NEWS

In Brief

HELLENIKON BEACH

Mayor continues hunger strike as seafront cleanup is organized As Mayor Christos Kortzidis entered the eighth day of his hunger strike, his municipality of Hellenikon in southern Athens said yesterday that it has decided to clean up its beaches, with the help of other municipalities, on Wednesday. Kortzidis is protesting the illegal operation of nightclubs and other businesses on the Hellenikon seafront. Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos yesterday pledged that the government would do «everything necessary to give the beach back to the people» but did not give any specific details. FORTUNE STOLEN Pensioner loses 280,000 euros in cash as well as gold sovereigns An 83-year-old man from Serres, northern Greece, was robbed of 280,000 euros’ worth of cash and gold sovereigns from his home while he was in the hospital receiving medical treatment, police said yesterday. Police said they have arrested two suspects, aged 68 and 38, believed to have broken into the house and stolen the money which was in drachmas. Police found in the men’s possession 308,000 drachmas (904 euros), 6,230 euros and a luxury car believed to have been bought with stolen money. Police are searching for a third man they believe helped the other two suspects convert the money into euros. TICKET MEASURES Final problems prompt rethink European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, has vowed to tighten security at next year’s Champions League in Moscow after there was trouble in Athens with fans getting into the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday lacking or with forged tickets. «Next season, we will have tougher measures for the final in Moscow,» UEFA spokesman William Gaillard told Reuters. «We may look at the idea of people only being given a visa if they have an official match ticket.» Meanwhile, British Ambassador Simon Gass met with Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis yesterday to discuss the problems with the security measures for the final. Property scam A public notary, aged 62, who had been remanded in custody for her alleged involvement in a trial-fixing scandal, has also been accused of running a racket involving the fraudulent sale of real estate property. Along with three other suspects, the woman is believed to have attempted to sell property in Palaio Psychico, northern Athens, for 3 million euros. However, a local real estate agent notified the real owner of the property who in turn informed police. Authorities then set up an appointment with the suspects, pretending to be interested in the acquisition, so they could arrest them. Telephone interruption OTE telecom said yesterday that people living in Gerakas and the Patima area of Halandri, northeastern Athens, might experience problems with their telephone lines over the next few days due to an upgrade of the telephone exchange that serves the area. OTE said it had begun transferring users’ lines to the new center yesterday and warned that people may temporarily not be able to make or receive calls during the process. US Embassy The US Embassy in Athens, including the consular section, the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki and all US government offices in Greece, will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day, a US national holiday. The consular section of the embassy in Athens will also be closed to the public on Wednesday for administrative reasons. Billboard cleanup Deputy Interior Minister Thanassis Nakos yesterday distributed an urgent circular to regional authorities urging them to take down roadside advertising signs and billboards. The circular asked authorities to intensify checks, impose fines where necessary, and follow guidelines set down by the ministry.