NEWS

In Brief

RIES LEAVING

US ambassador headed to Iraq after almost three years in Greece US Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries will leave his post to take up a position at the US Embassy in Baghdad, it was announced yesterday. The announcement came as a surprise to embassy staff in Athens, sources said. Ries was appointed ambassador to Greece in December 2004. In Baghdad, he will deal with US efforts to rebuild Iraq. He is expected to leave Athens on June 13. Deputy Chief of Mission Thomas Countryman is expected to serve as acting ambassador until a permanent appointment is made. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Liverpool upset they will not get more than 17,000 tickets for Athens final Liverpool have complained about a decision by European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, not to increase the 17,000 tickets the English club has been allocated for the Champions League final against Italian team AC Milan in Athens on May 23. The capacity at the Olympic Stadium for the final will only be 63,000 and tickets priced at around 1,500 euros each have already begun appearing on the black market. Liverpool said that UEFA said any tickets returned by Milan will go into a ballot and not be given to the English side. UEFA has insisted that the allocation is fair. LEIPSOI PROTEST Islanders will press for more ferries Residents of the tiny island of Leipsoi in the Dodecanese yesterday vowed to press their demands for more frequent ferry connections, despite the government’s commitment earlier this week to resume the island’s connection to Piraeus. Local authorities said they were «only partially satisfied» by the government’s offer, insisting on ferry connections to Rhodes, the main island of the Dodecanese. The islanders said they would lift a blockade on their port but would not fulfill their tax and voting obligations until a comprehensive solution is proposed. Kifissos cleanup Another 80 tons of rubbish were cleared from the banks of the Kifissos River in Metamorphosis, northern Athens, as part of an initiative organized by Kathimerini and SKAI radio and TV. Volunteers are being aided by the Karcher cleaning company, which has provided equipment to help the cleanup operation. The initiative will culminate on Sunday in Neo Faliron, where the Kifissos flows into the Saronic Gulf. A free concert featuring Greek rock star Vassilis Papaconstantinou will be held on the beach at 8.30 p.m. Boy dies A 9-year-old boy was killed yesterday when a car being driven by his mother crashed into a bus on a country road near Thessaloniki, police said. The unnamed boy was killed instantly, while the child’s 9-year-old friend, who was also in the car, was injured in the crash. The deceased boy’s 35-year-old mother was also taken to the hospital. Fun run Thousands of Athenians and visitors are expected to participate in the annual Athens Fun Run this Sunday, bringing traffic to a standstill until early afternoon. The main race will start at the Panathenaic Stadium at 10 a.m., while the race for disabled participants is to begin in Syntagma Square at the same time. Participants will follow one of three routes: an 8-kilometer route, a 3.5-kilometer route and a 700-meter course for the disabled. All routes terminate at Zappeion Hall. Public transport for participants will be free between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Drug haul Police in Thessaloniki arrested two Serbian nationals, aged 31 and 29, after seizing more than 200 ecstasy pills in a raid on an apartment in the northern city. The raid also unearthed a small quantity of cocaine, more than 10,000 euros and a notebook containing names and addresses of suspected customers. A 25-year-old student from Serbia, believed to have been a customer, was also arrested. Coach extradited A court in Thessaloniki yesterday ordered the extradition to Croatia of 47-year-old assistant basketball coach Ernest Radjen so he can face trial for alleged war crimes. Radjen, an ethnic Serb from Croatia, joined PAOK in January last year but was arrested in September on suspicion of involvement in the massacre of some 50 civilians in the Zadar area in 1991. Radjen denies the charges. He was placed in custody pending his extradition.