NEWS

In Brief

CAPTAIN CLEARED

No charges laid in relation to Aquamarine ferry accident The captain of the Aquamarine ferry, which sustained damage to its hull on Thursday with more than 1,200 people on board, was released yesterday and will not face charges over the incident, sources said. The vessel, which docked at Piraeus yesterday, was damaged while departing from the Cretan port of Iraklion after scraping against a pier. The Aquamarine belongs to the Louis Group which owns the Sea Diamond, a cruise liner that sank off Santorini last year after hitting a reef. SIEMENS PROBE Five suspects given extra time to prepare for questioning Five people who are being treated as suspects in the Siemens investigation were yesterday given more time to prepare for questioning by prosecutor Panayiotis Athanassiou. Two of the suspects, both former OTE telecom employees, were given until next Friday, while the other three, one ex-OTE worker and two board members of another company, Chouvardas, will now be called in for questioning on May 22. Athanassiou is set to question a total of 20 people who are suspected of being involved in the alleged payment of bribes by Siemens to Greek politicians. TAXI STRIKE Cabbies walk off the job on Monday Athens taxi drivers will go on a 24-hour strike on Monday morning over financial demands. The drivers will walk off the job at 5 a.m. and will demonstrate at Karaiskaki Square at 10.30 a.m. Manhunt launched Police have launched a manhunt for two suspects believed to have cheated elderly citizens out of 11,500 euros, authorities said. The two men are thought to have broken into the home of a 70-year-old woman in mid-April in Thessaloniki’s Sykies area and stolen 1,900 euros from her. A few days later, the two suspects allegedly cheated an elderly man out of 9,600 euros in cash. Unexploded bomb Police bomb disposal experts were called in yesterday morning to defuse an explosive device that had been placed outside a bar-restaurant in Piraeus. The device, which contained 10 sticks of dynamite, was safely defused. Officers said that the assailants, who are being sought, had tried to set fire to the slow-burning fuse but for a reason that was not immediately clear, the bomb failed to explode. Police suspect that the failed bombing was linked to a protection racket. Khat seizure A British national was arrested at Athens International Airport yesterday after being caught in possession of 18 kilos of the drug khat, a stimulant produced from leaves grown in African countries, such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, where its use is legal. The 53-year-old had just arrived on a flight from London. A 43-year-old British man was arrested at Athens airport in January after being caught with 14 kilos of khat. Police in Athens also said yesterday that they had arrested a 26-year-old Albanian man in the city center after catching him with more than 39 kilos of cannabis. Anavyssos ambush Police were yesterday searching for several suspects who ambushed a couple as they returned to their home in Anavyssos, southeast of Athens, late on Thursday night. The couple were traveling in separate cars and were forced to stop because the assailants had placed a dumpster in the middle of the road. The armed robbers forced the man, a physiotherapist, to hand over 300 euros in cash. They then fired a shot into the air before taking the keys to his wife’s vehicle and driving off with it. Officers did not say how many suspects they were looking for. Fun Run The annual Athens Fun Run will take place tommorrow. Those interested in taking part in the 8- and 3.5-kilometer run will need to be at the Panathenaic Stadium at 10 a.m. A third 700-meter run will be held for the disabled at Syntagma Square. More information is available at www.cityofathens.gr.