NEWS

In Brief

Immigrants

At least 51 drown off Turkey, another 113 held on Pserimos At least 51 would-be immigrants, believed to have been heading for Greece, drowned off the coast of Turkey yesterday when their boat capsized, the Turkish coast guard said. The boat, which sank off the port of Seferihisar, near Izmir, may have been carrying as many as 85 people, authorities said. The nationalities of the victims were not clear but most were believed to be Palestinians, Somalis and Iraqis. Meanwhile authorities on Kos detained 113 illegal immigrants after spotting a boat off the nearby island of Pserimos. (Page 2) Cars firebombed Arsonists target diplomats’ vehicles in Athens causing damage, no injuries Unknown assailants firebombed four cars belonging to foreign diplomats from Italy, the Philippines and Turkey across Athens early yesterday, police said. The cars, two of them owned by Turkish Embassy staff, were parked in Pangrati and Zografou, central and eastern Athens respectively. The Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry said it is the sixth car belonging to an Athens embassy official that has been destroyed in the last 18 months, but that these acts will not affect «the dialogue and cooperation with Greece.» No one was hurt and there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Parties off Fire victims to get president’s cash President Karolos Papoulias has canceled the traditional receptions he was due to hold over Christmas for judges, academics and journalists, among others, so that the money that would have been used for these events can instead be given to the victims of this summer’s wildfires instead. But Papoulias will host a reception for foreign ambassadors on January 31. Children’s rights The number of complaints being lodged with the Children’s Ombudsman has risen steadily by about 10 percent every year for the last decade but jumped 17 percent last year, the watchdog revealed yesterday. The majority of complaints (38.1 percent) have involved education matters. A quarter of them were about a lack of access to schools. Around 16 percent related to bullying, the watchdog said. Road fatalities Three people were killed and one injured when the car in which they were traveling veered off course just outside the town of Karditsa, central Greece, and smashed into a street light before tumbling into a field. Two Greek men, aged 25 and 22, were burnt to death in the explosion caused by the crash and an 18-year-old Bulgarian woman was also killed. Another Bulgarian woman, aged 25, was rescued from the wreckage with serious burns. She was in critical condition late yesterday. Robbers caught A 29-year-old Greek man believed to have been robbing convenience stores belonging to foreign nationals in eastern Attica has been arrested, police said yesterday. The man was caught shortly after an attempted raid on a store belonging to a Pakistani. The suspect, who wielded a knife in the attack but fled empty-handed, is believed to have robbed a Romanian store owner of 240 euros last week. Meanwhile a 20-year-old Greek and a 19-year-old foreigner were being questioned for allegedly mugging youngsters and stealing their mobile phones in Palaio Faliron. Six mobiles were found in their possession. Christmas shopping Extended shopping hours for the festive period came into effect yesterday. Stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Shops will also open on Sunday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Stores will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. They will also be closed on New Year’s Day and Wednesday, January 2. Fiction award Author Ioanna Karystini was awarded the 2007 State Prize for Fiction yesterday for her novel «Swell.» The 55-year-old also won the prize in 1998. Friendship lunch The City of Athens is hosting its annual Christmas celebration for members of municipal friendship clubs at the Inter-Continental Hotel at 1 p.m. today.