NEWS

In Brief

BEIRUT FLIGHT

First OA plane lands in Lebanon after conflict; more than 130 on board The first Olympic Airlines from Athens to Lebanon since the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel began in July touched down at Beirut airport yesterday. Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis was on board the flight and expressed support for the Lebanese government. «I am here as a symbolic gesture to show that Greece believes in the peace process in Lebanon and that the country will soon be revived,» said Kassimis, who was welcomed by Lebanese Environment Minister Yacoub Sarraf. «We will never forget that the first ships that docked in Beirut were the Rhodos and Chios,» said Sarraf, thanking Greece for its humanitarian assistance. More than 130 people were on board the flight to Beirut airport, which shut down on July 13 after being bombed by Israeli fighter jets. BERISHA VISIT Albanian premier to arrive in Athens today for economic cooperation talks Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha will make a two-day visit to Greece today, the government said yesterday, after being invited by Premier Costas Karamanlis. Berisha said his trip is aimed at strengthening political and economic ties. «I will invite investors in the country friendly to us to come and invest in Albania,» Berisha told his Democratic Party’s parliamentary group. The Albanian prime minister has set up a project called «Albania, 1 euro» to try and attract foreign investors by offering them cheap services and contracts. DEADLY FIRE Two die during blaze in Evia home A 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old daughter were found dead yesterday in their house in the village of Disto on the island of Evia after a fire broke out in the building. Firefighters said the blaze was burning in three different parts of the house. After reports that the woman had been suffering mental problems, the fire service is examining the possibility that she set fire to her home. Tax dodgers Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday that the government will set up a committee to fight tax evasion. The body will include union and employer groups and will recommend measures to help reduce lost tax revenues. The committee will also be responsible for a campaign to raise public awareness of the issue. Bomb scare There was a traffic jam on Mesogeion Avenue in Aghia Paraskevi, northern Athens, yesterday after a bomb scare at the offices of the Eastern Attica Prefecture. Police closed the busy road for about half an hour as they inspected the building following an anonymous telephone call warning that an explosive device had been placed in the offices. Police did not find a bomb in the building and reopened the road. Bank heist A man who pretended to have a gun in his bag held up a branch of the Bank of Cyprus in Thessaloniki yesterday and made away with 15,200 euros, police said. The robbery was committed without the customers or some staff members in the bank realizing that it was taking place. The suspect escaped the scene on foot, police added. Bulldozer suspects Eight people, aged 22-28, who were arrested after allegedly stealing 200,000 euros from a Cretan bank last week using a bulldozer, will face a judge today. The suspects appeared before a magistrate in Hania yesterday but were given 24 hours more to prepare their defenses. Athens medal Athens Mayor Theodoros Behrakis yesterday awarded the Greek national basketball team the city’s gold medal for merit for its success at the World Championships in Japan, where Greece was runner-up. Behrakis said that the team’s greatest achievement had been to teach Greeks the value of teamwork. The medal was collected by the team’s coach Panayiotis Yiannakis. Lucky find Three sports bags containing a total of 92.5 kilos of cannabis were found on the Greek-Albanian border by border guards, authorities said yesterday. The drug had recently been abandoned near Ano Pogoni in northwestern Greece, officers said.