45-year-old man from Denmark drowned in hotel pool yesterday in Hania, Crete, police said. An investigation has been launched into the causes of the accident. Authorities said that the victim and his wife had been consuming alcohol. Olympus fire A brushfire burned about a hectare of land at the foot of Mount Olympus in central Greece yesterday. The fire broke out on Tuesday night but was brought under control yesterday morning by 15 firefighters. The blaze did not burn any trees, just bushes and other vegetation, officials said. No one was injured in the fire. Tax evasion Checks by state inspectors on businesses on more than 30 Greek islands revealed that half of those audited were breaking the law. Officials from the Special Investigation Service found that 697 of the 1,354 businesses they visited were committing at least one tax offense. Among the cases, inspectors found one travel agency on a Sporades island had failed to issue 116 receipts and a nightclub on a Dodecanese island had not issued entrance tickets to 340 customers. Mild quake An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale shook the central Greek city of Agrinion, said the Athens Geodynamic Institute. There were no reports of injuries or damage. The tremor, which occurred at 12.47 p.m., had an epicenter 276 kilometers northwest of Athens.