NEWS

In Brief

DIMITRAKIS TRIAL

Witnesses defend alleged bank robber, saying he has ‘high morals’ Three self-styled anarchists told a court in Athens yesterday that the 43,000 euros found in post office box in the name of alleged bank robber Yiannis Dimitrakis was not loot from bank raids but deposits by other anti-state activists. The defense witnesses in Dimitrakis’s trial said that anarchists had collected the money as a «solidarity fund» so they could post bail for friends and pay for their legal defense. They added that Dimitrakis, also a self-styled anarchist, had been entrusted to keep the money because of his «high morals.» It was also claimed that the suspect did not intend to use the gun he was carrying during a bloody bank robbery in central Athens in January 2006. CYPRUS GOV’T Four AKEL ministers step down from Cabinet as coalition dissolves Four Cypriot ministers representing the communist AKEL party resigned from the government yesterday after the collapse of the island’s tripartite coalition. The resignations of the foreign, health, transport and interior ministers was triggered by AKEL’s decision to withdraw support for President Tassos Papadopoulos in the next presidential elections and back its own leader, Dimitris Christofias, instead. The new ministers are due to be appointed to the 11-member Cabinet by the end of the week. The Cabinet will then remain in place until the presidential elections in February. BEACH INSPECTIONS Municipalities to help with checks Athens prosecutor Panayiotis Panayiotopoulos has called on beachside municipalities to report any cases of businesses illegally taking over beaches as part of a renewed push to free up access to the city’s swimming areas. Along with police presence yesterday, a prosecutor visited the beach – after complaints by local residents – in Varkiza, south of Athens, and uncovered a number of violations regarding lack of access to the beach area. The prosecutor is expected to prepare a report on the issue soon that will outline the charges that should be brought. Child negligence The head and two employees of a state-run nursery in Aghioi Anargyroi, western Athens, were given two-year jail sentences, suspended for three years, for causing physical harm to a 3-year-old child through negligence. The boy drank cleaning fluids at the nursery in July 2004 and has since had to undergo 90 operations, the court heard. The child suffered severe burns to his esophagus. Thessaloniki landfill A solution to Thessaloniki’s refuse problem could be in sight as local authorities said yesterday that a new landfill would begin operating on the outskirts of the northern city in January. The dump at Mavrorachi will open for a «trial period» as a number of other infrastructure projects need to be completed before it can operate at full capacity. Illegal stash A 34-year-old Chinese national was arrested in Serres, northern Greece, after police found in his possession weapons and illegally produced CDs. The weapons found in his possession included swords, knives, switchblades and electric shock guns. The suspect confessed to police that he was illegally producing CDs. Water cleared Authorities gave the drinking water in the area of Ayia, located near Larissa in central Greece, the all clear yesterday after it had been blamed for causing a spate of gastroenteritis in a large number of residents in the area. Concerns over the safety of the drinking water arose on fears that ashes from a nearby forest fire had settled in water tanks. Residents have been drinking only bottled water recently but authorities described the tap water quality as being very good. Cannabis haul Police confiscated 33 cannabis trees up to 2.5 meters tall in farmland in the area of Kilkis, northern Greece, police said yesterday. Authorities had been monitoring the illegal plantation recently and arrested the suspect as he was watering the plants. Leros migrants Six immigrants were arrested off the island of Leros yesterday after coast guard officers found they did not have any travel documents on them, the Merchant Marine Ministry said.