NEWS

In Brief

Pendeli blaze

Suspected arsonist, 57, given until tomorrow to prepare defense A 57-year-old man, who has been linked to a blaze that ravaged Mount Pendeli last week, was yesterday released pending his scheduled appearance before an investigating magistrate tomorrow. The man, who’s son – a firefighter – was killed earlier this year while trying to extinguish a factory blaze, has refuted charges of arson and endangering lives, claiming to have been in a cafe at the time that four simultaneous fires broke out on Pendeli. He asked the magistrate for more time to prepare his defense. Road deaths Six people killed in 74 car crashes in Attica in a week, police say Six people were killed in the 74 car accidents that occurred in Attica during the last week, the traffic police said yesterday. Another five people were seriously injured while 98 more suffered minor injuries. Two of those killed were pedestrians who were run over, according to the official figures. During the last seven days, police patrols have recorded 1,298 offenses, with driving without due care, not stopping at yield signs and speeding being the most common. The period around August 15 is usually the time of year when there is the smallest number of cars in Attica due to the number of people on vacation. Samos migrants Officials detain 59 in two days Coast guard officers pulled four migrants out of the sea off Samos yesterday before finding another 14 illegal immigrants on a nearby beach. The migrants had sailed to the eastern Aegean island from Turkey in a rubber dinghy. They were taken to a medical center for checks and all 18 were found to be well. The coast guard said that there were three young girls and four women in the group but did not reveal their nationality. Another 41 illegal immigrants were found on the island on Sunday morning. The migrants were from Lebanon, Somalia and Afghanistan. Greek lessons Education Minister Marietta Giannakou yesterday approved the allocation of 290,000 euros to subsidize Greek language courses at foreign universities. The initiative, which aims to «promote a new generation of philhellenes,» is to receive a further 110,000 euros in funding next year, the ministry said. Unfit gym Joe Weider gyms have agreed to refund the money paid by residents in Neo Iraklion, northern Athens, for membership at the local gym shortly before it closed down suddenly and moved to Lykovrisi. Residents enlisted the help of the Greek Quality of Life Consumer Union (EKPOIZO) to get their money back. The gym closed down and moved three days after residents had paid for an annual subscription. It was not clear how many people were affected. A manager at Joe Weider, Giorgos Keramidas, told Kathimerini that all those affected would get their money back in the first two weeks of September. EKPOIZO warned consumers to take care when signing up for gym membership as the consumer group says that it is still an unregulated industry. Family business Police in northern Greece yesterday arrested a father and son believed to have been operating a people-trafficking ring after discovering nine would-be migrants in the vehicle they had been traveling in. Officers discovered the immigrants, whose ethnic origin was not revealed, after stopping the father and son for a police inspection on a country road connecting Florina to Edessa. Toxic spoons The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) yesterday announced the withdrawal from the Greek retail market of Chinese-made sets of plastic spoons, warning that they could constitute a health risk. The product, trading under the name «Mam soft spoon set,» was found to be dangerous as the spoons can dissolve in oil, EFET said. Consumers who have purchased the product should return it to the retailer.