NEWS

In Brief

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Greece responds to UN criticism by announcing special departments Greece is to create special departments to deal with illegal immigration in the eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese Islands, the government revealed yesterday. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos signed a presidential decree that paves the way for these departments to be created on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes, Kos and Evia. Following strong criticism from the UN refugee agency about the conditions at the reception center for migrants on Samos, the Interior Ministry said that a newly built center would be opened at the end of the month. PSYTTALEIA FINE Water board penalizes firm for strong stench coming from plant The Athens Water Supply and Sewage Company (EYDAP) yesterday fined the firm managing a drying unit on the islet of Psyttaleia, following a week of complaints by residents of Piraeus and other coastal areas regarding the strong stench being emitted from the plant. Aktor ATE has been fined 20,000 euros «for non-compliance with the required measures for avoiding environmental nuisances,» EYDAP said. Last week, Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Sgouros wrote a letter to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis asking him to intervene following mass complaints by local residents. ANIMAL ABUSE Group condemns killing of dogs Animal rights organizations yesterday condemned the unidentified individuals behind a blaze last week in Amaliada, central Greece, that killed 25 dogs. Ahead of today’s World Animal Day, the Saint Francis of Assisi Association said it has offered 3,000 euros to whoever can identify the culprits. «Some people have already communicated with us,» association president Marina Petropoulaki-Kollia said. The dogs burned to death in a pen in the village of Roviata, Amaliada, last last Wednesday when a fire started on some dry hay nearby and spread to the pen. It is unclear whether the incident was intentional or due to negligence. Burma protest A group of women MPs and MEPs signed a declaration yesterday calling for the military junta in Burma, also known as Myanmar, to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. Following a suggestion by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, 30 women politicians signed the document which praised Suu Kyi as «an international symbol of peaceful and heroic resistance» and that her «personal sacrifice is an inspiration and source of hope for men and women around the world.» Drug bust Police in Thessaloniki said yesterday that they have smashed a drug ring operating in the city and that 12 suspects have been arrested over the last 10 days. The city’s police and coast guard cooperated in the operation, which led to almost 5 kilos of hashish being seized, as well as 264 ecstasy pills and small amounts of heroin, cocaine and LSD. Officers also confiscated almost 5,000 euros in cash and two cars. Armed robbery Two armed men held up a post office in Thessaloniki yesterday and made away with 9,248 euros in cash. The holdup took place at around 9.30 a.m. and the two assailants escaped the scene by motorcycle, police added. Samos migrants Coast guard officers have arrested a 32-year-old man who allegedly smuggled 19 illegal immigrants from Turkey to the eastern Aegean island of Samos. The suspect was found with the migrants in a small boat near the island. The migrants were taken for medical checks and the suspected trafficker was remanded in custody. Landfill fire A fire broke out at a landfill in Koropi, east of Athens, but was quickly controlled before spreading to adjoining areas, according to authorities. Firefighters and municipality workers with earth-moving equipment took part in the operation to put out the blaze that did not threaten homes.