NEWS

In Brief

TERRORIST HUNT

Police looking for missile testing site that may have been used by suspects Police sources told Kathimerini yesterday that officers are searching a number of remote sites around Greece which they believe terrorists may have used as testing grounds to fire rocket-propelled grenades before their attack on the US Embassy. The November 17 group was known to have gone to disused quarries to test its weaponry before staging attacks and police think the current crop of terrorists may have done the same. Officers want people who may have inadvertently witnessed one of these tests a while ago to come forward. Sources said that so far only 35 people had responded to a public appeal for information on the 170 and 1014 hotlines. RUNNING WATER EYDAP wants to charge customers another 3 percent on their bills The Athens Water and Sewage Company (EYDAP) yesterday asked permission from the government to raise its water charges by 3 percent – just over the rate of inflation. EYDAP also wants to increase sewage charges. They are currently equal to 60 percent of a customer’s water charges but EYDAP wants to raise this to 65 percent. The last increase in water prices was by 2.8 percent in December 2004. The Economy and Finance Ministry and the Public Works Ministry are due to decide on EYDAP’s request in the next 10 days. UV-BLOCKING BEANS Vegetable can be used as sunscreen A strain of the common bean which grows in the mountains of Serres and Drama in northern Greece is an effective sunscreen when mashed into a pulp, a group of scientists in Thessaly revealed yesterday. Laboratory tests on genetic tissue show that the mashed pulp of the bean offers significant protection against the sun’s rays but further tests need to be conducted before the bean can be marketed, the scientists said. Greek and foreign firms have already expressed interest in the northern Greek bean. Aslam released The council of appeals court judges yesterday unanimously turned down a request by Pakistan to extradite Javed Aslam, the head of the Pakistani Unity Organization, to Islamabad on human-trafficking charges. Pakistan alleged that Aslam was involved in smuggling illegal immigrants into Greece but his supporters claim he is being targeted because he spoke out against the alleged interrogation of Pakistani migrants in July last year. The judges seemed to agree with the latter, saying that Aslam had been «selectively» prosecuted and the dangers he faced if he was extradited were not in line with the charges filed against him. Sit-in protest Dozens of leftist protesters occupied the offices of the Thessaloniki Bar Association yesterday, demanding the release of two detainees who have been on hunger strike for weeks. Tarasio Zantorozni, an illegal immigrant from Ukraine, and Gerasimos Kyriakopoulos, a Greek, were arrested last May during a European Social Forum gathering in the northern city and charged with attempted murder, the supply and possession of explosives and other crimes. In protest at their arrest, which they condemn as unjust, Zantorozni has been on hunger strike since November 20 and Kyriakopoulos since December 15. Both are said to be extremely frail. Robbers shoot Two armed robbers shot a man as he was leaving a branch of Piraeus bank in Pangrati, eastern Athens, yesterday morning, police said. The man, thought to be around 50 years old was taken to the hospital with a serious injury after being shot in the side. The two robber made off on a motorcycle after stealing the man’s briefcase. It was not immediately known how much money was inside. OTE clarification The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) clarified yesterday that it had not been responsible for a virus that installed itself on some customers’ computers and automatically dialed expensive 901 phone sex lines run by a company called Maknan. This led to a number of people receiving vastly inflated phone bills. The Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) has ordered OTE not to charge for these calls and for Maknan to shut down its 901 lines. OTE said it will abide by the decision but said it had nothing to do with the setting up of the phone sex lines or the overcharging of customers.