NEWS

In Brief

PSYCHICO MINE

Court refuses request for mining to restart on Tourkovounia hillside The Council of State has rejected an appeal by Kekrops mining company to stop the reforestation of a 20-hectare area on the hillside of Tourkovounia in Psychico, northern Athens, where a mine used to operate, court sources said yesterday. Greece’s highest administrative court ruled that although the Constitution allows mines to operate in forested areas, it decrees that those areas should be reforested once the mines stop operating. TRAFFICKERS NABBED Two people smugglers tried to hide among boatload of immigrants Two men were arrested for human trafficking yesterday after they attempted to hide themselves by declaring that they were among the 108 illegal immigrants detained on a sailboat at the eastern Aegean island of Farmakonissi on Tuesday. An investigation revealed that the two suspects, foreign nationals, were members of the ring that organized the group’s transportation. The coast guard had arrested two Greek men on Tuesday in connection to the operation. The two men were allegedly involved in similar incidents. CAR INSURANCE ‘Disorganized’ firm shut down The Development Ministry said yesterday that it recalled the trading permit for insurance company Oikonomiki AEGA, a firm that supplies 70,000 customers with car insurance coverage. The ministry decided to shut down the company because of its poor organization and failure to explain how it funded a share capital increase. Factory fire About 75 firefighters were needed yesterday to contain a blaze at an ink factory in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, authorities said. The fire broke out at the factory, which is owned by Ilios and Druckfarben, at 10.45 a.m. and was extinguished by 12.45 p.m. Two workers were slightly injured. The fire service said the fire was probably caused by a mistake during the mixing of chemicals in one of the building’s warehouses. Firefighters had to pour foam over four 60-ton tanks containing paint thinner to contain the blaze and prevent explosions. African ties Greece intends to alter its foreign policy so it develops closer relations with African countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday. He said that was the message conveyed by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to African ambassadors when they met in Athens on Wednesday. Bakoyannis also agreed to a suggestion that Greece should organize a conference to assess its relations with African countries. Woman murdered The body of a 33-year-old woman, a Chinese national, was found in a plastic rubbish bag in her home in Igoumenitsa, western Greece. The victim’s sister found the body, which displayed head wounds, in the kitchen. Police said that evidence showed a fight took place before the apparent murder. They have started questioning suspects. Rejected food The Agricultural Development Ministry said yesterday that it had seized since September more than 500 tons of imported food products, mostly fish, which were deemed unsuitable for human consumption. The single largest haul was 250 tons of frozen sardines from Morocco. The sardines were seized because of inadequate labeling. Other products that were confiscated included cod from Canada, octopus from Chile and rice from Pakistan. Flu shots The National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) asked residents to wait for the next batch of flu shots to be imported into Greece after chemists sold out on Monday. EOF blamed the delay on pharmaceutical companies. Authorities said that by the end of October, 1.65 million flu shots will have been imported into Greece, covering the country’s needs. Burning GMOs? The public prosecutor’s office in Larissa, central Greece, said yesterday that it will investigate claims that a factory which burns genetically modified seeds is operating on the outskirts of the city. The allegations were made on Friday – two days before local elections. The prosecutor’s office said that if it discovers that the factory exists, it will investigate whether it is a danger to public health.