NEWS

In Brief

FIREBOMBINGS

Arsonists target banks and ruling party office in string of Attica hits Arsonists attacked five banks and a New Democracy Party office in Athens early yesterday, police said. The attacks began at 2.26 a.m. when assailants threw Molotov cocktails at a branch of Emporiki bank in Kaisariani, eastern Athens. Neighboring branches of Emporoki and the Bank of Cyprus were attacked less than 10 minutes later in the northern suburb of Neo Iraklion. At the same time, a homemade explosive device was placed outside a branch of National Bank in the central district of Patissia. A few minutes later, a branch of Alpha Bank in nearby Kypseli was also set on fire. Nobody was injured in the attacks but the buildings suffered minor damage. The ND office in the coastal suburb of Alimos was also attacked at around 2.30 a.m., police said. Assailants smashed a window and threw a firebomb into the office. Nobody was injured and no arrests were reported. HOTEL REOPENS Corcyra Beach on Corfu, where children died, is given license back The Corcyra Beach hotel, where two British children died from suspected gas poisoning last October, will be allowed to reopen after having its license suspended, the Tourism Ministry said yesterday. The ministry had moved in April to temporarily shut down the hotel, in Gouvia on the Ionian island of Corfu, after it was revealed that the establishment was owned by the Louis Group, which also owned the Sea Diamond cruise ship which sank off Santorini. The ministry said that 265 of the hotel’s 373 rooms would be allowed to receive visitors after the company confirmed they had received fire safety certification. The company has not yet asked for an operating license for the remaining 108 rooms. BUTCHER TRIAL Man stabbed for noisy scooter repair A 31-year-old butcher is to face trial for allegedly stabbing a young man outside his home in Thessaloniki because the latter was making too much noise while fixing his scooter, court sources said yesterday. The unnamed butcher is alleged to have attacked the victim using a professional butcher’s knife, with a 24-centimeter blade, in June 2004. The victim, then 21, had been tinkering with his scooter with five friends at around 1.30 a.m. The butcher objected to the noise, prompting an argument after which the butcher allegedly stabbed the 21-year-old in his side, causing serious injuries. Piraeus debt The Municipality of Piraeus is 179 million euros in debt, Piraeus Mayor Panayiotis Fassoulas said yesterday. Fassoulas said he had met with Economy and Interior Ministry officials to discuss the issuing of a new 80-million-euro loan for the municipality to tackle the debt. «The only way the municipality can realize its program, and cover its debts, is by taking out a new loan,» he said, noting that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis did the same thing when she was mayor of Athens. Door-knocking fraud The Prefecture of Athens warned residents not to hand over any money to a couple who had reportedly gone door-to-door in Petroupolis, western Athens, claiming to be collecting money for car accident victims and their families. The prefecture received a number of phone calls from people in the area saying they had been asked for money from the couple who claimed to be representing the prefecture. The couple is believed to have forged receipt books and stamps with them bearing the prefecture’s name. Tram disruptions Tram employees have called a four-hour work stoppage today, between noon and 4 p.m. The company said tram routes will gradually be introduced after the end of the work stoppage. Bank heist Two armed men held up a branch of National Bank in Thessaloniki yesterday and made away with 11,474 euros, police said. The holdup took place at about 9.40 a.m. and the assailants fled the scene on a motorbike, police added. Food checks The Athens Prefecture confiscated 5.3 tons of food that was unfit for consumption during checks on food companies such as butchers, supermarkets and bakeries, it said yesterday. The prefecture also launched legal proceedings against 61 businesses for violating health regulations and issued 20,400 euros’ worth of fines.