NEWS

In Briefs

CALLAS AUCTION

Greece eyes items going under the hammer in Milan next month Greece is thinking of bidding for various personal belongings of opera diva Maria Callas that are to be auctioned off next month, according to reports yesterday. Sotheby’s is due to put letters, dresses and other items that belonged to Callas up for sale in Milan on December 12 after the items were released by the estate of her late husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini. «The sale of these items interests us hugely,» Britain’s Guardian newspaper quoted Culture Ministry official Panayiotis Kakoliris as saying. «Right now, we are looking into how we can raise the funds to both buy and bring them back here.» BOURBOULIA RELEASED Former justice out of custody after spending almost 18 months in jail A council of appeals court judges decided yesterday to allow former judge Constantina Bourboulia, who is facing corruption charges, to be released from custody. The verdict was issued just as Bourboulia was nearing 18 months in custody following allegations that she was involved in a trial-fixing ring. By law, she would have to be released when the 18 months were up. Bourboulia has been banned from leaving the country and will have to appear at her local police station twice a month. Her trial is continuing. LINGERING STENCH Deadline set for stink on Psyttaleia Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Michas yesterday called on the Athens Water Supply and Sewage Company (EYDAP) to stop work on the islet of Psyttaleia, the site of Attica’s only sewage-processing unit, as the stench is overwhelming residents of the prefecture. EYDAP yesterday reportedly agreed to interrupt its work after Michas said the smell had been worse than usual. But the prefect has called on EYDAP to solve the problem by November 15 or face wide-scale protests. «We are determined to stop all activities that compromise citizens’ quality of life and health,» Michas said. Bank robbers Four men accused of stealing 2.85 million euros from an Alpha Bank cash distribution center were remanded in custody yesterday on charges of robbing a bank, illegally withholding money and forming a gang. The alleged gang consisted of a 42-year-old police officer, a 57-year-old shop owner, a 45-year-old bank security guard and a 28-year-old. Police said they have recovered 2.4 million euros of the money stolen last week. School muggings Three youngsters were arrested yesterday on suspicion of mugging at least 14 schoolchildren in the northern suburb of Vrilissia. The suspects were found to be in possession of two replica handguns, which police believe they used to scare their victims. Church break-in A 32-year-old woman and two men, aged 26 and 29, have been arrested for allegedly breaking into a church in Aliveri, on the island of Evia, and stealing most of its contents, including the collection box. The stolen items were recovered from the home of the 32-year-old, police said. Road safety Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis yesterday announced the launch of a new advertising campaign to promote road safety. The aim of the new program is to reduce the rate of road deaths, which is among the highest in Europe. Road fatalities are estimated to cost the Greek state some 3 billion euros annually. Iraklion tremor An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded in Iraklion, Crete, shortly before 1 a.m. yesterday. The quake’s epicenter was in the sea south of Iraklion. No injuries or damage were reported. Anti-flood works Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias yesterday heralded the release of European Union funding for the construction of anti-flood works in the prefecture of Thessaloniki and the creation of waste-processing units around Lake Koroneia, Greece’s dirtiest body of water. Souflias made his comments during talks with Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis.