NEWS

In Brief

CRUISE TROUBLE

Vessel carrying 1,200 people docks at Milos after sustaining gash A cruise ship carrying more than 1,200 people docked safely at the island of Milos yesterday afternoon several hours after sustaining damage to its hull while departing from the Cretan port of Iraklion. None of the 872 passengers or 407 crew aboard the Aquamarine were injured. The ship’s captain reportedly contacted the Merchant Marine Ministry shortly after the ship scraped against a pier while leaving Iraklion. The Aquamarine belongs to the Louis Group which owns the Sea Diamond, a cruise liner that sank off Santorini last April after hitting a reef. The Aquamarine had been bound for Santorini as well. Inflation warning European Central Bank says that prices are set to keep on rising The European Central Bank president told reporters in Athens yesterday that members of the eurozone would have to get used to rising prices. «As we have said on previous occasions, inflation rates are expected to remain high for a rather protracted period of time, before gradually declining again,» he said after a meeting of the ECB’s Governing Council. The ECB decided to keep its borrowing rate at 4 percent. (Page 5) Wildfire funding Blaze victims’ claims to be simplified The government said yesterday that it would simplify the process for people who lost their homes in last summer’s wildfires to claim compensation for the rebuilding costs. The move comes after complaints that many of those affected could not afford to cover the cost of paying a civil engineer to carry out the work needed before an application for the financial aid could be submitted. Payments of up to 10,000 euros will now be handed out to applicants as an advance so they can get the paperwork completed. Cyclone aid Greece received permission yesterday from Myanmar to dispatch a military transport plane loaded with humanitarian aid for victims of cyclone Nargis. A C-130 Hercules plane was expected to take off late yesterday carrying tents and medical supplies donated by the Greek Red Cross and a non-government group. Six days after the cyclone pulverized the Irrawaddy Delta with 190 kmph (190 mph) winds followed by a tidal wave, up to 100,000 people are feared killed and an estimated 1 million homeless. Soap death A 23-year-old man who was staying at an Athens center for the mentally disabled died after swallowing a bar of soap, authorities said yesterday. The incident occurred when the man was briefly left unattended in the toilet. He died shortly afterward after being taken to the hospital. Two employees have been charged with homicide due to negligence. Cyprus appointment Leaders of the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities on divided Cyprus will meet on May 23 to assess prospects for peace talks, officials said yesterday. Cypriot government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat would most likely meet at the UN compound in Nicosia. Forged passports Police said yesterday that they have uncovered in the Athens district of Galatsi an illegal workshop producing forged passports and other travel documents. Officers arrested three Iranian nationals but are looking for another two. It appears that the suspects began producing the forged documents, which they allegedly sold to migrants for up to 600 euros, six years ago. Officers confiscated various pieces of equipment, including a computer from the apartment. Jail wedding The first civil wedding ceremony held at Trikala Prison took place yesterday. Inmate Michalis Kotanidis, an ethnic Greek from Armenia, married Zalina Garunova from Azerbaijan. The ceremony was conducted by Trikala Deputy Mayor Apostolos Zolotas who wished the couple happiness and the groom that he be released soon from jail. Failed robbery An unsuccessful attempt by unidentified robbers to raid a jewelers in the Athens district of Neos Cosmos early yesterday morning resulted in a fire breaking out and seriously damaging the store.