NEWS

In Brief

Fire chief

Head of service resigns without giving reason, 3 months after fires The head of the Greek fire service, Andreas Kois, resigned yesterday, the Interior Ministry said, without giving any reason. There was speculation that the move by Kois, 57, had been fueled by last summer’s catastrophic forest fires that killed 67 people, but this was not confirmed. There were also reports that Kois disagreed with civil protection agency officials over firefighting plans. A new fire chief is to be appointed today. Cretan crime Muggers net 30,000 euros and thugs strike as police busy elsewhere Unidentified assailants yesterday got away with two crimes on Crete as police continued their investigations into the drug and arms trade. In the first case, armed robbers snatched a bag containing 30,000 euros from a security guard in the area of Aghios Andreas, in Rethymnon. Meanwhile in Ammoudara, Iraklion prefecture, two assailants smashed up a bar after the owner refused to give them protection money, police said. Basement lessons Pupils protest ‘temporary solution’ Dozens of primary school pupils have been receiving their lessons in a makeshift basement classroom in Thessaloniki’s Evosmos district after school numbers increased and they could not be accommodated elsewhere. The pupils, reportedly all from immigrant families, staged a sit-in on Monday, protesting the solution which, authorities say, is temporary. The basement lacks the necessary classroom infrastructure and has bad ventilation, pupils say. Local authorities say a proper classroom will be ready by Christmas. No coffee The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, has blocked a decision by the Environment and Public Works Ministry to allow a «traditional cafe» to open on the ground floor of a listed building in Athens’s historic Plaka district. The court found that the opening of a cafe would not be in keeping with the characteristics of the building that had led to it being listed. Christmas unwrapped Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis is due to announce today how the city plans to celebrate Christmas this year. Kaklamanis will unveil the details of all the festivities that will be organized by the municipality this month, under the slogan «Magical Christmas in Athens.» Thessaloniki unveiled its Christmas tree on Monday night. It is one of the biggest natural Christmas trees in Europe, standing some 22.5 meters tall. Antennas removed The municipality of Trikkaion, in the prefecture of Trikala, central Greece, has removed dozens of antennas from the roofs of local apartment blocks in a bid to enhance the vicinity aesthetically and curb perceived health risks posed by the aerials. The move came after 23 apartment blocks asked municipal authorities to remove dozens of antennas and replace them with one central antenna for each block. The initiative will be applied to more apartment buildings in the municipality. Mokbel An Athens court postponed until March a decision on whether to extradite a convicted drug smuggler from Australia who is also wanted for murder. The 41-year-old, Tony Mokbel, has been in detention in Athens since his arrest in Glyfada in June. The Greek court is awaiting a decision on an appeal filed by Mokbel’s lawyers in Australia. Winter sites The country’s archaeological sites and museums have changed to a winter timetable, operating between 8.30 a.m. and 3 p.m., the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The new timetable, which applies on all days apart from national holidays, will remain in effect until March 31, the ministry said. Bus fire A bus caught fire in the Kalamaria district of Thessaloniki early yesterday, causing minor damage to the vehicle but no injuries. It is not clear what caused the fire but the bus was sporting a large advert for a credit card associated with PAOK soccer club and it is suspected that rival fans may have been to blame.