NEWS

In Brief

REFUGEE LAW

People fleeing wars will no longer need permits to stay in the country The government has changed the law so that foreigners who flee to Greece from war zones will not be fined for staying in the country without a residence permit, sources said yesterday. The Interior Ministry tabled the amendment after a number of Lebanese refugees were fined by Greek officials. The new law allows foreigners to stay in Greece without a permit as long as conditions in their own country are not safe. However, the refugees will have to leave Greece within 30 days of the end of the conflict in their homeland. Under the amendment, any fines distributed to Lebanese people in Greece from July 12 to August 14 will be revoked. OLYMPIAN DIES Greece’s oldest athlete from Summer Games passes away in California Peter Clentzos, a pole vaulter who competed for Greece in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles and carried the Olympic Torch in ceremonies for the Athens Games two years ago, has died. He was 97. Clentzos, believed to be the oldest living Greek Olympian, died Monday from complications of hip surgery at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, his son Pete Jr told the Los Angeles Times Thursday. Clentzos, then 23 years old, finished seventh in the pole vault competition. (AP) AMBELOKIPI REGENERATION Neighborhood set for new park Work began yesterday to demolish derelict buildings at the junction of Tryfilias and Lampsa streets in Ambelokipi, central Athens, so a park can be created on the 1-hectare site, local officials said. The area will also host a children’s playground, a retirement home and two buildings that will serve as cultural centers. The Ano Ambelokipi Cultural Association said it has been pushing for the area to be redeveloped since 1959. PAO sacking After a disappointing start to the season, Panathinaikos soccer club said late yesterday that it had fired Swedish coach Hans Backe. The Athenian club only managed a 1-1 draw against Ukrainian team Metalurh Zaporizhya in the home leg of their UEFA Cup tie on Thursday. Swimmer survives A 53-year-old man from Rhodes who was swept out to sea on Thursday afternoon was rescued some 1.5 nautical miles off the coast of the island yesterday morning after spending all night trying to stay awake, authorities said. The unnamed man had been swimming at Lahania beach, southern Rhodes, when the current dragged him away from land. He told authorities that he could not swim back to the beach and was eventually rescued by a passing fishing boat the next morning. The bather was taken to the hospital after being pulled from the sea. Crete murder A photographer who was found dead at his home in the Cretan village of Zoniana, near Rethymnon, had been shot in the head at close range, police said yesterday. The body of the unnamed 50-year-old was found on Thursday evening by two local girls. A coroner said that the victim had been shot from about 3 meters away. No weapon was found in the house. Police said that the photographer was popular with village residents and officers have launched a murder inquiry. Thieves tackled Police said yesterday that they have arrested three men who allegedly held up three supermarkets and two banks in Attica in the last two weeks. Officers tracked down the suspects after they attempted to rob a branch of Laiki Bank in Metamorphosis, northern Athens. The three unnamed men are foreign nationals aged between 22 and 26, police said. They were arrested after a chase on Thursday. Manslaughter trial A judge in Leeds, England, yesterday ruled that a Greek engineer was unfit to stand trial on charges of manslaughter and kidnapping in the death of a young woman. Yiannis Revenikiotis, 28, is accused of causing the death three years ago of 20-year-old Stephanie Hammill, who fell from his moving car after mistaking it for a taxi. Justice Alexander Butterfield said Revenikiotis was incapable of cooperating with his lawyers. Butterfield ordered Revenikiotis removed from court after he repeatedly interrupted proceedings. (AP)