NEWS

In Brief

BEACH BATTLE

Regional authority orders mayor to reopen Hellenikon seaside nightclubs The Attica Regional Authority has ordered the reopening of three nightclubs on the beach at Hellenikon just days after the local municipality closed them down, it emerged yesterday. After a long campaign, which included a 24-day hunger strike by Hellenikon Mayor Christos Kortzidis, the municipality succeeded in shutting down the clubs based on evidence that showed they were illegal as they had only a license to operate as restaurants or cafeterias. The company that owns the bars, Poseidon Petroclub, appealed the decision in court but judges threw the case out. However, the Regional Authority ruled that the municipality had exceeded its authority in closing down the clubs and said there is not enough evidence to prove they are not complying with their license. FALIRAKI ANTICS Austrian tourists sentenced for toying with Greek flag on Rhodes Two Austrian tourists, aged 18 and 20, both received suspended one-year jail sentences on the island of Rhodes yesterday for pulling down a Greek flag, which one of them then stuffed into his underwear. The tourists, who were not named, were arrested at the popular resort of Faliraki on Sunday after pulling down the flag, which was flying on a pole at a hotel on the beach. A Rhodes court found them guilty of «insulting a national symbol.» A British tourist on the island was given a prison sentence last week after biting a policeman and ripping his shirt as he was being arrested in Faliraki. The popular resort has developed a reputation for drunken antics in recent years. FOOT-AND-MOUTH EU slaps ban on British meat The European Commission yesterday announced a formal EU-wide import ban on meat and livestock from the British mainland following the outbreak there of foot-and-mouth disease. The ban covers fresh meat as well as live cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and milk products, said Philip Tod, spokesman for EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. Kyprianou said that he believes the outbreak in Britain is an «isolated incident.» «The European Commission regards the issue as an isolated incident as it appears that the virus did not occur naturally, but was a leak from a specific vaccine-processing institute, and has not spread. We do not see any danger for the rest of Europe,» he told reporters in Cyprus. Police impersonators Two men, both Romanian nationals, have been arrested in Athens after allegedly posing as police officers and stealing from tourists after instructing them to hand over their baggage for inspection. The suspects, aged 54 and 44, are believed to have conned five tourists, from whom they stole 1,920 euros and some 850 euros in foreign currency. Fraud charge A 20-year-old man who was arrested in Thessaloniki on the weekend for trying to trick 400,000 e-mail recipients into paying him a small fee to collect money from a fake lottery was charged with the criminal offense of fraud, police said yesterday. The unnamed suspect, an information technology student, was handed a seven-month suspended jail sentence for fraud and forgery. Police also said a warrant had been issued for the arrest of the 20-year-old’s accomplice. Bridge collapse Authorities in the US have listed Greek-American Christine Sacorafas as one of the eight people missing since a highway bridge collapsed in Minneapolis last Wednesday. The 45-year-old was on her way to teach a Greek folk-dancing class when she got caught in a traffic jam. She called another teacher minutes before the bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed and has not been heard from since. Some 100 people were injured when the concrete and steel Interstate 35W bridge gave way in rush hour traffic. Divers have not been able to find any of the eight missing people. Serious burns A 36-year-old man suffered burns to 80 percent of his body on Sunday in Hania, Crete, when a propane cylinder used in a portable burner exploded, authorities said yesterday. The man was using a gas-powered burner to heat up material in a storeroom when the cylinder exploded due to a leak. Police said the storeroom was completely destroyed by the explosion and that minor damage was caused to adjoining homes. No one else was injured in the accident.